Welcome to Game Report Central! Here's a rundown of today's ACC Football Action:
PITTSBURGH vs. NEW MEXICO
PITTSBURGH -- Pitt scored touchdowns on six of its first eight possessions and defeated New Mexico 49-27 in a non-conference game Saturday afternoon at Heinz Field.
The Panthers (1-1, 0-1 ACC), who return to ACC play Saturday at Duke, got five touchdowns from their talented freshman class and a dominant performance from their defense in the first half. Pitt held New Mexico (1-2) to just 59 total yards at halftime, including five yards rushing. Senior tailback Kasey Carrier, who entered the game with an NCAA-best 345 yards rushing, had just 22 yards on seven carries against the Panthers.
Pitt ran and threw the ball with equal success against New Mexico. Junior Isaac Bennett had 14 carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns, while freshman James Conner added 119 yards and two scores on 12 carries with a 38-yard burst around right end for the touchdown. FreshmanTyler Boyd had two carries for 39 yards with a 33-yard touchdown run and also had five catches for 127 yards with a 51-yarder early in the game and a spectacular 34-yard scoring catch as time ran out in the first half.
Boyd also ran a reverse for a 33-yard touchdown run.
The other freshman who scored a touchdown for Pitt was tight end Scott Orndoff. He came off the line and was open in the end zone for a four-yard scoring pass from quarterback Tom Savage. Savage was 13 of 17 for 236 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.
Pitt couldn't make enough plays to stay with the Seminoles in its 41-13 loss in the ACC opener Sept. 2, but the Panthers punted just twice against New Mexico and had seven plays go for 20 or more yards. Savage overcame an early interception to find Boyd running free in the New Mexico secondary for a 51-yard reception. Three plays later, Savage hit Orndoff in the end zone to give Pitt a lead it never relinquished.
A 28-yard pass to fifth-year senior wide out Devin Street keyed Pitt's third scoring drive and Conner capped it with a 20-yard run. Street finished with five catches for 80 yards. On the next drive, an 18-yard pass to Street set up Conner again who finished with a 38-yard touchdown run.
Savage's two interceptions and two Pitt fumbles kept the Panthers from a premier performance, but it was enough to easily handle New Mexico.
The Lobos play host to UNLV in a Mountain West matchup Saturday night.
BOSTON COLLEGE vs. USC
LOS ANGELES -- Cody Kessler passed for 237 yards and two touchdowns, Tre Madden became the first Southern California player to open a season with three straight 100-yard rushing games in 32 years and the Trojans bounced back from an embarrassing loss to Pac-12 doormat Washington State to beat Boston College 35-7 Saturday.
The game was Kessler's first since he was designated USC's first-string quarterback by coach Lane Kiffin, and the redshirt sophomore responded by completing 14 straight passes after misfiring on his first attempt. Kessler and Max Wittek shared QB duties in USC's first two games and combined to pass for just 54 yards -- the Trojans' lowest single-game total since 1998 -- in a 10-7 setback to the Cougars last weekend, prompting local fans to chant "Fire Kiffin" in the final minutes. The Trojans (2-1) rolled up 521 yards in total offense while holding the Eagles (2-1) to just 184 yards.
VIRGINIA TECH vs. ECU
GREENVILLE, N.C. -- Logan Thomas threw two touchdown passes and Virginia Tech turned in a dominating defensive performance to beat East Carolina 15-10 on Saturday. Thomas' second TD toss, a 3-yard score to D.J. Coles with 4:09 left in the third quarter, put the Hokies (2-1) ahead to stay.
The Pirates (2-1) had their own chance for a go-ahead drive, getting the ball back at their own 10 with 2:04 left. But the Hokies sacked Shane Carden on first down, then James Gayle stripped Carden from behind in the end zone for a safety that essentially sealed the win. Virginia Tech had seven sacks, 11 tackles for loss and three interceptions. The Hokies also held the Pirates to a meager 3-for-11 third-down conversion rate.
Virginia Tech needed every bit of that production, too. Its offense had to grind out tough yards all day, while Cody Journell missed two field goals and an extra point. It was difficult to know what to make of the Hokies coming in. They lost their opener to No. 1 Alabama in an ugly performance full of dropped passes by Hokies receivers that led to a 5-for-26 passing day for Thomas. They followed that with a 45-3 win against Championship Subdivision opponent Western Carolina at home. But the formula Saturday was to rely on the defense and avoid major mistakes -- Journell's off-target kicking, aside -- to win on the road.
