College Football Recap, September 5



College Football Recap, September 5

Here’s a brief look at the latest rankings, recaps and previews of top games and bowl projections, as well as the eight Manning Award Stars of the Week. This year’s Allstate Sugar Bowl will double as a College Football Playoff Semifinal and will be played on January 1, 2018.

Dominant Defenses

No. 1 Alabama 24, No. 3 Florida State 7: The Crimson Tide continued to roll as it allowed just 250 total yards while forcing three turnovers in the opening game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. Alabama also blocked a punt and a field goal and recovered a fumble on a kick return while the worst news for the Seminoles was a knee injury that will sideline quarterback Deondre Francois for the year.

No. 11 Michigan 33, No. 17 Florida 17: The Wolverines held the Gators to 192 total yards, including just 11 rushing yards, and nine first downs, as they cruised to an impressive neutral site victory despite quarterback Wilton Speight throwing a pair of pick-sixes.

No. 13 LSU 27, BYU 0: The Tigers didn’t allow the Cougars to cross midfield for the entire game while Derrius Guice ran for 120 yards and a pair of touchdowns as LSU outgained BYU, 479-97, in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff played in the Superdome in New Orleans due to Hurricane Harvey’s devastation in Houston.


Needed a Jump Start

No. 2 Ohio State 49, Indiana 21: The Buckeyes trailed 21-20 late in the third quarter, but then freshman running back J.K. Dobbins took over, finishing with 181 rushing yards to break a 15-year old school record for a collegiate debut.

No. 9 Wisconsin 59, Utah State 10: After trailing 10-0 late in the first half, the Badgers cracked the scoring column with 1:12 to go then tied the game with a field goal at the end of the opening stanza. Then in the second half, they dominated the Aggies, out-scoring them 49-0 behind three TD catches from tight end Zander Neuville.

No. 19 USF 42, San Jose State 22: The Bulls trailed the Spartans 16-0 before settling down and rattling off six unanswered touchdowns in an August 27 match-up. Quinton Flowers finished with 212 passing yards, 70 rushing yards and three touchdowns for USF, which followed up the opening win with a 31-17 victory over Stony Brook on Saturday.


Not So Easy

No. 4 USC 49, Western Michigan 31: With the Trojans harboring playoff dreams and quarterback Sam Darnold being considered a Heisman candidate, a Western Michigan squad which had lost its head coach and multiple stars from last year wasn’t expected to be a challenge. Instead, USC needed a 37-yard TD run by Ronald Jones II with 6:57 to go to snap a 28-28 tie before they closed with two late scores.

No. 8 Washington 30, Rutgers 14: The Huskies trailed the unheralded Scarlet Knights 7-3 until a 61-yard punt return by Dante Pettis (the sixth of his career) with 3:50 to go in the first half. Pettis also had three catches for 85 yards, including a 51-yarder.

No. 16 Louisville 35, Purdue 28: The Cardinal and Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson found themselves in quite a battle with the Boilermakers as Purdue took a 28-25 lead with 10:48 to go in the game before Jackson (378 passing yards and two scores to go with 107 rushing yards) found Dez Fitzpatrick for a 20-yard score before setting up a short field goal to clinch the win.


The Upset

Maryland 51, No. 23 Texas 41: Tom Herman’s anticipated debut as the Longhorns’ head coach did not go as planned as the Terrapins’ Tyrrell Pigrome threw a pair of touchdown passes while adding a running score. Maryland built a 27-7 advantage in the first half and held on to snap a 17-game losing streak to ranked opponents. Unfortunately, Pigrome suffered a torn ACL in the game and will miss the remainder of the season.


Touchdown Connectors

No. 7 Oklahoma 56, UTEP 7: Baker Mayfield (19-of-20, 329 yards, 3 TDs) found tight end Mark Andrews seven times for 134 yards and a score as the Sooners didn’t seem to miss graduated star Dede Westbrook in a 56-7 blowout of the Miners.

No. 10 Oklahoma State 59, Tulsa 24: Mason Rudolph (20-of-24, 303 yards, 3 TDs) and James Washington (six catches for 145 yards and two scores) made their case as the top offensive tandem in football as the Cowboys rolled over the Golden Hurricane.

No. 20 Kansas State 55, Central Arkansas 19: Jesse Ertz passed for 333 yards and four touchdowns, setting up a pair of receivers (Byron Pringle and Isaiah Harris) for 100-yard days as the Wildcats cruised over the FCS Bears.

No. 24 Washington State 31, Montana State 0: Luke Falk helped the Cougars avoid their sixth straight season-opening loss as he threw completed his first 20 passes and finished with 311 yards; his three touchdowns lifted him to the school’s career touchdown record (breaking the previous record of 90 held by Connor Halliday).


