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College Football Rundown: N.C. State drops No. 12 Florida State, No. 13 Virginia Tech shuts out ODU, No. 1 Alabama steamrolls Vanderbilt

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (UPI) — North Carolina State never trailed and spoiled No. 12 Florida State’s hurricane-delayed home opener at Doak Campbell Stadium with a 27-21 victory on Saturday.

N.C. State (3-1, 1-0 in the ACC) entered as a 12-point underdog, but Ryan Finley threw two touchdown passes to help the Wolfpack snap a four-game losing streak to the Seminoles (0-2, 0-1).

The game was Florida State’s first in 21 days after Hurricane Irma washed out Weeks 2 and 3 for the Seminoles, whose loss Saturday marked the program’s first 0-2 start since 1989, when they opened the season with defeats to Southern Miss and Clemson.

Finley connected on scoring throws to receiver Jakobi Meyers and receiver/running back Jaylen Samuels. Finley finished 22 of 32 for 230 yards.

Florida State kicker Ricky Aguayo cut the lead to 27-21 with 3:01 left after linebacker Brian Burns blocked an N.C. State punt, but the Seminoles — who had no timeouts left — opted to kick off deep, rather than try an onside kick. N.C. State then picked up one first down and ended the game.

Florida State true freshman quarterback James Blackman, replacing Deondre Francois, who suffered a season-ending knee injury during the season opener against No. 1 Alabama, completed 22 of 38 passes for 278 yards.

Florida State receiver Auden Tate had nine catches for 138 yards but left the in the opening minutes of the third quarter with an apparent arm injury, suffered on a 51-yard catch. Tate’s injury was a big blow to the Seminoles, who lost a home opener for the first time in Jimbo Fisher‘s eight seasons as head coach.

After the teams combined to score 27 points in the first half — with N.C. State taking a 17-10 lead at intermission — they traded field goals in the third quarter as the Wolfpack led 20-13 going to the final 15 minutes.

Aguayo drilled a 37-yarder in the opening minute of the fourth quarter to cut the N.C. State lead to 20-16.

But the Wolfpack answered with 9:16 remaining, when Samuels took a 14-yard shovel pass 14 for a touchdown to cap a 10-play, 75-yard drive that put N.C. State ahead 27-16.

The Seminoles got life with 6:26 remaining after Finley botched a shotgun snap and it went out of the end zone for a Florida State safety to cut the N.C. State lead to 27-18. But the Seminoles’ offense couldn’t do anything on the ensuing possession, turning the ball over on downs with just over five minutes left in the game.

The Wolfpack’s defense was led by linebacker Jarod Fernandez with nine tackles, while edge rusher Bradley Chubb tallied seven stops and two sacks.

Florida State’s defense was paced by linebacker Ro’Derrick Hoskins with nine tackles. The Seminoles lost last year’s leading tackler, linebacker Matthew Thomas, to an injury just before halftime.

The N.C. State rushing attack was led by running back Nyheim Hines with 24 rushes for 94 yards. Meyers caught have passes for a career-high 112 yards.

Florida State running back Cam Akers rushed 12 times for a team-high 56 yards.

NOTES: Saturday’s game marked the earliest Florida State had faced an ACC opponent in the season since 2009 when they opened the year against Miami. … N.C. State improved to 5-15 all-time on the road against the Seminoles. … N.C. State’s Jaylen Samuels’ two touchdowns Saturday were the 37th and 38th of his career, good for fourth on the Wolfpack’s career touchdown list. … QB James Blackman’s first career touchdown pass was the first thrown by a Seminoles true freshman quarterback since 2001. … FSU LB Jacob Pugh was ejected late in the third quarter for targeting and he will miss the first half of next week’s game at Wake Forest. … Saturday’s attendance was 70,541.


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BLACKSBURG, Va. — No. 13 Virginia Tech used a dominating defensive performance to dispatch visiting Old Dominion 38-0 on Saturday at Lane Stadium.

The Hokies (4-0) outgained the Monarchs 583-149 in securing their second shutout in their last three games.

ODU (2-2) was held scoreless for the first time since a 49-0 loss to Appalachian State in 2005.

Despite throwing his first career interception, Hokies freshman quarterback Josh Jackson had another stellar start, passing for 298 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 29 yards. He completed 20 of 30 passes.

Tech junior running back Steven Peoples had a career day with 135 total yards (73 receiving) and three touchdowns.

The Hokies’ defensive dominance spoiled a historic first start for ODU freshman quarterback Steven Williams Jr. At 17, Williams became the second-youngest starting quarterback in the history of the Football Bowl Subdivision, behind only David Walker of Texas A&M in 1973.

