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ND turns Ireland trip into a victory party


February 16. 2013 9:39PM


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DUBLIN — Notre Dame's trip to Ireland could not have gone much better.


The Fighting Irish eased in their new quarterback, showed they have a couple of capable replacements for their suspended star running back and even got a touchdown from a 300-pound defensive lineman.


Theo Riddick and George Atkinson both ran for two scores and defensive end Stephon Tuitt returned a fumble 77 yards for another TD as Notre Dame routed Navy 50-10 in Saturday's season opener in Ireland.


A crowd of 49,000, mostly visiting Americans, filled Dublin's Aviva Stadium for the first U.S. college game in Ireland since 1996, when the same two teams played in the Emerald Isle Classic.


It was no classic, regardless of the enthusiasm of the fans, who did the wave even as both sides sent in substitutes in fourth-quarter garbage time.


The Fighting Irish dominated the game, running the ball at will against Navy's undersized defense and showing no signs of missing starter Cierre Wood. Riddick gained 107 yards on 19 carries, Atkinson 99 on just nine carries, leaving the Midshipmen and their outnumbered fans crestfallen at the end.


Riddick started the Irish blowout with an 11-yard run to cap an 11-play, nearly six-minute opening drive. Atkinson broke free on the next drive, sweeping right and then cutting back and rampaging untouched through a bevy of Midshipmen for a 56-yard score.


Wood will also miss next week's game against Purdue because of a violation of team rules.


Quarterback Everett Golson, making his first start, put the Fighting Irish up 20-0 with a 5-yard end zone jump ball to tight end Tyler Eifert, who beat two smaller Navy defenders.


"I think I was comfortable," said Golson, who won the starting job in a four-way competition. He spent his freshman year as the scout team QB, and credited coaches with easing his nerves by giving him permission to make mistakes.


Golson said his coaches told him: "You're going to make mistakes but you just have to relax. You're going to make mistakes, but make them going full speed."


Last year's starter Tommy Rees returns from suspension this week, and Brian Kelly was noncommittal about Golson's hold on the job. Still, the coach has said all along he'd like one quarterback to seize the job, and Golson gave little reason for Kelly to worry.


Kelly said he was pleased with Golson's performance.


"I was. He made some good decisions and moved our offense. We put 50 points on the board, so that's a pretty good start."


Golson, who finished 12 of 18 for 144 yards, often looked best on the move. But he did make one second-quarter mistake that gave Navy brief momentum when he tried to hit Eifert for a second TD and threw the ball without any touch into double coverage. Cornerback Parrish Gaines stepped in front of the pass at the Navy 4 for an easy interception.


Navy appeared to be heading for its first touchdown on the ensuing drive, but backside pressure from Notre Dame defensive end Kapron Lewis-Moore spurred a clumsy fumble from Navy quarterback Trey Miller.


Tuitt, listed at 6 foot 6 and 302 pounds, scooped up the ball and rumbled untouched 77 yards to put the Irish up 27-0 with barely 2 minutes left in the first half. It was Notre Dame's longest fumble return since 1985 and third-longest in history.


Navy managed a 26-yard field goal before halftime and opened the second half with a nifty three-pass drive capped by Shawn Lynch's 25-yard grab to make it 27-10 but could get no closer.


Georgia 45, Buffalo 23

ATHENS, Ga. — Freshman Todd Gurley ran for three touchdowns, Aaron Murray threw three scoring passes and Georgia overcame a sloppy first half.


Gurley didn't start but may have emerged as the Bulldogs' future at tailback with his eight carries for 100 yards, including scoring runs of 10 and 55 yards. He added a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first quarter.


Georgia, favored by 37 1/2 points, led only 24-16 at halftime before pulling away in the season opener for both teams.


Branden Oliver, coming off his school-record 1,395 yards rushing in 2011, had 30 carries for 111 yards and a 2-yard touchdown run for the Bulls.


West Virginia 69, Marshall 34

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Geno Smith threw for 323 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Mountaineers past Marshall.


In the final scheduled game between the state's only Bowl Subdivision teams, it marked West Virginia's highest-scoring season opener in school history.


Smith kept the momentum going from his six-TD performance from the Orange Bowl.



USC 49, Hawaii 10

LOS ANGELES — Marqise Lee caught a 75-yard touchdown pass on the first play from scrimmage and returned a kickoff 100 yards for a score, and No. 1 Southern California rolled to a victory over Hawaii.


Matt Barkley kicked off his Heisman Trophy campaign with 377 yards passing and four touchdowns, and Lee caught 10 passes for 197 yards for the Trojans (1-0), whose offensive stars were every bit as impressive as expected in their first game since their two-year NCAA bowl ban ended.


Silas Redd rushed for 57 yards and a touchdown on a team-leading nine carries in the Penn State transfer's debut at USC, which led 35-0 at halftime and coasted to its 15th consecutive season-opening victory.


Robert Woods caught six passes for 42 yards and two TDs, and tight end Xavier Grimble caught Barkley's final scoring throw in the fourth quarter.


Texas 37, Wyoming 17

AUSTIN, Texas — Joe Bergeron and Malcolm Brown both rushed for more than 100 yards and combined for three touchdowns, leading No. 15 Texas to a win over Wyoming.


Texas quarterback David Ash, who won the starting job over Case McCoy in training camp, was an efficient 20-of-27 passing for 156 yards and a touchdown to Jaxon Shipley.


Bergeron had 110 yards and scored Texas' first touchdown on a 1-yard run in first quarter. He put the game away with a 17-yard TD in the fourth. Brown ran for 105 yards for Texas (1-0).




