Thursday, August 28, 2014

Broncos Fall to Rebels, 35-13

For much of the night, it was tough to watch. Mississippi hardly looked like the 18th-ranked team in the country. Boise State in no way resembled the program that used to beat the big boys with such regularity.
The Rebels finally came around in the fourth quarter, pulling away to beat Boise State 35-13 in a sloppy season opener Thursday.

Shaking off three first-half interceptions, Bo Wallace threw for 387 yards and four touchdowns -- three of the scores coming on consecutive throws in the fourth quarter.

The Rebels (1-0) got the victory before a sparse crowd in the first of two Chick-fil-A Kickoff Games at the Georgia Dome this week. But it was hardly the sort of convincing performance they were hoping for entering the season with their highest ranking since 2009.

Ole Miss led only 7-6 entering the fourth quarter before finishing off Boise State (0-1), ruining the debut of new Broncos coach Bryan Harsin.

"It was awful hard to watch for 2 1/2 quarters," Rebels coach Hugh Freeze said. "Then we got in a decent rhythm the last part of the game, found a way to score enough points to win."

Cody Core, who won a starting job during preseason practice, hauled in a pair of TDs: a 30-yarder in the final minute of the first quarter, then a 76-yarder midway through the fourth after grabbing a short pass on a slant route and breaking free down the middle of the field.

Also in the final period, Wallace went to Laquon Treadwell for a 14-yard TD and hooked up with Quincy Adeboyejo on a 31-yard scoring play.

That was more than enough against Boise State, which was coming off its worst season since 1998 (8-5) and seems to have lost its BCS-busting swagger. Grant Hedrick was picked off four times. The Broncos had first-and-goal at the Ole Miss 1 in the second quarter, ran three straight plays that lost a total of 2 yards, and settled for a field goal.

"We've got to go back and find a way to get it in," Harsin said. "We worked to get it all the way down there. We've got to punch it in. We were not good enough tonight to get that done."

More telling, when still in the game and facing fourth-and-3 at the Rebels 40, Boise State took a delay of game and punted the ball away.

"You're not going to win too many games throwing four picks," Hedrick said. "We had opportunities, but we just didn't capitalize on some plays. That's what stings."

Frankly, neither team looked as if it was ready for the season. Wallace's three interceptions before halftime were matched by Hedrick, and both quarterbacks had one picked off in the end zone, ruining good scoring chances.

Freeze was baffled by a couple of Wallace's interceptions, saying the senior threw toward receivers who weren't even supposed to be part of the play.

"I don't know if he was pressing too hard," the coach said. "He wants to do so well and have a great year. ... Obviously, he didn't play his best. But he settled down in the second half and played pretty good."

The poor play went beyond a bunch of errant throws.

Ole Miss was flagged for moving too soon on its first two attempts at getting off an offensive snap -- and wound up being called for a staggering seven false-start penalties in the first half. The Rebels couldn't blame the crowd for being too noisy, either. The upper deck at the Georgia Dome wasn't even used for a turnout announced at 32,823.

"We had some noise issues that I didn't prepare my team for," Freeze said, apparently unaware that most of those who did turn out were rooting for Ole Miss.

Boise State was even worse, hardly looking like the powerhouse that former coach Chris Petersen built before bolting for Washington after last season. Harsin, a former Broncos quarterback and offensive coordinator under Petersen during the glory days, watched his offense manage only a pair of field goals before a meaningless touchdown in the closing minutes.

Hedrick threw his fourth interception early in the fourth quarter, which pretty much finished off Boise State. Two plays later, Wallace found Adeboyejo open at the 10, and he easily broke away from a couple of would-be tacklers who did little more than stick out their arms.

Wallace finished 25 of 36 for 387 yards. Treadwell hauled in seven passes for 105 yards, while Core had 110 yards on four receptions.

Hedrick was 36 of 46 for 264 yards.

Defense, Rawls Lead CMU Past Chattanooga, 20-16

It wasn’t necessarily a thing of beauty.

But Central Michigan will happily take the result and move on.

Thomas Rawls was a smash in his CMU debut, rushing for 123 yards and a touchdown, and the Chippewa defense made four interceptions Thursday as CMU topped Football Championship Subdivision member Chattanooga, 20-16, in the season-opening football game at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

“We are very fortunate we came out of their with a win. I think it was a great effort on the part our team,” said Dan Enos, who improved to 4-1 in season openers as CMU coach. “I give their coach and staff from Chattanooga a lot of credit. They’re a well-coached and disciplined football team.”

CMU trailed 16-0 until sophomore quarterback Cooper Rush tossed an 18-yard touchdown pass to Jesse Kroll with under two minutes to play in the first half to spark the Chippewas, who play at Purdue next week.

“Going into the second half, we just kept our cool,” said CMU defensive tackle Leterrius Walton. “There was no ‘rah-rah’ in the locker room. We knew we just had to focus, go through a little adversity. Coming out of the second half, we knew what to do.”

CMU scored on its first two possessions of the third quarter – Rawls on a 6-yard run, Courtney Williams on a 26-yard pass from Rush – to surge ahead.

While the Chippewa offense struggled to find its rhythm throughout most of the first half, the defense was good – despite surrendering a 70-yard TD pass play -- and got better throughout the evening.

Tony Annese made two interceptions, his second of which sealed the game with just over a minute remaining, and Blake Serpa and Kevin King had one each. Three of those picks came in the second half.

The interceptions, Annese said, “had a lot to do with the defensive line getting after the quarterback. They helped me out. First one was a tipped pass from the D-line and I wouldn’t have gotten a pick if it weren’t for them.”

Chattanooga quarterback Jacob Huesman, the preseason Southern Conference Offensive Player of the Year and on the Walter Payton Award Watch List, completed 13-of-24 pass attempts for 150 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 40 yards on 13 carries.

