Alabama running back Jalston Fowler breaks away for a TD run in the second half of the No. 2 Crimson Tide's romp Saturday against Kent State.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- AJ McCarron stepped up in Alabama's quarterback race Saturday, throwing for a touchdown and 226 yards as the No. 2 Crimson Tide beat Kent State, 48-7.
Vying with Phillip Sims to replace Greg McElroy, McCarron had a 24-yard scoring toss to Marquis Maze and finished 14-of-23 passing.
McCarron was hardly perfect, throwing two interceptions. Sims also threw two interceptions -- one that set up Kent State's score -- and finished 7-of-14 for 73 yards.
Starting in place of departed Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram, Trent Richardson scored three touchdowns and ran for 37 yards.
The season-opener was the first game in Tuscaloosa since a deadly tornado swept through town, and the school honored police, firefighters and other first responders during a pregame ceremony that included Gov. Robert Bentley. The stadium was still during a moment of silence to remember tornado victims; fans in the upper seats could see the trail of destruction in the distance.
No. 22 Florida 41, Florida Atlantic 3: John Brantley looked comfortable in Florida's new offense, Chris Rainey scored three different ways and the 22nd-ranked Gators opened the Will Muschamp era with a rout.
Brantley completed 21 of 30 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown, showing marked improvement in Charlie Weis' pro-style offense. Rainey touched the ball 18 times, scoring on a 14-yard reception and a 14-yard run. He also scooped a blocked punt and sprinted 22 yards for a score.
Muschamp, admittedly anxious before his Florida debut, enjoyed a relatively stress-free night. Although the Gators ruled defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd ineligible before the game, the only other negative on this night was an injury to versatile Trey Burton.
Florida's defense dominated Florida Atlantic, a rough start for Howard Schnellenberger's retirement tour.
No. 4 LSU 40, No. 3 Oregon 27: Michael Ford ran for two touchdowns and Jarrett Lee admirably directed LSU's offense in place of suspended quarterback Jordan Jefferson in the fourth-ranked Tigers' season-opening 40-27 victory over No. 3 Oregon on Saturday night.
Missing cornerback-punt returner Cliff Harris was too much for Oregon to overcome in a rare season-opening matchup of top-five teams on a neutral field.
Lee's touchdown pass came against the freshman defensive back filling in for Harris. And a fill-in punt returner had a fumble that led directly to an LSU touchdown.
LSU converted three of Oregon's four turnovers into 20 points and won its 34th consecutive nonconference game. Oregon, which lost to Auburn in the BCS national championship game last season, has consecutive losses for the first time since they losing its last three regular-season games in 2007.
No. 12 South Carolina 56, East Carolina 37: Fifth-year senior Stephen Garcia came off the bench to run for two touchdowns and throw for another as he rallied the 12th-ranked Gamecocks.
Marcus Lattimore added 112 yards and three TDs.
Garcia sat the first quarter as South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier started sophomore Connor Shaw. But the Gamecocks fumbled three times, including one by Shaw, and trailed 17-0 before Garcia entered the game. That's when the offense started to click and South Carolina took control of the season opener.
Garcia had a 32-yard touchdown run his first series and when Lattimore finished the Gamecocks next drive with a 4-yard scoring run, South Carolina fans at Bank of America Stadium began chanting Garcia's name in celebration.
BYU 14, Mississippi 13: Linebacker Kyle Van Noy recovered a fumble in the end zone for the go-ahead touchdown as BYU came back to beat Mississippi in the season opener for both teams.
BYU trailed 13-0 early in the fourth quarter, but Jake Heaps hit Ross Apo for a 19-yard touchdown with 9:52 remaining to pull within 13-7. Less than five minutes later, BYU's defensive pressure forced Ole Miss quarterback Zack Stoudt to fumble, and Van Noy jumped on the football to cap a stunning comeback.
