Redshirt freshman quarterback Deondre Francoiscompleted 33 of 52 passes for 419 yards and two touchdowns while running for another 59 yards in leading No.4 Florida State to a 45-34 win over No.11 Mississippi on Monday night.
Francois, the fourth freshman to start the season at quarterback in FSU history, led the largest comeback in Seminoles history - 22 points - after a shaky start in the classic SEC-ACC showdown at Camping World Stadium.
Francois and the Seminoles, on the verge of becoming the third top-5 team to lose in the opening week, scored 33 consecutive points during a stretch from late in the second quarter until early in the fourth to overcome a 28-6 deficit late in the second quarter.
With Ole Miss daring Francois to pass by stacking the run to stop Heisman Trophy hopeful Dalvin Cook, the freshman showed poise by making critical throws with his arm and also picking up big yards with his legs.
Ricky Aguayo, another freshman, converting an FSU-record six field goals on six attempts - breaking a mark shared by his brother Roberto.
Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly had a strong first half but FSU defensive end DeMarcus Walker and the rest of the defense started getting to him after halftime to slow the no-huddle offense down. The Seminoles forced Kelly into back-to-back turnovers early in the third quarter on an interception and a fumble on a hit by Walker. Both turnovers resulted in FSU touchdowns as the Seminoles took a 29-28 lead and never looked back while scoring on nine straight possessions between late in the first half and into the fourth quarter.
Ole Miss: The Rebels' up-tempo offense is potent but big mistakes by Kelly under pressure took away any momentum. Kelly had three touchdown passes in fourth quarter but his turnovers (four) brought the offense to a standstill.
Florida State: Francois is definitely the real deal. His arm talent is impressive and his willingness to stay in the pocket to take the big hit on release was uncanny for a first time starter. Running back Dalvin Cook found little running room early but he contributed big as a receiver with a career-high seven catches for 101 yards while rushing for 91 yards on 23 carries for the night.
Ole Miss: The Rebels return home to host Wofford of the FCS on Saturday. Terriers (1-0) are coming off a 21-7 win over Tennessee Tech.
Florida State: The Seminoles will host Charleston Southern of the FCS on Saturday. The Buccaneers (1-1) are coming off a 57-7 win over Kentucky State.
After two losing seasons and with the pressure of an entire program bearing down, Charlie Strong turned his team over to a freshman quarterback for Texas' opener, something no Longhorns coach had done in more than 70 years.
He even called Shane Buechele's mom the night before to say her son would start against No. 10 Notre Dame. She started crying.
"I told him don't let her down," Strong said.
Buechele didn't, and instead delivered big time with 280 yards passing and a pair of touchdowns before Tyrone Swoopes, the senior he beat out for the job, punched in a lunging 6-yard touchdown in the second overtime for a thrilling 50-47 win Sunday night.
"I said a year ago we probably would have lost that football game because we didn't know how to finish," Strong said.
Buechele was the first freshman quarterback to start a season-opener at Texas since Bobby Layne in 1944.
"You knew (Buechele) could handle it. You knew the stage wouldn't be too big," Strong said.
Yet it was Swoopes who won it in the end. Disappointed not to start, Swoopes still played a huge role in the offense with three touchdowns and big runs that punished Notre Dame tacklers who struggled to bring him down.
On the winning score, Swoopes broke a tackle, burst up the middle and stretched the ball across the line. Swoopes has been booed by Texas fans the last two seasons and was treated to a chorus of "Swooooooopes" from the Texas-record crowd of 102,315.
"With that chant and booing, I can't really tell the difference," Swoopes said.
Notre Dame quarterback DeShone Kizer rallied the Irish from a 31-14 deficit in the third quarter and finished with 215 yards passing and five touchdowns.
Texas went ahead 37-35 on D'Onte Foreman's 18-yard touchdown run before Notre Dame blocked the extra point and Shaun Crawford returned it for a 2-point score that tied it at 37 with just under four minutes left.
Strong, and Longhorn fans, had seen Texas collapse and lose games late the previous two seasons.
"This is a great start for us," Strong said. "Our fans really needed that. We've been down for so long. ... It was a night for us to just make it right."
Notre Dame: Coach Brian Kelly will have to consider scrapping the quarterback rotation between Kizer and Malik Zairethat sapped momentum and helped dig the Irish into a big hole.
"No final decision has been made," Kelly said. "It's never easy playing two quarterbacks."
