Sunday, September 25, 2016

No. 9 Washington beats Arizona 35-28 in overtime

 Jake Browning hit Dante Pettis on a 4-yard touchdown in overtime, Lavon Coleman ran for 181 yards and No. 9 Washington held off Arizona 35-28 Saturday night in both teams' Pac-12 opener.
The Huskies (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) had a hard time shaking Arizona (2-2, 0-1), which was down to its fourth-string running back after J.J. Taylor suffered what coach Rich Rodriguez said was a broken left ankle.
Washington had the ball first in overtime and Pettis made a tough grab in traffic. Washington's defense then forced a turnover on downs to eke out the harder-than-it-should-be victory.
"We can do better than that," Washington coach Chris Petersen said.
Brandon Dawkins kept the Wildcats in it, dazzling with 176 yards and two touchdowns rushing, 167 yards and another score passing. He escaped what appeared to be a sack to hit Shun Brown on a 54-yard pass , then foundJosh Kern on a 3-yard TD pass with 17 seconds left to tie the game at 28.
Dawkins couldn't come through in overtime, though, unable to find a receiver on the final play after scrambling to grab a bad snap.
"We had some mistakes that cost us against a good team; they're a really good team," Rodriguez said. "We've just got to get some execution things cleaned up in all three phases and try to get better."
Coleman kept the Huskies moving with Browning limited to passes underneath and scored on a 55-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Browning finished 14 of 21 for 160 yards and two touchdowns.
THE TAKEAWAY
Washington: The Huskies faced adversity for the first time after three easy wins to open the season and survived. Washington failed to capitalize after manhandling the smaller Wildcats to start the second half - a 171-12 advantage in total yards - yet made the plays when it needed to down the stretch.
Arizona: The Wildcats' quick-tempo offense went into a slumber for a long stretch of the second half and its defense was manhandled at times by the Huskies. Arizona had a shot at the end and failed, but the bigger concern is depth after seeing another running back go down.
"Just unbelievable," Rodriguez said of the injuries.
UP NEXT
Washington: The Huskies host No. 7 Stanford next Friday in what should be just the fourth game ever between top-10 teams at Husky Stadium.
Arizona: The Wildcats play at UCLA next Saturday.

Air Force beats Utah State 27-20 in Mountain West opener

Jacobi Owens scored on a 1-yard TD run with 5:06 left in the fourth quarter and Air Force opened the Mountain West Conference season with a 27-20 win over Utah State on Saturday night.
Air Force's Haji Dunn Jr. set up Owens' score when he sacked Kent Myers, forced the fumble and recovered it at the Utah State 14. Owens capped the short drive by breaking a tackle and spinning into the end zone to make it 24-13.
The Falcons (3-0, 1-0) then forced a four-and-out to quickly take the ball back and made it a 14-point lead on Luke Strebel's field goal with 2:57 left.
The Aggies (2-2, 0-1) cut the deficit back to one score with 33 seconds left after a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive. But Ryan Reffitt recovered the onside pooch kick to secure the win.
"Forcing turnovers was a huge part of it," Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun said. "We gave them some yards, but we were able to hold them out of the end zone in the first half. In the second half we played really well defensively."
Utah State tried a fake field goal on fourth-and-goal from the 18 on the first play of the fourth quarter but came up 6 yards short of the end zone. Utah State held Air Force deep in its territory to set up a short field on the ensuing drive and cut the deficit to 17-13 on Brock Warren's 23-yard field goal with 12:02 left.
Timothy McVey had a 59-yard kick return in the second quarter that set up a short field for Air Force to tie it at 10.
The Falcons' Brodie Hicks intercepted Myers' pass late in the second quarter, setting up a six-play, 88-yard drive that give Air Force a 17-10 lead with 13 seconds left in the half.
"I think that maybe sums up the whole game," Utah State head coach Matt Wells said. "It was things in the red zone, allowing a kick return to get all the way brought back and put our defense on a short field. We had our eyes in the wrong spot a couple of times in the secondary. They had a couple of wide-open receivers. That happens in the option game, if you don't have the eyes in the right spot."
THE TAKEAWAY
Air Force: The Falcons entered the game nation's leading rushing offense at 432.5 yards per game. They finished with 213 yards on the ground against the Aggies.
Utah State: The Aggies lost their first Mountain West opener in their fourth season since joining the conference.Ron'Quavion Tarver's nine catches and 143 yards receiving were both career highs.
NO BIG THING
Tarver downplayed the production.
"Coach (Jovon) Bouknight just called my number, so I made a play. That's what I'm supposed to do."
SO FAMILIAR, SO CLOSE
Utah State's Myers was 29 of 47 for 360 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The junior was 4 yards short of the career high he set last season in a 35-28 loss to Air Force.
BUT THE TURNOVERS
Unfortunately for Myers, Air Force capitalized on both of his turnovers for momentum-swinging touchdowns.
UP NEXT
Air Force: The Falcons host undefeated Navy next Saturday for the first service academy showdown of 2016. Air Force's Weston Steelhammer was disqualified for a targeting call in the third quarter and will miss the first half on the Navy game.
Utah State: The Aggies visit Boise State Saturday night. The Broncos should be in a strong position to crack the Top 25 next week after back-to-back victories over Pac 12 opponents.

