College football top plays: Ohio State, Georgia, USC earn big wins


Week 1 of the college football season came with an action-packed Saturday slate of games. 

It was a showdown between the Marcus Freeman-led No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and his alma mater, No. 2 Ohio State, but in the end, it was the Buckeyes that came out with the win in Columbus.

Elsewhere, Florida took down No. 7 Utah, while No. 18 Wisconsin cruised to an easy victory over Illinois State.

The first “Jump Around” of the 2022 college football season

The crowd in Madison went wild for the first “Jump Around” of the 2022 college football season, as the Wisconsin Badgers shut out Illinois State in Week 1.

Earlier, No. 8 Michigan dominated Colorado State in front of more than 100,000 fans at Michigan Stadium, and Haynes King and No. 6-ranked Texas A&M Aggies shut out Sam Houston State in College Station.

Meanwhile, No. 9 Oklahoma defeated UTEP with ease, reigning national champion No. 3 Georgia crushed No. 11 Oregon in Atlanta, and No. 19 Arkansas narrowly took down No. 23 Cincinnati.

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Here are the top plays from Saturday’s Week 1 slate.

No. 2 Ohio State 21, No. 5 Notre Dame 10

Buckeyes battling

Ohio State took a 7-3 lead in the first quarter, courtesy of this smooth connection between C.J. Stroud and Emeka Egbuka.

ND responds

Notre Dame regained the lead, 10-7, after Audric Estime capped off an 87-yard drive by diving over the pile and into the end zone. 

Ohio State takes over

The Buckeyes were back in the driver’s seat after wideout Xavier Johnson reeled in a 24-yard TD from Stroud.

Ohio State added another score in the fourth quarter, courtesy of Miyan Williams, and things ended there.

Florida 29, No. 7 Utah 26

Setting the stage

The Gators stumbled on their first drive with a fumble, which was scooped up by Utes safety R.J. Hubert and returned for 47 yards. That set up a short field and a quick TD for Utah, good for a 7-0 lead.

Chomp

Florida QB Anthony Richardson took off for an electric 45-yard TD run to give the Gators an edge at halftime.

Hometown hero

Richardson continued to impress as things unfolded. After Florida fell behind in the third quarter, the 21-year-old Gainesville native helped the Gators regain the lead in the fourth by staying cool under pressure.

Upset alert!

After trading off scores in the fourth, it was a four-point game and the Utes had the edge. But then Richardson did was he does best — score. Just like that, the Gators pulled off the upset, 29-26.

Florida secures a 29-26 win over No. 7 Utah

The Florida Gators secured a 29-26 win over the No. 7 Utah after Amari Burney intercepted Utes QB Cameron Rising in the final minute.

No. 18 Wisconsin 38, Illinois State 0

Keeping it 100

The Badgers were the first to strike when Redbirds QB Zack Annexstad was picked off at the goal-line.

John Torchio’s goal-line interception

Wisconsin Badgers’ safety John Torchio intercepts the Illinois State QB at the goal line and takes it 100 yards to the house for the early lead.

Going, going, gone!

Wisconsin RB Braelon Allen got in on the action in the second quarter, taking off for a monster 96-yard TD.

The Badgers’ first offensive TD of the 2022 season

Braelon Allen goes 96 yards for Wisconsin’s first offensive touchdown of the season against Illinois State.

Shut out

The Badgers kept their foot on the gas the entire game and went on to shut out the Redbirds, 38-0.

Chimere Dike finds himself wide open in end zone

Chimere Dike was wide open in the corner of the end zone for a Badgers TD.

No. 14 USC 66, Rice 14

One top transfer to another!

The Lincoln Riley-USC era kicked off with a bang as Caleb Williams — who was regarded as the top QB transfer in the nation — hooked up with Jordan Addison — who was regarded as the top WR transfer in the nation — for a 5-yard touchdown to give the Trojans a 7-0 lead over Rice.

