College football top plays: Alabama escapes Texas; USC tops Stanford

Week 2 of the college football season served up a massive treat for fans, as No. 1 Alabama narrowly escaped Texas, 20-19, in a rare matchup between two of the most storied programs in the country.

It marked the 19th consecutive 2-0 start for Alabama, the longest active FBS streak. The Tide are now 11-11 when scoring 20 points or fewer under Nick Saban.

Elsewhere, No. 3 Ohio State made light work of Arkansas State, rolling to a 45-12 win, while No. 19 Wisconsin fell to Washington State at Camp Randall, 17-14. The Sun Belt came away with two huge top-10 road victories, as Marshall took down No. 8 Notre Dame and Appalachian State upset No. 6-ranked Texas A&M.

In the afternoon slate, Iowa State came out on top over in-state foe Iowa, No. 24 Tennessee outlasted No. 17 Pittsburgh in overtime, and Texas Tech fans stormed the field following a 33-30 win over No. 25 Houston in double OT.

In the nightcap, No. 20 Kentucky pulled off an upset win over No. 12 Florida, while No. 10 USC cruised past Stanford.

Closing things out, No. 9 Baylor is taking on No. 21 BYU in a top 25 showdown.

Here are the top plays from Saturday’s Week 2 slate.

No. 9 Baylor at No. 21 BYU

Perfect pass, perfect catch

BYU’s Jaren Hall dropped back and threw a perfect touchdown pass to Chase Roberts in the corner of the end zone, giving BYU a 10-6 lead.

No. 1 Alabama 20, Texas 19

Go time!

Things started off with a bang in Austin, as the Tide made their way downfield with relative ease. 

But the Longhorns’ defense came up with a massive stop on third down, shutting down QB Bryce Young and forcing the Tide to settle for a field goal on their opening drive.

Going, going, gone!

Texas knotted things up with a field goal of its own shortly after, but things didn’t stay that way for long. Alabama RB Jase McClellan broke off for a monster 81-yard score to give the Tide a 10-3 edge.

Jase McClellan breaks off 81-yard rushing TD

Jase McClellan’s 81-yard rushing TD gives Alabama a 10-3 first-quarter lead.

Bombs away

Newly-minted Texas QB Quinn Ewers, a redshirt freshman transfer from Ohio State, showed off his arm strength late in the opening frame, finding wideout Xavier Worthy for a 46-yard gain that put the Longhorns deep in the red zone.

Ewers injured

Ewers took a huge hit on the next play that drew a roughing the passer penalty and left Texas fans holding their breath. After several minutes being attended to on the field, Ewers walked to the sideline and to the locker room under his own power with a towel covering his face.

Texas QB Quinn Ewers goes down awkwardly on his shoulder

Longhorns QB Ewers is helped to the locker room against Alabama after going down awkwardly on his shoulder at the end of the first quarter.

Making it count

Head coach Steve Sarkisian named Ewers the Longhorns’ starter last month over redshirt sophomore Hudson Card, who checked into the game for Ewers on first-and-goal. Card handed the ball off to star RB Bijan Robinson, who did the rest to tie things up at 10.

Bijan Robinson scores on a one-yard rushing TD

Texas and Alabama are tied after Bijan Robinson punched it in from one yard out.

Related: The Business of Bijan: Robinson’s growing stardom is a family affair

Mess with the bull, get the horns

The Longhorns’ defense came up with a huge sack on Young, knocking the reigning Heisman Trophy winner back 11 yards. Texas went on to force three consecutive punts by Alabama in the second quarter.

Under pressure

Card moved the Longhorns’ offense downfield in an effort to take the lead, but not even two pass interference penalties could get it done. 

Things remained tied at the break after a missed a 20-yard field goal that left Texas fans stunned.

All gas, no brakes

The Longhorns picked up right where they left off to start the second half, putting pressure on Young and forcing Alabama to punt right out of the gate. 

On the following drive, Texas backed up Alabama up to their own 1-yard line, and chaos ensued.

What could have been

What appeared to be a safety and two points for Texas turned into a new set of downs for Alabama, as a questionable roughing the passer and targeting penalty flew in at the end of the play. 

After review, the play was deemed an incomplete pass — the officials removed both the roughing the passer and the targeting flags, noting that targeting was incorrectly announced on the field. Moreover, Young wasn’t down, and he avoided grounding because his throw deflected off a defender’s helmet. Chaos and confusion.

