COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Troy Smith put No. 1 Ohio State ahead with a sensational touchdown pass, and the Buckeyes defense took over from there.

Smith threw a 37-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter, then Malcolm Jenkins and Antonio Smith returned interceptions for touchdowns as Ohio State beat No. 24 Penn State 28-6 on Saturday in a game that saw Nittany Lions coach Joe Paterno spend time in the locker room because he was feeling ill.

Paterno, the Nittany Lions’ 79-year-old coach, jogged to the locker room midway through the second quarter and didn’t return until the start of the fourth because he was suffering from the flu.

He got back just in time to see the Buckeyes (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) expand a 7-3 lead on Smith’s athletic scramble that led to Brian Robiskie’s 37-yard touchdown catch.

With the Nittany Lions (2-2, 0-1) seeking a touchdown and 2-point conversion that would tie it, Jenkins picked off an Anthony Morelli pass and raced down the left sideline 61 yards for a score to make it 21-6 with 2:31 left. Moments later, Antonio Smith stepped in front of a pass by Morelli meant for Deon Butler and sped along the same route as Jenkins for a 55-yard score.

No. 2 Auburn 37, Buffalo 7

AUBURN, Ala. (AP) – Backup tailbacks Brad Lester and Ben Tate rushed for two touchdowns apiece and Auburn used a late surge to win.

Starter Kenny Irons watched from the sidelines with a sprained toe and ankle, though the offense appeared to limp more than him at times.

Favored by six touchdowns, Auburn (4-0) led by only 10 points until late in the third quarter of a game sandwiched between a physical 7-3 victory over LSU and a Thursday game at South Carolina.

Instead, a conservative game plan helped the Bulls (1-3) keep it a 10-point game until the final minute of the third quarter.

Then, Tre Smith ran for a 2-yard touchdown and Tate, a freshman, rushed for a 42-yarder and a 28-yarder in the fourth, finally allowing Auburn a more comfortable margin.

No. 4 West Virginia 27, East Carolina 10

GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) – Patrick White threw for two touchdowns and ran for another and the Mountaineers pulled away in the fourth quarter.

White was 17-of-24 passing for 216 yards with touchdown passes of 3 yards to Owen Schmitt and 60 yards to Darius Reynaud. The Mountaineers (4-0) shook off some sloppy play – including White’s three interceptions – to win their 11th straight game.

The Pirates (1-3) held Steve Slaton, who entered as the nation’s third-leading rusher, to 80 yards – less than half of his 168-yard average.

No. 6 Michigan 27, Wisconsin 13

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) – Mario Manningham’s second touchdown catch put Michigan ahead late in the third quarter and Mike Hart added a score.

Michigan (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) finished strong – scoring 17 straight points – after it was 10-all, a week after its dominating victory at Notre Dame.

After taking the lead twice in the first half, the Badgers (3-1, 0-1) struggled the rest of the game.

Wisconsin’s P.J. Hill, who entered the game averaging a Big Ten-best 138.3 yards rushing, was held to 54 yards on 20 carries against the nation’s top-ranked run defense. He caught five passes for 64 yards, including a 29-yard reception that gave the Badgers a 7-0 lead.

The Badgers went 77 yards on a drive late in the fourth quarter, but stalled at the 8 and settled for Taylor Mehlhaff’s field goal to pull within two TDs with 2:19 left. The ensuing onside kick went out of bounds, ending Wisconsin’s comeback hopes.

No. 7 Texas 37, Iowa State 14

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Colt McCoy engineered another efficient game with a pair of touchdown passes and the Longhorns won their Big 12 season opener.

The game was delayed 70 minutes after the third quarter because of severe weather with lightning.

It was the first time a game at Royal-Memorial Stadium had been suspended by weather since 1996. Game officials urged the crowd of 88,972 to seek shelter and only a few thousand returned to the stands when the game resumed.

Texas (3-1, 1-0) has won 16 straight league games and hasn’t lost a Big 12 contest at home since 1999.

McCoy finished with 212 yards on 18-of-23 passing with an interception. Limas Sweed had seven catches for 107 yards. Bret Meyer threw for 274 yards and two TDs for the Cyclones (2-2, 0-1).

No. 8 Louisville 24, Kansas State 6

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) – Hunter Cantwell, starting in place of injured Heisman hopeful Brian Brohm, threw for 173 yards and a touchdown and Louisville came away with a ragged victory.

Louisville, 4-0 for the third time in Bobby Petrino’s four years as coach, never seemed in danger of losing to the Wildcats (3-1). But the Cardinals sometimes appeared flat a week after a big win over then-No. 17 Miami vaulted them into their highest ranking in school history.

No. 9 Georgia 14, Colorado 13

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) – Freshman quarterback Joe Cox rescued No. 9 Georgia with two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter – the second a 20-yarder with 46 seconds left – and the Bulldogs beat winless Colorado.

Cox, who took over late in the third quarter for an ineffective Matthew Stafford, threw a 23-yard TD pass to fullback Brannan Southerland with 9:11 to go, and capped the comeback with his 20-yarder to tight end Martrez Milner.

Colorado, 0-4 under new coach Dan Hawkins, built a 13-0 lead behind quarterback Bernard Jackson, who passed for 140 yards and ran for 85 yards and a touchdown. But Cox brought the Bulldogs (4-0) back from the brink of what would have been a surprising loss.