Ole Miss led 3-0 at halftime and stretched it to 10-0 with 8:34 left in the third quarter on a 96-yard interception return for a touchdown by Charles Sawyer.
No. 15 Arkansas 51, Missouri State 7: Tyler Wilson threw for 260 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Jarius Wright, Joe Adams tied a Southeastern Conference record with two punt returns for touchdowns and Arkansas defeated Missouri State.
Wilson, who served as Ryan Mallett's backup the past two seasons, led the Razorbacks (1-0) to scores in each of his four possessions -- including 33- and 29-yard touchdown strikes to Wright. The junior guided Arkansas to 303 yards of total offense in four possessions.
Adams had only one catch for 11 yards, but the senior returned punts 61 and 78 yards. The returns were the second and third of Adams' career, with his last a 97-yarder against Mississippi last season.
Vanderbilt 45, Elon 14: Larry Smith threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score, and Vanderbilt beat Elon 45-14 Saturday night in coach James Franklin's debut with the Commodores.
Franklin showed his willingness to gamble with the team considered the worst in the SEC, going for it on fourth down three times to keep drives alive scoring 17 points. Smith converted the second on fourth-and-3, running 16 yards for a TD.
The win snapped a seven-game skid for the Commodores who scored more points than they did in all but two games last season.
LATE FRIDAY -- Kentucky 14, W. Kentucky 3: Josh Clemons scored on a 14-yard touchdown run, and Morgan Newton shook off three interceptions in throwing a 31-yard TD pass to La'Rod King in helping the Wildcats escape.
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- David Wilson ran for 162 yards and three touchdowns, and No. 13 Virginia Tech routed Appalachian State, 66-13, on Saturday for the Hokies' first season-opening win in four years after losing three in a row between 2008-10.
Wilson scored on runs of 20, 19 and 3 yards, and new quarterback Logan Thomas threw the first two touchdown passes of his career.
The Mountaineers, one of the powerhouse teams of the Championship Subdivision, came in with a much heralded offense led by quarterback DeAndre Presley. But the Hokies limited Appalachian State to 61 yards in the first half in taking a 38-0 lead.
Two touchdowns early in the third quarter -- one on a blocked punt -- pushed the lead to 52-0 and both teams substituted freely thereafter.
Northwestern 24, Boston College 17: Backup Kain Colter threw for 199 yards and ran for 71 more with a touchdown on Saturday to lead Northwestern in the season opener for both teams.
Colter completed 18 of 25 passes and Northwestern won for the first time since Dan Persa ruptured his Achilles tendon last Nov. 13. Persa, who had been touted as a Heisman Trophy contender by the school, was a late scratch.
BC brought the ball to the Northwestern 19 with 18 seconds left before a false start moved them back and took 10 seconds off the clock. Chase Rettig was sacked by Vince Browne on the final play and remained on the field for several minutes.
Clemson 43, Troy 19: Tajh Boyd was 20-for-30 for 264 yards and three touchdowns in his debut as Clemson's starter, leading the Tigers.
Boyd had a shaky first half running offensive coordinator Chad Morris' faster new spread set, and the Tigers were booed as they left the field down 16-13 at half. But Boyd came back out and led Clemson on two third-quarter touchdown drives, going 11-for-13 for 142 yards.
North Carolina 42, James Madison 10: Bryn Renner threw for 277 yards and two touchdowns in his first start Saturday, helping North Carolina give Everett Withers a successful debut as interim coach.
Renner completed 22 of 23 passes with his only mistake being an interception on a deep ball in the second quarter. The sophomore completed his first eight passes -- including a 34-yard score to Dwight Jones to cap the game's opening drive -- and hit on his last 14 to tie a school record for most consecutive completions in a game. He ended his day with a 21-yard TD toss to Jones.
Justin Thorpe threw for 152 yards and a touchdown for the Dukes in his return from a knee injury. But the Dukes managed 211 total yards and never came close to repeating last season's road upset of Virginia Tech.