The Mocs, 8-4 a year ago, the reigning Southern Conference champions, and ranked 14th in FCS, finished with 256 yards, only 29 of which came in the second half. Eleven of Chattanooga’s 14 first downs came before halftime.

“I thought our defense was outstanding and gave us a chance,” Enos said. “The defensive line was very disruptive in getting our hands on balls and getting the quarterback to throw sooner than he wanted to, and when you do that you get turnovers. I give a lot of credit to our defensive staff. That’s a very difficult offense to defend when you don’t see it every day.”

Rush, who just one of his first seven passes, finished 15-for-26 for 173 yards. The Chippewas did not commit a turnover, but their kicking game left plenty to be desired. Placekicker Ron Coluzzi missed a 43-yard field goal and an extra point and he had a field goal attempt blocked.

“We have to play better at quarterback,” Enos said. “We have to execute better offensively and our kicking game was really atrocious in the second half as well.

“We took a 20-16 game that should have been a 27- or 30-16 game and everyone could have relaxed more in the last five minutes of the game. We turned it into the nail-biter.

“The good lord has a way of putting you through things and it makes you tougher and stronger. That’s what I told (the players), we probably had to go through that to make us tougher and stronger for something else that may come down the road.”

HUSKIES RUN PAST PRESBYTERIAN IN SEASON OPENER

Sophomore Joel Bouagnon (Aurora, Ill./Aurora Christian) scored four touchdowns as NIU opened the season with a 55-3 victory over Presbyterian College on Thursday night at Huskie Stadium. NIU racked up 635 yards of total offense, 424 coming on the ground, as it extended its Huskie Stadium winning streak to a nation-leading 27 games.

The Huskies ran a program-record 109 plays on offense, surpassing its previous-best of 102 versus Ohio on Nov. 7, 1981.

Bouagnon gained 97 yards on 16 carries while senior Akeem Daniels (Kissimmee, Fla./Osceola) rushed for a game-high 118 yards on 15 carries. Eleven different players carried the football for the Huskies.

NIU gained 635 yards of total offense, 424 rushing and 211 passing, while holding Presbyterian to just 127 yards of offensive.

"We came out and did what we were supposed to do," said NIU Head Coach Rod Carey, whose Huskies recorded the biggest win by the Huskies in a season-opener since 1963. "I wanted to see us play fast and we did, we executed pretty well for the most part. There were some issues when we got some of the younger guys in there but that's to be expected."

Presbyterian received the opening kickoff to start the game and picked up a first down before turning the ball over to the Huskies as junior safety Marlon Moore (Mobile, Ala./C.F. Vigor) forced a fumble, that was recovered by junior Paris Logan (Columbia, Mo./Rock Bridge) on the NIU 42-yard line.

NIU took the lead on its first possession, going 58 yards in eight plays in just 1:54, taking a 7-0 lead. On second-and-15, junior quarterback Matt McIntosh (Evansville, Ind./Reitz) connected with senior wide receiver Da'Ron Brown (Chicago, Ill./Morgan Park), who had gotten in behind the Presbyterian secondary, for a 39-yard touchdown reception.

Brown led NIU with seven catches for 91 yards.

After a three-and-out by the Blue Hose, the Huskies added three points with a 32-yard field goal from senior kicker Tyler Wedel (McFarland, Wis./McFarland).

The Huskie defense forced another punt and NIU scored again as Bouagnon found the end zone from just a yard out to increase the NIU lead to 17-0 with 1:12 to play in the first quarter.

Presbyterian opened the second quarter with a punt and it took the Huskies just seven plays and 2:20 to go 69 yards for another score. On a third-and-4, Daniels picked up 29 yards around the left side to put the Huskies in scoring position. Two plays later, Bouagnon scored for the second time as the NIU offensive line opened a big hole up the middle from 23 yards out.

Bouagnon scored a third touchdown from nine yards out, capping a 13-play, 73-yard drive as NIU pushed its lead to 31-0 with 2:30 left in the first half.

NIU forced a quick Presbyterian punt and the Huskies moved into scoring range again as Wedel connected on a 26-yard field goal with three seconds left in the second quarter as NIU took a 34-0 lead into the break.

The Huskies added to their advantage on the opening possession of the second half. Sophomore quarterback Drew Hare (O'Fallon, Mo./Fort Zumwalt West) ran for 25 yards to get NIU across midfield; he then connected with junior wide receiver Juwan Brescacin (Mississauga, Ont., Canada/Culver Academy) on a 49-yard slant for a touchdown as the Huskies lead grew to 41-0.

An interception by freshman cornerback Albert Smalls (Miramar, Fla./Monsignor Pace) gave the ball back to NIU at the Presbyterian 12. Three plays later, Bouagnon found the end zone for the fourth time, scoring from a yard out.

The Huskies forced three turnovers, scoring touchdowns on all three, and NIU did not turn the ball over.

NIU used all three of its new quarterbacks with McIntosh playing the entire first quarter, Hare taking over in the second and Maddie coming in after the first drive of the third quarter.

"Mac [McIntosh] ran the offense just like I expected him to; Drew came in and ran it well," Carey said. "Anthony was in a different situation with the young guys but I was pleased with all three overall."

Sophomore Draco Smith (Hammond, Ind./Mt. Carmel) scored on a 10-yard run to give the Huskies a 55-0 lead with 3:55 to play in the third quarter. Smith gained 35 yards on five carries on the drive, which was set up by a fumble recovery by sophomore linebacker Sean Folliard (Crystal Lake, Ill./Prairie Ridge).

Presbyterian got on the scoreboard with a 31-yard field goal by Brandon Morrow just before the end of the third quarter.

NIU will return to action next Saturday, Sept. 6, when the Huskies travel to Evanston to take on Northwestern. Game time against the Wildcats is scheduled for 2:30 p.m., and will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

Football Cruises to 41-0 Victory Over Howard in Season Opener

Behind an offensive attack led by junior QB Kyle Pohl, the University of Akron football team had no trouble handling Howard in its season opener, cruising to a 41-0 victory at InfoCision Stadium – Summa Field on Thursday night.

The decisive win was Akron's first in a season-opening contest since 2007, when the Zips defeated Army 22-14.

Pohl finished the night 22-of-35 with 304 yards through the air and four touchdowns to help Akron rack up 506 yards and 24 first downs as a team. He threw touchdowns to three different receivers and tallied 48 yards rushing on seven carries.

One of Pohl's top targets, sophomore Mykel Traylor-Bennett, caught four passes for 89 yards and his two touchdowns, his first two TDs as a Zip.

The Akron defense was stout throughout the game, holding the Bison to 216 total yards and 15 first downs. C.J. Mizell recorded 10 tackles (eight solo) and a fumble recovery to lead the defense as the unit recorded its first shutout since a 41-0 triumph over Morgan State on Sept. 12, 2009.

A consistent pass rush kept Howard QB Greg McGhee off-balance throughout the game. Akron posted four sacks while holding McGhee to 12-of-26 passing for 68 yards.

The Zips started fast, scoring their first touchdown of the season on a 57-yard strike from Pohl to L.T. Smith just 1:34 into the game. After the Akron defense forced a three-and-out on Howard's first drive, Pohl found Smith on a post route down the middle and the senior receiver raced untouched into the end zone for the score.

The Zips continued their defensive dominance on Howard's ensuing drive, forcing a fumble as Justin March dislodged the ball from William Parker. Mizell recovered the ball, returning it to the Bison's 9-yard line. Another no-nonsense two-play drive put the Zips up 14-0 as Pohl threw his second touchdown of the game, this one a 9-yard connection to Imani Davis.

UA needed just 58 seconds to score its first 21 points of the game, all in the first quarter.

Akron did not allow a first down on Howard's first three drives and surrendered just 135 yards in the first half. The Bison reached Akron territory for the first time nearly four minutes into the second quarter and found their way into the red zone just once on the night.

Neither team could dent the scoreboard in the final 24 minutes of the first half and the 21-0 margin remained unchanged until senior running back Jawon Chisholm dove into the end zone on a 6-yard TD run midway through the third quarter to extend the lead to 28-0.

The Zips return to the field on Saturday, Sept. 6, when they travel to Penn State. Kickoff at Beaver Stadium is scheduled for 12 noon ET and the contest will be televised on ABC.

Gophers Open Season with 42-20 Win

Mitch Leidner ran for two scores and threw a touchdown pass to Donovahn Jones, leading Minnesota to a season-opening 42-20 victory over Eastern Illinois on Thursday night.

Leidner finished 9 for 17 with 144 yards, David Cobb carried 14 times for 71 yards and the defense delivered a punishing performance to overwhelm the Panthers, a perennial FCS power facing the Gophers for the first time.

Jalen Whitlow, a transfer from Kentucky, went 14 for 23 passing for 110 yards and rushed 19 times for 77 yards. He had an interception, though, and took two sacks on a mistake-marred night for the Panthers.

Eric Murray blocked a punt near the goal line for the Gophers that Logan Hutton grabbed for a three-touchdown lead.

Minnesota's Berkley Edwards, the brother of former Michigan and NFL wide receiver Braylon Edwards, ran for two late scores in his first career game.

Leidner, a sophomore who's the unquestioned starting quarterback this season after making four starts during a sporadic job share last year with Philip Nelson, started slowly. Over Minnesota's first five possessions, Leidner completed just 3 of 8 passes for 24 yards while taking two sacks and losing a fumble.

He was able to scramble in for a third-and-goal score from 2 yards out during that span, set up by the second botched snap of the first quarter by the Panthers that Alex Keith fell on at the 5. Then Leidner found a rhythm on a nine-play, 90-yard drive he punctuated with the 35-yard touchdown toss to Jones. Freshman safety Will Vails gambled for the interception, barely missing, and Jones pivoted into open field for an easy path to the end zone.

The Gophers held out injured sophomore wide receiver Drew Wolitarsky, who had a breakout game in the Texas Bowl at the end of last season, thinning a position group already filled with unproven players. There is plenty of athleticism there, though, with Jones, a sophomore originally recruited as a quarterback, and junior K.J. Maye.

To improve on their 4-4 finish in the Big Ten, the Gophers are going to need to be better than last in the league in passing yards, so there's clearly a lot of work left for Leidner and his teammates this fall.

The defense is further along. Keith, who started at defensive end in place of the injured Michael Amaefula, was credited with a sack and two recovered fumbles to highlight the kind of production the Gophers have come to expect on that side of the ball.

That goes for special teams, too, where Murray sprinted off the edge and stretched out to deflect the punt and send the ball straight up into the air. Hutton, a senior wide receiver, snagged it for his first career touchdown.

The Panthers went 12-2 last season while leading all FCS teams in yards and points, but quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, a second-round NFL draft pick by New England, and head coach Dino Babers, who moved up a level to take the job at Bowling Green, are gone.

First-time head coach Kim Dameron brought in Whitlow, one of five transfers from FBS programs, with plans to platoon the junior with senior Andrew Manley.

Manley passed for 288 yards and three scores here in 2011 to lead New Mexico State to an upset over the Gophers in head coach Jerry Kill's first home game with the program. Thursday night, Manley finished 18 for 34 for 200 yards, running for a short touchdown and throwing two other scores in the fourth quarter.

After opening last season with a 40-19 win at San Diego State, however, this hope of another upset of an FBS opponent fell well short. Not only did the Panthers lose the fumble at their own 5, they gave one away at the Minnesota 4. After Leidner coughed up the ball at his 28 in the first quarter, Nick Bruno's 41-yard field-goal try was wide right.

