Check here for game stories from all the ACC action from this weekend. We’ve started off with the biggest game – Miami over Florida – but the rest are simply in alphabetical order by school name.
MIAMI TOPS NO. 12 FLORIDA, 21-16
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) – 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 12th-ranked Gators 21-16 on Saturday.
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, getting intercepted – one of Florida’s many red-zone miscues – by Miami’s Tracy Howard with 6:41 left, then getting hit deep in Florida territory and fumbling it away about 2 minutes later to set up the score by Johnson.
The Driskel-to-Patton touchdown capped a four-play, 60-yard drive that lasted only 81 seconds. Florida’s ensuing onside kick was recovered by Miami, and the Hurricanes ran the clock down to 28 seconds before punting the ball away.
And predictably, it ended with a Florida mistake. The Gators – who needed a miracle – were guilty of a false-start penalty on the game’s final play, the clock runoff wiping away the final seconds. Miami coach Al Golden threw his right arm in the air, then sprinted to the Florida sideline to shake the hand of Gators coach Will Muschamp.
Typically, the coaches meet around midfield. Not in this one – Golden was in an all-out sprint, and the Hurricanes were clearly in the mood to celebrate.
So the last chapter, at least for the foreseeable future, of the series between the Sunshine State rivals went to the Hurricanes, and gave Golden easily his biggest win since coming to Miami. The Hurricanes had lost 12 of their last 14 games against teams ranked No. 12 or higher, often getting blown out.
Not this time, though they got plenty of help from the Gators in this one.
Florida held the ball for 38 minutes, racking up 413 yards to Miami’s 212, and it still wasn’t enough. The Gators had 22 first downs to Miami’s 10, held the Hurricanes to a putrid 1-for-11 rate on third-downs, and still lost.
The Gators reached the Miami 28 on the game’s opening drive, then started the trend of not being able to handle first-half prosperity. A foolish penalty – a 15-yarder assessed to Florida’s Clay Burton for a hit on Miami safety Ladarius Gunter – knocked the Gators backward, and Matt Jones fumbled the ball away two plays later to set the Hurricanes up at midfield.
Morris took advantage, finding Herb Waters with a 7-yard touchdown pass that opened the scoring to cap a nine-play drive. Morris connected with Phillip Dorsett for a 52-yard score and a 14-6 lead for Miami late in the quarter, becoming the first quarterback to have two opening-period TD throws against the Gators since JaMarcus Russell did it for LSU in 2005.
Florida’s only first-half score was off a Miami mistake.
The Gators blocked a Miami punt with about 4½ minutes left in the first, taking over at the Hurricanes’ 9. Driskel ran it in from there two plays later – though Miami kept the lead when the Gators unsuccessfully tried a 2-point conversion.
After the Morris-to-Dorsett play, and not counting an end-of-half kneeldown, the Hurricanes ran six plays in about 17 minutes. The Gators ran 30 in that span, and didn’t get a single point out of them.
Three second-quarter trips to the Miami red zone brought three Gator giveaways.
Driskel threw a pass that was intercepted by Rayshawn Jenkins early in the second quarter, and Driskel got stuffed on a fourth-and-1 try at the Miami 16 to end what was an 11-play drive. And then a 12-play, 66-yard march ended in the final minute of the half, when Trey Burton got hit by Miami’s Jimmy Gaines and fumbled away a catch
BC DEFENSE STOPS WAKE FOREST FOR 24-10 WIN
BOSTON (AP) – Andre Williams ran 35 times for 204 yards and a touchdown, and cornerback Bryce Jones had an interception and a fumble recovery to lead Boston College to a 24-10 victory over Wake Forest on Friday night.
Alex Amidon caught five passes for 93 yards and a touchdown for BC (2-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference). The Eagles matched their victory total from last season, when Frank Spaziani was fired and replaced by Steve Addazio.
Michael Campanaro caught five passes for 86 yards and a touchdown for Wake Forest (1-1, 0-1). Tanner Price completed 18 of 30 passes for 191 yards, but he also threw an interception and had a hand in two poor pitches that led to fumbles deep in Demon Deacons territory.
