AUBURN, Ala. — Jeremy Johnson passed for 243 yards and two touchdowns in the first half and Nick Marshall returned from suspension with a 19-yard scoring run to lift No. 6 Auburn to a 45-21 opening victory over Arkansas on Saturday.
The Tigers scored the final 24 points after the Razorbacks managed to force a halftime deadlock. The game was delayed 1 hour, 28 minutes due to lightning in the area during the fourth quarter.
Marshall, who led Auburn to the SEC title last season and the national championship game, started the second half after serving his punishment for getting ticketed in July for possession of a small amount of marijuana. Junior college transfer D’haquille Williams supplied the most electrifying performance with nine catches for 154 yards in his debut, including a 62-yard bomb and an 18-yard touchdown from Johnson.
Cameron Artis-Payne rushed for a career-high 177 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries after replacing Heisman Trophy finalist Tre Mason. Jermaine Whitehead returned an interception off Brandon Allen 33 yards for a touchdown.
Allen completed 18 of 31 passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns, five days after his truck was burned early Monday morning. Alex Collins ran for 68 yards on 10 carries.
Auburn outgained the Razorbacks 595-328, allowing just 61 yards in the second half after a shaky start defensively.
The Tigers gained 302 yards on the ground after managing just 68 by halftime.
Marshall watched from the sidelines until warming up on an exercise bike before going into the game. His touchdown run was the only time Arkansas gave him room to run. The potential Heisman Trophy contender was just 4-of-6 passing for 50 yards while gaining 19 yards on eight carries, counting a sack.
No. 24 Missouri 38, South Dakota St 18. In Columbia, Mo., Maty Mauk threw for 178 yards and three touchdowns to lead Missouri past South Dakota State,
Mauk seemed at ease early, finding receiver Darius White crossing behind the Jackrabbits’ defense for a 44-yard touchdown pass just 50 seconds into the game. The Tigers extended their lead to 21-10 at halftime and never trailed.
Zach Zenner rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries for South Dakota State (0-1), who fell to 0-7 against FBS teams since moving to Division I in 2004. Zach Lujan completed 21 of 28 passes for 239 yards and an interception in place of Austin Sumner, who left the game in the first quarter and did not return.
Missouri moved to 14-0 all-time against Football Championship Subdivision teams and has won 13 consecutive season openers.
The Tigers’ early 7-0 lead lasted only one play thanks to a 75-yard touchdown run by Zenner, but Mauk found White again on the third drive, this time for a 39-yard pass in the corner of the end zone behind safety Anthony Sherrils. White finished with two receptions for 83 yards and two touchdowns.
Missouri added another score in the first quarter on Russell Hansbrough’s 10-yard run that featured a missed tackle and a bit of misdirection. Hansbrough started after backing up Henry Josey last year, finishing with 20 carries for a career-high 126 yards.
Kentucky 59, UT Martin 14: In Lexington, Ky., Braylon Heard’s first-half touchdown runs of 73 and 43 yards spurred Kentucky to a season-opening rout of Tennessee-Martin.
Quarterback Patrick Towles added a TD passing and running in his first career start for Kentucky, which outgained the Skyhawks 656-398. The Wildcats’ sophomore threw for 370 yards, but Kentucky’s tailbacks set the tone by flying through huge holes and scoring virtually untouched.
Especially Heard, the junior transfer whose yardage came on those two carries. The scores propelled Kentucky to a 35-0 halftime lead and the Wildcats never looked back.
Mikel Horton also scored twice and Jojo Kemp added a TD run for Kentucky. Khalil Henderson returned a third-quarter fumble 89 yards for a score.
The game’s final 4 minutes were hushed after a Kentucky cheerleader was injured in a fall. She gave a thumbs-up while being carted off the field, but no further details were immediately available.
UT Martin’s consolation was spoiling Kentucky’s bid for its first shutout since September 2009 as Najee Ray and Caylo Weathers scored fourth-quarter TDs on 1-yard run and 15-yard reception, respectively.
By then the Wildcats had already overwhelmed the Skyhawks on both sides of the ball.
Mississippi State 49, Southern Miss 0: In Starkville, Miss., Dak Prescott threw for a career-high 284 yards and four touchdowns, including two to De’Runnya Wilson, and Mississippi State cruised to a victory over Southern Mississippi in the season-opener for both teams.
The Bulldogs dominated from the outset, needing nine plays on the opening drive to cruise 87 yards downfield. Prescott ended the drive by finding Wilson for a wide open 25-yard touchdown pass — the first of many offensive highlights.
A few Mississippi State hiccups kept the game close early, but the Bulldogs scored three touchdowns in the second quarter and gained 387 yards in the first half for a 28-0 lead.
Southern Miss struggled in every facet, gaining just 283 total yards and giving up 550. The Golden Eagles’ best chance to score was a 30-yard field goal attempt that was blocked and then returned by MSU’s Jay Hughes for a touchdown.