College Football Week One Recap
Greetings, SQ fans! What a week of college football it was! The college football staff at SQ has recapped what the week was like and here is what we said.
1. Which team had the most impressive win?
Sean Berger: Texas A&M really impressed me in its win against Arizona State. Going into a neutral site game and facing a top-15 team isn’t easy, especially to start the season. Texas A&M QB Kyle Allen played well in the season opener, throwing for 198 yards and two touchdowns. However, the retooled Aggie defense, under new defensive coordinator John Chavis, stole the show for me. The Aggie defense held Arizona State QB Mike Bercovici to just 199 yards passing after he had averaged 341.5 during his last four games with at least 22 attempts. Myles Garrett registered two sacks on the night, and now Texas A&M looks to be a surprise contender for the SEC West.
Robert Hess: Northwestern. The Wildcats held #21 Stanford to just 240 total yards and won the turnover battle 2-0. After two consecutive 5-7 seasons, it’s great to see Pat Fitzgerald’s team defeat a ranked opponent. In a down Big Ten West, the Wildcats hope to compete for the division title. With their stubborn defense, Northwestern seems like a legitimate threat to Wisconsin.
Andy Narotsky: Temple’s win over Penn State was impressive for a number of reasons. Temple snapped a 39-game winless streak against it’s in-state rival, and did so in extreme fashion. The Owls sacked Christian Hackenberg 10 times, including once on a two-man rush. Considering this was a team that only two seasons ago lost 10 games, things are looking up in Philadelphia for Temple. Keep an eye on their defense this season.
David Street: I agree with Sean. I was definitely impressed with Texas A&M’s win over Arizona State. Arizona State was a sleeper pick to make a legitimate run to the playoffs and they got destroyed by the Aggies. It seems that Coach Sumlin made the right choice at quarterback as Kyle Allen had a solid game with nearly 200 yards passing, two touchdowns, and one rushing touchdown. DE Myles Garrett was on point, producing eight total tackles and two sacks for the Aggies.
2. Which team had the most disappointing loss?
Sean: Although a couple Conference USA teams (FIU and Western Kentucky) snagged some big wins over opponents from the SEC and American this weekend, the most disappointing loss this weekend has to be Stanford’s loss to Northwestern. Coming into the game, Stanford had high hopes of competing for a PAC-12 title, and while this loss doesn’t affect their chances there, it doesn’t exactly set the tone for a great season. Northwestern’s defense dominated the Cardinal offense, holding Stanford to just six points and 240 total yards.
Robert: Sean stole my team with the most disappointing loss, so I’ll go with the Texas Longhorns. Texas was routed by #11 Notre Dame 38-3, as Malik Zaire completed 19 of 22 passes for 313 yards and three touchdowns. Texas looked like they hadn’t prepared a quarterback, and limped to 163 yards of total offense, “led” by Tyrone Swoopes’ 93 yards on 7 of 22 passing. In Charlie Strong’s debut, the Longhorns lost their first season opener since 1997. Unless running back Jonathan Gray can create magic on the ground, it looks like it will be a long season in Austin.
Andy: Nebraska falling to BYU 33-28 on a Hail Mary as time expired surely took the wind out of the Huskers’ sail. The Cornhuskers also broke a 29-year win streak on opening games, which had to sting even more. BYU definitely earned the win and played well, so ultimately Nebraska can’t be overly upset about this, but it still stings to have the win within your grasp and taken away from you just like that.
David: Although it was widely expected that Vanderbilt was going to have another poor season, it still has to sting knowing the fact that they were the only team in the SEC to lose their opening game (the LSU and McNeese state game was cancelled due to inclement weather). Johnny McCrary had a game to forget as he completed just 53% of his passes with one touchdown and two interceptions. Defensively, the Commodores were solid, allowing Western Kentucky only 11 first downs and just 246 yards. But that’s what makes the loss disappointing. The defense did its part and the offense couldn’t capitalize.
3. Which freshman stood out the most?
Sean: Josh Rosen really impressed me in his first game as a true freshman, starting at QB for UCLA. For a kid who was playing in high school just last season, Rosen looked like a polished upperclassman. Completing 80% of his passes for 351 yards and three touchdowns, while finishing with a 192.52 QB rating, is a good way to announce your presence. He even did this against a power five school (Virginia), which will undoubtedly raise a few eyebrows. I’m definitely excited to see this talented freshman progress throughout the season.
Robert: Although there are clearly some more accomplished freshmen (Josh Rosen was unbelievable in his debut), I’m going to go with BYU quarterback Taylor Mangum. With the Cougars down 28-27 to Nebraska with one second remaining, Mangum threw a perfect 42-yard strike to Mitch Mathews for the game-winning Hail Mary as time expired. Mangum had not played organized football since 2012 because of his LDS mission, yet impressed following Taysom Hill’s injury in the fourth quarter. Mangum finished 7 of 11 for 111 yards and the winning touchdown, and added 26 yards on five carries. A truly impressive road performance by a freshman who hadn’t played in years.
Andy: The answer has to be Josh Rosen, UCLA’s quarterback. Rosen has been hyped all throughout training camp and he really came to play this weekend. In addition to the stats that Sean mentioned, Rosen also became the first true freshman to start a season opener in UCLA history, and he grabbed the freshman school records for single-game yards, attempts, and completions. I think Rosen will prove to be a force to be reckoned with this season in Pac-12 play.
David: This isn’t even a question to me. UCLA QB Josh Rosen was far and away the most impressive freshman. In his first ever college game, he completed 80% of his passes and threw for 351 yards with three touchdowns and zero picks. He was one of the most hyped freshmen to ever enter college football and in his first game, he lived up to it. If he can maintain his production, UCLA could make a serious run to the playoffs.
4. Who is your Week One Heisman front runner?
Sean: Week One is hard to get an accurate picture of the Heisman race, especially with the quality of opponents most power five schools schedule for their kickoff game. Coming into the week I was set on Trevone Boykin, and I’m going to stay set on him for at least one more week. He put up solid, but not spectacular numbers against a pesky Minnesota defense. Boykin’s 246 passing yards and 92 rushing yards are just a fraction of what he has the potential to put up with the offense TCU has. However, I’ll be more inclined to replace him if Josh Rosen or Malik Zaire have strong performances next week.
Robert: Since it’s just the first week of the season, I’ll make a fun choice. Braxton Miller rushed for 62 yards and a touchdown on six carries and reeled in two receptions f
or 78 yards and another score. Mind you, the Buckeyes had a legitimate road test against Virginia Tech, the only team that beat the defending national champions. If Miller can keep up this torrid pace and throw a few touchdowns as well, he can steal Heisman votes from all the other impressive candidates on his own team. More realistically, Notre Dame QB Malik Zaire leads the race for the Heisman at this ridiculously early stage.
Andy: In terms of flashiest overall performance, Braxton Miller of Ohio State probably deserves consideration for Heisman. His 140 total yards and 2 TDs are certainly impressive, but it will be more impressive if he can keep up even half that pace. If I had to give the Heisman based purely on first game performance, I would give it to Miller. However, I think that Josh Rosen has a real chance to continue improving, and recent history has dictated of late that this is a quarterback’s award to lose. Rosen has to continue to produce, but I think he will be in the driver’s seat for the Trophy before long.
David: I was very impressed with Alabama RB Derrick Henry. In just 13 carries, he bulldozed his way past Wisconsin’s defense with 147 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. He also averaged a very impressive 11.3 yards per carry. A running back has not won the Heisman since 2009 but Henry has a real solid shot at winning it. The last running back to win the Heisman was Mark Ingram who also played for Alabama.