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Blake LaRussa, Old Dominion stun No. 13 Virginia Tech 49-35

September 23, 2018

NORFOLK, Va. — Blake LaRussa came off the bench to throw for 495 yards and four touchdowns to lead Old Dominion to a 49-35 upset of No. 13 Virginia Tech on Saturday in the Hokies’ first game at the cross-state school that restarted its football program in 2009.

LaRussa entered on ODU’s second series and completed 30 of 49 and ran for a score to lead the 28 1/2-point underdog Monarchs (1-3) to a stunning win over the Hokies (2-1) from the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Jeremy Cox’s 40-yard touchdown run with 1:34 remaining sealed the biggest win in program history. After the game, the ODU faithful stormed the field.

The Hokies (2-1) led 28-21 after a 72-yard touchdown pass from Josh Jackson to Damon Hazelton with 32 seconds left in the third quarter, but ODU scored on its next two possessions, taking a 35-28 lead on a 15-yard touchdown run by Cox with 9:57 to go – the Monarchs first lead of the game.

Things got worse for Virginia Tech, as Jackson went down with a lower leg injury on the first play of the ensuing drive. Backup quarterback Ryan Willis led the Hokies on a 75-yard march that ended with a 13-yard touchdown pass to Chris Cunningham with 7:15 remaining, tying the game at 35.

But the Hokies simply had no answer for ODU. LaRussa polished off a 75-yard drive with a beautiful 29-yard fade pattern to Jonathan Duhart for a touchdown with 5:11 left that was the game winner.

Led by LaRussa and Cox, ODU finished with 632 yards of offense.

NO. 1 ALABAMA 45, TEXAS A&M 23

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Tua Tagovailoa passed for 387 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another score to lead Alabama.

The Crimson Tide (4-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) easily passed the first test against a ranked team. Kellen Mond and the Aggies (2-2, 0-1) couldn’t put up nearly the fight they had in a 28-26 loss to No. 3 Clemson.

Tagovailoa completed 22 of 30 passes before leaving after Henry Ruggs III took a shuttle pass 57 yards for a score late in the third. His first attempt went for a 30-yard touchdown to a diving DeVonta Smith, and he hit tight end Hale Hentges for two more scores.

Damien Harris didn’t get many touches but had a 35-yard run and a 52-yard catch.

Mond completed 16 of 33 passes for 196 yards with a touchdown but was intercepted twice, including on his first throw. He collected 98 yards rushing despite getting sacked seven times. The SEC’s top rusher, Trayveon Williams, found little room to run. He gained 31 yards on eight carries.

NO. 4 OHIO STATE 42, TULANE 6

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Dwayne Haskins Jr. threw for 304 yards and five touchdowns in the first half and Ohio State routed Tulane in coach Urban Meyer’s return to the sideline following a three-game suspension.

Haskins was nearly flawless, completing his first nine passes on the way to a 21-for-24 effort before giving way to backup Tate Martell in the second half as the No. 4 Buckeyes (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) backed off.

Meyer was back with his team after serving a suspension for his mismanagement of former assistant Zach Smith, who was accused of domestic violence and other questionable behavior while working under Meyer at Florida and Ohio State. Meyer missed the blowouts of Oregon State and Rutgers, then sat in front of his TV nervously at home as the Buckeyes pulled away from TCU in the second half last week to win 40-28.

NO. 8 NOTRE DAME 56, WAKE FOREST 27

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Ian Book rushed for three touchdowns and threw for two more for Notre Dame.

Book replaced Brandon Wimbush in the starting lineup and was 25 of 34 for 325 yards with touchdown passes covering 3 yards to Brock Wright and 7 yards to Chase Claypool, along with three short scoring runs. Book helped the Fighting Irish (4-0) more than double their season high for scoring and roll up a season-best 566 total yards.

