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Saturday's Top 25: Kelly earns 100th win, No. 2 Notre Dame rolls past Boston College

Kyle Hightower
Associated Press

Boston — Notre Dame has a history of following big wins with letdowns against rival Boston College.

This time the Irish wound up making some history for their coach at the Eagles' expense.

Ian Book passed for three touchdowns and ran for another and the second-ranked Irish overcame an early deficit to roll to a 45-31 victory over BC on Saturday.

Notre Dame wide receiver Ben Skowronek (11) runs the ball in for a touchdown against Boston College defensive back Brandon Sebastian (10) during the first half.

The Fighting Irish’s eighth straight win in the series between FBS’s only Catholic institutions gave coach Brian Kelly his 100th career victory at the school, tying him with Lou Holtz for second all-time. He is now just five behind coach Knute Rockne.

“One hundred wins. I was gonna say it felt like 100 years. But it’s not something I spend time thinking about. I will when I’m not coaching anymore," Kelly said. “It means I’ve had a lot of good players, a lot of good coaches. I’m fortunate to be at Notre Dame that long. It’s not easy to win that many games at Notre Dame.”

Coming off a thrilling victory against then-No. 1 Clemson, Notre Dame (8-0, 7-0 ACC) racked up a season-high 561 total yards against BC.

The last time Notre Dame beat a top-ranked team was 1993, and then following week the Fighting Irish were upset by BC on a last-second field goal.

Book made sure there would be no similar letdown. He finished 20 of 27 for 283 yards and ran for a 85 yards. His last two games have been about as well as he has played in his three seasons as Notre Dame's starter.

'“I just knew that there was more for me. I knew I could take an extra step," he said. "It’s starting to add up and I think I’m just trying to take it to the next level. … I think I’m just elevating at the right time.”

Ben Skowronek caught all three of Book’s TD passes, but also had one of three Notre Dame fumbles on the day. C’Bo Flemister ran for two touchdowns before leaving the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent left leg injury.

Phil Jurkovec, a transfer from Notre Dame playing against his former team for the first time, finished 18 of 40 for 272 yards with a touchdown and interception for Boston College (5-4, 4-4).

Jurkovec said he has been dealing the after-effects of a separated throwing shoulder he suffered against Clemson two weeks ago. His throwing was limited leading into the Syrcause game last week and he acknowledged his arm is still not 100%.

“I wanted it badly,” he said. “It was a game we had circled on the schedule. It was very disappointing to lose it.”

The Eagles hung tough in the first half, recovering a pair of Notre Dame fumbles, but they scored only six points of the miscues.

Their defense also had few answers for Book, who took advantage of the Irish’s length at receiver throughout the game to produce five pass plays of 20 or more yards.

The Eagles jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the first quarter before the Irish outscored them 28-6 the rest of the first half.

Boston College had a chance to cut into a 24-16 deficit late in the second quarter after Notre Dame’s Kryen Williams fumbled following a hit by BC’s Chibueze Onwuka. The ball was recovered by Isaiah McDuffie on the Irish 42.

But BC gave it right back three plays later when center Alec Lindstrom snapped the ball before Jurkovec was expecting it. It was recovered by Notre Dame defensive end Daelin Hayes on the Eagles 49 with 2:05 left in the quarter.

Notre Dame moved quickly and Book connected with Skowronek for the third time in the half, this time from 7 yards out, to make it 31-16.

More Top 25

(At) No. 6 Florida 63, Arkansas 35: Kyle Trask extended his school record for consecutive games with at least four touchdown passes to six and No. 6 Florida overwhelmed Arkansasin the Swamp.

Trask threw for 356 yards and six scores against the Razorbacks (3-4), who were without coach Sam Pittman and without much of a chance by halftime. It was the second time this season Trask tossed six TDs in a game. He's the only player in school history to accomplish that feat.

Arkansas quarterback Feleipe Franks, a three-year starter for the Gators (5-1), was booed in his return to Florida Field and unable to do much to steal the spotlight from Trask.

