College football season is here and it is quite spectacular! The season got off to a hot start this weekend with plenty of drama across the country. Each week, we will bring you a recap including the biggest takeaways, important notes, stats and facts from the week as well as a look ahead to next week. Welcome to Full Press Coverage on college football, week one edition.
Full Press Coverage on college football
The biggest game of the week
Oregon certainly dominated the first half, taking a 14-6 lead into halftime. It felt like the lead should have been bigger as Oregon seemed to be in full control. However, they scored early in the third quarter to push the lead to 21-6. Then, Auburn began to gain momentum as the third quarter progressed, as their defense gained confidence. Eventually, the Tigers scored 14 points in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Bo Nix, the freshman quarterback, clearly struggled most of the game. In fact, he only completed 13 of 31 passes for 177 yards and two touchdowns along with two interceptions. Despite that, Nix made big plays down the stretch when it mattered most.
Justin Herbert certainly played well, despite Oregon dealing with a bevy of injuries at the wide receiver position. Additionally, their defense wore out during the second half. Regardless, it is a painful loss, reminding Ducks fans of the Stanford loss from last season.
Outside of Oregon blowing a 21-6 lead to Auburn, there were other blown leads this weekend as well. It started Friday night when Purdue held a 31-14 lead with 6:19 to go in the third quarter. Nevada took advantage of five Purdue turnovers to work their way back to a 31-31 tie. That is when walk-on true freshman kicker, Brandon Talton, drilled a 56-yard field goal to win the game as time expired.
Florida State jumped all over Boise State, building a 24-6 lead early in the second quarter. James Blackman looked great initially while running back Cam Akers got off to a good start. New Bronco quarterback Hank Bachmeier looked overwhelmed at first. However, Boise running back Robert Mahone, who had a strong game, ran for a touchdown to bring the score to 24-13 with 4:34 left in the second quarter. That was promptly answered 27 seconds later by a Blackman to Keyshawn Helton 58 yard touchdown pass, extending the FSU lead to 31-13. After that, Boise took the game over, dominating on both sides of the ball in the second half.
Boise ended up outgaining FSU 621-426 for the game, as well as gaining 38 first downs as opposed to 19 by the Seminoles. Also, they won the time of possession battle by just over 20 minutes. At this point, it seems safe to assume that Willie Taggart is coaching for his job in Tallahassee.
Obviously, Georgia State knocking off Tennessee in Knoxville, 38-30, is the biggest upset of the weekend. Georgia State incredibly had its way with Tennessee all day. UT failed to handle Georgia State’s misdirection. In addition, Tennessee was out of position multiple times on defense. Interestingly, the Vols were 46-1 outright as 25 point home favorites in the previous 40 seasons. The only loss was to Wyoming in 2008, after it was announced that Phillip Fulmer had been fired. Also, this was the first home loss in a season opener for Tennessee since 1983. Meanwhile, this is by far the biggest win in the short history of Georgia State football.
Mack Brown took over a two-win North Carolina squad. They were starting a freshman quarterback in Sam Howell and facing the SEC’s South Carolina. UNC struggled consistently on defense all of last year. Seemed like a tall task facing South Carolina, however, it turned out that it was not. UNC defeated the Gamecocks 24-20 by scoring 15 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
Missouri jumped out to a 14-0 lead at Wyoming going into the second quarter. Everything changed from there as Wyoming scored 27 points in the second quarter to take a 27-17 halftime lead. The Cowboys went on to defeat Missouri, 37-31, scoring a major upset for the Mountain West over the SEC. Wyoming ran the ball for 297 yards along with three touchdowns in the win, including 120 yards from quarterback Sean Chambers. Missouri also turned the ball over three times (two from Kelly Bryant), while Wyoming took care of the football.
Minnesota and Iowa State both had to exert every effort possible to avoid upsets to FCS foes. Minnesota scored a touchdown and converted a two-point conversion late, then held off South Dakota State 28-21. The Jackrabbits actually outgained Minnesota 367-308 for the game. Two costly turnovers ended up being the key difference.
Meanwhile, Iowa State and Northern Iowa found themselves locked in a defensive struggle all day. UNI’s only touchdown in regulation was on a 53-yard fumble return by Xavior Williams, which put them ahead 13-10. The Cyclones kicked a field goal to tie it at 13 with 59 seconds remaining, thus forcing overtime. Iowa State was able to prevail in the third overtime, 29-26, on Sheldon Croney Jr.’s one-yard touchdown run.
Other close calls include Arkansas barely getting by Portland State 20-13 as well as California beating UC Davis 27-13, after being down 10-0. Additionally, Old Dominion narrowly escaped an upset at the hands of Norfolk State while UTEP barely skated by Houston Baptist. In another non-surprising result, Kansas had to rally late to beat Indiana State 24-17. Meanwhile, Western Kentucky was not as lucky as they fell to FCS foe Central Arkansas 35-28.
Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Ohio State, and LSU all enjoyed easy victories this weekend. Michigan was sluggish initially against Middle Tennessee but pulled away for a 40-21 win.
Craziest game of the weekend
We will drop to the FCS level for this one. Enter Tennessee Tech’s 59-58 double-overtime triumph over Samford. Check out these details of this crazy game.
First, TTU built a 12-0 lead with 6:04 left in the first quarter. Metrius Fleming took off for a 66-yard touchdown run which was followed by a field goal, then a safety. Samford then assumed control from there scoring 31 unanswered to build a 31-12 early in the third quarter. Next, early in the fourth quarter, Samford’s Mitchell Fineran nailed a 40-yard field goal, after a TTU touchdown, to put the lead at 41-22.
Things got crazy from here, again. With 7:51 left in the fourth quarter, TTU’s Tavin Kilpatrick caught a three-yard touchdown pass, however, the two-point conversion was missed. That brought the Golden Eagles to a 41-28 deficit. After Samford made another field goal with 2:20 left, the lead had swelled back to 44-28. No way TTU comes back from that, right? Wrong. One minute and two seconds later, Justin Oden brought in a 12-yard touchdown pass and also converted the two-point conversion to bring the score to 44-36. TTU then successfully executed an onside kick and scored again on quarterback Bailey Fishers eight-yard touchdown run. He then converted the two-point conversion to tie the game at 44 with 31 seconds left!
In overtime, TTU scored first, followed by two Samford touchdowns. TTU then scored on Andrew Goldsmiths 14 yard scamper to bring the score to 58-57 Samford. TTU decided to go for two and converted to win the game, 59-58. Crazy stuff. Amazingly, neither team turned the ball over and there were only six combined penalties. The teams also combined for 1,233 yards.
Ugliest game of the weekend
Certainly one could say Florida vs Miami (FL) in week zero was an ugly game. There were several games this weekend in which penalty flags littered the ground, which is typical of first games. However, no game compares in ugliness to San Diego State’s 6-0 win over FCS opponent Weber State. The score alone qualifies it for this honor, however the fact that the Aztecs only managed six points against an FCS foe is inexcusable (and laughable). They only gained 238 yards of total offense while Weber State picked up just 154 yards. Amazingly, each team had just one turnover and there were only seven combined penalties. It was simply bad football being played in San Diego on Saturday night.
Good quarterback debuts
Thankfully this is a long list, as opposed to the not so good list. It started Thursday night with true freshman Jayden Daniels of Arizona State making his first start against Kent State. While Daniels certainly has room for improvement, he played well overall completing 15 of 24 passes for 284 yards and two touchdowns. Also, he ran for a score in the Sun Devils 30-7 victory.
On Friday, redshirt freshman Carson Strong of Nevada helped lead a huge comeback win against Purdue. He tossed the rock for 295 yards and three scores while also rushing for 34 yards in the Wolfpack 34-31 improbable win.
In addition to Strong, another redshirt freshman, Spencer Sanders of Oklahoma State, was impressive. In fact, Sanders went 19 of 24 for 203 yards and three touchdowns while also rushing for 109 yards on 13 carries. Oklahoma State defeated Oregon State by a score of 52-36 in Corvallis.
Another notable successful debut on Saturday was Jacob Eason of Washington. During their 47-14 dismantling of Eastern Washington, Eason completed 27 of 36 passes for 349 yards along with four touchdowns.
Justin Fields of Ohio State got off to a blazing start, leading the Buckeyes to a 28-0 lead after the first quarter. The action cooled off a bit after that, as Ohio State went on to defeat FAU 45-21. Meanwhile, Fields finished 18 of 25 for 234 yards and four touchdowns through the air. In addition to that, he collected 61 yards on 12 carries along with a touchdown on the ground.
Other strong debuts
Other strong debuts include Hank Bachmeier of Boise State who helped lead the Broncos to a come from behind 36-31 victory at Florida State. Sean Clifford of Penn State, Matthew McKay from NC State, Brandon Peters at Illinois, Josh Jackson of Maryland, Mississippi State’s Tommy Stevens, Austin Kendall at West Virginia and freshman Sam Howell of North Carolina are among some of the others to lead their teams to victories in solid debuts.
Lastly, how can anyone forget about the amazing debut of Jalen Hurts at Oklahoma? Hurts did something his two Heisman Trophy predecessors did not do by throwing and rushing for three touchdowns in a single game. In fact, he compiled 332 yards in the air while completing 20 of 23 passes for three touchdowns. Additionally, he carried the ball 16 times for 176 yards (career-high) along with three touchdowns.
