Monday, September 1, 2014

Vols Cruise Past Utah State in Opener, 38-7

Justin Worley loves playing with Tennessee's talented group of newcomers. They helped Worley to a successful return from thumb surgery on Sunday night.

Worley threw for 273 yards and three touchdowns, and the Volunteers beat Utah State 38-7 in a game matching two quarterbacks returning from injuries.

Worley completed his first 13 passes of the second half in his first appearance since missing Tennessee's final four games last season. He was 27 of 38 overall, connecting with 10 different receivers.

He said he benefited from having more playmakers around him, thanks in part to the arrival of a heralded recruiting class.

"I didn't have the nerves I've had in the past," Worley said. "It goes back to my confidence level, the confidence I have in these guys, the confidence I have in the offensive scheme and everything. This being the second year (as a starter), my confidence is a lot higher. I tried to go out there and play like that."

Worley threw touchdown passes to Brendan Downs, Von Pearson and Jalen Hurd in front of a sellout crowd of 102,455 at Neyland Stadium. His 27 completions were a career high.

"He played winning football at the quarterback position," Tennessee coach Butch Jones said. "He managed the offense."

Worley outperformed Chuckie Keeton, who was playing for the first time since tearing the anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments in his left knee last October. Keeton went 18 of 35 for 144 yards with two interceptions and one touchdown pass. He also ran for 12 yards on eight carries.

Tennessee is relying heavily on newcomers as it attempts to end a string of four straight losing seasons, and they wasted no time making an impact. By the midway point of the first quarter, Tennessee already had played 16 true freshmen, the most ever used by the Vols in a season opener. They ended up using 21 true freshmen.

Two of Worley's TD passes went to newcomers; Hurd is a freshman and Pearson a junior-college transfer. Todd Kelly Jr., another freshman, had a fumble recovery that set up a touchdown.

"You can't really focus on one guy," Worley said. "There are several guys we can attack you with."

Utah State, one of only nine Football Bowl Subdivision teams to win at least 20 games combined in the 2012 and 2013 seasons, has a reputation for scaring big-name opponents and playing well away from home. But the Aggies didn't put up much of a fight Sunday.

"There's obviously nothing positive that we can take way from the field," Utah State offensive tackle Kevin Whimpey said. "All I can say is that's not the Utah State Aggies that I'm accustomed to, and we'll do everything we can starting as soon as we land in Logan, to right the ship and to play and win the Mountain West championship."

Tennessee opened the scoring by getting two touchdowns in a span of 14 seconds six minutes into the game.

Alton "Pig" Howard got things started with an 8-yard run around the right end for the junior's first career rushing touchdown. When Utah State's Kennedy Williams took the ensuing kickoff out of the end zone, A.J. Johnson knocked the ball away and Kelly recovered. On the next play, Worley found tight end Brendan Downs for a 12-yard touchdown.

The turnover on the kickoff return marked just the second career forced fumble for Johnson, a senior all-Southeastern Conference linebacker. He added his first career interception in the fourth quarter, setting up Marlin Lane's 7-yard touchdown run.

Tennessee extended the advantage to 17-0 by halftime. Utah State didn't reach Tennessee territory until the opening series of the second half, a drive that ended with Jake Thompson's 48-yard field-goal attempt going wide left.

The Vols then put the game away by reaching the end zone on each of its first two second-half possessions.

Pearson caught a short pass, made a nifty move around a defender and scored from 18 yards out late in the third. Hurd's 15-yard reception on the first play of the fourth quarter made it 31-0.

Utah State broke up the shutout bid on Keeton's 37-yard touchdown pass from Keeton to Hunter Sharp with 14:16 remaining.

"We had every intention of coming in here and competing," Utah State coach Matt Wells said. "I think we did for a while. We're used to competing a heck of a lot longer."

Tennessee will move on to host Arkansas State on Sat., Sept. 6 at noon in Neyland Stadium.

Utah State Loses Season Opener at Tennessee, 38-7

Utah State fell behind Tennessee, 14-0, in the first five minutes of the game and never recovered as the Volunteers rolled to a 38-7 win in the first-ever meeting between the two teams here Sunday night at historic Neyland Stadium.
In his first action since a knee injury forced him to miss the final eight games of the 2013 season, senior quarterback Chuckie Keeton completed 18-of-35 passes for 144 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, while adding 12 yards on the ground on eight carries. Junior wide receiver JoJo Natson was USU's leading rusher as he had 47 yards on two carries, while added three receptions for 18 yards. Fellow junior wide receiver Brandon Swindall had a team-best five catches for 37 yards.

Utah State's only points in the game came early in the fourth quarter as Natson rushed for 38 yards and Keeton hit junior wide receiver Hunter Sharp from 37 yards for the score to cap a 2-play, 75-yard drive that took all of 30 seconds.

Sophomore linebacker Nick Vigil recorded a career-high 15 tackles, which included 1.0 sack and 2.0 tackles for loss to lead the Aggie defense. Senior linebacker Zach Vigil added 10 stops for his 12th-career double-digit tackle outing and sophomore center Devin Centers posted a career-best nine tackles.

Utah State's defense took the field first and forced Tennessee into a three-and-out to start the game, however, USU followed with a three-and-out of its own on its first possession. UT then drove 70-yards in just six plays on its following possession for the first score of the game and then scored two plays later as the Aggies fumbled the ensuing kickoff at its own 12-yard line. Following the turnover, UT's Justin Worley connected with Brendan Downs for the 12-yard score to make the score 14-0 early on.

Utah State's defense keep the Aggies in the game throughout the first-half as it held the Volunteers without any points during its next five drives before UT kicked a 36-yard field with 1:00 to play in the half for a 17-0 halftime advantage.

Utah State had its best drive of the game on its first possession of the second-half as it went 34 yards in nine plays, but was unable to get any points as sophomore placekicker Jake Thompson just missed a 48-yard field goal.

Tennessee added another touchdown in the third quarter and then reached pay dirt again on the first play of the fourth quarter to push its lead to 31-0 before Utah State answered with its only touchdown of the game. UT finished the scoring with a final touchdown two series later to make the final score 38-7.

Utah State will return to action next weekend as it hosts Idaho State in its home opener on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. The game will be streamed live on the internet by the Mountain West Network (themw.com).

No. 10 Football Cruises to 45-0 Win Over SMU

Bryce Petty and No. 10 Baylor had a nice housewarming party at their new riverfront campus stadium Sunday night, even though the quarterback was clearly not feeling his best. Petty threw for 161 yards and accounted for three touchdowns while playing the first half of the Bears' 45-0 victory over former Southwest Conference rival SMU.

Petty, the reigning Big 12 offensive player of the year, was held out in the second half because of a bruise to his lower back. He moved gingerly at times and often grabbed as his lower back and side between plays after taking an early shot.

