Buckeyes roll early, hang on to beat Bulls
NO. 1 OHIO STATE 40, BUFFALO 20
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Braxton Miller threw two touchdown passes before fighting leg cramps and Jordan Hall ran for two more scores to lead No. 2 Ohio State to a 40-20 victory over Buffalo on Saturday in the season opener for both teams.
The Buckeyes, striving for a crisper start from coach Urban Meyer’s debut in 2012, led 23-0 after the first quarter before the Bulls made things interesting. Joe Licata threw two TD passes and linebacker Kahlil Mack returned a Miller interception 45 yards to make it 30-20 in the third quarter.
Miller was sidelined a second time with cramps and sub Kenny Guiton promptly tossed a 21-yard TD pass to Chris Fields.
Hall had a career-high 159 yards rushing, scoring on runs of 37 and 49 yards.
NO. 3 OREGON 66, NICHOLLS 3
EUGENE, Ore. — Marcus Mariota threw a touchdown pass and ran for two additional scores and the No. 3 Oregon Ducks made easy work of lower-tier Nicholls with a 66-3 victory in the season opener on Saturday.
Mariota, who set an Oregon record with 38 touchdowns last season as a redshirt freshman, completed 12 of 21 passes for 234 yards before sitting after the third quarter when the Ducks had built a 45-3 lead.
Mariota also ran for 113 yards for his second career game with more than 100 yards rushing.
De’Anthony Thomas ran for 128 yards and two more touchdowns for Oregon in the debut of new head coach Mark Helfrich.
Helfrich, the team’s former offensive coordinator, was promoted when Chip Kelly left the Ducks in January for the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles.
Nicholls’ score came on Andrew Dolan’s 35-yard field goal in the second quarter.
Quarterback Beaux Hebert made his first start for the Colonels, but was hit hard by Oregon cornerback Terrance Mitchell late in the first quarter and left the game. Mitchell was flagged for targeting and ejected.
NO. 14 NOTRE DAME 28, TEMPLE 6
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Tommy Rees threw a pair of 32-yard touchdown passes to DaVaris Daniels, a 66-yard scoring pass to Troy Niklas and Notre Dame had three quick scoring drives en route to a 28-6 victory over Temple on Saturday.
The 14th-ranked Irish jumped to a 14-0 lead on a pair of three-play drives on its opening two possessions and appeared headed for a blowout. But when the Notre Dame offense stalled, Temple squandered a pair of scoring chances, with Jim Cooper Jr. missing a pair of field goals. An unsettled feeling settled in at Notre Dame Stadium when Kenny Harper scored on a 1-yard run to cut the lead to 14-6. The Irish regained control, however, with Niklas’ TD with 43 seconds left in the half.
The victory by the Irish (1-0) was the 200th career win for coach Brian Kelly. The Owls (0-1) fell to 2-76 all-time against ranked opponents.
NO. 17 MICHIGAN 59, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 9
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Devin Gardner did enough with his right arm and legs to help No. 17 Michigan have its best day offensively in more than a century during an opener, routing Central Michigan 59-9 Saturday.
It was the highest-scoring opening game for the Wolverines (1-0) since 1905, when they beat Ohio Wesleyan 65-0.
“That’s pretty impressive,” Michigan offensive tackle Michael Schofield said. “That’s pretty good.
“It’s a good start, I guess.”
It might not help the Wolverines, though, next week when they face a tougher test against No. 14 Notre Dame in a prime-time game at the Big House.
The Chippewas (0-1) fell behind 35-6 at halftime after losing two key players.
Quarterback Cody Kater broke an ankle and running back Zurlon Tipton broke a clavicle.
NO. 23 WISCONSIN 45, MASSACHUSETTS 0
MADISON, Wis. — Melvin Gordon ran for 144 yards, James White added 143 and No. 23 Wisconsin’s revamped defense pitched a shutout in coach Gary Andersen’s debut for a 45-0 win Saturday over Massachusetts.
Gordon and White padded their totals by each running for touchdowns of at least 51 yards for the Badgers, who didn’t stray far from their trademark rushing attack with the defensive-minded Andersen now pacing the sideline.
Joel Stave overcame a slow start at quarterback to connect with Jared Abbrederis for two long touchdown passes in the second half.
UMass was simply overmatched against the Big Ten’s three-time defending champion. The Minutemen are only in their second year as a major college program, and they had to play Saturday with running back Jordan Broadnax and tight end Rob Blanchflower out with injuries.
Stacey Bedell finished with 70 yards on 19 carries for UMass.
EASTERN WASHINGTON 49, NO. 25 OREGON STATE 46
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Vernon Adams passed for 411 yards and ran for 107 and the go-ahead score with 18 seconds left as Eastern Washington upset No. 25 Oregon State 49-46 on Saturday to become the third FCS team to beat a ranked FBS team.
Adams overwhelmed the Beavers in a performance in sure to attract attention around the nation. He threw for four touchdowns and ran for two, completing 23 of 30 passes despite leaving the game twice -- once with cramping and a second time after taking a hard hit near the sideline.
Adams returned, though, and scored on a 2-yard run to put the Eagles up 49-46. It was the first time a team from the Football Championship Subdivision has defeated a ranked team from the Football Bowl Subdivision since James Madison beat Virginia Tech in September 2010.
Sean Mannion threw for 422 yards and Brandin Cooks had 13 catches for 196 yards for the Beavers.
Getting the ball back in the final seconds, Mannion led the Beavers down the field, completing two quick passes to give Oregon State a chance to tie, but Trevor Romaine’s 52-yard field goal attempt was wide right.
Ashton Clark had 155 yards receiving and Cooper Kupp had 119 yards and two touchdowns for the Eagles (1-0), who are ranked fourth in the preseason FCS poll and third in the coaches poll. It was the school’s first win over a Pac-12 opponent. Eastern Washington went 11-3 last season and was the Big Sky Co-Champions before losing in the semifinals of the FBS playoffs.