A lot of mediocre-to-bad football Thursday night. Some observations:• It's going to be a long season for North Carolina State, 34-0 losers to South Carolina. Even with quarterback Russell Wilson, who was carted off the field with a concussion, the Wolfpack struggled to score points. You can see why 2007 incumbent Daniel Evans couldn't keep the job. When he replaced Wilson, the offense went from unproductive to putrid.
• The most impressive NC State player to me was Nate Irving, a redshirt sophomore linebacker who seemed to be in on every tackle. The Wolfpack did intercept four Tommy Beecher passes which might say more about South Carolina's offense than NC State's defense.
• Kirby Freeman went from Miami to Baylor to bench. After the quarterback's celebrated transfer from Coral Gables,
he couldn't even make it through the first half against Wake Forest. Coach Art Briles kept his starter a secret up
until kickoff. Why? Baylor just might have itself a quarterback of the future in true freshman Robert Griffin. The
big-time recruit replaced the stiff, laconic Freeman and led the Bears to their only two scores. Not bad for a
native of Japan. (His dad was military)
Briles is evaluating his options for next week against Northwestern State. Again, why? Let Griffin take this sunken ship over and try to raise it.• Alphonso Smith is the truth. Wake Forest's preseason All-American corner is all that. He had an interception and
tipped away a pass in the end zone in the first half. The Human Turnover Machine (12 by himself last season) has 15
• Wow, what was the deal with the Stanford crowd? I know it was a Thursday night in Palo Alto -- usually Pinochle night in P.A. -- but this was the season opener (against Oregon State). The announced crowd was 30,223 in 50,000-seat Stanford Stadium. That seemed very charitable.
• This is a sign of inexperience: Oregon State quarterback Lyle Moevao "threw" a safety. That's hard to do. Moevao
dropped back from deep in his own territory to throw a swing pass. It was actually a backward pass that passed through the end zone and went out of bounds. The Beavers turned it over three times (five fumbles, one lost) in a 36-28 loss to the Cardinal.
• By the way what is Oregon State doing opening the season on the road against two BCS conference opponents? It goes
to Penn State next week.
• My opening-night hero is Stanford's Toby Gerhart. Returning from a torn PCL he ran for 147 yards against the Beavs (No. 1 against the rush D in 2007). Not a huge deal, I just can't remember the last time a tailback of any substance was named Toby.
• Good luck to Ryan Perrilloux. His numbers were nice -- 203 yards in total offense -- but Georgia Tech was never
threatened in a 41-14 victory over Jacksonville State. The opponent was only I-AA but Paul Johnson's triple option
produced 349 rushing yards.