Big 12 champion Baylor (1-0) led 24-0 after the first quarter, including TD drives of 6 yards after an SMU fumble and 4 yards after Levi Norwood's 45-yard punt return.

SMU's three quarterbacks were sacked a combined eight times. The Mustangs (0-1) were held to 67 total yards.

Jones' predecessor at SMU was Phil Bennett, who is in his fourth season as Baylor's defensive coordinator.

On the day a statue of Robert Griffin III was dedicated, Petty extended his streak with at least one touchdown pass to a school-record 14 games, breaking a tie with Baylor's only Heisman Trophy winner.

Griffin was on hand for the Bears' first game on campus since 1935. The Washington Redskins quarterback and Baylor's only Heisman Trophy winner took part in the statue dedication more than three hours before kickoff and was also on the field before the game, giving the invocation and taking part in the opening coin toss with former President George W. Bush.

Baylor's first short drive came after Bryce Hager forced a fumble that was recovered by Aiavion Edwards at the Mustangs 6. Shock Linwood scored on a 4-yard run.

SMU then went three-and-out before Linwood's return set up Petty's 3-yard TD pass to tight end Tre'Von Armstead.

Petty threw a 46-yard TD to freshman KD Cannon, wide open behind the secondary, after SMU's incomplete pass on a fourth-and-13 play.

The Mustangs turned it over in their own territory again when Matt Davis, after scrambling out of the grasp of a defender, tried to throw across the field while running away from another one. He threw into a crowd and was intercepted by Xavien Howard.

Petty then had completions of 15 and 13 yards to Jay Lee before his 5-yard TD run made it 31-0. Petty got hit again in the side going into the end zone and was slow getting up.

The Mustangs completed 21 of 39 passes for only 91 yards. The trio of quarterbacks - starter Neal Burcham, Davis and redshirt freshman Kolney Cassel - had minus-58 yards rushing on 10 carries - including all the sacks.

HIGHLIGHTS
• Baylor's 8 sacks were one shy of tying a school record from a Sept. 17, 1983 game at UTEP.
• Baylor's last shutout was on Sept. 17, 2011, vs. Stephen F. Austin (48-0) and it's the 165th shutout in Baylor history.
• Petty broke RG3's 2011 program record for most consecutive games with a passing TD with 14.
• RB Shock Linwood scored the first touchdown in McLane Stadium history with a 4-yard rushing TD in the 1st quarter.
• True freshman WR KD Cannon caught a 46-yard TD pass in the 1st quarter for his first career reception and finished with 2 catches for 59 yards.
• TE Tre'Von Armstead caught his first career pass with a 3-yard TD catch in the 1st quarter and finished with 2 catches for 21 yards.
• CB Xavien Howard had his 2nd career interception with a pick in the 2nd quarter.
• WR Jay Lee caught a 12-yard TD pass in the 3rd quarter for his 2nd career TD reception.
• Lee finished with career highs of 8 catches and 83 yards.
• True freshman WR Davion Hall led the team with 7 catches for 86 yards in his collegiate debut.
• QB Seth Russell set career highs of 13 completions, 23 pass attempts, 124 yards and threw 1 touchdown for the 5th time in his career.
• Russell set career highs of 7 carries for 55 yards.
• Redshirt freshman RB Johnny Jefferson had 12 carries for 57 yards and 1 catch for 16 yards in his first collegiate game.
• Junior transfer RB Silas Nacita rushed for 20 yards on 6 carries with 1 touchdown in his first game with Baylor.
• Redshirt freshman QB Chris Johnson saw his first collegiate action and connected for a 28-yard pass on his only attempt and rushed for 17 yards on his only attempt.
• DE Shawn Oakman tied a career high with 6 tackles and set a career high with 2 sacks.
• Redshirt freshman DE K.J. Smith record his first career sack and had 2 QB hurries.
• DT Andrew Billings had a career high 2 tackles for loss.
• Redshirt freshman LB Taylor Young record his first career sack.
• NT Beau Blackshear tied a career high with 1.5 tackles for loss.
• Redshirt sophomore NT Javonte Magee had a career high 1.5 tackles for loss and his first career half-sack.
• DT Suleiman Masumbuko tied a career high with 1 sack.

STAT OF THE GAME
-24: Number of rushing yards for SMU on the game.

TWEET OF THE GAME


TOP QUOTE
"Defensively, that's how we won the game. We kind of felt like going in we would have a good defense. What I saw tonight was a lot of strength and a lot of speed. We are still a work in progress." - Baylor head coach Art Briles

WHAT'S NEXT
Baylor plays its second-ever game at McLane Stadium next Saturday (Sept. 6) at 6:30 p.m. CT against Northwestern State

SMU Drops Season Opener At Baylor

Bryce Petty threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score, helping No. 10 Baylor open its riverfront campus stadium with a 45-0 victory over former Southwest Conference rival SMU on Sunday night.

Petty played two quarters because of a bruise to his lower back after taking an early shot. He threw for 161 yards while moving gingerly at times and often grabbing at his back.

Big 12 champion Baylor (1-0) led 24-0 after one quarter. It had a 6-yard TD drive after an SMU fumble and a 4-yard drive after Levi Norwood's 45-yard punt return.

On the day a statue of Robert Griffin III was dedicated, Petty extended his streak with at least one touchdown pass to a school-record 14 games, breaking a tie with Baylor's only Heisman Trophy winner.

SMU is back in action Saturday, Sept. 6 when the Mustangs make the short trip to Denton, Texas to take on North Texas. Saturday's contest gets underway at 11 a.m. CT and the game will be televised on FoxSportsNet.

BOBCATS HAVE RECORD SETTING PERFORMANCE VS UAPB

All offseason, the Texas State football team preached its adherence to the no-huddle up-tempo offense. Through one game, the Bobcats look to be in fine form, following their 65-0 dominating performance over Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Saturday night at Bobcat Stadium.

"I was proud of our guys," head coach Dennis Franchione said. "I ask them for four quarters of effort, intensity, focus and physical play and I felt like we got that. We didn't drop off, whoever went in the game. We played just about every person that we can conceivably play that we aren't trying to redshirt or that was hurt or not eligible, so a great way for our first game."

The offense showed a potency that had not been seen at that level in school history, ending the game with a program record 697 yards of total offense, surpassing the previous best of 680 established in 2005 against Prairie View A&M.

Tyler Jones got the team off to a hot start on his first drive, marching the team right down and finishing with a pitch to C.J. Best for a 17-yard touchdown. It was Best's first career touchdown at Texas State, and was the first of seven straight possessions the team would come away with points, before fumbling in the end zone for a touchback in the third quarter.

