What we learned from College Football’s Week 1

Week 1 of the College Football season is nearly in books. From what was shown this Saturday, there are many interesting takeaways that were made.

Pac 12 struggled and SEC West looks formidable

Coming into the season, the Pac 12 was thought to be the best conference in the country. It’s still very early, but Arizona State’s loss to Texas A&M and Stanford’s perplexing loss at Northwestern aren’t promising to the state of the conference.

Arizona State was looking to prove itself on the big stage, and last night its defense let them down by allowing the combination of Kyler Murray and Kyle Allen to gash the Sun Devils for 350 all-purpose yards. Stanford was looking to rebound from its step-back a season ago. The Cardinal defense appeared to regain its stride up-front, but the inaccuracy from quarterback Kevin Hogan doomed Stanford’s offense yet again, as they were unable to even muster out an offensive score. With Oregon, USC, Arizona State, and Cal still looming on their schedule, a loss to hapless Northwestern makes David Shaw’s journey to the top of the conference tumultuous.

Basically, Utah deflating Jim Harbaugh’s Michigan debut back on Thursday night was the high-point of the Pac 12 this week.

Really, the SEC did the best out of any conference on Saturday. Texas A&M’s offense ran as efficient as diesel fluid, relying on a balanced running attack from Tra Carson. Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray found holes in the Sun Devil secondary as if they were well-tuned seniors.

Despite a new quarterback at the helm for Nick Saban. The Jacob Coker era was very adequate for Alabama. Coker never really exploited the Badger defense for long plays, but kept the offense moving amid long third downs. Derrick Henry showed glimpses of why he will be a top rusher in the SEC this year. Lastly, the Tide’s front four should be able to dominate the line of scrimmage once again.

Notre Dame and UCLA look very much like playoff contenders

Josh Rosen's UCLA debut turned out to be a pleasant surprise.
Josh Rosen’s UCLA debut turned out to be a pleasant surprise.

Probably the biggest “what if” stories of the off-season, Notre Dame’s Malik Zaire and UCLA’s Josh Rosen both shined in their opening starts.

Zaire carved up the Longhorns defense by going 19/22 and throwing for 313 yards and 3 TDs in the Irish’s 38-3 thrashing over Texas. Brian Kelly was adamant about this group, saying that it was his “best team he’s coached on paper” during his Notre Dame tenure.

Zaire’s accuracy in just Week 1 alone erases the inconsistencies seen from Everett Golson last year. Notre Dame’s schedule is daunting early, as they still host #12th ranked Georgia Tech and visit Clemson before the middle of October. If somehow they navigate through the early portion of their schedule unscathed, then it’s a real possibility that the Irish make noise.

Head Coach Jim Mora knew that true freshman Josh Rosen had the potential to be a catalyst within the offense, but the marks that Rosen left in his debut were eye-opening. Rosen picked apart Virginia, by throwing for 335 yards and 3 TD’s on only seven incompletions.

Rosen, behind the dual position threat Myles Jack and running back Paul Perkins still have to get past many roadblocks in the Pac 12 South division. But from the indications of their Week 1 win, the Bruins offense will be scary good.

What teams/players should we be the most worried about?

Well, to say the sky is falling after Week 1 is a misnomer. But the sky is looking very ominous in Austin, TX right now. Charlie Strong really has his work cut out for him after the nightmare that took place in South Bend last night. The Longhorns’ offense was absolutely shut down and couldn’t create any sort of spark. Texas achieved 163 total yards of offense and collectively, were unable to reach 50 yards at halftime.

Tyrone Swoopes took a beating early and often and his drives stalled almost every time down. Texas’ total of 8 first downs seemed to be strenuous and converting on two of their fourteen third down attempts didn’t help matters. Overall, the second year of the Charlie Strong era is off to a rocky start.

Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg was deemed to be a front-line candidate on Mel Kiper’s big board this year, and his junior debut yesterday started off very painful. Hackenberg was swallowed up by a relentless pass rush from Temple that was able to dominate the Nittany Lions’ porous offensive line even by rushing two. Penn State’s offense couldn’t get anything going and this was mainly caused by the constant pressure that was sent Hackenburg’s way.

The always nimble Penn State quarterback threw many wobbly balls and his accuracy was shot down quickly. His stat line of 11/25 and 109 yards made Hackenburg’s draft stock plummet and also Penn State’s promising season in the B1G East.

Top Performers in Week 1:

Passing

  • Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes– 33/53, 425 yards, 4 TD’s against Sam Houston State
  • Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield– 23/33, 388 yards, 3 TD’s against Akron

Rushing

  • Oregon RB Royce Freeman– 21 carries for 180 yards, 3 TD’s against Eastern Washington
  • Kansas RB Ke’aun Kinner- 27 carries for 157 yards, 2 TD’s against South Dakota State

Receiving

  • EWU WR Cooper Kupp– 15 rec., 246 yards, 3 TD’s against Oregon
  • NIU WR Kenny Galladay– 9 rec., 213 yards against UNLV
  • Tulsa WR Keevan Lucas– 10 rec., 193 yards, 2 TD’s against FAU

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