To the house!

This fourth down didn’t go the way the Owls planned when QB Wiley Green was picked off by USC safety Calen Bullock, who took it 93 yards to extend the Trojans’ lead to 28-7 in the second quarter.

More of the same

USC started the second half the same way it started the first — scoring. Rice QB TJ McMahon‘s pass was intercepted and returned 40 yards for a TD by Trojans linebacker Shane Lee. Just like that, it was 38-14.

USC continued to pour it on, racking up nine touchdowns and 66 points to secure the win.

No. 19 Arkansas 31, No. 23 Cincinnati 24

Razor-sharp

Arkansas was first on the board after QB KJ Jefferson took it in himself after a Cincinnati turnover.

Jumping Jefferson

Jefferson got creative with his pass to TE Trey Knox, as the Razorbacks shut out the Bearcats in the first half.

Cincinnati got its footing in the second half, but it wasn’t enough to pull off a comeback, and the Bearcats came up short, 31-24.

No. 3 Georgia 49, No. 11 Oregon 3

Dawgs strike first

Georgia was on the board first after QB Stetson Bennett flipped the ball to wide receiver Ladd McConkey, who dodged the Ducks’ defense on his way to the end zone.

Unreal INT

Auburn transfer Bo Nix‘s first start for Oregon didn’t start according to plan, thanks to Georgia freshman Malaki Starks, who came up with an absolutely bananas interception.

The turnover led to Georgia’s second TD of the day to make it 14-0 headed into the second quarter.

Hot hands

Georgia wideout Adonai Mitchell wasn’t letting anyone get in the way of him reeling in a deep ball from Bennett. The big gain helped moved the Bulldogs downfield and resulted in their third TD of the day.

Four possessions, four TDs

It was more magic from the Dawgs ahead of halftime. Bennett avoided the rush and broke a tackle in order to find a wide-open McConkey, who cashed in for Georgia’s fourth score of the day.

Georgia went on to score three more times in the second half en route to a 46-point victory over the Ducks.

No. 9 Oklahoma 45, UTEP 13

Gabriel with the moves!

Making his first start for the Sooners, quarterback Dillon Gabriel wasted no time bringing the fans to their feet. The former UCF QB kept the ball, made a beautiful cut and then scampered 12 yards into the end zone, giving Oklahoma an early 7-0 lead.

Oklahoma takes a 7-0 lead on Dillon Gabriel’s 12-yard TD

Oklahoma took a 7-0 lead over UTEP after Dillon Gabriel’s 12-yard rushing TD.

Building momentum

On the Sooners’ following drive, Gabriel aired it out, finding tight end Brayden Willis for a quick, 6-yard score on Oklahoma’s second possession.

Dillon Gabriel finds Brayden Willis on a 6-yard TD pass

The Oklahoma Sooners took a 14-0 lead, thanks to Brayden Willis’ 6-yard TD.

Third time’s the charm

Oklahoma scored its third consecutive TD midway through the opening frame when WR Gavin Freeman took it 46 yards to the house on the reverse pass, giving the Sooners a 21-0 cushion. 

The Sooners didn’t let up off the gas for the rest of the game, cruising to a 45-13 victory at home.

Oklahoma increases lead after a 46-yard reverse TD

Oklahoma took a 21-0 lead after a 46-yard reverse TD by Gavin Freeman.

No. 6 Texas A&M 31, Sam Houston State 0

Going deep

King and the Aggies got on the board early as the sophomore signal-caller threw a perfect 66-yard strike to Yulkeith Brown, putting Texas A&M on top, 7-0.

Bombs away

Later, King found Ainias Smith over the middle for a monster 63-yard score ahead of the break and another dazzling 43-yard TD in the fourth quarter, as the Aggies cruised to a 31-0 shutout against the Bearkats.

No. 8 Michigan 51, Colorado State 7

Off to the races!