WILD sequence involving an overturned safety, roughing the passer call and targeting in Alabama-Texas

Check out this chaotic sequence between the Crimson Tide and the Longhorns featuring an overturned safety, roughing the passer and targeting all in one play.

Back and forth

The Longhorns took the lead midway through the third, 13-10. Just like that, Texas led Alabama for the first time since the first quarter of the 2010 BCS National Championship Game.

Then, at the top of the fourth, Texas extended its lead to 16-10 with another short field goal. On the other side, the only thing Alabama was racking up was penalties — the most in one game in the Saban era.

Alabama was eventually able to find its footing and regain the lead, 17-16, midway through the frame. Young capped off a masterful, 75-yard drive with a 7-yard TD toss to Jahmyr Gibbs.

Bryce Young’s pass finds Jahmyr Gibbs to put Alabama back in front

Bryce Young’s incredible scrambling pass puts Alabama back in front of Texas.

Game of inches

Things came down to the wire in Austin, as the Longhorns defense came up with a massive stop on fourth down to regain possession of the ball with a few minutes to spare.

Wild finish

Texas took a two-point lead, 19-17, following a 49-yard field goal from Bert Auburn with 1:29 remaining in the fourth quarter. Alabama, though, charged downfield on its ensuing drive, with a 19-yard run from Young putting the offense back in the red zone.


Will Reichard connected on a 33-yard field goal to give the Crimson Tide a 20-19 lead with 10 seconds remaining. That was game.

Alabama hits the go-ahead field goal with 10 seconds left

Alabama’s field goal with 10 seconds left gave the Tide a 20-19 lead over Texas.

No. 10 USC 41, Stanford 28

The pitch and catch

Caleb Williams and the Trojans’ offense marched down the field on their first possession, which concluded with a 5-yard touchdown pass from Williams to Lake McRee.

Williams goes deep!

The USC quarterback is putting on a show, completing eight of his first 10 passes for 200 yards with four touchdowns. His third touchdown pass might have been his most impressive. He connected with Jordan Addison for a 75-yard score, giving the Trojans a 28-14 lead midway through the second quarter.

Williams finished with 341 passing yards and four touchdowns as the Trojans cruised to an impressive victory over Stanford and improved to 2-0 on the season.

No. 20 Kentucky 26, No. 12 Florida 16

Airing it out for the score

Kentucky quarterback Will Levis completed a deep 55-yard touchdown pass to put the Wildcats up 7-3 early in the second quarter.

The big fella gets the interception

The Gators dialed up a blitz as Brenton Cox hit Levis and the ball popped into the air and ended up in the hands of Gervon Dexter.

Good footwork leads to score

Florida took a 14-7 lead as Trevor Etienne juked a Kentucky defender to get to the end zone

Too high!

Kentucky thought it was just punting the ball to Florida, but a high snap resulted in a safety, giving the Gators a 16-7 lead. 

Turning the game around

Kentucky worked to even the game up at 16. After its drive to tie the game, Keidron Smith was at the right place at the right time to get the interception and return it all the way for a touchdown, giving the Wildcats a 23-16 lead.

A Gatorade bath for a historic achievement

Kentucky finished off its upset bid by kicking a field goal to go up 10 in the final minutes of the game. Once the final horn sounded, Kentucky coach Mark Stoops became the school’s all-time winningest coach, passing Bear Bryant. So, his players gave him the ol’ Gatorade bath, where the drink was actually created. 

Washington State 17, No. 19 Wisconsin 14

Close call

Badgers QB Graham Mertz found Chimere Dike along the sideline for a 4-yard gain, but the Cougars thought they had the ball after Washington State defensive back Armani Marsh appeared to intercept it.

Heating up

Wisconsin tied things up in the second quarter when Mertz found tight end Clay Cundiff for a 17-yard TD. Mertz continued to show off his arm strength, as the Badgers took a 14-7 lead ahead of the break.

Spin cycle!

Washington State took the lead in the second half, 17-14, courtesy of former Badger Nakia Watson. Wisconsin wasn’t able to put any more points on the board after that, and the Cougars held on for the upset.

Cameron Ward finds RB Nakia Watson for 31-yard TD

Washington State QB Cameron Ward finds RB Nakia Watson for a 31-yard TD pass down the sideline, and the 17-14 Cougars lead over the Wisconsin Badgers. 

No. 24 Tennessee 34, No. 17 Pittsburgh 27 (OT)

All gas, no brakes

Pitt running back Israel Abanikanda cut through the Volunteers’ defense and scampered 76 yards to the house as the Panthers built an early 10-0 cushion.