Kevin Pierre-Louis had 11 tackles for Boston College, and Steele Divitto and Steven Daniels had 10 apiece. Chase Rettig completed 7 of 14 passes for 123 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.
Wake Forest, coming off a 31-7 victory over FCS opponent Presbyterian, was sloppy early to help the Eagles take a 17-7 halftime lead.
The Demon Deacons fumbled the ball away on a sloppy pitchout on their second play of the game, giving BC the ball at the 27. Two plays later, Rettig connected with Amidon for a 26-yard touchdown pass.
Wake Forest tied it when Campanaro went down the middle and made a diving 30-yard touchdown catch. BC added a field goal, and then Price made a bad pitch that Jones pounced on at the Demon Deacons 22.
Rettig hit Spiffy Evans for the 22-yard score to make it 17-7.
That’s when the Eagles got sloppy.
Taking over with 76 seconds left in the half and the ball at their own 30, the Eagles burned only 24 seconds off the clock before being forced to punt. Nikita Whitlock got through to block the kick, and Steve Donatell gathered it in at the 3.
But BC kept Wake Forest from scoring, stopping Josh Harris after 2 yards on first down, for no gain on second and then forcing an incomplete pass on third. The Demon Deacons went for it on fourth down, but Harris was stuffed short of the goal line by Kasin Edebali and Divitto.
Williams ran it in from 2 yards out with 2 minutes left in the third quarter to make it 24-7, and then BC again stopped the Demon Deacons inside the 5, forcing them to kick a field goal.
NO. 4 CLEMSON, BOYD POWER PAST S.C. STATE 52-13
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) – Tajh Boyd ran for a touchdown and No. 4 Clemson returned two interceptions for scores for the first time in program history in a 52-13 victory over FCS opponent South Carolina State on Saturday.
Boyd accounted for five TDs a week ago and became 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.
Boyd finished 14-of-23 passing for 169 yards. He was sacked twice.
Clemson opened 2-0 for a fourth straight season, also a program first. The Tigers are off next week and don’t return to the field until opening the Atlantic Coast Conference season Sept. 19 at North Carolina State.
The only way this game might affect the Tigers after last week’s stirring victory over Georgia was if they had lost to South Carolina State. While Boyd wasn’t the crisp, Heisman chaser he was a week ago, he steadily led the Tigers in front and let the defense do the rest.
He directed a 13-play drive on Clemson’s first series that ended with Chandler Catanzaro’s 38-yard field goal. Two series later, Boyd had passes of 13 yards to Sammy Watkins, 18 yards to Charone Peake and 21 yards to Adam Humphries to set up the quarterback’s 1-yard scoring leap for a 10-0 lead.
Jenkins, out all last season due to injury, increased the lead moments later after defensive lineman DJ Reader hit South Carolina State quarterback Richard Cue as he threw and the ball floated for an easy interception. Jenkins turned it up and cut the middle of the field for the score.
Robinson’s interception came at the start of the second quarter, a 35-yard run to the end zone that made it 24-0.
South Carolina State finally broke its scoreless streak at Clemson – the Bulldogs lost 54-0 in their only other game here in 2008 – with Cue’s 63-yard scoring pass to Tyler McDonald. McDonald added a 51-yard TD pass from TeDarrius Wiley in the fourth quarter. McDonald had a 74-yard touchdown catch in South Carolina State’s opening loss to Coastal Carolina.
The scariest moment came when Boyd was slow getting up after a hit midway through the second quarter and jogged slowly to the sidelines. The official word was he lost his breathe and later returned to the game to direct a 77-yard TD drive that ended with D.J. Howard’s 19-yard run.
Boyd didn’t play in the second half, wearing a ball cap and counseling his backups. Clemson’s reserves, though, kept the offense churning. Stoudt, the son of ex-NFL quarterback Cliff Stoudt, finished 19 of 20 for 143 yards, the best single-game showing percentage-wise in school history. The Tigers used four quarterbacks and had 14 players catch passes in the blowout victory.
