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No. 10 Utah searches for offense at No. 19 Oregon State

No. 10 Utah searches for offense at No. 19 Oregon State

Utah's defense has been terrific this season, but the No. 10 Utes' offense could use an upgrade.

That revelation is from Utes quarterback Nate Johnson.

Utah (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) strives to remain unbeaten while increasing its offensive production when it battles No. 19 Oregon State (3-1, 0-1) in a Friday night Pac-12 clash at Corvallis, Ore.

Star quarterback Cam Rising hasn't played since tearing his left anterior cruciate ligament during the Utes' Jan. 2 Rose Bowl loss to Penn State. Rising has been sharing time with Johnson in practice but has yet to be cleared for game duty.

Bryson Barnes and Johnson split time the first two games before Johnson became the starter for the past two. However, Johnson wasn't the least bit happy with the meager 219 yards of total offense the Utes compiled during a 14-7 home victory over then-No. 22 UCLA last week.

"I apologize for the way the game was played out," Johnson wrote on social media after the contest. "Credit to our defense for an amazing performance. We will be better next week. Our offense is still awesome, just things will get cleaned up. See you guys next Friday."

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham, who doesn't participate in social media, didn't know of Johnson's sentiments until Monday.

"I'm completely ignorant and oblivious to what he said," Whittingham said in a news conference. "But that's admirable if he's taking accountability. ... I take that as a positive thing from Nate that he would point the finger at himself, even though I'm not buying into that."

Johnson connected on 9 of 17 passes for 117 yards and one touchdown against UCLA.

The Utes' defense controlled the contest while holding the Bruins to nine net rushing yards and 243 total yards. Standout defensive end Jonah Elliss, the son of former Utah All-American Luther Elliss, established career highs for tackles (10), tackles for loss (five) and sacks (3.5).

Utah is tied for ninth nationally in total defense (263.8 yards per game), ranks sixth in scoring defense (9.5 points per game) and is third in rushing defense (51 yards per game).

Oregon State also is looking for improved quarterback play after DJ Uiagalelei completed half his 34 passes for 198 yards, one touchdown and one interception in a 38-35 road loss at then-No. 21 Washington State last week.

In the previous game, Uiagalelei was just 14-for-30 with two interceptions and a scoring pass in a victory over San Diego State.

"Could he play better? One hundred percent," Beavers coach Jonathan Smith, a former star quarterback at the school, said during his Monday press conference. "We need to protect him. We need to make some plays on the ball. And then he's got a couple throws that he needs to make."

Overall, the Clemson transfer has completed 57.8 percent of his passes for 828 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions.

Damien Martinez (432 rushing yards) and Deshaun Fenwick (253) have stood out in the Oregon State backfield with average per carries of 7.6 and 6.8 yards, respectively.

On the defensive side, the Beavers have been stout defending the run, ranking seventh nationally by allowing 69.8 yards per game. Defensive end Sione Lolohea has a team-best 5 1/2 tackles for loss.

The Beavers have won six straight home games and 13 of their past 14 in Corvallis.

Utah has won six of the past seven meetings, including a 42-16 victory last season in Salt Lake City. Oregon State prevailed in the most recent meeting in Corvallis, 42-34 in 2021.

No. 13 LSU, No. 20 Ole Miss face off in search of statement win

No. 13 LSU, No. 20 Ole Miss face off in search of statement win

No. 13 LSU is looking for improvement from its defense.

No. 20 Ole Miss is looking for improvement from its offense.

The Tigers (3-1, 2-0) and the Rebels (3-1, 0-1) will try to find the improvement they seek in an SEC game Saturday night in Oxford, Miss.

LSU has bounced back from a season-opening loss to Florida State with three straight victories, including back-to-back conference wins in the last two weekends. But in their most recent contest, the Tigers barely escaped with a 34-31 home victory over Arkansas last Saturday when Damian Ramos kicked a 20-yard field goal with five seconds remaining.

The Tigers couldn't shake the Razorbacks, who scored 17 points on three second-half possessions before KJ Jefferson was intercepted on a desperation heave on the final play of the game.

"We have to do ordinary things extraordinarily well," LSU coach Brian Kelly said of his defense. "We're having a tendency of trying to chase too many plays on defense. We're trying to make plays that are really not our plays to make and we just need to do our job. I think once we settle down, this can be a really good defense."

The defense has a pretty good-sized margin for error thanks to the Tigers' passing game -- and more specifically quarterback Jayden Daniels, the SEC Co-Offensive Player of the Week each of the last two weeks.

Daniels shared the honor two weeks ago with teammate Malik Nabers, who caught 13 of his passes for 239 yards and two touchdowns against Mississippi State. Nabers had two more touchdowns and 130 yards against Arkansas and Brian Thomas Jr. added two touchdowns and 133 yards.

"Nabers is getting a lot of attention (from defenses)," Kelly said. "You've got to be able to find other one-on-one matchups and Brian is capable of winning those matchups."

Daniels had 320 yards with four touchdowns and one interception against the Razorbacks, a week after throwing for 361 yards and a pair of scores -- along with running for two more TDs -- against the Bulldogs.

Ole Miss' offense was doing just fine as well, averaging more than 50 points per game through three nonconference games. But the Rebels struggled in a 24-10 loss at Alabama in their SEC opener last Saturday.

"We've got to get better," Rebels head coach Lane Kiffin said of the offense, which had just 56 rushing yards among its 301 total yards against the Crimson Tide. "Got to coach better, involve different schemes, different things. Sometimes the running game is interesting. You'll have these games, and then all of a sudden they'll pop and you'll have a bunch of explosive runs.

"We've just got to all go to work and figure out a way. It's not like we're a program that hasn't ever ran the ball or hasn't known how to run the ball. It would be really good to get back to that."

The Rebels were 7-0 and ranked No. 7 in the country last season when LSU beat them 45-20 in Baton Rouge, La. Ole Miss went on to finish 8-5 while the Tigers won the SEC West.

Two years ago, Ole Miss rebounded from a 42-21 loss to Alabama to go to the Sugar Bowl.

"We've been in this situation," Kiffin said. "Happened to be in the same situation two years ago. Went 3-0, went into Alabama and actually played a lot worse, ended up coming back from that game and going 10-2. Got a lot of football in front of us, and a huge one this week against, I would argue, maybe the hottest offense in the country."

