Monday, September 8, 2014

#16 Notre Dame Shuts Down Michigan, 31-0

Everett Golson threw three touchdown passes and No. 16 Notre Dame beat the Wolverines 31-0 victory, snapping Michigan's NCAA record streak of games without being shut out at 365 before the rivalry goes into hiatus.

Coach Brian Kelly tried to downplay the win a little.

"It only counts for one," he said, before adding: "I'd be lying if I told you that it didn't feel great to shut out Michigan, 31-to-nothing," stressing the 31.

Game No. 42 in a rivalry that has been off-and-on for more than 100 years is the last scheduled. Notre Dame broke off the series a couple years ago to make room on its schedule to accommodate its new arrangement with the Atlantic Coast Conference. Michigan didn't take it well.

Coach Brady Hoke jokingly accused the Fighting Irish of chickening out before last year's game at Ann Arbor. Then after Michigan beat the Irish, "The Chicken Dance" blared through the sound system at the Big House.

No hard feelings?

"It was great revenge," Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith said.

The previous most lopsided victory for Notre Dame against Michigan as 35-12 in 1943. The last time the Wolverines were shut out was 26-0 by Iowa on Oct. 20, 1984.

This one will probably sting longer, considering the circumstances.

"We will bounce back," Hoke said. "This is a very resilient, hard-working group of young men, who know what it takes to win."

Golson was 23 for 34 for 226 yards.

Devin Gardner was 19 for 32 for 189 yards and committed four second-half turnovers for Michigan.

Maybe it was just a coincidence that this week Notre Dame announced a future home-and-home with Ohio State, Michigan's hated rival - and a team that has owned the Wolverines in recent years. Still, this is a rivalry that has been generally quite civil in recent years. Two of the bluest of bloods in college football history, they are the winningest programs ever by percentage. They have combined for 1,787 victories. In fact, Michigan had a chance to take back the top spot by beating the Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame and Michigan always seemed to like being associated with one another. Classic uniforms. Recognizable fight songs (they sound a little alike to an untrained ear). They both tout their high academic standards and doing things the right way.

The traditional early season meeting between the Irish and Wolverines has always been a measuring stick.

But things change. Notre Dame now has artificial turf and an interlocking ND logo at midfield. And Michigan has now been shut out for the first time in 30 years.

The golden domes and winged helmets will now go their separate ways. Michigan leads the series 24-17-1, but Notre Dame will get to bask in this one for a while.

Kelly came to Notre Dame five years ago, promising to recruit better athletes and install an up-tempo spread offense. Notre Dame went to a national championship game in 2012 on the strength of its defense. Golson was a redshirt freshman starter who Kelly said just "rode the bus" to the BCS title game. He didn't even finish the 13-6 victory against Michigan that year.

Then Golson watched last season while serving a suspension.

Now, Golson is in the driver's seat.

He was pinpoint and poised in the first half, leading Notre Dame to a 21-0 lead.

Golson mostly worked the intermediate and short middle of the field, until he went deep down on a third-and-1 to Will Fuller, who stretched to make the catch and still keep a foot inbounds for a 24-yard touchdown with 34 seconds left.

Notre Dame still looks as if it can play some defense, though it's hard to tell just how good the Irish are on that side of the ball from this game. Michigan's offense, a mess last year, still looks out of sorts under new offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier.

The offense devolved into Gardner needing to make a play under pressure far too often. It didn't work in 2013 and it had no chance against Smith, Sheldon Day and Notre Dame's feisty defense.

When Golson slipped an inside screen to Carlisle, who scooted 12 yards for a TD, it was 28-0 with 3:02 left in the third quarter.

Michigan lost its 11th straight road game to a ranked team, the last win came in South Bend in 2006, and Hoke fell to 7-12 away from Ann Arbor.