Devils use late interceptions to beat Bears 51-41

Failure to force turnovers had been a big problem for Arizona State this season.
Until the final three minutes Saturday night.
The Sun Devils picked off Davis Webb twice in that span and D.J. Calhoun returned a Cal onside kick attempt 42 yards with 48 seconds to play in a 51-41 victory over the Bear in the Pac-12 opener for both teams on Saturday night.
Laiu Moekiola returned the second interception 28 yards for a touchdown to put the Sun Devils (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) ahead 44-34 with 2:52 remaining.
"You can't throw two picks in the fourth quarter and expect to win," Webb said. "That is on me. If you turn the ball over, you are probably going to lose."
Webb's fifth touchdown pass of the night, 26 yards to Demetris Robertson, cut the lead to 44-41 with 54 seconds to play. But Calhoun grabbed the onside kick try and ran untouched to the end zone.
Manny Wilkins completed 21 of 30 passes for 290 yards and a touchdown for Arizona State and ran 23 times for 72 yards and three scores.
Salamo Fiso's interception set up the last of Zane Gonzalez's three field goals, a 23-yarder that careened off the right upright, to put the Sun Devils ahead for good 37-34 with 2:55 remaining.
On the first play after the subsequent kickoff, Moekiola picked off Webb's short pass and returned it for the score.
"You see veteran guys make big plays tonight when it mattered," Arizona State coach Todd Graham said.
Webb completed 31 of 55 for 478 yards for California (2-2, 0-1 Pac-12). He wrapped up his night with a lost fumble.
"Clearly turnovers, clearly turnovers," Cal coach Sonny Dykes said, "and we just didn't make any breaks for ourselves down the stretch."
Chad Hansen, who entered the game the national leader in yards receiving and receptions, caught 10 passes for 110 yards for Cal, but had just two catches for six yards in the second half.
The Bears led 24-10 at the half before allowing Arizona State to score 41 second-half points, 31 in the fourth quarter.
"First half, that's on me," Wilkins said. "I just have to get things rolling a bit quicker, but we'll be good, 4-0."
Arizona State took the second-half kickoff and drove 75 yards for a touchdown.
"The big drive they had was at the start of the third quarter," Dykes said. "They really ran the ball well on that drive and that gave them some confidence that they can run it against us. It seemed like we got on our heels at that point."
THE TAKEAWAY
California: Nothing changed the perception that the Bears have one of the top passing offenses in the country, but it wasn't enough. Webb had thrown only two interceptions in the first three games.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils are gaining a reputation as a fourth-quarter team. They rallied to beat Texas Tech, UTSA and California.
FAMILIAR FOE
The Sun Devils knew all about Webb. As a freshman at Texas Tech, he threw for 403 yards and four touchdowns in a 37-23 upset victory over Arizona State in the 2013 Holiday Bowl.
UP NEXT
California: The Bears return home to face Utah next Saturday.
Arizona State: The Sun Devils go to Los Angeles to play USC on Saturday.