"We were trying to see what we could do as a team," Jones said. "This game was more about us and how we were going to play and respond, and I think we did a pretty good job. There's always room for improvement in this no-huddle offense, but for the most part, I feel like we did a decent job."

Jafus Gaines had a career game with 119 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He had a 71 yard catch and run down to the UAPB nine-yard line in the second quarter setting up a TD run by Rob Lowe. Gaines is coming off an ankle injury that hampered him for most of last year.

"Last year I broke my ankle, but I did not get discouraged," Gaines said. "I stayed positive because I knew that one day my time would come, and I guess today was that day. I was very happy and proud getting those first two touchdowns ever in college football. It was very exciting."

The Bobcats will now have a week off before having to turn their attention to Navy in front of a potential sellout crowd at Bobcat Stadium, on Sept. 13 at 7:00 p.m. The Midshipmen are coming off a near upset of No. 5 Ohio State and will bring in preseason Heisman Trophy candidate Keenan Reynolds.

Cajuns Roll To 45-6 Win Over Southern In Season Opener

In front of 36,170 fans, the third-largest crowd ever to witness a Cajun Football game, the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns opened up the 2014 season Saturday night with a dominant 45-6 victory over Southern.

The Cajuns (1-0) totaled 512 yards of offense on the night compared to Southern's 279. Senior quarterback Terrance Broadway went 20-for-32 with 237 yards and four touchdowns, one rushing. Senior wide receiver Jamal Robinson led Louisiana with 112 receiving yards on five catches and two touchdowns. On the ground, sophomore running back Elijah McGuire recorded 129 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown. Defensively, senior linebacker Trae Johnson led the Cajuns with eight tackles, seven being solo, while senior linebacker Boris Anyama and sophomore linebacker Kevin Fouquier posted five solo tackles apiece.

In the first quarter, the Cajuns struck first with 6:12 to go in the period after a 31-yard field goal from senior kicker Hunter Stover for a 3-0 Louisiana advantage. After Southern (0-1) missed a 29-yard attempt, the Cajuns reached the endzone for the first time on their next possession as McGuire capped off a six-play, 80-yard drive with an eight-yard touchdown run with 2:27 remaining in the quarter.

The Louisiana defense continued to cause the Jaguars problems, forcing back-to-back three-and-outs before the Cajuns extended their lead. Broadway recorded his first touchdown of the evening with 12:11 left in the half as he found Robinson for a 32-yard touchdown to make it 17-0.

Louisiana stretched it to 24-0 midway through the second period as sophomore wide receiver Jared Johnson caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Broadway with 7:35 remaining in the half. One play that highlighted the second quarter for Louisiana was senior punter Daniel Cadona's 77-yard bomb that went for a touchback a few minutes before halftime.

The Jaguars got on the board halfway through the third period with a 10-play, 80-yard drive as quarterback Austin Howard found tight end Bradley Coleman from 23 yards out for a 24-6 score after the missed extra point.

The Ragin' Cajuns didn't allow Southern to get any closer in the game with a score on their next possession. After senior running back Alonzo Harris converted a fourth-and-one with a rush up the middle, Broadway tallied his third score of the contest with a seven-yard touchdown pass to Robinson to make it 31-6 with 4:37 remaining in the third quarter.

McGuire began the fourth quarter for the Cajuns with a 46-yard run to the Southern 13 before Broadway found the endzone two plays later with an eight-yard touchdown run one minute into the period, extending Louisiana's advantage to 38-6.

Facing a fourth-and-goal, sophomore quarterback Brooks Haack added a score for the Cajuns late in the game with a two-yard pass to junior running back Torrey Pierce for a 45-6 final.

Louisiana returns to action next Saturday when the Ragin' Cajuns host Louisiana Tech in a 6 p.m. game at Cajun Field.

Football Tops Montana State in Season Opener

The Arkansas State University football team scored 24 unanswered points in the second half as the Red Wolves went on to a 37-10 victory over Montana State this Saturday (Aug. 30) evening in their 2014 season opener before 26,143 fans at Centennial Bank Stadium in Jonesboro, Ark.

A-State, which is celebrating its 100th season of football this campaign, improves to 1-0 on the season as the Red Wolves extended their home-opening winning streak to 10 straight dating back to the 2005 campaign. The victory also gave A-State back-to-back season-opening wins for the first time since the 2008 and 2009 seasons. The Red Wolves handed in-state Arkansas-Pine Bluff (UAPB) a 62-11 loss in last season’s opener.

“I thought our guys played hard and the defense kept us in the game early against a good Montana State team,” said first-year A-State head coach Blake Anderson, who was victorious in his collegiate head coaching debut. “The game was close for a long time and I was probably most pleased with how our guys responded. The first half we found some ways to sabotage our own drives, but I liked the way we finished our drives in the second half. Our entire team never flinched, and continued to go to work, stayed positive and found a way to make some plays to get us out in front.”

The Red Wolves, the three-time (2011-13) defending Sun Belt Conference (SBC) Champions, netted 558 yards in total offense as A-State featured a balanced attack with 294 yards on the ground and 264 in passing. Junior quarterback Fredi Knighten would tally a combined 323 yards on his own, which included 219 passing yards. Defensively, A-State held Montana State to 228 offensive yards. A-State scored on the game’s opening possession to take a 7-0 first-quarter lead as junior running back Michael Gordon busted down the right sideline on a 42-yard touchdown run with 14:19 to go and capped a three-play, 75-yard drive. A 29-yard pass from Fredi Knighten to redshirt junior wide receiver Tres Houston helped set up the Red Wolves’ scoring play.

Montana State would tie the contest up at seven apiece with 5:45 left in the opening quarter by capitalizing on an A-State turnover. Redshirt junior J.D. McKissic fumbled a 52-yard punt by Trevor Bolton, which was recovered by the Bobcats’ middle linebacker Rhett Young at the A-State seven-yard line. Running back Anthony Knight would hit pay dirt on his fourth straight rushing attempt from one yard out.


The Red Wolves regained the lead at 1:21 left in the first quarter on a 29-yard field goal by junior kicker Luke Ferguson, which concluded a 12-play, 59-yard scoring drive. Ferguson would go onto add a second one, this time from 23 yards out with just five seconds remaining before the half to finish a 93-yard, 13-play sequence as the Red Wolves led 13-7 at the half. A-State produced 302 total offensive yards in the first half, which included an average of 5.4 yards per carry (141 rushing yards) while limiting Montana State to 18 yards on the ground.

The teams exchanged field goals to open the third-quarter scoring as the Bobcats sliced A-State’s lead to 13-10 at 10:21 on kicker Luke Daly’s 34 yarder. Luke Ferguson would counter for the Red Wolves with his third field goal of the game, a 41-yard boot with 5:26 left to be played in the quarter as the hosts led 16-10. A-State extended its lead to 23-10 when junior tight end Darion Griswold snared a Fredi Knighten pass for a 23-yard score with 1:53 remaining in the stanza. A 45-yard halfback pass from Tres Houston back to Knighten helped set up the scoring play.