CONNETTE LEADS DUKE PAST MEMPHIS 28-14
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) – Duke had to rely on reserve quarterback Brandon Connette, and the backup carried the Blue Devils to victory.
Connette, subbing for injured starter Anthony Boone, threw for 198 yards and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns to lead Duke past Memphis 28-14 on Saturdayafternoon.
“When things don’t go exceptionally well, often teams can crumble on the road, particularly, their first games on the road,” Duke coach David Cutcliffe said before later adding: “Brandon is a pretty special young man, and he went in there and did a tremendous job of running our offense.”
The victory marked the first time since 1998 that the Blue Devils have opened the season 2-0, and like in their opener against North Carolina Central, the defense showed good signs at times in the victory over the Tigers (0-1).
“We just are trying to build this attitude on defense,” cornerback Ross Cockrell said. “We want to be a dominant, elite defense not only in the ACC, but in the country.”
Connette was 14 of 21 after entering in the second quarter when Boone, the Duke starter, left the game with an injury. Cutcliffe said after the game Boone suffered a broken collarbone and further examination will be done when the team returns home.
Connette broke open a 14-14 tie with touchdown passes of 22 yards to Issac Blakeney and 12 yards to Brandon Braxton in the final frame.
“I felt comfortable my first series in there,” Connette said. “Memphis definitely made some plays, but I felt comfortable right away. We just had to grind it out and try to tire them out.”
Memphis scored its touchdowns on a 75-yard interception return by Bobby McCain in the first half and an 11-yard run by Jai Steib. Steib’s came in the early stages of the fourth quarter before Connette’s passing put it out of reach.
“We played a good football team that we had an opportunity to beat,” Memphis coach Justin Fuente said. “. We just weren’t there yet, regardless of the calls and anything like that. We just weren’t there yet.”
Duke big-play receiver Jamison Crowder finished the game with 11 catches for 140 yards.
Duke’s defense at times stymied the Memphis offense, limiting the Tigers to only 1 yard of offense in the second quarter and holding Memphis without a first down from the first quarter to the midway point of the third.
“We were just going out there and competing to the best of our ability,” Cockrell said when said when asked about the dominating span.
Duke ended the game with 470 yards of offense to 237 for Memphis, 70 of those coming in three plays when Memphis tied the score at 14 early in the fourth.
“Everybody had their hands on this somewhere defensively,” Cutcliffe said in marveling at the team defense. “Minimized the explosive plays, which minimizes points per game.”
Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, a redshirt freshman starting his first game, finished the day completing 14 of 24 passes for 148 yards.
“I thought Paxton played okay,” Fuente said. “I think he did some good things; he threw the ball down the field well.”
Both teams lost a pair of fumbles.
The game was a return to the area for Cutcliffe, who coached Ole Miss, located just over an hour south of Memphis for six seasons.
Duke’s opening touchdown came on a 23-yard run by Boone in the first quarter.
But Boone’s only interception of the game led to Memphis’ only score when McCain cut in front of a Boone pass to Crowder. With a convoy of Tigers escorting him, he went 75 yards to tie the game on the first play of the second quarter.
The Memphis offense continued to struggle in the early stages of the third, but Duke at least manage an 8-yard scoring run by Juwan Thompson to take the lead at 14-7.
When the Memphis offense got untracked, it resulted in a 3-play, 70-yard drive, the final 11 coming from Steib.
At that point, Connette connected on the pair of touchdown passes to provide Duke its best start in 15 years.
“Late in the third quarter and certainly the fourth quarter, he had really gotten comfortable and had a feel for what we were doing,” Cutcliffe said. “I think offensively, he’s a tough physical guy, and I think our offensive personality got physical at that point, late in the third quarter and in the fourth. “
BROWN, ROSS CARRY MARYLAND PAST OLD DOMINION 47-10
Until that time comes, the guys on top of the depth chart will be quite content to watch from the sideline with a victory well in hand.
C.J. Brown threw for two touchdowns and ran for two, Brandon Ross rushed for 149 yards and Maryland capitalized on three interceptions in a 47-10 rout of Old Dominion on Saturday.