Quarterback Debuts

No. 5 Clemson 56, Kent State 3: With the departure of Deshaun Watson, the only two-time Manning Award winner in history, Clemson entered 2017 with a big question mark at quarterback. However, Kelly Bryant collected 236 passing yards and 77 rushing yards to pace the Tigers to an easy victory. 

No. 12 Auburn 41, Georgia Southern 7: Highly-touted Rice transfer Jarrett Stidham threw for a pair of touchdowns while running for another in his first appearance for the Tigers, who also showed off a smothering defense which allowed just 78 total yards.

No. 15 Georgia 31, Appalachian State 10: The last thing the Bulldogs wanted was a quarterback debut. Unfortunately, sophomore Jacob Eason suffered a potentially serious knee injury pressing true freshman Jake Fromm into action. Fromm led three first-half touchdown drives finishing the day 10-of-15 for 143 yards as Georgia tops the Mountaineers. 

No. 18 Miami 41, Bethune-Cookman 13: In his first game replacing Miami’s career passing yardage leader Brad Kaaya, Malik Rosier threw for 217 yards and three touchdowns in a blowout of the FCS Wildcats.

No. 21 Virginia Tech 31, West Virginia 24: Both teams introduced new quarterbacks and both shined in their opening appearances. Josh Jackson led the Hokies with 235 passing yards, 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns while Will Grier, a Florida transfer, connected for 371 yards and three touchdowns in his Mountaineer debut.


Rushing Sensations

No. 6 Penn State 52, Akron 0: Saquon Barkley racked up 226 total yards, including 172 rushing yards on 14 carries as he led the Nittany Lions to a convincing victory over the Zips.

No. 14 Stanford 67, Rice 7: Bryce Love rushed 13 times for 180 yards, including a 62-yard dash on the first play of the game as he led the Cardinal to a blowout victory over the Owls in Australia.

No. 25 Tennessee 42, Georgia Tech 41: In one the most exciting games of the weekend, the Volunteers get a pair of overtime rushing TDs from John Kelly (128 yards and four scores on the day) to come from behind and overcome an amazing performance by Yellow Jacket quarterback TaQuon Marshall who amasses 249 rushing yards and five touchdowns on 44 carries.


Bowl Projections

The All-American (Stewart Mandel): Ohio State vs. Washington

ESPN (Kyle Bonagura): Alabama vs. Ohio State

ESPN (David Hale): Alabama vs. Ohio State

CBS Sports (Jerry Palm): Alabama vs. Clemson

College Football News (Pete Fiutak): Alabama vs. Michigan

Sports Illustrated (Eric Single): Alabama vs. Oklahoma

SEC Country (Alex Shirkey): Alabama vs. Clemson

USA Today (Erick Smith): Alabama vs. Oklahoma



Random Stats of the Week

17 – True freshmen to see action in LSU’s win over BYU. Four true freshmen started in the game. It is the most true freshmen to play in a season opener for LSU since prior to 2000 (and may be a school record).

521 and 7 – Passing yards and touchdowns, both school records, for Missouri quarterback Drew Lock in a 72-43 win over Missouri State from the FCS ranks.

15 – First downs by Georgia Tech quarterback TaQuon Marshall, who set a school record with 258 rushing yards on 44 carries.

45 – Howard University was a 45-point underdog going into its game at UNLV, but quarterback Caylin Newton (Cam’s brother) led them to college football’s largest point-spread upset.

272 – Receiving yards for Hawai’i receiver John Ursua on 12 receptions in a 38-35 victory over UMass. Ursua had catches of 85 and 52 yards in the game.

4 – Number of promising quarterbacks who likely will not play in week two due to injuries suffered in week one – Florida State’s Deondre Francois and Maryland’s Tyrrell Pigrome are done for the year. Georgia’s Jacob Eason will at least miss the Notre Dame game and Texas’ Shane Buechele is likely out for at least one week.

11 – Consecutive season-opening wins for Alabama. The Crimson Tide has outscored its opponents 435-127 in those games. The win over Florida State and Jimbo Fisher was also Nick Saban’s 11th win (with zero losses) against his former assistant coaches.

5 – Ohio State defensive backs drafted in the first two rounds of the last two NFL Drafts. The Buckeyes’ young secondary faces quite a challenge on Saturday against Oklahoma and quarterback Baker Mayfield, who set the NCAA passing efficiency record last year.

10 – Defensive starters lost from last year for Michigan. The Wolverines proceeded to allow just 154 total yards, including 11 on the ground, in their convincing win over Florida.

