Looking at the games of opening weekend

(2)Ohio State 40, Buffalo 20

The game started out looking like a rout.  Ohio State drove their first three times for scores and by the end of the first quarter it was 23-0.  We did like Ohio State going for two after their first two touchdowns.  We expect to see more teams do this.  Buffalo got their feet under them after that and made it a game.  Star of the game for UB was Khalil Mack, their outstanding LB.  Mack proved he is a pro prospect with an interception return for a TD and an overall beast-like performance. He finished the day with 9.5 tackles and 2.5 sacks.

The biggest play of the game happened with UB trailing 30-20 in the third quarter.  The Bulls forced a fumble from Braxton Miller and recovered at the OSU one but Mack was called for an illegal hands to the face penalty.  It was a good call.  Predictably, the Buckeyes went down to score and then stopped UB four times inside the Buckeyes three on UB’s next possession.  That ended the upset alert.

Braxton Miller proved why he is a Heisman candidate combining for 268 yards rushing and receiving and throwing two touchdowns.  He’s so elusive and can keep plays extended.

At times Ohio State dominated up front.  The Buckeyes opened up big holes for Jordan Hall, who rambled for 159 yards and two touchdowns.

For draft purposes, this was a huge game for all Bulls looking to play on Sundays.  Alex Neutz caught nine balls for 98 yards and a score.  Brandon Oliver gained 73 yards on 25 carries.  Although their performances weren’t as good as Mack’s they did play well.

Carlos Hyde and Bradley Roby did sit out for “Pope” Urban Meyer.  Best stat in the offseason was that Meyer’s 2008 championship Florida team now has 41 players (or 34%) arrested at some point before, during or after their tenure with the Gators.  So much for Meyer saying that we recruit “one percent of the one percent.”  His wife recently said that players now have to take their own responsibility.


(1) Alabama 35, Virginia Tech 10

The final score would indicate that Tech’s performance was worse than Miley Cyrus’s at the VMA’s.  Cyrus is the definition between sexy and dirty.  Dirty and zero talent is a bad combination.  This score was very deceiving. Alabama was horrible offensively.  Alabama’s top tackle Cyrus Kouandjio had the worst game of his career. “Czar Nicholas” Saban can’t be happy that his offense only gained 210 yards for the game.

Christion Jones was the unquestioned star of the game.  He returned a kickoff and punt for a touchdown in the first half.  In the second half he caught a 38 yard touchdown pass from AJ McCarron. McCarron threw for only 112 yards. Bama needs to fix their offense before the A&M game in two weeks.

Statistically Logan Thomas had one of the worst games you could imagine.  Thomas has all of the skills to be a great QB but he had no help in this one from his line or his receivers.  Thomas finished the game 5 of 26 for 58 yards and an interception.

(7)Texas A&M 52, Rice 31

All the hype was about the Johnny Manziel first half suspension but the bigger suspension was the eight A&M defensive players that sat out. Rice took advantage of the suspensions and outgained the Aggies 332-315 in the first half.  They were only down 28-21 when Johnny Manziel came in.  This will not be the same defense that Alabama will have to face in two weeks.

Manziel looked cool and calm and efficient.  He was very efficient completing 6 of eight passes for 95 yards and three touchdowns.  We really like Ben Malena the Aggies RB.  He rushed for 81 yards and a score.  He’s a good prospect.

Manziel’s day ended early when he was jawing with a Rice defender then made a motion as if he were mimicking signing an autograph.  The NCAA must have loved that.  He did receive a 15 yard unsportsmanlike penalty for pointing to the scoreboard after his last TD.  Kevin Sumlin was not amused in the post game press conference with Manziel.

NCAA made fools of themselves again this week with only first half suspension of Johnny “Hancock” Manziel.  His six hour meeting with the NCAA is three times longer than his suspension. They would have looked better with no suspension at all.  Let’s not hold Johnny Football up as this great guy trying to fight the system.  He wins in the short run but in the long run the NFL sees him as he is: a selfish jerk.  Dez Bryant, AJ Green and the Ohio State “Tattoo-gate” players have to be asking what’s the difference.

(10) Florida 24, Toledo 6

This was a battle between two states that are key battleground states in presidential elections. Florida is going to be the same team they were last year, a great defense and special teams and a suspect offense. The defense was fifth in the nation last year and held Toledo to only 100 yards in the first half in building a 17-3 lead.  Toledo QB Terrance Owens was off all day. Owens came into the game completing 64 percent of his passes but was only 17 of 39 for 155 yards against the Gators.

Mack Brown led the Gators with 112 yards on the ground and two touchdowns.

Penn State 23, Syracuse 17

This renews a great rivalry from the past. The teams played every year from 1944-1990 but only three times since. This was Scott Shafer’s first game as head coach of Syracuse.

First half was boring as both teams were starting QB’s that were getting their first starts. Penn State sat their best player Allen Robinson in the first half for disciplinary reasons. Robinson took control in the second half catching seven balls for 133 yards including a 51 yarder that put PSU up 13-3. Highly recruited QB Christian Hecklenburg was good and bad for PSU.  He threw for 278 yards and two touchdowns but had two picks as well. With seven minutes left his second interception let Syracuse back in the game as it set them up at the Lions 2 yard line. Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen was much worse for Syracuse. Allen threw for only 189 yards on 37 attempts and two interceptions.

(13) Oklahoma State 21, Mississippi State 3 (at Houston)

This is a big game for the Big 12 going up against the SEC. Cowboys are the best in a bad Big 12 this year while the Bulldogs will struggle to keep their heads above water in the SEC. Who would have thought that defense would lead the way for the Cowboys?  JW Walsh got the nod at QB for the Cowboys and he did more damage with his legs than his arm. Walsh threw for only 135 yards but he rushed for 125. The Cowboys defense had three sacks and two interceptions in holding the Bulldogs off the scoreboard for the last three quarters. Mississippi State has now dropped 12 straight games against ranked opponents under Dan Mullen.

Northern Illinois 30, Iowa 27

Huskies returned Jordan Lynch from a 12-2 Orange Bowl team from last year. Huskies got revenge from loss last year to Hawkeyes. With less than two minutes left Iowa had the ball in good field position to drive for a winning field goal. On the first play of the possession youthful QB Jake Rudock threw a pick in the flat that set up the Huskies for the winning field goal. Lynch threw for 275 yards and three scores. Kirk Ferentz is in trouble after going 12-18 over his last 30 games. Iowa City becomes a city of doom from a Frank Miller novel after it realizes that Ferentz is signed through 2020 and set to make 3.9 million this year.

Eastern Washington 49, (25) Oregon State 46

All most people know about Eastern Washington is that they play on a red field.  Actually most people probably don’t even know that.  EWU gained 626 total yards against what was last year a good Beavers defense. Vernon Adams was a one man wrecking crew.  The EWU QB threw for 411 yards and ran for 107.  He scored six, yes SIX touchdowns. His last came with 18 seconds left to give Eastern Washington the upset win. Oregon State had a chance to force OT but a 52 yard field goal was missed as time expired.

This was the fifth upset this week from by an FCS program beating an FBS, but the first time ever a Top 25 team went down. The collapse of the Beavers defense is what is most shocking.

(8) Clemson 38, (5) Georgia 35

QB battle between Aaron Murray vs Tahj Boyd clearly went Boyd’s way. Boyd moves better which is obvious but clearly showed he throws a better deep ball and sees the field better. Both QB’s stats were impressive but we though Boyd looks like the better pro prospect.  Boyd threw for 270 yards and three touchdowns.  Murray threw for more yards (323) but didn’t have a TD pass.

Sammy Watkins was hurt early on last season but looked like his form of two years ago. Watkins caught six passes for 127 yards and showed the speed that makes him possibly the first WR off the board in April.

Georgia is infamous for letting down when expectations are high in the “Richt” scale, but in this one they came from behind twice and battled throughout. RB Todd Gurley is such a stud back. He can do it all and showed it by a gutty performance. Gurley gained 154 yards and scored twice. Surprise may have been that Clemson’s back Roderick McDowell took the pressure off of Boyd by averaging over 5 yards a carry on 22 attempts.

Finally…How many teams can be named after Man-Made Hydro-Cephalic Mastiff Canine derivations that can only be borne by Cesarean Section, and the varieties of tragically doomed & largest members of the Feline Order due to Mankind’s avarice, ignorance & complete habitat destruction?

Cincinnati 42, Purdue 7

Munchie Legaux got the starting nod at QB for Cincy because of injury and the dual threat quarterback responded by leading the Bearcats to a blowout win in Tommy Tuberville’s first game as coach of Cincy. Legeaux had 200 yards of total offense and two touchdowns.

With the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech this week is it only fitting that the son of his best friend Ralph David Abernathy had a good game. Abernathy combined for 70 yards and a touchdown. The Bearcats outgained Purdue 425-226. Purdue’s offense looked horrible under new head coach Darrell Hazel.

