SEC & Big Ten Week 1 Roundup: Auburn makes statement as Northwestern offense struggles to find groove
Auburn claimed a statement win for the SEC on Saturday night as the No. 16 Tigers defeated the 11th-ranked Oregon Ducks 27-21 in a Top-25 showdown in Arlington, Texas.
In a rematch of the 2011 National Championship, Auburn’s Bo Nix led a thrilling comeback in the fourth quarter to seal the upset victory. Following a slow start, the true freshman Nix completed 7 of 13 second-half passes for 86 yards and two touchdowns, including a game-winning 26-yard touchdown pass to Seth Williams with nine seconds remaining in the game to seal the victory.
JaTarvious Whitlow also picked up 84 of his 110 total rushing yards for Auburn in the second half, while Oregon quarterback and Heisman hopeful Justin Herbert completed 28 of 37 passes for 242 yards and a touchdown.
Out West, Stanford defeated Northwestern 17-7 as the Cardinal defense held the Wildcats scoreless for the first three quarters.
Despite Northwestern’s offensive struggles, the Wildcats found themselves with a chance down by three in the fourth quarter before quarterback Hunter Johnson was sacked with 30 seconds left in regulation. The hit on Johnson forced the ball free and Stanford recovered the fumble in the end zone, sealing the win for Cardinal.
Here are some of the other highlights from Week 1 around the SEC and Big Ten:
- Multiple Big Ten teams rolled to week 1 wins as Maryland, Penn State, Wisconsin and Illinois won by an average of 60 points.
- Ohio State defeated FAU 45-21 in Columbus in head coach Ryan Day’s debut. New quarterback Justin Fields, a Georgia transfer, started fast as he ran for a 51-yard touchdown on Ohio State’s opening possession, and finished the game with 234 passing yards and four touchdowns, along with 61 yards on the ground.
- Another highly-touted transfer, former Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant started his Mizzou career on the road against Wyoming and finished his Tigers debut with 423 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately for Bryant, the Cowboys scored 27 second-quarter points thanks to a 61-yard touchdown run by Xazavian Valladay and a 75-yard touchdown run by quarterback Sean Chambers en route to a 37-31 win.
- Tennessee was upset at home by Georgia State. The Panthers scored 17 points in the fourth quarter to upset the Vols in their own backyard.
- Nevada upset Purdue on a 56-yard field goal by walk-on freshman kicker Brandon Talton. Talton was awarded a scholarship in the locker room after the game.