ARLINGTON, Texas — Dee Milliner and that Alabama defense showed they can still dominate.
Even after sending three starting defenders from last year’s national championship team to the NFL as first-round draft picks, the second-ranked Crimson Tide threw around eighth-ranked Michigan while pounding Denard Robinson in a season-opening 41-14 victory Saturday night.
C.J. Mosley returned an interception 16 yards for a touchdown for the Tide. AJ McCarron, no longer with third overall draft pick Trent Richardson to hand the ball off to, threw two touchdowns as Alabama won its 11th consecutive season opener.
Also on Saturday:
No. 3 LSU 41
North Texas 14
BATON ROUGE, La. — Kenny Hilliard rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns, and LSU opened its season with an easy victory. While the heavily favored Tigers were never threatened, their performance did not always thrill a Death Valley crowd that eagerly anticipated the debut of Zach Mettenberger as starting quarterback. Mettenberger, who was briefly sidelined by a vicious sack, was 19 of 26 for 192 yards, an interception and a touchdown.
No. 4 Oklahoma 24
EL PASO, Texas — Landry Jones threw two touchdown passes and Damien Williams ran 65 yards for another score in the fourth quarter, helping No. 4 Oklahoma slog out a 24-7 win over Texas-El Paso. Oklahoma labored in its opener, unable to generate much of a running game or get anything downfield.
No. 6 Georgia 45
ATHENS, Ga. — Freshman Todd Gurley ran for three touchdowns, Aaron Murray threw three scoring passes and Georgia overcame a sloppy first half. Gurley didn’t start but may have emerged as the Bulldogs’ future at tailback with his eight carries for 100 yards, including scoring runs of 10 and 55 yards. He added a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter.
No. 7 Florida State 69
Murray State 3
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Lonnie Pryor, James Wilder Jr., and Debrale Smiley combined for seven rushing touchdowns to lead Florida State. Pryor ran for three TDs, and Smiley and Wilder added two apiece. Wilder finished with 106 yards rushing. Florida State scored on their first touch of the new season on Rashad Greene’s 47-yard punt return just 89 seconds into the game. EJ Manuel passed for 188 yards and a touchdown before retiring midway in the third quarter.
No. 10 Arkansas 49
Jacksonville State 24
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Tyler Wilson set the school record for yards passing in a season opener, finishing 19 of 27 passing for 367 yards and three touchdowns for Arkansas. Two of Wilson’s touchdowns went to tight end Chris Gragg, who finished with seven catches for 110 yards as the Razorbacks (1-0) won their first game under coach John L. Smith.
No. 11 West Virginia 69
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Geno Smith threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Mountaineers past Marshall. In the final scheduled game between the state’s only Bowl Subdivision teams, it marked West Virginia’s highest-scoring season opener in school history. Smith kept the momentum going from his six-TD performance from the Orange Bowl. The senior completed 32 of 36 passes and set a school record for career completions before sitting out most of the fourth quarter.
No. 12 Wisconsin 26
Northern Iowa 21
MADISON, Wis. — Montee Ball rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown, and Wisconsin needed a big defensive play to survive a fourth-quarter scare. Wisconsin’s defense didn’t allow Northern Iowa past the 50-yard line until the 4:27 mark in the third quarter — but then the Badgers nearly melted down. Leading 26-7 in the fourth quarter, Wisconsin allowed Northern Iowa quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen to throw a pair of long touchdowns to David Johnson, cutting the lead to five.
No. 14 Clemson 26
ATLANTA — Andre Ellington rushed for 231 yards, DeAndre Hopkins set a school record with 13 receptions and Clemson opened the season with a victory. Playing before a 50-50 crowd at the Georgia Dome — basically halfway between the two campuses — Clemson shook off any hangover from last season’s embarrassing 70-33 loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl and showed plenty of offense against Auburn even without star receiver Sammy Watkins, who was suspended for the first two games after an offseason drug arrest.
No. 15 Texas 37
AUSTIN, Texas — Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown both rushed for more than 100 yards and combined for three touchdowns to lead Texas. Texas quarterback David Ash, who won the starting job over Case McCoy in training camp, was an efficient 20-of-27 passing for 156 yards and a touchdown to Jaxon Shipley. Bergeron had 110 yards and scored Texas’ first touchdown on a 1-yard run in first quarter. He put the game away with a 17-yard TD in the fourth. Brown ran for 105 yards for Texas (1-0).
No. 17 Nebraska 49
Southern Miss 20
LINCOLN, Neb. — Taylor Martinez threw for a career-high 354 yards and matched his best with five touchdown passes to lead Nebraska. The Huskers won their nation-leading 27th straight opener. Nebraska played the last three quarters without Rex Burkhead. The 1,300-yard rusher last season went out with a sprained ligament in his left knee after opening the scoring with a career-long 57-yard run.
No. 18 Ohio State 56
Miami (Ohio) 10
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Braxton Miller threw for two scores, including Devin Smith’s highlight-reel, one-handed catch, for the Buckeyes. The slow-starting Miller, who stutter-stepped for a 65-yard score just 17 seconds into the second half, finished 14 of 24 passing for 207 yards.
No. 19 Oklahoma State 84
Savannah State 0
STILLWATER, Okla. — Freshman Wes Lunt completed all 11 of his passes in a brief first outing as the new starting quarterback for Oklahoma State. The defending Big 12 champions drove for touchdowns on their first five possessions to take a 35-0 lead late in the first quarter, and then used the rest of the game as a scrimmage for their reserves.
No. 22 Kansas State 51
Missouri State 9
MANHATTAN, Kan. — Collin Klein threw for 169 yards and two touchdowns, John Hubert ran 95 yards for a fourth-quarter score and Kansas State pulled away late to beat Missouri State.
No. 23 Florida 27
Bowling Green 14
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Mike Gillislee had a career-high 148 yards rushing and two touchdowns, helping Florida beat Bowling Green. The performance was far from perfect for the Gators, who struggled part of the game on offense and failed to generate much pressure on defense. Still, it was enough for Florida to win its 23rd consecutive opener.