Florida 27, Bowling Green 14

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Mike Gillislee had a career-high 148 yards rushing and two touchdowns, helping Florida beat Bowling Green.


The performance was far from perfect for the Gators, who struggled part of the game on offense and failed to generate much pressure on defense. Still, it was enough for Florida to win its 23rd consecutive opener. The streak is the second longest in the nation behind Nebraska (27).




Youngstown State 31, Pittsburgh 17

PITTSBURGH — Kurt Hess passed for 154 yards and two touchdowns as Youngstown State of the Football Championship Subdivision spoiled Paul Chryst's debut as Pittsburgh's coach in a 31-17 upset on Saturday night in the season opener for both schools.


Andre Stubbs ran for 71 yards and a score, and also added 61 yards receiving and another touchdown as the Penguins beat a Football Bowl Subdivision team for the first time in 12 years. It was the team's first win over Bowl Championship Series opponent in history.


This wasn't a last-second stunner. The Penguins never trailed, controlling the ball and the tempo with a spread offense that kept the Panthers off balance during a soggy night at Heinz Field.



Clemson 26, Auburn 19

ATLANTA — Andre Ellington rushed for 231 yards, DeAndre Hopkins set a school record with 13 receptions and No. 14 Clemson opened the season with victory over Auburn.


Playing before a 50-50 crowd at the Georgia Dome — basically halfway between the two campuses — Clemson shook off any hangover from last season's embarrassing 70-33 loss to West Virginia in the Orange Bowl and showed plenty of offense against Auburn (0-1) even without star receiver Sammy Watkins, who was suspended for the first two games after an offseason drug arrest.



Arkansas 49, Jacksonville State 24

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Tyler Wilson set the school record for yards passing in a season opener, finishing 19 of 27 passing for 367 yards and three touchdowns to lead Arkansas to a win over Jacksonville State.


Two of Wilson's touchdowns went to tight end Chris Gragg, who finished with seven catches for 110 yards as the No. 10 Razorbacks (1-0) won their first game under coach John L. Smith.


LSU 41, North Texas 14

BATON ROUGE, La. — Kenny Hilliard rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 3 LSU opened its season with a victory over North Texas.


While the heavily favored Tigers were never threatened, their performance did not always thrill a Death Valley crowd that eagerly anticipated the debut of Zach Mettenberger as starting quarterback.


Oklahoma St. 84, Savannah St. 0

STILLWATER, Okla. — Jeremy Smith and Desmond Roland ran for three touchdowns apiece, Wes Lunt completed all 11 of his passes in a brief first outing as the new starting quarterback for No. 19 Oklahoma State and the Cowboys beat outmatched Savannah State.



Florida State 69, Murray State 3

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Lonnie Pryor, James Wilder Jr., and Debrale Smiley combined for seven rushing touchdowns to lead No. 7 Florida State to a win over Murray State.


Pryor ran for three TDs, and Smiley and Wilder added two apiece. Wilder finished with 106 yards rushing.


Florida State (1-0) scored on their first touch of the new season on Rashad Greene's 47-yard punt return just 89 seconds into the game.


Kansas State 51, Missouri State 9

MANHATTAN, Kan.— Collin Klein threw for 169 yards and two touchdowns, John Hubert ran 95 yards for a fourth-quarter score and No. 22 Kansas State pulled away late to beat Missouri State.


Hubert finished with 152 yards rushing, Braden Wilson and Daniel Sams added touchdown runs, and Tramaine Thompson returned a punt 89 yards for another score as the Wildcats (1-0) tuned up for next week's showdown with Miami with an impressive second-half scoring binge.


Miami 41, Boston College 32

BOSTON — Freshman Duke Johnson broke two long touchdown runs, rushing for 135 yards to lead Miami to a victory over Boston College.


Johnson scored from 54 and 56 yards out for the Hurricanes, and Stephen Morris threw for 207 yards and a touchdown in the season opener for both teams. The schools also played each other in the 2011 finale, when BC beat the Hurricanes in Miami for the first time since Doug Flutie's famous desperation pass in 1984.



Virginia 43, Richmond 19

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — Michael Rocco threw for 311 yards and a touchdown and Virginia beat Richmond in the season opener for both teams.


The game marked the start of Danny Rocco's career as the Spiders' coach, but his nephew and the Cavaliers had their way pretty much all afternoon.


Rocco finished 25 for 37 with a touchdown on a short pass that Darius Jennings took 51 yards for a score. Kevin Parks ran for two touchdowns and Perry Jones ran for another for Virginia.


Nevada 31, California 24

BERKELEY, Calif. — Stefphon Jefferson ran for 141 yards and scored his third touchdown with 36 seconds remaining as Nevada spoiled the reopening of Memorial Stadium by beating California.



Colorado State 22, Colorado 17

DENVER — Jim McElwain became the first Colorado State coach to win his debut in 42 years when the Rams rallied past their arch rival for a win over the Colorado Buffaloes.



Maryland 7, William & Mary 6

COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Justus Pickett ran for a 6-yard touchdown with 9:52 left in the fourth quarter, and Brad Craddock added the tie-breaking extra point to give Maryland a victory over William & Mary in the season opener for both teams.




Air Force 49, Idaho State 21

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — Cody Getz ran for 218 yards and three touchdowns, Connor Dietz rushed for 74 and a score and had 142 yards passing, and Air Force beat Idaho State in the season opener for both teams.


North Carolina 62, Elon 0

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Gio Bernard had three first-half touchdowns and North Carolina had its biggest scoring day in 17 years to beat Elon in the debut of new coach Larry Fedora.




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