Syracuse, N.Y. — Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence was forced to be a spectator a year ago when a hard hit to the helmet knocked him out in the second quarter of his first college start. This time he left in the fourth quarter with the game well in hand.
Lawrence threw for a career-high 395 yards and three touchdowns, ran for another, and top-ranked Clemson smothered nemesis Syracuse 41-6 on Saturday night.
"It felt good. It felt good to be able to finish," said Lawrence, who scored untouched from a yard out after a nifty fake to give the Tigers a 14-0 lead in the first quarter. Anytime you win a game like that, convincingly, it's just awesome."
Clemson (3-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) has won 18 straight games, a school record and the longest streak in the nation. It's the second-longest winning streak by an ACC member in conference history, trailing a 29-game run by Florida State from 2012-14.
Syracuse (1-2, 0-1), the last team to defeat Clemson in the regular season, was unbeaten at home last fall. The Orange were coming off a 43-point loss at Maryland that dropped them out of the rankings.
"We didn't score enough points to really make it a game, and that's always something we've been able to do against them," Orange coach Dino Babers said. "When you're playing somebody that hasn't lost a bunch of games, you've got to have a clean game. I thought the defense played well enough to make it a game."
The offense didn't. Clemson limited Syracuse to 187 yards and sacked Orange quarterback Tommy DeVito eight times. Clemson finished with 15 tackles for losses of 71 yards as it won its eighth straight true road game and avenged a 27-24 loss to Syracuse two years ago.
"This is a big, big win for us," Clemson coach Dabo Swinney said. "The defense tonight I thought was amazing. It all starts up front. We lost a lot of players but we've just got some guys around here that can play."
Lawrence, who threw on the run when he had to, finished 22 of 39 with two interceptions. Clemson finished with 612 yards offensively.
"We've got a good group," Swinney said. "They're just going to get better. They've accepted the challenge. We've got three wins. That's where we wanted to be. We're a hungry team."
More Top 25
No. 2 Alabama 47, South Carolina 23: Tua Tagovailoa threw for a career-high 444 yards and tied his personal best with five touchdowns to help Alabama open Southeastern Conference play with a victory over South Carolina.
Coach Nick Saban improved to 12-1 at Alabama in SEC openers and wiped away some bad memories of his last visit to Williams-Brice Stadium nine years ago.
Tagovailoa and his receivers quickly got the Crimson Tide (3-0, 1-0) rolling with first-quarter TD passes of 24 yards to Najee Harris and 81 yards to Henry Ruggs III. Whenever the Gamecocks (1-2, 0-1) drew within range, Tagovailoa came right back to restore Alabama’s edge.
Harris added a 42-yard catch-and-run score where he broke two tackles and leaped over defensive back R.J. Roderick on the way to the end zone. DeVonta Smith caught Tagovailoa’s last TD pass, also for 42 yards.
Saban reminded his players, about all who were in middle or elementary school in 2010, of the Tides’ previous game here when the top-ranked Tide were soundly beaten 35-21.
Smith and Ruggs both surpassed 100 yards receiving. Smith had 136 yards on eight catches, including two TDs. Ruggs had six catches for 122 yards.
(At) No. 3 Georgia 55, Arkansas State 0: Jake Fromm threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns before taking the rest of the day off, and Georgia’s defense turned in a dominating performance.
With thousands of Georgia fans wearing pink instead of red to honor Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson’s wife, Wendy, who died last month from breast cancer, the Bulldogs (3-0) took control as soon as they got their hands on the ball. They scored on six of seven possessions in the first half, building a 34-0 lead.
The Georgia defense was equally stout, posting its first shutout since the 2018 opener. The Red Wolves (1-2) went three-and-out four times in the first half and crossed midfield only once, settling for a 50-yard field goal try that faded wide right.
The Bulldogs went to the locker room with a 382-81 edge in total yards, and many of the fans didn’t bother coming back to watch the final two quarters. Georgia finished with 656 yards total while holding the visitors to just 220.
(At) No. 4 LSU 65, Northwestern State 14: Joe Burrow completed 21 of 24 passes for 373 yards and two touchdowns, and LSU pulled away from Northwestern State in the second half.
Burrow has played through the third quarter only once in three games because of lopsided scores. He’s 75 of 90 (83.3 percent) passing for 1,122 yards and 11 touchdowns this season.
Burrow also ran for 30 yards and a touchdown against Northwestern State (0-3), an FCS team that was surprisingly competitive in the first half before the Tigers (3-0) dominated the third quarter.
In leading LSU to the 800th victory in the program’s 126-year history, Burrow also became just the school’s sixth quarterback to throw for 300 or more yards in consecutive games. Only Rohan Davey did it three times in a row, a mark Burrow can match next weekend.
No. 5 Oklahoma 48, (at) UCLA 14: Jalen Hurts racked up 439 scrimmage yards, became the first Oklahoma quarterback to pass for 200 yards and rush for 100 in the first half and directed the Sooners to scores on their first six drives.
