Dallas — Not since the Pony Express days with Eric Dickerson and Craig James has SMU been undefeated this deep into a season.
Ranked for the first time in 33 years, the No. 24 Mustangs overcame a three-touchdown deficit in the fourth quarter, converted six fourth downs and finally beat Tulsa 43-37 when Shane Buechele threw a 25-yard touchdown to James Proche in the third overtime Saturday night.
"For us to go down 21 and just for them to keep playing, hang in there and figure out a way to win the game, it's a real credit to their character," second year SMU coach Sonny Dykes said.
After Tulsa missed its second field goal in overtime, Proche made a leaping catch in the front corner of the end zone over a defender and got a foot down before going out of bounds. The play was initially ruled incomplete before being overturned on replay review.
"We knew we were a second-half team" said Proche, who had 11 catches for 153 yards and two TDs. "I don't think it was anything with Tulsa's defense. We just stayed the course and played SMU football."
SMU (6-0, 2-0 American) this week moved into the AP poll for the first time since October 1986, before NCAA sanctions that included the death penalty. The Mustangs didn't field a team in 1987 and 1988.
They were last 6-0 in 1982, when Dickerson and James were part of an unbeaten 11-0-1 season.
Xavier Jones ran for 121 yards and scored two game-tying touchdowns for SMU before he fumbled in the second overtime. But Tulsa couldn't take advantage when Jacob Rainey missed a 43-yard field goal attempt wide left.
Tulsa (2-3, 0-1) had the ball to start the third overtime, and used a different kicker after failing to get a first down. But Zack Long was wide left on a 42-yard attempt.
"A tough game to come out on the wrong side of," Tulsa coach Philip Montgomery said. "I thought our guys played extremely hard. I thought they emptied their tanks, didn't leave anything out there."
Jones had a 4-yard TD run on a fourth-down play with 1:02 left in regulation. His 3-yard score after a 15-yard pass on fourth down forced the second overtime after Zach Smith's fourth touchdown pass, a 7-yarder to Josh Johnson, opened the overtime scoring.
The Mustangs were down 30-9 before touchdowns on their last three possessions in regulation. They Mustangs went at least 73 yards and converted fourth downs on each of those possessions. They converted 6 of 7 fourth downs overall.
Buechele, the former Texas quarterback, finished 23-of-40 passing for 280 yards and the two TDs to Proche.
Smith was 23 of 41 for 346 yards, but also threw three interceptions before halftime. The first was returned 64 yards by Ar'mani Johnson for a touchdown in the first quarter.
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No. 3 Georgia 43, (at) Tennessee 14: Jake Fromm threw two touchdown passes, Georgia’s defense delivered a dominant second-half performance and the No. 3 Bulldogs recovered from a slow start to beat Tennessee.
Georgia (5-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) scored the final 33 points to earn its 15th straight victory over an Eastern Division opponent. Georgia capped the onslaught when Tae Crowder scored on a 60-yard fumble return with 4:39 left after Eric Stokes sacked Brian Maurer to knock the ball loose.
The Bulldogs haven’t lost to an SEC East team since falling 24-10 to Florida on Oct. 29, 2016.
Fromm went 24 of 29 for 288 yards. Rodrigo Blankenship made field goals from 50, 34 and 27 yards to improve to 11 of 11 this season. Brian Herrien and D’Andre Swift combined to run for 160 yards and each had a 1-yard touchdown run.
Georgia trailed for most of the second quarter before scoring two touchdowns in the final two minutes of the first half to grab a 26-14 lead at the intermission. Georgia stayed in command the rest of the way.
Tennessee (1-4, 0-2) has lost its last six matchups with Football Bowl Subdivision teams and is off to its slowest start since 1988, when it dropped its first six games. Tennessee’s lone win this season was a 45-0 blowout of Football Championship Subdivision program Chattanooga.
(At) No. 5 LSU 42, Utah State 6: Joe Burrow became the first LSU quarterback to eclipse 300 yards passing in four straight games and threw for five touchdowns against Utah State.
Burrow completed 27 of 38 passes for 344 yards and was intercepted once on a tipped pass before being replaced by Myles Brennan in the fourth quarter. Burrow also rushed for 42 yards and a touchdown. He has completed 78.3 percent of his passes for 1,864 yards and 22 touchdowns through five games.
Justin Jefferson caught two scoring passes for LSU (5-0). His second TD on a 39-yard throw was the completion on which Burrow surpassed 300 yards. Burrow’s other TD strikes went to Derrick Dillon, JaMarr Chase and tight end Thaddeus Moss.
The Aggies (3-2) had 159 yards of offense.
No. 6 Oklahoma 45, (at) Kansas 20: Jalen Hurts threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns, ran for 56 yards and two more TDs and added another line to his Heisman Trophy resume in leading Oklahoma.
Rhamondre Stevenson added 109 yards rushing and a score on just five carries for Oklahoma. The Sooners (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) spotted Kansas (2-4, 0-2) a touchdown lead before ripping off seven straight scores.
That allowed them to cruise to their 22nd straight true road win, the second-longest streak since at least World War II in major college football. Bud Wilkinson’s Sooners won 25 in a row from 1953-58. It also allowed Oklahoma to build momentum for next weekend’s Red River Showdown with No. 11 Texas.
(At) No. 10 Florida 24, No. 7 Auburn 13: Lamical Perine ran 88 yards for a touchdown in the fourth quarter and Florida’s defense delivered another gem to win it for the Gators.
