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Alabama makes itself at home in Georgia Dome besting of Virginia Tech

Alabama makes itself at home in Georgia Dome besting of Virginia Tech

Posted: Monday, September 7, 2009 3:37 pm
By: By The Associated Press

ATLANTA — “Sweet Home Alabama” blared from the speakers at the Georgia Dome.
The Crimson Tide felt right at home.
Getting off to another rousing start in Atlanta, No. 5 Alabama overcame a 98-yard kickoff return, costly turnovers and silly penalties to wear down No. 7 Virginia Tech for a 34-24 victory Saturday night.
Mark Ingram rushed for a career-high 150 yards and finished off Virginia Tech with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Greg McElroy threw for 230 yards in his debut as Alabama’s starting quarterback, taking quite a beating but standing tall at the end.
The Crimson Tide began a national title run in Atlanta last season by thumping Clemson, and this sure looks like a team that will be in the thick of things again this year.
Alabama held a 498-155 edge in total yards, even though it had to rally in the final quarter.
Okla. State 24, Georgia 10
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Zac Robinson threw two touchdown passes to star receiver Dez Bryant and also scored on a quarterback sneak as Oklahoma State proved itself deserving of its highest preseason ranking ever.
The Cowboys capitalized on a fourth quarter fumble by new Georgia starting quarterback Joe Cox to seal the season-opening win on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Bryant.
The two also hooked up on an impressive 46-yard score in the first half that got Oklahoma State’s offense going after a sloppy start.
Robinson finished with 135 yards on 11-for-22 passing, and Bryant made the most of his three catches for 77 yards.
Cox was 15-for-30 for 162 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
Florida 62, Charleston South 3
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Tim Tebow accounted for two touchdowns and Chris Rainey and Jeff Demps had scoring runs as No. 1 Florida overwhelmed a helpless opponent.
Florida, an overwhelming favorite to repeat as national champs, accomplished everything it wanted to in the opener. The Gators unveiled some new wrinkles, won the game in convincing fashion and avoided any major injuries.
A better test comes in two weeks, when Tennessee visits Gainesville. The Volunteers beat Western Kentucky 63-7 in coach Lane Kiffin’s debut Saturday.
BYU 14, Oklahoma 13
ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — With Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford helplessly watching on the sideline, his right arm in a sling, BYU upset No. 3 Oklahoma 14-13 on Saturday night.
Max Hall threw a seven-yard touchdown pass to wide-open McKay Jacobson in the back of the end zone with 3:03 left.
The Sooners’ last hope to recover and win without their star quarterback Bradford 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 even more 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.
The Cougars last victory versus a ranked nonconference opponent was against No. 1 Miami in 1990.
Hall was 26-of-38 for 329 yards and two touchdowns.
The numbers that matter most: a 16-play, 78-yard drive that included converting a fourth-and-four and throwing the winning touchdown after being shoved back from the 2 on a delay-of-game penalty.
Hall was intercepted twice and sacked four times.
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.
Oklahoma kicked a field goal on the next play to up 10-7, but backup Landry Jones wasn’t able to stretch it very much.
Ohio State 31, Army 27
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Brian Rolle intercepted a potential two-point conversion in the closing minutes and returned it for two points the other way and Ohio State hold off pesky Navy.
A crowd of 105,092 — the largest ever to see the Buckeyes open a season — sat in stunned silence after the Midshipmen scored twice in just over four minutes to cut a 29-14 deficit to two points with 2:23 left in the game.
Navy went for the conversion and the tie, but Rolle stepped in front of Ricky Dobbs’ pass and rumbled up the sideline to preserve the win in the Midshipmen’s first trip to Ohio Stadium since 1931 — and keep the luster on next week’s showdown between the Buckeyes and No. 4 Southern Cal.
USC 56, San Jose St. 3
LOS ANGELES (AP) — 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.
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.
He was at his best handing off to his fellow Trojans, who pounded the Spartans with six consecutive TD drives after trailing 3-0 early in the second quarter.