A-State increased its margin to 30-10 early in the fourth quarter as junior cornerback Rocky Hayes picked off MSU quarterback Dakota Prukop’s pass at the A-State 46-yard line, which eventually lead to a one-yard TD run by freshman running back Terrance Hollingsworth with 14:25 left. The Red Wolves tacked on their fourth TD of the game with 9:47 to be played on redshirt frosh running back Johnston White’s one-yard run giving A-State a 37-10 lead. Redshirt senior middle linebacker Qushaun Lee put the Red Wolves in prime field scoring position with a 40-yard interception return to the MSU 15-yard line.

Knighten ran for 104 yards to lead all rushers in the game while Michael Gordon had 68 yards on seven carries. In receiving, Tres Houston’s eight receptions for 87 yards was a game high and J.D. McKissic contributed four catches for 83 yards. Knighten was 19-of-29 for 219 yards in the passing department for A-State, which converted five-of-six red zone opportunities.

Dakota Prukop threw for 142 yards on 14-of-26 passing for Montana State, but was intercepted twice and sacked four times.

Sophomore linebacker Xavier Woodson paced the Red Wolves with seven tackles (six solo). Senior redshirt free safety Sterling Young along with redshirt senior cornerback Andrew Tryon and redshirt junior linebacker Chris Stone contributed six stops apiece. Woodson, junior linebacker Austin Copeland, and freshman defensive end Caleb Caston each had a sack.


Arkansas State is on the road next Saturday, Sept. 6, as the Red Wolves go up against the Tennessee Volunteers in Knoxville, Tenn. Opening kickoff is scheduled for 11 a.m. (CT) at UT’s Neyland Stadium. The non-conference matchup will be televised by the SEC Network, which is available on Suddenlink channel 35 and HD channel 800.

Ready for Primetime: LSU Comes Back to Beat Badgers

No. 13 LSU (1-0) overcame a 17-point deficit with 21 unanswered points in the second half to defeat No. 14 Wisconsin (0-1), 28-24, in front of a record crowd at NRG Stadium in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff late Saturday.

The Tigers won their nation-best 46th-straight non-conference, regular-season game behind its fourth-largest comeback since 1960. With a 22nd fourth-quarter comeback, LSU also improved to 6-6 under head coach Les Miles when trailing by 10 points or more at halftime.

LSU snapped Wisconsin's 16-game winning streak in season openers and extended its own such streak to 12.

Full Replay (via ESPN.com)

Trailing 24-7 after the Badgers marched 75 yards for a touchdown on the opening drive of the second half, the Tigers took control of the game on both sides of the ball.

After allowing 257 rushing yards in the first half plus the first drive of the second half, LSU's defense stiffened. The Tigers allowed only 28 yards of total offense for the duration (27:24) while forcing three punts and intercepting two passes in the second half.

While its defense found a way to dominate, LSU's offense slowly picked up its own rhythm throughout the evening. The Tigers answered the early score in the second half with field goals of 30 and 47 yards by Colby Delahoussaye to get within 11 by the end of the third quarter.

In the fourth quarter, LSU dominated. The Tigers rallied behind running back Kenny Hilliard's 110 rushing yards with a touchdown on 18 carries - 11 of which came in the fourth quarter for 93 yards.

Sophomore quarterback Anthony Jennings, who started for the second time in his career, managed the game well and connected with wide receiver Travin Dural for 151 of his 239 passing yards. He was 9-of-21 passing with two touchdowns and no interceptions. True freshman Brandon Harris played one series and did not attempt a pass.

After being held to 16 net yards on 15 carries in the first half, LSU ran 32 times for 110 yards in the second half. LSU punted only once in the final 30 minutes - after taking the lead late in the fourth quarter.

LSU's only turnover of the game, a fumble in the second quarter at its own 31, led to a Wisconsin touchdown.

Freshman running back Leonard Fournette had eight carries for 18 net yards, while returning five kickoffs for 117 yards with a long of 33.

Badgers' starting quarterback Tanner McEvoy finished 8-of-24 passing for 50 yards and two interceptions. He ran for 40 yards, while Melvin Gordon led Wisconsin with 140 with a touchdown, while Corey Clement and Reddie Love each added 45 yards and a touchdown.

Though Wisconsin managed 268 rushing yards, Miles' teams improved to 7-3 when allowing opponents to run for more than 200 yards.

Wisconsin won the coin toss and elected to defer its decision until the second half. With its back to the south endzone, Fournette took the opening kickoff and returned 13 yards to the LSU 15. A 5-yard designed run by Jennings on third-and-4 gave the Tigers a first down at their 26, but Magee missed a screen pass from Jennings and Jamie Keehn came on to punt for the first of seven times in the half.

After Keehn's 45-yarder, Wisconsin recovered a fumbled snap then converted a third-and-4 with a 6-yard slant to wide receiver Alex Erickson. On second-and-11, Gordon got loose around the left end and dashed for 20 yards to the LSU 45. Reggie Love put Wisconsin on the board with an end-around that he cut inside and out-ran the Tigers to the endzone.

The point after touchdown gave the Badgers a 7-0 lead with 9:05 left in the quarter.

A 25-yard kickoff return by Fournette gave the Tigers better starting position at its 27 on the second offensive drive of the game. Hilliard gained a first down with a 10-yard catch from Jennings but the drive stalled when a third-and-5 pass to Dural sailed wide. Keehn's second punt went off the side of his foot for only 19 yards to the Wisconsin 39.

The Badgers took advantage of the field position and entered LSU territory with a 22-yard scramble by McEvoy, who escaped the pocket and eluded a sack attempt by Jermauria Rasco on the play. Wisconsin managed four more yards before Rafael Gaglianone made a 51-yard field goal to push the lead to 10-0 with 5:07 remaining in the quarter.

LSU struck for the first time against a Wisconsin defense that had crept too close to the line of scrimmage. Jennings rolled out of the pocket to his right, and rather than pull the ball down and run, he lofted a perfect pass over the head of two defenders and connected with Dural in stride. The 80-yard touchdown pass was the third-longest in LSU football history and the longest since Sept. 2, 2000.

With 4:47 remaining in the quarter, LSU trailed 10-7.

The teams traded punts on five-straight drives, with Keehn's career-long 64-yarder that rolled out at the 16 and helped the Tigers out of poor field position.

LSU took over at its 29, and Jennings immediately looked deep to Dural again. This time his throw was just out of reach. On second-and-15, Jennings completed a short pass to tight end Travis Dickson, who was upended at the 31 and fumbled. Wisconsin came up with the ball and made the Tigers pay for the mistake.