Hill and Cougars hurdle Texas

Quarterback Taysom Hill's three rushing touchdowns led BYU football to a 41-7 domination of revenge-thirsty Texas on the Longhorns' home field Saturday.
Hill made sure to remind the Longhorns of his 2013 performance by rushing for 99 yards and passing for 181 yards.
"Once it became really clear what Texas’ plan was defensively–which was a very strong plan–and we were able to identify what they were doing, it was apparent that Taysom on a few different types of looks could carry the ball more," BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "So we targeted him to do that. We already know what kind of capable runner he is. Schematically we made some adjustments to make sure that could happen."
Senior transfer Jordan Leslie led the receivers with seven receptions for 85 yards. Jamaal Williams rushed for 89 yards on 19 carries, while Adam Hine rushed for 29 yards and two touchdowns.
Dallin Leavitt led the Cougars with seven tackles, followed by Robertson Daniel and Zac Stout with six tackles apiece. The defense held Texas to 2.1 yards per carry and a total of 82 rushing yards on 35 carries. Hill and Williams both out-rushed the entire Texas team.
"Going all the way back to Monday and the first look we had at this opponent, we thought we matched up really well," Mendenhall said. "We thought we had a great chance to have a good win, and we thought we had a really good chance to win convincingly."
Up 6-0 at halftime, Cougar offense turned the tide to start the second half and scored touchdowns on four consecutive drives. Hill completed the first drive with a 30-yard touchdown run after hurdling a Longhorn defender on the 5-yard line. After the defense forced a quick three and out, an acrobatic catch by Leslie set up a 16-yard touchdown run by Hine.
BYU's defense forced another quick three-and-out, and Mitchell Juergens returned the ensuing punt to the Texas 29-yard line. The short field set up a quick scoring drive for the Cougars, as Hill rushed for his second touchdown from a couple yards out. The Cougars proved they were not done on the subsequent kickoff, with Michael Alisa forcing a fumble that was recovered by Harvey Jackson on the Texas 24-yard line. Hill recorded his third rushing touchdown of the game from a yard out with just under six minutes left in the quarter.
"It was a great third quarter because of both sides," Mendenhall said. "Not only did we make a few key corrections offensively, but we created some turnovers that had short fields. So with the combination of playing good defense and taking the ball away, and then the adjustments we made offensively, it really came together nicely."
The offense hit its first snag of the half in the fourth quarter when Hill lost a fumble at midfield, but the defense recovered momentum when Alisa intercepted Tyrone Swoopes and returned it 30 yards into Texas territory. Hine took advantage, scoring his second touchdown of the game from eight yards out. The interception was Alisa’s first, which brought BYU’s streak of consecutive games with an interception to 12 to tie the longest streak in Mendenhall’s tenure.
The first quarter brought a defensive struggle, as BYU was the only team to score on a 21-yard field goal from Trevor Samson. Williams set up the field goal with a 31-yard rush to the Texas 16-yard line.
The Cougar defense showed physical dominance throughout the first half, forcing two punts and a missed field goal. In his first start, Texas quarterback Swoopes completed his first seven pass attempts for 72 yards, but BYU’s rush defense only allowed 21 yards on the ground.
Defense continued to be the theme in the second quarter, with Daniel stripping the ball from a Texas receiver and recovering the ball on the 50. The Cougar offense couldn’t capitalize on the turnover and was forced to punt the ball back to Texas. On the first play of Texas’ next drive, linebacker Jherremya Leuta-Douyere forced another fumble, recovered again by Daniel at the Texas 23-yard line. Samson connected on a 29-yard field goal to take the score to 6-0.
BYU is now 4-1 against Texas and returns to Provo for its first home game of the season against Houston Thursday at 7 p.m. MDT. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN and the Cougar IMG Sports Network.

Texas Tech Nips UTEP, 30-26

Davis Webb passed for 278 yards and three touchdowns and rallied Texas Tech to a late score as the Red Raiders edged UTEP, 30-26, on Sunday morning in El Paso.

The game started at 9:05 p.m. mountain time and ended shortly after 12:30 a.m.

Webb directed Texas Tech (2-0) on a seven-play, 75-yard TD drive in the final minutes after Aaron Jones put the Miners (1-1) ahead 26-23 on a nine-yard scoring run with 5:05 remaining.

Jones rushed for a game-high 147 yards on 23 attempts to lead UTEP.

Webb completed 17-of-31 passes and had a 100-yard rusher and receiver at his disposal. Justin Stockton gained 135 yards on eight carries, and Jakeem Grant reeled in eight catches for 150 yards.

The Miners fell behind 23-13 midway through the third quarter before their offense came alive. Jeremiah Laufasa capped a 13-play, 75-yard drive with a 24-yard TD to pull UTEP within four points, before Jones gave them the short-lived lead by putting the exclamation point on an 11-play, 88-yard drive.

UTEP quarterback Jameill Showers had an off night, completing 9-of-25 passes for 116 yards. The Miners played their second straight turnover-free game to open the season.

Texas Tech finished with 504 yards of offense to UTEP’s 393. The Miners rushed for 277 yards.

UTEP took a 6-0 lead into the second period after Jay Mattox kicked field goals of 22 and 27 yards. Texas Tech outscored the Miners 16-7 in the second quarter to build a 16-13 lead at halftime.

The Red Raiders took their largest lead of 10 points on a 13-yard pass from Webb to Brad Marquez with 6:27 to go in the third quarter.

All three of Marquez’s catches were touchdowns as he finished with 33 yards.

UTEP just missed knocking off a Big 12 team for the first time and fell to 0-13 in matchups versus teams from the league.

The Miners fell to 57-34-4 in home openers with their third straight loss.

UTEP will host NM State next Saturday (Sept. 13) at 6 p.m. The Aggies are 2-0 for the first time since 1999 after winning at Georgia State, 34-31, on Saturday.

Saturday is “White Out” in the stadium. Fans can get their free Battle of I-10 t-shirt when they sign up for a checking account at First Light Federal Credit Union, or purchase special Whiteout apparel at the UTEP bookstore or other local retailers.

The winner of the UTEP-NMSU rivalry game receives a pair of traveling trophies, the silver spade and the brass spittoon. The trophies have resided in El Paso since 2009.