Perfect seasons on line as No. 3 Texas, No. 24 Kansas clash

Perfect seasons on line as No. 3 Texas, No. 24 Kansas clash

No. 3 Texas and No. 24 Kansas will look to continue torrid starts to the season when they square off in Austin, Texas, on Saturday afternoon in a bid to stay atop the Big 12 Conference standings.

Saturday's dustup will be the first time the two programs have ever played each other while both are ranked. It also marks the final time the squads will meet as Big 12 opponents with Texas moving to the Southeastern Conference in 2024.

Both teams are 4-0 overall and 1-0 in conference play, with the Longhorns reaching that mark for the first time since 2012 and the Jayhawks doing so for the second straight year. Kansas has posted a 4-0 start in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1914-15.

Texas heads home on the heels of a dominant 38-6 win at Baylor last Saturday in its league opener, with Quinn Ewers passing for 293 yards and a touchdown and running for 16 yards and another score. Jonathon Brooks rushed for 106 yards and two TDs on 18 carries in the win, and Ja'Tavion Sanders caught five passes for 110 yards for the Longhorns.

The Longhorns were just as impressive on defense, allowing just three points on three Baylor possessions in the red zone over the second and third quarters. They also turned over the Bears on downs twice during that span, once by intercepting a pass in the end zone.

"We try to be a versatile football team -- not just on offense. We try to do as many things as we can really well," Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said. "We're not one dimensional, and we're going to have the ability this season to win games in a variety of ways."

Sarkisian said the Longhorns have discussed Kansas' 57-56 overtime win against them in 2021 -- perhaps Texas' low point in a 5-7 season -- in preparation for this year's contest.

"This game has got our undivided attention," Sarkisian said. "In a weird way, I'm kind of glad (the loss in 2021) happened because it exposed some warts in our program that needed to get removed. If we hadn't removed those warts, we might not be where we are today in our program."

Kansas travels to Austin after defeating BYU 38-27 at home last weekend.

The Jayhawks used a 22-yard fumble return from Cobee Bryant to race to an early lead and then added a 30-yard pick-six by Kenny Logan Jr. early in the third quarter to augment the 184 total yards and three TDs by quarterback Jalon Daniels.

Kansas was up just 35-27 with 8:02 to play but put the game away with a drive that used 6:29 of clock and culminated in a 23-yard field goal from Seth Keller.

The Jayhawks won their first five games last year before Daniels got injured. They limped home, losing six of their last seven regular-season games before falling to Arkansas in the Liberty Bowl.

"It's a very special moment for us," Kansas safety O.J. Burroughs said. "We had this opportunity last year; we know how it felt, so we're not going to let it get away like how (it) did last year."

The Jayhawks' 2021 win in Austin still draws questions, much to the chagrin of Kansas coach Lance Leipold.

"Old news," Leipold said. "Doesn't matter. Both teams are significantly better. Honestly, it's so far in the past, we got to keep moving."

The Longhorns are 17-4 against Kansas all-time and 9-1 when the teams play in Austin. Texas defeated Kansas in Lawrence last season, 55-14.

Virginia Tech seeking consistency when Pitt visits

Virginia Tech seeking consistency when Pitt visits

Two teams in need of a positive result meet on Saturday when Pitt faces Virginia Tech in an Atlantic Coast Conference matchup in Blacksburg, Va.

This will be the ACC opener for Virginia Tech (1-3), which has lost three games in a row. The past two have come in road encounters with Rutgers and Marshall.

"We're not consistent enough to be a good team," Virginia Tech coach Brent Pry said. "We're falling short in areas at different times."

Pitt, which lost 41-24 to North Carolina last Saturday in its ACC opener, is 1-3 through four games for the first time since 2017. Since the Panthers just started conference play, there's no reason to panic, according to coach Pat Narduzzi.

"The two teams that will be in the (ACC) championship game at the end of the year will have one loss, guaranteed," Narduzzi said. "There's too much parity in this conference, and there's going to be two teams with one loss I think. ... So everything we'll do is still ahead of us.

"We'll be back and go down to Virginia Tech and get it done."

Pitt might be going through a shakeup on offense. Quarterback Phil Jurkovec left Saturday's loss to UNC due to an undisclosed first-half injury. Christian Veilleux filled in, but he threw two interceptions.

"It doesn't matter who is out there," Narduzzi said. "We still had a chance to win with a makeshift offensive line."

The Panthers' work on special teams was easy to spot in the game against the Tar Heels. While Pitt gave up a punt return for a touchdown, it also benefited from Kenny Johnson's 100-yard kickoff return for a score and Rasheem Biles' second blocked punt in as many games.

Virginia Tech expects a physically demanding game with Pitt, so moving the ball on the ground could help the Hokies after they racked up 184 rushing yards in the 24-17 loss to Marshall.

Pitt and Virginia Tech have split 22 games in the all-time series, though the Panthers have won the last three meetings. The Hokies have won seven of 10 matchups in Blacksburg.

Pitt won 45-29 at home last October in the most recent meeting between the teams.

Mel Tucker's attorneys blast MSU's investigation, intent to fire coach

Mel Tucker's attorneys blast MSU's investigation, intent to fire coach

Attorneys representing suspended Michigan State football coach Mel Tucker on Monday sent a letter to the university, laying out their assertion that administrators prematurely jumped to conclusions and that the university has no grounds to fire their client.

The letter comes a week after Michigan State announced its intent to fire Tucker for cause following its investigation into allegations Tucker sexually harassed Brenda Tracy, a sexual assault survivor and awareness speaker, during unwanted phone sex in April 2022. The university provided Tucker seven days to respond to the notification last Monday.

Calling the university's findings in its investigation "flimsy," attorneys from the firm Foley & Lardner LLP made the following assertions in its letter:

--The phone sex between Tucker and Tracy was consensual (a claim Tucker has repeatedly made since the allegations came to light).

--The university has no jurisdiction to investigate -- let alone discipline -- Tucker over a private phone call.

--The university and Tracy broke confidentiality by disclosing the details of the 1,200-page investigation.

--The university announced the intent to fire Tucker more than seven months after first learning of Tracy's allegations and before fully completing its investigation, violating Tucker's right to due process.

Last Tuesday, Tucker himself replied to the university's notice, stating much of what his attorneys stated in their letter.

"Let's be clear. I don't believe MSU plans to fire me because I admitted to an entirely consensual, private relationship with another adult who gave one presentation at MSU, at my behest, over two years ago."

Tucker is one of the highest-paid coaches in college football, signing a 10-year, $95 million contract before the 2022 season. The contract is fully guaranteed if the school fires Tucker for performance.

