Sunday, August 31, 2003

Top 25 roundup: No. 8 USC shuts down No. 6 Auburn

The Associated Press

Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville argues a call in the first half.
(AP photo)
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AUBURN, Ala. - Matt Leinart passed for 192 yards in his first start and No. 8 Southern California set up 17 points with three turnovers in a season-opening win over sixth-ranked Auburn.

The Trojans, who won the final eight games of last season, hardly seemed to miss Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer.

The Tigers never got past USC's 33-yard line and were outgained 315-164.

The Trojans muzzled the Tigers' heralded tailbacks Carnell Williams and Ronnie Brown, and harassed quarterback Jason Campbell into a fumble and an interception.

Leinart, a sophomore who didn't throw a pass as Palmer's backup last season, was 17-of-30 and threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Mike Williams, making few mistakes in his starting debut. Williams had eight catches for 104 yards.

Hershel Dennis ran for 85 yards on 21 carries for the Trojans.

No. 1 Oklahoma 37, North Texas 3

NORMAN, Okla. - Jason White threw three touchdown passes and Oklahoma's defense was as good as advertised as the No. 1 Sooners opened the season with a 37-3 victory over North Texas on Saturday night.

The Sooners limited North Texas to 50 yards through three quarters before the Mean Green's only scoring drive, which began against the second-stringers. Midway through the second quarter, North Texas had more penalty yards (29) than offensive yards (18) and didn't cross midfield until just before halftime.

White went 23-of-35 for 248 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown pass to receiver Brandon Jones early in the second quarter that left a defender sprawled on the ground and gave Oklahoma a 17-0 lead.

No. 4 Michigan 45, Central Michigan 7

ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Chris Perry ran for a career-high 232 yards and two touchdowns as No. 4 Michigan beat Central Michigan.

The Wolverines scored three TDs in the third quarter to turn the opener for both teams into a rout after leading 17-0 at halftime.

Michigan's John Navarre was 19-of-33 passing for 245 yards with two TDs and an interception. He joined Rick Leach as the only quarterbacks in school history to start four season openers. Braylon Edwards caught five passes for 78 yards and two TDs.

Terrence Jackson led Central Michigan with 104 yards on 21 carries. Quarterback Jeff Perry was 18-of-29 for 150 yards and an interception.

No. 7 Kansas St. 41, Troy St. 5

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Ell Roberson ran for three touchdowns and threw for 234 yards and another score as No. 7 Kansas State overcame its own mistakes to beat Troy State.

Roberson was 9-for-23 with two interceptions and ran for 69 yards for the Wildcats (2-0), who lost star running back Darren Sproles to an apparent leg injury late in the first half.

Kansas State's defense, which gave up 440 yards in last week's 42-28 win over California, held the Trojans to 138 yards in their opener - and just 39 on the ground. The Wildcats had six sacks and two interceptions and recovered a fumble.

Trojans quarterback Hansell Bearden was 8-for-17 for 69 yards. His backup, Aaron Leak, was 3-for-13 for 30 yards.

No. 11 Georgia 30, Clemson 0

CLEMSON, S.C. - David Greene threw for one touchdown and ran for another as No. 11 Georgia handed Clemson its first shutout under coach Tommy Bowden.

Greene went 12-of-17 for 203 yards, including a 56-yard touchdown pass to Fred Gibson. Greene added a 3-yard touchdown run and D.J. Shockley closed the scoring with a 29-yard scoring run.

The defending Southeastern Conference champions were supposed to struggle early on. They had a new offensive line. They were without injured defensive starters Will Thompson and Kentrell Curry. Eight other Bulldogs were suspended by coach Mark Richt. And that's not counting the embarrassing Ring-gate episode where several players sold their rings from the school's first SEC title in 20 years.

But Georgia's defense held Clemson to 35 yards rushing and 199 yards of offense overall. Tigers quarterback Charlie Whitehurst was 19-of-33 for 151 yards.

No. 12 Tennessee 24, Fresno State 6

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Casey Clausen threw two touchdown passes and Jabari Davis ran 44 yards for another score as No. 12 Tennessee beat Fresno State in the season opener.

Tennessee racked up 433 yards of total offense, the most since a six-overtime win over Arkansas last October, and 274 yards rushing behind a stronger and healthy offensive line.

Cedric Houston led Tennessee with 161 yards on 19 rushes.

Fresno State's Rodney Davis had a school-record 1,586 yards rushing last season but was held to 16 yards on 13 carries.

Fresno State's Jeff Grady, who replaced an injured Paul Pinegar at quarterback, was sacked twice and went 13-of-24 for 118 yards.

No. 13 Florida St., 37, North Carolina 0

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - Florida State returned to the scene of its worst regular-season loss in 16 years and had little trouble this time.

