Ron Powlus was worth the wait. The Notre Dame sophomore threw four touchdown passes in his first game Saturday night and the third-ranked Irish overcame a slow start to rout Northwestern 42-15.
Powlus, who missed last season after breaking his collarbone, had been bothered by a sore elbow in preseason practice. But there was nothing wrong with his arm or his passes Saturday night.He completed 18-of-24 for 291 yards and tied a school record held by Steve Beuerlein, Daryle Lamonica and Angelo Bertelli with four touchdown passes.
Powlus, regarded as one the nation's top prep quarterbacks while at Berwick, Pa., hit three of his touchdown passes in the second quarter as Notre Dame took control.
He completed 10-of-13 first-half passes for 186 yards as the Irish scored two touchdowns in the final 72 seconds to take a 21-3 lead before a sellout crowd of 66,946 at Soldier Field.
Northwestern, behind 116 yards rushing on 21 carries from Dennis Lundy and four penalties on Notre Dame, controlled the ball in the first quarter before Powlus took over.
No. 1 Florida 70, New Mexico St. 21
Terry Dean showed why there's no quarterback controversy at Florida, tying an NCAA record with seven touchdowns in the first half to lead the top-ranked Gators to a season-opening rout of New Mexico State.
The fifth-year senior, who considered transferring when he lost his job to Danny Wuerffel last September, threw for TDs on seven of Florida's first eight possessions. Coach Steve Spurrier called on third-stringer Eric Kresser to lead the last scoring drive of a 56-point half.
Dean, who completed 20 of 30 attempts for 271 yards with no interceptions, broke his Southeastern Conference record of six set against Southwestern Louisiana last season.
No. 4 Florida St. 41, Virginia 17
Florida State, plagued by problems in the offseason, had no problems in its opener against Virginia.
Danny Kanell, following in the footsteps of Heisman Trophy winner Charlie Ward, passed for 330 yards and four touchdowns as the defending national champions crushed the Cavaliers.
The fourth-ranked Seminoles played without seven suspended players, including All-American linebacker Derrick Brooks and three offensive linemen who were penalized for accepting illegal gifts from agents. However, the team did just fine without them.
Kanell completed 32 of 48 passes, the third-highest completion total in school history.
No. 5 Michigan 34, B.C. 26
Boston College, in Dan Henning's debut as a college coach, scored on the first play and had No. 5 Michigan down 12-0 before the Wolverines rallied behind Todd Collins and Amani Toomer. Collins was 17-of-24 for 258 yards, with TD tosses of 46 and 38 yards to Toomer, who finished with seven catches for 179 yards. Mark Hartsell, making his first start for BC, was 28-of-43 for 338 yards and three touchdowns, two late in the fourth quarter after Michigan had taken command 34-12.
No. 6 Miami 56, Ga. Southern 0
Miami set an NCAA record with its 58th consecutive home victory, surpassing Alabama's record set between 1962 and 1982. James Stewart rushed for 145 yards and scored touchdowns on runs of 31, 16 and 2 yards. Alfred Shipman scored on an 82-yard run. Quarterback Frank Costa, who lost his starting job midway through last season, threw for 168 yards and one touchdown. Miami gained 415 yards rushing and 627 overall.
No. 8 Colorado 48, NE Louisiana 13
Rashaan Salaam ran for 184 yards and three touchdowns as Colorado generated 649 yards. Kordell Stewart also accounted for three Colorado TDs, running for two and passing for one. Colorado scored touchdowns on four straight first-half possessions to take a 28-6 lead at intermission.
No. 9 Penn State 56, Minnesota 3
Kerry Collins passed for 260 yards, Ki-Jana Carter rushed for 210 and Penn State shut down Minnesota's vaunted passing attack as the No. 9 Nittany Lions opened the season with big victory.
Collins had 14 consecutive completions during one stretch, besting by two Bill Smaltz's 54-year-old school record. Collins finished 19-of-23, including touchdown passes to Freddie Scott, Keith Olsommer and Bobby Engram.
Like Collins, Carter played only one drive into the second half as the Lions took a 42-3 lead, but he still had the 11th-best rushing performance in school history. Carter had touchdown runs of 80, 62 and 2 yards; the 80-yarder was the team's longest in seven years.
No. 11 Alabama 42,
Sherman Williams rushed for a career-high 153 yards and scored two touchdowns as Alabama piled up 343 yards on the ground. The Crimson Tide defense, which is supposed to rival Alabama's great unit of two years ago, didn't live up to expectations, surrendering a pair of second-quarter touchdowns to the Moccasins in the season opener for both teams. But the outcome was never in doubt as Alabama reached the end zone on its first three possessions.