The graduate transfer from Alabama completed 15 of 20 passes for 289 yards and three touchdowns and ran 14 times for 150 yards and a score. CeeDee Lamb and Charleston Rambo each had two touchdowns to help the Sooners (3-0) win their 21st straight true road game. That is tied with Alabama (1970-75) the second-longest away streak after World War II.
UCLA drops to 0-3 for the second straight lead and has lost 12 of 15 games under second-year coach Chip Kelly. Dorian Thompson-Robinson passed for 201 yards and two touchdowns.
(At) No. 7 Notre Dame 66, New Mexico 14: Ian Book threw a career-high five touchdown passes and Notre Dame’s defense came up with three first-half interceptions in its final tuneup before a showdown at No. 3 Georgia.
Book rebounded from a lackluster opening performance in a 35-17 victory at Louisville to complete 15 of 24 passes for 360 yards. Book finished with another 46 yards rushing yards and a 1-yard TD.
The Fighting Irish (2-0) had their way with the Lobos (1-1), who were without head coach Bob Davie. Saga Tuitele acted as head coach for Davie, the former Irish head coach from 1997-2001 who was hospitalized following New Mexico’s opening victory over Sam Houston State.
(At) No. 8 Auburn 55, Kent State 16: JaTarvious Whitlow rushed for 135 yards and two touchdowns and Bo Nix ran and passed for scores to lead Auburn.
The Tigers (3-0) piled up 467 rushing yards — and three 100-yard rushers — in their final tune up before Southeastern Conference play. They also got some big plays running and passing from Nix, including a 49-yard flea flicker to Eli Stove for a touchdown in the third quarter. Then both offensive stars were able to head to the sideline after the Tigers avoided a pre-SEC letdown against the Golden Flashes (1-2).
Nix had runs of 17 and 18 yards on consecutive plays to set up a touchdown on the opening drive and added a 1-yard score. He completed 12 of 16 passes for 161 yards for an offense that topped its combined points from the first two games. Backup quarterback Joey Gatewood ran for 102 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Shaun Shivers, Auburn’s 5-foot-7, 179-pound running back, also gained 102 yards. It was the first time Auburn had three 100-yard rushers in a game since 1983.
No. 9 Florida 29, (at) Kentucky 21: Kyle Trask relieved an injured Feleipe Franks and rallied Florida with three fourth-quarter touchdown drives, including a go-ahead, 4-yard scoring run with 4:11 remaining.
Franks, the Gators’ third-year starter, was carted off with a right leg injury late in the third quarter with his team trailing 21-10. Stopped for no gain on fourth-and-1 at the Kentucky 38, Franks appeared to bend backward on the play. Medical personnel placed an inflatable cast under his right leg.
Trask entered and led Florida (3-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) on a 62-yard drive, ending with Lamical Perine’s 8-yard TD run to get the Gators to 21-16. Shawn Davis’s interception with 6:05 to go gave the Gators another opportunity, and Trask capitalized with his go-ahead touchdown.
The two-point conversion failed, though, and Kentucky (2-1, 0-1) had a final chance to regain the lead. But Chance Poore’s 35-yard field-goal attempt with 54 seconds left was wide right, and Josh Hammond’s 76-yard TD run three plays later helped Florida avenge last year’s loss in Gainesville.
(At) No. 11 Utah 31, Idaho State 0: Tyler Huntley threw for 282 yards and three touchdowns and Zach Moss ran for 106 yards and another score in Utah’s victory over Idaho State.
In the first quarter, Moss passed Tony Lindsay for second place on Utah’s career rushing yards list. His 1-yard scoring plunge later in the quarter moved him into the No. 2 spot by himself in career rushing touchdowns at 27. On just 10 carries, Moss also recorded his 13th 100-yard rushing performance with 10:05 still left in the second quarter.
Huntley completed 15 of 19 passes before leaving in the third quarter as Utah moved to 3-0 for the fifth time in the last six seasons. Idaho State is 1-1.
No. 12 Texas 48, (at) Rice 13: Sam Ehlinger threw for 279 yards and three touchdowns, Jake Smith caught six passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns and Texas beat Rice.
Ehlinger threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Roschon Johnson to cap the opening drive before throwing touchdown passes of 53 yards and 12 yards to Smith in the first half. Ehlinger finished 23 of 27 passing in less than three quarters.
Keaontay Ingraham rushed for 74 yards and had touchdown runs of 26 yards and 14 yards. Cameron Dicker nailed a career-long 57-yard field goal a minute before halftime to push Texas’ lead to 31-0.D’Shawn Jamison put the icing on the win for Texas with a 98-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with a minute left.
Texas (2-1) outgained Rice (0-3) 509-266 after losing at home last week to LSU.
(At) No. 15 Oregon 35, Montana 3: Justin Herbert threw for 316 yards and five touchdowns in the Ducks' final tuneup before opening Pac-12 play at Stanford.
Jacob Breeland and Johnny Johnson III each caught a pair of touchdowns for the Ducks (2-1), who won their 25th straight nonconference game at Autzen Stadium.
