It seems like more and more teams are willing to start the season with freshman quarterbacks. This weekend showcased multiple talented freshmen, delivering eye popping performances. Jayden Daniels (Arizona State), Bo Nix (Auburn), Sam Howell (North Carolina) and Hank Bachmeier (Boise State) all looked like future NFL stars. Bachmeier looked like a grizzled veteran as he led the Broncos back from a big deficit to beat Florida State. Several other youngsters also contributed in a major way to their teams success. Here’s a look around the country in week one.
I have to start with what turned out to be a debacle in Tallahassee. The Seminoles started strong behind an impressive offensive performance. James Blackmon looked sharp operating offensive coordinator Kendal Briles’ offense. The Seminoles jumped out to a 31-13 lead, before Bronco quarterback Hank Bachmeier caught fire and passed for 417 yards. It looked a lot like 2018 for Head coach Willie Taggert, as he walked the sidelines with a bewildered look on his face. Clemson routed Georgia Tech 52-14 behind Travis Etienne’s 205 yards rushing. The Tigers seemingly toyed with a Jacket squad that is breaking in new schemes on both sides of the ball.
I have to show a little love for North Carolina head coach Mack Brown. I have been critical of Brown’s hiring, but I must say I had a tear in my eye after Brown addressed the media following his teams upset of South Carolina 24-20. I was stunned at the poor play of Gamecock quarterback Jake Bentley in the fourth quarter. He made bad decision after bad decision down the stretch.
I was fortunate enough to have seen one of the more dramatic comebacks in recent memory Friday night in Reno Nevada. Purdue and quarterback Elijah Sindelar put on a show for three quarters, before the Wolfpack roared back. Carson Strong hit Elijah Cooks with a 20 yard scoring strike with just 52 seconds left to tie the score at 31-31. Nevada then picked off a Sindelar pass with 32 seconds left, setting the stage for a dramatic 56 yard field goal try. Wolfpack kicker Brandon Talton delivered a 56 yard field goal as time expired, sending the crowd into a frenzy. After the game, the walk-on kicker was awarded a scholarship.
Everything else went as scripted in BIG-10 play. Michigan and Ohio State both cruised to easy victories. Quarterback Josh Fields looked outstanding in his Buckeye debut. Both Penn State and Maryland put up 79 points in victories over Idaho and Howard. Rutgers and Illinois also looked good in week one.
I couldn’t wait to see the new rollout of the 2019 Sooner defense. What a disappointment that turned out to be. Looks like the same version of 2018 to me. Houston had no trouble navigating in and around the Sooner front seven. One thing that did stand out was quarterback Jalen Hurts. Hurts looked like a true Heisman candidate with an outstanding performance. He tossed for 332 yards and rushed for an additional 176! Oklahoma State looked solid behind a 221 yard rushing performance from Chuba Hubbard. Hubbard led all FBS rushers. Matt Wells had a successful debut in Lubbock. Alex Bowman led all FBS quarterbacks with 436 passing yards. Wells had this to say after the game, “We can compete with anybody”. The BIG 12 conference was the only conference to go undefeated (10-0) in week one play.
PLAY OF THE WEEK
Once again the Oregon Ducks let the PAC-12 down, in terms of the national stage. The Ducks let a strong first half performance go to waste in the second half. My biggest takeaway from this game was in the coaching ranks. I really felt like Oregon was the better team, but Gus Malzahn just out smarted Mario Cristabal down the stretch. The Ducks can still bounce back, but will now have no margin for error. USC took a major hit with quarterback J.T. Daniels knee injury. Daniels will miss the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL. I was high on the Trojans, picking them to win the PAC-12 South. I was disturbed at what I thought was a very slow Trojan defense in their win over Fresno State Saturday night. Utah looked like a real contender for a PAC-12 championship with their win at BYU. If the Utes can avoid major injuries, they could get the job done. Mike Leach looks like he has found yet another gunslinger on the Palouse. The Cougars routed New Mexico State 58-7. Anthony Gordon passed for 420 yards and five touchdowns.
The big boys all cruised to easy victories. It was the rest of the “Mighty” SEC that got embarrassed. Tennessee nation has gone from “Rocky Top” to “Rocky Flop”. The Vols paid Georgia State $975,000 to come to Knoxville and punch them in the mouth. A job well done by the Panthers.
Missouri and Ole Miss also lost to group of five schools. Arkansas barely escaped with a 20-13 win over Portland State.
MOUNTAIN WEST MAKES A STATEMENT
I heard an ESPN analyst make a wise crack about how the Mountain West maybe better than the PAC-12. I realized their could be a lot of truth to that statement. Over the weekend we saw Hawaii beat Arizona, Boise State take out Florida State, Nevada upset Purdue and Wyoming take Missouri to the woodshed. Utah State traded punches with Wake Forest, before the Deacons closed it out in the final minute. It was a 9-3 weekend for the conference.