Jafar Armstrong had touchdown runs of 1 and 30 yards, and Tony Jones Jr. added a short scoring run for the Fighting Irish. Wake Forest (2-2) has lost two straight.

NO. 12 WEST VIRGINIA 35, KANSAS STATE 6

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Will Grier threw five touchdown passes for the fifth time in his career and

West Virginia shook off a sloppy start in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

Grier finished 25 of 35 for 356 yards and the five scores, three of them to David Sills, and two interceptions as the Mountaineers (3-0) had little trouble against the punchless Wildcats (2-2). Sills caught 10 passes for 73 yards and the three touchdowns. Marcus Simms added five receptions for 136 yards – including an 82-yard catch-and-run to open the scoring.

West Virginia outgained Kansas State 464-318, had four sacks and was never really threatened after getting it together late in the first half.

TEXAS 31, NO. 17 TCU 16

AUSTIN, Texas — Sam Ehlinger passed for two touchdowns and ran for a score, all in the second half, and Texas ended a four-game losing streak to TCU in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

Texas (3-1) had been outscored 153-33 the last four years by TCU and trailed 16-10 before the defense forced three turnovers by quarterback Shawn Robinson in the third quarter.

A fumble recovery set up a diving touchdown catch by Collin Johnson and an interception return by freshman safety Caden Sterns to the TCU 2 set up Ehlinger’s scoring run one play later. Ehlinger’s 38-yard touchdown strike to Lil’Jordan Humphrey with 3:18 left put the game away.

The victory gives Texas its first three-game win streak since 2014. The Longhorns also have their first back-to-back wins over ranked opponents since winning three in a row in 2008, a run that vaulted Texas to No. 1 that season.

Ehlinger passed for 255 yards. Johnson finished with 124 yards on seven catches.

Texas mostly shut down a TCU running game that had gained at least 200 yards in each of its first three games. Texas allowed the Horned Frogs (2-2) 141 yards on the ground Saturday, but took it away for much of the first half. Robinson passed for 197 yards.

NO. 19 MICHIGAN 56, NEBRASKA 10

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Karan Higdon ran for 136 yards and a touchdown in the first half for Michigan, and Nebraska stumbled to its worst start since 1945.

The Wolverines (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten) led 20-0 after the first quarter and 39-0 at halftime.

The Cornhuskers (0-3, 0-1) have lost seven in a row for the first time since 1957.

Michigan rested Higdon in the second half. Quarterback Shea Patterson played only the first series of the second half, giving Dylan McCaffrey an extended opportunity to play.

Patterson was 15 of 22 for 120 yards with a 5-yard TD pass to Zach Gentry midway through the second quarter that put the Wolverines ahead 30-0. Nebraska quarterback Adrian Martinez was 7 of 15 for 22 yards with an interception and he lost 12 yards rushing.

NO. 21 MIAMI 31, FIU 17

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — N’Kosi Perry came off the bench to throw three touchdown passes, and Miami’s defense was airtight for most of the day.

Travis Homer rushed 13 times for 114 yards and a touchdown, Lawrence Cager caught two scoring passes, and Miami held FIU to 31 yards on its first 10 possessions.

Brevin Jordan also had a TD catch for the Hurricanes (3-1), who lost top receiver and returner Jeff Thomas in the first quarter for what was believed to be a cramping-related issue.

CJ Worton caught a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes from James Morgan for FIU (2-2), which outscored Miami 17-0 and gained 139 of its 187 yards in the final 15 minutes.

PURDUE 30, NO. 23 BOSTON COLLEGE 13

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Rondale Moore caught two touchdown passes and Purdue picked off four passes.

David Blough passed for 296 yards and three touchdowns for the Boilermakers (1-3).

The Eagles (3-1) rolled in unbeaten and ranked for the first time in 10 years, but fell flat. Anthony Brown, coming off a career game with five touchdown passes, threw four interceptions. Star tailback A.J. Dillon was held to 59 yards on 19 carries.

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