Chris Rix ran for a pair of short touchdowns and threw for another score as the 13th-ranked Seminoles built a 27-point halftime lead and cruised to a season-opening victory over North Carolina.

Rix had four turnovers in an embarrassing 41-9 loss to the Tar Heels here in 2001 - his third career start and the program's most lopsided regular-season loss since Auburn beat the Seminoles 59-27 in 1985.

But two years later, the junior finished 17-of-26 for 232 yards as Bobby Bowden won his 333rd game while improving to 26-2 in openers at FSU.

No. 14 LSU 49, La-Monroe 7

BATON ROUGE, La. - Matt Mauck threw three touchdown passes in a 61/2-minute span to lead No. 14 LSU over Louisiana-Monroe in the opener for both teams.

Mauck, who missed the final seven games of last season with torn ligaments in his foot, finished 13-for-28 for 153 yards. He was intercepted once before being replaced by Marcus Randall in the third quarter.

Louisiana-Monroe, 6-28 over the last three seasons, held the Tigers scoreless until the final 6:37 of the first half.

No. 16 N.C. State 59, Western Carolina 20

RALEIGH, N.C. - Tramain Hall had a 67-yard punt return for a touchdown, and Philip Rivers threw three touchdown passes as No. 16 North Carolina State beat Western Carolina.

Hall also had a 6-yard touchdown catch in his Wolfpack debut as N.C. State won its seventh straight season opener. Western Carolina fell to 0-21 against current Atlantic Coast Conference schools and 0-5 against the Wolfpack.

N.C. State had no trouble in this one, scoring touchdowns on five of its six first-half possessions and moving the ball at will against the Div. I-AA Catamounts. The Wolfpack punted only once and finished with 494 total yards.

No. 18 Virginia 27, Duke 0

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - Virginia beat Duke, but the No. 18 Cavaliers lost quarterback Matt Schaub to an injury on the opening series and he watched the second half with his arm in a sling.

The school said only that Schaub had injured his shoulder and did not immediately release any additional details about the 2002 ACC offensive player of the year, for whom a Heisman Trophy campaign was planned.

In Schaub's absence, redshirt freshman Anthony Martinez took over at quarterback and shook off some early jitters to help send Duke to its 26th consecutive loss in conference play.

The defense also helped, posting its first shutout since the Cavaliers blanked the Blue Devils 24-0 in 1998. Duke gained just 272 yards and was turned away on downs after driving to Virginia's 25 in the closing minute.

No. 21 Wisconsin 24, West Virginia 17

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Anthony Davis ran for a 1-yard touchdown with 2:57 remaining as No. 21 Wisconsin rallied from a 10-point second-half deficit to beat West Virginia.

Special team miscues and injuries to West Virginia's top two offensive players kept Wisconsin in the game. The Badgers' offense finally came alive behind the scrambling of quarterback Jim Sorgi and the running of Davis, who carried 30 times for 167 yards.

Sorgi won for the first time in six career starts. He was 20-of-34 for 215 yards, including a 20-yard TD pass to Lee Evans that tied the score at 17 early in the fourth quarter.

Quincy Wilson ran for two scores for West Virginia, but he left with a leg injury early in the fourth quarter and did not return. He finished with 99 yards on 24 carries.

Colorado 42, No. 23 Colorado St. 35

DENVER - Bobby Purify scored on a 9-yard run with 40 seconds left, and Joel Klatt threw for 402 yards and four touchdowns in his first start as Colorado beat No. 23 Colorado State.

Colorado State tied the game at 35 with 1:50 left when Bradlee Van Pelt broke two tackles on an option run for a 30-yard touchdown.

Colorado got the ball back on its 25-yard line with 1:44 left and marched quickly down the field. Colorado's fans thought Purify scored on a 4-yard run with 48 seconds left, but it was called back by a procedure penalty.

Purify left no doubt on the second try, breaking around left end and diving to the corner pylon to give Colorado its first win in an opener in five years under coach Gary Barnett.

Colorado State got the ball back at its own 20-yard line, but Van Pelt's final pass from the 50 was knocked down.

Nebraska 17, No. 24 Oklahoma St. 7

LINCOLN, Neb. - Josh Davis and Jammal Lord combined for 185 yards rushing and Nebraska limited No. 24 Oklahoma State to 57 yards in the second half to win the opener for both teams.

The victory was Nebraska's 17th straight in a season opener and ended its six-game losing streak against ranked opponents.

Nebraska converted two of Oklahoma State's five turnovers into third-quarter touchdowns to turn a 7-3 halftime deficit into a 17-7 lead.

Davis ran 20 times for 95 yards and Lord 18 times for 90.

Oklahoma State's All-America receiver Rashaun Woods had only five catches for 47 yards, his lowest production in 15 games. He had two catches for 9 yards in the second half.

Tatum Bell led the Cowboys with 87 yards rushing, but had a costly fumble returned for a touchdown.

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