USC’s formidable offensive line cleared the way for 343 yards rushing, along with two scores apiece by Stafon Johnson and Joe McKnight. Barkley’s only TD pass put USC up 42-3 midway through the third quarter.
Penn St. 31, Akron 7
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Daryll Clark threw for 353 yards and three touchdowns, and Penn State celebrated coach Joe Paterno’s return to the sideline with a win.
A tenacious defense overwhelmed the Zips’ spread attack, holding Akron to 186 yards of total offense. Akron didn’t record a first down until the third quarter, with Penn State leading by 31.
The Nittany Lions scored on their opening drive on a 5 yard run by Evan Royster and never looked back. Graham Zug’s leaping 19-yard touchdown catch gave Penn State a 31-point cushion just before halftime. Clark threw for 254 yards in the first half alone, a school record.
It was a happy return for Paterno in his first game on the sideline since hip replacement surgery last November.
Georgia Tech 37, Jack. St. 17
ATLANTA (AP) — Jonathan Dwyer ran for two touchdowns, and Georgia Tech had 335 yards rushing.
The Yellow Jackets rested many of their starters in the second half of the opener with Clemson visiting Bobby Dodd Stadium on Thursday.
Dwyer, the 2008 Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year, scored on the first play from scrimmage, taking an option pitch for a 74-yard touchdown.
He finished with 95 yards rushing on seven carries, including a 5-yard touchdown later in the first quarter.
Jacksonville State trailed 31-7 at halftime, scoring on Brooks Robinson’s 20-yard flea-flicker TD catch.
North Carolina 40, The Citadel 6
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) — T.J. Yates threw two touchdown passes in the decisive first half for North Carolina.
Ryan Houston had touchdown runs of 5 and 3 yards, and Shaun Draughn rushed for 118 while helping the Tar Heels roll up 375 yards total offense. They had a 261-30 advantage on the ground.
Da’Norris Searcy returned a late punt 77 yards for a touchdown. Yates was 9 of 20 for 114 yards in three quarters, with scoring passes of 18 yards to Johnny White and 21 yards to Greg Little for the Tar Heels.
They played their first opener as a ranked team since they were No. 12 in 1998, and were upset 13-10 by Miami of Ohio.
Iowa 17, Northern Iowa 16
IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Jeremiha Hunter made up for a mental mistake moments earlier by blocking Northern Iowa’s second field goal try in the closing seconds.
The Panthers lined up for the potential winning field goal with 7 seconds left, but Broderick Binns blocked Billy Hallgren’s 40-yard attempt on a 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, Hunter got his hand on Hallgren’s second attempt to end the game.
Notre Dame 35, Nevada 0
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Jimmy Clausen threw for four touchdowns, including passes of 70 and 88 yards to Michael Floyd, to lead Notre Dame.
Clausen started the game by completing 10 of 11 passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns, highlighted by the 70-yard pass to Floyd. He later bettered that with the 88-yard score.
The junior quarterback finished 15 of 18 passing for 315 yards.
It was the first easy season-opening win for the Irish since coach Charlie Weis’ first game in 2005, and a good way for Notre Dame to prep for a trip to Michigan next week.
Nebraska 49, Florida Atlantic 3
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — Roy Helu Jr. ran for 152 yards and three touchdowns and Zac Lee passed for 213 yards and two scores in his first start for Nebraska.
The Huskers won their 24th consecutive opener, the longest streak in the nation. The Owls fell to 1-16 against opponents from Bowl Championship Series automatic-qualifying conferences, including 0-7 vs. the Big 12.
Lee threw touchdown passes of 28 yards to Menelik Holt and 49 yards to Curenski Gilleylen and led a 15-play, 82-yard drive that Helu finished with a 1-yard run.
Kansas 49, N. Colorado 3
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Todd Reesing sparked slow-starting Kansas with two rushing touchdowns, then passed for two more before the biggest home crowd in school history.
Reesing, who has virtually rewritten his school’s passing records, took a seat on the bench midway through the fourth quarter with the Jayhawks holding a 35-3 lead. He hit 13 of 20 passes for 208 yards and two touchdowns and scored on runs of 2 and 13 yards.
Jake Sharp scored on a 2-yard run and a 10-yard pass before the Memorial Stadium record crowd of 53,530, a fan base that’s been energized by 20 wins the past two years and seems to appreciate no longer being known as a basketball-only school.


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