Braxton Miller threw for 179 yards and ran for 130, and No. 14 Ohio State held off No. 20 Michigan State, 17-16, Saturday in East Lansing, Mich., giving Urban Meyer a win in his first Big Ten game as Buckeyes coach.
Miller put Ohio State (5-0, 1-0) ahead, 17-13, with a 63-yard touchdown pass to Devin Smith in the third quarter, and the Buckeyes’ maligned defense held Le'Veon Bell and the Michigan State running game in check. Meyer becomes the third coach to start 5-0 in his first season at Ohio State. Carol Widdoes and Earle Bruce also did it in 1944 and 1979.
‘‘This was a war. This was two sledgehammers going at each other,’’ Meyer said. ‘‘I know the Big Ten has taken some heat. That was a great game. Great atmosphere, a bunch of great players on the field that are going to be playing at the next level, and that was good for college football and good for the Big Ten.’’
Michigan State (3-2, 0-1) has lost four home games in a row against Ohio State.
Michigan State took a 13-10 advantage in the third on a terrific individual effort by Keith Mumphery. With the ball on the Ohio State 29 after a personal foul call on the Buckeyes, Mumphery took Andrew Maxwell’s short pass and eluded four tacklers before dragging a couple more Buckeyes into the end zone.
The lead didn’t last long. Miller barely picked up a first down with a run on third and 1, then lofted a deep pass on the next play to Smith, who beat Johnny Adams to put Ohio State ahead to stay.
Alabama 33, Mississippi 14 — Amari Cooper caught two touchdown passes from AJ McCarron and Christion Jones returned a kickoff 99 yards for another score, leading the No. 1 Crimson Tide (5-0, 2-0 SEC) over to the Rebels (3-2, 0-1) .
The Crimson Tide trailed briefly, 7-6, for the first time in regulation since last year’s Tennessee game, a span of nine-plus games. The Rebels put up a fight against a team that had been walloping opponents by nearly 37 points on average, but still lost their ninth straight SEC opener.
LSU 38, Towson 22 — Zach Mettenberger connected with Odell Beckham Jr. five times for 128 yards and two touchdowns, but the No. 3 Tigers (5-0) had to battle to beat overmatched but feisty Towson (2-2) in Baton Rouge, La.
Mettenberger’s scoring strikes to Beckham went for 53 and 27 yards. He finished 15 of 26 for 238 yards passing. Still, Mettenberger was sacked four times, missed some open receivers and a fumble he gave up — one of three LSU turnovers — led to the first of two touchdown runs by Towson’s Terrance West.
Georgia 51, Tennessee 44 — Todd Gurley ran for three touchdowns and Keith Marshall added two as the No. 5 Bulldogs recovered after blowing a 17-point lead to beat the visiting Vols (3-2, 0-2) in the highest-scoring game ever between the SEC rivals.
Georgia (5-0, 3-0) needed three takeaways in the final six minutes to claim the win. Twice Sanders Commings intercepted Tyler Bray’s passes and in between the Tennessee quarterback was stripped from behind and the fumble was recovered by Georgia.
South Carolina 38, Kentucky 17 — Marcus Lattimore ran for two touchdowns and Connor Shaw passed for another in the second half as the No. 6 Gamecocks (5-0, 3-0 SEC) scored 31 straight points to beat the host Wildcats.
Lattimore rushed for 120 yards on 23 carries and Kenny Miles added a 17-yard score for South Carolina, which trailed Kentucky (1-4, 0-2) 17-7 after a ragged first half.
West Virginia 70, Baylor 63 — Geno Smith tied a Big 12 mark with eight touchdown passes and threw for 656 yards to lead the No. 9 Mountaineers (4-0) to a rout of the No. 25 Bears (3-1) in their conference debut at Morgantown, W.V.
Smith outdueled Baylor’s Nick Florence, who had a standout game of his own with 581 yards and five TDs. Smith had more TD passes than incompletions (six).
The Bears’ Terrance Williams set a Big 12 record with 314 yards receiving. The old mark was set minutes earlier by West Virginia’s Stedman Bailey, who had 303 yards and a school-record five TDs.
TCU 24, SMU 16 — Casey Pachall threw two touchdown passes, Jason Verrett had two interceptions, and the No. 15 Horned Frogs (4-0) extended their FBS-best winning streak to 12 games by beating the Mustangs (1-3) in Dallas.
Louisville 21, Southern Miss 17 — Senorise Perry rushed for 118 yards and two TDs, Jeremy Wright added 84 rushing yards, and the No. 19 Cardinals (5-0) rallied to beat the host Golden Eagles (0-4).
Nebraska 30, Wisconsin 27 — Taylor Martinez guided four straight scoring drives in the second half and the No. 22 Cornhuskers (3-1-0, 1-0 Big Ten) came back from a 17-point deficit to defeat the Badgers (3-2, 0-1) in Lincoln, Neb.
Boise State 32, New Mexico 29 — Joe Southwick passed for 311 yards and three touchdowns to help the No. 24 Broncos (3-1, 1-0 Mountain West) beat the host Lobos (2-3, 0-1).