Texas: A huge win for Strong, who is trying to avoid being the first Texas coach with three consecutive losing seasons since the 1930s. It's been said time and again in recent years, but the Longhorns sure look as if they've got their quarterback, despite some sputters in the second half.
"We needed tonight to get this program back in the spotlight," Strong said. "I know one game does not make a season. We have many more to go. But it's a great start."
Notre Dame: A loss means a drop, but how far? The Irish sure didn't look like a top-10 team when the Longhorns were pushing them around early.
Texas: Texas hasn't been ranked since late 2013 when Mack Brown was coach. Beating a top-10 opponent with big plays, tough running and late moxie probably earns a return to the Top 25.
Swoopes ran the "18-wheeler" package - so-named because he wears No. 18 - to near perfection, moving the chains and punishing Notre Dame tacklers in the process. He finished with 53 yards on 13 carries and was a dynamic change of pace when he came on for Buechele.
"He's 260 pounds and runs big," said Notre Dame defensive lineman Isaac Rochell.
Notre Dame: Wide receiver Torii Hunter Jr. was knocked out of the game in the third quarter on a ferocious hit fromDeShon Elliott in the end zone that broke up an Irish touchdown.
Kelly said he had "heated" discussions with game officials asking why the play wasn't reviewed for a possible penalty.
TEXAS: Safety Dylan Haines left the game in the second quarter with a head injury.
Notre Dame: The Irish play their home opener against Nevada on Saturday. The Wolf Pack beat Cal-Poly 30-27 in overtime in their first game.
Texas: Texas hosts Texas-El Paso, which beat New Mexico State 38-22.
David Washington passed for 187 yards and four touchdowns to help Old Dominion beat Hampton 54-21 in the season opener for both teams on Sunday.
It was originally scheduled for Saturday night but was rescheduled to avoid the peak impact of storm system Hermine.
Old Dominion led 31-21 and then scored the final 23 points starting with a safety in the middle of the third quarter. Less than four minutes later, Aaron Young intercepted Jayl Williamson's pass and returned it 15 yards to give ODU a 40-21 lead before the end of the third.
Washington threw his fourth touchdown pass on the first play of the fourth and Jeremy Cox added a 12-yard TD run to cap the scoring.
Ray Lawry had 110 yards rushing and 62 yards receiving for the Monarchs, running for a TD and catching another.
Arizona State and its new quarterback turned an uncomfortably close game into a fourth-quarter blowout.
Manny Wilkins passed for 180 yards, ran for 89 and a touchdown and even hurdled a would-be tackler in his first college start and the Sun Devils pulled away for a 44-13 victory over FCS foe Northern Arizona on Saturday night.
Arizona State led just 10-6 before scoring on its final seven possessions.
"The second half was about more what I expected," Sun Devils coach Todd Graham said, "and the first half was nerve-wracking. We expected to score a lot more points in the first half than we did."
They scored 24 points in the fourth quarter.
"We'll be fine," Wilkins said. "I take complete accountability for that (the slow start) and next week we'll get rolling faster."
Freshman N'Keal Harry took a lateral from Wilkins and raced 34 yards for a touchdown and Kalen Ballage ran 30 yards for a score in the outburst.
Northern Arizona's Case Cookus completed 23 of 33 passes for 369 yards, including an 87-yard touchdown to Elijah Marks. Marks had eight catches for 174 yards.
Wilkins, a redshirt sophomore who was named the starter by coach Todd Graham on Friday, completed 20 of 27 passes with one interception.
"He had some things you see a first-time starter do," Graham said, "and then he did some great things."
Zane Gonzalez kicked three field goals, including a career-long 53-yarder, for the Sun Devils, who haven't lost to the Lumberjacks since 1938.
"At times, we showed ourselves to be very capable; a team that can play at a high tempo," NAU coach Jerome Souers said. "But what I'm concerned about mostly is our ability to deal with adversity that came in the second half."
The game looked like an Arizona State romp at the start.
Ballage returned the opening kickoff 27 yards and the Sun Devils went 44 yards on seven consecutive running plays with Wilkins running 13 for the touchdown.
The Lumberjacks took the second-half kickoff, with Cookus completing passes of 39, 14 and 12 yards, and advanced to the Sun Devils' 1-inch line. But a false start penalty and delay of game pushed them back and Haack's 23-yard field goal cut Arizona State's lead to 10-6.
Gonzalez's 53-yarder boosted the ASU advantage to 13-6 with 7:35 left in the third quarter.
