Sooners lose Bradford and opener

Minus star QB, Oklahoma gets upset by BYU

Oklahoma had to play the second half without star quarterback Sam Bradford, who suffered a sprained throwing shoulder on a hard tackle. Oklahoma had to play the second half without star quarterback Sam Bradford, who suffered a sprained throwing shoulder on a hard tackle. (Vernon Bryant/Associated Press)
Associated Press / September 6, 2009

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Heisman Trophy winner Sam Bradford stood helplessly on the sideline, wearing a T-shirt, a sling to protect his sprained throwing shoulder, and a towel around his neck.

All he could do was watch as his Sooners lost their chance for a perfect season - and BYU launched its bid to become the latest BCS busters from the Mountain West.

Max Hall threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to wide-open McKay Jacobson in the back of the end zone with 3:03 left, giving the No. 20 Cougars a 14-13 victory over No. 3 Oklahoma last night in Arlington, Texas.

The Sooners’ last hope to recover ended when Tress Way came up short on a 54-yard field goal with 1:23 left. BYU players exchanged flying chest bumps right away, then celebrated wildly when their upset was complete, a stunning end to the first college football game - and first regular-season game - played at the nearly $1.2 billion Cowboys Stadium.

Bradford sprained his shoulder when he was tackled on a hard, clean hit by linebacker Coleby Clawson in the closing seconds of the first half. Oklahoma kicked a field goal on the next play to go up, 10-7. Bradford was first checked on a sideline table, then taken into the locker room.

Bradford was 10 of 14 for 96 yards and a touchdown. On the play before Clawson’s hit, he broke the school passing record held by Jason White with an 18-yard completion to Brandon Caleb. That play gave him 7,937 yards for his career.

Backup Landry Jones, a redshirt freshman, was 6 of 12 for 51 yards in his collegiate debut.

Hall finished 26 of 38 for 329 yards and two touchdowns. The numbers that matter most: a 16-play, 78-yard drive that included converting a fourth-and-4 and throwing the winning touchdown after being shoved back from the 2 on a delay-of-game penalty.

“This is unbelievable, playing a game like this, having a chance to drive down the field and score,’’ Hall said.

Oklahoma St. 24, Georgia 10 - Zac Robinson threw two TD passes to star receiver Dez Bryant and also scored on a quarterback sneak as the ninth-ranked Cowboys proved deserving of their highest preseason ranking ever by beating the No. 13 Bulldogs in Stillwater, Okla.

The Cowboys capitalized on a fourth-quarter fumble by Georgia quarterback Joe Cox to seal the season-opening win on a 12-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Bryant. The two also hooked up on an impressive 46-yard score in the first half that got Oklahoma State’s offense going after a sloppy start.

Robinson finished with 135 yards on 11-of-22 passing, and Bryant made the most of his three catches for 77 yards.

Cox was 15 for 30 for 162 yards with one interception, but the Georgia offense - a group looking for new stars after the departures of Matthew Stafford and Knowshon Moreno to the NFL - slowed to a halt after his 4-yard TD pass to Michael Moore on the game’s opening drive.

Ohio St. 31, Navy 27 - Brian Rolle intercepted a potential 2-point conversion in the closing minutes and returned it for 2 points the other way, helping the sixth-ranked Buckeyes hold on in Columbus, Ohio.

A crowd of 105,092 - the largest ever to see the Buckeyes open a season - sat in stunned silence after the Midshipmen scored twice in just over four minutes to cut a 29-14 deficit to 2 points with 2:23 left.

Navy went for the tie, but Rolle stepped in front of Ricky Dobbs’s pass and rumbled up the sideline to preserve the win in the Midshipmen’s first trip to Ohio Stadium since 1931 - and keep the luster on next week’s showdown between the Buckeyes and No. 4 Southern Cal.

Terrelle Pryor was 14 of 21 for 174 yards and a touchdown, and also ran for a score to help Ohio State build its lead early in the fourth quarter against the three-touchdown underdogs.

Southern Cal 56, San Jose St. 3 - Matt Barkley passed for 233 yards after a slow start to his USC debut, and the No. 4 Trojans’ fleet of tailbacks ran for six TDs in Los Angeles.

Barkley, the first non-redshirt freshman to start a season opener at USC, shook off a rocky first quarter to go 15 for 19 with no interceptions. USC’s formidable offensive line cleared the way for 343 yards rushing, along with two scores apiece by Stafon Johnson and Joe McKnight. Barkley’s only TD pass put USC ahead, 42-3, midway through the third.

McKnight rushed for 145 yards, Marc Tyler added 72 and Allen Bradford made a 43-yard TD run as the Trojans rolled through their tuneup for next week’s showdown at No. 6 Ohio State.

Florida 62, Charleston Southern 3 - The top-ranked and defending national champion Gators kicked off their campaign with a easy outing at home. Tim Tebow completed 10 of 15 passes for 188 yards and a TD, a 28-yard strike to Aaron Hernandez. Tebow also ran for a score, the 44th of his career.

Brandon James ended up with the top highlight, though. The senior returned a kickoff 85 yards for a TD, breaking a 123-game drought for the Gators. Bo Carroll was the last Florida player to return a kickoff for a touchdown, Oct. 9, 1999, against LSU.

Texas 59, Louisiana-Monroe 20 - At Austin, Texas, Colt McCoy passed for 317 yards and two TDs and the No. 2 Longhorns romped in their opener.

