For the second year in a row, Maryland's opening day fortunes came down to the final minute, with Gene Thomas, a Montgomery College-Rockville transfer, catching a 51-yard touchdown pass from Scott Zolak to give the Terrapins a 20-13 victory over Virginia Tech. The catch was Thomas's first reception at Maryland. Zolak, a fifth-year senior making his first collegiate start, completed a school-record 28 passes for 303 yards. Frank Wycheck had a school-record 14 receptions for 106 yards.
Fifteenth-ranked Virginia won its first road opener since 1972, and in impressive style, defeating Kansas by 59-10.
No. 7 Nebraska, the highest-ranked team to play Saturday, beat Baylor, 13-0. No. 10 Clemson ruined 72-year-old George Allen's return to coaching with a 59-0 thrashing of Long Beach State. The loss was the worst in Long Beach State history, surpassing 53-point losses to Hawaii last year and to UCLA in 1988. North Carolina State routed Western Carolina by 67-0, holding the Catamounts without a first down and allowing only 17 offensive yards.
Kevin Verdugo came in to complete 14 of 18 passes, rallying Colorado State to a 35-33 victory over Air Force. Verdugo, replacing starter Mike Gimenez with 5:29 left in the third quarter and trailing by 26-14, directed the Rams on three scoring drives. Air Force cornerback Carlton McDonald blocked two punts and intercepted a pass to help account for three Falcons scores.
Memphis State freshman Larry Porter rushed for 206 yards and three touchdowns, including the game-tying score, as the Tigers and Arkansas State battled to a 24-24 tie. Porter scored on runs of 53, 55 and 4 yards in his first game at Memphis State.
John Bonds threw for 292 yards and four touchdowns and scored another as Northern Arizona won, 37-3, over Northridge State. Montana State's Reggie Carthon returned a kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown in the Bobcats' 27-24 victory at Idaho.
Leonard Williams threw a school-record five touchdown passes in leading Tennessee-Martin to a 73-0 victory over Lane, the Pacers' biggest winning margin in school history.
The season begins in earnest Saturday with a heavy local schedule: Home games: Richmond at Navy, Bowling Green at Virginia Tech, Clemson at Virginia; Morris Brown at Howard, Johns Hopkins at Catholic, Ursinus at Georgetown; Potomac State at Montgomery. Away games: Maryland at West Virginia, Bowie State at Hampton, Gallaudet at Jersey City.