Florida beats Tennessee on final play
GAINESVILLE, FLA. » Feleipe Franks heaved a 63-yard touchdown pass to Tyrie Cleveland as the clock expired, and No. 24 Florida beat 23rdranked Tennessee 26-20 in a wild, wacky and sometimes unwatchable rivalry game Saturday.
Franks scrambled away from the rush on a first-and-10 play with 9 seconds remaining and found Cleveland behind safety Micah Abernathy for a Hail Mary that no one — especially the Volunteers — saw coming.
The final play capped a crazy fourth quarter in which the teams combined for 37 points and little, if any, defense.
Tennessee (2-1, 0-1 SEC) can blame three missed field goals for not being ahead late. The Gators (1-1, 1-0) looked as if they had the game in hand early in the final frame, but found a way to let the Volunteers get back in it. MEMPHIS 48, (25) UCLA 45 » Riley Ferguson threw for 398 yards and six touchdowns, and Jacobi Francis broke up a fourth-down pass in the closing seconds in (2-0) Memphis’ victory over UCLA (2-1).
Francis’ breakup with 56 seconds left prevented another fourth-quarter comeback by Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen. He was 34 of 56 for 463 yards and four TDs.
But unlike in the Bruins’ opener when Rosen led a fourth-quarter comeback to beat Texas A&M, the Memphis defense stiffened on UCLA’s final possession.
(7) MICHIGAN 29, AIR FORCE 13 » Donovan Peoples-Jones returned a punt 79 yards for a score and Quinn Nordin tied a school record with five field goals, helping Michigan (30) overcome offensive struggles against Air Force (1-1).
The Wolverines didn’t lead by more than three points until Peoples-Jones’ touchdown early in the third quarter.
(9) OKLAHOMA STATE 59, PITTSBURGH 21 » Mason Rudolph threw five touchdown passes, all in the first half, for Oklahoma State (3-0).
Rudolph completed 23 of 32 passes for 497 yards before being pulled in the middle of the third quarter with the Cowboys in full command. He did throw his first interception of the season, ending a streak of 216 passes without a pick dating to last season. It was the longest active streak in the FBS.
Pitt dropped to 1-2.
(10) WISCONISN 40, BYU 6» Alex Hornibrook threw for four touchdowns and 256 yards as Wisconsin (3-0) eased to a victory over BYU (1-3).
The Badgers met little resistance as they put the game away in the first half and led 24-6 at halftime. (20) TCU 56, SMU 36 » Jalen Reagor made a leaping 38-yard catch between four defenders in the end zone on the last play of the first half, finally putting TCU (3-0) ahead to stay in a victory over upset-minded SMU (2-1).
The Mustangs led 19-7 before Kenny Hill threw three TD passes in the final 7 ½ minutes of the second quarter. The last was Reagor’s catch in a crowd of Mustangs who seemed more like observers than defenders. (16) VIRGINIA TECH 64, EAST CAROLINA 17) » Redshirt freshman Josh Jackson threw for 372 yards and five touchdowns — three to Cam Phillips — to help Virginia Tech beat East Carolina.
Phillips had a program-record 14 catches for 189 yards to help the Hokies improve to 3-0 for the first time since 2011. He punctuated his day with a perfectly executed route that left him wide open, and Jackson hit him in stride for a 45-yard score with 7:46 left in the third quarter.
Both Jackson and Phillips called it a day before the fourth, as Virginia Tech roared out of a slow first-quarter start by scoring 57 straight points to turn this into a rout.
(15) AUBURN 24, MERCER 10 » Kamryn Pettway ran for 128 yards and three touchdowns as Auburn overcame five turnovers to hold off FCS school Mercer (1-2) 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, 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 Jordan-Hare 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.
Florida wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland, bottom left, celebrates his game-winning touchdown with teammate Brandon Powell as Tennessee defensive back Micah Abernathy (22) hangs his head dejectedly as time expires Saturday in Gainesville, Fla. Florida won 26-20.