However, it contains a clause that allows Michigan State to fire him, without payment, if he engages in "conduct which, in the University's reasonable judgment, would tend to bring public disrespect, contempt or ridicule on the University," according to USA Today.

Michigan State suspended Tucker without pay Sept. 10 amid its months-long investigation into his conduct with Tracy. Tucker said he helped bring Tracy, a prominent activist for sexual misconduct prevention, to campus in 2021 and they developed a friendship that grew intimate over time. Tucker said he was estranged from his wife "for a long time" by that point.

Tucker confirmed he had a "late-night intimate conversation" with Tracy in April 2022. While he said it was mutual and Tracy initiated the call, Tracy contends that Tucker "made sexual comments about her and masturbated" during that call and she had not consented.

Tucker, 51, is in his fourth season as head coach of the Spartans. His overall record at Michigan State is 20-14 after a 5-7 season in 2022.

BYU out to reach full potential in matchup with Cincinnati

BYU out to reach full potential in matchup with Cincinnati

After four games, BYU coach Kalani Sitake is certain of one thing.

"I know we are a good team, and we haven't played our best yet," Sitake said. "We definitely didn't play our best (last week)."

Sitake and the Cougars will try to raise their level of play on Friday night when they face fellow Big 12 Conference newcomer Cincinnati in Provo, Utah, in their first conference home game.

BYU will aim to bounce back from a 38-27 loss at Kansas in its Big 12 opener.

After three nonconference victories, including a 38-31 win at Arkansas, BYU became the latest team to be unable to slow the Jayhawks' high-powered attack. The Cougars led 17-14 at halftime but gave up the advantage only 22 seconds into the second half on a pick-six before yielding lengthy scoring drives on Kansas' first three offensive possessions of the half.

BYU quarterback Kedon Slovis completed 30 of 51 passes for 357 yards with two scores and two interceptions. The Cougars (3-1, 0-1 Big 12) got nothing from their ground game (22 attempts, 9 yards) and allowed 6 yards per carry to the Jayhawks.

Slovis has thrown for 1,017 yards with eight touchdowns and three interceptions in four games, relying on the trio of Chase Roberts, Isaac Rex and Darius Lassiter. They have a combined 52 catches and five scores.

Meanwhile, Cincinnati (2-2, 0-1) got Oklahoma at home for its first Big 12 game and kept the Sooners in check but couldn't do enough on offense in a 20-6 loss last week. The Bearcats held the Sooners 35 points under their average but went just 3-for-15 on third-down conversions and couldn't find the end zone.

"I'm very proud of our defense," first-year Cincinnati coach Scott Satterfield said. "They held a very high-powered offense to 20 points and didn't get a lot of help from our offense."

Bearcats quarterback Emory Jones was 22 of 41 for 235 yards but tossed two key interceptions. He has 970 passing yards and seven touchdowns in addition to five picks on the season.

BYU has won both games in the all-time series, a 38-24 home triumph in 2015 and a 20-3 decision at Cincinnati the following year.

Purdue, still seeking home win, prepare for division rival Illinois

Purdue, still seeking home win, prepare for division rival Illinois

There should be more familiarity than usual between Illinois and Purdue when the teams meet for a Big Ten contest on Saturday in West Lafayette, Ind.

First-year Purdue head coach Ryan Walters was hired to head the Boilermakers program after working as the defensive coordinator under Illinois head coach Bret Bielema.

"There is still a lot of familiarity," Walters said. "Like, I can tell what I'm seeing on tape, and obviously I got to go against (Illinois offensive coordinator Barry) Lunney every day in practice for a spring and a fall. So there are similarities there, and also a lot of new faces in that program as well that I wasn't there for."

Purdue (1-3, 0-1 Big Ten) has lost all three of its home games so far this year.

The Boilermakers are coming off a 38-17 loss to Wisconsin last Friday. Hudson Card went 21-for-38 passing for 202 yards and threw two interceptions for Purdue.

Defense has been the biggest problem for Purdue, which has given up more than 35 points in each of its defeats.

Illinois (2-2, 0-1) is coming off a 23-17 home win last week over Florida Atlantic.

The Fighting Illini have some payback on their minds, given a home loss to Purdue last year cost Illinois a spot in the Big Ten championship game.

The win over Florida Atlantic might have been a good step forward for starting quarterback Luke Altmyer, who threw for 303 yards and a touchdown after struggling the first three games of the season.

Overall, Bielema said he likes the position his team is in as it faces its first Big Ten West opponent.

"I think we got a lot of depth," Bielema said. "I don't know if anything's going to be pretty, but this group is going to play tough and gritty football."

Purdue has dominated the series between the teams of late. The Boilermakers have won three in a row, six of the last seven and nine of the last 12 games over the Fighting Illini.

Minnesota, Louisiana try to brush off last week's shaky endings

Minnesota, Louisiana try to brush off last week's shaky endings

Louisiana and Minnesota both saw big leads shrink in the fourth quarter last week.

The Ragin' Cajuns (3-1), who were able to hold on for a victory, and the Golden Gophers (2-2), who fell in overtime, will meet in a nonconference game on Saturday in Minneapolis.

Minnesota had a 31-10 lead in the fourth quarter last week at Northwestern yet wound up losing 37-34 in OT.

Golden Gophers coach P.J. Fleck called the finish "a catastrophic 15 minutes."

"We weren't able to make enough plays on the offense, defense or special teams, and it cost us," Fleck said. "It's 100 percent on my shoulders. I'm the head football coach. Everything runs through me."

Adding injury to insult was the fact that freshman running back Darius Taylor, who had 198 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Northwestern, was lost to an undisclosed injury late in the game. Fleck said he wouldn't announce the status of Taylor, who has averaged 176.3 rushing yards over the past three games, for Saturday until "two hours before game time."

Minnesota will try to shake off the effects of last week's missed opportunity and avoid looking ahead to next week's home game against No. 2 Michigan as it plays a Louisiana team that led visiting Buffalo 45-24 midway through the fourth quarter last week.

The Cajuns allowed back-to-back touchdowns that trimmed the gap to seven points with two minutes remaining. After a three-and-out by the Louisiana offense, Tyree Skipper made an interception that sealed the victory with 17 seconds left.

Redshirt freshman Zeon Chriss, making his first career start in place of injured Ben Wooldridge, completed 22 of 29 passes for 249 yards and a touchdown and two interceptions.

"I didn't even want him to throw it that many times, to be honest with you," Louisiana coach Michael Desormeaux said. "I didn't want him to have to feel like he's got to do it all."

