The first week of the college football season is finally over and there weren’t many surprises. With the exception of the #21 Texas A&M beating #9 South Carolina, there wasn’t a real upset in the bunch. Every ranked team beat their unranked opponent or a lower ranked team.
A couple of teams/players put up impressive numbers but that’s to be expected when you have the likes of, say, Oregon vs South Dakota. Other teams were surprisingly weak. (Hello #25 Washington.)
I wouldn’t expect many changes in the rankings as a result of these games…with the possible exception of #9 South Carolina falling a few slots and #21 Texas A&M rising accordingly. #25 Washington may find themselves on the outside looking in after a squeaker against Hawaii.
(Rankings on the left are those of the AP/Coaches Top 25 Polls as reported by CBSSports.com.)
1/1 Florida State (1-0) The Seminoles held off the Oklahoma State Cowboys (0-1) 37-31. Nate Andrews returned an interception 9 yards for a Seminole TD early in the game but a 50-yard TD pass from Jameis Winston (25 of 40 for 370 yards) to Rashad Greene (11 catches for 203 yards) put the Noles ahead 37-24 in the fourth quarter and essentially sealed the game. J.W. Walsh completed 15 of 27 passes for 203 yards for one TD and rushed 51 yards for two more TDs for the Cowboys.
2/2 Alabama (1-0) The Crimson Tide came away with a hard earned 33-23 victory over a tenacious West Virginia University (0-1) team, 33-23. The Tide and Mountaineers traded blows all night. Mario Alford returned a kickoff 100 yards to bring the Mountaineers within three at the half, 20-17 but WVU could only score two field goals in the second half while Bama pulled away. T.J. Yelton rushed 23 times for 126 yards and two touchdowns for the Tide. Clint Trickett completed 29 of 45 attempts for 365 yards and one TD in a losing cause.
3/4 Oregon (1-0) The Ducks routed the South Dakota Coyotes (0-1), 62-13. Marcus Mariota threw for three TDs and rushed for a fourth before sitting out the second half. Mariota completed 14 of 20 attempts for 267 yards in his short evening of work.
4/3 Oklahoma (1-0) The Sooners started this season at home a rout of the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (0-1), 48-16. Keith Ford scored twice for the Sooners.
5/6 Ohio State (1-0) The Navy Midshipmen (0-1) played the Buckeyes to a 7-6 halftime. Ohio State then shook off the butterflies of playing without Braxton Miller at quarterback and the era of J.T. Barrett emerged. Barrett completed 12 of 15 pass attempts for 226 yards and two TDs—one an 80-yarder to Keenan Reynolds. Darron Lee returned a Navy fumble 61 yards for a Buckeye TD as Ohio State won 34-17.
6/5 Auburn (1-0) The Tigers opened the season at home with a 45-21 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks (0-1). The two teams went back and forth in the first half and went into the locker room tied at 21 but after the break it was all Auburn. Jermaine Whitehead returned an interception 33 yards for a Tiger TD as the defense stepped up in more than one way in the second half.
7/7 UCLA (1-0) The Bruins went on the road to play the University of Virginia Cavaliers (0-1). Ishmael Adams returned an interception 20 yards for a UCLA defensive touchdown. Then Randall Goforth returned a fumble 75 yards for another. And Eric Kendricks returned a second interception 37 yards for a third defensive score. All in the second quarter. Brett Hundley completed 20 of 33 pass attempts for 242 yards but no TDs. He did score on a six-yard run, however as he led the Bruins to a 28-20 victory.
8/8 Michigan State (1-0) The Spartans beat up on the Jacksonville State Gamecocks (0-1), an FCS team, Friday night, 45-7. Connor Cook tossed TD passes of 64, 71 and 17 yards…in the first quarter and completed 12 of 13 attempts for 285 yards…then he started handing the ball off. Then he sat down for the second half.