Cade McNamara and the Wolverines struck first as the senior QB connected with Roman Wilson on a screen pass and the speedy wideout turned on the jets, taking it 61 yards for the score.

Bell is back!

Michigan star receiver Ronnie Bell was back in action Saturday after missing out on the 2020-21 season after suffering a season-ending injury in Week 1 last year. Bell, who decided to return to Ann Arbor for a fifth year, led the team with 48 receptions for 758 yards in 2019.

Never give up on the play

Blake Corum bounced a run to the outside and took it in for the 7-yard score, giving Michigan an early 20-0 cushion. Then, Michigan added to its lead, thanks to DB DJ Turner‘s 45-yard fumble recovery-turned-TD.

The Wolverines went on to score three more times to seal the deal 51-7.

Iowa 7, South Dakota State 3

First Kinnick Wave 

The Iowa Hawkeyes‘ first Kinnick Wave of the season was a big one. The iconic Wave, which occurs at the end of the first quarter of every home game, is when the entire stadium turns and waves to those inside the Stead Family Children’s Hospital, which directly overlooks Kinnick Stadium.

Jackrabbits arrive

After Iowa’s Spencer Petras was picked off near midfield, South Dakota State QB Mark Gronowski made the most of the turnover by moving his team downfield. The drive resulted in a game-tying field goal.

Taking charge

The Hawkeyes’ defense came up big in the third quarter as preseason All-American linebacker Jack Campbell forced a safety, giving Iowa a 5-3 lead.

Iowa takes a 5-3 lead over South Dakota State

Iowa takes a 5-3 lead over South Dakota State after preseason All-American Jack Campbell tackles Isaiah Davis in the end zone for a safety.

Double trouble

The Hawkeyes picked up their second safety of the game to take a 7-3 lead over the Jackrabbits late in the fourth quarter. In the end, it was just enough to pull off the win, and things ended there.

Iowa gets its second safety of the game and takes a 7-3 lead

The Hawkeyes record their second safety to extend the lead over South Dakota State, 7-3.

Maryland 31, Buffalo 10

Style points

Maryland‘s first TD of the day was a must-see moment. Terrapins RB Roman Hemby took off for 33 yards and ran through Buffalo‘s defense — stiff arm included — on his way to the end zone.

Tailback TD!

Buffalo returned the favor in the second quarter, as Al-Jay Henderson sped up the sideline for a Bulls score.

Too fast

Hemby left the Buffalo defense in the dust on his way to the end zone for the second time Saturday, this time for a whopping 70-yard score. The Terps went on to dominate the ground game and seal the win, 31-10.

BEST OF THE REST: 

Down to the wire

No. 24 Houston narrowly escaped UTSA in triple overtime, 37-35, after the Roadrunners gave the Cougars a run for their money in regulation by charging 55 yards in 23 seconds to tie things up.

Wild finish

North Carolina and Appalachian State made FBS history Saturday when both teams combined for 16 touchdowns and the Mountaineers put up 40 points in the fourth quarter to challenge the Tar Heels.

The final minute of the game included two failed two-point conversions by App State that would’ve tied the game, but things ended 63-61, the first time in FBS history a game finished with that score.

Dropping dimes

Wyoming QB Andrew Peasley launched one to Will Pelissier for a 48-yard TD to regain the lead against Tulsa.

Andrew Peasley connects on a deep ball to Will Pelissier

QB Andrew Peasley found Will Pelissier before halftime to give Wyoming the lead.

Like magic

Ulysses Bentley got the No. 21 Ole Miss Rebels on the board first against Troy with this rushing TD.

Make way!

After Bowling Green got on the board first with a blocked punt-turned-TD, UCLA was able to knot things up in the first quarter, 7-7, courtesy of QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson‘s 68-yard run on third down.

Denied

East Carolina‘s defense made a huge statement by shutting down No. 13 NC State on fourth-and-goal.


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