Virginia Tech allowed just 204 total yards and hasn't allowed more than 206 in a game this season. East Carolina was going for its first 3-0 start since 2008, when the Pirates opened with a win against the Hokies in Charlotte followed by an upset of West Virginia the following week. But the Pirates had lost three straight to the Hokies and nine of 10 regular-season meetings with Atlantic Coast Conference opponents since that start.
Things looked promising when Carden directed the Pirates on a 75-yard touchdown drive that lasted just 99 seconds to start the game. But the Pirates managed 129 yards for the next 58 minutes and never got their pass-heavy spread offense running at full speed. Carden threw for 158 yards on 19-for-31 passing, while the Pirates finished with just 46 yards on 23 rushing attempts. In addition, top receiving threat Justin Hardy had six catches for just 31 yards. Thomas threw for 258 yards on 25-for-43 passing, while Trey Edmunds managed just 42 yards rushing.
Demitri Knowles also had a touchdown catch for Virginia Tech and finished with eight catches for 99 yards.
WAKE FOREST vs. LOUISIANA-MONROE
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- Kolton Browning threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns, and Louisiana-Monroe stopped a late Wake Forest rally for a 21-19 victory Saturday.
Browning completed a career-best 43 of 68 attempts, with two interceptions, as the Warhawks (2-1) won for the first time in three tries over a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Tanner Price threw for 310 yards and two touchdown for the Demon Deacons (1-2), with both scores going to Orville Reynolds as Wake Forest fought back with a late drive over the final two minutes.
Price found Reynolds deep for a 65-yard score in the first quarter, and a 23-yarder with 4 seconds remaining to cut Louisiana-Monroe's lead to two points. But Price's two-point conversion pass to Michael Campanaro went low.
Wake Forest's offense generated little else, with two other drives leading to field goals of 28 and 38 yards from Chad Hedlund in the first half.
Campanaro finished with 16 catches -- tying a single-game ACC record -- for 177 yards, while Reynolds had a career-best 101 receiving yards.
The Demon Deacons' option offense again struggled, gaining just 15 yards rushing, 15 first downs and converting 5 of 15 third-down opportunities. Meanwhile, Louisiana-Monroe had its third straight 400-yard game, piling up 424 total yards and 26 first downs.
Browning threw two TD passes -- a 1-yarder to Harley Scioneaux and a 5-yarder to Kenzee Jackson -- in the first half to stake Louisiana-Monroe to a 14-13 lead, then hit Tavarese Maye on a 9-yard score in the second half.
However, the Warhawks blew two other second-half scoring opportunities. A bad snap thwarted a 26-yard field goal attempt by Justin Manton in the third quarter, and he bounced a 24-yard attempt off the left upright in the fourth quarter.
Despite turning the ball over twice, Edwards threw for 200 yards in the first half as Louisiana-Monroe engineered two long scoring drives for a 14-13 lead at the break.
The Warhawks went 69 yards in 17 plays on their opening possession before Browning hit Scioneaux on a 1-yard TD pass with 8:14 remaining.
However, Wake Forest got its offense on track late in the first quarter, with Price hitting Reynolds over the middle with 5:16 left, tying the game at 7-7.
A short punt by Louisiana-Monroe set up Hedlund's first field goal, which gave Wake Forest its first lead of the game, 10-7, with 14:49 left in the second quarter.
The Warhawks took advantage of a running into the kicker penalty set up their second scoring drive, with Browning's pass to Jackson with 41 seconds left putting them ahead 14-10.
The Demon Deacons made one last drive in the first half, with Price's 31-yard completion to Campanaro setting up Hedlund's second field goal.
DURHAM, N.C. -- Vad Lee threw a career-high four touchdown passes and ran for another in his hometown, and Georgia Tech beat Duke 38-14 on Saturday.
The Durham native had scoring throws of 24 and 10 yards to DeAndre Smelter, 13 yards toRobert Godhigh and 19 yards to Zach Laskey.
He also ran 4 yards for a TD. The Yellow Jackets (2-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) fell behind 7-3, then took command by scoring the next four touchdowns.
