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Before the arrival of COVID-19, this particular Saturday was shaping up to be one of the best of the year in college football. Just recalling the marquee nonconference games originally scheduled for Sept. 12, we had Ohio State-Oregon, Texas-LSU, North Carolina-Auburn, Tennessee-Oklahoma, Penn State-Virginia Tech and Iowa-Iowa State on the slate. The unique circumstances of this season, however, have wiped each of those contests from the schedule.
So when compared to what could have been, Saturday might seem like a downer for some college football fans who were anticipating the bigger matchups. But considering the way things looked at times over the last couple months — with teams and leagues dropping out of the season — Saturday’s slate isn’t all that bad. Ranked teams will be in action during all three waves of games, with No. 1 Clemson, No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 10 Notre Dame, No. 14 Texas, No. 18 North Carolina, No. 21 UCF and No. 23 Iowa State each making their debuts.
In total, 10 ACC teams and seven Big 12 teams are scheduled to open their seasons Saturday as Mike Norvell coaches his first game at Florida State, Notre Dame makes its ACC debut and Clemson launches its bid to reclaim the national title. There’s a lot to cover with those games and everything in between. CBS Sports will be here every step of the way to update you with the latest scores, highlights and storylines throughout the day. All times Eastern
No. 18 North Carolina 31, Syracuse 6 — Box scoreLouisiana 31, No. 23 Iowa State 14 — RecapDuke at No. 10 Notre Dame — 2:30 p.m. on NBC — LIVE updates, highlightsGeorgia Tech at Florida State — 4:00 p.m. on ABC — GameTrackerMissouri State at No. 5 Oklahoma — 7 p.m. on PPV — How to watch, previewNo. 1 Clemson at Wake Forest — 7:30 p.m. on ABC — Predictions, previewUTEP at No. 14 Texas — 8 p.m. on Longhorn Network — Predictions, previewCheck out the complete Week 2 scoreboard
The Red Wolves generated some fireworks in the passing game to come back from a 21-14 halftime deficit and upset Kansas State. The story here was Jonathan Adams, who caught three touchdown passes for Arkansas State, including the go-ahead score with 38 seconds left as you’ll see below. What’s crazy is that his best grab was actually overturned in the first half (scroll down for a while to see that one). Arkansas State over K-State + Louisiana over Iowa State = huge day for the Sun Belt and an awful start for the Big 12. Exciting stuff in the first week of Power Five action.
🗣 THIS KID’S [email protected] catches his 3rd TD of the game to put @AStateFB up with less than a minute left in the game! pic.twitter.com/R5uCc3NNED
Arkansas State just surged ahead of K-State 35-31 with 38 seconds left. Jonathan Adams caught the go-ahead score for the Red Wolves. That was his third TD catch of the game. He’s been a human highlight reel. Here’s the clip of his second TD from a bit earlier.
This was really the only true blowout of the early five games today. West Virginia jumped to a 42-7 halftime lead behind a huge half for Leddie Brown and cruised the rest of the way. The Mountaineers were missing 11 players due to suspension, but you wouldn’t have known it. Played 3 QBs and allowed less than 200 total yards.
The Mountaineers withstand a gamely effort from Charlotte thanks to a punishing run game. Three backs ran for App State TDs: Cam Peoples, Daetrich Herrington and Marcus Williams.
Wow. Louisiana does it. Two special teams TDs made the difference today for the Ragin’ Cajuns. Expect for Billy Napier’s name to catapult to the top of the hot boards for whatever Power Five openings there may be in the coming months. After leading the Ragin’ Cajuns to an 11-3 record in his second season, Napier now has a marquee victory. Plus, he’s a former Nick Saban assistant, which seems to be a plus when it comes to landing big-time gigs. As for the Cyclones, you could tell Bryce Purdy missed tight end Charlie Kolar, who did not play. Purdy completed just 16 of 35 passes. Kolar was one of his favorite targets last year with 51 receptions. Iowa State is scheduled to have a bye next week.
Syracuse had too many chances to count to either take the lead or put real pressure on North Carolina and never did it amid red zone struggles. The Tar Heels were often sloppy, but they pulled away for a comfortable season-opening win. UNC is scheduled to host Charlotte next week. Syracuse is scheduled to play at Pitt. Plenty to clean up for the Tar Heels, but Sam Howell’s final line is not bad aside from the 2 INTs: 25-34, 295 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs.
Louisiana has the ball up 24-14 on Iowa State with under three minutes left. So how about Arkansas State-Kansas State? Tied up 28-28 with under six minutes to go. ASU trying to make it a huge day for the Sun Belt.
Louisiana-Lafayette now has two kick returns for a touchdown — one on a 95-yard kickoff and the other on a 83-yard punt return. On top of that, the Ragin’ Cajuns have a 78-yard touchdown pass. That’s 21 of their 24 points as they lead Iowa State 24-14 in the fourth quarter. Big plays could fuel this potential upset. Meanwhile, Iowa State has been a little all over the place offensively. Brock Purdy hasn’t been sharp, but he’s also been under pressure. Wide receivers are dropping some key balls, too. Just looks like a team that’s not sharp and ULL is taking advantage.
Eric Garror returns a punt 83 yards for a touchdown to put ULL up 24-14 on Iowa State with 14:16 left!
