ATLANTA (AP) — Tua Tagovailoa threw for 336 yards and four touchdowns as No. 2 Alabama overcame a sluggish start to blow out Duke 42-3 Saturday in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.
Returning to the stadium where they won the Southeastern Conference title last December and the national championship two seasons ago, the Crimson Tide (1-0) was held scoreless in the first quarter — which happened only one time in 2018.
But the Blue Devils (0-1) merely delayed the inevitable.
Tagovailoa put his tight ends to good use. The left-hander hooked up with Miller Forristall on a 27-yard touchdown pass and then went to Major Tennison for a 1-yard score
Alabama's dynamic receiving corps also got in on the fun. DeVonta Smith hauled in an 8-yard TD pass and Jerry Jeudy broke loose for a 21-yard score.
Jerome Ford and Brian Robinson Jr. ran for the Tide's other TDs.
No. 16 AUBURN 27, No. 11 OREGON 21
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Auburn true freshman quarterback Bo Nix threw a 26-yard touchdown pass to Seth Williams with 9 seconds remaining to cap the Tigers' comeback.
Nix barely converted a fourth-and-3 at midfield on the final drive when he tucked and ran. Only the nose of the ball was past the chain when officials measured. Then on third-and-10 from the Oregon 39 with no timeouts, Nix hit Williams for 13 yards, and then found him again on the next play to put Auburn ahead for the first time.
The Tigers, who trailed 21-6 late in the third quarter, delivered another opening-weekend blow to the Pac-12. They beat the Pac-12's highest-ranked team in a season opener for the second year in a row — No. 6 Washington lost to them 21-16 in Atlanta last year.
Nix finished 13-of-31 passing for 177 yards and two touchdowns, and also ran seven times for 42 yards. JaTarvious Whitlow ran 24 times for 110 yards for the Tigers.
Justin Herbert, who bypassed early entry in the NFL draft to return to Oregon, was 28-of-37 passing for 242 yards with a touchdown.
NO. 3 GEORGIA 30, VANDERBILT 6
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Jake Fromm threw for 156 yards and a touchdown, and Georgia won its 20th opener in 23 seasons and stayed perfect to kick off coach Kirby Smart's fourth season.
The Bulldogs also easily won their 14th straight against the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division in their first league game to open a season since 1995.
It sure didn't feel like a road trip with fans taking advantage of a holiday weekend to paint the stadium Georgia red. The Bulldogs rewarded them by scoring a touchdown on their first three possessions, giving the fans plenty to start celebrating early.
D'Andre Swift ran 16 times for 149 yards, and Brian Herrien added 65 and a TD run as the Bulldogs rolled up 326 yards rushing. Georgia finished with a 481-225 edge in total offense, and the Bulldogs also had two sacks and recovered a fumble.
Vanderbilt debuted a new starting quarterback in Riley Neal, a graduate transfer from Ball State, along with new offensive coordinator Gerry Gdowski.
Neal finished 15 of 25 for 85 yards before being replaced by Deuce Wallace for the final possession. Vaughn was held to 74 yards on 15 carries.
Vanderbilt managed only a pair of field goals by Ryley Guay of 26 and 46 yards.
No. 5 OHIO STATE 45, FAU 21
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Justin Fields threw four touchdown passes and ran for a score to lead Ohio State in his Buckeyes debut.
Fields, the five-star transfer from Georgia, made it look easy early, engineering touchdowns on Ohio State's first four drives. Despite some occasional rookie mistakes that caused the Buckeyes' offense to sputter in the second and third quarters, Fields finished 18 for 25 for 234 yards and a 51-yard touchdown run.
Tight end Jeremy Ruckert caught two touchdown passes, and Binjimen Victor and Chris Olave also had scoring grabs.
Meanwhile, Florida Atlantic had trouble generating anything good until putting together a 75-yard drive in the fourth quarter for its first touchdown of the game.