Lee was 8 of 16 for 125 yards and added 76 yards rushing. Georgia Tech rolled up 344 yards rushing and 469 total yards against the No. 6 total defense in the Bowl Subdivision.
Jela Duncan rushed 1 yard for an early score for the Blue Devils (2-1, 0-1). Brandon Connettehad a late 7-yard TD run and was 15 of 28 for 122 yards in his first start as Duke's full-time quarterback.
Duke was denied both its first victory over Georgia Tech since 2003 -- when current Yellow Jackets defensive coordinator Ted Roof was their interim head coach -- and its first 3-0 start since 1994.
Roof, fired by Duke in 2007 after going 6-45 in 4 1/2 seasons and losing his last 16 home games, walked away from Wallace Wade Stadium a winner for the first time since 2005.
And he left with a tough defense that has allowed two touchdowns all season and held Duke to 254 total yards.
Lee put Georgia Tech up 24-7 after a 30-minute span in which half of his completions went for touchdowns to Smelter.
He gave the Yellow Jackets a 17-7 lead when he hit Smelter for a 24-yard score on third-and-12 with 10:05 left in the second.
They hooked up again with 42 seconds left in the half. Lee ran the 2-minute drill to perfection, moving Georgia Tech quickly downfield before his 10-yard throw to Smelter at the pylon put Georgia Tech up by 17.
He capped the Yellow Jackets' opening drive of the second half with his scoring pass to Godhigh to make it 31-7, then capped his day by throwing his TD to Laskey with 2:10 left.
Lee, the state's 2010 Associated Press high school player of the year at Durham Hillside High, once again found the end zone with relative ease in the North Carolina Triangle: In two games here, he has accounted for eight touchdowns.
He ran for two scores and threw for another in last year's 68-50 win at North Carolina -- the highest-scoring game in ACC history -- and for a short while early in this one, it certainly looked like a repeat of that one: The lead changed hands on three consecutive early possessions.
Godhigh's 44-yard run to the Duke 4 set up Lee's touchdown on an option keeper that put the Yellow Jackets up 10-7 with 6:04 left in the first.
That came after Duncan powered in from 1 yard out to briefly put Duke up 7-3. Harrison Butker's 49-yard field goal roughly 3 minutes in gave Tech a 3-0 lead.
FLORIDA STATE vs. NEVADA
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. -- Jameis Winston accounted for three touchdowns, Florida State's four tailbacks all scored and the No. 10 Seminoles routed Nevada 62-7 Saturday.
Florida State (2-0) looked just as good in its home opener as it did to start the season 12 days ago.
The Seminoles thumped Pitt 41-13 on the road, a game in which Winston grabbed headlines with a nearly flawless performance.
He shared the spotlight Saturday with his running backs.
Devonta Freeman ran nine times for 109 yards and a touchdown. James Wilder Jr. added 45 yards and a score.
Karlos Williams may have been the most impressive of the bunch. The former safety, who moved to offense after the opener, ran eight times for 110 yards and a score. His 65-yard scamper made it 31-7 early in the third quarter.
Winston, who threw two TD passes in the first half, scored on a 10-yard run in the third. That was his final play of the day.
Winston watched the final 20 minutes from the sideline.
He had a front-row seat for fourth-string tailback Ryan Green, who ended up rushing five times for 78 yards and a score.
The Seminoles were a little out of rhythm early and even trailed 7-3 in the second quarter.
Nevada (1-2) turned Winston's first career interception into a touchdown -- backup Devin Combsfound Brandon Wimberly in the corner of the end zone -- but the Seminoles responded in a big way.
They scored the next 59 points, including four touchdowns on their first four possessions in the third. None of the drives lasted more than two minutes, and the first two took a combined 33 seconds off the clock.
Freeman went 60 yards on the first play of the second half -- Wilder dominated a defender for the key block -- and then scored from 8 yards. Williams got on the field next, taking his first offensive touch and outrunning defenders for a 65-yard score.
The Seminoles were just getting started, too.
Wilder found the end zone on the next drive, and then Winston capped the offensive barrage with a nifty, naked bootleg. He faked out all 11 defenders and maybe even a few cameramen before coasting across the goal line.
He did even more damage with his arm.