Not so good quarterback debuts
Hunter Johnson of Northwestern certainly fits into this category. During their 17-7 loss to Stanford, Johnson only completed six out of 17 passes for 55 yards along with two interceptions. Not ideal. Additionally, the five-star Clemson transfer was held to 13 yards rushing on 11 carries.
Despite Syracuse beating Liberty 24-0, new starter Tommy DeVito really struggled. In fact, he completed just 17 of 35 passes for just 176 yards as well as two interceptions. Good thing the Orange racked up 192 yards on the ground.
Kelly Bryant was not awful. However, he does not fit into the good category with Missouri losing to Wyoming on Saturday. Despite throwing for 423 yards and two touchdowns, he was held to 20 yards on the ground, while losing a fumble and throwing an interception. There were questionable decisions and throws made by Bryant. In order for Missouri to live up to expectations, Bryant must be more consistent.
Ben Hicks from Arkansas and Shane Buechele of SMU were among other quarterbacks to struggle in their debuts with new teams, despite both winning.
Mountain West had a strong weekend
The Mountain West had a very impressive first weekend of the season, scoring several major victories. Those include Boise State over Florida State, Wyoming over Missouri, Nevada over Purdue and Hawaii over Arizona in week zero. Fresno State lost to USC by eight while Wake Forest had to score a touchdown with 1:08 left in the game to topple Utah State 38-35. Colorado State was the only other team to lose in the conference, 52-31 to rival Colorado. Good work Mountain West Conference!
Interesting news and notes
Travis Etienne’s 90-yard rushing touchdown against Georgia Tech is tied for the longest touchdown run in Clemson history.
Texas A&M intercepted four passes against Texas State. That marks the first time the Aggies have picked off four passes in a game since November 24, 2006, at Texas.
Syracuse picked up 14 quarterback hurries along with eight sacks in their 24-0 win over Liberty. Additionally, they held the Flames to negative four yards rushing.
Cincinnati defeated UCLA 24-14 for their second win in a row against the Bruins. The Bearcats held UCLA to just 62 yards rushing while collecting seven quarterback hurries, six tackles for loss and two sacks.
Michigan State held Tulsa to an astounding -73 yards rushing in their 28-7 victory. That is the lowest for an opponent in school history, breaking the previous mark of -63 by Pittsburgh in 1963. The Spartans also accumulated 13 tackles for loss, six sacks as well as three quarterback hurries.
South Florida was crushed by Wisconsin 49-0, which was their seventh loss in a row, after a 7-0 start last season. It marked the first time USF has been shutout since the last game of 2014 against Central Florida. 49 points are the largest margin of defeat for the Bulls since the program started in 1997.
Nebraska defeated South Alabama 35-21 on Saturday. The Cornhuskers scored three non-offensive touchdowns in the game marking the first time they have done that since 2005 against Wake Forest.
Justin Fields was responsible for five touchdowns as Ohio State took down Florida Atlantic 45-21. That is the most in a player’s first game for Ohio State in school history.
The 508 total yards from Jalen Hurts is the most for any Oklahoma player in a debut game.
Florida State is now 80-2 during the last 15 seasons when leading by 18 points or more. The only other such loss came just last season against rival Miami.
Maryland destroyed FCS opponent Howard 79-0. The 79 points were the second-most in program history, after the 80 scored against Washington (MD) in 1927. It was the first time they scored over 70 points since 1954 when they beat Missouri 74-13.
Likewise, Penn State obliterated an FCS opponent, Idaho, 79-7. Amazingly, the 79 points are only the sixth-most points scored in program history. The Nittany Lions have not scored 70 in a game since 1999, a 70-24 win over Akron. They have scored 80 or more five times in their history though, including a 109-7 win over Lebanon Valley in 1920. They also beat Saint Bonaventure 99-0 in 1917.
Mack Brown won his first game back as the head coach of North Carolina against South Carolina. He is now second all-time in school history in wins. Interestingly, that makes him one of four coaches to be in the top two in wins at multiple Power Five schools. The others are Steve Spurrier, Bear Bryant as well as Pop Warner.
UCF recorded 14 quarterback hurries and 12 tackles for loss in their destruction of Florida A&M.
The game-winning touchdown by Seth Williams for Auburn was the latest the Tigers have scored in regulation since the infamous kick-six game against Alabama in 2015. Auburn went on to defeat Oregon 27-21.
JT Daniels, the sophomore quarterback for USC, has been ruled out for the season with a torn ACL and meniscus. True freshman Kedon Slovis will take over at quarterback moving forward.
