ATHENS, Ga. — Aaron Murray threw for 309 yards and four touchdowns, Georgia’s beleaguered defense finally came up with a stop, and the Bulldogs defeated South Carolina 41-30 for an early edge in the Southeastern Conference East.
Coming off a 38-35 loss at Clemson, Georgia could not afford another defeat if it wanted to remain a serious contender for a national title.
Murray took care of that, turning in one of the best games of his career. The fifth-year senior capped his stellar day for the Bulldogs (1-1, 1-0 SEC) with an 85-yard touchdown pass to Justin Scott-Wesley with 13 minutes remaining.
The defense made sure it stood up, stuffing Mike Davis on fourth-and-goal from inside the 1.
Davis led the Gamecocks (1-1, 0-1) with 149 yards rushing on 16 carries.
No. 2 Oregon 59, Virginia 10
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — De’Anthony Thomas ran for 124 yards and three touchdowns, Marcus Mariota threw for two touchdowns and ran 71 yards for another score, and Oregon started fast and completely manhandled Virginia.
The Ducks (2-0), who gained a school-record 772 yards last week in beating Nicholls State, looked capable of doing it again against a Virginia defense that hoped to keep the Cavaliers in the game. Oregon finished with 557 yards and did all its scoring while possessing the ball for just 21:25.
Virginia (1-1) got an early look at what it was up against as Mariota dropped back on a third-and-5 on the opening series, then bolted up the middle untouched, going 71 yards for a touchdown.
After 1:51, the Ducks were on their way to their 16th consecutive victory on their opponent’s field, the longest streak in the country.
No. 3 Ohio St. 42, San Diego St. 7
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Kenny Guiton took over when Braxton Miller left with a sprained left knee, running for one touchdown and passing for two while leading Ohio State over San Diego State.
Miller watched the last three quarters from the sideline after being sandwiched between two tacklers on the Buckeyes’ seventh offensive play. The Buckeyes (2-0) didn’t need him.
Guiton, who helped save Ohio State’s 12-0 season a year ago, had the most playing time he’s ever had in a game. He set career bests with 19 of 28 passing for 152 yards and 83 rushing yards.
It was another disappointing outing for the Aztecs (0-2), who lost 40-19 to FCS Eastern Illinois at home in their opener.
Guiton came in having completed 14 of 25 passes for 144 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions in his 16 career games. He had totaled 59 yards rushing on 14 attempts.
No. 4 Clemson 52, South Carolina St. 13
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Tajh Boyd ran for a touchdown and Clemson returned two interceptions for scores for the first time in program history in a win over FCS opponent South Carolina State.
Boyd finished 14-of-23 passing for 169 yards after accounting for five TDs a week ago and becoming a prime Heisman Trophy contender as the Tigers (2-0) defeated No. 11 Georgia 38-35.
In this one, Boyd scored Clemson’s first touchdown and played only a half against the Bulldogs (0-2) before finding a spot on the Death Valley sidelines next to offensive coordinator Chad Morris. That was more than enough, though, for Clemson to move to 27-0 all-time against FCS teams.
Cornerbacks Martin Jenkins and Darius Robinson each had pick-6 scores to help the Tigers to a 38-7 lead by halftime.
Backup Cole Stoudt had three touchdown passes, two to reserve Germone Hopper, in the blowout.
No. 8 Louisville 44, E. Kentucky 7
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Teddy Bridgewater threw for 397 yards and four touchdowns, and Louisville routed Eastern Kentucky on a day the Cardinals’ defense just missed it second straight shutout.
Linebacker Preston Brown had two sacks for Louisville, and Calvin Pryor had an interception as Louisville limited Eastern Kentucky (1-1) to 76 yards of total offense in the first half.
Following the noon kickoff, Louisville (2-0) settled for a pair of field goals from John Wallace after turnovers gave the offense short fields.
The Cardinals also settled for a third field goal in the third quarter despite reaching Eastern Kentucky’s 4.
Bridgewater hit his first five passes and wound up 23 of 32 with no interceptions after throwing five touchdowns with one interception in the opener. He tossed TD passes to Damian Copeland, and two to DeVante Parker and Gerald Christian while connecting with eight different receivers.