12 – Clemson is the 12th defending national champions in the past 25 years to be replacing its starting quarterback in the following season (thanks to Sports on Earth). Last year’s Alabama squad, behind Jalen Hurts, was the first of those squads to finish in the AP Top 10 since Oklahoma in 2001.

Manning Award Stars of the Week

While 30 quarterbacks are on the Manning Award Watch List, every quarterback in the country remains eligible for the honor. Below are our selections for the top eight quarterback performances of the past week. Click here to be redirected to Facebook for voting.

Zach Abey, Navy (3-of-10, 110 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, QBR: 94.7)
Abey sets the American Athletic Conference record for rushing yards by a quarterback with 235 on 32 carries, including two touchdowns, in a 42-19 road win over FAU.

Ross Bowers, California (24-of-38, 363 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INT, QBR: 75.9)
After entering the game having never thrown a collegiate pass, Bowers throws for 363 yards in a 35-30 road upset of North Carolina.

TaQuon Marshall, Georgia Tech (5-of-9, 120 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT, QBR: 82.3)
Marshall rushes 44 times for 249 yards (a school record for quarterbacks) and five touchdowns as the Yellow Jacket drop a double-overtime thriller to Tennessee, 42-41.

Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (19-of-20, 329 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 97.9)
Mayfield completes a school-record 16 straight passes to open the game and tallies his third career half with 300-plus yards (he only plays in the first half) as the Sooners cruise to a 56-7 win over UTEP.

Shea Patterson, Ole Miss (28-of-35, 429 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 92.3)
Patterson tallies a career-high in passing yards (third most in school history) and TD passes, including a pair of 70-plus yard scores, as he leads the Rebels to a 47-27 victory over South Alabama.

Josh Rosen, UCLA (35-of-59, 491 yards, 4 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 58.8)
Rosen throws for 292 yards and all four of his touchdown passes in an amazing fourth-quarter which caps a run of 35 straight points as the Bruins erase a 44-10 deficit to defeat Texas A&M, 45-44.

Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State (20-of-24, 303 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INT, QBR: 96.7)
Rudolph tallies the 13th 300-yard game of his career and also rushes for a TD in a 59-24 blowout of Tulsa.

Kyle Shurmur, Vanderbilt (20-of-28, 296 yards, 3 TDs, QBR: 98.5)
Shurmur completes 13 of his first 14 attempts and matches his career-high for touchdown passes as he leads the Commodores to a 28-6 road victory over Middle Tennessee State.


Top Upcoming Games

Fresno State at No. 1 Alabama (2:30 p.m., ESPN2): The Crimson Tide looked dominant defensively in a victory over No. 3 Florida State; it now returns home with a chance to get its offense clicking against a rebuilding Fresno State program.

Pittsburgh at No. 4 Penn State (2:30 p.m., ABC): Despite winning the Big ten, Penn State likely missed out on a playoff big last year due to its early season loss to in-state rival Pitt. The Nittany Lions will look for revenge as well as to extend its streak of 35-point games to nine games, the longest among Power 5 schools.

No. 13 Auburn at No. 3 Clemson (6 p.m., ESPN): Both schools are breaking in new quarterbacks and both had solid warm-up performances in the opening week. Clemson, the defending national champion, hopes to extend its win streak over Auburn to four games after losing 14 in a row from 1952 to 2010.

No. 5 Oklahoma at No. 2 Ohio State (6:30 p.m., ABC): This game proved critical in 2016 as the win was a key feather for the Buckeyes in their successful case to make the College Football Playoff. The Sooners, meanwhile, dropped to 1-2 with the loss and were all but out of the playoff picture – though they went on to an undefeated Big 12 season and an impressive victory in the Allstate Sugar Bowl.

No. 15 Georgia at No. 24 Notre Dame (6:30 p.m., NBC): The Bulldogs and Fighting Irish are meeting for the first time since the memorable 1981 Sugar Bowl when Herschel Walker led Georgia to a perfect “undefeated, untied and unbelievable” season with a 17-10 victory. Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush looked solid in his debut last weekend while Georgia will turn the reins over to true freshman Jake Fromm following an injury to projected starter Jacob Eason.

No. 14 Stanford at No. 6 USC (7:30 p.m., FOX): USC has been projected to be a national title contender while Stanford was considered a step behind, primarily due to the loss of all-everything star Christian McCaffrey. However, the Trojans struggled to put away Western Michigan in their opener while the Cardinal’s new running back Bryce Love introduced himself with a spectacular 180-yard performance in a blowout of Rice two Saturdays ago.