LSU gave up a 7-yard run on an option pitch to the 19, and Gordon scored from 14 yards out two plays later. Wisconsin regained its 10-point advantage, 17-7, with 7:36 left in the half.

The Tigers gained one first down on its next possession, but each side's defense forced four more punts prior to LSU's final series of the half. In that final drive, Jennings completed a 12-yard pass to Hilliard for a first down to the LSU 43 and the Badgers were flagged for pass interference to move LSU into Wisconsin territory at the 43. Three-straight incomplete passes led to Keehn's final punt of the half.

LSU trailed 17-7 at the break after managing only 16 net rushing yards on 15 attempts.

Wisconsin seized momentum on its first play from scrimmage in the third quarter, as Gordon waited for a hole to open in the middle of the LSU defensive line and dashed 63 yards to the LSU 12. After gaining first down on fourth-and-1 from the 3, Wisconsin's Clement scored from the 2 to open a 24-7 lead on LSU with 12:24 left in the quarter.

The Tigers were able to answer offensively. After Hilliard's three rushes came up four yards short of a first down, Miles dug into his bag of tricks and faked a punt with a short snap to linebacker Kendell Beckwith, who picked up five yards for the first down.

On the next play, Jennings again looked over the top of the Badgers defense for a 44-yard catch and run by Dural to the Wisconsin 8-yard line. LSU wasn't able to advance past the 5 and settled for a 30-yard field goal by Delahoussaye that cut the deficit to 24-10 with 7:41 left in the third quarter.

LSU's defense forced a quick three-and-out, and a 25-yard punt by the Badgers gave the Tigers' offense good position at the 40-yard line. Jennings picked up a first down with an option keeper for seven yards to the Wisconsin 48. On third-and-7 from the 45, wide receiver John Diarse made his first career catch for 12 yards and first down at the 33. On third-and-7, Fournette couldn't get a handle on Jennings' screen pass and Delahoussaye came on to make a 47-yard field goal - keeping the Tigers momentum going.

LSU trailed 24-13 with 2:11 left in the third quarter.

With another three-and-out forced by its defense, the Tigers took the field to start what would becoming a dominating, early-season defining quarter of football.

Jennings overcame a sack with a 27-yard throw to Dural to the Wisconsin 25. On third-and-21, Jennings found Diarse for what looked to be a short gain and setup a field goal. Instead, the redshirt freshman receiver slipped four tackles and scored from 36 yards to cut the deficit to 24-21 with 12:08 left.

Two plays later, McEvoy was intercepted by Jalen Mills on an incredible grab by the LSU safety. Three Hilliard runs for 53 yards put the Tigers back in the endzone and in the lead for the first time. A 28-yard run by the senior back put LSU ahead 28-24 with 9:41 remaining.

Wisconsin managed two first downs with its best drive of the quarter, but Mills pressured McEvoy on a third-and-10 pass and safety Ronald Martin tracked down the floating pass at the LSU 23 for an interception. Martin returned to the 31 and Hilliard helped the Tigers to take four more minutes off the clock with four runs for 26 yards.

Keehn punted for the only time in the second half, and it was fair caught at the 10. LSU's defense pressured the line of scrimmage to force a three-and-out, and Wisconsin punted with 1:26 remaining and three timeouts.

A 4-yard run by Hilliard on third-and-3 from the 42 gave LSU a first down and sealed the victory.

The announced crowd for LSU's first game in Houston since 1983 was 71,599, the largest for a college game at the stadium.

LSU Largest Comebacks Since 1960

Date Opponent Largest Deficit Final Score
11/15/08 28 - vs. Troy (31-3 with 11:13 in 3rd Quarter) W, 40-31
10/29/77 21 - vs. Ole Miss in Jackson (21-0 with 7:00 in 2nd Quarter) W, 28-21
09/07/96 20 - vs. Houston (34-14 with 5:57 in 3rd Quarter) W, 35-34
08/30/14 17 - vs. #14 Wisconsin in Houston (24-7 with 12:24 in 3rd Quarter) W, 28-24
11/03/79 17 - vs. Ole Miss in Jackson (17-0 with 10:48 in 2nd Quarter) W, 28-24

STATE BLANKS USM 49-0 TO OPEN 2014 CAMPAIGN

In front of the largest crowd in Davis Wade Stadium history, Mississippi State (1-0) blanked Southern Mississippi (0-1) 49-0 to open the 2014 season Saturday night.

The Bulldogs drove the field and scored on their opening drive, the first of seven touchdowns on the night. The defense followed the offense’s lead and created a turnover on USM’s first possession as senior defensive tackle Kaleb Eulls tipped a pass at the line and senior defensive end Preston Smith intercepted it.

By the end of the game, State’s offense had racked up 550 yards, holding USM to 283 of its own.

Junior quarterback Dak Prescott, in his first his season as the unquestioned starter, opened the campaign with a record-setting performance. His 284 passing yards were a career high, while his four touchdown passes tied his previous best, despite coming out of the game after the first drive of the second half.

Senior safety Jay Hughes, a Hattiesburg native whose father played at USM, was the story of the defense for MSU.

His deep second-quarter interception of an errant Golden Eagle pass effectively ended the first half and stymied the USM threat to break the shutout. Then, in the third quarter, he returned a blocked Southern field goal for a touchdown, once again saving the shutout. It was the first game action for Hughes since he went down with an Achilles injury in the first quarter of the 2013 season-opener.

Elsewhere on the field, junior running back Josh Robinson accrued 87 rushing yards and 49 through the air, while sophomore wide receiver De’Runnya Wilson hauled in four passes for 65 yards and two touchdowns.

MSU returns to action next weekend hosting UAB at 1 p.m. on Scott Field.

Ducks Run Away from 'Yotes 62-13

Oregon's 2014 regular season got off to a rousing start with a 62-13 win over visiting South Dakota before 57,388 fans in Autzen Stadium on Saturday night.

How it Happened: The Ducks had little trouble scoring, piling up 466 first-half yards on the way to a 41-13 halftime lead. UO coach Mark Helfrich's ire was drawn when a careless play took points off the board, along with five early penalties and some porous run defense. But Oregon was able to work nearly every available player onto the field, valuable experience for a team that brought 40 newcomers into preseason camp.

Who Stood Out: Quarterback Marcus Mariota took advantage of an array of new offensive weapons, including the Pac-12's top returning rusher Byron Marshall in a new all-purpose role and freshman running back Royce Freeman. Mariota played the first half and finished 14-of-20 passing for 267 yards and three touchdowns, adding six rushes for 43 yards and a score. Marshall caught six of those passes for 117 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, and rushed twice for 58 yards, though he also cost the Ducks six points by dropping the ball just short of the goal line at the end of a long run. Freeman had touchdowns on two of his first three carries, backing up the considerable hype he generated in preseason camp.