Trask started a new streak by throwing at least four TD passes in the first half for the second straight week, quite possibly raising his stock from Heisman Trophy hopeful to Heisman front-runner. He had five in Florida’s first six drives and might have had another had the Gators not failed to convert a fourth-down play at the Arkansas 16.

Still, it was Trask's most impressive half in two years as a starter and put him in elite company as the Gators won their 11th straight at home and moved a step closer to locking up a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game.

The only negative for Florida: Its defense allowed a 47-yard TD pass, an 83-yard TD run and an 82-yard catch and run for another score.

Franks completed 15 of 19 passes for 250 yards and two scores.

No. 9 Miami 25, (at) Virginia Tech 24: D’Eriq King threw for 255 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score to rally No. 9 Miami to victory over Virginia Tech.

The Hurricanes (7-1, 6-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) rallied from an 11-point, third-quarter deficit to win their fourth consecutive game and stay very much alive for a spot in the ACC championship game.

Miami scored the game’s final 12 points and held the Hokies (4-4, 4-3 ACC) scoreless on their final five possessions.

King guided the ’Canes on two long second-half scoring marches. A 13-play, 75-yard drive ended with Cam’Ron Harris’ 6-yard touchdown run, and cut the lead to 24-19 with 1:27 left in the third quarter. Miami failed to convert a 2-point conversion.

Miami put together a 10-play, 82-yard drive that ended with King throwing a dart to Mark Pope for a 36-yard touchdown to take a 25-24 lead with 5:59 left in the fourth quarter.

King, who rushed for a 10-yard touchdown in the second quarter, completed 24 of 38.

Hendon Hooker paced Virginia Tech, throwing for 201 yards and rushing for 53 yards and a touchdown.

No. 11 Oregon 43, (at) Washington State 29: Tyler Shough threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns and No. 11 Oregon came back to beat Washington State.

Travis Dye caught two second-half touchdown passes to help Oregon improve to 2-0. The Ducks piled up 582 yards of total offense.

Freshman Jayden de Laura threw for 321 yards and two touchdowns for Washington State (1-1), which led at halftime but could not stop the Ducks in the second half. Freshman defensive back Ayden Hector recovered three Oregon turnovers in the first half.

Oregon went 92 yards in 15 plays on its first possession, and Shough hit tight end DJ Johnson with a 13-yard scoring pass for a 7-0 lead.

(At) No. 16 Marshall 42, Middle Tennessee 14: Redshirt freshman Grant Wells threw a season-high five touchdown passes and No. 16 Marshall commemorated the 50th anniversary of the worst disaster in U.S. sports history during a victory over Middle Tennessee.

Marshall (7-0, 4-0 Conference USA) got another standout performance from its defense and turned three turnovers into scores on a day when the university and surrounding community remembered 75 people killed in a Nov. 14, 1970, plane crash.

Marshall wore special black uniforms and the No. 75 on its helmets to honor those who were lost, which included most of the Thundering Herd football team. The crash occurred as the team’s plane was returning from a game at East Carolina. There were no survivors.

After several early overthrows, Wells found his groove and Marshall kept the momentum for good. Wells finished 25-of-37 for 336 yards, all season highs. Two of his TD passes each went to Corey Gammage and Willie Johnson.

Then, after Middle Tennessee quarterback Asher O’Hara fumbled the ball away on a hit by Marshall’s Darius Hodge, Wells ran for 6 yards and made three straight completions. His 17-yard throw to Gammage put the Thundering Herd ahead 21-7 at halftime.

Wells kept it going after safety Nazeeh Johnson ripped the ball away from Middle Tennessee wide receiver Marquel Tinsley inside the Marshall 10 early in the third.

A 46-yard pass to Johnson and a 14-yarder to Gaines were followed by Gammage’s second TD grab. Gammage went up high for a 28-yard catch in the end zone for a 28-7 lead.

Middle Tennessee (2-6, 2-4) couldn’t do much against the nation’s top rush defense. O’Hara, whose 476 rushing yards entering the game were the third most for a quarterback nationally, was limited to 39 yards on 11 carries. He ran for a score, threw for another and completed 29 of 44 passes for 241 yards.