Southern Miss Holds Off Alcorn State, 26-20

Southern Miss had to sweat out a 26-20 victory over lower-tier subdivision, intrastate rival Alcorn State Saturday night. But when a program has celebrated just one win over its last 25 games, any win is a good win.
"You never get tired of winning," said second-year USM coach Todd Monken, whose first edition of the Golden Eagles snapped the program's 23-game losing streak with a win in the 2013 season finale.

"I thought our guys showed a lot of resiliency in the end, especially on the defensive end, coming up with two big stops. I'm not sure we would have done that last year."

Corey Acosta kicked a career-best four field goals and quarterback Nick Mullen threw for two touchdowns for the Golden Eagles (1-1), who scored their first points of the season after being shut out by Mississippi State in the season opener.

Southern Miss got 118 yards rushing on 32 carries from freshman running back Ito Smith as the Golden Eagles rushed for 207 yards and put up 415 total yards.

It was the first time that Southern Miss had reached the 200-yard rushing plateau in Monken's tenure and only the third time his offense had hit the 400-yard mark for total offense.

But Alcorn State (1-1), which plays in the Football Championship Subdivision, had its upset bid dashed when Jomez Applewhite picked off a John Gibbs pass with 57 seconds to play.

"We knew it was going to be a hard-fought battle," said Alcorn State coach Jay Hopson, who was an assistant and defensive coordinator at USM in the 2000s. "We expected a hard-fought battle. We talked to our kids going in. We said this is going to be a fourth quarter game. We thought we could win it. We fought hard, but the chips didn't fall right for us in the end."

Gibbs rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries, while running back Darryan Ragsdale rushed for 111 yards as Alcorn piled up 295 yards of its 393 yards on the ground.

Gibbs added another 94 yards passing but was intercepted twice. The Braves also lost a fumble and muffed a punt leading to USM scores.

Mullens, who completed 21 of 33 passes for 208 yards, threw touchdown passes of 7 yards to James Cox and 38 yards to Marquise Ricard in the second quarter.

Acosta hit a 50-yard field goal for the only score of the first quarter, and tacked on a 39-yard field goal with 9 seconds left in the first half.

Gibbs ran 33 yards for the Braves' only score before halftime.

Southern Miss led 20-7 at halftime, as Alcorn hurt itself in the first half with six penalties for minus 74 yards.

"I thought we gave them some stuff on penalties that helped them," Hopson said. "You can't do that against a good opponent."

Zerick Rollins Jr. threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to Casey Freeman to cut it to 23-13 at the start of the fourth quarter. After Acosta's fourth field goal of the day made it 26-13, Alcorn's Anthony Williams scored on a 5-yard run to make it a one-score game with 7:32 left to play.

Alcorn State had two more chances to tie. The Braves drove to the Southern Miss 39 before Emmanuel Johnson broke up a fourth-down pass to end the drive with 1:29 to play.

Southern Miss only took 27 seconds off the clock on three running plays, though, and punted to Alcorn State with 1:02 to play. But Applewhite picked off Gibbs on the first play of Alcorn's final possession to seal the victory.

"It was awesome," Mullens said. "Coach said, no matter who the opponent, a win is a win, and we are very thankful for that."

Cato Hits the Ground Running, Herd Rolls Past Rams

There was a 34-minute weather delay of the start for Marshall's 2014 football home opener. Then, the real lightning at Joan C. Edwards Stadium was provided by Herd quarterback Rakeem Cato.

And it wasn't with that right arm that has passed for 10,704 Marshall yards.

Running as he hasn't before, the senior quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate led the Herd with 143 ground yards on only nine carries, as the hosts routed visiting FCS member Rhode Island, 48-7, before a soggy crowd of 25,106.

That was just part of an impressive offensive night for the Herd (2-0). Marshall piled up 724 yards total offense - the fourth-highest total in school history, and its 432 rushing yards trailed only the 576 that College Football Hall of Famer Jackie Hunt contributed to in a 67-0 romp against Detroit Tech way back in 1940.

The best historian on Cato on the Herd roster is his longtime Miami and Marshall buddy, slot receiver Tommy Shuler. The two have been playing together since they were age 6 on Miami playgrounds and schoolyards.

"I've never seen him run like that before," Shuler said of Cato. "When he took off on that one and went right through (the Rams) and he ran by me, I was just laughing. It was just fun watching him run.

"If he can do that, it brings a different part to our offense, another dimension. The run option scheme, he can make it work. He's a great decision-maker anyway.
"And he's faster than people think he is (4.6 in the 40). When he kicks it into gear, he can go now. People think he's just slow and he's just quick, but when he gets it kicked into gear because he's got long legs for his height (6 feet 1), and long strides."

Cato, told about Shuler's remarks, joked, "He's mad. He knows I'm faster than him."

You think Cato noticed the figure on the Heisman is running with the ball?

In his first three Herd seasons, Cato's longest run was a 23-yarder in a win last season at Tulsa. He topped that against the Rams with a 24-yarder late in the first half. In Marshall's 31-point second half, besides going 63 yards for that score that had Shuler laughing, the Herd QB also had rushes of 10 (twice), 12 and 17 yards.