Chris Robison finished 22 for 34 for 178 yards for the Owls. FAU was held to just 22 yards on the ground by a revamped Ohio State defense that was coming off a down season.
No. 6 LSU 55, GEORGIA SOUTHERN 3
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Joe Burrow tied an LSU single-game record with five touchdown passes before halftime and the Tigers cruised to a win.
The Tigers (1-0) scored 21 points in the first quarter — something they never did in any quarter last season. Their point total was the most in a non-overtime game since scoring 63 against New Mexico State in 2014.
Burrow completed 23 of 27 passes for 278 yards without an interception before being subbed out after LSU's first possession of the second half, which ended with a field goal. That drive marked Burrow's last chance to break the LSU mark of five touchdowns in a game set by Zach Mettenberger in 2013.
LSU threw 39 times and ran 33, with more rushes coming in the second half as the Tigers ran down the clock. Ed Orgeron has said throughout August that he finally has the offense he wanted. Designed largely by new passing-game coordinator Joe Brady and overseen by incumbent offensive coordinator Steve Ensminger, the up-tempo, no-huddle scheme routinely features five receiving targets on a given play, some of whom give Burrow the option to unload the ball quickly if under pressure.
Georgia Southern (0-1), which won 10 games last season, was confronted with an LSU defense well prepared to stop its triple-option.
No. 7 MICHIGAN 40, MIDDLE TENNESSEE 21
ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Shea Patterson threw three touchdown passes in the first half to lead Michigan.
The Wolverines unveiled their new-look offense and showed they have a lot of work to do with the ball. Patterson lost a fumble on the first play of the game and the senior quarterback had one of the team's two fumbles in the second half.
Asher O'Hara ran for an 18-yard TD after Patterson's early fumble to give the Blue Raiders a 7-0 lead. O'Hara threw a 2-yard pass for a score to Jarrin Pierce after Lavert Hill fumbled on a punt return to pull them within 10 points late in the first half.
Michigan made it 40-14 with Dylan McCaffrey's 6-yard run late in the third quarter and Ben Van Sumeren's 1-yard run with 6:37 left.
Patterson was 17 of 29 for 203 yards with TD passes to Tarik Black, Nico Collins and Sean McKeon. McCaffrey completed both of his passes for 17 yards and ran for 42 yards along with a score.
Michigan's Zach Charbonnet ran for 90 yards on eight carries in his college debut.
O'Hara was 22 of 32 for 217 yards with two TDs, an interception and a score on the ground.
No. 10 TEXAS 45, LOUISIANA TECH 14
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Sam Ehlinger threw four touchdown passes and Texas rolled past Louisiana Tech to give coach Tom Herman his first season-opening victory in three years with the Longhorns.
Ehlinger was coolly efficient from the start with scoring passes on three of Texas' first four possessions.
Devin Duvernay caught nine passes and Ehlinger's first touchdown, and Brennan Eagles caught touchdowns of 28 and 25 yards in the second and third quarters.
Texas is one of the favorites to challenge Oklahoma for the Big 12 title as long as Ehlinger can keep delivering touchdowns like he did last season and Saturday night. The junior passed for 25 TDs and ran for 16 more last season, and his four scoring thrown against the Bulldogs tied his career high. Ehlinger left the game at 38-0 and did not play in the fourth quarter.
No. 13 WASHINGTON 47, EASTERN WASHINGTON 14
SEATTLE (AP) — Jacob Eason threw for 349 yards and four touchdowns in his first game in nearly two years in his Washington debut.
Taking his first snaps since the 2017 season when he lost the starting job at Georgia to Jake Fromm, Eason showed no rust, carving up one of the top FCS programs in the country. Eason completed 27 of 36 passes and led Washington (1-0) on touchdown drives on four of its first five possessions.
Eason's fourth pass in purple was a 50-yard touchdown strike to Andre Baccellia. Eason added a 7-yard TD pass to Aaron Fuller, who made a stunning one-handed catch while getting a foot inbound, and capped his first-half with a 10-yard TD strike to Chico McClatcher late in the first half.
