College football scores, schedule, games today: Illinois and UCLA impress, plus NCAA top 25 rankings
NCAA football scores, updates and highlights from the teams in action during Week 0 of the 2021 season
The first day of the college football season delivered interesting storylines, even with only a handful of games on the slate and a couple left to play Saturday evening. Chief among the headlines made Saturday is Illinois' 30-22 win against Nebraska, which only ignited the already warm hot seat of coach Scott Frost. UCLA also got off to a great start with its dominant 44-10 win over Hawaii as it tunes up for a big-time scrap with LSU in Week 1.
The evening slate featured a rivalry game between UTEP and New Mexico State, along with San Jose State's 2021 debut against Southern Utah. CBS Sports was here every step of the way to update you with the latest scores, highlights and storylines throughout the day as college football gears up for its full-time return next week.
All times Eastern
College football scores, schedule: Week 0
Illinois 30, Nebraska 22 -- Takeaways
Fresno State 45, UConn 0 -- Recap
UCLA 44, Hawaii 10 -- Recap
UTEP 30, New Mexico State 3 -- Recap
San Jose State 45, Southern Utah 14
Check out the complete Week 0 scoreboard
Check these out ...
- Fornelli's takeaways: Why Scott Frost is in trouble at Nebraska
- ATS picks, predictions: College football picks for key Week 0 games
- CBS Sports 130: Alabama a solid No. 1 in 2021 preseason staff rankings
- 2021 expert picks: SEC | Big Ten | ACC | Big 12 | Pac-12 | AAC
Scott Frost's seat ignites, again
Losing to Illinois looks bad from every direction, beginning with the fact that the Cornhuskers were favored by a touchdown. Toss in the loss of Illinois starting quarterback Brandon Peters in the first half, and Nebraska fans have to wonder if there's any silver lining to this. The issues go deep, too. Amassing penalties and giving up pivotal turnovers only continue themes that have been present in recent years. What's different about this team in 2021? Not much, apparently, and that's a problem for Frost in Year 4.
UCLA works Hawaii in LSU tune-up
The Bruins started hot in its Week 0 win, jumping out to a 24-3 lead on Hawaii in the first quarter and riding that advantage for the rest of the game. Former Michigan running back Zach Charbonnet rushed for 106 yards and three touchdowns on just six carries. In all, the Bruins rolled up 249 yards on the ground at 5.7 per attempt. There was some concern about senior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson's performance early in the game as the passing attack struggled, but a 44-yard touchdown pass to Kazmeir Allen early in the third quarter delivered a spark. Up next is LSU in the Rose Bowl in a game that definitely has more charge following Saturday's result.
Fresno State blanks UConn
UConn had not played a college football game since November of 2019 and it showed. Fresno State dispatched the Huskies by halftime as part of the 45-0 shutout. Bulldogs quarterback Jake Haener threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns against a Huskies defense that finished 128th in the nation in points allowed per game two seasons ago.
Cowing lifts UTEP past New Mexico State
UTEP took care of New Mexico State 30-3 behind an offensive show on the ground and through the air. Wide receiver Jacob Cowing had a career night with 158 yards and a touchdown on five receptions. Big plays were a staple for the Miners, with quarterback Gavin Hardison connecting with Cowing for 59 yards early in the third quarter. Meanwhile, UTEP racked up 203 yards on the ground with three running backs hitting at least 50 yards.
San Jose State cruises over Southern Utah
The Spartans are a Group of Five team to watch after finishing 7-1 in 2020. Their 2021 season is off to a great start after handling Southern Utah as a warm-up to a big road game at USC in Week 1. Quarterback Nick Starkel picked up where he left off last year with a five-touchdown game and nearly 400 yards through the air. It was a FCS opponent, but the Spartans look like a fun team. Sept. 4 in the Coliseum could be interesting.
That'll do it for San Jose State's 2021 debut: a 45-14 win over Southern Utah. Nick Starkel was great this evening, throwing for nearly 400 yards and notching five touchdowns. You can tell the journeyman really has a feel for the offense and there are some real weapons at pass-catcher. Southern Utah isn't going to put up much of a fight, but the Week 1 game at USC next week could be interesting if the Trojans are rusty coming out of the gate.
UTEP handles New Mexico State 30-3. Wide receiver Jacob Cowing had 158 yards and a touchdown on five receptions. Big plays were a staple for the Miners, with quarterback Gavin Hardison connecting with Cowing for 59 yards early in the third quarter. New Mexico State only played two games in the spring and might have one of the toughest seasons of any team in the FBS.
UTEP wide receiver Jacob Cowing now up to 163 yards receiving and a touchdown ... on four receptions. He's having a night.
San Jose State is taking care of business against Southern Utah, leading 38-14 at the end of one half. It's been big play after big play for the Spartans with touchdowns of 70, 65 and 23 yards. Quarterback Nick Starkel is having a game with 348 yards and three touchdowns, though he did have a pick-six late in the second quarter. In all, five different Spartans have scored and it seems as though Southern Utah will need a couple more non-offensive scores to even stay in this one.
After one half, UTEP leads New Mexico State 20-3 in the Battle of I-10. The Miners jumped out to a quick 17-0 lead thanks to a pair of rushing touchdowns from Ronald Awatt and Deion Hankins. UTEP has more than doubled the number of first-half yards (273 to 110) on basically the same number of plays as the Aggies.
We have FCS football, too. Indiana State leads Eastern Illinois 24-14 early in the fourth quarter. Alcorn State and North Carolina Central are tied at 7-7 at halftime.
At this point I'm willing to concede my earlier point about Dorian Thompson-Robinson, because I think UCLA's staff figured that there was no way the Bruins were going to lose even with a spring game-style play sheet against Hawaii. It's far more troubling for Hawaii that basic plays have powered a dominant win, and now the Bruins get to go into LSU week knowing that they haven't put too much on tape that will give LSU an edge next Saturday in the Rose Bowl.
UCLA leads Hawaii 31-3 at halftime, but I think the takeaways are a mixed bag for the Bruins. You love the fast start and how the ground game is looking, especially with former Michigan running back Zach Charbonnet ripping off a 47-yard run among 3 touchdowns and the team as a whole totaling 203 yards on the ground. But the passing game has not been effective and Dorian Thompson-Robinson has not looked sharp. It might just be a bad day (or a basic game plan for UCLA in Week 0) but it's something to watch as we look ahead to the Bruins hosting LSU next weekend.