College football 2017: Week 1 heroes

Andrew Kitchener Roar Guru

By , Andrew Kitchener is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    University of California running back Khalfani Muhammad takes off on a run behind a blocker. (Photo: Jack Prichard)

    It’s September, and that means college football is back! There were plenty of memorable performances by teams and individuals this week, and I’ve collected the best of those here, my Week One heroes.

    Jake Olson
    Maybe the best story of the year, in the first week. Blind since the age of twelve, the long-time USC fan walked on and made the team as a long snapper. His first game action came during the PAT attempt on the final Trojans’ score of their season-opener against Western Michigan. It was a fantastic moment, one that we don’t see often enough in college football these days.

    Howard
    They’re calling it the largest point-spread upset in college football, and it might be the greatest upset in the sport, full stop. FCS school Howard, a 45-point underdog to UNLV, stunned the Rebels 43-40 in Las Vegas behind a huge offensive effort from Caylin Newton, brother of Cam, who scored three touchdowns. It was Howard’s first win against an FBS opponent.

    J.K. Dobbins
    Playing in his first college game, the Ohio State running back ran for 181 yards on Thursday night as the Buckeyes pulled away late from Indiana for a 49-21 win. Dobbins’ effort, on twenty-nine carries, breaks a 15-year school record for yardage on debut. Big story in an otherwise uninspiring Buckeye win.

    Oklahoma State’s offense
    Before you stop me and say it was just Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane won ten games last year, so OK State’s 640 yards of offense in their 59-24 win was beyond impressive. Heisman candidate quarterback Mason Rudolph (20-24 for three passing and one rushing touchdown) has a ridiculous array of talent, and the Cowboys promise to be one of the most entertaining offenses in the country every week.

    I’d hate to be a defensive coordinator going against that group.

    Baker Mayfield
    The Oklahoma quarterback lost Dede Westbrook, Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon plus head coach Bob Stoops, but the guy still completed 19 of 20 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns in one very efficient half of football, as the Sooners went on to a 56-7 win. Huge game on the road for Mayfield and the Sooners at Ohio State next Saturday.

    Josh Rosen
    The UCLA quarterback wasn’t great for the first three quarters – like the rest of his team – but exploded in the final frame, passing for 292 yards and four touchdowns to engineer one of the most incredible comebacks we’ve ever seen. It was an extraordinary fourth quarter performance that’ll probably wallpaper over a few cracks, but even this USC fan was impressed.

    Maryland
    The unheralded Terrapins did what the unthinkable on Saturday afternoon: they went into Austin and beat the Longhorns in Tom Hermann’s debut, 51-41. It didn’t matter that starting quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome (two passing and one rushing touchdown) left injured in the third. Freshman quarterback Kasim Hill stepped up, directing two huge fourth-quarter touchdown drives to preserve a memorable win.

    The victory snaps a 17-game losing streak to ranked opponents. And it ensures an interesting week upcoming on Texas sports talk radio, too.

    Iowa’s defence
    The Hawkeyes came after Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen early and often at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday afternoon, forcing two interceptions and limiting the influence of the signal caller who has been heralded as one of the top NFL draft prospects this off-season. Iowa’s defenders also limited Wyoming to 59 yards on 30 attempts in a suffocating 24-3 win.

    Josh Jackson
    The freshman quarterback for Virginia Tech had himself quite a debut on Sunday night, leading the Hokies to a 31-24 win at FedEx Field. He threw for 235 yards, ran for 101 more, and was responsible for two touchdowns. If he keeps up that sort of production, the Hokies are going to be serious ACC contenders.

    Luke Falk
    We all know that the Washington State quarterback is a gun. He’s had that Cougar offense humming along nicely for the last few seasons, and now is starting to break school records. Three touchdowns (and twenty straight completions to open the game!) later, Falk now owns the school career passing touchdown record, and with plenty of time left in this, his senior season, the eventual WSU benchmark is going to be quite something.

    Ronald Jones
    The bright spot on an otherwise dull day for USC offensively, Jones ran for 159 yards and three touchdowns and was the reason why the Trojans won their season-opener against Western Michigan.

    Liberty
    In the first year of a two-year FBS reclassification process, the Flames shocked Baylor in Waco, toppling the Bears 48-45, with 585 yards of total offense. Quarterback Stephen Calvert threw for 447 yards and three touchdowns, finding receiver Antonio Gandy-Golden 13 times for 192 yards and two touchdowns. Impressive win by Turner McGill’s men – undoubtedly the school’s biggest.

    Colorado
    The Buffaloes won the first big traditional rivalry game of the year, accounting for Colorado State 17-3 on Friday night in Denver. Buffs fans can thank running back Phillip Lindsay, who ripped off 140 yards.

    Georgia
    The Bulldogs were on upset alert heading into their season-opener against Appalachian State, and gave everyone cause for further concern when star quarterback Jacob Eason was injured late in the first quarter.

    No worries in the end, because backup Jake Fromm stepped in, threw a touchdown in a tidy performance, and watched the powerful Georgia run game – Nick Chubb had 96 yards and Sony Michel 87 – dominate for a 31-10 win. An ominous performance between the hedges.

    Drew Lock
    The Missouri quarterback threw for seven touchdowns among 521 yards, breaking a couple of school records held by the legendary Chase Daniel, as the Tigers beat Missouri State 72-43.

    North Dakota State
    The FCS Bison had 683 yards of total offense including a mammoth 498 yards on the ground as they dispatched Mississippi Valley State 72-7 in the Fargodome.

    Purdue
    The Boilermakers didn’t win, but they made Lamar Jackson and Louisville work really hard for a 35-28 decision on Saturday night. It’s a really good sign for the Purdue program that Jeff Brohm took over during the off-season. Play as well the rest of the year as they did tonight and the perennial Big Ten cellar dwellers are going to be just fine.

    Notre Dame
    I hate to write this, but the Irish looked a competent football team, on both sides of the ball in a 49-16 win over Temple, and nothing happened on the field to give Brian Kelly that famous red-faced look that all Notre Dame haters know and love.

    I watched the game worried, because if the Irish are good, that’s the first sign of the coming apocalypse, right? Then I realised it was just Temple, and am hoping that Georgia, who visit South Bend next week, can help us all out with a comprehensive win

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