It was the second straight blowout win for the Terrapins (2-0), who defeated Florida International 43-10 in the opener. It’s the first time in school history that Maryland has eclipsed the 40-point mark in its first two games.
After it became 45-3 late in the third quarter, the starters called it a day.
“It was a great team victory,” coach Randy Edsall said. “I thought all three phases really did a good job, and I think it shows when you end up winning 47-10 and you have the kind of stats we had.”
Maryland finished with 587 yards. Six different players rushed for at least 10 yards, including Albert Reid, who averaged 8.0 yards per carry and scored a touchdown. Five receivers caught a pass, led by Stefon Diggs (six receptions for 179 yards).
“Everybody contributed, everybody did a great job,” Diggs said. “We played as a team and came out with a W. That’s the most important thing.”
Brown directed touchdown drives of 77, 46, 97 and 80 yards to help Maryland build a 31-3 lead at halftime. Ross had 126 yards rushing during a first half in which Maryland amassed 392 yards and 20 first downs.
After missing all of last year with a knee injury, Brown accounted for five touchdowns against Florida International. For an encore, the fifth-year senior completed 14 of 22 passes for 275 yards and ran four times for 30 yards in three quarters of work.
“Old Dominion tried to take C.J. away a little bit this week because of what he did last week,” Edsall said. “As they took C.J. away, you saw what Brandon did and what Albert did. I just feel good about the fact that we have some guys that can make plays.”
Old Dominion (0-2) compiled 335 yards in offense but didn’t get in the end zone until Cam Boyd scored on a 3-yard run with 5:05 left.
ODU is a Football Championship Subdivision team that will join Conference USA next year. This was its second game against a Football Bowl Subdivision team; the first came last week, a 52-38 loss to East Carolina.
This one was, well, humbling.
“We haven’t had a lot of adversity as a football program. We haven’t been beaten like this,” coach Bobby Wilder said. “This will be a long bus ride home. Old Dominion has never been beaten by 37 points before. We’ll learn how we can handle adversity. We’ll learn a lot about some young kids now.”
Taylor Heinicke went 18 for 34 for 166 yards before being removed late in the third quarter. His three interceptions proved costly to a team that could ill afford turnovers playing on the road against an Atlantic Coast Conference school.
“Their secondary is very fast, very smart,” Heinicke said. “I feel it’s the best defense we’ve faced here.”
After throwing an interception on the opening drive to set up a Maryland field goal, Heinicke took the Monarchs 66 yards in 10 rapid-fire plays to set up a field goal.
The Terrapins went up 10-3 on a 5-yard run by Ross, and the next series started with Heinicke getting sacked for a 16-yard loss. Two plays later, Sean Davis picked off a third-down pass.
Brown then completed a 41-yard pass to Diggs before running it from the 5 for a 17-3 lead.
Early in the second quarter, ODU had a third-and-goal at the Maryland 2 before Yannick Ngakoue intercepted a deflected pass.
The frenzied pace was interrupted by a couple of punts before Brown directed a nine-play, 97-yard drive that featured six runs by Ross and ended with Diggs grabbing a short pass, high-stepping along the right sideline and diving into the end zone with a somersault for a 41-yard touchdown.
“I didn’t think I was going to get there. That’s why I dove,” Diggs said.
Minutes later, Reid scored on a 27-yard run to make it 31-3.
In the third quarter, after Heinicke threw an incompletion on fourth down from the Maryland 21, Brown capped a five-play touchdown drive with a 31-yard run.
Brown’s final play was a 4-yard touchdown pass to Nigel King with 15 seconds left in the third quarter.
TAR HEELS ROLL PAST BLUE RAIDERS 40-20
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Romar Morris scored twice to help North Carolina run out to a big lead and beat Middle Tennessee 40-20 on Saturday.
Bryn Renner threw for 339 yards and a touchdown for the Tar Heels (1-1), who led all day to regroup after a loss at highly ranked South Carolina. North Carolina scored the first 23 points, had 511 yards and never let the Blue Raiders (1-1) get closer than 13 points after halftime.