Upset alert brewing in Ames. The Ragin Cajuns hold a 17-14 lead over the No. 23 Cyclones at the end of the third quarter. It’s been a pretty even game, both defenses have played well. However, Louisiana-Lafayette has had a couple of monster plays, including the kickoff returned for a touchdown and then this 78-yard bomb for six. Iowa State has started slow in these openers before, but Louisiana-Lafayette is a legit Group of Five team. The longer they hang around, the more interesting this gets.
Louisiana-Lafayette’s Asjilin Washington had a brilliant interception against Iowa State QB Brock Purdy in the third quarter. The Ragin Cajuns couldn’t convert, however, and missed their second field goal of the day.
Army is up 14-0 on Louisiana-Monroe after one quarter. The Black Knights picked up where they left off against Middle Tennessee in Week 1 with two touchdown runs in the first quarter. One of those drives: 15 plays, taking nearly nine minutes of game clock. That’s classic Army. The Warhawks look overwhelmed.
Syracuse picks off Sam Howell for the second time but gets just three points out of it to come within 7-6 against UNC. That’s a total of six points for the Orange now on four trips inside the UNC 25-yard line. Tar Heels look awfully shaky.
The Mountaineers are missing 11 players due to suspension (more on that if you scroll down to the beginning of the blog). But it’s been of little consequence for them against an overmatched EKU team that dropped its opener at Marshall 55-0 last week. WVU QB Jarret Doege fended off Oklahoma transfer Austin Kendall in preseason camp and is off to a strong start with a 19-for-25, 3 TD, 0 INT half. Junior RB Leddie Brown also ran for 123 yards and two touchdowns on 10 carries in the half. Caught a TD, too (see below).
The Wildcats returned only two offensive starters in QB Skylar Thompson and WR Malik Knowles. Speaking of those two, they connected for a pretty nice highlight you can see below. But Arkansas State is hanging tough after giving Memphis a scare last week. K-State will need to generate more in the running game in the second half if it wants to pull away.
Appalachian State is favored to win the Sun Belt again, but Charlotte is considered a team on the rise under second-year coach Will Healy. This is a sneaky good Group Five game that’s living up to its billing so far.
It’s good to have you back, @Cam_Peoples6! Cam gains 53 yards on six carries on that 67-yard scoring march. #GoApp pic.twitter.com/cL29dUMuIk
Not many highlights to choose from — as Ben notes below in his analysis below. So we’ll go with the only TD of the game so far.
If you followed Tom Fornelli’s advice in his « six pack » of packs and went for the under on the 56.5 point total, you were feeling pretty good for most of the half. Then the teams combined for three TDs and a FG in the final 4:34 of the second quarter. Louisiana’s Chris Smith provided the top highlight with a 95-yard kick return TD to tie it up.
Of all the possible upset alert games on Saturday, I don’t know if Syracuse-North Carolina was anyone’s pick. And yet the Tar Heels lead just 7-3 at the half. The Tar Heels haven’t done much offensively since their opening drive, punting on three of their next four drives while missing a field goal on the other. Howell is putting up some numbers — he has 142 yards passing — but he’s thrown a pick and North Carolina also fumbled a punt return. But Syracuse hasn’t played much cleaner, either, and has just three points on three trips inside UNC’s 25-yard line. A lot of missed opportunities on both sides.
Breece Hall waltzes in from 11 yards out to put Iowa State back on top of Louisiana 14-7. That offense seems to have found something. Brock Purdy looked in rhythm and coach Matt Campbell found a nice balance on that drive.
Dang! Chris Smith just went 95 yards on the ensuing kickoff to tie it back up at seven. That dude has SPEED. Louisiana is no joke. The Ragin’ Cajuns have amassed plenty of athletes under coach Billy Napier — one of the up-and-coming coaches in the country.
Kene Nwangwu punches it in from one yard out to give Iowa State a 7-0 lead over Louisiana. That eight play, 49-yard drive was needed. That was the first time all game that Brock Purdy and Co. had things cooking. The offensive line has struggled, but seemed to find a spark.
North Carolina’s first drive featured a lot: a 41-yard play called back for holding, a 4th-and-7 conversion, Syracuse gifting UNC a third-down conversion via penalty and finally a touchdown pass from Sam Howell to Garrett Walston.
Also of note: Howell threw a pick on UNC’s second series and Syracuse had a punt return for a touchdown called back.
This catch from Jonathan Adams. Jr. was eventually overturned. But Arkansas State DID tie it up at 7-7 shortly after. Still sick even though it didn’t count.
A full day of football is back, but not without a hitch. Eleven West Virginia players have been suspended by coach Neal Brown for today’s game against Eastern Kentucky. The news was first reported by 247Sports. Among the players suspended are starting left tackle Junior Uzebu, starting center Chase Behrndt, starting inside receiver T.J. Simmons. The ‘Eers are probably still okay in this game, but this team is dreadfully inexperienced along the offensive line. Keep an eye on true freshman Zach Frazier, who the Mountaineer coaches have been high on this offseason. If he has to play center today, that will an interesting story to watch.
Big injury news for Iowa State against Louisiana today. Tight end Charlie Kolar is out with a lower body injury. Kolar was Iowa State’s top returning pass catcher with 51 grabs and 7 touchdowns last year. Obviously a tough blow, but the Cyclones do have a pretty good depth chart at tight end. Chase Allen caught 17 passes and two touchdowns a year ago and there are plenty of bodies at that position.
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