Manhattan The sideline cracks of "Darren who?" were in jest, of course. Thomas Clayton knew that. But after spending last season as a backup to Kansas State's leading career rusher, Darren Sproles, Clayton had hoped to prove himself worthy of the starting role he won this summer.
So far, so good. Clayton ran for 177 yards and two scores to lead Kansas State to its 16th straight victory in a season opener, 35-21 over Florida International on Saturday in the Golden Panthers' first game as a full member of Division I-A.
And Clayton, whose game is based on speed and strength, might have some moves he hasn't shown off yet.
"When he is confident that he can do those things, it just adds to his game," coach Bill Snyder said.
Allen Webb passed for 161 yards and two scores for the Wildcats, but also lost a fumble and threw one interception.
Kansas State, coming off its first losing season (4-7) in 12 years, beat a major-college team from Florida for the first time in six tries. But it wasn't easy, even with a 407-236 advantage in total offense.
Missouri 44, Arkansas St. 17
Kansas City, Mo. - The Tigers just missed the school total offense record in their opener. Brad Smith thrived in the new attack, throwing four touchdown passes and just missing 100 yards rushing.
It was the home opener for Arkansas State, despite a 6 1/2-hour drive from Jonesboro, Ark., to the Chiefs' Arrowhead Stadium, which was about half-full with an announced attendance of 32,906.
Nebraska 25, Maine 7
Lincoln, Neb. - Jordan Congdon kicked four field goals, and Nebraska had 11 sacks and scored a defensive touchdown to make up for an uninspired offensive effort. First-time starter Zac Taylor was 15-of-36 for 192 yards, with two interceptions, and Nebraska generated 313 total yards.
Colorado 31, Colorado St. 28
Boulder, Colo. - Mason Crosby kicked a 47-yard field goal with four seconds left for the game-winner - the last of 20 points the rivals put up over the frantic, final 2:32.
Iowa St. 32, Illinois St. 21
Ames, Iowa - Bret Meyer passed for 314 yards and a touchdown, and Stevie Hicks sprinted 17 yards for the tiebreaking score in the third quarter, lifting Iowa State in an opener the Cyclones had been expected to dominate. The Cyclones struggled offensively for a half against their Division I-AA opponent, got stung by two long touchdown passes and gave up another TD on a fumble return.
No. 2 Texas 60, Louisiana-Lafayette 3
Austin, Texas - Vince Young threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, and No. 2 Texas scored at least 60 points for the third straight season opener. Jamaal Charles set a Texas freshman debut record with 135 yards rushing and scored a TD.
Clemson 25, No. 17 Texas A&M; 24
Clemson, S.C. - Jad Dean kicked his school record sixth field goal with two seconds left, lifting Clemson. A&M;'s Reggie McNeal led a fourth-quarter touchdown drive that ended with his 31-yard touchdown pass to Chad Schroeder for a 24-22 lead. But the Tigers drove to Texas A&M;'s 25 on eight straight carries by freshman tailback James Davis.
Baylor 28, SMU 23
Dallas - Paul Mosley ran for 105 yards and three TDs, including two in the final 7:47 that Baylor needed to end a 24-game road losing streak.
Okla. St. 15, Montana St. 10
Stillwater, Okla. - Donovan Woods threw a touchdown pass and ran for another score as Oklahoma State began the Mike Gundy era with a victory. The Cowboys (1-0) struggled with the spread offense Gundy has implemented since taking over for Les Miles.