Cox finished 10-of-13 for 153 yards, including his first two TD passes.

The loss was the eighth straight over two seasons for Colorado, its longest losing streak in 42 years.

No. 11 Virginia Tech 29, Cincinnati 13

BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) – Branden Ore ran for 170 yards and a touchdown and No. 11 Virginia Tech overcame a sluggish first half.

The Hokies (4-0) rallied from a halftime 10-5 deficit with 17 points in the fourth quarter to pull away from the pesky Bearcats (1-3).

Ore had 152 yards in the second half, and his 1-yard TD run with 8:30 left put Virginia Tech ahead 21-13. The victory was assured when Tech’s Victor “Macho” Harris returned his second interception of the game 72 yards for a score late in the game.

The Hokies went ahead for good at 15-13 on a 21-yard field goal by Brandon Pace with 14:51 left. The drive featured six carries by Ore, one a 24-yard run.

No. 14 Iowa 24, Illinois 7

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (AP) – Drew Tate passed for 190 yards and the Hawkeyes scored three touchdowns late in the second quarter to put the game away.

Tate completed 17-of-27 passes, with an interception, to lead an offense that collected 344 yards.

Damian Sims scored on a 1-yard run with just under six minutes left in the half, Albert Young added a 6-yard run three minutes later and Tate connected with Tony Moeaki for a 35-yard touchdown for Iowa (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten). Illinois fell to 1-3, 0-1.

No. 15 Tennessee 33, Marshall 7

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – LaMarcus Coker ran 89 yards for a touchdown and Montario Hardesty added a 20-yard scoring run for the Vols (3-1).

Lightning and heavy rain held up the start of the game by an hour. There were showers mixed with sunshine and even a rainbow during the game.

Tennessee, which netted minus 11 yards rushing against the Gators, finished with 176 yards on the ground against the Thundering Herd (1-3).

No. 17 Oklahoma 59, Middle Tennessee 0

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) – Adrian Peterson scored three touchdowns, Malcolm Kelly set a school record for receiving in a brilliant first quarter and Oklahoma scored 45 points in the first half.

Paul Thompson threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns for the Sooners (3-1), who left nothing to chance after a 34-33 loss last week to Oregon that the Pac-10 Conference later said was affected by an incorrect call.

Not that Middle Tennessee (2-2) did much to help itself.

The Blue Raiders turned the ball over four times in the first half, leading to three of Oklahoma’s six first-half touchdowns.

The Sooners had at least a field goal on each of their first four possessions and Zach Latimer intercepted a pass by Clint Marks and returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.

No. 18 Florida State 55, Rice 7

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Antone Smith ran for 137 yards and two touchdowns and Lorenzo Booker added 115 yards in a game played before one of the smallest home crowds in years.

The Seminoles (3-1) led 26-7 at halftime on Drew Weatherford’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Greg Carr, who also caught a 57-yard TD pass in the fourth quarter from Xavier Lee. Florida State scored earlier in the half on short runs by Joe Surratt and Smith and a pair of field goals by Gary Cismesia, including a 53-yarder. Rice is 0-4.

No. 19 Clemson 52, North Carolina 7

CLEMSON, S.C (AP) – James Davis had four of Clemson’s seven rushing touchdowns.

On a day the Tigers (3-1, 2-1) honored their 1981 national champions, Clemson’s latest group showed power running and teeth-rattling defense – a Clemson trademark that No. 1 season – works in any era.

Davis, a sophomore who tops the ACC in rushing, led the way with scoring runs of 1, 1, 10 and 2 yards. C.J. Spiller, a freshman, added TD runs of 7 and 2 yards, while Reggie Merriwether, a senior, had a 1-yard touchdown run against the Tar Heels (1-3, 0-1).

No. 21 California 49, No. 22 Arizona State 21

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) – DeSean Jackson caught one of Nate Longshore’s four touchdown passes and returned a punt 80 yards for a score.

Longshore passed for 270 yards and Marshawn Lynch ran for 124 in Cal’s third straight impressive victory after a season-opening loss at Tennessee.

Daymeion Hughes and Mickey Pimentel returned two of Cal’s four interceptions for scores, punctuating a terrible day for Arizona State’s Rudy Carpenter in both teams’ Pac-10 opener.

Lynch, Lavelle Hawkins and Justin Forsett also caught TD passes for the Bears (3-1, 1-0), who won easily despite Ryan Torain’s career-high 191 yards rushing and two scores for the Sun Devils (3-1, 0-1).

No. 23 Nebraska 56, Troy 0

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) – Marlon Lucky ran for 156 yards and three long touchdowns and Kenny Wilson ran for 106 yards and two scores in a dominating performance by Nebraska.

Held to 211 yards in a 28-10 loss to Southern California last week, the Cornhuskers (3-1) blew past that total early in the second quarter on their way to a season-high 597.

Zac Taylor was 14-of-17 for 268 yards and a touchdown before giving way to Joe Ganz in the middle of the third quarter. Terrence Nunn caught four passes for 102 yards.

Troy (1-3), which led Florida State in the fourth quarter two weeks ago and was tied with Georgia Tech in the fourth quarter last week, couldn’t overcome Nebraska’s big plays and its own penalties.

AP-ES-09-23-06 2245EDT

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