Thomas Sirk threw for 426 yards and three touchdowns, and East Carolina held off the University of Connecticut, 41-38, on Sunday in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams in East Hartford, Conn.
UConn drove to the Pirate 15 with six seconds left in the game, but Michael Tarbutt missed a potential game-tying field goal as time expired in a game that was rescheduled from November as part of a conference schedule reshuffling to make up games lost to Hurricane Irma.
Sirk, a graduate transfer from Duke, connected with receiver Davon Grayson for 223 yards and scores of 17, 24 and 75 yards. The last strike, on the first play of the second half, gave the Pirates a 34-14 lead. The pair also teamed up on a 46-yard flea-flicker to set up another score as the Pirates (1-3) snapped a seven-game losing streak dating to last season.
‘‘I think Sirk’s style showed today,’’ said Grayson. ‘‘He was loose. He was throwing shots in there. He did not think twice about nothing that he did and I think it showed.’’
Bryant Shirreffs passed for 406 yards and three TDs for UConn (1-2) while running back Arkeel Newsome caught eight balls for 170 yards and a score.
Georgia, TCU reach Top 10
No. 7 Georgia and No. 9 TCU jumped into the top 10 of the Associated Press poll for the first time this season and Florida State dropped all the way out of the rankings for the first time since 2011 after starting 0-2.
Alabama remained No. 1 and won back some of the support it lost last week to No. 2 Clemson. The Crimson Tide received 52 first-place votes Sunday, up seven from last week, after beating Vanderbilt 59-0 on Saturday.
Clemson received eight first-place votes, down seven from last week, after taking more than three quarters to pull away from Boston College. No. 3 Oklahoma got the remaining first-place vote.
Penn State held at No. 4. Southern California was No. 5, followed by Pac-12 rival Washington.
Georgia followed Michigan, TCU and Wisconsin rounded out the top 10.
The Horned Frogs climbed into the Top 10 after quarterback Kenny Hill had an efficient effort in a 44-31 victory over No. 6 Oklahoma State. TCU rushed for 238 yards and passed for 228 yards against the Cowboys to put its mark on the Big 12 conference and national championship races.
Hill has completed 73 percent of his passes and thrown nine TDs this season with just three interceptions.
Georgia, meanwhile, vaulted to No. 7 and established itself as the clear favorite in the Southeastern Conference East with a dominating performance in a 31-3 rout of No. 17 Mississippi State. Freshman QB Jake Fromm threw a pair of touchdown passes in another poised showing on the big stage.
Penn St. resilient
No. 4 Penn State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten) needed every second to get past Iowa in a 21-19 victory in Iowa City on Saturday, despite a box score that suggested the Nittany Lions dominated the Hawkeyes.
Penn State outgained Iowa 579-273 and had 29 first downs compared to 11 for the Hawkeyes (3-1, 0-1) and held the ball for nearly 40 minutes.
Yet it took a TD pass from Trace McSorley to Juwan Johnson on fourth down as time expired for the Nittany Lions to win.
‘‘I told the guys in the locker room, ‘If you look at any really good season, there’s always one game where the team has to gut it out and find a way to win,’ and we were able to do that,’’ said Penn State coach James Franklin.
Arizona St. scores upset
Freshman Brandon Ruiz kicked a 41-yard field goal with 2:33 to play and Arizona State held on to upset No. 24 Oregon, 37-35, on Saturday night in the Pac-12 opener for both teams. The Sun Devils ended a 10-game losing streak to the Ducks and atoned for nonconference setbacks to San Diego State and Texas Tech. . . . Bryce Love rushed for a career-high 263 yards and a touchdown and third-string quarterback K.J. Costello came off the bench in the first quarter for injured starter Keller Chryst and threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Stanford beat UCLA, 58-34, in a conference game in Palo Alto, Calif.
. . . Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh was coy about his quarterback situation shortly after Saturday’s 28-10 come-from-behind win at Purdue. Harbaugh provided no details about starting quarterback Wilton Speight — or a possible timetable for his return — after he was bent over awkwardly on a sack by Markus Bailey then laid low by a secondary blow from defensive lineman Eddy Wilson, whose knee collided with Speight’s helmet. Speight departed the game and did not return. “I don’t think it’s anything structural,’’ Harbaugh said. “I think it’s soft tissue.” If Speight can’t go in two weeks against Michigan State, John O’Korn will likely lead the Wolverines (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten).