College Football
College football Week 1 highlights: Penn State, USC, Ohio State, Texas win big
College Football

College football Week 1 highlights: Penn State, USC, Ohio State, Texas win big

Updated Sep. 2, 2023 11:23 p.m. ET

Week 1 of the college football season kicked off with a bang!

Saturday's action was highlighted with a "Big Noon Kickoff" matchup in which Colorado stunned No. 17 TCU, 45-42, on the road in a back-and-forth affair in Deion Sanders' head coaching debut for the Buffaloes

In the afternoon slate, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 11 Texas and No. 19 Wisconsin secured double-digit wins over their opponents. Earlier, one of the best games on the early slate was No. 25 Iowa vs. Utah State, as former Michigan quarterback Cade McNamara had a dream debut in the Hawkeyes' win — read all about his journey here

In the evening, Caleb Williams dazzled. The reigning Heisman winner made a pair of highlight plays as he threw for five touchdowns in No. 6 USC's dominant win over Nevada


Closing things out, the Drew Allar era in Happy Valley began on a strong note. The sophomore quarterback threw three touchdowns to help No. 7 Penn State beat West Virginia

Here are the top plays from Saturday's action!

No. 7 Penn State 38, West Virginia 15

Drew dropping dimes

Drew Allar began his first drive as Penn State's starter with a bang. On the fourth play of the opening drive, he found KeAndre Lambert-Smith in single coverage deep down the field, connecting with the receiver who ran in for a 72-yard score to hype up Happy Valley. 

No stopping Singleton

Nick Singleton had no problem getting the ball into the end zone from the 2-yard line, following the blocking paths set up for him by his Penn State teammates to score a touchdown that put the Nittany Lions up, 14-7.

Allar finds Lambert-Smith again

Allar and Lambert-Smith have proven to be one of the Big Ten's top QB-WR duos already, connecting for their second touchdown in Saturday's season opener when the sophomore found the junior in the back of the end zone early in the second half. 

Penn State picks up a stop

With West Virginia looking to cut into Penn State's 24-7 lead early in the fourth quarter, Abdul Carter came up with the big tackle for loss on fourth down as he looks to follow his solid freshman season with a stronger sophomore year.

Malik on the money

Malik McClain gave Allar his third touchdown pass of the day when he took the QB's slant an extra 20 yards for the score, giving Penn State a 31-7 lead in the fourth quarter. 

Ring around the Rosie for 2!

West Virginia took a play from the Chiefs' playbook, dancing in a circle in the huddle before lining up for a play. The Mountaineers ended up getting into a normal-looking formation, though they had two QBs on the field, running a shovel pass play to make it a 31-15 game late in the fourth. 

No. 6 USC 66, Nevada 14 

How did he do that?

Caleb Williams made one of the most impressive plays of his college career on his second pass of the game. He avoided the pass rush that came up the middle, stiff-arming a defender before running to his right. As he scrambled, Williams nearly stepped out of bounds but tossed the ball with a step to spare. Somehow, he found Dorian Singer down the field with the receiver hauling in the grab along the sideline for a 30-yard gain to bring USC into Nevada territory. 

Back to Branch

Williams went back to the freshman who stole the show in USC's season-opener last week to open up the scoring on Saturday, connecting with Zachariah Branch on a deep pass in the end zone for a touchdown.

Can't stop Caleb

After USC took an early 21-7 lead, Williams led the Trojans down the field again. The USC QB scrambled 46 yards for a first down on a drive early in the second quarter. 

Williams connected with Michael Jackson III two plays later for a touchdown to extend USC's lead to 28-7.

On the ensuing Trojans drive, Williams got his team right back into the red zone. He appeared to be in trouble on a second-down play, but he danced around in the pocket for several seconds, avoiding the pressure before firing a pass to Brenden Rice for a 13-yard score to give USC a 35-7 lead in the second quarter. 

Over the top to Tahj

Tahj Washington got in on the scoring action on USC's first drive of the second half, getting past a pair of Nevada defensive backs to haul in a pass from Williams for a 45-yard touchdown to give the Trojans a 42-7 lead.

Two for the show

The Trojans kept on scoring even after they took out Williams and put many of their backups in for the fourth quarter. First, Quinten Joyner scored the first collegiate touchdown of his career as the freshman ran right by Nevada's defense for a 47-yard score to give USC a 59-14 lead.

Later, freshman receiver Duce Robinson made his way past Nevada's defense as he took Miller Moss' pass 71 yards for a touchdown to give USC a 66-14 lead.

No. 11 Texas 37, Rice 10

Zeroing in

Rice was first on the board after Texas turned the ball over on downs on its opening drive, but the Longhorns turned things around on their second drive, which included two crucial catches by wideout Xavier Worthy to move the chains.

To the house!

Texas took the lead early in the first quarter after Quinn Ewers, the top overall recruit in both the 2021 and 2022 classes and Ohio State transfer, connected with RB Jonathon Brooks for a 37-yard score to get things going for the home team.

Quinn Ewers links up with Jonathon Brooks for a 37-yard TD vs. Rice

No quit

Texas' defense continued to show out as the first half got underway — coming up with one huge play after another.

Pulling away

Texas extended its lead early in the third quarter thanks to this grab from Adonai Mitchell in the back of the end zone.

Quinn Ewers connects with Adonai Mitchell to grab a 23-3 lead over Rice

Adding more

The Longhorns continued to dominate in the third quarter when Ewers' short pass over the middle turned into a 44-yard score as Ja'Tavion Sanders hit the jets to move right past the Owls' defense to make it a 30-3 game in the third quarter. 