Additional notable injuries from the weekend include Texas running back Jordan Whittington who will be out four to six weeks with a groin injury. South Carolina Jake Bentley is also out indefinitely with a foot injury. Illinois running back Mike Epstein, NC State wide receiver C.J Riley and Arkansas defensive end Dorian Gerald are among those to suffer season-ending injuries this weekend.
Two extremely odd things took place this weekend. One was Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze coaching the game against Syracuse from a hospital bed in the stadium. Pretty sure that is something we may never see again. Secondly, the mascot for Jackson State was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for rushing onto the field after a touchdown catch. He was apparently trying to break up a fight that was breaking out. Again, that is something we likely will not see again for a long time. College football is incredible, isn’t it?
Full Press on college football week two
Five most intriguing games
LSU (1-0) at Texas (1-0) – 6:30 pm CT on Saturday
Undoubtedly, this is the biggest game of the week. Consider the fact that both teams are ranked in the top ten and are perennial powerhouse programs. LSU is coming off of a dominating 55-3 victory over Georgia Southern. Meanwhile, Texas easily took down Louisiana Tech 45-14. However, Texas has been ravaged with injuries to the running back group. That looks to be a major key to the game as LSU’s strong defense certainly will attempt to take the run out of the equation, forcing Sam Ehlinger to make plays in the air. Get ready for a nailbiter in Austin on Saturday night.
Series history: Texas leads 9-7-1
Texas A&M (1-0) at Clemson (1-0) – 2:30 pm CT on Saturday
There is a lot of hype going into this game after Texas A&M was narrowly defeated by Clemson 28-26 last year. One important factor to keep in mind, Trevor Lawrence was not the starting quarterback at the time yet, Kelly Bryant was. Also, A&M lost a lot of pieces. Despite that, the expectations are sky-high in College Station for Jimbo Fishers second year on campus. Meanwhile, Clemson picked up where they left off last year with a dominating 52-14 win over Georgia Tech. Clemson has now won 10 straight games by 20 points or more, dating back to last season of course. Can they make it 11 straight over the Aggies?
Series history: Texas A&M leads 3-2
Stanford (1-0) at USC (1-0) – 9:30 pm CT on Saturday
Sure, the luster has worn off a bit for this one with the news of highly touted USC quarterback JT Daniels being out for the year. In addition to that, Stanford quarterback K.J Costello took an illegal hit to the head against Northwestern and is questionable as of this writing for the game. By the way, how was that not a penalty? Regardless of that news, both teams still have plenty of talent and always play each other close. This will be a highly contested and physical matchup that could be decided by a defensive play. Or David Shaw outcoaching Clay Helton, either way. By the way, Stanford has won eight of the last 12 matchups in this series.
Series history: USC leads 61-33-3
Nebraska (1-0) at Colorado (1-0) – 2:30 pm CT on Saturday
Last season, Colorado beat the Cornhuskers 33-28 in a fun game in Lincoln. This year, expectations are much higher for Nebraska as Scott Frost is in his second year as head coach. Nebraska got off to a shaky start last week, despite defeating South Alabama 35-21. It took three non-offensive touchdowns in order for Nebraska to finally pull away. Opposite that, Colorado scored at will against Colorado State, winning 52-31 in Denver. This should be a fun and quite possibly a very high scoring affair in Boulder on Saturday.
Series history: Nebraska leads 49-19-2
Cincinnati (1-0) at Ohio State (1-0) – 11 am CT on Saturday
Obviously, Ohio State on paper should win this game. However, the game of football is not played on paper. Thank goodness. Cincinnati brings a strong team into Columbus led by dynamic quarterback Desmond Ridder and electric running back Michael Warren. There are a lot of interesting subplots in this game, including Cincy head coach Luke Fickell returning to Ohio State, where he recently coached. Another interesting fact is that the Bearcats have not beaten Ohio State since 1897. Ohio State is dynamic, led by Justin Fields. However, do not be shocked to see an upset here.
Series history: Ohio State leads 14-2
Other games considered: Syracuse at Maryland, Miami (FL) at North Carolina, Army at Michigan, Minnesota at Fresno State
Five more things to watch for
1) How will Tennessee bounce back against BYU? Additionally, Purdue faces Vanderbilt after their heartbreaking loss while Florida State gets Louisiana-Monroe.
2) Army struggled against Rice, only winning 14-7. However, it stands to reason that they can give Michigan fits in the Big House on Saturday. That game is worth keeping an eye on.
3) San Diego State only beat Weber State 6-0 as noted earlier while UCLA is 3-10 in their last 13 games. They play on Saturday. What gives?
4) Missouri gets a chance at redemption as they return to Columbia to face West Virginia, who barely escaped James Madison. Kelly Bryant’s play seems like what will determine the course of the Tigers season.
5) Ohio goes on the road to face Pittsburgh, which is a potential upset to watch out for.
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