Jordan Parker ran for a touchdown and Jared Singletary returned a fumble for a score early in the fourth quarter that brought Middle Tennessee to within 26-13. But the Blue Raiders committed four turnovers, had their offense go dormant in the first half and struggled to consistently slow the Tar Heels’ no-huddle spread offense.
Renner found Quinshad Davis for an 18-yard touchdown shortly after Singletary’s return to retake momentum, helping UNC win its third straight home opener.
North Carolina entered the year with some buzz after tying for the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Coastal Division title, though NCAA sanctions kept the Tar Heels out of the league title game. Some of that dwindled during their 27-10 loss to the Gamecocks in their worst offensive showing in 13 games under Larry Fedora, though some of that could be attributed to a conservative game plan against Gamecocks star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
North Carolina looked much more aggressive Saturday, with Renner looking downfield frequently and connecting on 59- and 43-yard passes in the first half after failing to complete one of more than 24 yards in the opener.
The Tar Heels’ defense also showed some improvement in that opening half. After allowing the Blue Raiders to gain 78 yards in the game’s first drive, UNC held Middle Tennessee to 21 yards for the rest of the half.
Morris got the Tar Heels on the board with a 26-yard run around the left side, then scored again from a yard out late in the second as UNC carried a 23-0 lead into halftime.
Middle Tennessee came into the game with plenty of confidence after beating Georgia Tech – which ended up in the ACC championship game in UNC’s place – on the road last year. But hopes of earning another big road win against an ACC opponent ended amid a series of mistakes on an error-filled day.
Middle Tennessee quarterback Logan Kilgore, who started despite a shoulder injury suffered last week against Western Carolina, threw three interceptions. The first came in the end zone on a one-handed grab by UNC’s Tre Boston on an opening drive that had pushed all the way to the 1-yard line, while another came when Darien Rankin jumped the route around the 10 to end a promising drive midway through the third.
The Blue Raiders also committed a roughing-the-punter penalty to extend a UNC drive that ended with a field goal in the third.
Kilgore threw for 211 yards on 21-for-35 passing, while Parker ran for 109 yards for Middle Tennessee.
SADE’S LATE FG LIFTS N.C. STATE PAST RICHMOND 23-21
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Niklas Sade’s 48-yard field goal with 33 seconds left lifted North Carolina State past Richmond 23-21 on Saturday night.
N.C. State freshman Bryant Shirreffs accounted for two touchdowns and Pete Thomas was 24 of 31 for 237 yards while helping the Wolfpack (2-0) rally from an 11-point deficit.
The Wolfpack took over at their own 21 with 1:59 left and Thomas led them 48 yards in seven plays.
He completed 4 of 5 passes during the drive for 31 yards – including a critical 13-yard throw to Rashard Smith at the sideline – before things stalled at the 31. Sade’s kick from the right hash cleared the crossbar with ease.
Michael Strauss moved the Spiders (1-1) downfield in the final seconds, but his deep heave with no time left was batted down by Hakim Jones just short of the goal line.
Strauss finished 29 of 45 for 300 yards with two touchdowns, but the Spiders were shut out in the second half and were denied their fourth victory over an Atlantic Coast Conference team since 2006.
Shirreffs – who was forced up to No. 2 on the depth chart after starter Brandon Mitchell broke his foot in the opener – completed all three of his passes, ran 28 yards for an early touchdown and threw a 7-yard TD pass to Matt Dayes as the Wolfpack fell behind 21-10 late in the first half before rallying.
N.C. State appeared to wrest control from the Spiders by forcing two fumbles inside Richmond’s 20-yard line on consecutive series in the third quarter.
The Wolfpack turned the first one into a touchdown, but gave the second one right back to the Spiders on a fumble by Shirreffs.
N.C. State defensive end Art Norman pounced on Strauss’ fumble at the Richmond 8, and two plays later, Dayes took a screen pass from Shirreffs into the end zone to pull the Wolfpack to 21-20 with 7:09 left in the third.