Arizona State linebacker Marcus Ball was tossed from the game after he was called for targeting in a helmet-to-helmet hit with NAU receiver Jabril Taylor. Ball must sit out the first half of the Sun Devils' game against Texas Tech next Saturday. Graham said linebacker Salamo Fiso and defensive lineman Ami Latu didn't play because of disciplinary reasons.
When Wilkins took off up the middle in the second quarter he literally hurdled North Arizona's Keith Graham. The run helped set up Gonzalez's 33-yard field goal.
And as the first half ended, Cookus let it fly in a `Hail Mary' under extreme pressure. The Sun Devils' Kareem Orrtried to catch it, but it bounced off his chest and into the hands of Butler at about the 10-yard line and he took off toward the end zone. But his toe barely went out of bounds at the Sun Devils' 2-yard line and the half ended.
Northern Arizona had the ball at the end only because of another bizarre occurrence. Lumberjacks' punter Dylan Kegans dropped the snap and then kicked the ball 13 yards downfield, where it bounced off the helmet of a Sun Devil and into the arms of Northern Arizona's Corbin Jountti for a first down.
Northern Arizona: The Lumberjacks are picked to win the Big Sky and they stayed with the Sun Devils most of the night. Cookus, a sophomore, looks to put up big numbers when Northern Arizona drops to competition its level.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils and their young quarterback finally found their rhythm late in the third quarter to give them a boost of confidence with the Red Raiders coming to town next week.
Northern Arizona drops down considerably in the level of competition when the Lumberjacks travel to Western Illinois next Saturday.
Arizona State needed their late surge to gain some confidence because the Sun Devils face a much sterner test when they are host to Texas Tech next Saturday.
Josh Allen eluded three would-be tacklers on a wild touchdown scramble from 7 yards out in the third overtime to lift Wyoming to a 40-34 win over Northern Illinois in a game that began nearly two hours late Saturday night due to thunderstorms and ended early Sunday morning.
Christian Hagan missed a 38-yard field goal wide left at the start of the third overtime for Northern Illinois (0-1).
Brian Hill finished with 125 yards rushing and two touchdowns, including a 5-yarder in the second overtime for Wyoming (1-0). The junior, who was the 8th-leading rusher in the FBS last year, went over 100 yards for the 12th time in his career. Drew Hare's 1-yard scoring run for Northern Illinois forced a third overtime.
At the start of the first overtime, Hare fumbled the snap on 3rd and goal from the 2 and Wyoming's Logan Wilsonrecovered.
Allen's 2-yard scoring toss to Jacob Hollister snapped a 20-all tie late in the third quarter, but Hare led the Huskies on a 77-yard drive, converting a fourth-and-10 before hitting wide-open Shane Wimann for a 19-yard touchdown with 1:13 left in the regulation.
Wyoming freshman Cooper Rothe missed a 48-yard field goal at the end of regulation and 37-yarder at the end of the first overtime.
"It was a phenomenal win," Cowboys coach Craig Bohl said. "We have steps to go, but we're starting to see the stamp of the program we want to have."
Allen, a sophomore who took only 13 snaps last season before suffering a broken clavicle, made his second career start. His winning run came on a third-down, play-action bootleg right, but Ladell Fleming forced him back to the left and Allen spun away from Jawuan Johnson and Sean Folliard, then cut straight up and ended a game that lasted four hours and 14 minutes.
"Coach told me to be smart about it and I probably should have thrown it away," Allen said. "I looked back and our guys were there (to block), cut it back and made a guy miss and found a hole and dived in. Felt great."
Allen finished 19 of 29 for 245 yards and two touchdowns. Hare was 24 of 39 for 329 yards - the fourth-best output of his career - with three touchdowns, and Kenny Golladay had 10 receptions for 144 yards and two TD catches. He also rushed for 82 yards and another score.
The game was delayed one hour, 50 minutes by a series of thunderstorms. Kickoff didn't occur until 10:20 p.m. and the contest ended at 2:34 a.m.
The late start and three-OT affair was an unusual experience, Golladay said.
"It was new for me," he said. "I'm sure just like everybody else, probably. I've never done that. I don't know who has. It was a fun game. It just didn't come out in our favor."
Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey said his team made too many mistakes. "The kids played hard, but we've got a lot to correct," he said. "I think there's enough blame to go around with all the sloppiness there was. Give Wyoming credit. We knew they were going to be improved, and they were everything we thought they were."
Andrew Wingard, who led Wyoming with 12 tackles, twice stopped Golladay at the 2 in the first overtime when it appeared the fleet receiver would score. Mycial Allen led Northern Illinois with 13 stops.
