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NCAA.com | August 28, 2022

Northwestern kicks off college football season with win over Nebraska in Ireland, more drama from Week 0

Preseason college football preview with B/R's Adam Kramer

The college football season kicked off Saturday with 14 matchups across the board, from a Big Ten opener in Ireland in FBS to a SWAC vs. MEAC showdown in Atlanta in FCS.

Here's what you need to know from the first Saturday of the 2022 season:

Click here to view all of Saturday's schedule and scores.

Northwestern completes comeback over Nebraska in Ireland

USA TODAY Sports Northwestern beats Nebraska

Northwestern led for only 17:22 and twice trailed by 11 points, but the Wildcats still handed Nebraska and coach Scott Frost another close loss, 31-28.

Nebraska has now lost three straight season openers and is 5-21 in one-possession games under Frost. Last year, all nine of Nebraska's losses were by single digits.

Wildcats linebacker Zander Mueller intercepted Huskers quarterback Casey Thompson with 1:27 remaining to seal the victory. It was Thompson's second interception in the fourth quarter.

The Cornhuskers jumped out to an early 14-3 lead before Northwestern fought back to take a 17-14 lead 25 seconds before halftime, thanks to a 6-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Hilinski to Donny Navarro III. However, Nebraska came out strong in the third quarter, taking a 28-17 advantage off back-to-back Anthony Grant rushing touchdowns. 

The Wildcats bounced back with two unanswered touchdowns in the fourth quarter en route to the win, with Evan Hull's score on a 4-yard rush with 11:34 left in regulation giving Northwestern the lead.

Hilinski led Northwestern's offense with 313 passing yards with two touchdowns, completing 27 of 38 passes, while Thompson went 25-for-42 with 355 yards through the air, one touchdown and two picks. 

Northwestern did not score more than 21 points against a Big Ten team all of last season, and had gone 16 games since hanging at least 30 on a conference foe after scoring 43 vs. Maryland on Oct. 24, 2020.

MEAC/SWAC Challenge

Alabama State vs. Howard

Alabama State defeated Howard 23-13 to win the 2022 MEAC/SWAC Challenge. Head coach Eddie Robinson Jr. won his debut game as a head coach at any level.

With the win, Alabama State became the first SWAC program to win the MEAC/SWAC Challenge since Prairie View A&M in 2018. The MEAC still leads the all-time series 11-5. Alabama State leads Howard in the two schools’ all-time series 2-0, with the last Hornet win coming in 2004.

Alabama State QB Dematrius Davis stars in 2022 MEAC/SWAC Challenge

RECAP: Here's how Alabama State beat Howard, from start to finish

How FCS teams fared against FBS opponents 

USA TODAY Sports Florida State football

Florida State vs. Duquesne

The last time an FCS team played at Doak Campbell Stadium, Florida State left the field in disbelief — Jacksonville State had scored a last-second 59-yard touchdown to end the game. Though it was only the second game of the 2021 season, it propelled the Seminoles to an 0-4 start.

It’s now 2022, and Florida State needed to rewrite recent history. The Seminoles took a big step forward by defeating Duquesne 47-7 to kick off the season.

FSU began the game with an 82-yard touchdown drive and concluded it with five more after that. Florida State showed significant progress offensively, rushing for 406 yards, ending the night with 638 total yards. Three backs ran for at least 100 yards for the first time in school history — Treshaun Ward (127), Trey Benson (105) and Lawrance Toafili (101).

Saturday’s win was FSU’s first in an opener since Ole Miss in 2016 and first in a home opener since Texas State in 2015.

Next, the Seminoles will face LSU on Sept. 4.

North Carolina vs. Florida A&M

Florida A&M kept a decent pace with North Carolina through the first three quarters (35-24), but a 21-spot in the final period buttoned up the 56-24 win for the Tar Heels.

North Carolina QB Drake Maye threw for 294 yards and five touchdowns. Josh Downs, Maye's top target, caught nine passes for 78 yards and two touchdowns. UNC's top rusher, Omarion Hampton, had 14 carries for 101 yards and two touchdowns.

Offensively, there was a lot to like in FAMU's outing. QB Jeremy Moussa, a transfer from Vanderbilt, went 28 for 38 with 279 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His favorite receiver of the night was Xavier Smith, who caught 10 passes for 78 yards.

Austin Peay vs. Western Kentucky 

Heading into the fourth-quarter Austin Peay trailed by just one, but FBS Western Kentucky broke it open to end the game 38-27. 

Govs quarterback Austin Reed outdid his counterpart Mike DiLiello 279-156 in passing yards, but it didn’t help that Austin Peay committed four turnovers — all of which resulted in a Hilltopper touchdowns. 

Despite the loss, Austin Peay put up its best scoring effort against an FBS school since 2017 when they scored 27 against none other than Western Kentucky.

Idaho State vs. UNLV 

The last time Idaho State matched up with UNLV in 2015 it ended in a whopping 80-8 final score. This time the Bengals fared better but still fell to the Rebels 52-21. 

The Rebels exploded in the second quarter by scoring five touchdowns, two at the hands of wide receiver Ricky White. 

Doug Brumfield threw for 356 yards and completed 21 of 25 passes. UNLV finished with 552 total yards, 405 of those in the air. 

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