Aggies Begin Season With 28-10 Win Over Cal-Poly

The New Mexico State football team began the 2014 season with a nice win, defeating the Cal-Poly Mustangs, 28-10, in its home opener Thursday night in front of 13,772 fans inside Aggie Memorial Stadium.

The Aggies gained 315 total yards while allowing Cal-Poly 265 yards. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Rogers looked comfortable in the pocket during his first start, going 18-of-27 for 118 yards, two touchdown throws and one interception. The NM State ground attack also looked in midseason form as the Aggies almost rushed for 200 total yards, finishing with 197 yards on the ground.

Freshman Larry Rose III led the way for the NM State running back core, finishing with 150 yards on the ground on 30 carries during his first game as an Aggie. Rose III scored twice, once on the ground and another on a touchdown catch. Redshirt sophomore Teldrick Morgan led the receivers with six catches for 51 yards and a touchdown.

As impressive as the offense was, perhaps more dominating was the young NM State defense, especially in the second half. The Aggies shutout the Mustangs in the second half, making play after play, while only allowing a total of 27 yards in the final half. After allowing 236 rushing yards to the run-oriented Cal-Poly offense in the first half, NM State only allowed 23 rushing yards in the second half.

Freshman linebacker Derek Ibekwe led the defense with a total of 14 tackles and half a sack in the game. Fellow linebacker Rodney Butler also had double-digits tackles, 11, and also had a sack on the quarterback.

The Aggies kicked off the 2014 season with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in a 30-yard touchdown pass from Rogers to Morgan.

Rogers and Rose III both had big plays on the drive, the Aggie quarterback with perhaps the biggest after completing a 15-yard pass on 3rd-and-5 while under heavy Mustang pressure. Rogers went 5-for-5 on the drive, while Rose III ran for 11 yards including a couple of first downs.

Cal-Poly answered right back, however, with an 11-play drive of its own. NM State appeared to have stopped the Mustangs on a 3rd-and-5 on the Cal-Poly side of the field, but a 15-yard personal foul penalty gave the Mustangs an automatic first down.

Eight plays later Cal-Poly would tie the game at seven on a short 3-yard run with just under five minutes left in the first quarter.

Rose III looked impressive during the Aggies’ next drive, pulling out runs of eight, 11 and seven yards. But a batted ball on third down forced a NM State punt after just five plays. The first quarter would end would the teams knotted at seven.

Four plays into the second quarter the Aggies would get their first big defensive play of the season. With the Mustangs driving, senior cornerback Winston Rose intercepted a pass from Cal-Poly quarterback Chris Brown and returned it 10 yards to the NM State 37-yard line.

The Aggies would capitalize on their first takeaway of the season by going on another 10-plus play drive, this time a 10-play, 63-yard drive that gave NM State a 14-7 lead with 8:07 left in the half.

NM State was aided by two big third-down plays during the drive, one running and one passing. The first came after Rose III broke off an 8-yard run on 3rd-and-1 to take the ball into Mustang territory. Two plays later, on 3rd-and-3, Rogers hit redshirt freshman Gregory Hogan down the middle for a 25-yard pass play to take the Aggies into the red zone.

After a holding penalty in the end zone, sophomore running back Xavier Hall picked up his first rushing touchdown of the season after going in from a yard out to give NM State the lead.

Cal-Poly looked to answer again, driving into Aggie territory. But a sack by junior Alex Trujillo on third down inside the 40-yard line forced a Mustang punt.

Two dropped passes late in the half by NM State gave Cal-Poly one final chance to score in the half. The Mustangs took advantage as running back Chris Nicholls broke off a 39-yard run that put the ball on the Aggie 13-yard line with under two minutes left.

The NM State defense would clamp down however and hold Cal-Poly to a 24-yard field goal with 20 seconds left in the half. The Aggies would head into the locker room with a 14-10 lead.

Rogers went 7-of-13 in the half for 86 yards and a touchdown. Rose III, meanwhile, already had 70 yards on the ground on 13 carries in the first half. Morgan had two catches for 34 yards and a touchdown. On the defensive side, Ibekwe almost had his double-digit tackles in the first half, finishing with nine.

The Aggies committed their first turnover of the season during their first drive of the second half as Rogers was intercepted by Cal-Poly’s Chris Fletcher in Aggie territory.

NM State, however, would get the ball right back on the next play as the Mustangs fumbled the ball on a quarterback pitch. The Aggies were back in business as freshman linebacker Jaden Wright fell on the ball close to midfield.

As in the first half, NM State would turn the Cal-Poly turnover into seven points. The Aggies would convert two big third downs along the way, the first coming when senior running back Brandon Betancourt scrambled for 17 yards on a 3rd-and-5.

NM State continued to pound the ball and on a 2nd-and-goal Rose III picked up his first touchdown of his Aggie career. The freshman running back did not pick it up on the ground, however. Instead he caught a pass from Rogers in the flat for a 6-yard passing touchdown.

Rogers’ second touchdown pass of the day made it 21-10 NM State midway through the third quarter. After each team traded punts the Aggies would hold on to that lead heading into the final quarter.

NM State got the ball back early in the fourth quarter and used quick, short passes by Rogers and tough runs up the middle by Hall to matriculate the ball down the field. A 13-yard run by Hall got the Aggies into the red zone.

The roles reversed from the first half as this time Hall did the work and Rose III got the glory after running it in from six yards out for his second-consecutive touchdown and first rushing touchdown of his NM State career. The Aggies padded their lead to 28-10 with 8:51 left in the game.

Although NM State scored two touchdowns in the final 30 minutes, the half really belonged to the Aggie defense, which shut down the Mustang offense for the entire half.