9/9 South Carolina (0-1) The Gamecocks opened the season on Thursday, August 28th, at home against the #21 Aggies of Texas A&M (1-0) and probably wish they hadn’t. This was the only real upset of a Top 25 team as the Aggies shellacked the Gamecocks on national TV 52-28 and it was nowhere near as close as the score. See below for more.
10/10 Baylor (1-0) The Bears pitched a shutout against the SMU Mustangs (0-1), 45-0. Bryce Petty was 13 of 23 for 161 yards and two TDs…in the first half. He didn’t play the second half due to an injury to his lower back (now identified as cracked vertebrae?) which hampered his throwing and mobility during much of the second quarter. Back-up Seth Russell also went 13 of 23 for 124 yards and one TD.
11/11 Stanford (1-0) The Cardinal opened the season at home with a shutout of the UC Davis Aggies (0-1), an FCS school, 45-0. Ty Montgomery returned a punt 60 yards for the first Cardinal score and scored a second TD on a 44-yard pass from Kevin Hogan who completed 12 of 16 for 204 yards and three TDs.
12/12 Georgia (1-0) The Bulldogs easily beat the #16 Clemson Tigers (0-1) 45-21. Todd Gurley rushed 15 times for 198 yards and three TDs and returned a kickoff 100 yards for a fourth. The only negative was his one reception for minus 5 yards.
13/13 LSU (1-0) The Tigers ralleyed from behind to beat the #14 Wisconsin Badgers (0-1) 28-24. Kenny Hillard rushed 18 times for 110 yards and the deciding touchdown. Melvin Gordon rushed 16 times for 140 yards and a TD for the Badgers, but saw limited action in the second half as he suffered a hip injury. Wisconsin saw a 24-7 lead disappear as LSU ran off 21 unanswered points.
14/14 Wisconsin (0-1) The Badgers saw a 24-7 lead slip away late in the game as they lost to the #13 LSU Tigers (1-0) 28-24. More above.
15/15 Southern California (1-0) The Trojans routed the Fresno State Bulldogs (0-1) 52-13 in their season opener. Cody Kessler completed 25 of 37 attempts for 394 yards and four TDs and ran for a fifth and Javorius Allen ran 22 times for 133 yards and a TD for the Trojans. Marteze Waller rushed 16 times for 97 yards and two scores for the Bulldogs.
16/16 Clemson (0-1) The Tigers opened their season on the road losing to the #12 Georgia Bulldogs (1-0) 45-21. More above.
17/17 Notre Dame (1-0) The Fighting Irish opened the season by routing the Rice Owls (0-1) 48-17. They had a familiar face under center. Everett Golson sat out last season for “academic impropriety” but looked better than he did two years ago as he completed 14 of 22 passes for 295 yards and two TDs while rushing 12 times for 41 yards and a third TD
18/19 Ole Miss (1-0) The Rebels opened their season on Thursday with a blah victory at home against the Boise State Broncos (0-1), 35-13. It was 7-6 at the end of three quarters and it was anybody’s guess as to who wanted the game. Bo Wallace then took charge and engineered three drives finishing each with a TD pass. Those three, plus the one he threw in the first quarter, gave him four TD passes for the game. He completed 25 of 36 attempts for 387 yards, but also threw three INTs. Luckily for Ole Miss, Grant Hendrick, the Broncos’ QB threw FOUR INTs. Plenty of room for improvement by both teams.
19/18 Arizona State (1-0) The Sun Devils routed the Weber State Wildcats (0-1), an FCS team 45-14 in their season opener at home on Thursday, August 28th. D.J. Foster rushed 15 times for 147 yards and three TDs for the Sun Devils. Zach Smith ran 16 times for 128 yards and one TD for Weber State.
20/21 Kansas State (1-0) The Wildcats routed the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (0-1), and FCS team, 55-16. Jake Waters completed 19 of 28 pass attempts for 223 yards and two TDs while rushing 17 times for 55 yards and two more TDs before taking a seat. Charles Jones also rushed for 55 yards on 8 carries and scored two TDs for the Wildcats.