(12) LSU 37, (20) TCU 27

This was a very good hard hitting football game. LSU earned the victory. LSU led 16-10 at halftime and looked in control because the only touchdown TCU scored was on a kick-off return. The Horned Frogs changed QB’s in the second half and they started to move the ball better. Out went Casey Pachall and in came the dual threat of Trevone Boykin. TCU pulled within three at 37-30 with 7:09 left.

Odell Beckham returned the kick-off to the TCU 25 and three plays later Zach Mettenberger hit Jarvis Landry from 20 yards out to seal the win. LSU stayed away from TCU’s top corner Jason Verrett all night. Beckham and Landry both had over 100 yard receiving nights but it was mainly against CB Kevin White.

Zach Mettenberger has improved from last year. You can see why some scouts really like him.

TCU stud defensive end Devonte Fields was suspended for this game. What’s this, a college football coach actually showing backbone and suspending a player for a big game? You have to love Gary Patterson for his character.

Washington 38, (19) Boise State 6

First game in the new Husky stadium in Washington is supposed to be the loudest stadium in the country. The wavy roof just like the Seahawks have is an acoustic advantage. Huskies QB Keith Price had a great season two years ago and then followed that up with the horrible season last year. This game looked like the good Keith Price. Price threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns to lead the blow out win. Price wasn’t the only thing working for UW. Bishop Sankey rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns. We can’t remember the last time a Boise defense gave up close to 600 yards of offense. The PAC-12 is very deep this year and the Huskies are just one of many good teams.

And a few games from opening night on Thursday…

(6) South Carolina 27, North Carolina 10

On the third play of the game South Carolina Shaq Roland caught a 65 yard bomb from Connor Shaw as South Carolina built a 17-0 first half lead on route to victory. UNC fought back to close within 10 early in the third. What seemed to be the only play the Gamecocks ran in the third, Mike Davis ran untouched 75 yards for a score. Three UNC prospects looked bad to us. Tackle James Hurst had a chance to make a ton of money by putting on a great performance against Jadeveon Clowney. It didn’t happen. Too often he had his head down and needed help with at least a chip block to contain Clowney. UNC safety Tre Boston took some bad angles against the run. We weren’t wild about his performance. Finally, Bryn Renner the UNC QB didn’t have bad stats and someone that didn’t see the game might call it impressive. To us there were too many dink and dunk throws and he was inaccurate at crucial times. His stock went down as well. Clowney looked great until he got winded. He must have been on the Alshon Jeffrey diet in the off-season. I know all defensive ends take plays off but it didn’t look good how much he had to come off the field. That being said, he’s still the first pick off the board right now.

(24) USC 30, Hawaii 13

Lane Kiffin is one of the coaches on the hot seat coming into the season. Even though the Trojans won the game the seat didn’t get any cooler. Kiffin hasn’t been able to decide which QB he wants to start Cody Kessler or Max Witek. Neither QB looked good to us in this one. Kessler looked slow getting away from the center and it seemed to throw the offense off in the first half. Witek just handed the ball off in the second half and showed Kiffin showed little confidence in him. The lackluster offense was helped by a great defensive performance. The USC defense picked off four of Hawaii’s Taylor Graham’s passes and sacked him seven times. The defense set up the offense all night. Even though they scored 30 points words can’t describe how terrible this USC offense is. Heisman WR candidate Marqise Lee finished the game with eight receptions for 104 yards but was visible frustrated all night long that he didn’t have a QB that could get him the ball. Lee was his own worst enemy at times between a fumble and three dropped passes.

Ole Miss 39, Vandy 35

Two of my favorite coaches in the game played a great game in Nashville. James Franklin may not be at Vandy too long nor will Hugh Freeze be at Ole Miss. Both coaches could be on to bigger and better things. The Rebels pulled out a thriller when Jeff Scott ran 75 yards for a touchdown with just over a minute to play in the game. Vandy had just taken a 35-32 lead on a 34 yard Austyn Carta-Samuels TD pass to Steven Scheu. Ole Miss QB Bo Wallace was the star of the game for the Rebels. He threw for 283 yards and ran in two scores as well. Ole Miss needed to start off with a win because the first half of their schedule is the worst in college football. The Rebels play Texas, Alabama, Texas A&M and LSU all by mid-October. Reminds me of the line from the coach in Dan Jenkins book “Life Its Ownself”, “I’d like to get my hands on the SOB that scheduled these &^%$suckers.” Vandy star WR Jordan Matthews impressed with his speed taking a 55 yard TD to the house. He showed he’s not slow and helped his stock rise.  He caught a 42 yard pass on 4th and 18 that set-up Scheu’s score.  It was a gutty performance by him as well because he needed to go to the locker room for fluids early in the third quarter. Matthews is one of the top receivers to come out next year and could be a first round pick.

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