With all of the storylines going into 2010’s first week of college football, several ran repeatedly. How would Florida look without Tim Tebow? Would Alabama come out swinging like defending national champions? How would North Carolina fare against LSU with a depleted lineup?
The answers to those questions we now know. But while you were tuning into prime time match ups or watching your favorite game’s cupcake pummeling via pay-per-view, five other players across the country had days that made the nation raise an eyebrow.
Here are five players to keep an eye on thanks to college football’s first week of games.
How can being on the bad end of a 49-10 loss possibly be spun positively? If you’re Bobby Rainey, you may have inspired your team towards a far better showing than in 2009. A season that includes a win would be a start.
Willie Taggert’s first game as head coach of the Hilltoppers wasn’t pleasant in Lincoln, Nebraska. Coming out in the third quarter down 21-0, he told his boys to keep fighting.
In the second half, WKU didn’t let up and while ultimately falling, Rainey posted a career day. 30 carries and 155 yards on Rainey's benefited both teams, believe it or not.
Nebraska knows they have some serious work to do and WKU has shown they may just have a Sun Belt superstar after all.
Assuming you didn’t catch the Purdue-Notre Dame game or simply caught the highlights, let’s review:
- Brian Kelly debuted as Notre Dame’s next savior head football coach
- The Irish defeated Purdue 23-12
- Defensive End Ryan Kerrigan did not make it easy for the Fighting Irish to succeed.
Kerrigan totaled seven tackles (four solo), 2.5 TFL, one sack and a forced fumble. To say he had a respectable day against the Golden Domers would be putting it mildly.
While Purdue turned out to be the first team to be defeated by Brian Kelly as the Irish's head man, Kerrigan showed fantastic quickness off the edge. His pursuit was relentless and his physicality won’t let the Notre Dame forget that the Boilermakers came to town.
It will be interesting to see what this young man can do as the year goes on for Purdue.
Most college football fans probably looked at the Tulsa-East Carolina game and yawned at the match up. The CUSA game turned into a BYOD (Bring Your Own Defense) contest and it appeared that each team forgot to bring one along.
It would be easy to give the nod to either Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne who went 28-for-43 and 399 yards passing with five touchdowns and an interception. In this instance, the nod goes to the winning quarterback and the one who threw the game-winning Hail Mary pass.
Davis gave Kinne a run for his money in the statistics department going 27-for-46 and 383 yards passing matching both his touchdown and interception totals.
A note to ECU’s future opposition: Bring defensive backs.
Diondre Borel and the Utah State Aggies were supposed to be a footnote in Sooner lore. USU was supposed to just come in, let the Oklahoma faithful hear Boomer Sooner every other play, notch their 800th win in school history and move on.
As the schools that belong to the prestigious “800 Win Club” know, sometimes you have to earn those wins against the most unlikely of opposition. Borel stepped up and went 17-for-36 amassing 341 yards and two touchdowns passing.
Unfortunately, he also chucked three costly interceptions that ultimately helped the Sooners gain lucky No. 800.
The WAC may want to be careful when the Aggies come to town. Even Boise State could find Borel giving their defense a run for its money.
Like you expected a different school to take the top prize.
Ole Miss' season opener had all the makings of a fine afternoon. Bring in a FCS opponent in Jacksonville State. Never mind that the Gamecocks are one of the more dangerous ones to play. Jeremiah Masoli got the official nod from the NCAA and we’re off!
Heading into the fourth quarter with a 31-13 lead, the Rebels could just coast to a 1-0 start. Masoli could get ready for next week’s trip to Tulane and Ole Miss would be on their way. Right?
It’s no Appalachian State over Michigan, but Jacksonville State’s double-overtime defeat of Ole Miss does rank as a pretty big surprise.
It couldn’t have happened without a fantastic 21-point fourth quarter rally and eventual overtime clinchers by Blanchard and Ivory.
Admittedly, a favorite between the two couldn't be chosen because they were both necessary for the Gamecocks to pull off the upset.
The dynamic duo from JSU each contributed 126 yards and two touchdowns passing as the Gamecocks headed back home with a win over an SEC school. Hotty Toddy, Gosh almighty, what now, Rebs?
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