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Top 25 roundup: Watson leads No. 12 Clemson over No. 6 Irish
By THE SPORTS XCHANGE
CLEMSON, S.C. — Clemson’s Deshaun Watson threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third Saturday night as No. 12 Clemson held off No. 6 Notre Dame 24-22.
The game was in doubt until the final seconds after the Fighting Irish scored with seven seconds left to cut the Tigers’ lead to two points, but Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer was stopped by Clemson defensive tackle Carlos Watkins on the 2-yard line on the two-point conversion attempt.
The Tigers then recovered an onside kick attempt to clinch the victory.
Clemson improved to 4-0 and Notre Dame fell to 4-1
No. 1 Ohio State 34, Indiana 27
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Ezekiel Elliott had three second half touchdown runs of over 55 yards and No. 1 Ohio State withstood a furious rally in the closing minutes as the Buckeyes held on.
On the game’s final play, Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple knocked down a pass in the end zone as IU had a fourth-and-goal at the 9.
Elliott, who ran for 274 yards on 23 carries, had touchdown runs of 55, 65 and 75 yards.
No. 2 Michigan State 24, Purdue 21
EAST LANSING, Mich. — LJ Scott scored two first-half rushing touchdowns and Connor Cook broke the school record for most wins by a starting quarterback.
Scott, a freshman tailback, gained a career-high 146 yards on 18 carries in the Spartans’ Big Ten opener. Cook passed for 139 yards and a touchdown while going over the 7,000-yard mark for his career but the Spartans nearly squandered a 21-point lead.
Freshman running back Markell Jones gained a career-high 157 yards on 22 carries and scored twice, including a 68-yard touchdown run, for Purdue.
No. 25 Florida 38, No. 3 Mississippi
With freshman quarterback Will Grier and a fast, hard-hitting defense sharing starring roles, the Gators thumped the Rebels in a stunning Southeastern Conference mismatch.
Florida established a 25-0 halftime lead as Grier threw four touchdown passes, then cruised through the second half as its defense throttled the high-scoring Ole Miss offense at almost every turn.
Grier completed 24 of 29 passes for 271 yards for Florida, which figures to soar up the rankings after perhaps its biggest win since Urban Meyer was presiding over national titles in 2006 and 2008.
No. 4 TCU 50, Texas 7
FORT WORTH, Texas — The Horned Frogs thoroughly dismantled the Longhorns, leaving a wide chasm between the two Big 12 rivals.
Trevon Boykin set a new school record for career touchdown passes after throwing for five — four going to freshman receiver KaVontae Turpin.
TCU’s senior Heisman candidate was able to pick out his targets on his way to 332 yards in three quarters of work.
No. 5 Baylor 63, Texas Tech 35
ARLINGTON, Texas — The Bears’ Big 12-opener looked pretty familiar for the two-time defending conference champions.
Bears quarterback Seth Russell passed for 286 yards and four touchdowns, and running back Shock Linwood rushed for 221 yards and two TDs on 20 carries.
Texas Tech quarterback Pat Mahomes passed for 415 yards and three touchdowns. However, he was intercepted twice, and the Red Raiders lost two fumbles. Texas Tech was also penalized 17 times for 142 yards.
Arizona State 38, No. 7 UCLA 23
PASADENA, Calif. — Arizona State’s energy-infused defense gave the UCLA offensive line grief.
On offense, the Sun Devils kept the UCLA defense off balance with a bevy of sleight of hand plays.
The Sun Devils jumped out to a 29-10 lead and weathered the Bruins comeback attempt.
No. 13 Alabama 38, No. 8 Georgia 10
ATHENS, Ga. — If there’s any lesson to be taken from Saturday’s game, it’s not to bet against coach Nick Saban when the backs of his Crimson Tide are against the proverbial wall.
Just ask the Bulldogs, who came in as a 1½-point favorite.
Derrick Henry led the Tide with 26 rushes for 148 yards and a touchdown. Quarterback Jake Coker turned in his most-efficient effort to date, completing 11 of 16 passes for 190 yards and accounting for two touchdowns.
No. 9 LSU 44, Eastern Michigan 22
BATON ROUGE, La. — Leonard Fournette became the first back in SEC history to rush for at least 200 yards in three consecutive games, battering Eastern Michigan with 233 yards and three touchdowns to power the Tigers to the win.
The game was much closer than expected. LSU was a 45-point favorite, but led just 30-22 late in the third quarter.
Fournette ran for touchdowns of 3, 75 and 11 yards, raising his season touchdown total to 11 during LSU’s 4-0 start. He raised his season total to 864 yards, an average of 216.0 a game.
