Saturday's SEC College Football Capsules
Sunday, September 2, 2012
ALABAMA 41, MICHIGAN 14
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — AJ McCarron threw two touchdown passes and Alabama's retooled defense showed it could still dominate as the second-ranked Crimson Tide pounded No. 8 Michigan 41-14 on Saturday night.
Even after sending three starting defenders from last year's national championship team to the NFL as first-round draft picks, the Crimson Tide threw around the Wolverines while stifling and pounding dual-threat quarterback Denard Robinson.
C.J. Mosley returned an interception 16 yards for a touchdown. Dee Milliner had four pass breakups and an interception in the first half that set up a score after he shoved the intended receiver to the ground on the sideline.
This certainly wasn't what Michigan expected coming off an 11-win season under first-year coach Brady Hoke that ended with the Wolverines' first BCS victory since the 1999 season.
McCarron no longer has Trent Richardson to hand off to, but T.J. Yeldon and Eddie Lacy both ran for scores.
MISSOURI 62, SE LOUISIANA 10
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Marcus Murphy scored on punt returns of 72 and 70 yards and Zaviar Gooden and Michael Sam fueled a lightning-fast start with early defensive touchdowns in Missouri's 62-10 season-opening rout of Southeastern Louisiana on Saturday night.
Kendial Lawrence ran for a 76-yard TD and totaled 121 yards on 10 carries with two touchdowns for the Tigers, who led 28-0 after running just 12 plays in their tuneup for next week's SEC debut against No. 6 Georgia. They then stalled for nearly two quarters before turning it back on.
Murphy, a 5-foot-9, 185-pound sophomore tailback, matched a 47-year-old school record with two scoring returns and totaled 180 yards on five punt returns. He added 32 yards on five carries.
Nathan Stanley threw a late 21-yard touchdown pass to Jeff Smiley for Southeastern Louisiana, which since resuming football in 2003 is just 8-45 on the road, including 13 consecutive losses. The Lions, picked to in the middle of the pack of the FCS Southland Conference under new coach Ron Roberts, left Hurricane Isaac behind on Friday and ran into its remnants while getting soaked in a downpour in the second quarter.
ARKANSAS 49, JACKSONVILLE STATE 24
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Tyler Wilson opened his Heisman Trophy campaign in convincing fashion, doing so with a mostly remade set of receivers.
Wilson set the school record for yards passing in a season opener, finishing 19 of 27 passing for 367 yards and three touchdowns to lead the No. 10 Razorbacks to a 49-24 win over Jacksonville State on Saturday night.
Two of Wilson's touchdowns went to tight end Chris Gragg, who finished with seven catches for 110 yards as Arkansas (1-0) won its first game under coach John L. Smith.
Brandon Mitchell, the former backup quarterback turned starting receiver, joined in the fun with four catches for 122 yards and Javontee Herndon caught four passes for 96 yards.
The Gamecocks (0-1), coached by former Razorbacks coach Jack Crowe, led 14-7 in the first half. Marques Ivory had a pair of touchdown passes, while Alan Bonner had eight catches for 107 yards.
CLEMSON 26, AUBURN 19
ATLANTA (AP) — Andre Ellington rushed for 231 yards, DeAndre Hopkins set a school record with 13 receptions and No. 14 Clemson opened the season with 26-19 victory over Auburn on Saturday night.
Playing before a 50-50 crowd at the Georgia Dome — basically halfway between the two campuses — Clemson shook off any hangover from last season's embarrassing 70-33 loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl and showed plenty of offense against Auburn (0-1) even without star receiver Sammy Watkins, who was suspended for the first two games after an offseason drug arrest.
The second half was a battle of field goals before Tajh Boyd lofted a 4-yard touchdown pass to Hopkins, who made a brilliant, twisting catch in the corner of the end zone with 9:17 remaining.
Ellington broke off a couple of long runs to set up a chip-shot field goal with just over a minute remaining for the final margin. Auburn got the ball back one more time, but with only one timeout. The Southeastern Conference team didn't even get it across midfield, the game ending on a desperate heave by new quarterback Kiehl Frazier.
The 5-foot-10 Ellington scooted around and through the Auburn defense on 26 carries, the longest of them resulting in a 68-yard gain. Hopkins finished with 119 yards receiver. Boyd did his part, too, completing 24 of 34 for 208 yards and carrying the ball 19 times for 58 yards.
LSU 41, NORTH TEXAS 14
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue rewarded Les Miles' decision to designate them as LSU's top two running backs in the season opener, and they more than compensated for any shortcomings associated with Zach Mettenberger's first start.
Hilliard rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 3 LSU opened its season with a 41-14 victory over North Texas on Saturday night.