No. 10 Texas A&M wins 5th straight vs No. 17 Arkansas

The momentum quickly turned for 10th-ranked Texas A&M when Trevor Knight, the quarterback already with two long touchdown runs, had another big play right after a huge defensive stand by the Aggies.
Knight hit Josh Reynolds for a 92-yard tiebreaking TD pass two plays after 17th-ranked Arkansas was stopped three times from the 1, ending a 19-play drive that took nearly 10 minutes, and the Aggies went on to a 45-24 victory late Saturday night.
"A big-time momentum-changer," Knight said.
Reynolds caught the ball in stride just short of midfield and quickly shed defensive back DJ Dean on his way to the end zone to break a 17-all tie and put the Aggies (4-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) ahead to stay.
Texas A&M has won five straight against the Razorbacks (3-1, 0-1), all since joining the SEC in 2012.
"This game has been something else," Aggies coach Kevin Sumlin said. "I was proud of our guys. They hung in there, and it just really showed the maturity of our team tonight."
The long catch-and-run by Reynolds came two plays after Keon Hatcher was tackled by Armani Watts for a 5-yard loss on fourth down, ending the drive that started after A&M fumbled from the Arkansas 2.
"Everybody talks about fourth-down stops, but it took three others to create a fourth-down stop, you know, from closer than that," Sumlin said. "So it wasn't just the fourth-down stop. It was the three before it."
Quarterback Austin Allen was stopped twice from the 1, though officials reviewed the third-down run before ruling the play stood. One overhead replay showed just how close the ball was to the goal line, with Allen's tight end basically pulling him toward the end zone.
"I've got to believe that the right call was made," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. "It took forever. When those reviews take that long, usually it's because they're going to get overturned. Obviously a huge, huge play."
Earlier, the Razorbacks had to settle for a field goal after six snaps from the 2 on the same series.
Knight's 48-yard TD run just before halftime tied the game at 17, after an earlier 42-yard scoring run. He finished with 10 rushes for 159 yards, the last a 62-yarder on third down in the final minute of the game.
"We're trying to grow with Trevor. I think tonight he struggled early throwing, but he got running, and that was it," Sumlin said. "Somebody asked me what his best stat is, and I said it's winning."
THE TAKEAWAY
Arkansas: The Razorbacks just squandered too many good chances. Along with that long drive in the third quarter that got them nothing, and the field goal after all the snaps from the 2, Rawleigh Williams fumbled just short of the end zone in the first half when it looked like the Razorbacks were about to go ahead by 10. That was one of three lost fumbles.
Texas A&M: At 4-0 for the third straight season, a first since 1939-41, the Aggies finished strong against Arkansas for an emphatic victory after needing overtime to beat Arkansas the last two years. While it remains to be seen if they can truly challenge No. 1 Alabama for the SEC West title, Knight looks comfortable. He also threw for 225 and two scores.
AILING AGGIE
Texas A&M receiver Rickey-Seals Jones suffered an apparent left ankle injury before halftime and was in a walking boot after the game. Sumlin wouldn't comment on his status.
TOUGH ALLEN
Allen stumbled off the field clearly in pain after taking a hard shot on a third-down incompletion midway through the second quarter. The backup quarterback was warming up while Allen was getting tended to for what was called a bruised chest, but the junior quarterback showed his toughness and didn't missed a snap. He completed 28 of 42 passes for 371 yards and two touchdowns.
"He's OK. Sore. He'll be real sore tomorrow," Bielema said. "He's a tough guy obviously. I think our guys know that. I appreciate that about him."
POLL IMPLICATIONS
Arkansas: Since there are a pair of two-loss teams below them in the poll, and the Razorbacks at times outplayed a top-10 team, they certainly are good enough to still be ranked, though they likely will drop at least a couple of spots.
Texas A&M: The Aggies will stay in the top 10, though there is little room for upward movement because of all the higher-ranked winners.
UP NEXT
Arkansas: Razorbacks head home for their final nonconference game next Saturday against FCS team Alcorn State.
Texas A&M: Aggies play away from Kyle Field for the third consecutive week when they go to South Carolina next Saturday.

Idaho edges UNLV in overtime 33-30

Callen Hightower hauled in an 11-yard touchdown pass in overtime Saturday night to lift Idaho past UNLV in a 33-30 win Saturday night.
UNLV (1-3) opened the OT period with a 23-yard field goal from Evan Panels after stalling at the 5. Then it was Idaho's turn as Aaron Duckworth and Linehan pushed to the 11 on the ground, setting up the winning throw to Hightower.
Linehan finished 17 of 35 for 249 yards and 19 more on the ground, including a 7-yard TD run in the fourth quarter. Duckworth had 90 yards on 20 carries, including a TD, and Kaden Ellis returned an interception 31 yards for the game's first score as Idaho (2-2) picked up its first road win of the season. Austin Rehkow had two field goals for the Vandals.
Trailing 27-20 in the fourth quarter, UNLV forced overtime with a 55-yard touchdown run by Lexington Thomas, who finished with 160 yards on 19 carries and two touchdowns.

