The unranked Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns cashed in on three huge plays -- two of them in the return game -- to post a 31-14 victory over No. 23 Iowa State on Saturday afternoon in Ames, Iowa.
The win was Louisiana's second win ever over a ranked opponent, the first on the road.
Chris Smith scored on a 95-yard kickoff return, and Eric Garror returned a punt 83 yards for a score for the Cajuns in the season opener for both teams. In between, Levi Lewis tossed a 78-yard touchdown pass to receiver Peter LeBlanc for the only third-quarter score to give Louisiana-Lafayette the lead for good.
After Garror's return 62 seconds into the fourth made it 24-14, Trey Ragas capped the scoring on a 2-yard run with just 10 seconds remaining.
No. 1 Clemson 37, Wake Forest 13
Trevor Lawrence ran for two touchdowns and threw for another as the Tigers opened the season with authority, drilling the host Demon Deacons in Winston-Salem, N.C.
The teams began with an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup as part of revised schedules put in place during the summer after concerns about the coronavirus pandemic put the status of the season in jeopardy.
Lawrence, a quarterback projected by some analysts as the potential top NFL Draft selection in 2021, threw for 351 yards on 22-for-28 passing without an interception.
No. 5 Oklahoma 48, Missouri State 0
Freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler was 14-for-17 passing for 290 yards and four touchdowns -- all in the first half of his first career start -- as the Sooners blew out visiting Missouri State.
Oklahoma (1-0) had 19 players from the two-deep miss the game - for positive COVID-19 tests, contract tracing holds and suspensions -- including four expected starters, but no issues with the FCS-level Bears (0-1). Rattler was 8-for-9 for 199 yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter alone, and the Sooners had more points (41) than the Bears had yards (37) in the first half.
Missouri State finished with just 135 total yards and seven first downs in the debut of new head coach Bobby Petrino.
No. 10 Notre Dame 27, Duke 13
Running back Kyren Williams ran for two touchdowns as the Fighting Irish marked a historic occasion -- the school's first game as a conference member -- by defeating the visiting Blue Devils in South Bend, Ind.
Williams, a sophomore, gained 112 yards on the ground on 19 carries. He also had two catches for 93 yards. Quarterback Ian Book was 19-for-31 with 263 yards in the air.
Duke quarterback Chase Brice, a graduate transfer from Clemson, made his first collegiate start and completed 20 of 37 passes for 259 yards.
No. 14 Texas 59, UTEP 3
Quarterback Sam Ehlinger threw for 426 yards and touchdowns to five different receivers, all in the first half, as the host Longhorns stampeded past the Miners in Austin, Texas.
Ehlinger was 25 of 33 through the air over the first two quarters plus one series in the third quarter while staking Texas (1-0) to an overwhelming advantage in its season opener. Ehlinger, a senior and the Longhorns' Heisman Trophy candidate, hit Joshua Moore for a 78-yard score on the game's opening play and never looked back.
Tight end Cade Brewer hauled in Ehlinger's second TD pass, from 20 yards away, before Roschon Johnson plunged in for a 1-yard touchdown run midway through the first quarter. Ehlinger then hit Brenden Schooler for a 40-yard score. By the end of the half, Ehlinger added TD tosses to Tarik Black and walk-on Kai Money.
No. 18 North Carolina 31, Syracuse 6
Sam Howell passed for 295 yards and Javonte Williams ran for three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to lead the Tar Heels (1-0 overall, 1-0 ACC) to the win at Chapel Hill. N.C.
North Carolina outgained the Orange 463-202 and racked up seven sacks with Chazz Surratt and Tomari Fox each recording two.
The Tar Heels led just 10-6 before pulling away in the final stanza. They thwarted Syracuse quarterback Tommy DeVito, who was just 13-of-31 passing for 112 yards for the Orange (0-1, 0-1).
--Field Level Media