NCAA Football roundup

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 1, 2011

Associated Press
Thursday’s college roundup …
ATLANTA — Orwin Smith scored two of Georgia Tech’s four first-quarter touchdowns, Stephen Hill caught two touchdown passes from Tevin Washington and Georgia Tech beat Western Carolina 63-21 on Thursday night in the opener for both teams.
The Yellow Jackets piled up 662 yards of total offense — their most productive game since 2000 — but they struggled throughout the night to hold on to the football, losing two of six fumbles and allowing a second-quarter punt to get blocked and recovered for a touchdown.
Brandon Pechloff had 180 yards passing for Western Carolina.
Georgia Tech, facing an FCS opponent that dropped to 10-46 since the start of 2006, showed flashes of a formidable passing game after ranking 119th in the nation last year as Washington completed eight of 13 passes for 271 yards and three TDs.
MADISON, Wis. — Russell Wilson threw two touchdown passes and ran for another in his Wisconsin debut and Montee Ball scored four times to lead the 11th-ranked Badgers over UNLV 51-17 on Thursday night.
All the attention was on Wilson, the North Carolina State transfer who is using his last year of eligibility at Wisconsin in hopes of getting the Badgers back to the Rose Bowl or better.
Wilson shined, taking off on a 46-yard TD run that had him slipping into the end zone untouched just before halftime, then thanking every one of his offensive teammates on the bench after the play.
Even with Wilson, the Badgers (1-0) are built to run. Ball and James White overwhelmed the undersized Rebels (0-1) from the start in the hottest game in the 94-year history of Camp Randall Stadium.
Wisconsin’s running game gave Wilson plenty of opportunities to pick UNLV apart, and the charismatic signal caller calmly went to the bench and sat under a giant fan flanked by a TV camera following his every move after each score. He finished 10 of 13 for 255 yards and had two rushes for 62 yards.
Ball caught Wilson’s first TD pass as a Badger from 4 yards out.
In some ways it was a typical Wisconsin opener. The Badgers scored on their first drive of the season for the sixth straight year. In same ways, it was very different: the temperature at kickoff was 90 degrees.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Vick Ballard rushed for 166 yards and three touchdowns and No. 20 Mississippi State easily handled Memphis 59-14 on Thursday night at the Liberty Bowl.
Mississippi State dominated from the start, taking a 31-7 lead after gaining 405 total yards in the first half. Things slowed down a little after that, but the Bulldogs still finished with a school-record 645 total yards.
Ballard had touchdown runs of 46 and 66 yards in the first half. He added a 1-yard touchdown early in the third quarter and averaged 16.6 yards per carry.
Chris Relf completed 13 of 21 passes for 202 yards and two touchdowns for MSU (1-0). He also rushed for 51 yards. Jameon Lewis caught four passes for 113 yards and a touchdown.
The Bulldogs have won 12 straight games against Memphis (0-1), dating back to 1993.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Just when Louisville coach Charlie Strong thought his players were starting to find some rhythm on the field, their youth and inexperience would come through with a glaring mistake.
The Cardinals still ended up with a 21-9 win over Murray State in the season opener for both teams Thursday night, but Strong expects better play out of the 18 players who made their first collegiate appearance and six who had their first start.
“It’s time to grow up, and you have to play,” he said. “Redshirt freshmen are no longer freshmen.”
Will Stein, who made two starts as a freshman but played very little as a sophomore, knocked the rust off early, throwing two touchdowns in the first half and finishing 17-of-32 for 226 yards.
PISCATAWAY, N.J. — Highly touted freshman Savon Huggins ran for two touchdowns and Rutgers started making amends for a disastrous 2010 season with a 48-0 victory over North Carolina Central on Thursday night.
Chas Dodd added a 13-yard touchdown pass to Mohamed Sanu late in the first half. The Scarlet Knights’ defense then broke the game open in the third quarter when tackle Scott Vallone recovered a fumble in the end zone and Duron Harmon returned an interception 37 yards for another score in a 45-second span.
Backup quarterback Gary Nova later tossed a 44-yard TD pass to Brandon Coleman and San San Te added two field goals for Rutgers, which finished 4-8 in 2010.
North Carolina Central turned the ball over four times, was limited to 120 yards and sacked nine times in Henry Frazier’s debut as coach.
The season-opening shutout was the second straight for Rutgers, and it was the biggest shutout win in a season opener since a 66-0 romp over Ursinus in 1918.