McCoy connected with Jordan Shipley for a 78-yard TD pass in the second quarter. Cody Johnson scored Texas’s first three TDs on short runs and freshman D.J. Monroe returned a first-half kickoff 89 yards for a score.

Penn St. 31, Akron 7 - Daryll Clark threw for career highs of 353 yards and three touchdowns, and the No. 9 Nittany Lions rolled at home in 82-year-old coach Joe Paterno’s return to the sideline after hip replacement surgery last November.

Penn State’s tenacious defense held Akron without a first down until the third quarter. The Zips finished with 186 yards of total offense, 28 on the ground. The Lions had 13 tackles for losses and four sacks.

Wearing his trademark black sneakers and khakis, Paterno struck familiar poses pacing the sideline and arguing with officials. This marks his 60th season at Penn State - 16 as an assistant and the last 44 as the man in charge - and he walked off the field with his 384th victory, two ahead of Florida State’s Bobby Bowden.

Evan Royster’s 5-yard TD run with 6:15 in the first quarter capped a seven-play, 84-yard drive for a 7-0 lead to get the Lions’ party started. Clark was 29-for-40 passing, the second-highest game total for completions in school history. He had 254 yards in the first half alone, a school record.

LSU 31, Washington 22 - Jordan Jefferson passed for three touchdowns as No. 11 Louisiana State held off host Washington.

Iowa 17, Northern Iowa 16 - Jeremiha Hunter blocked a 40-yard field goal attempt with one second left, allowing the No. 22 Hawkeyes to escape in Iowa City.

The Panthers, one of the top teams in the Championship Subdivision, had their first field goal try, attempted on first down, blocked with seven seconds left. But, believing the game was over, Hawkeye defenders didn’t recover the ball, giving Northern Iowa another chance.

Ricky Stanzi had 242 yards passing for the Hawkeyes, who trailed, 13-10, before Stanzi found tight end Tony Moeaki for a 6-yard TD with 13:18 left.

Billy Hallgren’s 39-yard field goal with 4:26 left brought Northern Iowa within 17-16.

Notre Dame 35, Nevada 0 - Jimmy Clausen threw for four TDs, including passes of 70 and 88 yards to Michael Floyd, and the No. 23 Fighting Irish opened a season of promise by blasting the Wolf Pack in South Bend, Ind.

Clausen completed 10 of his first 11 passes for 184 yards and three scores. The junior finished 15 of 18 for 315 yards. The 88-yarder to Floyd was the third-longest pass completion in Notre Dame history.

Floyd also had a 24-yard TD catch and tight end Kyle Rudolph opened the scoring with a 19-yard TD catch. The other touchdown by the Irish (1-0) came on a 1-yard run by Armando Allen Jr.

It was the first shutout for Notre Dame during the Charlie Weis era. The last shutout for the Irish was a 42-0 win over Rutgers in 2002. It was just the third time in Nevada coach Chris Ault’s 25 years as coach that the Wolf Pack was shut out.

Nebraska 49, Florida Atlantic 3 - Roy Helu Jr. ran for 152 yards and three TDs and Zac Lee passed for 213 yards and two scores in his first start as the No. 24 Cornhuskers rolled at home.

Kansas 49, Northern Colorado 3 - The No. 25 Jayhawks started slow, but Todd Reesing sparked things in Lawrence, Kan., by rushing for two TDs and then passing for two more.

Jake Sharp scored on a 2-yard run and a 10-yard pass before a Memorial Stadium record crowd of 53,530.

Minnesota 23, Syracuse 20 - Making his Syracuse debut, former Duke point guard Greg Paulus was 19 of 31 for 167 yards and one touchdown, but his only interception came in overtime and set up the Golden Gophers’ winning field goal at the Carrier Dome.

Paulus, who had not played in a football game since 2004, appeared calm and collected for most the game, but his ill-advised pass on a scramble on the first possession of overtime doomed the Orange and new coach Doug Marrone. Eric Ellestad won it for Minnesota with a 35-yard field goal.

Tennessee 63, Western Kentucky 7 - The host Volunteers welcomed new coach Lane Kiffin by putting up their largest margin of victory since 2000. Jonathan Crompton threw five touchdown passes, one more than his entire output last season.

Purdue 52, Toledo 31 - Danny Hope won his coaching debut for the Boilermakers as Ralph Bodden racked up 234 yards rushing (third most in school history) and a pair of TDs in West Lafayette, Ind. Purdue kicker Carson Wiggs set a school record with a 59-yard field goal just before halftime.

West Virginia 33, Liberty 20 - Jarrett Brown threw for 243 yards and ran for a TD, and Tyler Bitancurt kicked four field goals as the host Mountaineers won their sixth straight season opener and improved to 10-0 against FCS opponents since 2000. Noel Devine ran for 112 yards and a fourth-quarter TD to ice it.

Pittsburgh 38, Youngstown St. 3 - In his first collegiate start, Dion Lewis rushed for 129 yards and three first-half TDs, and the host Panthers showed off a balanced offense in burying their FCS opponent.

Air Force 72, Nicholls St. 0 - Jared Tew and Tim Jefferson had three TDs apiece as the host Falcons rolled to the largest margin of victory in school history and the second-highest point total.

Michigan 31, Western Michigan 7 - The Wolverines coasted at home to end a two-game skid in season openers. Freshman Tate Forcier threw three touchdown passes and Denard Robinson ran for a score.