No. 9 LSU 56, UAB 17
BATON ROUGE, La. — Zach Mettenberger passed for an LSU single-game record five touchdowns, receiver Odell Beckham Jr. scored one of his four touchdowns on a 100-yard field goal return, and the Tigers overwhelmed UAB.
LSU coach Les Miles also decided to end running back Jeremy Hill’s benching in the second quarter of the second game of the season. Hill, who was arrested last spring for landing a punch outside a bar, scored on a 3-yard run on his first carry.
Mettenberger finished 16 of 19 for 282 yards and was not intercepted. Beckham’s 136 yards and three TDs receiving were both career highs. He led LSU (2-0) with 331 all-purpose yards.
Darren Reaves and Jamarcus Nelson each had touchdowns in the first half for UAB (0-2).
Miami 21, No. 12 Florida 16
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — Stephen Morris threw two first-quarter touchdown passes, and Miami took advantage of Florida giving the ball away on four red-zone opportunities on the way to knocking off the Gators.
Duke Johnson added a 2-yard touchdown run with 3:29 left to make it 21-9 Miami (2-0), which has won four straight games for the first time since 2008 and will almost certainly return to the AP Top 25 on Sunday for the first time since 2010.
Jeff Driskel threw for a career-best 291 yards and had a 21-yard touchdown pass to Solomon Patton with 2:08 left for the Gators (1-1), who lost three fumbles, had two passes intercepted and were stopped once on downs. Driskel also ran for a touchdown.
But Driskel also turned the ball over twice in the fourth quarter.
No. 19 Northwestern 48, Syracuse 27
EVANSTON, Ill. — Trevor Siemian threw for 259 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, and Kain Colter passed for a score and ran for another to lead Northwestern over Syracuse.
Tony Jones added a personal-best 185 yards receiving and a 47-yard TD, and the Wildcats (2-0) racked up 581 yards on offense. They also intercepted Syracuse’s Drew Allen four times.
Northwestern scored the game’s first 20 points and led 34-7 at the half after amassing 387 yards, with their quarterbacks picking apart Syracuse (0-2).
They each completed 11 of 12 passes in the first half, and Colter seemed to be fine after suffering a concussion last week at California. He was 15 of 18 for 116 yards and ran for 87 yards.
Allen was 27 of 41 with 279 yards, and the Orange will now try to pick themselves up against Wagner and Tulane before beginning Atlantic Coast Conference play against Clemson.
No. 21 Wisconsin 48, Tennessee Tech 0
MADISON, Wis. — Melvin Gordon ran for 140 yards and a score, and Wisconsin’s overpowering defense got its second straight shutout with a win over FCS school Tennessee Tech.
Joel Stave was 24 of 29 for 219 yards with three touchdowns and an interception, while defensive back Darius Hillary set the tone early by forcing a fumble that set up a score for the Badgers (2-0).
The early-season tuneup went about as well as could be expected for first-year coach Gary Andersen, who’s breaking in a new 3-4 defense in Madison. Wisconsin had no problems against the Golden Eagles (1-1), whose spread offense got outmuscled by the bigger Badgers.
Including Gordon, three backs went over 100 yards for the second straight game. Gordon accumulated all his stats in the first half on nine carries. He had more yards rushing by himself than Tennessee Tech had in total offense (83) at halftime.
No. 22 Nebraska 56, Southern Mississippi 13
LINCOLN, Neb. — Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Ciante Evans returned first-quarter interceptions for touchdowns and Nebraska made quick work of Southern Mississippi in the victory.
Taylor Martinez threw for three touchdowns and Ameer Abdullah ran for two more for the Cornhuskers (2-0), who now turn their attention to next week’s home game against No. 18 UCLA.
Jean-Baptiste jumped in front of Rickey Bradley Jr. just as Allan Bridgford’s pass arrived on the third play of the game and ran it back 43 yards.
Evans put the Huskers up 21-3 with the first of his two interceptions, catching a ball tipped by Tyre’oune Holmes and going 22 yards to the end zone.
It was a solid rebound for a Nebraska defense that surrendered 602 yards in a 37-34 win over Wyoming last week.
The Golden Eagles (0-2) lost their 14th straight, the longest current skid in the FBS.