N.C. State had a prime chance to retake the lead when Norman forced another fumble from Strauss deep in Spiders territory, but Shirreffs fumbled it right back at the Richmond 4.
Richmond – which beat Duke three times between 2006-11 – showed no fear against a Wolfpack team that was coming off a 40-14 beating of Louisiana Tech in coach Dave Doeren’s debut.
The Spiders scored touchdowns on three straight possessions in the first half.
Strauss threw TD passes of 3 yards to Sam Roller and 14 yards to Stephen Barnette on consecutive series, before Jacobi Green put Richmond up 21-10 with a 7-yard touchdown run with 1:33 before the break.
Sade’s second field goal of the half started the rally and pulled the Wolfpack to 21-13 with 10 seconds left.
ALLEN STRUGGLES, SYRACUSE FALLS 48-27 TO WILDCATS
EVANSTON, Ill. (AP) – Drew Allen tried to take responsibility for this one. His coach was having none of it.
Allen threw four interceptions and the defense got plowed through and passed over, leading to one ugly 48-27 loss to No. 19 Northwestern for Syracuse on Saturday.
“Everyone is going to point at the quarterback position,” coach Scott Shafer said. “But (darn it), it was both sides of the ball. That (darn) defense, we didn’t play well enough.
“We put those offensive kids in a tough position.”
Trevor Siemian threw for 259 yards and a career-high three touchdowns, and Kain Colter passed for a touchdown and ran for one to lead Northwestern.
Tony Jones added a personal-best 185 yards receiving and a 47-yard TD, and the Wildcats (2-0) racked up 581 yards in all.
Syracuse (0-2), coming off a tight loss to Penn State, never had a chance in this one.
The Orange remained winless under Shafer and received another shaky outing from Allen. The Oklahoma transfer 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.
“There were some big dudes out there on the d-line,” Allen said. “They did a great job of reading me and knowing when it’s going to be a quick pass and getting their hands up and batting the balls down.”
Allen took “full responsibility” for this one, but the Orange’s defense was every bit as brutal.
That didn’t sit well with Shafer, who was promoted from defensive coordinator, and he became prickly when a student reporter asked if that group’s performance was “a nightmare” for him.
“A nightmare? No. A nightmare? Hell no,” he said. “It was a bad football game and a bad job of coaching by Coach Shafer. I can’t wait to bounce back and try and get this thing better next week. But not a nightmare. Nightmares are for children. A childish question.”
Northwestern scored the game’s first 20 points and led 34-7 at the half after collecting 387 yards, with their quarterbacks picking apart Syracuse.
They each completed 11 of 12 passes in the first half, and Colter was fine after suffering a concussion early in last week’s win at California.
He said he felt 100 percent Sunday afternoon and wound up going 15 of 18 for 116 yards while running for 87 yards in this one.
“He was really hungry to play today,” said coach Pat Fitzgerald, who had an ideaon Wednesday that Colter would be ready. “He kind of felt like he lost an opportunity a week ago.
“It wasn’t any of his doing or our doing.”
Siemian, who carried the load at quarterback last week, was 15 of 19, and Northwestern looked every bit like a team bent on showing it can beat the best of the Big Ten even though it was missing a key piece in running back Venric Mark (lower body injury).
The Wildcats have high expectations coming off a 10-win season and their first bowl victory in more than six decades. And with games against Western Michigan and Maine, they have a good chance to go to 4-0 before meeting Ohio State in the conference opener.
Siemian had 181 yards and threw for two touchdowns in the first half. Colter was about as good, passing for 96 and a TD while running for 67 and a score.
He led the Wildcats on a four-play, 75-yard scoring drive to start the game, finishing it with an 8-yard pass to Treyvon Green.
Jeff Budzien made it 10-0 with a 32-yard field goal with just over three minutes left in the quarter, and Northwestern struck again just over two minutes into the second, with Siemian hitting a wide open Dan Vitale on the right side for a 20-yard TD.
That made it 17-0, and the Wildcats continued to pile it on.