"Our offense has done a good job the last couple years at taking what the defense gives us," said Herd Coach Doc Holliday, whose team prospered despite losing three fumbles. "We did so today. Cato thinks he's a running back now. It's good to see Stewy (Butler) run around a little bit and we got some young kids in there now, too.

"We had some good guys have the ball in their hands but we have to take care of it. We can't keep putting the ball on the ground."

Rhode Island's Jim Fleming, making his Division I head coaching debut, was impressed by Cato, too.

"He's a good player," the Rams' coach said. "He delivered a couple deep balls early and got on top of us when we were in press coverage, and put them on the money. He's able to move in the pocket. Everything is always a balance of what he's able to do and what we were unable to do. I think the kid's a good player."

Until Cato's 63-yard TD run - the fourth-longest jaunt by a quarterback in MU annals - the rushing day belonged to tight end-turned-running back Devon Johnson. He finished with a second straight 100-yard day. His 137 yards, on only 14 carries - give him 288 in two games.

If a Herd back has piled up more ground yardage than the guy nicknamed "Rockhead" in the first two games of a season, it's Hall of Famer Hunt. In 1941, he opened with 220 in a win over Omaha, but his totals in a Game 2 triumph over Illinois Wesleyan remain unavailable.

Butler, who was injured and missed the Herd's opening win at Miami (Ohio), had 68 yards on 10 carries, with two touchdowns, while Remi Watson added 66 on only five carries.

Cato and Johnson became the first Herd pair with more than 130 yards apiece in as game since running back Ahmad Bradshaw had 152 and quarterback Bernard Morris 151 in a Sept. 9, 2006 victory over Hofstra.

Cato's 143 total also ranked third for a QB in a Herd game, trailing Danny Wright's 179 (in 32 attempts) against Kent State in 1978, and Morris' 151 versus Hofstra in '06.

Through the air, Cato's 15-of-29 night for 267 yards included Davonte Allen's career game of five receptions for 115 yards - both highs in a Herd uniform. Shuler caught three for 68 yards, including his 18th career TD, and redshirt freshman Angelo Jean-Louis' 20-yard TD catch was his first as a collegian.

The Herd defense had its moments, too, allowing only 111 yards, although the Rams had the ball more than 33 minutes. Rhode Island was just 4-of-17 on third down conversions.

"I thought the defense did some really good things," Holliday said. "We have to do a better job when we get that second group in there. We can't be a drop-off like we were today. I wanted to get some younger guys in there in that second half.

"They did not play the way they needed to play, so we need to get that fixed offensively. There is no question that we move the ball extremely well, but we can't turn it over. So, we need to eliminate the turnovers. If we do that then we have the chance to be a pretty good football team."

The Herd substituted liberally in the second half and used 66 players in the game. Now, thoughts turn to next Saturday's noon kickoff at "The Joan" in the long "Battle for the Bell" rivalry with Ohio (1-1) - a series in which the Bobcats have won three in a row.

"There always is," Cato said postgame when asked about the clamor that surrounds the Herd-Ohio series. "We can talk about that all the time, but it's not a secret what we want to do with that game and how we want to approach that team.

"They're rivals; we have to get after it. Now that this game is out of the way, we have to focus on Ohio."

LA Tech Throttles UL-Lafayette, 48-20, in Renewed Rivalry Game

For Louisiana Tech, it was just another Louisiana Saturday Night. LA Tech (1-1) racked up 533 yards of offense and never trailed while Kenneth Dixon set a new Tech and Conference USA record for the longest rush as the Bulldogs ran by in-state rival Louisiana-Lafayette (1-1), 48-20, Saturday night in front of 25,607 fans at Cajun Field.

The win extended Tech's winning streak over ULL to seven games, the longest by either side in an in-state rivalry that dates back to 1910. Tech now leads the overall series, 47-33-6, in Louisiana's second-longest standing rivalry among in-state teams.

Dixon's 99-yard touchdown run marked the first score in the game and the longest rush by any Louisiana Tech or Conference USA player in history. The junior running back would run for 184 yards and two touchdowns.

Quarterback Cody Sokol was impressive behind center, passing for 295 yards and two touchdowns in a 22-for-33 performance.

Overall, Louisiana Tech forced three turnovers with a pick-six by Xavier Woods and fumble recoveries by Le'Vander Liggins and Lloyd Grogan.

C.J. Cleveland led the Bulldogs defensively with 14 total tackles, 10 unassisted and four assisted, while Bryson Abraham and Woods each had six total tackles to help lead LA Tech to a victory.

With just over four minutes remaining in the first quarter, ULL pinned LA Tech deep on a punt, downing the ball on Tech's one-yard line, but on the first play of the drive Dixon took the ball and raced 99 yards untouched to give the Bulldogs the 7-0 lead. Dixon's run set a new school and Conference USA record for the longest rush.

UL-Lafayette responded on its next drive as Alonzo Harris punched in the tying touchdown from six yards out on the first play of the second quarter.