Winston completed 15 of 18 passes for 214 yards and two touchdowns. He dropped a perfectly thrown ball into Kenny Shaw's hands for a 24-yard score in the second quarter. His 24-yarder toRashad Greene was even prettier, another impeccable pass into a tight spot.
After his lone mistake, Winston completed his final 13 passes for 184 yards and two scores.
Not bad for a freshman.
Sure, Nevada and Pitt are a long ways from Clemson and Miami, but Winston's poise and presence -- on the road and at home -- are good signs for a team with high hopes this season.
The Wolf Pack gave up 617 yards, 30 fewer than they did at UCLA in the season opener.
Nevada's bigger problem was on offense, where quarterback Cody Fajardo didn't even play because of a sprained knee. Combs got the start and completed 6 of 9 passes for 37 yards. He was limping late in the first half and then was replaced to start the third.
Tyler Stewart played the second half, completing 7 of 15 passes for 49 yards.
SYRACUSE vs WAGNER
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) - Coming off losses to Penn State and Northwestern in his team's first two games this season, Syracuse University head coach Scott Shafer implored his team to leave the Carrier Dome with a clean win on Saturday.
Consider Wagner the perfect car wash.
Sophomore quarterback Terrel Hunt ignited Syracuse with five first-half touchdown drives and an obviously angry Orange dominated in every category as Syracuse routed the Seahawks 54-0.
Hunt ripped the overmatched Seahawks (1-2), an FCS opponent, completing 15 of 18 passes for 265 yards and three touchdowns.
Including Syracuse's loss against Northwestern last week, Hunt has quarterbacked seven drives this season and has engineered six touchdowns and one field goal.
Jarrod West caught five balls for 147 yards and a score, and Jerome Smith ran for two touchdowns. The Orange (1-2) outgained Wagner 595-87 and limited the Seahawks to five first downs.
The win was a product of what Shafer described as an extra hard week of practice, one where his team's frustration sometimes spilled into testiness.
"I wanted to win this pretty clean (in all aspects of the game)," Shafer said. "You have to just keep pounding that rock until it breaks down the middle. We've played a lot of schools like this and we didn't kick their tails the way they should, in my opinion. I think, for the most part, we were fairly clean today."
Syracuse, which led 37-0 at halftime, gave Shafer his first win as the Orange's head coach. The coach choked up a little when describing his celebration with his son right after the game.
"I didn't think about it too much until they dumped the Gatorade on me," Shafer said. "It feels great. Let's get No. 2 as soon as possible."
The pressing question now is who will be calling the signals for the Orange when it hosts Tulane next week.
Shafer said during the week leading up to Saturday's game that both quarterback Drew Allen, who started the first two games this season, and backup Hunt would get some action during the contest.
To be fair to Allen, Shafer pointed out that he took the stage against two Big Ten teams, while Hunt had lined up against Wagner. Allen was 8 of 11 for 62 yards passing and a touchdown against the Seahawks.
"I think we can win with both of those kids," Shafer said. "I love the hell out of Terrel. But you always have to be careful. It's never as good as it seems. It's never as bad as it seems. Somewhere in between is the reality. You have to be careful looking against the talent level you are going against."
After Allen took the first three series of the game and came up with only three points to show for it, Hunt got the nod with 7:07 left in the opening quarter.
"They were too tight in the beginning," Hunt said of his teammates. "I went in there and started joking in the huddle."
Hunt immediately led a 12-play, 68-yard charge down the field, capped by a 2-yard run by Smith around the left side. After a missed extra point, Syracuse led 9-0.
On his next chance, Hunt needed just three plays to push the Orange 64 yards into the end zone. Taking over on the SU 36, Hunt hit West for 42 yards down to the Wagner 22. A holding penalty moved back Syracuse, but that just added to the challenge. Hunt then found running back Prince-Tyson Gully on a sideline route for a 30-yard score and a 16-0 Syracuse cushion with 14:01 remaining in the second quarter.
"I think he threw the ball real well," Wagner coach Walt Hameline said of Hunt. "He's real mobile and athletic. As the clock ticks you can run the football and you can run the read stuff with him. He's a big factor. That can really slow people down on blitzes."
Following another three-and-out by the Wagner offense, SU took over on its 41. Hunt maneuvered those 59 yards in eight plays, ending with an 8-yard rush by Smith around the left side to make it 23-0.