Traveon Henry intercepted Allen near midfield on Syracuse’s next drive while falling into the Northwestern sideline, and Siemian followed with a 43-yard pass to Tony Jones over the middle to set up another field goal.
Syracuse finally scored when Jerome Smith plowed in from the 3 with 6:29 left to make it 20-7, but Northwestern answered with a 75-yard TD drive.
Colter scrambled 33 yards on a third down to keep it going and finished the possession with a 16-yard run, sticking the ball into the end zone as he got hit at the goal line by Brandon Reddish to bump the lead to 27-7 with 2:38 remaining.
Chi Chi Ariguzo then intercepted Allen with about a minute left, leading to a 5-yard strike from Siemian to Christian Jones in the right corner of the end zone with two seconds left for a 27-point halftime lead.
“We have balance right now,” Fitzgerald said. “After two weeks, I’d like to think we’re as balanced as anybody.”
CAVALIERS HOPE TO USE BYE WEEK TO LEARN
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) – If ever a team needed a week off after two games, it might be Virginia.
The Cavaliers went from the highest of highs and anticipation following a rousing 19-16 victory against BYU to the lowest of lows in a 59-10 drubbing against No. 2 Oregon that was never a game.
“Their speed was something that we’ve never really seen before, but that’s not really an excuse for us,” linebacker Daquan Romero said. “There were a whole lot of missed assignments that we blew and alignments that we could have cheated. We didn’t capitalize on the opportunity.”
They will have plenty of time to think about it as they head into an off week before returning to Scott Stadium in two weeks for a game that should be a lot simpler: they face FCS-level VMI.
Quarterback David Watford, who threw three interceptions and fumbled the ball away, leading to four touchdowns for the Ducks, knows how he’ll spend the time.
“We just have to learn from the film and learn from the mistakes,” the sophomore said.
There’s more than that to decide, coach Mike London said.
“I think we need to find out what our identity is going to be,” he said after his team managed just 298 yards.
The film won’t have many highlights for the Cavaliers.
De’Anthony Thomas ran for 124 yards and three touchdowns, Marcus Mariota threw for two touchdowns and ran 71 yards for another score and No. 2 Oregon started fast on its way to a 557-yard afternoon.
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 did all its scoring while possessing the ball for just 21:25.
Virginia (1-1) got a very early look at what it was up against as Mariota dropped back on a third-and-5 in the game’s opening series, then bolted up the middle untouched, going 71 yards for a touchdown.
The Ducks added a 2-point conversion and, 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.
Mariota finished with 122 yards rushing on four carries and completed 14 of 28 passes for 199 yards.
The Cavaliers trailed 21-0 after 10:32 and never were able to sustain anything on offense. David Watford was 29 for 41 for 161 yards, but threw three interceptions and fumbled once. All four turnovers led to Oregon touchdowns. Virginia’s lone touchdown came on a 45-yard run by Khalek Shepherd.
Virginia came into the game riding a high after a comeback victory last week against BYU, the first since coach Mike London hired new offensive, defensive and special teams coordinators. Defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta’s unit, especially, seemed confident it would be able to slow the Ducks down.
Despite some early bright spots, it didn’t happen.
After Mariota’s long run, the teams exchanged punts, and when the Cavaliers Alec Vozenilek punted again from his 14, Josh Huff deflected the ball out of bounds at the Cavaliers’ 14. Three plays later, Thomas went through the line from a yard out for the touchdown, and it was 14-0 after 7:45.
The Cavaliers got their first two first downs of the game on the next series before Watford rolled right, threw downfield on the run and the ball glanced off Dominique Terrell’s hands into the arms of Trrance Mitchell, who returned the interception 16 yards to the Virginia 40. On the next play, Thomas went8around the right side and down the sideline, tight-roping the line for a touchdown, and it was 21-0.
Shepherd’s touchdown gave the biggest crowd at Scott Stadium in five years reason for hope, pulling the Cavaliers within 21-7, and when the defense held on the next two series, the excitement grew.
