FBS Week One: Tops, Flops ,and Several Happy Arrivals
Finally, the college football season is here.
After seven months with no meaningful games, many teams jumped into the 2009 season with a bang. Others, more of a thud.
Let's dig in!
Top Team of the Week
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Why? The Cowboys did some major message-sending this weekend, to not only the rest of the Big 12 but the entire league, disposing of No. 13 Georgia in Stillwater.
For a defense that allowed nearly 30 points per game in 2008, yielding just ten to a powerful Georgia offense showed a lot of what could be for this team.
Zac Robinson and the 'Boys proved that they can score points against a great defense and win a shootout if necessary, but they can also play some defense in 2009.
Even a relatively quiet day for star wide receiver Dez Bryant (only three grabs) couldn't slow down Mike Gundy's offense. Bryant, however, made the catches count when he got his chances, scoring on two of his three receptions.
Now in terrific position, the often overshadowed "other" Oklahoma team likely won't face a true test until Halloween, when they host the Texas Longhorns.
Final Score: Oklahoma State 24, Georgia 10.
Top Player of the Week
Ralph Bolden, RB, Purdue
Ralph Bolden, a sophomore back from Georgia, only touched the ball 16 times in his entire freshman season, averaging a dismal 1.75 yards per carry.
Now, the 19-year-old might be poised for a monstrous second season.
He blasted Toledo for 234 yards on the ground, scoring twice, and recording eight runs of ten yards or more. And the amazing parthe was sharing carries the entire game with reliable senior back Jaycen Taylor.
Bolden propelled the Boilermakers to another huge win, as they have averaged a ridiculous 54 points per game in their past three wins (Michigan, Indiana and Toledo).
Final Line: 21 carries, 234 yards, 2 TD, 1 reception for 13 yards.
Flop Team of the Week
Illinois Fighting Illini
The Illini were a team picked by many to contend in the Big 10, but, once more, they begin the season by falling flat on their face.
They were again hammered by Missouri, but this time it wasn't even remotely close.
And to make matters worse, receiver Arrelious Benn left the field after the first half with an ankle injury.
Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert had all day to throw the ball.
The Illini were also horrific on third down, while turning the ball over twice compared to zero for the Tigers.
Which brings up a question. Is Missouri that good? Or is Illinois just that bad?
If dual-threat quarterback Juice Williams wants to be the leader that he proclaims to be, this was a nightmare start for his offense.
Final Score: Missouri 37, Illinois 9
Flop Player of the Week
Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada
Kaepernick was tabbed by many to show vast improvement in his third season as a starter, but the 6'6" junior was vastly ineffective instead.
Facing Notre Dame in South Bend, he had a big opportunity to show off his skills on a national stage.
Not so fast!
He led zero scoring drives, barely completed 50 percent of his passes, and was intercepted twice. With exception of a 17-yard scamper, he was also not much of a factor running the football either.
Although Nevada and Kaepernick's season is far from over, they have a lot of work to do before facing Missouri on September 25.
Final Line: 12-for-23, 149 passing yards, 2 interceptions, 39 rushing yards.
The Huskies didn't beat LSU.
In fact, the scoreboard will say that the Bayou Tigers won rather easily in Seattle. And now, the Huskies have lost 15 straight games, with their last victory coming on November 17, 2007.
However, new coach Steve Sarkisian and returning quarterback Jake Locker led Washington to a very impressive performance. For most of the night, they went toe-to-toe with the No. 11 Tigers.
For a team that was 117th in the country in total offense in 2008, the Huskies, remarkably, gained more yards than LSU in every offensive category.
Locker proved that he truly is a spectacular athlete, and had it not been for a handful of untimely drops from his receivers, the outcome may have been different.
The Huskies scored on the final play from scrimmage.
Final Score: LSU 31, Washington 23.
Not only did the Sooners drop their opener to BYU, they also lost Heisman-winning quarterback Sam Bradford, when he went down awkwardly on his shoulder.
While an early season loss to a non-conference opponent will hardly crucify their hopes at a national title, they sure aren't on the high road any longer.
Although they were forced to do without Bradford and sure-fire first round pick Jermaine Gresham, the team still featured two star running backs, and the defense could not stop the Cougars when it mattered most.
While it is likely the Sooners will fall out of the top 10 altogether Monday, they will not be down for long.
Final Score: Brigham Young 14, Oklahoma 13.
Everyone remembers how awful Michigan was in their first season under Rich Rodriguez.
With a 3-9 record and a host of offseason distractions, no team was happier to take the field this weekend than the Wolverines.
That dismal 2008 campaign was quickly pushed out of the minds of the Big House faithful.
Scoring on their first possession with freshman Tate Forcier under center, the Maize and Blue never looked back.
Receiver Junior Hemmingway found the pylon twice in the first half and speed demon quarterback Denard Robinson zoomed into the end zone, bringing back memories of Rodriguez's offense at West Virginia.
While the victory over Western Michigan hardly proves that the Wolverines are back into a contending role in the Big 10, it proves that they have come a long way in a short period of time.
The Big House was as loud as ever and it brought back that same imposing feel of old.
Final Score: Michigan 31, Western Michigan 7.
Welcome to the Big Stage!
Taylor Potts, QB, Texas Tech
While Potts is no freshman, the junior quarterback made his first start under the mad scientist at Tech, facing FBS North Dakota.
Typical day at the office, really.
Potts is no ordinary Tech quarterback though, as he stands at a prolific 6'5".
Potts tossed a pair of touchdowns, and also slammed in a one-yard run in the first quarter. His 49-yard strike to Detron Lewis in the second quarter was the highlight of the evening for the Red Raiders, who eased to a 38-13 victory in Lubbock.
Even without Michael Crabtree, the Red Raiders passing attack was as explosive as ever, as 10 different receivers caught passes. And big target Tramain Swindall, the Red Raiders fourth leading pass catcher in 2008, was undressed for the game.
However, his three interceptions, all to the same man, will need to be eliminated before Texas Tech returns to the Top 25.
Final Line: 34-for-48, 405 passing yards, 2 TD, 1 rushing TD.
That Guy You Want on Your Fantasy Team
Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State
If you haven't heard, Jahvid Best isn't the only other-worldly back in the Pac-10. Rodgers, all 5'7" of him, was a one-man wrecking crew as the Beavers destroyed Portland State.
He scored three times, went over 100 yards rushing, and also led the Beavers in receptions. Now, a performance against Portland State usually doesn't indicate much of anything, but it was a terrific continuation of his stellar freshman season, where he rushed for over 130 yards in half the games he played.
Final Line: 16 carries, 103 yards, 3 TD, 4 receptions for 32 yards.
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