Fuller caught his second TD on the opening drive of the second half on a perfect back-shoulder throw from Eason, tapping his toes as he fell out of bounds.
Richard Newton rushed for a 23-yard touchdown on Washington's first possession and Salvon Ahmed added a 1-yard plunge in the third quarter to give the Huskies a 42-7 lead.
Eastern Washington (0-1) quarterback Eric Barriere was 21 of 35 for 211 yards, but was sacked four times.
No. 15 PENN STATE 79, IDAHO 7
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Sean Clifford completed 14 of 23 passes for 280 yards and two touchdowns to lead Penn State.
Making his first career start, Clifford chipped in 57 rushing yards on seven carries and hooked up with receiver KJ Hamler for scoring strikes of 36 and 21 yards.
Journey Brown and Noah Cain both added a pair of touchdown runs while Ricky Slade, Devyn Ford and Nick Eury each ran for scores. Jake Pinegar kicked two field goals and Jordan Stout made another for Penn State (1-0). Will Levis threw a touchdown pass to tight end Brenton Strange in the fourth quarter.
The Nittany Lions overcame early sloppiness before coasting the rest of the way to their biggest point total since an 81-0 win against Cincinnati in 1991.
Idaho didn't cross midfield until halfway through the second quarter, managed just one first down in the first half, went 1 for 15 on third down and finished with just 145 yards, compared with Penn State's 673.
Mason Petrino got the Vandals on the board with a 1-yard touchdown pass to Logan Kendall in the fourth quarter.
No. 20 IOWA 38, MIAMI (OHIO) 14
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Nate Stanley threw for 252 yards and three touchdowns, Mekhi Sargent ran for 91 yards and a score, and Iowa won its season opener.
The Hawkeyes got off to a slow start, but that was erased by the consistent ground game and some big plays from Stanley, who finished 21 of 30 in Iowa's sixth straight season-opening win.
Iowa opened the scoring with a 21-yard field goal by Keith Duncan, but trailed in the second quarter after RedHawks quarterback Brett Gabbert — brother of NFL quarterback Blaine Gabbert — picked apart the Iowa secondary on a 77-yard scoring drive. Gabbert finished 17 of 27 for 186 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
The Hawkeyes used a combination of Sargent and Toren Young on the ground and Stanley finding 10 different receivers to counter and slowly pull away.
No. 21 IOWA STATE 29, NORTHERN IOWA 26, 3 OT
AMES, Iowa (AP) — Sheldon Croney Jr. scored from a yard out in triple overtime and Iowa State rallied to beat Northern Iowa.
La'Michael Pettway had a pair of touchdown catches for the Cyclones (1-0), who barely survived the season's first major upset after entering the year ranked for the first time since 1978.
Croney fumbled near the goal line on the second-to-last play of the game. But quarterback Brock Purdy sprinted from the backfield to recover it at the 1 and set up the game-winning plunge.
After the teams traded field goals in the first overtime, Purdy found Pettway — a graduate transfer from Arkansas in his Iowa State debut — in the back of the end zone. But Northern Iowa pulled even at 23-all after freshman Will McElvain scrambled long enough to free up Trevor Allen for a 7-yard TD catch.
Iowa State forced Northern Iowa into a field goal to start triple overtime, and Purdy completed three straight passes before pulling off what might end up being remembered as a season-saving recovery.
McElvain finished with 228 yards passing and a touchdown in his collegiate debut.
Purdy threw for 278 yards, and Deshaunte Jones caught 14 passes for 126 yards for Iowa State.
NO. 22 SYRACUSE 24, LIBERTY 0
LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) — Abdul Adams, Jarveon Howard and Moe Neal ran for touchdowns and Syracuse spoiled a most unusual debut for Hugh Freeze as Liberty's coach.