No. 7 Stanford rallies past UCLA 22-13

UCLA contained Christian McCaffrey, kept Stanford's offense out of the end zone and generated just enough points to lead the Pac-12 champions until the Cardinal's final drive.
And then everything reverted to usual form in this one-sided California rivalry.
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside caught an 8-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Burnswith 24 seconds to play, and No. 7 Stanford rallied for its ninth consecutive victory over the Bruins, 22-13 on Saturday night.
McCaffrey rushed for 138 yards for the Cardinal (3-0, 2-0 Pac-12), but they struggled on offense for 3 1/2 quarters. Stanford got the ball back with 2:05 left and coolly put together a 70-yard drive capped by Burns' fade to Arcega-Whiteside, who got one foot inbounds on an acrobatic play.
"We just kept our composure from the time we started to the time we finished," Arcega-Whiteside said. "We made mistakes, but you could sense in those last two minutes that we were all going to execute. When we do it, it all pays off."
Solomon Thomas then returned Josh Rosen's fumble 42 yards for a touchdown on the game's final play, punctuating the heartbreak for a lively Rose Bowl crowd. Even with that TD, Stanford had its lowest-scoring performance since the 2015 season opener.
PAIN WITHOUT GAIN
Another stirring Stanford victory was another soul-crushing loss for the Bruins (2-2, 0-1), who haven't beaten their upstate rivals since 2008. They had never even led the Cardinal for more than six minutes in any of those eight straight losses, but UCLA nursed an advantage in this one for nearly three quarters - until Stanford snatched it away again.
"That's about as difficult as it gets," said UCLA coach Jim Mora, who has never beaten Stanford's David Shaw. "It stings when you lose like that, and played so courageously on defense, and done such a great job against a really good team, and they make the play. Doesn't matter who you play. Losing like that is just awful."
ROSEN'S VOW
Rosen passed for 248 yards for the Bruins, hitting Nate Iese for his only touchdown in the first half. He got the Bruins to midfield in the final seconds, but couldn't reach field goal range before fumbling on a sack from behind.
The sophomore passer still thinks UCLA can rally to make the Pac-12 title game.
"It's one of the top teams in our conference, and we're going to see them again," Rosen said. "We're a million percent going to see them again."
THE TAKEAWAY
STANFORD: The Cardinal barely escaped with yet another victory, but UCLA's defense might have provided clues to other teams about how to control McCaffrey and the seemingly unstoppable Stanford offense. This is the type of victory that great programs get, and Shaw's unlikely powerhouse proved its tenacity yet again.
UCLA: The Bruins changed their offensive approach and bulked up their defensive line in the offseason, all with the intention of matching Stanford's brute strength and deceptive sophistication. The positive changes weren't evident in the Bruins' first three games, but they showed up in this matchup - just not quite long enough for a win.
POLL IMPLICATIONS
STANFORD: The Pac-12's highest-ranked team and preseason favorite will stay in the top 10 , but it wasn't impressive. The Cardinal won't move up, but No. 8 Michigan State's loss means they aren't likely to slide much, either.
UCLA: Nope.
UP NEXT
STANFORD: This trip had trap-game potential due to the Cardinal's visit to No. 9 Washington on Friday night in a game that could establish early supremacy in the Pac-12 race.
UCLA: The Bruins stay home for a visit from Arizona after shaking off this heartbreaker.