After trading possessions, Louisiana Tech's Tony Johnson forced a turnover on downs as ULL attempted a 4th-and-1 conversion on LA Tech's 39-yard line. Following that stop, the Bulldogs drove down the field for a score capped off by Hunter Lee's 16-yard touchdown catch from Sokol as the Bulldogs took a 14-7 lead with 4:33 left in the first half. Lee was responsible for 45 yards receiving on four catches in that nine-play, 61-yard drive.

The Bulldogs would add to their lead in the first half as Jonathan Barnes kicked a 28-yard field goal with 10 seconds remaining in the second quarter giving Tech the 17-7 lead, the Bulldogs first halftime lead since a 36-13 win over Southern Miss in the Rivalry in Dixie last year in Ruston.

On the second play from scrimmage in the second half, Sokol connected with Sterling Griffin for a 78-yard touchdown pass - a career-long mark for both players - as Tech took the 24-7 lead just 49 seconds into the half.

Louisiana-Lafayette was mounting a drive in the third quarter before Woods picked off Terrance Broadway and ran it back 46 yards for a touchdown with 3:45 left in the third quarter.

Dixon would not be done for the night as he would run for a touchdown from 32 yards out with 13:32 left in the game, giving the Bulldogs a 38-7 lead.

After Grogan forced and recovered a fumble, the Bulldogs were set up for Barnes to kick a 42-yard field goal with 11:03 left in the game, edging Tech's lead out to 41-7.

ULL would finally strike back in the fourth quarter as Broadway found Effrem Reed for a 20-yard touchdown pass to cut LA Tech's lead to 41-14 with 9:34 remaining in the game.

Louisiana Tech continued to tack on points later in the fourth as the Bulldogs put together an 11-play, 75-yard drive, which resulted in a two-yard rushing touchdown by Jarred Craft to make it 48-14 in favor of LA Tech.

The Ragin' Cajuns completed the scoring for the night as ULL's Brooks Haack connected with Gabe Fuselier for a four-yard touchdown as time expired to make it a 48-20 final score.

Football Falls Short at NC State, 46-34

Old Dominion led 21-18 at halftime but NC State scored 28 second half points to defeat the Monarchs 46-34 Saturday night at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Late in the third quarter, Ray Lawry scored his third rushing touchdown of the night to give ODU a 28-25 lead but the Wolfpack answered with a 16-yard Jacoby Brissett touchdown pass.
Matt Dayes added a 10-yard TD run to make it 39-28 NC State before Taylor Heinicke hit Antonio Vaughan for a nine-yard touchdown pass to cut the lead to 39-34 with five minutes remaining.
ODU tried an onside kick but could not recover, as NC State’s Shadrach Thornton added a 23-yard touchdown to make the final score 46-34 NC State.
Thornton opened the second half scoring with a two-yard run to give NC State the lead at 25-21 but ODU answered with Lawry’s run.
The Monarchs got on the board first, taking the opening drive 75-yards in 10 plays capped by a five-yard touchdown pass from Heinicke to David Washington. Gerard Johnson ripped off a 20-yard run on a third and one while Ray Lawry had a 19-yard run on the drive.
The following drive, NC State drove to the ODU 15, but a Poncho Barnwell sack knocked the Wolfpack back and they had to settle for a 33-yard field goal by Niklas Sade.
Rodman Noel intercepted a Heinicke pass after the Wolfpack field goal and Shadrach Thornton scored from two-yards out to put NC State on top 10-7.
Old Dominion followed with a Ray Lawry one-yard touchdown run on 4th and goal to cap a 14 play, 75-yard drive. Cam Boyd and Heinicke had key first down runs on the drive.
The Monarchs built the lead to 21-10 as Lawry scored his second rushing touchdown of the day, this one a two-yard run to cap a 10 play, 91-yard drive. Heinicke completed a pair of passes to Zach Pascal on the drive while Lawry added a 15-yard run to highlight the drive.
NC State finished the half with an eight play, 80-yard drive as Matt Dayes caught a seven-yard pass from Brissett. The Wolfpack converted the two-point play to cut the lead to 21-18.

Gardner Breaks Record as @FIUFootball Downs Seahawks, 34-3, on Saturday

Capped off by 377 total yards of offense and six forced turnovers on the defensive side of the ball, the FIU football team (1-1) handed the Wagner Seahawks a 34-3 loss on Saturday evening.

Freshman Alex Gardner set a freshman single-game record for yards by a running back, as the Jacksonville, Fla., native finished with 138 yards on the ground. He's the fourth true freshman in Panther football history to rush for over 100 yards in a game.

Also etching his name in the FIU record book was sophomore Jonnu Smith, whose 127 receiving yards tonight moved him to second all-time for receiving yards by a tight end. A 20-yard catch from junior E.J. Hilliard in the third quarter gave the Ocala, Fla., native his first 100-plus yard game.

After junior Denzell Perine forced the Seahawks to go three-and-out on their opening driving, collecting his third and a half sack of the season, freshman quarterback Alex McGough led the Panthers down the field for a touchdown in 1:08. Covering 52 yards, McGough connected with sophomore Jonnu Smith for 41 yards, the longest reception of the tight end's career.

On Wagner's ensuing drive, reigning Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week Richard Leonard ran back an interception untouched, putting the Panthers ahead, 14-0, with 9:58 to play. The 60-yard return is the sixth longest interception for a score in FIU history.