Chriss, who appears to be the starter for the foreseeable future, added 70 yards and two touchdowns on 11 rushes.

Unbeaten Louisville shoots for 5-0 start, faces NC State

Unbeaten Louisville shoots for 5-0 start, faces NC State

Louisville's offense has been humming along at a pretty good clip so far this season, while North Carolina State is still attempting to hit its stride.

The teams face off in Friday night's Atlantic Coast Conference game in Raleigh, N.C.

Louisville (4-0, 2-0 ACC) is off to its best start in conference play in seven years. The offense has been performing so well that numerous players have emerged as threats.

"When there's one ball and you've got multiple weapons, I can't predict where the ball is going to throw, you've got to kind of gain the confidence of your quarterback," Cardinals coach Jeff Brohm said. "You've got to just stick with it. You never know when your number is going to be called."

NC State (3-1, 1-0) might need to get its offense cranked up if it intends to keep up with the Cardinals.

The arrival of quarterback Brennan Armstrong to the Wolfpack was supposed to be accompanied by a dynamic offense. But that hasn't panned out. The team punted eight times last week at Virginia.

NC State coach Dave Doeren said cranking up more rushing yards would be a good step.

"I think getting a consistent run game -- right now it's been inconsistent," he said. "We got to narrow some things down. Being consistent and efficient with the run game. I think this offense has a lot of parts to it."

The Wolfpack will be playing on a Friday night for the second week in a row after last week's 24-21 escape at Virginia on a last-play field goal. This will be NC State's first night home game of the season.

Freshman receiver Kevin Concepcion made two touchdown catches in the Virginia game and seems to be emerging as a key playmaker.

"He's really hard to cover man-to-man," Doeren said. "There's a reason his numbers are what they are and he's targeted 10 times (catching six) for 116 yards (in the Virginia game)."

For Louisville, transfer quarterback Jack Plummer has been rolling. He threw for five touchdowns and ran for another in last week's 56-28 romp past Boston College.

"Sometimes, he wants to do so well, I think he presses," Brohm said. "So we just worked on relaxing and trusting what you do in practice every day and throw with conviction and standing on balance and trusting their protection."

Plummer has thrown for 10 touchdowns with four interceptions, averaging 280 yards per game in the air.

"I think we saw glimpses of that in all the games we've played where we've put stretches of football together as an offensive side of the ball where it looked really good," Plummer said.

Pitt LT Matt Goncalves undergoes season-ending surgery

Pitt LT Matt Goncalves undergoes season-ending surgery

Pitt standout left tackle Matt Goncalves underwent surgery Monday for a lower-body injury and will miss the rest of the season.

Goncalves, an NFL prospect, was injured during the fourth quarter of a game against West Virginia on Sept. 16.

"I'm sad for him," Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi said Monday during a press conference. "I'm sad for his family that will be at every game anyway, because they're so blue and gold. It's nothing you expect. He's in such good shape, he's a tough dude. It's a hit to our offense."

Goncalves was a preseason first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference selection. He was a third-team All-ACC choice after the 2022 season and is a team captain.

"The amount of love and care I have for the University of Pittsburgh cannot be measured," Goncalves said on social media. "I'll be there for my teammates and help the team whatever way I can throughout this recovery process. Thank you to my coaches, my teammates, and my family for helping me get past this."

Narduzzi said Goncalves will reveal the injury details at a later date.

Also, Panthers quarterback Phil Jurkovec is in jeopardy of missing Saturday's game at Virginia Tech. He sustained an undisclosed injury while taking a hard hit during the second quarter of last Saturday's 41-24 home loss to North Carolina.

Jurkovec has passed for 583 yards, four touchdowns and three interceptions. He is in his first season at Pitt after playing two seasons at Notre Dame (2018-19) and three at Boston College (2020-22).

Christian Veilleux is being prepared to start in case Jurkovec isn't available. He was 7-of-18 for 85 yards and two interceptions against North Carolina.

Veilleux spent two seasons at Penn State before transferring to Pitt prior to this season.

The Panthers (1-3, 0-1 ACC) have lost three straight games.

Deion Sanders says no Travis Hunter for Colorado vs. No. 8 USC

Deion Sanders says no Travis Hunter for Colorado vs. No. 8 USC

Colorado two-way star Travis Hunter will not play this Saturday's home game against No. 8 Southern California as he recovers from a lacerated liver.

Colorado coach Deion Sanders -- in a video posted online Monday on his son's YouTube channel -- told his players that Hunter texted him saying he needed to play this week after missing Colorado's 42-6 loss to Oregon.

"We need to get everything we can so I can get back on the field. I'm not taking no for an answer," Hunter purportedly told Sanders.

Sanders then told his team how he responded:

"No, you ain't ready and I care about you more than I care about this game. You're going to change the game of football one day when you get healthy and ready. Your future is brighter than mine ever will be and ever was. Relax and get healthy. I love you, son."

Hunter was injured Sept. 16 when Colorado State's Henry Blackburn laid an illegal hit on him along the sideline.

A former five-star high school recruit, Hunter plays wide receiver and cornerback for Sanders at Colorado after following the coach there from Jackson State. In the first three games of 2023, Hunter had 16 catches for 233 yards on offense and one interception, two pass breakups and nine tackles on defense.

After the Buffaloes' lopsided loss at Oregon, unbeaten USC is a 21.5-point favorite against Colorado at BetMGM and FanDuel Sportsbook.

Texas Tech QB Tyler Shough (leg) out 6-8 weeks

Texas Tech QB Tyler Shough (leg) out 6-8 weeks

Texas Tech starting quarterback Tyler Shough will miss most, if not all, of this season after coach Joey McGuire said Shough suffered a fractured left fibula last Saturday during his team's 20-13 defeat at West Virginia.

McGuire said Monday he expects Shough, who was injured in the first quarter, to miss up to two months. He said Shough will have surgery on Tuesday.

Shough began his college career with two seasons at Oregon - leading the Ducks to a Pac-12 conference title in 2020 - before transferring to Texas Tech for the past three seasons.

He has completed 355 of 564 passing attempts (62.9 percent) for 4,625 yards with 36 touchdown passes, 17 interceptions and 10 rushing touchdowns.

Redshirt sophomore Behren Morton, who was 13 for 37 passing for 158 yards and a touchdown in relief of Shough against West Virginia, will start at quarterback Saturday when the Red Raiders (1-3) host Houston in Big 12 play.