While the heavily favored Tigers were never threatened, their performance did not always thrill a Death Valley crowd that eagerly awaited evidence that LSU's passing game would be much improved with Mettenberger under center.
Mettenberger, who was briefly sidelined by a vicious sack, was 19 of 26 for 192 yards, an interception and a touchdown. But LSU didn't really need to throw in a game decided by its overwhelming defense and a running game that accounted for 316 yards, including 123 by Blue.
Derek Thompson completed only 8 of 21 passes, but two passes were scoring strikes of 80 and 15 yards to Brelan Chancellor.
MISSISSIPPI STATE 56, JACKSON STATE 9
STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Tyler Russell completed 15 of 23 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns to lead Mississippi State to a season-opening 56-9 win over Jackson State on Saturday night.
Mississippi State (1-0) opened the game with a 35-point first half, their largest since the 2010 season. The Bulldogs finished the game with 377 yards total offense and did not punt the football until the final minute of the third quarter.
Dan Mullen's offense was at its balanced best, with 183 yards passing and 194 yards rushing. LaDarius Perkins rushed for 50 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Jackson State (0-1) managed 265 yards of offense and 16 first downs, but turned the ball over three times and struggled to sustain drives against a deeper Bulldog defense. Mississippi State returned two Dedric McDonald interceptions for touchdowns.
E.J. Drewery caught a 9-yard pass in the second quarter for the Tigers' lone touchdown of the game.
MISSISSIPPI 49, CENTRAL ARKANSAS 27
OXFORD, Miss. (AP) — Bo Wallace threw for 264 yards and two touchdowns in his Football Bowl Subdivision debut as Mississippi rallied to beat Central Arkansas 49-27 on Saturday night.
The 6-foot-5, 210-pound junior college transfer was nearly flawless in first-year coach Hugh Freeze's offense, completing 20 of 24 passes, though he did have one interception. Wallace also rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown.
Despite the comfortable final margin, the game wasn't easy for the Rebels, who came into the season on a seven-game losing streak. Central Arkansas led 20-14 at halftime before Ole Miss scored 35 unanswered points in the second half.
Donte Moncrief led Ole Miss with eight receptions for 104 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown catch from Wallace in the third quarter that pushed the Rebels' lead to 28-20.
Central Arkansas quarterback Wynrick Smothers completed 25 of 32 passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Jackie Hinton led the Bears with 52 yards on 13 carries.
Freeze came to Ole Miss promising a wide-open, up-tempo offense and the Rebels delivered early on a muggy night at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Wallace completed his first two passes and then rushed for a 25-yard touchdown on the first drive to give Ole Miss an early 7-0 lead.
FLORIDA 27, BOWLING GREEN 14
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Mike Gillislee had a career-high 148 yards rushing and two touchdowns, helping No. 23 Florida edge Bowling Green 27-14 in the teams' season opener Saturday.
The performance was far from perfect for the Gators, who struggled part of the game on offense and failed to generate much pressure on defense. Still, it was enough for Florida to win its 23rd consecutive opener. The streak is the second longest in the nation behind Nebraska (27).
The Gators can thank Gillislee, Frankie Hammond and two missed field goals for the latest one.
A senior who spent the last three years playing behind Jeff Demps and Chris Rainey, Gillislee scored on runs of 15 and 38 yards in the second quarter. Hammond turned a short pass into a 50-yard score early in the fourth. Bowling Green could have had a second-half lead, but fifth-year senior Stephen Stein missed field-goal attempts of 31 and 29 yards.
Florida's quarterback rotation — and thousands of empty seats — got most of the attention on a sweltering day in Gainesville.
The Gators rotated sophomore quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel in what was dubbed a final chance to earn the starting job. Driskel seemingly prevailed, but it certainly wasn't a landslide victory.
GEORGIA 45, BUFFALO 23
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Freshman tailback Todd Gurley ran for three touchdowns, Aaron Murray threw three scoring passes and No. 6 Georgia overcame a sloppy first half to beat Buffalo 45-23 on Saturday.
Gurley didn't start but may have emerged as the Bulldogs' future at tailback with his eight carries for 100 yards, including scoring runs of 10 and 55 yards. He added a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Georgia, favored by 37½ points, led only 24-16 at halftime before pulling away in the season opener for both teams.
Another freshman tailback, Keith Marshall, had 10 carries for 46 yards and starter Ken Malcome had six carries for 32 yards before hurting his left hand in the third quarter.
Branden Oliver, coming off his school-record 1,395 yards rushing in 2011, had 30 carries for 111 yards and a 2-yard touchdown run for the Bulls.
Georgia opened the season with a tailback committee but Gurley may have claimed the lead role. Gurley (6-1, 218) showed both power and speed and was the highlight to Georgia's otherwise unimpressive opener.