After the Seahawks responded with a 21-yard field goal, cutting their deficit to 14-3, a fumble recovery from junior Michael Wakefield set up sophomore Austin Taylor for a 34-yard field goal.

A 61-yard rush from freshman Alex Gardner then placed the Panthers at the 1-yard line. Redshirt senior Cory White grabbed his first career touchdown pass on McGough's second touchdown pass of the night. Entering halftime, FIU held a commanding, 27-3, lead.

Following a scoreless third stanza, Wakefield picked up his second fumble recovery of the night midway through the fourth quarter. Two drives later, the Panthers' defense forced a key turnover deep in its own zone. In all, Wagner committed six turnovers during the game, tying the FIU record for turnovers by an opponent (6, Florida A&M, 2004).

One final Panther scoring drive took FIU 57 yards on eight plays. A four-yard rush by redshirt junior Anthon Samuel capped of a series lasting just under three and a half minutes.

Splitting time under center, McGough finished the night 9-of-18 and threw for 60 yards. Hilliard went an impressive 14-of-15 for 169 yards in the win. Both quarterbacks had longs of 35-plus yards.

FIU returns to actions on Saturday, as the team plays host to the Pittsburgh Panthers. Kickoff is slated for noon from Ocean Bank at FIU Stadium.

MT'S SECOND HALF SURGE NOT ENOUGH TO QUELL GOPHERS

Middle Tennessee football surged back in the second half, but fell short in a 35-24 loss to Big Ten power Minnesota on Saturday in front of 47,223 fans at TCF Bank Stadium.

Minnesota (2-0) dominated the first half with their potent rushing attack, taking a 28-point advantage at the break. However, the Blue Raiders (1-1) got its offense going by outscoring the Gophers 24-7 in the second half.

Offensively, Middle Tennessee netted 445 yards on 81 plays, while holding Minnesota to 351 yards on 61 plays. The Gophers capitalized on two first half interceptions to take a commanding lead early on. The Blue Raiders amped up its offense in the second with tailback Reggie Whatley scoring two of the three Raider touchdowns. Whatley finished with 84 yards on 14 carries, including his 44-yard touchdown run. The MT rushing attack ran 43 times, collecting 190 yards. Jordan Parker followed Whatley with 67 yards on 13 carries.

Redshirt sophomore quarterback Austin Grammer completed 22-of-38 for 255 yards and touchdown, while throwing three interceptions. Eight different players caught passes with Ed'Marques Batties reeling in eight grabs for 88 yards. Marcus Henry had the lone MT touchdown catch with a three-yard grab late in the fourth quarter. Henry finished the day with five catches for 58 yards.

MT's defense was anchored by veteran T.T. Barber, who led the squad with 14 tackles. He was one shy of tying his career-best of 15 set at BYU last season. Jared Singletary, Kevin Byard and Chris Henry all finished with seven stops a piece. Byard picked up his 11th career interception late in the first half, which tied him for sixth all-time in program history.

Turnovers and penalties hampered the Raiders in the first half. MT finished with three interceptions and nine penalties for 80 yards.

Minnesota was held in check with their first drive after missing a field goal attempt. However, the Gophers capped off a 69-yard, 10-play drive with a Donnell Kirkwood one-yard touchdown.

The second quarter start was rough for the Blue Raiders. Jalen Myrick intercepted Grammer and ran 31 yards for a touchdown to put the Gophers up 14. Just over a minute later, Minnesota would pick up another interception and score one play later.

Minnesota stretched its lead to 28-0 at the half. The Gophers ran 24 of their 33 offensive plays on the ground, compiling 152 rushing yards and 219 total. Tailback David Cobb led the first half rushing attack with 111 yards on 14 carries.

Offensively, the Raiders were limited to 157 total yards in the opening stanza. Grammer completed 10-of-19 for 82 yards and two interceptions. Shane Tucker led the rushing attack with 23 yards on three carries.

Urgency was certainly the key for Middle Tennessee to start the second half. The Raiders ran down the field 75 yards in three plays. Whatley busted for a season-long 44-yard touchdown to give MT its first score of the game.

The Raiders drove down the field on their next drive to set up a scoring opportunity. A touchdown catch by Pettis was overturned due to being out of bounds. MT had three more chances after a penalty, but were unable to capitalize. Cody Clark hit a 21-yard field goal, cutting Minnesota's lead to 28-10 with less than nine minutes left in the third quarter.

Cobb continued to plow through middle and ran 48 yards to extend the Gophers' edge to 25. The bruiser completed the game with the most rushing yards for a Gopher since 2005 with 220 yards on 29 rushes.

Special teams once again came into play in the third quarter when Murfreesboro native Chase Pennycuff blocked a Minnesota punt to give the Raiders the ball at the 12-yardline. Whatley made the Gophers pay with a run on the next play, his second touchdown of the third quarter. MT added its final touchdown late in the fourth quarter with a pass from Grammer to Henry, cutting the score to 35-24.