Quinn Ewers connects with Ja'Tavion Sanders for a 44-yard TD vs. Rice

A family affair

Longhorns WR Luke McCaffrey, the younger brother of NFL star Christian McCaffrey, made one of the best plays of the day — coming down with a tough catch right at the goal line while getting hit to score a game-sealing touchdown.

No. 3 Ohio State 23, Indiana 3

Not so fast!

Miyan Williams put Ohio State ahead with a short scamper into the end zone on the Buckeyes' opening drive.

However, Indiana had a few tricks up its sleeve. Hoosiers DB Phillip Dunnam picked off Kyle McCord's fourth-down pass to keep the Buckeyes at bay early in the second quarter.

Can't stop Cade

Cade Stover helped break things open a bit for the struggling Ohio State offense late in the third quarter when he turned his catch over the middle into a 47-yard gain. 

The reception set the Buckeyes up in Hoosiers territory, allowing Williams to rush for his second touchdown of the game not too long after to put them up 20-3 and seal the win.

No. 19 Wisconsin 38, Buffalo 17 

Hot start

The Badgers were first on the board after a quick rushing score early in the first quarter, but  Buffalo fired back with a score of its own, as QB Cole Snyder found WR Cole Harrity for a 7-yard TD on the ensuing drive to knot things up.

Making it count

Wisconsin QB Tanner Mordecai — who spent the first three years of his collegiate career at Oklahoma before transferring to SMU in 2021 and then to Wisconsin for his final season of eligibility in 2023 — connected with WR Chimere Dike for the go-ahead score just ahead of halftime in front of a sellout crowd at Camp Randall Stadium.

On the move

Wisconsin RB Chez Mellusi helped the Badgers build their biggest lead of the game in the third quarter when he ran up field and juked away from tackles for an 89-yard touchdown to go up 21-10. 

Chez Mellusi rips an 89-YARD RUSHING TD to extend lead vs. Buffalo

All Allen

Braelon Allen took his turn to get into the mix and into the end zone as he scored a 5-yard touchdown with relative ease to put Wisconsin up 28-10. 

Braelon Allen's STRONG rushing touchdown gives Wisconsin a 28-10 lead vs. Buffalo

Cole squared

The Bulls got a major lift from a pair of Coles to help keep the game close in the fourth quarter. Snyder hit Harrity once again, this time in the back of the end zone to cut Wisconsin's lead to 31-17 before things came to an end.

No. 25 Iowa 24, Utah State 14

On the move

After a monster kickoff return from RB Kaleb Johnson, the Hawkeyes didn't waste any time getting on the board.

Star power

McNamara, in his first start as Iowa QB, hit Seth Anderson for a 36-yard touchdown less than a minute into the game to set the tone early.

Cade McNamara and Seth Anderson connect for a 36-yard TD vs. Utah State

Finding a rhythm

Iowa added to its lead when McNamara connected with TE Erick All for a 3-yard score midway through the first quarter.

Cade McNamara finds Erick All for a 3-yard TD to extend Iowa's lead


Iowa got its first turnover of the year late in the second quarter.

The Hawkeyes headed into the locker room up 17-3 after adding a field goal ahead of the break.

Air game strong

Utah State QB Cooper Legas connected with WR Terrell Vaughn for a huge 39-yard gain to open the third quarter.

The Aggies capped off that drive with a 45-yard field goal to close the gap slightly, 17-6.

Firing on all cylinders

McNamara dropped a 31-yard bomb to TE Luke Lachey on third down to get the Hawkeyes to the Aggies' 39-yard line.

Too tough!

Then, Johnson punched in a 3-yard score to extend Iowa's lead early in the fourth quarter.

For good measure

Legas found Vaughn once again for another score, but it was too little, too late for Utah State, and things ended there.

No. 2 Michigan 30, East Carolina 3


Michigan forced the first turnover of the game, as East Carolina QB Mason Garcia's pass was intercepted near midfield.

Finishing the job

Then, Michigan QB J.J. McCarthy connected with WR Roman Wilson for a 14-yard touchdown on the following drive to get the Wolverines on the board first in Ann Arbor.

When it rains, it pours

The Wolverines continued to dominate in the first half, as the home team took a 23-0 halftime lead.

Third time's the charm!

The dynamic duo of McCarthy and Wilson linked up for their third touchdown of the night to open the second half.

Just like that, Michigan dominated ECU, 30-3, in front of more than 100,000 fans at the Big House.

Best of the rest:

Fresno State 39, Purdue 35

Going, going, gone!

Hudson Card, the former Texas starting quarterback, linked up with wideout Deion Burks for a stellar 84-yard score to put Purdue on the board first against Fresno State.

Deion Burks takes off for 84-yard TD to give Purdue lead vs. Fresno State

Making a statement

Purdue RB Tyrone Tracy Jr. returned the kickoff 97 yards for a jaw-dropping TD, giving the Boilermakers a 28-17 lead early in the third quarter. 

Tyrone Tracy Jr. returns the kickoff 97 yards to the house for a Purdue TD

SMU 38, Louisiana Tech 14 

Picture-perfect pass

SMU's first touchdown against Louisiana Tech was a jaw-dropping 67-yard score that brought Mustangs fans to their feet. QB Preston Stone found WR Jordan Hudson down the sideline for a statement-making touchdown in the first quarter.


Get more from College Football Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more