PORTIONS PREVIOUSLY APPEARING ON WTOP.COM

Caveat Emptor.  Just because college football is back, it doesn’t mean the product is up to midseason form the first weekend.  For every clash of top 20 teams in September’s non-conference slate, there are more than a few “buyout games” where the Hawaiis of the world get blown out in the Big House…and directional/hyphenated schools get a paycheck before losing by 50.  But for every Iowa thumping of Miami (Ohio), there’s a South Alabama upset of Mississippi State.  Or Western Michigan nipping Northwestern.  Or…closer to home…Virginia falling to Richmond.  Buyer beware…

Alma Mater Update- another glorious season is underway at Syracuse thanks to a 33-7 smackdown of Colgate.  Back in the day this was a rivalry game and the schools were called the Orangemen and the Red Raiders.  Since then the Orange have moved on to playing Eastern Independents before joining the Big East and now ACC.  Colgate, meanwhile, has renewed its longstanding rivalries with Aim and Aquafresh (Topol no longer fields a program after incurring the death penalty in the 1990’s).  While SU looked sharp moving the ball through the air (Eric Dungey completed 34 of 40 passes), 3.3 yards per carry against an FCS school does not inspire confidence.  Much like getting a discouraging drumstick to flat ratio- you’re still going to enjoy the wings, but wonder what went wrong.

Maryland kicked off the D.J. Durkin era with a 52-13 rout of Howard, dominating on both sides of the ball in a game that was over by the end of the first quarter.  Terrapin Triumphs- the offense scored the first four times they had the football en route to pounding out 315 yards on the ground (averaging over 7 yards a carry).  The defense forced 5 three and outs to start the game and didn’t allow the Bison to cross midfield until late in the 2nd quarter.  Special teams blocked a punt and returned it for a score.  Terrapin Troubles- the passing game didn’t need to make plays downfield…but depended on way too much short stuff.  Will that work come Big Ten season?  Next:  Friday night at FIU (0-1 on the season and DO NOT CALL THEM FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL!), 7:30 p.m.

Virginia Tech took a while to take control of its game with Liberty before blasting the Flames 36-13.  Fire up the smoked turkey legs.  Hokie Highlights- the ground game pounded out 206 yards while Isaiah Ford notched 11 catches for 117 yards.  Jerod Evans threw four TD passes.  The defense notched 3 interceptions and a safety while also holding Liberty to 2-15 on third down.  Hokie Humblings- the team lost four fumbles and took way to long to get in gear against an overmatched FCS team.  Hopefully it’s just first-week doldrums.  Next:  Saturday at Bristol Speedway against #9 Tennessee (1-0), 8 p.m.

Virginia saw its worst nightmare become true in a 37-20 loss to Richmond.  Everyone knew that new coach Bronco Mendenhall had a major rebuilding job ahead…this early-season stumble only magnifies how deep the crater he has to pull the program out of actually is.  Cavalier Congrats- NO PENALTIES.  Kurt Benkert threw for 264 yards in his first full collegiate game and first action in almost two years.  Micah Kiser tallied 14 tackles and a sack.  Cavalier Concerns- Four turnovers that either wiped out scoring chances (Taquan Mizzell’s fumble on the Richmond 5) or led to Spiders points.  The offense managed just 38 yards rushing.  The defense was carved up by UR’s Kyle Lauletta to the tune of 337 yards passing.  Next: Saturday at (gulp) #24 Oregon (1-0), 10:30 p.m.

Navy had to call on the reserves when quarterback Tago Smith went down with a knee injury, going into the stands for plebe Malcolm Perry.  That was minor drama on a day where they dominated Fordham 52-16.  Midshipmen Medals- 550 yards rushing, led by Chris High’s 176 yards on 10 carries.  Backup QB Will Worth completed all 3 of his passes while also running for a score in directing the option offense.  Daniel Gonzales led the defense with 10 tackles.  Midshipmen Miscues- they were fortunate to recover both of their fumbles.  And traffic to the Bay Bridge was less than ideal.  Next:  Saturday vs UConn (1-0), 3:30 p.m.

 

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