No. 1 Georgia braces for Auburn in Carson Beck's first SEC road test

No. 1 Georgia braces for Auburn in Carson Beck's first SEC road test

No. 1 Georgia handed out a travel itinerary for the first time this season as the Bulldogs begin marching toward their first road game of the season on Saturday at Auburn.

All-SEC wide receiver Ladd McConkey hasn't played this season due to a back injury. He could be on hand for the first time this season to assist quarterback Carson Beck in his first career start away from Athens.

"You've got to practice. You've got to be able to practice. How he does in those things will determine whether or not he's able to play. He had kind of a two-week advised shutdown," head coach Kirby Smart said on Monday.

Smart hasn't coached against Hugh Freeze, in his first season at Auburn, since 2016 in Freeze's final season at Ole Miss. While film reveals some of the offensive concepts are the same, Smart doesn't see the same scheme with the Tigers using multiple quarterbacks.

"People evolve. They've evolved," Smart said. "They're really hard to defend. There are so many options to it."

Georgia beat UAB to stay perfect this season. SEC play begins on Saturday and Smart knows many of his players are being measured in a road game for the first time in their current roles.

"Road SEC tests are always difficult. There's no way around it," Smart said. "It's always a test of focus, endurance, composure -- all the qualities you need to be a good team."

Part of going on the road in the conference is being willing to simplify the game plan to counter crowd noise to control those variables. What that looks like, Smart said they'll know when they get to Auburn.

Georgia has used crowd noise since spring practice not to simulate the decibel level in away games but to force players to communicate precisely while executing assignment football.

Beck has never started a game on the road with Georgia, which relied on two-time national champion Stetson Bennett the previous two seasons.

Is Beck ready to win on the road in the SEC?

"I think that's something that we're going to find out. I don't think you know. He's been through some ups and downs. He's certainly been against good defenses, like Auburn has ... he goes against our guys. It's different when it's live. So you've got to find out how he responds to that."

Experience in the Bulldogs' system gives Smart a bit of ease about how Beck will react and communicate.

"You only get good at these situational football things by playing football. This is his first chance to do it on the road," Smart said.

Ohio State climbs to No. 4 in Top 25 after win at Notre Dame

Ohio State climbs to No. 4 in Top 25 after win at Notre Dame

Ohio State moved up in -- and Colorado moved out of -- the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll, released Sunday.

The Buckeyes (4-0) climbed two spots to No. 4 following their thrilling, final-second 17-14 victory over Notre Dame on Saturday.

Deion Sanders' previously undefeated Buffaloes (3-1), who entered this weekend's action ranked No. 19 last week, fell out of the Top 25 after being drubbed by then-No. 10 Oregon.

The Ducks moved up one spot to No. 9 after the win.

Georgia remained in the top spot and captured 55 first-place votes. The remaining eight votes were spread among five other 4-0 teams in the Top 10. No. 2 Michigan (one vote), No. 3 Texas (two), Ohio State (one), No. 5 Florida State (three) and No. 7 Washington (one) each garnered a first-place vote.

Six teams had not received first-place votes in a regular-season poll since Nov. 1, 2015.

Rounding out the Top 10 were No. 6 Penn State, No. 8 Southern California, Oregon and No. 10 Utah. Each of those teams are also 4-0.

With their loss to Ohio State, Notre Dame (4-1) dropped two spots to No. 11.

Alabama (3-1) rose a spot to No. 12 after defeating Ole Miss. The Rebels plummeted five spots to No. 20 after a 24-10 loss to Alabama.

Also dropping five places to No. 19 was Oregon State, which lost 38-35 to Washington State. The Cougars rose five places to No. 16 with the win.

Moving in to the Top 25 were a trio of 4-0 teams -- No. 23 Missouri, No. 24 Kansas and No. 25 Fresno State.

Missouri is ranked for the first time since 2019. Kansas is ranked in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 2008-09.

Joining Colorado in falling from the rankings were UCLA and Iowa.

Shedeur Sanders' Heisman hopes plummet following blowout loss

Shedeur Sanders' Heisman hopes plummet following blowout loss

Shedeur Sanders' rapid rise up the Heisman Trophy odds took an abrupt U-turn following Colorado's blowout loss at Oregon on Saturday.

After entering the weekend among the top 10 Heisman favorites at +1800 at both BetMGM and DraftKings, Sanders' odds plummeted to +8000 at both books. He's now outside of the top 20 and likely out of Heisman consideration after throwing for a season-low 159 yards and one touchdown on 23-of-33 passing in Eugene.

That touchdown pass came with 2:51 remaining to help the Buffaloes avoid being shut out by the Ducks.

The result was a significant win for the books. Sanders had been backed by a whopping 53 percent of the Heisman money and 58 percent of the total bets at DraftKings last week, while he was also the biggest liability at BetMGM, where he had drawn 20.3 percent of the bets.

Conversely, Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. continued his steady rise after engineering the Huskies' 59-32 rout of California.

Penix is now the co-favorite at BetMGM, where he is being offered at +350 along with Southern California quarterback Caleb Williams. The next closest odds belong to Texas quarterback Quinn Ewers, with Oregon signal-caller Bo Nix rising to +1200 after throwing for 276 yards against Colorado.

Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis is +1300 after the Seminoles won in overtime at Clemson, while Notre Dame's Sam Hartman is at +1600 after the Fighting Irish's last-second loss to Ohio State.

The Heisman race could well come down to a Nov. 4 showdown between the Trojans and Huskies in Los Angeles. Penix also has other marquee games against Oregon and Nix on Oct. 14 along with a closing three-game stretch after the Trojans that includes Utah, Oregon St. and the Apple Cup rivalry against Washington State.

Top 25 roundup: No. 10 Oregon slams No. 19 Colorado

Top 25 roundup: No. 10 Oregon slams No. 19 Colorado

Bo Nix passed for three touchdowns and rushed for one as No. 10 Oregon relentlessly pounded No. 19 Colorado 42-6 in the Pac-12 opener for both teams on Saturday afternoon at Eugene, Ore.

Nix completed 28 of 33 passes for 276 yards and one interception as Oregon (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) handed Deion Sanders his first setback as Colorado coach. The Ducks have won 10 of the past 11 meetings with the Buffaloes.

Troy Franklin caught eight passes for 126 yards and two touchdowns for the Ducks. Casey Kelly caught a touchdown pass and Noah Whittington and Jordan James rushed for scores for Oregon, which had 522 total yards and 30 first downs.