(At) Tulsa 28, No. 19 SMU 24: Zach Smith threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns to help Tulsa recover from a 21-point second-quarter deficit and upset No. 19 SMU.

After throwing an interception and losing a fumble that led to another touchdown on his first two possessions, Smith bounced back. He completed 26 of 38 passes, including a 4-yard touchdown toss to James Palmer for the go-ahead touchdown with 2:11 remaining.

It was the third time this season the Golden Hurricane (4-1, 4-0 American Athletic Conference) won after trailing by double digits in the first half, and the second time they did it against a ranked team. They trailed 23-5 against No. 11 UCF on Oct. 3 before rallying to win 34-26.

For the fifth straight meeting, SMU and Tulsa played a game decided by six points or fewer, including an SMU triple-overtime win last season.

Shane Buechele completed 18 of 36 passes for 200 yards and one touchdown, along with one interception, for SMU (7-2, 5-2), which missed an opportunity to move ahead of Tulsa into second place in the American standings.

Tulsa was playing just its second home game of the season in front of a socially-distanced crowd of 3,940.

No. 20 Southern California 34, (at) Arizona 30: Vavae Malepeai bulled his way through multiple tacklers for an 8-yard touchdown run with 25 seconds left, and No. 20 Southern California beat Arizona with another late rally.

USC (2-0, 2-0 Pac-12) was outplayed by Arizona State last week before scoring two touchdowns in the final three minutes to win 28-27.

The Trojans again had two late scoring drives to win a game they were outplayed in for most of the afternoon.

Kevon Slovis hit Erik Krommenhoek on a 6-yard touchdown, but Arizona (0-1, 0-1) marched quickly down the field for a 6-yard touchdown pass from Grant Gunnell from Stanley Berryhill III with 1:20 left.

Slovis, off target early, completed four straight passes for 68 yards and Malepeai capped the 75-yard drive by carrying several Arizona defenders with him into the end zone.

Slovis threw for 325 yards and a touchdown on 30 of 43 passing.

Gunnell threw for 286 yards and three touchdowns for Arizona, which played its first game in nearly a year after last week's opener against Utah was canceled due to the coronavirus.

No. 22 Liberty 58, Western Carolina 14: Malik Willis threw for 306 yards and three touchdowns and ran for two more scores, leading No. 22 Liberty over Western Carolina 58-14 on Saturday.

Liberty (8-0) won its 10th straight game and remained second behind Notre Dame for the nation’s longest active winning streak.

Playing their first game of the season, the Catamounts (0-1) trailed 14-7 early in the second quarter. Liberty then scored four straight touchdowns in the next 14 minutes.

Willis completed 14 of 19 passes with touchdown strikes of 44, 40 and 83 yards. He scored on runs of 11 and 43 yards and rushed for 97 yards on eight carries.

Willis has accounted for 16 touchdowns in the past three games, including 12 in the air. He threw for just three TDs in the Flames’ first five games.

Kevin Shaa caught two passes for a career-high 137 yards and a touchdown. CJ Daniels added 96 yards and two touchdowns on two catches.

The Catamounts used two quarterbacks in their season debut, and both produced a touchdown. Will Jones connected on a 9-yard pass to Clayton Bardall in the second quarter, and Mark Wright scored on a designed run from 3 yards out late in the third quarter.

(At) No. 25 Louisiana-Lafayette 38, South Alabama 10: Levi Lewis passed for 252 yards and three touchdowns, Louisiana-Lafayette gained 254 yards on the ground and the Ragin’ Cajuns wrapped up a third straight Sun Belt Conference West Division title.

Lewis tossed TD passes of 5 yards to Jalen Williams and 3 yards to Errol Rogers. He also hit running back Trey Ragas for a 25-yard score on a fourth-down conversion, with Ragas narrowly staying inside the left sideline to put the game away in the fourth quarter.

Chris Smith and Elijah Mitchell each had touchdowns rushing for Louisiana-Lafayette (7-1, 5-1 Sun Belt). The Ragin’ Cajuns have has won four straight since falling to No. 15 Coastal Carolina on a last-second field goal.

Desmond Trotter threw for 133 yards and a touchdown for South Alabama (3-5, 2-3).