Oh, the joys of college football’s opening weekend
Published 4:52 pm Tuesday, September 4, 2018
I woke up at 6 a.m. Saturday morning like a kid on Christmas morning. Can you guess why?
College football is back, and the opening weekend rollercoaster ride did not disappoint.
A few games really stood out to me.
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Mississippi State 63, SFA 6
Jim Moorhead’s debut in Starkville was explosive. With quarterback Nick Fitzgerald on the bench for breaking team rules back in the spring, backup Keytaon Thompson assumed the position, and the Bulldogs lit. It. Up. Already off on the right foot, I want to see Mississippi State build off that performance and cause some havoc in the SEC West. The Bulldogs’ next game: @ Kansas State.
Auburn 21, Washington 16
Speaking of havoc in the SEC West, can Auburn pull a repeat and take down Bama in the Iron Bowl? If their performance against Washington is an indicator (which, why wouldn’t it be?), I’d say it’s a definite possibility. The Tigers’ defensive line is one of the best I’ve seen, and quarterback Jarrett Stidham, while still has some growing to do, is getting better and better. Washington is still not out of the playoff race, but this loss puts a raincloud over their heads. They needed to beat an SEC team to boost their resume, but a close game like this might be all they need. The Tigers’ next game: Alabama State.
Penn State 45, App State 38, OT
Uh oh! I thought we were about to watch Appalachian State pull off another legendary upset! Penn State was ultimately a little bit deeper, and the defense came in clutch at the end. Still, the Nittany Lions might be missing former OC Jim Moorhead more than they thought they would. Penn State’s next game: @ Pitt.
Oklahoma 63, FAU 14
I personally was expecting way, way more out of Lane Kiffin’s FAU team. I wanted ridiculous spread offense plays with massive passes and trickery that makes me slap my knee in disbelief. We saw none of that, though. The Sooners boomed, and hard. Oh, and quarterback Kyler Murray is bonkers. In a Big 12 conference that isn’t exactly known for its defense, I expect to see more scores like this one from Oklahoma. The Sooners’ next game: vs. UCLA.
LSU 33, Miami 17
Did anyone see this one turning out the way it did? Coach Ed Orgeron’s warm seat is suddenly cool having his Tigers knock off the No. 8 Canes. Watching Mark Richt slowly adjust and threaten a comeback far too late in the game gave me flashbacks. LSU’s performance provides even more chaos in the SEC West. I think Miami will turn out fine, too. Like, a 9-3 kind of fine.
Virginia Tech 25, FSU 3
When your team has more turnovers than points scored, you know the night went poorly. The Hokies looked like they were going to run away with the game based on the first drive until it sputtered to a halt in the last three quarters and the Noles defense stood its ground. The worse offense was on the other side, though. Florida State’s play calling had me scratching my head. They had so much talent on the field, but could never seem to get out of their own deep territory. That is, except for one play from running back Cam Akers, an 80-yard burst down the field that put FSU in scoring position. They ended up turning the ball over with no points scored. The Willie Taggart era is off to a bumpy start. FSU’s next game: Samford.
Florida 53, Charleston Southern 6
Dameon Pierce was Florida’s leading rusher with 9 carries for 73 yards and a long of 27. He also recorded a tackle. The former Bearcat is already climbing up the food chain in Gainesville, and quickly. He might even be the starter by the time the Georgia-Florida game gets here. I’m going to hate cheering against him during that one, but I’m still ecstatic to see him succeeding in his first game at The Swamp. Florida’s next game: vs. Kentucky.