Amazing Opening Week: College Football
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Wednesday night College Football kicked off with a thrilling 38-37 game between Georgia State and Abilene Christian; the excitement would not simmer all week end. We have seen great games from every conference. This has been one of the most incredible beginnings Division 1 College Football has ever seen. Thats because there was so many memorable moments across the nation.
The appetizer was Georgia State’s narrow victory. It may not have been the most titanic match up, but it was very appealing football. In true back and forth fashion GSU had to overcome a deficit in the fourth quarter. Their game winning drive featured to 4th & Long conversions and a made field goal with 4 seconds left. The crazy finish was a very fitting teaser for what was to come next in the weekend.
Thursday’s festivities started in South Carolina for the first live game on ESPN’s new baby, the SEC Network. Texas A&M stole the show, defeating the 9th ranked Gamecocks with ease. This was our first glimpse at Kenny Hill as the Aggies starting quarterback. The game started with safe high percentage throws to ease Hill into the game. Though it soon became clear that Hill was more than ready to do battle in the raucous environment. He marched the Aggies to a convincing opening score. Hill stayed hot the whole game, breaking Johnny Manziel’s passing yards record. The heir apparent to Johnny Football may be just as special. Equally impressive was the Texas A&M defense. It was abysmal last season but the defense wildly improved. Texas A&M won 52-28.
Boise State and Ole Miss also did battle on Thursday night. The 35-13 victory by Ole Miss is a deceiving score; it was 7-6 at the end of the 3rd quarter. The Boise State defense was stout but their offense never came through. Bo Wallace had a frustrating night with 3 interceptions. Turnovers and penalties plagued Mississippi’s offense. In the fourth quarter the floodgates opened and the Rebels scored 28 points. It was a tough and competitive game with an explosively lopsided finish. Ole Miss simply had too much talent for Boise State to keep down.
Other notable games on Thursday and Friday night included Wake Forest and Louisiana Monroe and Colorado doing battle with Colorado State. Louisiana Monroe defeated Wake Forest 17-10 in a defensive game. Centarius Donald ran the ball 26 times for 126 yards in the War Hawks victory. Colorado State defeated Colorado 31-17. It was an entertaining game but Colorado’s inefficient offense lagged behind. The Rams won with impressive play from their two running backs, Dee Hart and Treyous Jarrells.
Saturday started with Penn State’s dramatic 26-24 victory over UCF in Dublin, Ireland. It was a rare treat for the Irish crowd and sensational football. Navy gave the 5th Ranked Ohio State Buckeyes a scare. The Midshipmen had a 7-6 lead at halftime and their running game was very strong. The Buckeyes would pull away to win 34-17 but the game was more competitive than most predicted. The 7th ranked UCLA Bruins got a surprisingly strong game from Virginia. QB, Brett Hundley struggled in the first half. 3 defensive scores helped the Bruins majorly. Virginia benched their starting quarterback in favor of Matt Johns. This is where the game turned around in Virginia’s favor. The Bruins however survived the scare, winning 28-20.
The unexpected continued to be a theme on this phenomenal Saturday. The West Virginia Mountaineers fought neck and neck with the Alabama Crimson Tide. West Virginia played better than expected and the game was a real spectacle. The Alabama running game eventually wore West Virginia down and the Tide won 33-23. Auburn beat Arkansas in a game that had a long weather delay. Notre Dame demolished Rice and Cal won a competitive game against Northwestern.
Maryland was dominant against James Madison. With a defense that Common Sense Football’s own John Langley called nasty, the Terps won 52-7. It was a strong start for Maryland. They demolished a team they were supposed to beat.
Georgia was also dominant but in a much larger stage. The Bulldogs beat the Clemson Tigers 45-21. It was a tightly contested game; in the third quarter it was 24-21. Georgia had a second half of epically huge plays. Todd Gurley II led the way with 15 carries, 198 yards 3 touchdowns and a kick return for a touchdown. He looked worthy of the Heisman but he was not the only playmaker on display. On only 4 carries Nick Chubb ran for 70 yards and a touchdown. The Bulldogs were strong on defense and brilliant offensively.
The Florida State vs Oklahoma State was a crazy game to say the least. A game that started 17-0 FSU, finished 37-31 FSU. It was an up and down night for Florida State, partially because it was an up and down night for QB Jameis Winston. Winston managed to be brilliant and mistake prone in the game. Winston had two costly interceptions but threw for 370 yards and scored a touchdown in the air and on the ground. Oklahoma State had a strong showing but FSU had too much firepower. It was a trend today, highly ranked teams were battled tightly by underdogs but survived the tests.
The other primetime matchup was between 14th ranked Wisconsin and 13th ranked LSU. Entering the fourth quarter the Wisconsin Badgers had a 24-13 lead. 3 minutes after the fourth quarter began, an LSU touchdown and 2 point conversion made it 24-21. It was now anybody’s ball game heading into the crucial stretch of the game. The theme of the battle was the power of Wisconsin and their run game, against the speed LSU had all over the field. The pivotal moment of the game came with 11 minutes left in the fourth quarter. Badgers QB, Tanner McEvoy threw an interception, trying to hit his big tight end on a wheel route. LSU quickly scored a touchdown and took the lead. The momentum never turned back to Wisconsin and LSU was victorious.
It was an incredible week of college football. There were more moments that can be discussed in one article. I tried to highlight the best of what I saw. Normally I do a recap of one game per weekend. It is a format I will go back to. This week I wanted to focus on the entire weekend of football . Saturday was football heaven as I watched 12 straight hours of the greatest game in the world. With many games deserving of the spotlight, it only seemed right to cover them all.