NCAA Roundup: Ala., LSU, Florida State rule

Christion Jones, #22, celebrates his touchdown reception from A.J. McCarron of the Alabama Crimson Tide, against the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Bryant-Denny Stadium, September 8, 2012 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

(AP) Alabama respectfully shut out Western Kentucky and Wisconsin showed that life without Russell Wilson is going to be tougher than expected.

Life without Bobby Petrino in Arkansas is even worse.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide had no trouble with the Hilltoppers, winning 35-0 on Saturday, behind AJ McCarron's four touchdown passes.

Alabama coach Nick Saban scolded the media during the week from praising his team too much and not giving Western Kentucky enough respect. Maybe he had a point. The Hilltoppers did cover the 40-point spread and managed to hold the powerful Tide running game to 103 yards on 31 carries.

But Alabama was never threatened and can focus on its first Southeastern Conference game next week at Arkansas — a team that will be trying to pick itself up after being stunned by Louisiana-Monroe, 34-31 in overtime.

Now under John L. Smith after former coach Petrino was fired for his relationship with a school employee, the eighth-ranked Razorbacks had been regarded as a dark horse pick to win the SEC. Expectations are about to change.

Kolton Browning's 16-yard touchdown run on fourth-and-one won it for the Warhawks, who outgained Arkansas 550-377.

Wisconsin's offense was a near no-show, losing 10-7 at Oregon State.

The Badgers were one of the most potent teams in the country last year with Wilson playing quarterback. They were expected to continue churning out yards, even without the quarterback who will start for Seattle in the NFL on Sunday. It hasn't been the case. After barely beating Northern Iowa last week, the Badgers couldn't get out of Corvallis, Ore., with a win.

Wisconsin star running back Montee Ball ran for only 61 yards and had his touchdown streak stopped at 21 games.


TUSCALOSA, Ala. - AJ McCarron passed for 219 yards and matched his career high with four touchdown passes to lead No. 1 Alabama over Western Kentucky.

McCarron had two scoring tosses apiece to Christion Jones and Kevin Norwood in a performance that was more about big plays than consistent, muscle-flexing dominance for the top-ranked Crimson Tide (2-0). The Hilltoppers (1-1) were 40-point underdogs and the sandwich opponent between top 10 opponents Michigan and No. 8 Arkansas.

A running game that produced 232 yards against the Wolverines took a back seat to McCarron and the opportunistic defense. McCarron completed 14 of 19 passes and played all but the final series.

Norwood caught three passes for 92 yards.

Kawaun Jakes competed 20 of 31 passes for 178 yards for the Hilltoppers, who also played LSU last season.


EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Matt Barkley matched a school record with six touchdown passes, and Robert Woods was spectacular with 200 all-purpose yards and two scores.

The rare trip to the Northeast for the Trojans was choppy at times, and Syracuse's hurry-up offense kept USC (2-0) working hard for four quarters at MetLife Stadium, the home of the Giants and Jets.

Led by Ryan Nassib, Syracuse (0-2) kept things close with consecutive touchdowns in the third quarter to make it 21-16 heading into the fourth. Nassib finished with 322 yards passing, two touchdown passes and a touchdown run.

But the Orange simply had no answer for Woods.

The All-American reached over a defender for a 29-yard score in the second quarter and boxed out a defensive back on a 4-yard touchdown in the third. He finished with 10 catches for 93 yards.


BATON ROUGE, La. - Alfred Blue's explosive runs were tough for Washington to handle.

The rest of LSU's running backs made it a really long night for the overmatched Huskies.

Blue rushed for 101 yards, including a 21-yard score, and No. 3 LSU racked up 242 yards on the ground in a 41-3 victory over Washington on Saturday night.

Kenny Hilliard added a pair of short touchdowns and fullback J.C. Copeland pounded through the pile for another score for LSU (2-0), which basically ran at will while averaging nearly 5 yards per carry.

Tigers quarterback Zach Mettenberger was 12 of 18 for 195 yards, including a 32-yard scoring pass to Kadron Boone. James Wright caught five passes for 75 yards.

Keith Price was 17 of 36 for 157 yards for the Huskies (1-1). Normally a good scrambler, Price had trouble with LSU's speedy defenders, who sacked him four times and intercepted him once.

LSU has won 39 straight against non-conference opponents in the regular season, tying a Football Bowl Subdivision record first set by Kansas State.


EUGENE, Ore. - Kenjon Barner ran for 201 yards and three touchdowns to lead No. 4 Oregon to a 42-25 victory over Fresno State on Saturday.

De'Anthony Thomas ran for 102 yards and two additional scores for the Ducks (2-0), who sprinted to a 35-6 in the first half before the Bulldogs were able to slow them a bit in the second. Redshirt freshman quarterback Marcus Mariota completed 19 of 27 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown.

Derek Carr, the younger brother of former Bulldogs QB David Carr, completed 29 of 47 passes for 234 yards and a touchdown for Fresno State (1-1), a new member of the Mountain West Conference this season. Quentin Breshears kicked four field goals, including one from 43 yards.


TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - EJ Manuel passed for three touchdowns in the opening seven minutes and sixth-ranked Florida State's defense held lower-division Savannah State to 28 yards in a game called in the third quarter because of lightning.

The Seminoles bolted to a 35-0 lead in the first quarter as Manuel completed 11 of 13 passes for 161 yards and five different Seminoles scored touchdowns. Manuel didn't play after the opening quarter.

Florida State (2-0) led 48-0 at halftime and finished with 413 yards. James Wilder Jr. and Kelvin Benjamin each scored two touchdowns.

Savannah State (0-2), a Football Championship Subdivision school, has been outscored by a combined 139-0 in its first two games this season. It was beaten 84-0 at Oklahoma State last week, and came into the Florida State game as 70-1/2 point underdogs.


NORMAN, Okla. - Damien Williams ran for 156 yards and four touchdowns in a record-setting Owen Field debut, Kenny Stills added 120 yards receiving and a score, and No. 5 Oklahoma beat Florida A&M 69-13 on Saturday night.

Williams' rushing total was the most for a player in his first game at the Sooners' home field, and he became only the fourth player at the school to eclipse 100 yards rushing in each of his first two games. Adrian Peterson was the last to do it, in 2004.

Landry Jones threw for 252 yards and two touchdowns with one interception for the Sooners (2-0), who had dropped a spot in the rankings after an unimpressive 24-7 victory in their opener at UTEP.

Travis Harvey caught a 75-yard touchdown pass from Damien Fleming and finished with 118 yards receiving for Florida A&M (0-2) of the Football Championship Subdivision.

Chase Varnadore hit field goals from 41 and 46 yards for the Rattlers, who fell to 0-14 against FBS foes since beating Miami in 1979.