Ahhh, the endorphin rush is back. Is there anything better than a 14-hour day of college football overload? Methinks not. So while wondering if the North Carolina fans have yet to stop cheering their team's effort, here's a morning-to-midnight review of some of the best and worst and some of the minutiae from the first Saturday of the season.
1. Team of the Day: Jacksonville State.
Won at Ole Miss, 49-48 in double-OT.
Yep, here we go. This OT win will be a season-long highlight on recap shows from now until the final gun at the BCS championship game. Get used to it.
|Jacksonville State players celebrate after their huge victory in Oxford. (AP)|
2. Player of the Day: Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan.
So maybe Michigan fans should be more mad at Rich Rodriguez for not giving this guy the starting assignment last season. The dude went nuts Saturday, going 19 for 22 and 186 yards through the air and juking the Huskies for 197 yards on the ground. He also threw to eight different receivers and led the offense to 14 of 19 on third-down conversions. Clutch.
3. Maybe karma DOES work.
Nutt got everyone in college football whipped into a frenzy when he took mercenary QB Jeremiah Masoli into his clubhouse. Well, Masoli and his trash-talking ended up on the short end of the second most shocking score in the history of FBS vs. FCS games. And as you might've heard, Jack Crowe was the coach of Arkansas 18 years ago but was fired after a loss to The Citadel. He was replaced by Nutt in Fayetteville. Sure as the world is round, Crowe has come full circle, and now, as head coach of the Gamecocks, knocked off Nutt's Rebels on Saturday.
4. The Non-AQ teams.
If this weekend is any indication, it looks like those big-money snobs at the BCS will have a few interlopers from non-automatic qualifying conferences again this bowl season.
• Utah beat Pitt on Thursday 27-24 in overtime.
• BYU disposed of Jake Locker and Washington 23-17.
• Fresno State took Big East champion Cincinnati to the boneyard 28-14.
• TCU outlasted Oregon State 30-21.
And on the flip side, remember that Hawaii went through Southern California like milk in a 49-36 loss (more on that in a minute) and Utah State scared the Big Red of Oklahoma to sheet-white in a 31-24 loss.
5. Chris Ault, Nevada head coach.
Why Alt? Because his Wolfpack beat Eastern Washington 49-24 on Thursday? No. Because his "Pistol" offense is the new rage in college football. UCLA, Hawaii, Arkansas, Indiana and LSU all used it at one time (or the entire game) this weekend. Even Florida scored a touchdown with it on Saturday. There are probably more teams out there that used the Pistol in one form or another, but I've only got one TV.
1. New Mexico.
If you just scanned the scores from Saturday's scoreboard, the Lobos' loss to Oregon jumped off the page. Hell, the halftime score (59-0) did that all by itself. UNM had the 100th-ranked defense in 2009. Looks like this year's unit would rank around No. 200 if there were that many teams in this division. The halftime score was more than the Lobos gave up in any single game last year. In all, UO gained 751 yards.
2. Shotgun center snaps.
What is going on in our sport with these simple snaps back to the quarterback? Florida was plagued by it all day, Oregon State's rally was killed by an errant hike that was kicked out of the end zone for a safety and North Carolina gave up two points with a high snap in the shadow of their own goal post as well.
3. Florida's offense.
Speaking of center hikes, let's say this to start off: Mike Pouncey is no Maurkice Pouncey. The junior O-lineman for the Gators took over for his brother, moving from guard to center. His debut produced 13 mishandled snaps, both in the shotgun and from under center. That was one of the main reasons Florida's offense was so bogged down, getting just 235 yards and 13 first downs.
4. USC's defense.
Sure, 'SC won the game Thursday over Hawaii and scored 49 points. But it was the Boys of Troy defense that gave up 588 yards to Hawaii. Five hundred eight-eight. What, did the NCAA sanctions only count against the defense? Oh, and one more thing that has carried over from the Pete Carroll Era: penalties. The Trojans were flagged 11 times for 100 yards.
5. The Big East.
In games against teams in the FBS, Big East teams went just 1-4. Their lone win was Syracuse's 29-3 skunking at Akron -- if you consider the Zips to be an FBS team, that is. Otherwise, UConn lost big to Michigan, Pitt lost in OT at Utah, Louisville lost to rival Kentucky and defending champion Cincinnati was buried in the boneyard at Fresno State.
The consecutive timeouts rule.
There is only one facet that the NFL is better than college football, the timeout rule. In the pros, you can't call consecutive timeouts. But in college, as we saw this weekend, coaches can call time a split second before the snap on a field goal. Thursday, Pitt's Dan Hutchins kicked three field goals in the final four seconds of regulation (making the last one) and Northern Illinois' Michael Cklamovski missed three field goals (one that counted) in five seconds of the first half at Iowa State.
It gets obnoxious, people.
C'mon NCAA. Do at least one thing right.
Five things that were painfully obvious from college football.
1. Florida misses Tebow.
And it's not all John Brantley's fault. The whole offense looked out of sorts. But still, would Sir Tebow allow the Gators to get just 25 yards in three quarters?
2. Missed flags pock-mark LSU-UNC.
The final play was a pass interference on LSU but there was also interference on UNC on the onside kick before that.