Northern Illinois is the winningest team of the Mid-American Conference over the last decade, so last year's 8-6, injury-plagued campaign, capped by a fourth-straight bowl game loss, left the team hungry for a strong start to 2016 and return to form. The Huskies struggled against an inspired Cowboys team that was among the worst in the FBS last year, at least statistically. Hare appears to be fully recovered from a torn Achilles tendon that sidelined him for the final five games of last season, but his fumble at the end of the first overtime was costly.
WYOMING: The Cowboys won only six games in coach Craig Bohl's first two seasons, but this victory was a major step up for the beleaguered program. Bohl has vowed to restore the program "the right way" which might not be the fastest way, but his team made significant strides in the opener, being competitive throughout the whole game, which didn't occur very often last year. The defense looked much quicker and rose to the occasion at several key points, including shutting out the Huskies in two of the three overtimes and stopped seven of eight drives after giving up two first-quarter touchdowns.
NORTHERN ILLINOIS: The Huskies visit South Florida, the fourth meeting between the schools. The Bulls won the last encounter 27-3 in the final International Bowl, played in Toronto following the 2009 campaign to lead the series 2-1.
WYOMING: The Cowboys travel to Nebraska, which leads the all-time series 7-0, including a 37-34 win in 2013's season opener in Lincoln. Wyoming racked up 602 yards against the No. 18 Cornhuskers and nearly overcame a late 16-point deficit.
Kalani Sitake faced a difficult decision in his debut as BYU's coach. He could send out Rhett Almond to attempt a game-winning kick despite the sophomore missing a field and an extra point earlier in the game or turn to freshman Jake Oldroyd.
Sitake went with the freshman, with an assist to special teams coach Ed Lamb, and it worked out perfectly for the Cougars.
Oldroyd kicked a 33-yard field goal with 4 seconds left and Jamaal Williamsran for 162 yards, helping BYU rally to beat Arizona 18-16 on Saturday night.
"After the field goal and PAT we had earlier; I wouldn't say it was a good time to do it, but I felt comfortable with Jake being in that position," Sitake said.
BYU sputtered at times, but pulled out a victory to start a brutal opening stretch of the season.
Williams looked like he never left after sitting out last season due to personal reasons, carrying 29 times to spark BYU's offense.
Taysom Hill was sharp after missing most of last season with a foot injury, hitting 21 of 29 passes for 202 yards and a touchdown.
It still was tight.
Arizona's Nick Wilson scored on a 49-yard run with 1:26 left and the Wildcats failed on the 2-point conversion, giving the Cougars a final chance at University of Phoenix Stadium.
BYU started its final drive on its own 31 and quickly moved down the field to set up Oldroyd's kick. The freshman split the uprights, raised his arms and ran toward BYU's sideline after hitting a winning kick in his first career game .
"We were calm the whole time," Hill said of the final drive. "We knew we had a great opportunity."
Arizona went through a difficult fall camp, trying to focus on football after offensive lineman Zach Hemmila was found dead in his apartment on Aug. 8. Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez joined Hemmila's family with athletic director Greg Byrne and offensive line coach Jim Michalczik for a pre-game ceremony that include a highlight video.
The Wildcats had plenty of questions heading into the season, the big one being who will start at quarterback.
Anu Solomon got the start after a tight battle with sophomore Brandon Dawkins that started in spring, but struggled against BYU's defensive pressure up front for most of the game.
"This one is on me," said Solomon, who threw for 213 yards on 20-of-30 passing. "I have to play better."
He wasn't alone.
Wilson also scored on a 15-yard run in the fourth quarter and finished with 138 yards rushing, one of the few bright spots on Arizona's offense. The Wildcats finished with 328 total yards, 190 of that coming in the fourth quarter.
"You ask the same question four or five times, it eventually becomes like a lawyer," Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. "Ask the same question four times, you're going to get the same I answer, I think. Maybe not."
BYU: Williams was explosive at times and Hill was efficient in his return, coming through when the Cougars needed him to. Despite some breakdowns in the fourth quarter, BYU's defense was solid, holding Arizona's quick-hitting offense in check most of the night.
Arizona: The offensive line, one of the team's most experienced groups, could not solve BYU's pressure until late. The defense, solid for most of the night, allowed the Cougars to quick-hit their way down the field to set up the winning kick. Arizona entered the season with plenty of questions and didn't get many answers.
Arizona suffered a big blow in the second quarter when spur linebacker Tellas Jones went down with an injury and did not return.
