Alabama 41, Colorado State 23
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Benny Snell Jr. rushed for two touchdowns and Kentucky's defense held off South Carolina to win its fourth straight over the Gamecocks 23-13 on Saturday night.
Snell, who's status was in doubt earlier in the week due to bruised ribs, rushed for scores of 5 and 1 yard in leading the Wildcats (1-0 Southeastern Conference) to their first 3-0 start since 2010. Two years ago, Kentucky snapped a 22-game SEC road losing streak at South Carolina.
This time, the Wildcats left no doubt about who was the better team in this one.
It did not start that way, though. South Carolina (2-1, 1-1) electrified a sold-out stadium with a 68-yard TD catch by receiver Deebo Samuel on the opening play, then got an interception and a fumble from the Wildcats' first two drives. But Kentucky's defense did not allow the Gamecocks any more points after that.
Snell and offense took over with two long, first-half scoring drives for a 14-6 lead. Snell ended a 13-play series with his 5-yard touchdown. He capped an 11-play sequence with his second touchdown.
Kentucky made the critical plays when it needed. Facing fourth-and-goal from the Wildcats 1 in the fourth quarter, Gamecock tailback Rico Dowdle was stopped cold by linebacker Jamar Watson and cornerback Derrick Baity.
Then when the Gamecocks closed it to 2013 on OrTre Smith's 9-yard touchdown grab with 6:26 left, Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson scrambled on third down for a 54-yard run that led to Austin MacGinnis' third field goal with two minutes left that sealed the win. Snell finished with 102 yards on 32 carries. Samuel had five catches for 122 yards and his sixth touchdown of the season. But he left the game in the fourth quarter with an injury.
Auburn 24, Mercer 10
AUBURN, Ala. — Kamryn Pettway ran for 128 yards and three touchdowns as No. 15 Auburn overcame five turnovers to hold off FCS school Mercer in another troubling performance by the Tigers' offense.
After being held without a touchdown in a 14-6 loss at third-ranked Clemson the previous week, Auburn (2-1) could at least point to a stout defensive opponent as the reason for its troubles.
Not this time.
Mercer (1-2), which only resumed its football program five years ago and plays a division down in the Southern Conference, gave the Tigers all they could handle, much to a chagrin of a disgruntled crowd at JordanHare Stadium — many of whom didn't bother returning to their seats after a lackluster first half in which the Southeastern Conference powerhouse led only 10-3.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Jalen Hurts passed for 248 yards and two long touchdowns and rushed for 103 yards to lead No. 1 Alabama to a victory over Colorado State.
The Crimson Tide (3-0) dominated early and emphatically answered a comeback attempt before outlasting the Rams (2-2).
Hurts delivered his best all-around game of the season. He ran for a 27-yard touchdown and hit on a career-long 78-yard scoring pass to Calvin Ridley and a 52-yarder to Robert Foster.
Hurts completed 12 of 17 passes and mixed in 11 carries before leaving late in the third quarter. It was his second straight 100plus yard rushing performance.
The Tide needed just 10 minutes and a few big plays from Hurts to race to a 17-0 lead. The first-quarter stats were utterly one-sided, with Alabama outgaining Colorado State 216-11.
Texas A&M 45, Louisiana 21
COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Texas A&M senior safety Armani Watts at least recognizes the Aggies have a problem with putting together two halves. Doing something about it might be another issue, with Southeastern Conference play set to start next weekend.
"We still have a lot of work to do this week, we can't be content with what happened today," Watts said after the Aggies overcame a halftime deficit to defeat Louisiana-Lafayette at Kyle Field. "We just played with more emotion in the second half. You can't play this game without emotion. We stuck with it and knew our offense would come through."
The Ragin' Cajuns (1-2) led 21-14 at halftime before the Aggies scored 31 consecutive points en route to the victory, one preserving embattled coach Kevin Sumlin's job for at least another week.
"We just talked about that in the locker room, that we were like two different teams," Sumlin said of the Aggies' Jekyll and Hyde showing. "We're a work in progress."
After much of the first half went wrong for A&M, the third quarter went entirely right, as the Aggies (2-1) scored 17 points in that span to grab the lead for good.
Georgia 42, Samford 14
ATHENS, Ga. — Nick Chubb ran for 131 yards and two touchdowns, freshman Jake Fromm threw three scoring passes in his first home start, and No. 13 Georgia's defense was dominant in a victory over Samford.
With fellow senior Sony Michel held out with an ankle injury sustained last week in a victory at Notre Dame, Chubb had his busiest game of the season. Chubb's season-high 16 carries, all in the first three quarters, helped him become the first Bulldogs back to run for 100 yards this season.
Vanderbilt 14, Kansas State 7
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Kyle Shurmur scored on a 2-yard run with 8:23 left, and Vanderbilt upset No. 18 Kansas State for the Commodores' first win over a ranked, nonconference opponent since 1946.
With the win, Vanderbilt improved to 3-0 for the first time since 2011 with the Commodores' first win over a ranked, nonconference opponent since beating North Carolina State. The Commodores also have won five straight at home dating back to last season.
Kansas State (2-1) last beat a Southeastern Conference team on the road in the regular season in 1982 at Kentucky.
Purdue 35, Missouri 3
COLUMBIA, Mo. — Under first-year coach Jeff Brohm, Purdue is showing signs of life. The same can't be said of Missouri in Barry Odom's second season.
The Boilermakers dominated the Tigers and will head into Big Ten play just one victory short of last season's total. It was the fewest points surrendered by Purdue (2-1) since a 59-0 victory over Southeast Missouri State in 2011.
Missouri (1-2) has scored a combined 16 points since its 72-43 season-opening win over Missouri State. The Tigers managed just 203 total yards.