But early in the second quarter, Thomas ripped off a 22-yard run, took a swing pass 28 yards down the sideline and Mariota hit Bralon Addison with a short pass that turned into a 30-yard touchdown.
Three plays. Eighty yards. Less than a minute off the clock. And the Ducks were rolling again.
Thomas added an 8-yard TD run in the third quarter, and Mariota hit Keannon Lowe from 11 yards for a touchdown to make it 45-10, prompting both coaches to begin substituting liberally.
Kevin Parks led Virginia with 60 yards rushing, and Jake McGee caught eight passes, but for just 53 yards.
VIRGINIA TECH DEFEATS WESTERN CAROLINA 45-3
-Clean up the special teams play. Check.
-Catch the catchable passes. Check.
-Take care of business against a team at the opposite end of the power spectrum, FCS member Western Carolina. Check.
It wasn’t flawless, but it was a big improvement over last week as the Hokies (1-1) rolled to a 45-3 victory Saturday over the outmanned Catamounts (0-2).
“We’re a work in progress,” said Hokies coach Frank Beamer. “I thought we took another step and did some good things.”
Those good things included better special teams play after giving up touchdowns on punt and kickoff returns in last week’s 35-10 loss to the Crimson Tide. The lone blemish was a muffed fair catch by Kyshoen Jarrett at the Virginia 11 that led to Western Carolina’s only points, a 28-yard field goal. Beamer said he thought a Western Carolina player interfered, causing the ball to glance off Jarrett’s foot.
Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas also got more help from his receivers, who dropped twice as many as they caught in his 5-of-26 performance last week. Ten different receivers caught passes as Thomas finished 17 of 31 for 200 yards and one touchdown. Little-used Willie Byrn led the way with four catches for 58 yards.
“I think it was stressed that we were going to spread the ball around more than against Alabama,” Byrn said.
Said Thomas: “I’ve been really comfortable with everybody the entire time. It’s just having confidence in themselves and going to make plays.”
It wasn’t all smooth for the fifth-year senior, however. He had two passes intercepted in the end zone in the first half.
Beamer said Thomas and the receivers looked better despite the interceptions.
“I really believe that, as we get more used to each other and get to know each other and get our timing down, that’s really going to cut down on the interceptions, and I think the passing game is going to get a lot better,” he said.
Catamounts quarterback Eddie Sullivan struggled mightily against relentless Hokies pressure. He was sacked only once, but was harried into three interceptions – all in the first half – and finished 4 of 14 for 51 yards.
Detrick Bonner had two of those interceptions, returning the first one 37 yards for a touchdown – the first defensive TD for the Hokies since the 2010 ACC championship game. He brought the other one back 35 yards just before the half, but that was followed by Thomas’ second pick of the game to kill a Hokies scoring threat.
With the Catamounts’ passing game doing more harm than good, they went conservative in the second half, attempting only three passes despite trailing 21-0 at the break and 28-0 after a 76-yard touchdown run by redshirt freshman Chris Mangus early in the third quarter.
Even after Jarrett’s muffed fair catch set the Catamounts up in the red zone, they ran three times into the teeth of the Hokies defense and settled for Richard Sigmon’s field goal.
“We didn’t feel like we could hold up in protection down there,” said Western Carolina coach Mark Speir. “We had spurts we felt like running was just our best option to control the game and give us a chance.”
Sullivan attributed his troubles to a combination of scheme and athleticism.
“They played a very unique cover-two defense,” he said. “That defensive coordinator (Bud Foster) is brilliant for doing that. They have pretty good athletes over there, and they blitz you.”
The Hokies also showed balance on offense, grinding out 237 yards rushing to go with their 225 passing. Starting tailback Trey Edmunds finished with 68 yards on 15 carries, including two 1-yard touchdowns. Joel Caleb also had a 13-yard TD run.
Playing a lower-tier team that has now lost 12 in a row overall and 28 straight to FBS opponents took a toll on attendance. The less-than-capacity crowd of 61,335 ended a streak of 93 home sellouts dating to 1998.
“I appreciate the ones who showed up,” Beamer said. “We’ll keep trying to get better for them.”