Middle Tennessee returns home to take on archrival WKU next Saturday, Sept. 13 in a 6 p.m. showdown at Floyd Stadium. The contest is tabbed the Blackout contest and is the first game for the Hilltoppers as members of Conference USA.

NOTES

CAPTAINS: Today's game captains were RB Reggie Whatley, CB Khari Burke and CB John Kelly.

BLUE HELMETS: Middle Tennessee debuted new blue helmets on Saturday against Minnesota to go with blue pants and white jerseys. It marks the 18th different uniform combination under Rick Stockstill. The blue helmets are being donned by the Raiders for the first time since 1977.

BYARD ADDS PICK: Junior Kevin Byard collected his second interception of the season late in the first half against Minnesota to stop a potential scoring drive by the Gophers. Byard now has 11 for his career which ties him with Jimbo Pearson for sixth place on the all-time list.

WHATLEY BREAKS ONE: Running back Reggie Whatley scored the eighth touchdown of his career when he went 44 yards in the third quarter at Minnesota. It marked Whatley's first score of the season and his sixth career rushing touchdown.

STREAK STOPS AT 9: Cody Clark's 21-yard field goal in the third quarter was his first of the season and his ninth straight going back to last season. Clark later saw his chase for the school record of 12 end when he missed a 41 yarder in the fourth quarter.

PENNYCUFF WITH BLOCK: For the second straight game, Middle Tennessee blocked a kick when Chase Pennycuff rejected a Minnesota punt in the third quarter. It went down as Pennycuff's first career block and the 30th in 102 games under Rick Stockstill.

QUICK HITTERS: Max Ugboaja, Shubert Bastien, Christian Henry and Leighton Gasque played in their team leading 39th career game today… Isaiah Anderson, Kevin Byard and Darius Johnson all made their 27th straight start to lead the Raiders … WR Marcus Henry has now caught at least one pass in 15 straight games which leads the Raiders … Zachary Lopez hit a career long 52-yard punt against the Gophers, breaking his previous best of 51 yards … WR Christian Collis made his 2014 debut after suffering a leg injury in spring drills.

Mississippi State Defeats UAB, 47-34

Dak Prescott threw for 211 yards and four touchdowns while also running for 111 yards and a touchdown to lead Mississippi State past UAB 47-34 on Saturday afternoon.

The Blazers (1-1) battled the Bulldogs all day on the strength of a 548-516 advantage in total yards. UAB's quarterback combination of Cody Clements and Jeremiah Briscoe, along with a 37-yard pass completion by tight end Nolen Smith, accounted for 435 passing yards and three touchdowns.

"Wow, what a game," UAB head football coach Bill Clark said. "We came in here at halftime and I think it had been two hours, which was like a regular game, we played in a half. I was sick, but at the same time, I was so proud of these guys and their effort. We just got through telling them that effort isn't everything, that we expect to win, but I'm really proud of them and where we think we can go with this."

UAB senior wide receiver J.J. Nelson caught an 88-yard pass from Briscoe for a touchdown with 13:03 left in the second quarter. The scoring play, the sixth-longest pass play in UAB history, gave the Blazers a 17-13 lead. In the third quarter, Clements connected on an 81-yard touchdown completion to receiver Josh Magee.

UAB running back Jordan Howard rushed for 89 yards, including a 2-yard touchdown run in the early stages of the second quarter.

The Blazers added a final big play with only 38 seconds remaining in the game when Briscoe hooked up with true freshman Quincy Perdue on a 75-yard touchdown pass.

The Blazers attempted an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff and thought they had recovered, but the officials ruled it MSU's ball.
UAB's Briscoe threw for 231 yards and two touchdowns. Clements threw for 167 yards, one touchdown and an interception.

The two teams combined for 1,064 total yards - UAB had 548 and Mississippi State 516.

UAB senior kicker Ty Long kicked field goals of 44 and 46 yards, giving him 50 for his career and moving him into a second place tie with former Blazer Swayze Waters on the school's all-time list.

The Blazers will return to action at home next Saturday, Sept. 13, when they host Alabama A&M at Legion Field. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. CT.

Marquez, Stockton Lead Texas Tech Over UTEP

Davis Webb threw three touchdown passes to Bradley Marquez to help lift Texas Tech to a 30-26 victory over Texas-El Paso Saturday night.

UTEP (1-1) led 6-0 early in the game, but the Red Raiders (2-0) fought back for a 16-13 halftime lead.

Tech pushed its lead to 23-13 on a 13-yard scoring pass from Webb to Marquez in the third, but the Miners hung tough.

UTEP answered with a 24-yard touchdown run from Jeremiah Laufasa that cut Tech's lead to 23-19 at the end of the third quarter.

A 9-yard scoring run by Aaron Jones at 5:05 put UTEP back in front at 26-23. Jones ran for 137 yards.

The Red Raiders turned to their passing game and another hookup from Webb to Marquez. This time, the two connected on a 9-yard touchdown and Ryan Bustin's extra point put Tech ahead to stay at 30-26.

