It may be week one, but we have plenty of results to look at. Let’s get started!
Northwestern 31 @ Purdue 27
If you followed my brilliant advice, you’d have watched this game Thursday night. Northwestern appears to have a RB. Jeremy Larkin stepped up to replace the graduating Justin Jackson with 143 yards and 2 TD on 26 carries. Vanderbilt fans likely had flashbacks watching the QB situation as Northwestern decided that two touchdown drives and going 6/7 wasn’t good enough. They replaced Clayton Thorson with TJ Green, and switched them back and forth throughout the game. Welcome to hell, Northwestern.
On Purdue’s side, Rondale Moore (WR) proved himself to be worth every bit of hype he Boilermaker fans were giving him. Moore caught 11 passes for 109 yards and a TD, returned kicks for 125 yards, and ran an amazing jet sweep for 76 yards to the house. The combined 313 yards broke Otis Armstrong’s single-game combined yards records (312) set in 1972.
Overall, the game was a solid matchup, never more than two scores apart, and usually within one. Purdue shutout the Northwestern offense the entire second half, but was unable to get the ball back for the entire last eight minutes of the game, giving NU the victory. Both these teams feel like they’re on the cusp of something great but are just missing some consistency.
Wake Forest 23 @ Tulane 17
We knew this game was going to be a cripple fight on the level of some of our own. The Demon Deacons needed OT to defeat Tulane, which is akin to Vanderbilt not putting MTSU away. Wake has a FR QB, Sam Hartman, who threw for 378 yards and went 31/51 with 2 TDs. He also threw 2 INTs, which is understandable for a FR QB. The big worry Wake has at the moment is that they let up two huge 50+ yard plays for TD through the air. That does not auger well for their secondary. Tulane shouldn’t be burning you like that. Wake has an even easier opponent next week to correct some issues, but a worrysome start, even if you’re a team on par with us.
Utah State 31 @ (#11) Michigan State 38
Far more pathetic than Wake struggling against Tulane was Michigan State almost losing to Utah State. MSU seemed to take that 23 point spread as a challenge, never getting more than two scores ahead of USU. USU stayed with MSU entirely through the air, getting 319 of their 344 yards through the air. This passing attack kept USU in the game and set up three goaline runs for their backs to finish the drive, including one that put USU up one point with five minutes to go in the game. Unfortunately for upset fans, USU could not hold on, throwing a pick with only 2:00 left in the game, which MSU capitalized on to win it.
All teams, even teams as strong as MSU have their slow starts and stumbles. But to get picked apart by competition that is so one dimensional speaks to some bigger problems. More than that, MSU had nine penalties for 62 yards on the night. They also couldn’t finish drives, settling for a FG with the ball at the 6, 14 and 31. Not what you want to see out of a team fans are pushing as possible title contenders.
(#6) Washington 16 @ (#9) Auburn 21
While the score didn’t indicate it, this game felt like it was about to take a bad turn for the Huskies at the end of the first. While only down 9-3, the Huskies had four pathetic drives; their only FG coming on the heels of a Auburn personal foul. I’m not quite sure how to characterize the rest of the game. It was some combination of sloppy offense and good defense. Washington’s defense in particular got better pressure on Jarrett Stidham, but Auburn returned to their fairly predictable offense (and offensive issues) as well.
The story of the week, however, is going to be that UW beat themselves. This isn’t a bad point, as UW consistently was finishing drives with short field goals (or misses) that should have been TDs. They had a RZ turnover on the AUB 3. This isn’t to take away from Auburn’s victory over a team that could still make the playoff. It will be the narrative though as Auburn themselves could only get into the RZ once in the entire second half.
Appalachian State 38 @ (#10) Penn State 45
I turned this game just in time to watch OT. I’m sorry.
I don’t have much else to say about this game other than Franklin was at least correct that App State does sneak up on some teams. Nonetheless, if you think you’re a title contender and you need OT to beat them, you’re not a title contender. PSU should have put this game away finishing the third quarter up a two scores. They didn’t, letting App State score FOUR touchdowns in the fourth quarter. PSU scored two of their own, but holy moly.
It appears the narrative of the PSU fans will be that the defense only allowed three points leading into that abysmal fourth quarter. I guess they’re going to shrug off the special teams letting up that 100 yard kick return. As I didn’t watch much of the game, I can’t say whether it was just being tired or whether App State noticed a weakness, but there’s no excuse for letting them back into the game like that. None.
(#14) Michigan 17 @ (#12) Notre Dame 24
Notre Dame had control and momentum of this game the entire time. Shea Patterson’s passing game struggled some, passing 227 yards on 20/30 attempts, no TDs, one interception. That’s a 32.4 QBR. With 3 sacks, and 6 hurries by the Notre Dame defense, the Michigan fans may have a point to blame their OL play. Incidentally, I find it mildly amusing that when I read other sites on SBN to see what their fans and people are saying, it’s the same complaints we have about the Dores. Only, you know, they have top football teams.
Notre Dame is going to be a rough game y’all. The good news is that right now it’s not looking QUITE like the meat grinder Alabama was. Check back in two weeks when I do a complete 180 on that hot take.
The Tennessee Vols will beat West Virginia.— Parker (@Parkabba) August 29, 2018
If I am wrong, I will Venmo everyone who retweets this $1.
(#17) West Virginia 40 @ Tennessee 14
I don’t think anyone expected this outcome. LSU absolutely dominated Miami in almost every way. The LSU D performed as expected, turning in 4 sacks, 6 TFL, 5 hurries and 2 INTs (one brought to the house). The narrative of LSU having questions around their running attack were answered by Nick Brossette who destroyed the Miami front 7. Over 22 carries for 125 yards, Brossette scored two touchdowns.
With the first half ending at 27-3, it looked like LSU was going to absolutely obliterate the Canes. In the second half, however, LSU decided to remember they were LSU. I saw entirely too many dropped passes for big plays, showing that LSU still has some discipline issues. I have spent many seasons watching LSU players get too comfortable and if Miami were Alabama, they’d have paid for these mistakes dearly.
LSU fans will be full of delusional optimism after a win like this. I’m still not thrilled with their passing game, and will need to see LSU can keep their foot on the gas before I’m ready to say they’re a possible threat.