Shedeur Sanders produced a season-low 159 yards and one touchdown on 23-of-33 passing for Colorado (3-1, 0-1). Sanders threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Michael Harrison with 2:51 remaining as the Buffaloes averted being blanked. The Buffaloes, who entered averaging 41.3 points per game, had just 199 yards and 13 first downs.

No. 6 Ohio State 17, No. 9 Notre Dame 14

Chip Trayanum scored on a 1-yard run with one second left as the Buckeyes stunned the Irish in South Bend, Ind.

Ohio State (4-0) drove 65 yards in 15 plays, with Kyle McCord's 21-yard pass to Emeka Egbuka on third-and-19 putting the ball at the 1-yard-line with seven seconds to play. McCord threw a pair of incompletions before Trayanum's score on third down.

Sam Hartman's 2-yard pass to freshman Rico Flores Jr. with 8:22 left in the game capped a 96-yard, 11-play drive to give Notre Dame (4-1) a 14-10 lead. It was Flores' first career TD catch.

No. 1 Georgia 49, UAB 21

Carson Beck accounted for four touchdowns and Brock Bowers made two scoring receptions as the host Bulldogs rolled over the Blazers in Athens, Ga.

Beck completed 22 of 32 passes for 337 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a rushing score. Bowers finished with team highs in catches (nine) and yards (120) and added scoring receptions of 41 and 10 yards. Tailback Daijun Edwards added two touchdowns rushing.

UAB quarterback Jacob Zeno passed for 250 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 22 yards and a score on the ground. Blazers wideout Amare Thomas finished with nine grabs for 60 yards and a score.

No. 2 Michigan 31, Rutgers 7

Blake Corum rushed for two touchdowns, J.J. McCarthy passed for one and the Wolverines eased to a comfortable win over the visiting Scarlett Knights in a Big Ten matchup in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Corum carried the ball 21 times for 97 yards. McCarthy, a week after throwing three interceptions, completed 15 of 21 passes for 214 yards without a pick, while cornerback and captain Mike Sainristil returned an interception for a touchdown for Michigan (4-0, 1-0).

Rutgers quarterback Gavin Wimsatt completed 11 of 21 passes for 180 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He added a team-high 28 rushing yards. The Scarlet Knights (3-1, 1-1) were limited to 3-of-10 on third-down conversions and went 0-for-3 on fourth down.

No. 3 Texas 38, Baylor 6

Quinn Ewers passed for 293 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score as the Longhorns dominated throughout against the Bears in Waco, Texas, in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

The game was the 113th meeting in the all-time series and the final scheduled between the two longtime Southwest Conference and Big 12 rivals as Texas moves to the Southeastern Conference beginning next season.

Ewers completed 18 of 23 attempts as the Longhorns (4-0, 1-0) have started the season with four victories for the first time since 2012. Sawyer Robertson threw for 203 yards and an interception for Baylor (1-3, 0-1).

No. 4 Florida State 31, Clemson 24 (OT)

Keon Coleman caught a 24-yard jump-ball touchdown pass in overtime as the Seminoles beat the Tigers in Clemson, S.C. On second down, Coleman went up over Tigers cornerback Jeadyn Lukus and pulled in the game winner to put the Seminoles (4-0, 2-0 ACC) ahead for the first time.

On fourth-and-2 on his team's OT series, Tigers quarterback Cade Klubnik threw errantly on fourth down as (Clemson 2-2, 0-2) lost for the first time in eight meetings with FSU.

FSU's Jordan Travis went 21 of 37 for 289 yards including two scores to Coleman. The Seminoles lead the series 21-15 and won for the first time in five games at Clemson. Tigers kicker Jonathan Weitz missed a tiebreaking 29-yard field goal inside the final two minutes of regulation.

No. 7 Penn State 31, No. 24 Iowa 0

Drew Allar threw for four touchdowns and the Nittany Lions limited the Hawkeyes to 76 total yards and four first downs in a Big Ten Conference blowout in University Park, Pa.

Allar overcame rainy, chilly conditions to complete 25 of 37 passes for 166 yards in an efficient, mistake-free performance. Penn State (4-0, 2-0) played a clean game with no turnovers and just four penalties for 45 yards.

Meanwhile, Iowa (3-1, 0-1) was just overwhelmed across the board. Cade McNamara completed only 5 of 14 passes for 42 yards and was sacked twice before being benched in the fourth quarter. The running game produced just 20 yards on 17 carries.

No. 11 Utah 14, No. 22 UCLA 7

Karene Reid's interception returned for a touchdown on the first play from scrimmage set the tone for as the Utes' defense overwhelmed the Bruins en route to a Pac-12 Conference win in Salt Lake City.

Utah (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) held UCLA to just 243 total yards, an average of 3.6 per play, and went until late in the fourth quarter without surrendering a point.

UCLA (3-1, 0-1) leaned on the freshman quarterback Dante Moore with the run game rendered ineffective. The Bruins rushed for just 9 yards officially, a byproduct of Moore being sacked seven times.

No. 12 LSU 34, Arkansas 31

Jayden Daniels passed for 320 yards and four touchdowns, Damian Ramos kicked a winning 20-yard field goal with five seconds left and the Tigers edged the Razorbacks in an SEC shootout in Baton Rouge, La.

Daniels threw two touchdowns to Malik Nabers, who finished with 130 yards, and two more to Brian Thomas Jr. (133) for LSU (3-1, 2-0).

KJ Jefferson passed for 289 yards and three touchdowns, two of which went to Luke Hasz (116 receiving yards), to lead Arkansas (2-2, 0-1).

No. 13 Alabama 24, No. 15 Ole Miss 10

Jalen Milroe returned from a one-game benching to pass for 225 yards and a touchdown as the Crimson Tide defeated the Rebels in the SEC opener for both teams in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Milroe, who completed 17 of 21 passes, was efficient except for one interception, and the Crimson Tide (3-1, 1-0 SEC) shut down a Rebels' offense that had averaged 52.7 points in three nonconference wins. Jase McClellan's 8-yard touchdown run gave Alabama a 24-10 lead early in the fourth quarter. He finished with 105 yards on 17 rushes.

Jaxson Dart passed for 244 yards and rushed for a touchdown for the Rebels (3-1, 0-1), who lost for the eighth consecutive time to their West division rival after rushing for just 56 yards.

No. 21 Washington State 38, No. 14 Oregon State 35

Cameron Ward threw four touchdown passes, three to Josh Kelly, and the Cougars (4-0, 1-0) held off the Beavers (3-1, 0-1) in Pullman, Wash., in a battle of the only Pac-12 schools who haven't announced their intentions to leave the conference after this season.

