Bradford goes down,so do Sooners against BYU
No. 20 BYU 14, No. 3 Oklahoma 13: Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford stood helplessly on the sideline, wearing a T-shirt, a sling and a towel around his neck. All he could do was watch as his Oklahoma Sooners lost their chance for a perfect season — and the Brigham Young Cougars launched their bid to become the latest BCS busters from the Mountain West.
Max Hall threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide-open McKay Jacobson in the back of the end zone with 3:03 left to give BYU the win. The Sooners' last hope to recover ended when Tress Way came up short on a 54-yard field goal with 1:23 left. BYU players exchanged flying chest bumps right away, then celebrated wildly when their upset was complete, a stunning end to the first college football game — and first regular-season game — ever played at the nearly $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium.
Bradford sprained his throwing shoulder when he was tackled to the turf on a hard, clean hit by linebacker Coleby Clawson in the closing seconds of the first half.
Buckeyes barely turn back Navy
No. 6 Ohio St. 31, Navy 27: Brian Rolle intercepted a potential tying 2-point conversion in the closing minutes and returned it for two points the other way, helping the Buckeyes survive a potential shocker.
"If Ohio State comes in totally focused on us, we had no chance," Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo said. "We felt like we had them in the perfect storm."
A crowd of 105,092 — the largest ever to see the Buckeyes open a season — sat in stunned silence after the 21-point underdog Midshipmen scored twice in 4 minutes to cut a 29-14 deficit to two points with 2:23 left.
"It wasn't a dazzling fourth quarter for us, by any means," Coach Jim Tressel said in the understatement of the day.
Navy went for the tie, but Rolle stepped in front of Ricky Dobbs' pass and rumbled up the sideline to preserve the win and keep some of the luster on next week's rematch between the Buckeyes and No. 4 Southern California. OSU gave up 186 yards rushing, including 83 to quarterback Ricky Dobbs.
Paulus falters in OT
Minnesota 23, Syracuse 20 (OT): Greg Paulus' debut at quarterback for Syracuse lacked only the storybook ending. Eric Ellestad kicked a 35-yard field goal in overtime Saturday to lift visiting Minnesota over the Orange, who failed to score in the extra session when Paulus threw his lone interception on an ill-advised pass. He got off to a strong start in his first football game since 2004, but his turnover on a third-and-5 play on the first possession of OT gave the Gophers a chance to win.
"I shouldn't make that throw," Paulus said. "I was trying to make a play. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it didn't. I should have thrown the ball in the back of the end zone and kicked the field goal."
Paulus guided Syracuse to a 20-14 lead at the break but failed to convert any of the Orange's eight third-down tries in the second half.
No. 2 Texas 59, Louisiana-Monroe 20: Colt McCoy passed for 317 yards and two touchdowns, and the Longhorns romped at home. Last season's runner-up for the Heisman Trophy connected with Jordan Shipley for a 78-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter. Cody Johnson scored Texas' first three touchdowns on short runs, and freshman D.J. Monroe returned a first-half kickoff 89 yards for a TD.
No. 4 USC 56, San Jose St. 3: Matt Barkley passed for 233 yards after a slow start to his Southern California debut, and the Trojans' fleet of tailbacks ran for six touchdowns at home. Barkley, the first non-redshirt freshman to start a season opener at USC, shook off a rocky first quarter to go 15 for 19 with no interceptions. USC's formidable offensive line cleared the way for 343 yards rushing, along with two scores apiece by Stafon Johnson and Joe McKnight. McKnight rushed for 145 yards, Marc Tyler added 72, and Allen Bradford made a 43-yard TD run as the Trojans rolled through their tuneup for next week's showdown at No. 6 Ohio State. USC has won 11 straight games since last September's loss to Oregon State.
No. 22 Iowa 17, Northern Iowa 16: Jeremiah Hunter made up for a mental mistake moments earlier by blocking Northern Iowa's second field goal try in the closing seconds and allowing the Hawkeyes to escape at home. The Panthers lined up for the potential winning field goal with seven seconds left, but Broderick Binns blocked Billy Hallgren's 40-yard attempt on first down. Believing the game was over, Hunter and several Hawkeyes allowed UNI to recover the ball with a second left. After officials reviewed the play to make sure there was time on the clock, the Panthers tried again on second down, and Hunter got his hand on Hallgren's attempt to preserve the win. The Panthers are one of the top programs in the Football Championship Subdivision and returned 14 starters from a team that reached the national semifinals last season.
No. 9 Penn St. 31, Akron 7: Daryll Clark threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns, and the Nittany Lions celebrated Coach Joe Paterno's return to the sideline with an easy win in Happy Valley. A tenacious defense held Akron to 186 yards of total offense. The Zips didn't record a first down until the third quarter, with Penn State leading 31-0.
Purdue 52, Toledo 31: Ralph Bolden ran for 234 yards and two touchdowns as Purdue rolled at home in former Eastern Kentucky head coach Danny Hope's debut for the Boilermakers. Bolden, a sophomore, put up the third-best rushing total in school history in his first start. He broke loose for a 78-yard touchdown run on his first carry. Joe Tiller lost his Purdue coaching debut to Toledo in 1997, and Hope was an assistant under him that day. Hope's Boilermakers ran for 315 yards, a total Tiller's teams surpassed just twice in 12 years.
Michigan 31, W. Michigan 7: Tate Forcier threw three touchdown passes, and Denard Robinson ran for a score before halftime as the freshman quarterbacks helped the Wolverines (1-0) and embattled coach Rich Rodriguez win their at home. "It was a nice win for Michigan," Rodriguez said with a grin. "Maybe I'll sleep two hours tonight."
Marshall 31, S. Illinois 28: Brian Anderson threw for 316 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Herd at home. Chuck Walker had 119 yards on 10 catches, and Cody Slate caught nine passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns as Marshall gained 388 yards of total offense in the season opener for both teams. The Salukis, who had three turnovers, brought the game within 31-28 with 1:40 left on a 5-yard run by Chris Dieker. Marshall recovered the onside kick to win for the first time in three meetings between the two teams.
Florida A&M 21, Delaware St. 12: Former Kentucky quarterback Curtis Pulley rushed for 196 yards for the host Rattlers, who rolled up 328 yards on the ground as a team and snapped a four-game losing streak to the Hornets in the opener for both teams.