Herbert has thrown for a touchdown in 31 straight games, the longest current streak in the nation. It was his fifth career five-touchdown game, most by an Oregon quarterback. Marcus Mariota had four.
Fifth-year senior Dalton Sneed threw for 184 yards for FCS-level Montana (2-1), which avoided its first shutout since 1988 with Brandon Purdy's 25-yard field goal late in the third quarter.
(At) No. 16 Texas A&M 62, Lamar 3: Freshman Isaiah Spiller ran for 116 yards and two touchdowns and Kellen Mond threw for 317 yards with a touchdown pass and a run in three quarters to lead Texas A&M.
Spiller shined in the first game since Jashaun Corbin sustained a season-ending hamstring injury last week at Clemson, running for touchdowns of 1 and 34 yards. Mond was 20 of 28 with an interception.
The Aggies (2-1) led 27-0 at halftime but Mond tried to throw in between two defenders on his first drive of the third quarter and was intercepted by Cameron Hayes. But the Cardinals (2-1) couldn’t get anything going on offense and had to punt. Mond found Jhamon Ausbon, who had 109 yards receiving, for a 26-yard catch to get the next drive going and Spiller capped it with a 34-yard run to make it 34-0.
(At) No. 17 UCF 45, Stanford 27: Freshman Dillon Gabriel threw for 347 yards and four touchdowns in his second college start, leading UCF past Stanford.
The Knights (3-0) scored on six of seven possessions, building a 31-point halftime lead in what was expected to be a much tougher test for the two-time defending American Athletic Conference champions, who won their first two games by a combined score of 110-14 against Florida A&M and Florida Atlantic.
Gabriel completed 22 of 30 passes, including TD throws of 28 yards to Marlon Williams, 38 yards to Tre Nixon, 38 yards to Gabriel Davis and 1-yard to Jake Hescook. Greg McCrae rushed for109 yards and one touchdown for UCF, which has won 25 consecutive regular-season games.
Stanford (1-2) allowed four TDs in the opening quarter and 413 yards total offense in the first half alone.
(At) No. 22 Boise State 45, Portland State 10: Defensive end Curtis Weaver tied the Boise State single-game record with four sacks.
John Hightower returned a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown to get Boise State's scoring started. C.T. Thomas scored the first of two touchdowns on a one-handed snag after getting tipped by his defender. And Stefan Cobbs scored on his first ever catch, racing 44 yards to the end zone and losing his helmet on a hit after he had scored.
Boise State (3-0) has yet to allow any points in the second half this season, joining Wisconsin as the only two schools to still hold that distinction.
Portland State (1-2), which played Arkansas tough in a 20-13 loss in the Vikings' season opener, racked up 159 yards in the first quarter but only 85 over the final three. Last week, Boise State allowed zero yards of total offense against Marshall.
(At) No. 23 Washington 52, Hawaii 20: Jacob Eason threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to Hunter Bryant on the third play of the game and added two more and Washington rebounded from a loss beat Hawaii.
Eason and the Huskies (2-1) overwhelmed the Rainbow Warriors, taking a 21-0 lead in less than 9 minutes. Eason was 18 of 25 for 262 yards, Richard Newton had three short TD runs, and Washington quickly bounced back from last week’s 20-19 home loss to California in its Pac-12 opener.
Hawaii (2-1) was looking to beat three Pac-12 opponents in a season for the first time in school history. The Warriors opened with wins over Arizona and Oregon State at home.
(At) BYU 30, No. 24 Southern California 27, OT: Dayan Ghanwoloku intercepted a tipped pass in overtime after Jake Oldroyd kicked a 43-yard field to give BYU the lead, and the Cougars beat Southern California for second straight OT victory over a traditional power program.
Zach Wilson threw for 280 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score for BYU (2-1), which won at Tennessee last week. Ty’Son Williams added 99 yards on 19 carries.
Kedon Slovis threw for 281 yards and two touchdowns for USC (2-1), but was picked off three times, including on the final play of the game.
(At) No. 25 Virginia 31, Florida State 24: Wayne Taulapapa ran for three touchdowns, the second with 2:34 remaining, and Virginia hung on to beat Florida State.
The Cavaliers (3-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed for much of the night and looked to have blown their chance when Brian Delaney missed a tying extra point with 6:02 to play. A three-and-out by the Seminoles and a six-play, 72-yard Virginia drive capped by Taulapapa’s 2-yard run gave them the lead. The Cavaliers went for two and Bryce Perkins was intent on passing, but when the Seminoles applied pressure in the backfield, he scrambled away from it and finally slithered through the defense and converted for the points.
The Seminoles (1-2, 0-1) drove to the Virginia 4 for the final play of the game, helped by four 15-yard penalty calls against the Cavaliers, but with no timeouts remaining and both teams scrambling to line up, a run attempt by Cam Akers that just beat the final gun was stopped when De’Vante Cross slowed him and Bryce Hall finished him off.