Oregon State's DJ Uiagalelei threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jack Velling with 1:12 remaining, but the Cougars recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock.

Ward was 28-of-34 passing for 404 yards. Kelly made eight receptions for 159 yards, and Kyle Williams had seven catches for 174 yards and a score.

No. 16 Oklahoma 20, Cincinnati 6

Dillon Gabriel threw for 322 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score as the Sooners defeated the host Bearcats.

It was the Sooners' final Big 12 opener, with Oklahoma set to move into the Southeastern Conference for next season, while it was the Bearcats' Power 5 debut after moving from the American Athletic Conference in the offseason. The Sooners' defense led the way, holding the Bearcats to 376 yards of total offense and to just 3 of 15 on third down.

The Sooners twice picked off Cincinnati quarterback Emory Jones and forced three turnovers on downs. Andrel Anthony led the Sooners (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) with seven catches for 117 yards. Jones was 22 of 41 for 235 yards passing for the Bearcats (2-2, 0-1).

No. 17 North Carolina 41, Pitt 24

Drake Maye ran for two touchdowns and threw a scoring pass left-handed as the Tar Heels breezed past the host Panthers.

Maye normally throws right-handed but he added a left-handed toss while draped by a defender as the Tar Heels (4-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) won in their first true road game of the season. Alijah Huzzie had a first-half punt return for a touchdown and made a second-half interception for North Carolina, which benefited from the Panthers' three turnovers.

Pittsburgh (1-3, 0-1) couldn't keep up despite a kickoff return for a touchdown by Kenny Johnson. North Carolina lost in overtime in each of previous two visits to Pittsburgh.

No. 18 Duke 41, Connecticut 7

The Blue Devils' defense dominated and running back Jordan Waters ran for two touchdowns rout over the host Huskies in East Hartford, Conn.

Quarterback Riley Leonard threw for 248 yards on 23-of-34 passing with a touchdown as Duke (4-0) took control in the second quarter on the way to setting up a showdown with visiting Notre Dame next weekend.

UConn (0-4) had 203 yards of total offense, with 108 of those coming in the fourth quarter. Huskies quarterback Ta'Quan Roberson was 13-for-28 for 114 yards in the air, though he ran for a 2-yard touchdown in the waning seconds.

No. 20 Miami 41, Temple 7

Tyler Van Dyke tossed three touchdown passes and added the longest run of his college career, a 37-yarder, as the Hurricanes defeated the Owls on a rainy and windy afternoon in Philadelphia.

Henry Parrish Jr. rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 8.7 yards on his 16 carries, as Miami (4-0) defeated Temple (2-2) for the 14th straight time.

Temple, which hadn't played Miami since 2005, was led by quarterback E.J. Warner, who completed 22 of 39 passes for 240 yards and one touchdown. However, Warner, the son of former NFL star Kurt Warner, turned the ball over three times.

No. 23 Tennessee 45, UTSA 14

Tennessee quarterback Tennessee's Joe Milton III bolted 81 yards untouched to the checkered end zone on the game's first snap, sending the host Volunteers on their way to a blowout of the Roadrunners in Knoxville, Tenn.

Tennessee (3-1) thrived on the ground despite an injury to Jaylen Wright, who entered as the second-leading rusher in the SEC but sat out the second half after carrying for 16 yards on four rushes. Dylan Sampson carried the load in reserve, rushing 11 times for a career-high 139 yards and two touchdowns. Jabari Small added 61 yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Milton had 89 on five carries.

Injury-riddled UTSA (1-3) was without its Heisman preseason candidate, quarterback Frank Harris (turf toe). The Roadrunners had the ball in Volunteers' territory only once in the first half and the drive ended at the Tennessee 19 on a fourth-down incompletion.

No. 25 Florida 22, Charlotte 7

Graham Mertz threw for 259 yards, Trey Smack kicked five field goals, but the defense was the story of the night as the Gators smothered the 49ers in Gainesville, Fla.

Coming off an upset of then-No. 11 Tennessee, the Gators (3-1) started fast, scoring on their first four possessions as Mertz completed his first seven passes. But the rest of the night was a struggle for the Florida offense.

Charlotte (1-3) stayed close as the 49ers repeatedly stopped the Gators when backed into their own territory, forcing Florida to settle for field goals. The Gators' defense ultimately paved the way, however, limiting the 49ers to 210 yards and 10 first downs.

No. 5 USC finally puts away Arizona State 42-28

No. 5 USC finally puts away Arizona State 42-28

Caleb Williams completed 20 of 31 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter, as fifth-ranked USC held off Arizona State 42-28 on Saturday in Tempe, Arizona.

USC (4-0, 2-0 Pac-12) clung to a 27-21 lead until Williams evaded would-be tacklers and found Brenden Rice for a 29-yard touchdown pass with 10:31 remaining in the game.

It was Rice's second scoring catch of the night. The first covered 43 yards from Williams late in the first quarter. Rice led the Trojans with 133 yards on seven catches.

Williams struck again on USC's next fourth-quarter possession, answering Cam Skattebo's 52-yard touchdown catch for Arizona State with a 45-yard scoring pass to Tahj Washington. The play effectively ended any hopes of an Arizona State upset after the Sun Devils hung tough most of the way.

Arizona State (1-3, 0-1) struggled through its nonconference schedule, coming into its conference opener on Saturday off a shutout loss to Fresno State. The 28 points the Sun Devils scored against USC marked a season high, with Skattebo's 111 rushing yards and 79 receiving yards setting the tone.

Skattebo scored on a 15-yard carry in the first quarter, set up when Tate Romney recovered MarShawn Lloyd's fumble deep in USC territory.

Arizona State's Drew Pyne went 21 of 36 passing for 221 yards and threw two touchdowns, including a 25-yarder to Elijhah Badger in the third quarter. Skattebo ran for the two-point conversion, pulling the Sun Devils to within three points.

That was as close as Arizona State could get, unable to overcome the reigning Heisman Trophy winner Williams. Along with his three passing touchdowns, he rushed for a pair of 1-yard scores in the first half.

The Trojans averaged 7.3 yards on 29 rushes, led by Lloyd's 11 per carry. He finished with a game-high 154 yards.

Jamil Muhammad and Solomon Byrd paced the USC defense with three tackles for loss each. Calen Bullock made a leaping interception of a Pyne deep ball in the second half.