Perine broke linebacker K.J. Britt’s tackle at the line of scrimmage and scampered down the sideline for the program’s longest TD run in more than 30 years. It gave the Gators (6-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) extra breathing room in a game they never trailed.
The biggest reason they led throughout: defense.
Jon Greenard and David Reese were the stars of the show for Florida, which has given up a measly 16 points in four home games this season.
The Gators kept JaTarvious Whitlow in check and harassed freshman quarterback Bo Nix, whose father, Patrick, upset top-ranked Florida in Gainesville in 1994.
Nix completed 11 of 27 passes for 145 yards for Auburn (5-1, 2-1), with a touchdown and three interceptions. He was sacked three times, once for a 22-yard loss in which he looked completely lost.
Florida’s Kyle Trask was equally turnover-prone, although much more efficient through the air. He was seemingly knocked out of the game in the second quarter when Auburn star Derrick Brown landed on his left leg. Trask eventually walked to the locker room with no assistance and returned to a raucous ovation.
(At) No. 9 Notre Dame 52, Bowling Green 0: Ian Book threw five touchdown passes and had only four incomplete passes in a little more than two quarters of work for Notre Dame.
The Fighting Irish (4-1) had their way with the Falcons (1-4), a first-time opponent from the Mid-American Conference whose campus is just 164 miles away. The margin matched Notre Dame’s winning difference in a 66-14 victory over New Mexico this season and was Notre Dame’s first shutout since 2014.
The Irish had 573 total yards, with senior Tony Jones Jr. rushing for 102 yards on seven carries. Notre Dame limited the Falcons (1-4) to 228 yards. Book was 16 of 20 for 261 yards.
No. 11 Texas 42, (at) West Virginia 31: Sam Ehlinger threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more scores and Texas converted three turnovers into TDs.
Texas (4-1, 2-0 Big 12) beat the Mountaineers (3-2, 1-1) on the road for the second straight time.
The Longhorns had plenty of motivation for this one. Ehlinger and several Texas players were upset last year after several Mountaineers flashed “horns down” signs during West Virginia’s 42-41 victory in Austin. Ehlinger noted in a tweet that was later deleted: “Do not think it will be forgotten.”
Ehlinger finished 18 of 33 for 211 yards. He threw just his second interception of the season that West Virginia turned into a third-quarter field goal.
(At) No. 13 Oregon 17, California 7: Justin Herbert threw for 214 yards and a late touchdown to extend his streak of consecutive games with a scoring pass to 33, and No. 13 Oregon overcame an uncharacteristically slow start to beat Cal.
Oregon (4-1, 1-0 Pac-12) trailed until Cyrus Habibi-Likio’s 1-yard touchdown run with 1:38 left in third quarter made it 10-7. Herbert’s streak of TDs appeared in jeopardy until his short pass to Jaylon Redd with 7:14 to go in the game.
The Ducks, whose only loss came in the opener against Auburn, were held scoreless in the first half by the surprisingly resilient Golden Bears (4-2, 1-2).
Junior Devon Modster made his first start for Cal in place of injured quarterback Chase Garbers. After struggling last week when Garbers got knocked out of Cal’s loss to Arizona State, Modster fared better against Oregon’s defense.
Modster threw for 190 yards and a touchdown against the Ducks, who hadn’t given up a TD since the game against the Tigers.
Herbert’s streak of games with at least one touchdown pass is the longest in the nation among active players. He was tied for seventh nationally with 14 touchdown passes this season going into the game.
(At) Stanford 23, No. 15 Washington 13: Cameron Scarlett rushed for a career-high 157 yards and a touchdown, quarterback Davis Mills had another impressive game in place of injured starter K.J. Costello before apparently getting hurt himself, and Stanford pulled off its biggest win of the season.
The Cardinal (3-3, 2-2 Pac-12) extended their home winning streak to six games, dating to 2007, against the Huskies with a plodding, methodical offense that kept Washington quarterback Jacob Eason on the sidelines for long chunks of the game.
Stanford dominated Washington (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) in nearly every offensive category and held an 18-minute edge in time of possession.
No. 16 Boise State 38, (at) UNLV 13: Hank Bachmeier threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns and Boise State used a strong defensive effort to beat UNLV.
Khalil Shaker caught seven passes for 111 yards and a TD, John Hightower had four catches for 105 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown reception that make it 14-0 with 13:38 left until halftime for Boise State (5-0, 2-0 Mountain West).
Boise State added in a 52-yard field goal from Joel Velazquez.
UNLV’s Kenyon Oblad, a redshirt freshman quarterback, made his first career start in place of Armani Rogers, who sprained a knee in last week’s 53-17 loss at Wyoming.
Oblad was 24 for 55 for 262 yards passing and two touchdowns for the Rebels (1-4, 0-2). He had one interception.
(At) Texas Tech 45, No. 21 Oklahoma State 35: Jett Duffey threw four touchdown passes and ran for another score in his first start of the season, leading Texas Tech past Oklahoma State.
Texas Tech (3-2, 1-1 Big 12), coming off a 55-16 loss at Oklahoma two weeks ago, built a 20-0 lead 30 seconds into the second quarter and won its second straight in the series after going 0-10-2 in the previous 12 meetings.
Duffey completed 26 of 44 passes for 424 yards with scoring passes to Erik Ezukanma, T.J. Vashe, KeSean Carter and Dalton Rigdon. Duffey had a 16-yard touchdown run.
Oklahoma State (4-2, 1-2) committed five turnovers, three interceptions and two fumbles by redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders. Chuba Hubbard ran for 156 yards and three touchdowns.