The key plays on that drive, which covered 75 yards in seven plays, were carries of 20 and 24 yards by Justin Stockton. Stockton led Tech with 139 yards on just eight carries, including a 75-yarder for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Still, UTEP wasn't done. Autrey Golden of the Miners returned the ensuing kickoff 52 yards. After a 15-yard facemask penalty was tacked on, UTEP had the ball on the Tech 33-yard line with 2:23 still to play.

Tech responded though, and this time it was the Raiders' defense that answered the bell, limiting UTEP to 4 yards on four plays and forcing the Miners to turn the ball over on downs. UTEP's final play, a fourth-and-6 from the Tech 29-yard line, fell incomplete.

From there, Tech kneeled out the final 1:23 to wrap up the victory.

UTEP came out strong, holding Tech to a three-and-out on the game's opening possession and then marching 72 yards in 11 plays to take a 3-0 lead. Mattox converted the field goal from 22 yards out at 9:44.

Tech finally got into gear offensively two series later, but after rolling up three consecutive first-down plays DeAndre Washington fumbled at the end of a 9-yard carry. Jameel Irving recovered for UTEP at the Miner 16-yard line.

No. 10 Football Overwhelms NSU, 70-6

Baylor backup quarterback Seth Russell threw for 438 yards and five touchdowns while playing only the first half, freshman KD Cannon caught three of those scores and No. 10 Baylor overwhelmed FCS team Northwestern State 70-6 on Saturday night.

Cannon went streaking past the secondary for TD catches of 50, 81 and 42 yards in the first quarter for the Bears (2-0) He finished with six catches for 223 yards, the second-most in school history.

Senior quarterback Bryce Petty, the reigning Big 12 offensive player of the year, didn't play a week after cracking two small bones in his back on the first series of the season opener.

The Bears were also without several top receivers, but still won their 12th straight home game, scoring at least 69 points for the sixth time in that streak.

Northwestern State (0-2) has lost 17 games in a row against FBS teams.

HIGHLIGHTS
• Baylor's defense held opposing teams scoreless for the first 77:06 of game time at McLane Stadium before NSU's field goal with 12:54 left in the 2nd quarter - the Bears haven't allowed a TD in the first two games played at McLane Stadium.
• Baylor's 28 points in the 1st quarter tied the 4th-most in any quarter in program history.
• True freshman WR KD Cannon tied a school record with 3 TD catches in a game (all of which were in the 1st quarter), and his 223 receiving yards were 2nd-most in a game in Baylor history (and set the Baylor record for most in a half, with all recorded in the 1st half).
• Cannon's game marked the 6th time a BU player has caught 3 TDs in a game, joining Lawrence Elkins (1963 at Texas A&M), Melvin Bonner (1992 vs. Utah State and 1992 at TCU), Reggie Newhouse (2001 at Missouri) and Kendall Wright (2011 at Kansas State).
• Cannon caught a 50-yard TD pass on the 4th play of the game, then caught both passes on a 2-play, 96-yard drive later in the 1st quarter, including an 81-yard TD reception that tied the 14th-longest pass in program history.
• Cannon added his 3rd TD catch of the 1st quarter with a 42-yard TD reception with 19 seconds left in the quarter.
• Sophomore QB Seth Russell made his first career start and threw for 438 yards and 5 TDs in the 1st half, both Baylor records for a half. He sat out the 2nd half.
• Russell threw 3 TD passes in the 1st quarter and 2 more in the 2nd, giving him 9 TD passes in his career (6 this season).
• Russell's 438 passing yards were 3rd-most in a game in BU history, and his 6 TDs accounted for tied the Baylor record, which had been accomplished 3 times before.
• Russell rushed for his 4th career touchdown with a 3-yard TD in the 1st quarter.
• Russell's 81-yard TD pass to KD Cannon in the 1st quarter tied the 14th-longest pass in program history.
• RB Shock Linwood had a 2-yard rushing TD in the 2nd quarter for his 10th career rushing TD (2nd of season).
• Linwood had 2 catches for 53 yards, both career highs.
• CB Xavien Howard intercepted a pass for the 2nd straight game, recording his 3rd career interception (2nd of season) on NSU's first drive.
• WR Jay Lee caught a career-long 61-yard TD in the 2nd quarter for his 2nd TD of the season (3rd of career).
• Redshirt freshman RB Johnny Jefferson had a 2-yard rushing TD in the 3rd quarter for his first career rushing touchdown.
• Jefferson rushed 20 times for 107 yards, both career highs.
• LB Bryce Hager had 11 tackles to record his 9th career double-digit tackles game.
• True freshman WR Davion Hall had 4 catches for 78 yards, including a 57-yard TD catch in the 2nd quarter for his first career touchdown.
• Junior RB Silas Nacita had an 11-yard rushing TD in the 4th quarter for his 2nd rushing TD of the season.
• Nacita finished with 14 carries for 104 yards, both career highs.
• Sophomore DT Andrew Billings recorded his first career sack and had a career-high 2 tackles-for-loss.
• Redshirt freshman LB Taylor Young had a career-high 9 tackles and his second career sack in as many games.

STAT OF THE GAME
438: Passing yards for Seth Russell in the first half, a Baylor record for passing yards in a half.