Michael Penix Jr., No. 8 Washington wallop Cal

Michael Penix Jr., No. 8 Washington wallop Cal

Michael Penix Jr. passed for 304 yards and four touchdowns and Rome Odunze accounted for three scores as No. 8 Washington rolled to an easy 59-32 victory over California in the Pac-12 opener for both teams at Seattle.

Odunze caught five passes for 125 yards for his fourth straight 100-plus-yard outing this season and also returned a punt 83 yards for a touchdown for the Huskies (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12). Ja'Lynn Polk had eight receptions for 127 yards and two scores as Washington registered a season high for points.

Edefuan Ulofoshio returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown for the Huskies, who beat the Golden Bears for the 12th time in the past 16 meetings.

Ben Finley completed 17 of 32 passes for 207 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions for Cal (2-2, 0-1) before leaving late in the third quarter with an apparent lower back injury. Samuel Jackson V replaced Finley and was 10-of-14 passing for 156 yards and one touchdown.

Jadyn Ott and Ashton Stredick rushed for touchdowns and Jeremiah Hunter, Taj Davis and Trond Grizzell each had receiving scores for the Golden Bears.

Penix completed 19 of 25 passes and was intercepted once in less than three quarters for Washington.

The Huskies led 14-0 before the offense took the field for the first tim.

Finley threw a pass directly to Ulofoshio, who returned it for a score just 2:23 into the contest. The Golden Bears were forced to punt on their next possession and Odunze took it 83 yards to make it 14-0.

Cal got on the board on Finley's 7-yard touchdown pass to Hunter with 5:52 left in the quarter. The Huskies responded with Penix's 8-yard scoring pass to Polk, and Grady Gross tacked on a 41-yard field goal for a 24-6 lead before the period concluded.

Dillon Johnson's 3-yard touchdown run boosted Washington's lead to 25 with 11:27 left in the first half. Cal answered with Finley's 24-yard touchdown pass to Davis with nine minutes left.

Penix threw touchdown passes of 24 yards to Polk and 35 yards to Odunze later in the quarter en route to a 45-12 halftime lead.

Early in the third quarter, Penix connected with Odunze on a 13-yard scoring pass to boost the margin to 40. Later in the stanza, the Huskies cleared the bench and the Golden Bears scored three touchdowns over the final 16:49.

DJ Giddens' big game leads Kansas State past UCF

DJ Giddens' big game leads Kansas State past UCF

DJ Giddens rushed for 207 yards and four touchdowns as Kansas State defeated UCF 44-31 in the Big 12 Conference opener for both clubs Saturday night in Manhattan, Kan. Giddens had 107 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.

Kansas State (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) ran 84 plays compared to 59 by UCF.

Through the first three games, UCF (3-1, 0-1 Big 12) led the nation in total offense averaging 617.7 yards per game, but they were held to 407 yards, including 75 on their final drive.

Kansas State quarterback Will Howard, who was listed as questionable all week, went the distance, going 27-of-42 for 255 yards with an interception. He also picked up 64 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.

Timmy McClain completed 14 of 24 passes for 264 yards and three scores for UCF.

With the Knights trailing 21-17 at halftime, McClain found Kobe Hudson for a 46-yard touchdown early in the third quarter to take the lead. Chris Tennant's 30-yard field goal tied the game at 24-24 with 9:33 left in the third quarter.

Howard then gave the Wildcats a 31-24 lead with a 2-yard touchdown run, capping an 11-play, 85-yard drive that was aided by a pair of personal fouls on UCF.

The Knights' Colton Boomer missed a 52-yard field goal attempt with 10:06 left in the fourth quarter. It was his first career miss within 64 yards.

Kansas State responded with a 13-play, 65-yard drive that took 6:05 and ended with Giddens' 3-yard run for a 37-24 lead. Howard then iced it with a 31-yard touchdown. UCF scored with three seconds remaining.

Giddens punched it in from the 1-yard line on Kansas State's opening possession. UCF answered with a 28-yard Boomer field goal.

Howard threw an interception on the next drive, giving the Knights the ball at their own 43.

UCF converted a third-and-15 with a 27-yard touchdown pass from McClain to RJ Harvey down the right sideline for a 10-7 lead.

Giddens scored on a 9-yard run to give the Wildcats the lead.

Harvey fumbled on the Knights' next possession, and Giddens scored his third touchdown on an 18-yard run.

UCF drew within one score on a flea-flicker, 69-yard touchdown pass from McClain to Hudson, who was wide open at the Wildcats' 25-yard line. McClain handed off to Harvey, who ran into the line then pitched it back to the quarterback.

Drake Maye powers No. 17 North Carolina past pesky Pittsburgh

Drake Maye powers No. 17 North Carolina past pesky Pittsburgh

Drake Maye ran for two touchdowns and threw an unconventional pass for another touchdown as No. 17 North Carolina defeated host Pittsburgh 41-24 on Saturday night.

Maye normally throws right-handed but he added a left-handed toss while draped by a defender as the Tar Heels (4-0, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) won in their first true road game of the season.

Alijah Huzzie had a first-half punt return for a touchdown and made a second-half interception for North Carolina, which benefited from the Panthers' three turnovers. The Tar Heels didn't commit a turnover and were charged with only three penalties.

Pittsburgh (1-3, 0-1) couldn't keep up despite a kickoff return for a touchdown by Kenny Johnson.

Maye completed 22 of 30 passes for 296 yards. Kicker Noah Burnette had third-quarter field goals from 43 and 48 yards.

Pittsburgh quarterbacks Phil Jurkovec and Christian Veilleux combined for 197 passing yards. Rodney Hammond Jr. gained 83 rushing yards on 14 carries.

The Tar Heels had plenty of highlights in building a 28-17 halftime lead.

Huzzie's 52-yard punt return for a touchdown gave the Tar Heels their first lead with 7:23 remaining in the first half.

After Ben Sauls' 44-yard field goal for Pittsburgh, the Tar Heels extended their margin.

Under duress, Maye's left-handed touchdown pass to Kobe Paysour covered 7 yards and came with one minute left in the first half.

North Carolina opened the second-half scoring with a 75-yard drive ending on Maye's 1-yard run.

Pitt used almost eight minutes on a game-opening touchdown drive that was capped by Hammond's 7-yard run.

That began a back-and-forth with the teams trading touchdowns. Omarion Hampton ran 3 yards for North Carolina's touchdown before Daniel Carter's 1-yard run for the Panthers.

Maye helped the Tar Heels tie it 14-14 on a fourth-and-1 touchdown run.

North Carolina lost in overtime in its last two visits to Pittsburgh but avoided drama this time.