Opening weekend of the college football season was not exactly nice to the Big Ten.  Six of the league’s fourteen schools lost…with another coming a Southern Illinois 2-point conversion away from being the cherry on top of one nasty Saturday Sundae.  While Minnesota falling to #2 TCU and Wisconsin slipping to #3 Alabama were hardly surprises…Michigan losing at Utah puts a minor stain on coach Jim Harbaugh’s khakis.  Nebraska’s last-second loss to BYU is probably going to cause the Cornhuskers to put Pacific and UAB back on the schedule.  Purdue losing to Marshall?  Drew Brees feels like a century ago (actually he did play for the Boilermakers in the late 1990’s, but you get the idea).  As mentioned, Indiana needed a failed two point conversion to squeak past Southern Illinois.  The most crushing defeat came in Philadelphia–Penn State fell to Temple 27-10 in the Nittany Lions first loss to the Owls since 1941.  The two programs may play in the same state but compete in completely different universes.  The Big Ten wanted Penn State so much is blew up the whole “name equals the number of schools” concept…while Temple was a bad fit in the Big East and the MAC before finally settling in at the American Athletic Conference (although they’re in a different division than nearby Navy– go figure).  Thank goodness Maryland and Rutgers are able to represent the conference.

 

Alma Mater Update– the best of times and worst of times in the Salt City.  The Orange crushed Rhode Island 47-0…which they should but last year needed overtime to escape Villanova.  But, the team loses starting quarterback Terrel Hunt for the season with a torn ACL.  Bring on true freshman Eric Dungey from Lake Oswego, Oregon.  How much is expected of the true freshman?  There’s no picture of him on the cbsports.com website and he shares his #2 with a cornerback.  When does basketball start again?

 

Maryland took a while to find itself in its 50-21 rout of Richmond.  Settling for field goals in the red zone, breakdowns in the secondary and special teams miscues are not ideal–but are all correctable moving forward.  Coach Randy Edsall improves to 5-0 in season openers at College Park…and I miss my friend’s tailgate for the second straight year (blasted 12-noon kickoffs).  Terrapin Triumphs– William Likely not only has the coolest name since Texas RB Butch Hadnot, the junior set a Big Ten record with 233 punt return yards.  Runbacks of 67, 47, and 35…the Spiders actually would have been better off taking a knee on 4th down.  Brandon Ross tallied a career high 150 yards rushing…despite not seeing the ball in the 4th quarter.  Quinton Jefferson spearheaded a pass rush with 2 sacks in his first game in almost a year…while the defense holds Richmond to 56 yards rushing and 2-12 on third down.  Terrapin Troubles– Perry Hills first start since 2012 was somewhat uneven:  the junior threw for 138 yards and 2 touchdowns…but some of his incompletions were bad misses.  The defense allowed back to back 75 yard touchdown drives in the first half…allowing Kyle Lauletta to complete 6 of 6 passes for 120 yards.  Brad Craddock proved he is actually human, hitting the post with an extra point attempt and hooking a 28-yard field goal.  He’s still the best kicker in the country.  Next:  Saturday at noon against Bowling Green (0-1, lost to Tennessee 59-30).  Setting two alarms so I can enjoy my friend’s shrimp dip and stromboli.

 

Virginia played #13 UCLA close for a half…before the Bruins turned a one-possession game into a 34-16 crushing of the Cavaliers.  When do they play William & Mary?  Cavalier Congrats– Taquan Mizzell notched 8 catches for 100 yards and the team’s lone touchdown.  Micah Kiser tallied 12 tackles to pace an overwhelmed defense.  Nicholas Conte averaged over 50 yards per punt.  Cavalier Concerns– The offense sputtered in the red zone early…resulting in field goals from 19 and 31 yards.  The thunder and lightning tandem of Mizzell and Albert Reid was held to less than 3 yards a carry (76 yards on 28 tries).  The defense was gashed for 503 total yards to a freshman quarterback making his first college start (Josh Rosen passed for 351 yards and 3 touchdowns while simultaneously appearing in The OC’s Reunion TV Movie).  Next:  Saturday at 12:30 against Notre Dame (1-0 after torching Texas 38-3).  It’s on ABC?  Can’t they show reruns of “The World According to Jim”?

 

Navy took little time to brush Colgate aside, ripping the Raiders 48-10.  Perfect way to start the season…and keep people in the Annapolis area off route 50 for three hours on a Labor Day weekend Saturday.  Midshipmen Medals– Chris Swain led a dominant ground game (371 yards on 7.9 yards a carry) with 126 yards and a touchdown.  Jamir Tillman picked up where he left off in 2014 by catching 3 passes for 67 yards.  The defense got off the field on 11 of 17 third down attempts.  Midshipmen Miscues– 3 for 9 on third down is not ideal…but looking for issues from Saturday’s win is akin to searching the Annapolis sky for a tiny cloud.  Next:  Saturday at 3:30 against East Carolina (1-0 after topping Towson 28-20) in the school’s historic first American Athletic Conference (of America) game.

 

Virginia Tech looked as though it had the ingredients of an upset with opportune offense, stingy defense and BEAMER BALL! on special teams after one half against #1 Ohio State.  Unfortunately, the second half saw the Buckeyes score at will while putting the Hokies quarterback out of commission.  Final score, Ohio State 42, Virginia Tech 24.  While most teams won’t be able to stay within two touchdowns of the defending champs…coach Frank Beamer’s team has to wonder what if Michael Brewer had been able to stay healthy.  Hokie Highlights– they led the defending national champs at the half!  Michael Brewer threw two touchdown passes and looked five times as good as he did last year.  The defense held the Buckeyes to 3 of 9 on third down and special teams tallied a fumble recovery on a punt return. BEAMER BALL!  Hokie Humblings– the broken collarbone means Brewer’s out four to five weeks.  The defense allowed 526 total yards…including scoring plays of 53, 54 and 80 yards.  The running game was held to under 3 yards a carry and backup quarterback Brenden Motley has thrown 14 passes in his entire college career.  He’ll need to grow up quickly for this team to be in good shape when Brewer returns next month. Next:  Saturday September 19th against Furman (0-1 after losing to Coastal Carolina 38-35).  Break out the turkey legs…

 

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