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Ingram helps South Carolina score big win

Auburn defensive back Ryan Smith upends Mississippi State quarterback Chris Relf at the goal line on the game’s final play, preserving the Tigers’ 41-34 victory. Auburn defensive back Ryan Smith upends Mississippi State quarterback Chris Relf at the goal line on the game’s final play, preserving the Tigers’ 41-34 victory. (Mike Kittrell/Associated Press)
Associated Press / September 11, 2011

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Melvin Ingram had never scored a touchdown for South Carolina. Not surprising, since he plays defensive end.

Yesterday, the 276-pound senior finally made it to the end zone. Twice.

Looking like a running back, Ingram went 68 yards for a touchdown with a fake punt, then scooped up a fumble and stepped into the end zone with just over three minutes remaining to clinch No. 12 South Carolina’s wild 45-42 victory over Georgia, handing embattled coach Mark Richt another galling loss.

The Gamecocks (2-0, 1-0 Southeastern) gained the early upper hand in the East Division by taking advantage of every Georgia mistake: Antonio Allen returned an interception 25 yards for a touchdown, and Stephon Gilmore’s 56-yard fumble return set up another score for South Carolina.

Georgia (0-2, 0-1) got four touchdown passes from Aaron Murray but simply couldn’t overcome all the major blunders.

Marcus Lattimore, who rushed for 176 yards on 27 carries, put the Gamecocks ahead for good on a 3-yard run that made it 38-35 with 3 1/2 minutes left.

Then there was one last crushing mistake by the Bulldogs. Jadeveon Clowney burst through the line without being blocked and threw down Murray, who lost the ball. Ingram batted it toward the end zone and picked it up there for an improbable two-touchdown performance by the fifth-year senior.

Murray threw for 248 yards and Isaiah Crowell rushed for 118 for the Bulldogs, who are off to their first 0-2 start since 1996.

LSU 49, Northwestern St. 3 - Spencer Ware and Michael Ford ran for two scores apiece and the No. 2 Tigers (2-0) routed the visiting Demons (1-1).

Coveted junior college transfer quarterback Zach Mettenberger made his debut in relief of LSU starter Jarrett Lee to open the second half. Mettenberger went 8 of 11 for 92 yards, including a 19-yard touchdown pass.

Wisconsin 35, Oregon St. 0 - Russell Wilson threw three touchdown passes and the No. 8 Badgers (2-0) overcame a slow start to beat the visiting Beavers (0-2).

In his second career start for the Badgers, Wilson was 17 of 21 for 189 yards and the three touchdowns, including a pair to tight end Jacob Pedersen.

Nebraska 42, Fresno St. 29 - Ameer Abdullah returned a kickoff 100 yards after the visiting Bulldogs made it a 2-point game in the fourth quarter, and Taylor Martinez’s 46-yard touchdown run secured the 10th-ranked Cornhuskers’ victory.

Martinez ran 15 times for 166 yards and two TDs and passed for another score as Nebraska (2-0) turned back an upset bid by the Bulldogs (0-2).

Oregon 69, Nevada 20 - Darron Thomas matched a school record with six touchdown passes and the No. 13 Ducks bounced back from their season-opening loss to blast the Wolf Pack.

LaMichael James ran for 67 yards and a touchdown, caught a scoring pass from Thomas, and returned a punt for a score to help Oregon (1-1) to its 17th straight victory at Autzen Stadium.

Arkansas 52, New Mexico 3 - Tyler Wilson threw for 259 yards and accounted for a pair of touchdowns as the No. 14 Razorbacks (2-0) toyed with the visiting Lobos (0-2).

Ohio St. 27, Toledo 22 - The Buckeyes’ 90 years of in-state domination was in jeopardy before John Simon pressured backup Rockets quarterback Terrance Owens, forcing an incompletion on fourth down with 48 seconds left, to preserve No. 15 Ohio State’s victory.

The Rockets (1-1) drove from their 28 and were 17 yards away from becoming the first in-state team to beat the Buckeyes since 1921. Ohio State (2-0) is 43-0-1 against its closest neighbors since that long-ago 7-6 setback to Oberlin.

Toledo led, 15-7, after a quarter and was on top, 22-21, before Carlos Hyde went 3 yards for the winning points late in the third quarter.

Auburn 41, Mississippi St. 34 - Ryan Smith stopped Chris Relf at the goal line on the final play to preserve the host Tigers’ upset of the No. 16 Bulldogs.

Relf kept the ball on an option and headed for the end zone before Smith went low and brought the 240-pound quarterback down for Auburn (2-0, 1-0 SEC). Mike Dyer rushed for 150 yards and two touchdowns for the Tigers, who extended major college football’s longest win streak to 17 games.

The Bulldogs (1-1, 0-1) nearly forced overtime, marching 66-plus yards in the final 2:52 with only one pass before Relf came up short.

Auburn’s eagle Spirit had a rough day, flying into the glass window of a luxury box during his pre-kickoff flyaround. Seemingly unharmed, the bird then flew behind an end zone as fans ducked. Spirit then landed near midfield like always. Auburn fans kept the traditional “War Eagle’’ chant going during the longer-than-usual flight.

Michigan St. 44, Fla. Atlantic 0 - Kirk Cousins threw for 183 yards and two touchdowns, and the No. 17 Spartans (2-0) held the visiting Owls (0-2) to one first down in their easy nonconference win.

Florida 39, UAB 0 - Chris Rainey ran for 119 yards and a touchdown, Caleb Sturgis kicked three field goals after the offense bogged down, and the No. 18 Gators (2-0) swamped the visiting Blazers (0-1).

West Virginia 55, Norfolk St. 12 - Geno Smith threw for 371 yards and four scores and the No. 19 Mountaineers (2-0) breezed past the visiting Spartans (1-1).

South Florida 37, Ball St. 7 - B.J. Daniels threw for a career-best 359 yards and a TD, leading the No. 22 Bulls to a rout of the visiting Cardinals.

Texas 17, BYU 16 - Backup quarterbacks Case McCoy and David Ash relieved struggling starter Garrett Gilbert and pumped new life into a struggling Longhorns offense and Cody Johnson scored a fourth-quarter touchdown as No. 24 Texas (2-0) rallied to beat the visiting Cougars (1-1).

TCU 35, Air Force 19 - Matthew Tucker, filling in for the injured Ed Wesley, scored on two short touchdown runs in the first half and the 25th-ranked Horned Frogs (1-1, 1-0) routed the host Falcons (1-1, 0-1) for their 18th straight win in the Mountain West Conference.