After another cameo appearance by the Seahawks offense, Hunt and his teammates trotted out for another romp starting on the Wagner 49. Running back Devante McFarlane got in on the fun by supplying the topper on that six-play drive, churning 3 yards around left end for his first career touchdown and a 30-0 Syracuse lead with 5:34 left in the half.
Hunt finished the first 30 minutes with a flourish, moving the Orange 73 yards in six plays against the beleaguered Wagner defense. Looking at a second-and-10 at the SU 27, Hunt found West on an 18-yard slant and then drilled a ball to Jeremiah Kobena for 11.
Two plays later, Hunt dropped a beauty of a ball into the hands of Christopher Clark for a 41-yard scoring strike with 2:20 left before intermission.
"All of our receivers are great. I trust them," Hunt said. "I throw them the ball and let them make the play."
Hunt hit West with a 65-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter for his final scoring toss of the day. It was an emotional day for West, who learned earlier in the day that his grandfather had passed away. West said a prayer in the end zone before the game and told his grandfather he'd meet him there.
MARYLAND vs. CONNECTICUT
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) - C.J. Brown ran for 122 yards and a touchdown and threw for 277 yards and another score on Saturday night as Maryland beat UConn 32-21, giving Randy Edsall a win over the team he coached for a dozen seasons.
Stefon Diggs had 110 yards receiving, including a 12-yard touchdown for the Terrapins, who improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2001.
Maryland, which led just 13-10 at the half, put up 501 yards of offense, going over 500 yards for the third straight game.
Shakim Phillips caught a career-high 10 passes for 178 yards and a late touchdown for UConn, which fell to 0-2 for the first time since 2002.
It was the first visit to Connecticut for Edsall since he left the school for Maryland after leading the Huskies to the 2011 Fiesta Bowl.
Diggs, who caught five balls, had 98 yards receiving at the half. His 12-yard catch and run in the third quarter capped a four-play 80-yard drive in the third quarter that put the Terps up 20-10.
The Huskies cut the lead to 20-13 on a 34-yard field goal that came after Brandon Ross fumbled the ball at his own 25-yard line.
But Dexter McDougle stepped in front of Geremy Davis on the right sideline, and took an interception back 49-yards across the field for a touchdown to give Maryland some breathing room. It was one of two interceptions on the day for the senior cornerback.
UConn quarterback Chandler Whitmer was 29-of-46 for a career-high 349 yards, a touchdown and those two picks. His intentional grounding penalty in the UConn end zone with just under 9 minutes left, put the Terrapins up by three scores, and put the game out of reach.
Brad Craddock added a 40-yard field goal, his third of the game.
Phillips boosted his stats with a late 75-yard touchdown catch and run, but had to be helped off the field after getting injured on the play.
Maryland, which had 576 and 587 yards in its first two games, put up 319 yards of offense in the first half of this one. But mistakes kept them to just 13 points.
The Terps turned the ball over three times in the first quarter in UConn territory, twice failing to convert on fourth-and-1.
Brandon Ross was stuffed for a three yard loss to end the Terps first possession, and UConn responded by going on a six-play 64-yard drive that ended with Lyle McCombs taking a pile of players into the end zone from five yards out. Ross finished with 95 yards rushing. McCombs had 53 for UConn.
Maryland went for it and missed again on fourth-and-1 from the UConn 23, and in between, Brown was picked off by cornerback Taylor Mack on the Huskies 22.
Maryland got on the board in the second quarter when Brown kept the ball on a read option and went 41 yards up the middle of the Husky defense to tie the game, capping a four-play 80-yard drive.
The teams traded field goals to keep the game tied at 10. Chad Christen's 33-yarder was his ninth consecutive successful attempt.
But the Terps put together a 10-play, 86-yard drive just before halftime, settling for a 21-yard field goal after Levern Jacobs stepped out of bounds on a 48-yard reception just before diving into the end zone.
Edsall was back at Rentschler field for the first time since leaving the program after the 2011 Fiesta Bowl. He built UConn from Division I-AA power to Division I upstart and took the program to five bowl games in his 12 years in Storrs. Connecticut hasn't had a winning season since he left.
The Huskies went 5-7 in Paul Pasqualoni's first two seasons at UConn and opened this season with a 33-18 loss to Towson out of the Football Championship subdivision. No. 11 Michigan visits next week.