No. 11 Florida State 24, Wake Forest 16
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The Seminoles’ defense rose to the occasion and stiffened late in the game to secure the win.
Wake Forest moved to the Florida State 20-yard line in the final minute before Tyler Hunter intercepted a Kendall Hinton pass in the end zone with 21 seconds remaining.
The Seminoles survived in a game in which running back Dalvin Cook, one of the country’s top rushers, had a long touchdown run before exiting in the first quarter because of a leg injury.
No. 14 Texas A&M 30, No. 21 Mississippi State 17
Kyle Allen threw for 322 yards and defensive end Myles Garrett had another big game as the Aggies beat the Bulldogs.
Allen completed 25 of 41 passes for 322 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. The Aggies rolled to 516 total yards against a Bulldogs defense that entered the game allowing an average of 349 per game.
Garrett, a sophomore who entered the game with 6.5 sacks, made a key play in the third quarter when he forced a fumble that A&M recovered at its 3-yard line. He finished with seven tackles, including two for loss and a sack, and also broke up a pass.
No. 15 Oklahoma 44, No. 23 West Virginia 24
NORMAN, Okla. — The Sooners came through with two big turnovers in the fourth quarter to defeat the Mountaineers.
After nearly letting a big lead slip away, the Sooners finally put the game away early in the fourth quarter when Eric Striker stripped West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard of the ball and Jordan Evans picked it up and took it 41 yards for the touchdown.
Jordan Thomas intercepted a pass on the next drive to further put the game away against the Mountaineers.
No. 16 Northwestern 27, Minnesota 0
EVANSTON, Ill. — The Wildcats’ defense recorded its second shutout in five games and kept the Golden Gophers bottled up in its own territory in a Big Ten season-opening victory.
The Wildcats improved to 5-0 for the first time since 2012. Unranked Minnesota failed to reach 100 yards in either rushing or passing while its three-game winning streak was snapped.
Northwestern quarterback Clayton Thorson was 14 of 18 for 128 yards and rushed for two touchdowns while Justin Jackson carried 20 times for 120 yards.
No. 18 Stanford 55, Arizona 17
STANFORD, Calif. — Christian McCaffrey had his third straight 100-yard rushing game and Kevin Hogan threw two touchdowns to pace the Cardinal
McCaffrey rushed for 156 yards, 113 of which came in the first half and also had a 63-yard kickoff return in the third quarter that led to a touchdown.
Arizona was without starting quarterback Anu Solomon, who did not make the trip after suffering a concussion last week against UCLA, and the Wildcats were also missing several defensive starters.
Iowa 10, No. 19 Wisconsin 6
MADISON, Wis. — Desmond King took advantage of a mistake-prone Wisconsin offense to help the Hawkeyes pull off an upset.
King had two interceptions as Iowa toppled the Badgers in the teams’ Big Ten opener.
Iowa’s C.J. Beathard completed 9 of 21 passes for 77 yards and one touchdown.
No. 20 Oklahoma State 36, Kansas State 34
STILLWATER, Okla. — Ben Grogan, who kicked the tying and winning field goals in the final 1:33 the week before, pushed through a 37-yarder with 32 seconds left as the Cowboys came back to beat the Wildcats.
Kansas State had taken a 34-33 lead with 3:01 left when Joe Hubener scored on a fourth-and-3 option keeper from the 5.
But the Cowboys marched back down the field, putting Grogan in position to be the hero again after he connected on field goals of 41 and 40 yards in a 30-27 victory over Texas.
No. 22 Michigan 28, Maryland 0
COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Michigan survived a scare with a strong third quarter to overcome Maryland in the Big Ten opener for both teams.
The Wolverines scored the game’s first two touchdowns in a span of 2:31 in the third quarter to take command and ride their strong defense to a fourth straight win.
Jourdan Lewis’ interception of Caleb Rowe’s pass set up the Wolverines in Maryland territory and three plays later, Michigan quarterback Jake Rudock connected with running back Drake Johnson on a 31-yard screen pass for a score.
No. 24 Cal 34, Washington State 28
BERKELEY, Calif. — It was not quite as wild as last year’s game when the two teams combined for 119 points, but this year the Bears overcame an early 21-7 deficit to beat the Cougars.
Washington State quarterback Luke Falk was 34 of 48 for 374 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions but was sacked seven times.
Cal quarterback Jared Goff was 33 of 45 for 390 yards, four touchdowns and one interception but was sacked three times.