No. 12 Auburn 22, Mississippi 17
Stephen Davis, replacing NFL-bound James Bostic, rushed for 158 yards and a touchdown at Oxford, Miss. as Auburn extended Division I-A's longest winning streak to 12 games. Patrick Nix, replacing departed Stan White, ran for a TD and passed for one as the Tigers built a 22-10 lead. Ole Miss cut it to five points on Josh Nelson's 12-yard pass to Roell Preston and had another chance at the Auburn 6, but Nelson was sacked twice and Tom Montz's field goal was blocked.
No. 14 UCLA 25, No. 13 Tenn. 23
Wayne Cook passed for 295 yards and a touchdown and Bjorn Merten kicked four field goals as 14th-ranked UCLA held off No. 13 Tennessee in the opener for both teams.
The Volunteers, who lost starting quarterback Jerry Colquitt on the game's seventh play, scored all their points in the fourth quarter, but it wasn't enough.
Daron Washington's 30-yard touchdown run with 1:34 remaining made it 25-16 and clinched the victory for the Bruins. Tennessee's James Stewart scored on a 1-yard run with 10 seconds left.
UCLA went ahead for good on its first possession when Cook, who was 25-of-38, teamed up with Kevin Jordan on a 51-yard pass play, capping a 90-yard, eight-play drive.
No. 15 Texas A&M 18, LSU 13
Leeland McElroy's second touchdown run of the game, a 59-yarder with 71/2 minutes to play, gave No. 15 Texas A&M a victory over LSU. McElroy, who ran for 132 yards, excelled despite LSU's efforts to contain the Aggies' vaunted running attack. A&M used the run in shutting down LSU 24-0 in last year's season opener, with Rodney Thomas and McElroy combining for 331 yards.
No. 16 Oklahoma 30, Syracuse 29
Scott Blanton kicked a 48-yard field goal with 11 seconds to play and No. 16 Oklahoma, which blew a 24-point lead, came back to beat Syracuse.
Oklahoma led 24-0 and was all set to celebrate another touchdown as P.J. Mills neared the goal line at the end of a 70-yard pass from Garrick McGee. But Cornerback Bryce Bevill, beaten on the reception, ran down Mills inside the 5 and popped the ball loose. It went through the end zone for a touchback, spurring Syracuse's comeback.
No. 17 USC 24, No. 23 Wash. 17
Shawn Walters ran for two second-half touchdowns, the latter a 3-yarder to snap a 17-17 tie with 7:14 remaining. Walters' TD was set up by John Herpin's interception of a pass by Washington's Damon Huard at the Huskies 34. Walters had pulled the Trojans even with a 7-yard run late in the third quarter.
No. 18 N. Carolina 27, TCU 17
Jason Stanicek had 244 yards of offense in the first half and No. 18 North Carolina overcame four turnovers and a blocked field goal to down Texas Christian.
Stanicek passed for 179 yards and rushed for 65 as the Tar Heels built a 10-point halftime lead. But the heavy favorites, playing without four injured starters, nearly gave the game away in the second half before securing their sixth straight season-opening victory.
No. 19 Texas 30, Pitt 28
Taje Allen, a reserve defensive back, batted away Sean Fitzgerald's 2-point conversion pass with 36 seconds left as the Longhorns escaped at Pitt. A missed Pitt extra point earlier proved costly, forcing Pitt to go for two after Fitzgerald's 16-yard scoring pass to Matt Butler. Curtis Martin turned in a Tony Dorsett-like performance on Tony Dorsett Day, carrying 28 times for 251 yards, the most ever against Texas.
No. 21 Va. Tech 34, Arkansas St. 7
Maurice DeShazo threw two touchdown passes and ran for a third as Virginia Tech scored on its first three possessions. DeShazo scored the first touchdown on a 3-yard run and, the next time he took a snap, completed a 50-yard pass to Jermaine Holmes. Tight end Kevin Martin held onto a pass despite being flipped on his head by a defender to make it 14-0. With 24 seconds left in the first quarter, DeShazo threw a 7-yard scoring pass to split end Bryan Jennings No. 24 Clemson 27, Furman 6
Emory Smith scored on runs of 3 and 2 yards and freshman Anthony Downs ran for 89 yards as Clemson won its 25th straight over Furman since 1937. Clemson ran for 268 yards and limited Furman to minus-3 on the ground.
Tyrone Wheatley, RB, Michigan: Did not play in Michigan's win over Boston College. Rob Johnson, QB, USC: Completed 18 of 23 passes for 129 yards and 1 TD, 1 INT in win over Washington. Napoleon Kaufman, RB, Washington: Rushed 26 times for 152 yards and 1 TD in loss to USC. Tommie Frazier, QB, Nebraska: Did not play Saturday. Steve Stenstrom, QB, Stanford: Did not play Saturday. J.J. Stokes, WR, UCLA: Caught 6 passes for 84 yards, 0 TDs in win over Tennessee. Eric Zeier, QB, Georgia: Completed 31 of 51 passes for 485 yards and 3 TDs in win over South Carolina.