21/20 Texas A&M (1-0) The Aggies opened their season on Thursday, on the road, against the #9 South Carolina Gamecocks (0-1). Johnny Manziel is playing for Cleveland in the NFL so the Aggies had a new QB under center. Not a problem! Kenny Hill tossed three TD passes and completed 44 of 60 pass attempts gaining 511 yards. THAT set a new record for yardage for A&M. The Aggies won 52-28. Dylan Thompson competed 20 of his 40 pass attempts for 366 yards and four TDs for the Gamecocks in a losing cause.
22/22 Nebraska (1-0) As expected the Cornhuskers open the season with a rout of the Florida Atlantic University Owls (0-1), 55-7. Ameer Abdullah rushed for a career-high 232 yards and one TD and Tommy Armstrong Jr. passed for a career-high 271 yards and two TDs while running for another. Nebraska ran 92 plays on offense and netted 784 yards.
23/23 North Carolina (1-0) The Tar Heels beat the Liberty Flames (0-1), an FCS team, 56-29. Things were tight until the end of the third quarter. Liberty’s Jacob Hagen returned a Tar Heel fumble 27 yards to give the Flames a 22-21 lead with six minutes left in the third quarter. Then, in about four minutes, Marquise Williams hit Mack Holins for a 33-yard touchdown, Jeff Schoettmer returned an interception 19 yards for a TD, Williams rushed 15 yards for a TD and finally Mitch Trubisky tossed his first TD pass to Jack Tabb and it was 49-22. There were ten turnovers in the game: Liberty lost four of four fumbles and tossed two INTs while North Carolina lost one fumble (of four) and tossed three INTs.
24/NA Missouri (1-0) The Tigers open the season at home with a comfortable 38-18 win over the South Dakota State Jackrabbits (0-1), an FCS team. Maty Mauk completed 13 of 21 passes for just 178 yards bit connected for three TDs. When Zach Zenner scored his second touchdown of the day (17 carries for 103 yards) to bring the Jackrabbits to 21-18 in the third quarter, Marcus Murphy returned the following kickoff 100 yards for a Missouri touchdown and the Tigers never looked back.
25/25 Washington (1-0) The Huskies escaped with a very narrow 17-16 win on the road over the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii (0-1). The Huskies played without suspended Cyler Miles under center and back-up Jeff Lindquist completed just 10 passes for 162 yards. One of those completions, however, went 91-yards to John Ross for a Huskie TD. Ross had already run 20 yards for a score.
NA/24 Texas (1-0) The Longhorns opened the season with a convincing 38-7 home win over the Mean Green of North Texas (0-1). However, they may have lost their starting quarterback as David Ash is once again suffering concussion-like symptoms, something that benched him for an extended period last year. They also lost their starting center with a broken ankle. The Mean Green’s only score came on a fumble recovery in the endzone by James Jones in the fourth quarter. Demarco Cobbs returned an interception 28 yards for a Longhorn TD to return the favor.
Meanwhile, my Rutgers’ Scarlet Knights (1-0), went west as 8-point underdogs and pulled off the upset defeating the Washington State Cougars (0-1) in Seattle, 41-38. Gary Nova hit Leonte Carroo for a 78-yard TD on the first play from scrimmage. He later hit John Tsimis for a 29-yard score. Meanwhile Paul James rushed 29 times for 173 yards and three TDs for the Scarlet Knights.
Yeah, the pass defensive needs some work. Connor Halliday completed 40 of 56 pass attempts for 532 yards and FIVE TDs for Washington State. The Cougars rushed just 14 times for SIX yards, however. (In contrast Rutgers had 215 yards rushing and 281 yards passing.)
The RU special teams forced a fumble on a punt return late in the fourth quarter when the Knights were behind by four. That led to the third Paul James’ TD with less than two minutes in the game. It was then that the Rutgers’ D stiffened and the Cougars failed to get a first down and turned the ball over to the Knights with 53 seconds left on the clock.