Hurdle Alert

Pitt extended its lead to 10 again when QB Kedon Slovis connected with TE Gavin Bartholomew on a 57-yard score.

Double trouble

Then, Tennessee roared back with a 17-point spurt to close out the half for a 24-17 lead, highlighted by a 32-yard scoring toss from Hendon Hooker to Bru McCoy.


After trading field goals in the fourth, things headed to overtime, where the Vols secured the W. Slovis was sidelined for the entire second half with an undisclosed injury. 

Iowa State 10, Iowa 7

Too tough

Iowa was first on the board after Leshon Williams powered through the Cyclones’ defense for a 9-yard score.

Special teams blocks punt, Leshon Williams scores from 9 yards out

Iowa took the lead over Iowa State after a blocked punt and Leshon Williams TD.

Up for grabs

Things got chaotic at the end of the second quarter, as the Cyclones came up with a wild interception. With momentum on its side, Iowa State added a second-half touchdown that secured the win.

No. 3 Ohio State 45, Arkansas State 12

Round 2 at The Shoe

Fresh off their big Week 1 win over Notre Dame, the Buckeyes were ready to go. Ohio State pulled ahead early in the first quarter with a Marvin Harrison Jr. 42-yard touchdown reception on the opening drive.

C.J. Stroud connects with Marvin Harrison Jr. on the deep crosser

QB C.J. Stroud connects with WR Marvin Harrison Jr. to put Ohio State up early.

Fancy footwork

TreVeyon Henderson got in on the action, dancing his way into the end zone to close out the first quarter and extend the Buckeyes’ lead, 14-3.

Then, Stroud connected with Harrison Jr. for his second score of the day — another 42-yard TD — to put the Buckeyes up 24-9 ahead of halftime.

Marvin Harrison Jr. snags his second TD of the day

Marvin Harrison Jr. picked up another long TD to put Ohio State up 23-9.

On the move!

The Buckeyes continued to pour it on as the second half got underway. First, Henderson broke off for a 23-yarder, followed by a 51-yard TD from Emeka Egbuka that helped seal the double-digit win for Ohio State.

C.J. Stroud connects with Emeka Egbuka for a 51-yard strike

Buckeyes WR Emeka Egbuka came up with a 51-yard TD in Ohio State’s rout.

Texas Tech 33, No. 25 Houston 30 (2OT)

TX Tech takes charge

Red Raiders QB Donovan Smith connected with receiver Nehemiah Martinez for a dazzling 43-yard TD to take a 10-3 lead in the second quarter.

More of the same

Then, Smith found receiver Myles Price for a monster 54-yard score that brought Texas Tech fans to their feet.

Donovan Smith finds Myles Price on a 54-yard TD

The Texas Tech Red Raiders took a 17-3 lead over the Houston Cougars after Donovan Smith linked up with Myles Price on a 54-yard touchdown.

Not so fast!

Houston got in on the action when DB Jayce Rogers tied the game at 17-all with a 46-yard pick-six. After both teams traded field goals in the fourth quarter, things headed to overtime.

Jayce Rogers ties games with the 46-yard interception return

Houston DB Jayce Rogers intercepts Texas Tech QB Donavan Smith and returns it 46 yards for a touchdown to tie the game, 17-17, early in the fourth quarter.

To send it to OT

Texas Tech makes a 47-yard field goal to even the score at 20 with just seconds left in the fourth quarter to send the game to overtime.

Screening to the house!

Houston receiver Matthew Golden caught a screen pass and danced around some Texas Tech defenders to get in for the 15-yard score. 

Staying alive

A halfback run up the middle gets Texas Tech a touchdown to send the game to a second overtime.

Walking off with the win!

After holding Houston to a field goal, Texas Tech QB Donovan Smith makes the play with his legs to get into the end zone and give the Red Raiders the win.



What started off as a likely Duke touchdown turned into a jaw-dropping interception from Northwestern DB Garnett Hollis, who came away with one of the wildest picks of the season thus far.

Big boy for the win?

In the fifth overtime, Bowling Green tried a hook-and-ladder with one of its offensive lineman to score for the win. It didn’t work and Eastern Kentucky pulled away with a 59-57 win in seven overtimes. 

A pick-six to close out the upset in overtime and win by…13?

Kansas was a heavy underdog for Saturday’s game against West Virginia. After scoring a touchdown in the front end of overtime, Kansas’ Cobee Bryant jumped the pass to get the interception and returned it all the way to win the game for the Jayhawks. 

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