Cal-Poly had six full possessions in the second half, NM State forced three 3-and-outs, one turnover, and did not allow a single point. After the Aggies scored their final touchdown, the Mustangs would have three possessions, two were 3-and-outs and final one came as the game ended.

The Aggies will now head out on the road for the first time this season as they travel to Atlanta, Ga., to face their first Sun Belt Conference foe of the season, Georgia State. Game time is set for noon (MT) on Saturday, Sept. 6, inside the Georgia Dome. It will be the first meeting between the Aggies and the Panthers.

Second Half Comeback Propels Warhawks Over Wake Forest, 17-10

Tied 10-10 with 3:27 left in the fourth quarter, Pete Thomas ran in a nine-yard go-ahead touchdown to lift the ULM football program to a 17-10 victory over Wake Forest on a muggy Thursday night at JPS Field in Malone Stadium.

The Warhawks (1-0), who were wearing camo jerseys for the first time in FBS history, trailed 10-0 at the half before rallying for 17 unanswered points on Wake Forest (0-1). With the win, ULM swept the home-and-home series against the Demon Deacons.

Trailing by a touchdown with 4:02 left in the third quarter, Mitch Lane turned the game around for the Warhawks as he intercepted John Wolford’s pass attempt and ran it back 31 yards for a score to tie the game at 10-10.

The defense came through for the Warhawks in the first game of the season as they garnered 49 tackles, seven sacks, eight tackles for loss totaling 57 yards, one interception, four pass break-ups and seven quarterback hurries.

Lane led the team with six tackles and one interception. Gerrand Johnson tallied five tackles with one tackle for loss and one sack, while Cody Robinson registered another five tackles with 1.5 tackles for loss and one sack.

Justin Backus added five tackles of his own, while Ray Stovall racked up four tackles with one tackle for loss and 1.5 sacks. Jacob Tyson notched the first two sacks of his career.

In his inaugural game, Thomas completed 23 of 41 pass attempts for 189 yards to go with four rushes for 22 yards and a touchdown. Kenzee Jackson caught six of Thomas’ passes for 83 yards.

Centarius Donald carried the ball 26 times for 122 yards with a long rush of 39 yards. Tyler Cain added another 46 yards on 11 rush attempts.

Wake Forest’s John Wolford completed 12 of 22 passes for 97 yards with one interception. Matt James, E.J. Scott and Cam Serigne each caught three passes for 40 yards, 32 yards and 18 yards, respectively. Orville Reynolds added 38 rushing yards on 16 attempts.

Brandon Chubb led the Demon Deacons with 18 tackles, while Anthony Wooding and Maquel Lee both amassed 12 stops. Ryan Janvion chipped in 11 tackles of his own, including 0.5 tackles for loss.

Wake Forest went three-and-out on their first possession, but the Demon Deacons were able to jump on the board first after Kevin Johnson picked up a blocked punt in the end zone. The extra point by Mike Weaver gave Wake Forest a 7-0 lead with 12:10 left in the first quarter.

Donald marched the ball steadily down the field on the Warhawks’ next possession and garnered three first downs for the home team, but the ball was turned over on downs as the Demon Deacons took possession on their own 34 yard line.

After receiving the ball on their own four yard line, the Demon Deacons gained a first down as Orville Reynolds rushed for six yards and James added 10 yards of his own, but a personal foul penalty two plays later pushed Wake Forest back to the 10 yard line.

On the next snap, ULM’s Stovall captured his first sack of the season as he tackled Wolford on the Wake Forest one yard line, giving the Demon Deacons a third and 29 situation. After an incomplete pass on their next play, Wake Forest was forced to punt.

The ball went back and forth for the next few possessions with both teams coming up short on each. Weaver tacked on a field goal with 43 seconds left in the half to give the Demon Deacons a 10-0 lead heading into the locker room for the break.

After forcing Wake Forest’s ninth three-and-out, the Warhawks marched 83 yards down the field in 16 plays to set up a 30 yard Manton field goal and put the home team on the board. With these points, ULM cut the deficit to 10-3 with 4:50 left in the third quarter.

Up 17-10 in the fourth quarter, the Warhawks continued to pressure the Demon Deacons with their run game. A 39 yard run on second down landed the Warhawks on the Wake Forest 24 yard line, while a nine yard run by Cain placed the ball on the 15 yard line. The ULM offense kept control of the ball as time expired to give ULM the victory.

ULM will aim for another victory Sept. 6 as they host Idaho at 6:00 p.m. for Military Appreciation Day. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN3.

Scoring Summary

First Quarter

12:10: WF – 25 yard blocked punt return by Kevin Johnson (Weaver, M XP), WF 7-0

Second Quarter

00:43: WF – 38 yard field goal by Mike Weaver, 9-45-3:24, WF 10-0

Third Quarter

4:50: ULM – 30 yard field goal by Justin Manton, 16-38-7:01, WF 10-3

4:02: ULM – 31 yard interception return by Mitch Lane (Manton, J. XP), Tied 10-10

Fourth Quarter

3:37: ULM – 9 yard rushing touchdown by Pete Thomas (Manton, J. XP), 12-66-5:47, ULM 17-10

Wake Forest Falls to ULM 17-10

Wake Forest jumped out to a 10-0 halftime lead, but Louisiana-Monroe scored 17 unanswered points to hand Wake Forest a season-opening 17-10 loss at Malone Stadium on Thursday night.
The Warhawks (1-0) stifled the Demon Deacon (0-1) offense much of the night, limiting Wake Forest to 93 yards of offense, including negative net rushing yards.

Wake Forest got on the board first, less than three minutes into the game. After the Demon Deacon defense forced a ULM three-and-out, the Warhawks' punt from their own 35-yard-line was blocked by Steve Donatell coming up the middle. The ball rolled into the ULM endzone, where Kevin Johnson picked it up for the touchdown. Mike Weaver chipped in the PAT to make the score 7-0.