Williams passed for 85 yards on 8-of-26 passing, and he rushed six times for 24 yards. He couldn’t provide much of a spark against Tech’s defense, which held the Monarchs to seven first downs.

The last time Tech held multiple opponents scoreless in the same season was 2006 when it notched four.

The Hokies struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the first half, but they still took a 17-0 lead into the intermission.

Joey Slye’s 31-yard first-quarter field goal provided Tech’s only points until 6:07 remaining in the second quarter. That was when Peoples caught a screen pass from Jackson and took it 17 yards for a touchdown.

Peoples scored his second touchdown right before the end of the quarter on a 1-yard run.

Tech broke open the game in the third quarter. Peoples caught a deflected pass from Jackson in the end zone for a 43-yard touchdown, and wide receiver C.J. Carroll caught his first career scoring reception from 5 yards out a short time later to make it 31-0.

Hokies running back Deshawn McClease scored on a 5-yard run early in the fourth quarter to push the lead to 38-0.

NOTES: Virginia Tech WR Cam Phillips has caught at least one pass in 31 straight games, breaking the school record set by Isaiah Ford last season. … ODU fell to 0-9 all-time against Power 5 opponents. … Hokies PK Joey Slye missed a 27-yard field goal in the first quarter, his first career miss inside the 30-yard line. He was 27-for-27 for his career before the miss. … ODU’s Steven Williams was the first opposing quarterback to make his first career start at Lane Stadium since Temple’s Devin Scott in 1998. … Former Virginia Tech quarterback Michael Vick was inducted into the school’s sports Hall of Fame on Friday. … Virginia Tech QB Josh Jackson threw his first career interception on his 100th pass of the season. … Virginia Tech hosts No. 2 Clemson next Saturday. ODU returns to action at home against Florida Atlantic on October 7.


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NASHVILLE — Top-seeded Alabama generally wins football games because it’s bigger, stronger, faster and more prepared than its opponents. Those, and a phenomenal rushing attack, were the reasons the Crimson Tide went to Vanderbilt Stadium and pounded the Commodores 59-0 on Saturday afternoon.

Running back Damien Harris rushed for 151 yards and three touchdowns as the Crimson Tide lit up the nation’s No. 1 defense for 677 yards while holding the Commodores to just 78.

Fresh off an upset of then-No. 18 Kansas State last week, the Commodores were overmatched from the beginning. Vanderbilt had more penalties (five) than first downs (three).

Leading by 31 points at halftime, the Crimson Tide went for the throat in the third quarter.

Harris scored his third touchdown on a 2-yard run and true freshman backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw a pair of third-quarter touchdown passes to make it 52-0.

After an first-quarter exchange of punts, Alabama took over in Vanderbilt territory and running back Bo Scarbrough dashed around left tackle for a 6-yard touchdown run, the point-after putting the Crimson Tide up 7-0.

After another Vandy punt, Damien Harris dashed 61 yards through the left side of the defense on the drive’s second play, with kicker Andy Pappanastos’s PAT giving the Tide a 14-0 advantage.

On the Commodores’ next offensive snap, Khari Blasingame coughed it up and Alabama defense end Da’Shawn Hand recovered at the Vandy 26.

On a third-and-goal play from the 2 and the Crimson Tide in a jumbo formation, Harris easily dove in from 2 yards out to make it 21-0 with 42 seconds left in the first quarter.

Scarbrough added his second touchdown of the first half when he dashed over on a third-and-goal play from the 2-yard line with 9:09 left in the first half.

Pappanastos added a 22-yard field goal with 1:18 left in the second quarter.

Alabama had a 323-49 edge in total offense at the break, and had 19 first downs to Vanderbilt’s two.

NOTES: Vanderbilt was without a pair of veteran reserve cornerbacks on Saturday. Taurean Ferguson missed his fourth straight game with what’s been termed an indefinite suspension, and Bryce Lewis was not dressed due to an undisclosed injury. … The Commodores had given up 13 total points in three games, but allowed 21 in the first quarter on Saturday. … Alabama S Ronnie Harrison had a first-quarter interception on a ball off the hands of Vandy TE Jared Pinkney. It was the first interception that Commodores QB Kyle Shurmur had thrown this season.


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Written by UPI sports writers Danny Aller and Nathan Warters on behalf of The Sports Xchange

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College Football Rundown: N.C. State drops No. 12 Florida State, No. 13 Virginia Tech shuts out ODU, No. 1 Alabama steamrolls Vanderbilt