3. The Red River Rivalry just lost a lot of luster.
Texas ghost-walked past Rice (34-17) and OU beat Utah State by a single touchdown. Yuck!
4. Notre Dame-Michigan next week just got a lot more interesting.
Both had their moments against decent teams Saturday. Dayne Crist, Armando Allen and Michael Floyd vs. that U of M defense should be tasty.
5. TCU doesn't like its school colors.
Yes, uniform craziness is taking over college football. But the Frogs' unis were black jerseys, black facemasks and white "lizard skin" helmets. Yick.
Andy Dalton, QB, TCU.
His stats won't slap you like a splash of Aqua Velva; Dalton did throw a pair of picks on the day. But he regrouped and used his feet and his brains to beat Oregon State. Seven times, Dalton scrambled and converted third-down plays for first downs and also scored two rushing touchdowns.
As announcer Brad Nessler said afterward, "If this was a baseball game, Dalton would have gotten the game-winning hit too." The dude was clutch.
Dwight Dasher, QB, Middle Tennessee State.
Obviously, there were a lot of goats this weekend (I'm lookin' your way, North Carolina dipsticks), but the dynamic Dasher was the most costly to his team after being suspended for "borrowing" $1,500 and writing bad checks. The Sun Belt Player of the Year sure could've made a difference in the 24-17 loss to Minnesota on Thursday. That was a win over a Big Ten team that the Blue Raiders could've used.
"If you're UNC, you might want to consider going for it on fourth down from now on." -- Kirk Herbstreit after Patrick Peterson kept shredding North Carolina's punt defense in the first half for 244 return yards and one touchdown.
"This is a depleted North Carolina team." -- Not that this wasn't a true statement, Lord no. It certainly was. And the way UNC played is beyond admirable. But did Brent Musburger, Herbstreit and every studio head on camera have to beat that point to a moist spot in the dirt?
Best worst comment
"With all the talent they have on offense, if LSU can't score 30 points in a single half, offensive coordinator Gary Crowton should be fired!" -- ESPN's Mark May, talking during the pregame show. LSU would score exactly 30 points in the first half, then none in the second half.
Add to Heisman list
Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan.
383 total yards. No turnovers. And 14 of 19 third down conversions. All in front of a collegiate-record 113,090 fans.
Demarco Murray, RB, Oklahoma.
35 carries for 218 yards and 2 TDs in 31-24 win over Utah State.
Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon.
17 carries, 146 yards, four TDs; one catch, 60 yards, one TD in 72-0 win over New Mexico.
Cameron Newton, QB, Auburn.
9 for 14, 186 yards, three TDs; 15 carries for 171 yards, two TDs in win over Tennessee Tech.
Daniel Thomas, RB, Kansas State.
28 carries for 234 yards and 2 TDs in the 31-22 win over UCLA
Patrick Peterson, CB/KR, LSU
SEC-record 257 return yards and one TD and played lock-down D too.
Take off Heisman list
Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama.
DNP. And besides that, 'Bama found another running back weapon besides Trent Richardson; Eddie Lacy went 12 carries for 105 yards and two TDs vs. San Jose State.
Jeremiah Masoli, QB, Ole Miss
7-for-10, 109 yards, INT, and a loss to Jacksonville State.
Best coaching debut
Brian Kelly, Notre Dame.
Won 23-12 over Purdue at home. Yeah, yeah. You're gonna say both Ty Willingham and Charlie Weis started off their Notre Dame years with wins too, right? Well, the difference is that this edition of the Irish was disciplined, played confidently and the defense was stellar, getting four sacks and two interceptions. Gotta love Manti Te'o, who accounted for 10 tackles and is a star in the making under coordinator Bob Diaco's scheme.
Worst coaching debut
Turner Gill, Kansas.
Lost 6-3 vs. non-FBS North Dakota State, which is coached by fellow former Nebraska assistant Craig Bohl. Not a good sign for this season's hopes in the improved Big 12 North.
Hardest working mascot
The Oregon Duck.
Since the human in the Donald Duck-looking costume does pushups after every UO score, the poor student in the costume ended up doing 506 pushups after a 72-0 win over New Mexico.
Best running back for the money
Arizona State's Cameron Marshall.
The Sun Devil reserve came on to run for 104 yards and three touchdowns on just four (yes, four) carries. Wow.
Pause for thought
Are games being played in stadiums that are too big?
Don't know if you noticed, but I saw many stadiums less than capacity this weekend. We all heard about how Florida State had 15,000 tickets remaining for its home opener with Samford. But also, did you notice how Brice Williams Stadium in South Carolina was pockmarked with many open sections against Southern Miss back on Thursday night? I know it's not a college stadium, but the Jerry Dome didn't even open up the upper deck because of a lack of ticket sales for the TCU-Oregon State game. And believe it or not, even the Swamp had lots and lots of open seats at the opening kickoff (and midway through the fourth quarter, when only the boo-birds remained).
Then again ...
Rice was able to sell out Reliant Stadium for its opener. Then again, the Owls hosted Texas.
Best sight to see
Mark Herzlich back in uniform.
I think I can get a "oh hell yeah!" from everybody on this one. The entire college football world celebrates his return as the Boston College mad man accounted for five tackles in the 38-20 win over Weber State.