The Deacs made it a two-possession game in the second quarter, when Weaver capped off a nine-play, 44-yard drive by splitting the uprights on a 38-yard field goal, the first of his career, before the Warhawks scored 17 straight points.

ULM scored its first points with five minutes remaining in the third quarter, with kicker Justin Manton completing a 17-play, 83-yard drive with a 30-yard field goal.

Less than a minute later, a John Wolford pass was bobbled by a Wake Forest receiver before Mitch Lane intercepted it and turned it into a pick-six, tying the game at 10-all.

The Warhawks completed another long drive in the fourth quarter to take the lead, as quarterback Pete Thomas found the endzone on a quarterback draw to finish a 65-yard, six-minute drive with 3:37 remaining.

After Wake Forest failed to gain positive yardage on the ensuing drive and was forced to punt, ULM was able to run out the remaining 2:17.

Brandon Chubb led Wake Forest with a career-high 18 tackles, while Anthony Wooding, Jr. (12), Marquel Lee (12) and Ryan Janvion (11) also totaled double-figure stops.

NEW FACES
• John Wolford became the first true freshman quarterback to start a season-opener in program history.
• He finished with 97 passing yards, five away from the Solomon Everett's 1974 record of 102 for a true freshman in a debut.
• Wolford also became the first true freshman to complete better than 50 percent of his passes (12-of-22) in his first start.
• Wake Forest played a total of eight true freshmen.

FIRST TIME SINCE...
• Brandon Chubb's 18 tackles were the most for Wake Forest in a game in more than a decade. The last Deac to surpass that total was Brad White, who totaled 24 versus Navy in 2002.
• Wake Forest blocked a punt and recovered for a touchdown for the first time since Alphonso Smith blocked and returned a punt at North Carolina on Oct. 28, 2006.

LONG DISTANCE
• Wake Forest punter Alexander Kinal was repeatedly tested on Thursday night, finishing with 10 punts for an average of 47.1 yards per punt.
• Often punting from his own endzone, Kinal put three punts inside the ULM 20-yard-line and finished with a long of 59 yards.

BIG DEFENSIVE PLAYS
• In addition to the blocked punt return, Wake Forest had several other big plays:
- Desmond Floyd forced and recovered a fumble.
- Zachary Allen had a sack for a seven-yard loss.
- The Deacs were credited with seven quarterback hurries, led by Floyd and Josh Banks (two apiece).
- Wake Forest also totaled five pass breakups, with Thomas Brown recording a pair of those.
- The Deacs limited ULM to 352 total yards, almost 15 yards below the average yardage conceded a year ago (366.2 ypg).

AGGIES CRUISE TO 52-28 WIN OVER #9 SOUTH CAROLINA

Kenny Hill broke Johnny Manziel's single-game passing record with 511 yards and No. 21 Texas A&M beat No. 9 South Carolina 52-28 on Thursday night, ending the Gamecocks' 18-game home win streak.

Hill's performance in his first career start proved there is plenty of life in the Aggies' offense without Manziel, a Heisman Trophy winner and a first-round selection in the NFL draft. Hill finished 44 of 60 with three touchdowns.

Hill was steady and confident in the pocket, leading Texas A&M (1-0, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) to a 31-14 halftime lead and finishing up with the most passing yards allowed in Steve Spurrier's 10 seasons with the Gamecocks (0-1, 0-1).

"I think we all had a chip on our shoulders," Texas A&M defensive lineman Julien Obioha said.

The Gamecocks played their first game since the departure of star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney -- and it showed. South Carolina gave up seven TDs on A&Ms first 11 possessions.

Tra Carson ran for three touchdowns and receiver Malcome Kennedy had 14 catches for 137 yards. The Aggies piled up 680 yards of offense, the most South Carolina's given up since Arkansas went for 650 in 2007.

Manziel held five of the Aggies' six best passing marks, topped by his 464 yards in a loss to Alabama last season. Hill moved past them all with his flawless showing on the road.

Hill's 44 completions were also a single-game school record, moving past Jerrod Johnson's mark against Oklahoma State in 2010.

Hill and the Aggies essentially put this one away in the first half, scoring on five of six possessions. Hill, who played just four games last year in mop-up duty, looked at ease against the Gamecocks and their young defense.

Hill completed passes to 12 receivers, most of them running free in a rebuilt secondary.

"That team is so much better than us, it wasn't funny," Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier said.

South Carolina, coming off three straight 11-2 seasons, had hoped to kick off a run to the conference title in a Thursday night showcase game on the startup SEC Network.

Manziel, taken 22nd overall by Cleveland, was among three Texas A&M players picked in the first round last May. And the Aggies showed they could still operate without last year's standouts.

Kennedy had 10 catches for 85 yards in the first two quarters, allowing Aggie fans to rest easier about star Mike Evans moving on to Tampa Bay.

The offensive line provided plenty of time for Hill despite Jake Matthews heading to the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.

The Aggies got going on their first possession, and Carson finished a 67-yard drive with 1-yard TD.

South Carolina stayed close on two long scoring throws of 69 and 46 yards by new starting quarterback Dylan Thompson, the second to Damiere Byrd that helped the Gamecocks close to 17-14.

But Hill and the Aggies were relentless, pressing forward through South Carolina's Clowney-less defense.

Hill, the sophomore son of ex-major league pitcher Ken Hill, led TD drives of 75 and 80 yards in the final nine minutes before the half.

The 393 yards of A&M offense at the half were more than South Carolina's defense had allowed in nine of 13 games a year ago.

Thompson passed for 366 yards and four touchdowns. Mike Davis, the Gamecocks' 1,000-yard rusher, had 15 yards in the first half before re-injuring his ribs and sitting out the rest of the way.

