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USC 52, Fresno State 13

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
11:25
PM ET
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Cody Kessler threw for 394 yards and four touchdowns in the USC Trojans' 52-13 win against the Fresno State Bulldogs.

Oklahoma 48, Louisiana Tech 16

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
11:02
PM ET
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Oklahoma rushed for five touchdowns in a 48-16 win over Louisiana Tech.
AUBURN, Ala. – It was a tale of two halves for No. 6 Auburn, both with their quarterbacks and with their defense.

In the first half, quarterback Jeremy Johnson took advantage of his opportunity and threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns. The defense, on the other hand, didn’t look so good. Arkansas rushed for 151 yards in the first half and put up 21 points.

In the second half, Gus Malzahn turned to Nick Marshall at quarterback, and the defense shut down the Razorbacks as Auburn rolled to a 45-21 victory.

The rise of Duke

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We heard all offseason about junior college wide receiver D'haquille Williams or “Duke” as he’s referred to around Auburn. Well, he didn’t disappoint in his debut. The 6-foot-2, 216-pound phenom finished with nine catches for 154 yards and a touchdown, but it was a play late in the first quarter that really showed off his athleticism. Williams blew past the defense on a post route, caught the ball in stride and nearly took it to the house.

Williams: “I just stuck it to the outside, he bit on it a little bit, and that gave me enough room to catch the ball and go with it. When I was running, I was just looking to the end zone, thinking I was going to score. Something told me to look back, and when I looked back, he was coming. I tried to stiff arm him, but when I got shoestring tackled, I was like, ‘No way.’”

Johnson: “I actually thought he was going to score, but once I saw him start running, I was just like, ‘Yep, he ain’t that fast.’ He’s got to lose a couple pounds.”

Marshall returns

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Johnson made people forget about Marshall in the first half, going 12 of 16 for 243 yards and two touchdowns, but it was Auburn’s No. 1 quarterback who led the offense onto the field to start the second half. Once he was out there, it didn’t take long for Marshall to shows flashes of last season. The senior capped his first drive with a nifty 19-yard touchdown run on a classic zone-read play. The play, along with Marshall’s return, energized the whole team.

Malzahn: “It was just a certain way they were playing us, and they were kind of keying on our running back. We got a couple good blocks at the point of attack, and it opened up. Avery Young made a really good open-field block on the safety and allowed Nick to score.”

Auburn center Reese Dismukes: “I saw Nick run it in, and I did the whole Bruce Pearl -- ‘He’s back!’ It was good to see him get in there and rush for a touchdown.”

Pivotal pick-six

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Auburn’s defense was gashed in the first half, and with the game still very much in doubt, the Tigers needed a play. Jermaine Whitehead delivered. The senior safety intercepted Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen and returned it 33 yards for a touchdown to make it 35-21. The errant pass was caused by Robenson Therezie, who blitzed up the middle and hit Allen just as he let go of the ball. It turned out to be a backbreaker for the Razorbacks.

Whitehead: “We were in a zero blitz, and Robenson Therezie got a push on the quarterback along with the rest of the D-line. He hit the quarterback, the ball came out wobbly, and it was in the air forever. When it finally decided to come down, I saw a lot of room, saw all of the D-line ready to make blocks. They cracked on some people. I can’t wait to watch it on film.”

North Carolina 56, Liberty 29

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
10:15
PM ET
Marquise Williams ran for two touchdowns and passed for another two as North Carolina beat visiting Liberty 56-29.video

Georgia 45, Clemson 21

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
9:46
PM ET
video Todd Gurley rushed for 198 yards and three touchdowns and returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in Georgia's 45-21 win over Clemson.

Auburn 45, Arkansas 21

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
9:35
PM ET
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Auburn compiled nearly 600 yards of offense in a 45-21 win over Arkansas.
For a while, it looked as if Clemson might give Georgia a game. But in the second half, Mark Richt's Bulldogs pulled away at home behind a powerful offensive line and a strong group of running backs, winning the season opener in Athens 45-21.

You can’t keep the monster in his cage

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It looked like Todd Gurley wasn’t going to get a chance to run free here. Halfway through the first half, Georgia’s star tailback had only four carries. Then he decided to take matters into his own hands. In on special teams, he fielded the kickoff and found daylight. Splitting the middle of the field, he sprinted 100 yards for the touchdown. It wasn’t fair. A guy that big isn’t supposed to run that fast. The 226-pound junior couldn’t be caught as he ran 100-plus yards without being touched. It was one of those Heisman Trophy-type moments. All that was missing was the stiff-arm pose.

Georgia runs it down Clemson’s throat

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Georgia telegraphed what it was doing. The Bulldogs were running the football, no matter what. And Clemson couldn’t do a darn thing to stop it. Gurley carried for 2, then 38 yards to start the drive. Sony Michel then came in and went for 6 yards. Hutson Mason got in on the action, picking up a yard of his own. Michel then came back and showed off his wheels, reeling off a 17-yard gain. Gurley, now facing a gassed defense, took care of the rest. With the front seven overloaded to his right, he took the pitch that direction, cut back and caught Clemson sleeping. He found daylight in the middle of the field, made a safety miss and went 18 yards to paydirt. The touchdown pulled Georgia ahead by two scores. But more importantly, it proved that Clemson didn’t have an answer for a determined Bulldogs offense.