Jackson shines again, No. 3 Louisville beats Marshall 59-28

 Lamar Jackson's latest fantastic performance didn't live up to his own lofty standards.
Jackson capped off a September to remember with another solid effort against an overmatched opponent, throwing for a career-high 417 yards and accounting for seven touchdowns in No. 3 Louisville's 59-28 win over Marshall on Saturday night.
The sophomore threw five touchdown passes and ran for two more scores. He completed 24 of 44 passes against a Marshall secondary whose most experienced player had five starts.
Some of those incompletions stuck with him after the game and he gave himself a failing grade.
"I was overthrowing my receivers," Jackson said. "I'm hot about that right now."
Louisville (4-0) didn't slow down against a nonconference opponent on the road a week after beating Florida State 63-20 at home.
After a punt and a missed field goal on two of their first three series, Jackson said the Cardinals "got mad at ourselves. We're used to going out there and executing everything right.
"We started off bad and in my mind I was like we need to make something happen. We got into our groove."
The Cardinals raced to a 35-7 halftime lead on Marshall and cruised in the second half to break a four-game losing streak to the Thundering Herd. Jackson's scoring passes covered 71, 8, 30, 8 and 51 yards.
"The things we wanted him to do, he did a good job with," Louisville coach Bobby Petrino said. "I think we had to earn it tonight."
Louisville surpassed 600 yards of offense for the third time this season.
Marshall (1-2) was limited to 207 yards in the first start for freshman quarterback Garet Morrell. Chase Litton missed the game with an undisclosed injury that was announced an hour before kickoff. Marshall coach Doc Holliday said Litton didn't practice all week.
Marshall has lost 15 straight to ranked opponents and has yet to beat a ranked team at home since joining the FBS in 1997.
"There is no question, that's an excellent football team," Holliday said of Louisville. "That quarterback is a special guy."
THE TAKEAWAY
LOUISVILLE: Jackson simply hasn't been stopped, although Marshall's pass rush at times forced him into inaccurate throws. His 62 rushing yards meant that his streak of five straight 100-yard rushing games dating to last season came to an end. After four games, he's thrown 13 TD passes and run for 12 more scores.
MARSHALL: The Thundering Herd need Litton back in a hurry and could use some help on defense after allowing 124 points in their last two games. Holliday said the only positives he took away from the game were the play of running backs Anthony Pittman (54 yards) and Anthony Anderson (46).
"We've need to get better in all three phases, come back (Sunday) and go to work," Holliday said.
POLL IMPLICATIONS
With No. 2 Ohio State idle, Louisville could gain some votes in the AP Top 25 poll but it might not be enough to overtake the Buckeyes.
RUNNING RADCLIFF
Jackson hasn't done it alone. Brandon Radcliff had his third straight 100-yard rushing game, finishing with 131 yards on 19 carries.
PENALTIES GALORE
Louisville was penalized 12 times for 143 yards. Marshall, which entered the game averaging an FBS-worst 12.5 penalties per game, was flagged nine times for 95 yards. Kendall Gant was ejected in the second quarter for targeting during a punt return.
UP NEXT
LOUISVILLE: Heads to No. 5 Clemson with a chance to strengthen its perch at the top in the Atlantic Coast Conference's Atlantic Division after beating No. 13 Florida State last week.
MARSHALL: Closes out nonconference play at Pittsburgh.

Russell has 4 TD passes, No. 16 Baylor beats Oklahoma State

Seth Russell threw four touchdown passes, including an 89-yarder to Chris Platt for the go-ahead score in the third quarter, and No. 16 Baylor held on to beat Oklahoma State 35-24 on Saturday night in the weather-delayed Big 12 opener for both teams.
Ishmael Zamora had career highs of 175 yards receiving and two touchdowns on eight catches in his season debut for the Bears after a three-game suspension over a video of him whipping his dog that surfaced during the summer. Platt also had two TDs.
Baylor earned its fourth consecutive 4-0 start in its first big test after a light nonconference schedule.
The game was stopped by lightning for about 1 1/2 hours after the Bears scored on the opening series.
The Cowboys (2-2) lost three fumbles, including the second by Justice Hillafter he picked up a first down at the Baylor 2 with Oklahoma State trailing 28-24 with 9 minutes remaining. Hill, who had 122 yards rushing, was originally ruled down, but the call was overturned on review.
A week after throwing for a national season-high 540 yards to beat Pittsburgh in another weather-delayed game for the Cowboys, Mason Rudolph was 27 of 45 for 279 yards with an interception.
It was the first loss in a true road game for Rudolph since his debut as a freshman at Baylor two years ago, a span that included six straight road wins. Baylor is the only Big 12 team the junior hasn't beaten.
Zamora's first TD came when Russell's high pass went through Lynx Hawthorne's hands and into the sophomore's arms. With the defense converging on Hawthorne, Zamora raced untouched down the sideline for the final 30 yards on the 38-yard play.
Pratt, who had 114 yards receiving, was 5 yards behind Ashton Lampkin on the sideline after a stutter-and-go route when he caught Russell's pass in stride and easily outran everyone to the end zone. Russell was 18 of 28 for 387 yards with an interception.
THE TAKEAWAY
Oklahoma State: Who knows what would have happened if the Cowboys hadn't fumbled inside the Baylor 5 on what looked to be a go-ahead drive in the fourth quarter. Add to the what-if list that started with a disputed loss when officials mistakenly allowed an untimed down for Central Michigan's winning score.
Baylor: The Bears have been something of an afterthought in the Big 12 race since a tumultuous offseason marked by allegations of mishandled sexual assault cases that led to the dismissal of two-time league champion coach Art Briles along with school President Ken Starr and athletic director Ian McCaw. But the Bears are the only 4-0 team, and the only other unbeaten team is West Virginia (3-0).
UP NEXT
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys host No. 21 Texas next week. The Longhorns were off this week.
Baylor: The Bears have their two easiest Big 12 games on paper at Iowa State next week and then Oct. 15 at home against Kansas. There are two byes in the mix as well before a visit to the Longhorns on Oct. 29.