The sophomore was one of the few known entities on Arizona's defense and was arguably its best player in the first half, ranging all over the field.
"We still had 11 guys out there," Rodriguez said. "Tellas is a good player, but we still had 11 guys out there."
"I was joking around afterward (Oldroyd's kick) that there was so much conversation about my age and I'm 26, I told the team I'm too old for this, I'm stressed," said Hill, who was granted a fifth year of eligibility after his injury last season.
BYU: The Cougars continue a brutal start to the season at Utah next Saturday, followed by games against UCLA and West Virginia.
Arizona: The Wildcats play their home opener against Grambling State next Saturday.
Clemson's Dabo Swinney kept his kicker on the sideline and put the game in star quarterback Deshaun Watson's hands.
The decision worked in the second-ranked Tigers' 19-13 win over Auburn on Saturday night, but not without a few more anxious moments in an opener filled with them.
Swinney opted to go for it on fourth-and-4 from the 17 instead of kicking a field goal, and Wayne Gallman was stopped short by Tray Matthews - a failed call that could have backfired.
"We just didn't want to take a shot at the field goal right there," he said. "We felt like as good as we had played defensively, with them having no timeouts, it was going to be very difficult for them to go score."
Greg Huegel's extra-point attempt earlier in the quarter had hit the upright. Gallman had been knocked out of bounds on the previous play, stopping the clock to help leave Auburn more time.
"Unbelievable," Swinney said. "And now we're fighting for our life there at the end."
Watson passed for 248 yards, including 174 to Mike Williams in his return from a neck injury in last season's opener. Gallman carried 30 times for 123 yards.
Clemson dominated the stat sheet in the first half - with a 233-38 advantage in total yards - but led only 10-3 and both scores came after defensive penalties on third-down plays.
"That is one of the best teams in college football," Auburn coach Gus Malzahn said. "Holding those guys to 19 points was really unbelievable as far as the effort."
Clemson struggled to put the opener away even though Auburn produced little offense for much of the game while swapping three quarterbacks in and out. Finally, Watson hit former walk-on receiver Hunter Renfrow in the back of the end zone on third and goal from the 16 with 9:59 left in the fourth quarter.
That was a lifetime in this game.
Ben Boulware's subsequent goal line interception only provided a temporary reprieve for a team that made the national championship game last season and is among the favorites to win it this time. Auburn finally got a touchdown with 3:22 left on a 9-yard direct snap run by Kerryon Johnson, and Clemson's failed fourth-down try deep in Auburn territory set up another shot with 40 seconds and 85 yards to go.
Sean White drove the offense to the Clemson 40, but two desperation heaves into the end zone fell incomplete, with the second getting batted around.
CLEMSON: If Watson didn't exactly pick right up from his 478-yard bonanza in the national championship game against Alabama, he was still good enough. And Williams provides Clemson's offense with yet another threat.
AUBURN: Auburn's offensive problems continued from last season, with three quarterbacks attempting passes on the first six plays. The defense made some big stops and held Clemson to 6 of 17 on third downs. Daniel Carlson's 53-yard field goal was the Auburn-record sixth of 50-plus yards.
Barring a dominant win by No. 4 Florida State over No. 11 Mississippi on Monday night, Clemson seems likely to stay put right behind Alabama. No. 3 Oklahoma was upset by 15th-ranked Houston earlier in the day. The close score does make it a question mark, though.
Watson: "We knew they were going to be good. We knew we weren't going to come in here and blow these guys out."
Auburn: hosts Arkansas State, where Malzahn was head coach in 2012, on Saturday.
Clemson: like Auburn, hosts a Sun Belt Conference team on Saturday when Troy visits.
Christian Chapman threw for 283 yards, including a pair of touchdown strikes to Mikah Holder, to lead San Diego State to a 31-0 win over New Hampshire on Saturday night.
Chapman was 16 of 25 without an interception. Holder finished with 160 yards on four catches, all in the first half, including an 86-yard grab for the game's first touchdown.
Donnel Pumphrey had 98 yards on 21 carries for the Aztecs (1-0) and ran for a 20-yard touchdown. John Baron kicked a 33-yard field goal, and an interception midway through the fourth quarter set up the final touchdown, a 1-yarder from Rashaad Penny.
San Diego State, the defending Mountain West Conference champion, piled up 461 total yards while holding New Hampshire (0-1) to just 141. The Aztecs have won 11 straight games stretching back to last season, the second-longest active win streak in the nation behind Alabama's 12.