No. 9 Gamecocks Topped by No. 21 Texas A&M, 52-28

No. 9 South Carolina saw its 18-game home winning streak end tonight to No. 21 Texas A&M, 52-28 at Williams-Brice Stadium in the first-ever meeting between the two teams. Aggie sophomore quarterback Kenny Hill passed for a school record 511 yards and three touchdowns. Senior quarterback Dylan Thompson threw for 366 yards and four touchdowns and senior wide receiver Nick Jones had a career-high 113 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
On a third-and five on the opening drive, Hill stepped up in the pocket to create time and found an open Ricky Seals-Jones over the middle where he weaved his way down to the 1-yard line for a 21-yard gain. Tra Carson punched it in to give Texas A&M an early 7-0 lead just over three minutes into the game. Senior kicker Josh Lambo made it 10-0 with 5:02 left in the first quarter after converting a 33-yard field goal.

South Carolina responded quickly though on the next drive, despite staring down a three-and-out. On his own 31-yard line, Thompson took a shot down the field and found Jones streaking down the field, getting behind the defense to make a grab at the Aggie 30-yard line before heading into the end zone for a 69-yard touchdown. The drive, which took just over a minute, brought the Gamecocks within three at 10-7 with just over three minutes remaining in the opening quarter.

After getting the ball back, South Carolina was unable to sustain the momentum and was forced to punt. During the next 2:22 minutes, Hill methodically moved the ball down the field before connecting with Seals-Jones over the middle for a three-yard score to give the Aggies a 17-7 lead.

Needing a quick response, the Gamecocks found it in senior wide receiver Damiere Byrd. Moving the ball to the Aggie 46-yard line on five plays, Thompson then connected with Byrd after the wideout slipped past his defender and found a 10-yard cushion for an easy 46-yard score to bring the Gamecocks within three at 17-14.

With just over seven minutes remaining in the half, Hill and the Aggies marched down the field with an eight-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in Hill finding Edward Pope in the back of the end zone to make it 24-14.

On the Gamecocks next possession, a pair of pass interference calls extended the drive, bringing Carolina down to the Aggies’ 37-yard line, but that was as close as they would get after Thompson was unable to connect with Rory Anderson on a third-and-14. South Carolina was forced to punt the ball back to Texas A&M with 3:35 left in the half.

The Aggies strung together an 11 play, 80-yard drive on the ensuing possession that ended a on Carson’s second touchdown of the half as Hill optioned left to the tailback on third-and-goal from 2-yard line. The score gave the Aggies a 31-14 lead with 1:18 remaining.

A 24-yard pass to Brandon Wilds, followed by a strike to Pharoh Cooper down the middle for 26 yards, brought the Gamecocks back into scoring position at the Aggies 25-yard line. Thompson nearly connected with Jones over the middle for a touchdown, but a hit from Texas A&M’s Armani Watts dislodged the ball at the goal line. An intentional grounding on third down brought up a fourth-and-14. Elliott Frye was unable to connect on the ensuing 54-yard field goal attempt.

Early in the third quarter, Hill found Josh Reynolds in the corner of the end zone to make it 38-14. Thompson then engineered an eight-play drive, amassing 81 yards that was capped off by a five-yard touchdown pass to Cooper over the middle to make it 38-21. On the ensuing kickoff, South Carolina went for the onside kick, but it was recovered by the Aggies at the 42-yard line. Eight plays later, Carson scored his third touchdown of the game from two yards out as the Aggies extended the lead to 45-21.

A pair of 27-yard passes to Jerrell Adams and Cooper marched the Gamecocks back into the red zone on the following drive. Thompson was able to find Jones drifting out to the right side of the end zone where the wide receiver hauled in his second touchdown of the game to bring Carolina back within 17 points at 45-28. It was his second multi-touchdown game of his career.

After holding the Aggies to their second punt of the quarter, Carolina had a chance to cut into the deficit late in the third quarter, but a deep ball from Thompson was intercepted by Watts at the Texas A&M 17-yard line. Ten plays and 83 yards later, Trey Williams made it 52-28 with a two-yard touchdown run with 12:09 remaining the game.



Game Changer:

Trailing 24-14 with under four minutes remaining in the second quarter, with South Carolina at the Texas A&M 37-yard line, Thompson was unable to connect with Anderson on a third-and-14. The Aggies then marched down the field on an 11-play, 80-yard drive, capped by a two-yard touchdown run by Tra Carson to make it 31-14.



Key Stat:

Dylan Thompson's four touchdown passes set a new career high and matches Connor Shaw’s four during the Mississippi State game a year ago. His 366 yards is the most for a Gamecock since Shaw for 356 against Tennessee on Oct. 27, 2012. The 40 pass attempts were the most since his winning start at Clemson on Nov. 24, 2012.



Notables:

South Carolina loses to Texas A&M 52-28, its first loss in the season opener under Steve Spurrier in 10 seasons.
The setback ends an 18-game home winning streak, which was the longest in NCAA Division I. The loss was the first at home for South Carolina since a 16-13 defeat against Auburn on Oct. 1, 2011.
Gamecock senior quarterback Dylan Thompson completed two touchdown passes (69 to Nick Jones, 46 to Damiere Byrd) that measured over 40 yards each in the first half, the first time a South Carolina QB has accomplished that feat since Blake Mitchell found Kenny McKinley for two 43-yard strikes in the 2006 Liberty Bowl against Houston.
Senior wide receiver Nick Jones made five catches for a career-best 113 yards and two touchdowns. The two scores ties his career best from Georgia last year.
Sophomore wide receiver Pharoh Cooper set new career highs with three receptions for 58 yards and one TD.
Quotable:

South Carolina Head Coach Steve Spurrier


Opening Statement


It was obvious the odds makers don’t know what they’re talking about. That team was so much better than us it wasn’t funny. They out-coached us, out-played us, they were better prepared and they knew what they were doing. We had to throw the ball way too much to try to make some yards. We didn’t run the ball well at all, and we didn’t have a chance to even stay on the field very long. We got into a throw every down type of contest, and we’re not good enough pass blockers, or throwers to get into that. That’s the way it happened. Give Texas A&M their coaches and their players credit. It was a mismatch tonight. I don’t know what else you can say. If we played them again they’d be a three-touchdown favorite. We tried everything we could to slow them down. Offensively, we had a few plays here and there that we liked. Give them credit; they’re a much better team than we are. We’ll regroup, come back and try to fight again against East Carolina in nine days. We’ll see if we can look like we know what we’re doing as coaches. We’ll try to put our players in position. I think our players are better than what they showed, but I don’t know. We have no pass rush, coverage was so-so and they [Texas A&M] knew what they were doing.


Up Next:

South Carolina welcomes East Carolina to Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 6 for a 7 p.m. ET, matchup set to be televised on ESPN2/U. The Pirates open their season Saturday at home with North Carolina Central. ECU finished the 2013 season 10-3, defeating Ohio 37-20 in the Beef O’Brady’s Bowl.

Panthers Win on Last-Second Field Goal in Opener

Playing the first FBS game of the year, Georgia State roared back with 17 fourth-quarter points including Wil Lutz’s game-winning 26-yard field goal with 4 seconds remaining for a 38-37 win over Abilene Christian on Wednesday night in the Georgia Dome.

In his first game for Georgia State, quarterback Nick Arbuckle led the come-from-behind victory as he threw for 413 yards -- just one shy of the school record--on 31 of 47 passing with four touchdowns. It was the fifth 300-yard passing game in school history.

Arbuckle, a junior college transfer, became the fifth different opening day starter at quarterback in five years for the Panthers after coming out of the huddle on the opening drive of the season.
The quarterback was also especially mobile on the final drive, including a key 17-yard rush in the waning seconds.
Arbuckle was a team captain before the game started and was joined for the coin toss by linebacker Joseph Peterson and linebacker Jarrell Robinson.
In the fourth quarter, Arbuckle led GSU on scoring drives of 44 yards, 77 yards and the final drive of 72 yards, 30 yards of which he covered on the ground in the final 30 seconds.

Arbuckle tossed touchdowns to Joel Ruiz (34 yards and 9 yards), Avery Sweeting (41 yards) and Lynquez Blair (27 yards) while finishing one yard shy of tying the school record for passing yards.
Before Arbuckle helped GSU to 189 total yards in the fourth quarter, the Panthers had stalled, being outgained 132-75 in the third, including just five yards on the ground. During that stretch, Georgia State struggled without starting running back Krysten Hammon in the lineup after suffering an injury early in the second period. Hammon, a true freshman, rushed for 60 yards on 10 carries in the opening half and finished with 74 yards on 13 attempts.

Georgia State played 15 true freshmen during the 2013 season. This year it started off with seven in the opening game including: G Alex Stoehr (in starting lineup), RB Krysten Hammon (in starting lineup), CB Chandon Sullivan, CB B.J. Clay, WR Glenn Smith, WR Todd Boyd and CB Antreal Allen.
Hammon’s return early in the fourth period along with linebacker Joseph Peterson’s first career interception gave the Panthers life. Senior Lynquez Blair pulled GSU back within 30-28 with his first career touchdown reception as he caught a quick out and curled the first-down attempt up the middle for a 27-yard score.

Georgia State got its second score of the fourth quarter when Arbuckle hit Ruiz with a 9-yarder to cap a 77-yard drive and pull the Panthers within 37-35 with 4:31 to play. That was GSU’s third scoring drive of at least 70 yards on the night.

The Panthers' winning drive began at their own 19 with 2:41 on the clock and included a 56-yard scoring pass to Donovan Harden that was called back on a holding penalty. Arbuckle made the miscue a distant memory as he continued to push the Panthers down the field, twice converting on fourth down to keep the drive alive. On 4th-and-5 at the GSU 24, Arbuckle found Ruiz for 12 yards, and on 4th-and-19 at the GSU 27, he hit Blair for 24 yards out to midfield. Arbuckle rushed 13 yards to the ACU 26 and the 17 yards to nine to set up the winning field goals.

Abilene Christian started the season’s scoring with a 25-yard field to open the game and ended the first half with a 60-yard Cedric Gilbert catch and run for a score. The field goal was forced after GSU held on third down inside the 10-yard line, which was a common theme early on.

Georgia State got on the board for the first time this season with a five-play, 58-yard drive that took only 1:34 off the clock and ended with a 34-yard pass from Arbuckle to Ruiz.
The Panther defense played well in the first half, especially on third downs. On the crucial down, GSU limited ACU to just three conversions on eight attempts. The Panthers were 6 of 7 on third downs in the opening frame.
Georgia State led at halftime for the fourth time in five season-opening games, including the second straight year.
With 12:00 to play in the second quarter, Georgia State fullback Jonathan Lytle scored on a 2-yard run to give the Panthers a 14-3 advantage. A Wildcat pass interference penalty kept the drive alive and then Ruiz came to life again, exciting the crowd with a nifty leaping catch for 19 yards to the ACU 2.

GSU ended the half with a 302 to 243 advantage in yards, and had converted six of its seven third-down attempts. On the game, the Panthers combined for 566 total yards, including 153 on the ground. Hammon finished with 74 yards while Kyler Neal added 46.

Peterson led the way on defense with 11 tackles, a QB hurry and the interception while Bruce Dukes had eight tackles and pass breakup.

Parker McKenzie led Abilene Christian with 403 passing yards by hitting 30 of 40 attempts with four touchdowns. Demarcus Thompson reeled in 156 receiving yards.