What it Means: The Ducks certainly looked like a top-five team in the nation when they had the ball, with Thomas Tyner getting the bulk of the carries and Mariota spreading it around to the likes of Marshall and Darren Carrington. South Dakota's 20 first-half rushes for 120 yards were troubling, especially with mighty Michigan State coming to town next, but some of that was against backup Duck defenders, making it tough to completely assess how things will look under new coordinator Don Pellum.

Odds and Ends: Ten true freshmen saw the field, a number that Ducks haven't exceeded in any of the last four full seasons. The ten were long snapper Tanner Carew, kicker Aidan Schneider, offensive lineman Tyrell Crosby, receiver Charles Nelson, defensive linemen Austin Maloata and Henry Mondeaux, linebackers Justin Hollins and Jimmie Swain, cornerback Arrion Springs and Freeman. Nelson returned a third-quarter punt for a touchdown. ... At positions where the Ducks hadn't previously announced starters, the first reps went to Dwayne Stanford at receiver, Pharaoh Brown at tight end, Jake Pisarcik at right guard, Reggie Daniels at safety and Thomas Tyner at running back ... Mariota set UO career records for total touchdowns (82) and passing touchdowns (66), tying Darron Thomas in the latter category.

Next Up: The No. 3 Ducks remain at home for the nation's most anticipated nonconference matchup of the 2014 regular season, against No. 8 Michigan State on Saturday in Autzen Stadium (3:30 p.m. PT, FOX).

John Ross Shines As Dawgs Beat Rainbow Warriors

ohn Ross scored on a reverse and a 91-yard catch and No. 25 Washington held off Hawaii 17-16 on Saturday night despite a weak second half in coach Chris Petersen's Huskies debut.

The Huskies (1-0) overcame late pushes from Hawaii and offensive problems late in the game, when their best accomplishment was running out the clock.

Jeff Lindquist threw for 162 yards in his first start for Washington after Cyler Miles was suspended for the game for his role in an offseason fight. But most of Lindquist's total came on the big play to Ross. He was 3 for 15 in the second half for 28 yards.

The Huskies punted on eight of their first nine possessions in the second half, but the Rainbow Warriors were unable to take advantage of the opening. Hawaii managed two field goals for the only scoring in the second half.

Washington's defense improved after struggling early and spotting Hawaii a 10-0 lead on its first two possessions. The Rainbow Warriors lost the advantage in one quick second-quarter burst, turning the ball over on downs and then allowing the Huskies' second-longest pass play in school history.

Hawaii's Joey Iosefa rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown. Lavon Coleman had 87 yards rushing for Washington.

Both of Washington's touchdowns came after Hawaii mistakes. First, Hawaii's Ne'Quan Phillips lowered his right shoulder and hit Lindquist in the chest well after a throw on a fourth-and-9 play, setting up Ross' 20-yard reverse for the first Huskies' touchdown.

Hawaii turned the ball over on downs later in the first half on a trick play, with Marcus Kemp throwing a pass on a reverse that fluttered 2 yards short of tight end Harold Moleni in the end zone.

On the next play, Lindquist threw the ball 55 yards in the air to Ross, who covered the rest of the field himself. It was the longest play for Washington (1-0) since Jake Locker connected with Marcel Reece in 2007 for 98 yards.

The Rainbow Warriors (0-1) missed another chance to tie it or get closer just before halftime when Ikaika Woolsey overthrew Kemp streaking toward the end zone, and then Tyler Hadden missed a 40-yard field goal off the left upright.

Woolsey threw for 206 yards while running a scheme that included several trick plays. Iosefa had a 1-yard TD on Hawaii's first possession.

Petersen was hired by Washington in December after eight seasons in charge at Boise State, where he compiled a 92-12 record, made bowl games each year and finished in the rankings six times.

USC Thumps Fresno State 52-13 Behind Kessler's Four Touchdowns

Cody Kessler threw for 394 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another TD and the No. 15 USC Trojans won Steve Sarkisian's school debut in commanding fashion, beating Fresno State 52-13 on Saturday night.

The Trojans ran a school- and Pac-12-record 105 plays while racking up 37 first downs and 701 yards of total offense to Fresno State's 17 first downs and 317 yards.

"We were shooting for 80 plays," Kessler said, although Sarkisian knew that playing a no-huddle team in the Bulldogs would probably up that number.

The Trojans scored early and kept going, with Nelson Agholor leading the way with two first-half touchdown grabs. He finished with five catches on the night for 57 yards.

In all, 10 different Trojans caught passes in Sarkisian's up-tempo offense.

"They were ready to play," Sarkisian said.

Freshmen played a prominent part in the game as tight end Bryce Dixon and two-way player Adoree Jackson each had TD catches. Freshman JuJu Smith had four catches for 123 yards.

Javorius Allen led the USC ground attack with 133 yards on 22 carries, including a nine-yard scoring run. Justin Davis added 30 yards on 12 carries and Jame Toland IV had 47 yards on 12 carries.

The loss was the Bulldogs' third straight in the series with USC.

Fresno State alternated quarterbacks Brian Burrell and Duke transfer Brandon Connette. Burrell was 11 of 19 with one interception and was the more productive of the two. Connette finished 7 of 17 for 68 yards with three interceptions.

Tailback Marteze Waller scored both touchdowns for the Bulldogs. He finished with 97 yards on 16 carries.

"Well, obviously, we didn't come ready to play to beat an excellent USC team," Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter said. "We got outcoached and outplayed. You have to give them a lot of credit. ... We're not ready at this point to compete against a team like USC."

'Bows Come Up Short Against Huskies, 17-16

The University of Hawai'i Rainbow Warrior football team fought valiantly against No. 25 Washington but came up short, 17-16, Saturday in a nationally-televised game at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium.

The Rainbow Warriors stymied the UW offense for most the game, even shutting out the Huskies in the second half. But UH could not punch in the go-ahead score, settling for a pair of second half field goals.

UH out-gained Washington 424-to-336 in total offense and did not turn the ball over. Quarterback Ikaika Woolsey finished 23-of-42 for 207 yards while running back Joey Iosefa rushed for 143 yards on 30 carries.

UW quarterback Jeff Lindquist passed for 162 yards on 10-of-26 passing and hooked up with Jason Ross – for the second of his two touchdowns – on a 91-yard touchdown in the second quarter, giving the Huskies a 14-10 lead.

Hawai'i's Taz Stevenson, a UW transfer, finished with a team-high 10 tackles against his former teammates.

UH took the opening game kickoff and marched downfield capped by a 1-yard Iosefa touchdown. Woolsey completed all four of his attempts on the drive, including two key third-down conversions.