Still recovering from back surgery for a herniated disk on Aug. 16 and a staph infection, Freeze coached from a hospital bed in the coaching box. The school said he was in communication with his coaches and players during the game and that the bed was used to support his healing back.
Stephen Calvert threw two interceptions, as many as Freeze had said the fourth-year starter had thrown in all of fall camp, and was sacked eight times by a defense that returned players responsible for 34 sacks last season, the most in the football subdivision.
With quarterback Tommy DeVito taking over the Syracuse offense, the Orange led just 10-0 at halftime thanks to Andre Szmyt's 45-yard field goal and Adams' 2-yard run. An interception by Andre Cisco in the third quarter set Syracuse up at the Flames' 37 and Howard capped a five-play drive with a 1-yard run. Neal's 42-yard burst capped the scoring in the final quarter.
No. 23 WASHINGTON STATE 58, NEW MEXICO STATE 7
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Anthony Gordon completed his first 15 passes, threw for 330 yards and four touchdowns in the first half, and Washington State rolled past New Mexico State.
Gordon made his first college start memorable throwing touchdowns of 41, 48, 19 and 54 yards in the first half as the Cougars (1-0) built a 35-7 lead and coasted to an easy opening victory. Gordon finished 29 of 35 for 420 yards and five TD passes before checking out late in the third quarter.
Max Borghi added 128 yards rushing on 10 carries, including a 12-yard touchdown. Borghi became the first Washington State running back to rush for 100 yards since Gerard Wicks against California in 2016.
The Aggies (0-1) were limited to 317 total yards, a big chunk coming in the fourth quarter.
New Mexico State quarterback Josh Adkins was 28 of 42 for 221 yards and two interceptions, and scored on a 3-yard run in the first quarter when he recovered a fumble and took the loose ball into the end zone to tie the score at 7-7.
No. 24 NEBRASKA 35, SOUTH ALABAMA 21
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Nebraska scored two defensive touchdowns and one on special teams to bail out a sluggish offense.
The five-touchdown favorite Huskers led only 14-7 at halftime and totaled just 66 yards in the second half. But their defense had five takeaways, the biggest one Eric Lee Jr.'s 38-yard interception return for a touchdown, and JD Spielman ran back a punt 76 yards to make it a three-touchdown game early in the third quarter.
Any easing of the anxiety at Memorial Stadium was temporary. South Alabama converted two straight turnovers into touchdowns to cut it to 28-21 and had the ball heading into the fourth quarter.
Things started turning for Nebraska when Cam Taylor hammered Jaguars quarterback Cephus Johnson, popping the ball loose, and Alex Davis picked it up at the goal line and stepped into the end zone for a touchdown.
Then, with South Alabama threatening from the Nebraska 12, Taylor stepped in front of Johnson's pass and ran in back to midfield.
No. 25 STANFORD 17, NORTHWESTERN 7
STANFORD, Calif. (AP) — K.J. Costello threw a 2-yard touchdown pass before getting knocked out of the season opener on a late hit and Stanford went on to beat Northwestern.
Costello completed 16 of 20 passes for 152 yards and the TD pass to Michael Wilson that capped a 90-yard drive in the second quarter for the Cardinal (1-0). But his day ended early when he was hit with a forearm to the facemask while sliding on a scramble by Earnest Brown IV with just 2 seconds remaining in the first half.
Brown was called for a late hit that set up Jet Toner's 51-yard field goal but wasn't ejected for targeting. Costello stayed down on the turf for a few minutes before being helped to the locker room. He didn't return to the game and there was no immediate word on his condition.
Northwestern also lost a quarterback with TJ Green leaving with a leg injury in the third quarter after being sacked and losing a fumble on a play in the red zone. Green had replaced the ineffective former Clemson five-star recruit Hunter Johnson late in the first half.
Johnson came back in to finish and went 6 for 17 for 55 yards and two interceptions. He also lost a fumble that Stanford's Jordan Fox recovered in the end zone for a touchdown that sealed the game with 20 seconds remaining.