And then it happened again

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How would you like to face Nick Chubb after Gurley, Keith Marshall and Michel have been pounding the rock all night? How would you like to tackle that 228-pound beast? The true freshman running back couldn’t be corralled by Clemson all night. And when he took the handoff with his team up 10 points, he decided to finish the job, this time showing off his wheels and his strength running through tackles. He shook four Clemson defenders’ grasp, hit the edge, and took off. He went 47 yards for the touchdown that put the game away for Georgia.

Gurley isn’t to be outdone

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What more can we say? Gurley played like he was trying to win the Heisman Trophy in one game, and did a good job of stating his case. Midway through the fourth quarter, you’re not supposed to have the gas to run like this. You’re not supposed to slip a bunch of tackles and go 51 yards that quickly. But Gurley isn’t normal. By the time the night was over, he had 298 total yards and four touchdowns.
During its season opener Saturday, Eastern Michigan Eagles entered the field by sledgehammering a concrete wall. At least they tried to.

The wall did not go down quite as smoothly as the Eagles would've liked.

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ATLANTA -- We got a little bit of a shootout inside the Georgia Dome on Saturday, but No. 2 Alabama prevailed with a 33-23 win over West Virginia in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff. Season openers can be tricky -- and sometimes ugly -- and Alabama, which is a favorite to make the College Football Playoff, had a relatively up-and-down performance in the ATL, but will head back to Tuscaloosa 1-0.

New starting quarterback Blake Sims had some rough moments against West Virginia, but regrouped well and made some big plays throughout the game with his arm and legs. Finding All-SEC receiver Amari Cooper was smart (12 catches for 130 yards), but handing the ball off to his running backs really paid off, especially when he gave the rock to Derrick Henry halfway through the third quarter.

1. Hustling Henry

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Let's face it, the third quarter of this game started off a little stale. After seeing 37 points and 500 yards of offense in the first half, we got a failed fourth-down attempt and a missed field goal. Then, things started clicking for the Crimson Tide on their second drive. With Alabama moving at will against the Mountaineers' defense, Sims handed the ball off to the super sophomore, who immediately cut to his left. As a hole opened up, Henry put on the jets and flew through both lines before pushing off one last defender and leaping into the end zone to put Alabama up 27-17 with 7:44 remaining in the third quarter. Alabama only managed two more field goals after Henry's score. It proved to be the biggest score of the game for the Crimson Tide, as they fought off a valiant comeback effort from the Mountaineers.

Henry: "It was the outside zone play and the tight end made the block and I just read it. I hit the hole and [went] right into the end zone."

Defensive lineman Jonathan Allen: "It gave us more energy and more focus because once we make a big play, we want to capitalize on it and try to keep that momentum going. It really got the momentum in our favor when Derrick scored."

Right tackle Austin Shepherd: "I think we were going 'Speed Ball' or something and we were just trying to wear West Virginia down so we were just going fast. I guess the hole opened and he got out there and made it work. We were just trying to attack and we did. ... We were trying to punish them, man. Every chance you got, drive them into the ground, get in their hand and they'll start thinking about it and finally they'll wear down."

2. Slippery snap

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Henry's play didn't officially put the game away for Alabama, but a bad snap from West Virginia center Tyler Orlosky severely hurt the Mountaineers' chances of pulling of a major upset Saturday. With Alabama clinging to a 30-20 lead with 14:25 remaining in the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers closed in on what should have been another touchdown drive. Quarterback Clint Trickett had already marched his offense down to Alabama's 5-yard line and after two tough incomplete passes that took two touchdowns off the board, Trickett lined up in the shotgun, only to have Orlosky send the snap soaring over his head and outstretched arms. The ball hit the ground and rolled a bit before Trickett landed on it 19 yards behind the line of scrimmage. The play took the Mountaineers out of touchdown range and forced them to kick a field goal. West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen could barely stand to look at the field after Trickett collapsed on the ball. It swallowed up all the momentum the Mountaineers had and clearly sapped some of the offense's energy. Only a couple plays later, West Virginia got the ball back by way of a Sims interception, but went three plays and punted.

Linebacker Denzel Devall: "We just use things like that to keep boosting us up. No matter how bad things may seem or go, we just keep fighting. That's the main thing. Once we saw that happen, we just knew we were doing something good [next]."

Video: Nick Saban talks opening win

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
8:36
PM ET
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Nick Saban saw plenty of positives and negatives for his team in Alabama's win over West Virginia.

Alabama 33, West Virginia 23

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
8:27
PM ET
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The Crimson Tide rushed for 288 yards and three touchdowns to beat West Virginia, 33-23.

Stanford 45, UC Davis 0

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
8:16
PM ET
video Kevin Hogan threw for 204 yards and three touchdowns as Stanford took down UC Davis 45-0.

Missouri 38, South Dakota St. 18

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
8:06
PM ET
video Maty Mauk threw for three touchdowns in Missouri's 38-18 win over South Dakota State.

Nebraska 55, Florida Atlantic 7

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
7:56
PM ET
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Tommy Armstrong Jr. passed for 271 yards and two touchdowns as Nebraska racked up 779 yards of offense in a 55-7 win over Florida Atlantic.

Notre Dame 48, Rice 17

August, 30, 2014
Aug 30
7:45
PM ET
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Everett Golson accounted for five touchdowns in his return with Notre Dame, leading the Irish to a 48-17 win over Rice.

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