After UH forced the Huskies to punt, the Warriors then mounted an 18-play drive culminating in a 28-yard Tyler Hadden field goal for a 10-0 lead.

UW closed to 10-7 after Ross' first touchdown but Woolsey directed another long UH drive that ended in a failed fourth-down attempt. After the Huskies took over on downs – on the very next play –Lindquist found Ross on the 91-yard bomb.

UH's next possession stalled and the Huskies took advantage with a 36-yard Cameron Van Winkle field for a 17-10 lead. The 'Bows took over and drove to the UW 22-yard line but Hadden's 40-yard field goal hit the left upright just before the end of the first half.

In the second half, UH's defense forced the Huskies to punt eight times and held the Huskies to only 119 yards of total offense. However the Warriors could not hold UW on its final possession and the Huskies ran out the clock.

UH returns to action next week against another Pac-12 foe, Oregon State, Saturday, Sept. 7 at Aloha Stadium.

Lobo Rally Falls Short in Loss To UTEP

Occasionally there is something in the stat charts that screams out a message that hits you in the face like a cold shovel. These stats say something like: “Here it is. This is why you won – or lost.”

The Lobos had a stat line like that after their 31-24 loss to the UTEP Miners Saturday on Branch field.

Fumbles Lost: New Mexico two, Miners none.

The errors were huge because they might have taken away a Lobo score and set up UTEP for the winning touchdown.

“Two critical mistakes,” Lobo Coach Bob Davie said of fourth-quarter fumbles by Jhurell Pressley and Dameon Gamblin. The first bobble killed a NM drive that had the Lobos on the UTEP 27 looking to break a 24-24 tie.

The second miscue came a few minutes later. UNM held UTEP on downs forcing the Miners to punt from the Lobo 42-yard line. Gamblin drifted back to the 5-yard line and slightly misjudged his catch. The loose ball was gobbled up by LaQuintus Dowell and UTEP had a first-and-goal at the UNM 6-yard line. They scored two plays later and that pretty much ended it.



UNM tried a desperation march with 2:18 to play, but it ended with a Clayton Mitchem interception with 1:16 to go.

“Games like these definitely hurt the most,” said Lobo O-lineman LaMar Bratton. “You are right there and you can almost taste and smell and feel the victory and like any moment it can just be taken away like that.”

The two fourth-quarter fumbles ended UNM’s dramatic come-from-behind charge. The Lobos fell into a halftime hole of 24-7, but the Cole Gautsche-led option helped UNM move into the 24-all tie.

“We came out here so amped and emotional as an offense that we might have lost our focus in the beginning,” said Bratton. “We didn’t come out the way we should have. You hate to see a start like that that puts you behind so much.

“But I’m proud of the way we came back and fought hard at the end.”

Said Davie: “We came out in the second half and took it to them, but we made too many mistakes.”

The Lobos had stolen away the game’s momentum in the second half, but UNM had to play the final 12 minutes with Gautsche on the bench. The rugged junior left the game with a pulled hamstring that came during a 33-yard burst around the Lobos’ left side. Mitchem led UNM to a game-tying 35-yard field goal by Zack Rogers, but the Lobos did not score again.

“We started off wobbly,” said Davie. “On offense, it really all started with the snaps. For whatever reason, early in the game we were just tippy-toeing around. On offense, we had a lot of mistakes in that first half."

“It was an unacceptable performance in the first half. In the second half, we showed more of the potential we have. They couldn’t stop us in the second half.”

The Miners outgained UNM 326 yards to 182 yards in the first half. UNM ended up with 477 total yards to 446 for UTEP. The Miners had 31 first downs and UNM had 24.

The Lobos ran for 410 yards with Gautsche picking up a career single-game high of 184 yards. Pressley added 84 yards and Teriyon Gipson had 71 yards rushing. UNM went 5-9-1 passing for 67 yards.

“The first half was really disappointing (defensively),” said Davie. “We have to improve. It (defense) wasn’t as good as I thought it was going to be.”

The defense did show improvement in the second half. A goal-line stand in the fourth quarter led to Rogers' game-tying field goal. The only points the Miners put on the board in the second half came off the fumbled punt that set up their offense on the UNM 6-yard line.

The Lobos got a huge game from linebacker Dakota Cox, who was in on 17 tackles. Defensive back David Guthrie had nine total tackes with four of them solo.

"Coaches talked to us and told us we have to go out there and play like it’s a new half and bring the enthusiasm this time," Cox said of the halftime adjustments. "We were back on our heels a little bit.

"I think guys realized that and we stepped it up out there and put up a fight. We need to do that the whole game, including myself. I need to bring the energy to all the other guys. I feel like if we did that, we’d be able to pull it out".

The Lobos play host to Arizona State this Saturday at University Stadium.

The Lobos used the third quarter to pull the scoreboard gap closer to them at 24-21. The Lobos’ option broke several big plays highlighted by Gautsche’s 51-yard scoring run with 1:56 to go in the quarter. Gautsche ended that quarter with 151 yards.

The Lobos got a defensive stop in the third quarter thanks to a high snap that put UTEP into a hole they could not climb out of. UNM also stopped UTEP on fourth-and-goal at the UNM 1-yard line with 13:22 to play in the fourth quarter. That stop led to the 35-yard field goal by Rogers that formed a 24-24 tie.

First Half: UTEP 24, New Mexico Lobos 7

The stat sheet reflected what was on the scoreboard. The Miners churned out 326 total yards which equated to 24 points. The Lobos had 182 yards with 148 coming on the ground. The Miners had 13 first downs to eight for the Lobos. UTEP won the possession battle 17:30 minutes to 12:40.

UTEP’s Aaron Jones in the first half had 158 yards including a 73-yard touchdown. Jones also scored on a 12-yard run to give the Miners the early 7-0 lead. UNM knotted the score at 7-7 using a 68-yard scamper by Gautsche. The Miners’ third touchdown of the half was a 48-yard pass from Showers to Jarrad Shaw.

Gautsche ended with 84 yards in the first 30 minutes and Gipson had 35 yards rushing. Gautsche went 2-of-4 passing in the half for 26 yards. Showers went 7-of-15 passing for 99 yards and a single aerial score. The Miners might have made a mistake at the close of the first half when they were driving and decided to work the clock at the expenses of trying to pad their lead.

Bulldogs Fall 52-13 at No. 15 USC

No. 15 Southern California scored 24 unanswered points to open the game and Fresno State was never able to catch back up, falling 52-13 on Saturday at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Just like when the two teams met in the 2013 Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl, Trojan quarterback Cody Kessler had a big game to lead the Trojans to the victory. The Bakersfield native threw for a career-high 394 yards and four touchdowns to lead USC to its 16th-straight victory in season openers.

The loss for the Bulldogs was just its second in their last 11 season openers. The 52 points allowed are the most in a season-opener in school history.

"I'm disappointed, but I'm not discouraged," head coach Tim DeRuyter said. "I saw some good things out there... Clearly we were not ready to play against a team like that, but we will get better and we look forward to getting our guys better."

The Trojans outgained Fresno State 701 to 317 on the evening, picking up 427 yards in the first half that saw them lead 31-7 going into the locker room. One of the telling stats in the game was USC starting out the first quarter converting all seven third-down attempts and 9-of-12 in the first half. The Trojans finished 11-of-18 on third downs while the Bulldogs were 2-of-12.

"Obviously it hurts, but at the same time I know that is not the type of defense that we are," said Bulldog captain and senior safety Derron Smith, who finished with 11 tackles for his fifth career game with double-digit tackles. "We just got to come back, watch the film and get better."

Bulldog junior running back Marteze Waller had a big game in the loss, rushing 16 times for 97 yards and two touchdowns. It was Waller's third career game scoring two touchdowns and he finished just shy of registering his second career 100-yard rushing game.

Waller averaged a hefty 6.1 yards per carry and in total, the Bulldogs ran for 157 yards on the ground. The offensive line helped the Bulldogs as a team average 4.8 yards per rush and allowed just one sack.

"There were some guys that played well I thought," DeRuyter said. "Marteze Waller ran the ball really, really well and I thought at times we protected well, but clearly we weren't ready to play against one of the top teams in the country."

Fresno State used both Brian Burrell and Brandon Connette at quarterback in the opener, Burrell starting and playing in the first and third quarters with Connette taking over in the second and fourth. Each quarterback led the Bulldogs on one touchdown drive in the game.

"I think you got to go back and look at the tape, but just on the surface we got to take care of the ball better," DeRuyter said when asked about his quarterbacks.

Burrell was 11-of-19 passing for 92 yards with one interception and had 42 yards on the ground. His 32-yard run in the first quarter was the longest run by a Bulldog quarterback since 2007.

Connette was 7-of-17 passing for 68 yards and he was picked off three times. He rushed seven times for 13 yards.

"USC has a really good defense and all the credit needs to go to them," Connette said. "They played really well and have a lot of good athletes, but we should of moved the ball a lot better. We shot ourselves in the foot on multiple drives."

Fresno State was able to force USC into a pair of turnovers, coming via fumbles on back-to-back drives in the second quarter.

Kyrie Wilson forced the first, which Curtis Riley recovered. Donavon Lewis forced the second on the next drive on a tackle for a loss and he recovered it in the backfield.

Problem was the Bulldogs were unable to capitalize off the turnovers which came after Connette led the `Dogs to their first touchdown of the game on his first drive of the second.

Wilson finished with a career-high 13 tackles and one tackle for a loss to go with his forced fumble.

"Kyrie is getting more and more comfortable in our defense," DeRuyter said. "When you are out there for a hundred-something plays, you expect your linebackers to make some plays and Kyrie did. Overall, defensively we got to get much better."

SDSU Cruises Past Northern Arizona, 38-7, in Opener

Donnel Pumphrey ran for 111 yards and two touchdowns in San Diego State's 38-7 victory over Northern Arizona in its 2014 opener Saturday night at Qualcomm Stadium.
Quinn Kaehler passed for 205 yards and a touchdown, completing 18 of 29 attempts, for the Aztecs, who scored the first 24 points of the game.

After punting on its opening drive, SDSU forced the Lumberjacks into a 3-and-out and got the ball back with 11:58 left in the first. Pumphrey completed San Diego State's 9-play, 63-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to but the home team on the board.

After NAU punted again on its next possession, the Aztecs mounted a 7-play, 88-yard drive to go up, 14-0. The drive was highlighted by four straight first down plays - a 14-yard pass from Kaehler to Eric Judge, a 15-yard strike from Kaehler to Ezell Ruffin, a 33-yard reverse handoff to Lloyd Mills and a 21-yard scamper by Chase Price. Price finished off the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run on 3rd and goal.

Northern Arizona tried to answer after getting all the way to the SDSU 30, thanks to a 50-yard catch and run by Alex Holmes from Kyren Poe on a 2nd and 15. San Diego State stood tall, however, and forced the Lumberjacks into a 45-yard field goal attempt. On the try, Alex Barrett reached up and swatted the kick down to keep NAU off the scoreboard.

On the ensuing possession, the Aztecs got into field goal range of their own, thanks in part to a Northern Arizona pass interference call and a 33-yard run by Pumphrey. Donny Hageman than split the upright from 48 yards to put SDSU up, 17-0. It was the first field goal make by San Diego State since Sept. 28, 2013 vs. New Mexico State.

Hageman later looked to make it four straight scores for the Aztecs, but his 46-yard attempt went wide left, giving the ball back to the Lumberjacks.

After being forced to punt once again, NAU's fourth out of its five possessions (the other was the blocked field goal), SDSU got the ball back with 1:42 left in the second quarter. Kaehler was perfect on the ensuing drive, completing all five of his passes for 75 yards, ending with a 2-yard toss to a wide open Robert Craighead and giving San Diego State a 24-0 advantage at the half.

Northern Arizona finally got on the scoreboard with 6:36 left in the third quarter as Jahn rumbled in from 1-yard out, capping a 9-play, 74-yard drive.

The Lumberjacks appeared to gain the momentum after the touchdown after they forced the Aztecs into a 3-and-out, and getting all the way to the SDSU 38. Kyren Poe's pass on a 3rd and 5, however, was picked off by Calvin Munson and returned 64 yards to the NAU 1.

Pumphrey didn't waste any time as he scored on the very first play, putting San Diego State back up by 24 at 31-7.

Northern Arizona got the ball back, but was forced into its third 3-and-out of the game. The Aztecs' Lloyd Mills then took the punt 67 yards to seal the win for the home team. It was SDSU's third punt return for a touchdown in four games.

San Diego State improved to 47-40-5 all-time in season-opening games, including a 19-6-1 mark in its Division I era (since 1969) when the opener is at home.

The 31-point margin of victory was the Aztecs' largest since beating Hawai'i by 38 (52-14) on Oct. 6, 2012.

Kaehler extended his streak of 200-yard passing games to 13, the longest streak by a SDSU quarterback since at least 1996.

Price added 45 yards on the ground and also caught two balls for 22 yards, while Judge (5 receptions, 51 yards) and Ruffin (4 receptions, 53 yards) combined for nine catches and 104 yards.

Malik Smith led the San Diego State defense with seven tackles and three pass breakups in his first career start, while Trey Lomax and J.J Whittaker contributed six stops apiece.

The seven points allowed were the fewest against the Aztecs since a 42-7 win over Army on Sept. 8, 2012.