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NCAA Football: News and Notes Following Week 1

Here is some of the news and notes from College Football after Week 1:

Alabama Quarterback Controversy Resolved…For Now

Ever since the national championship game ended last season, questions have been swirling as to who would be Alabama’s quarterback when the 2018/19 season began.  Would it be Jalen Hurts, who has led Alabama to a 27-2 record in his tenure as starter or would it be Tua Tagovailoa, who led the Crimson Tide to a national championship after taking over for Hurts in the second half of the championship game. On Saturday, we got our answer.

Sophomore Tua Tagovailoa was solid in Alabama’s 51-14 win over Louisville.  He went 12 for 16 with 227 yards and two touchdowns. He also added 26 yards rushing and a touchdown in the ground game. Still, it will be interesting to see how coach Nick Saban utilizes the two throughout the season as even in his pregame depth chart it still listed the quarterback as Tua Taovailoa OR Jalen Hurts. Regardless, Alabama has two solid quarterbacks and look poised to make another run at a national championship.

Michigan State Avoids Major Upset

Every year expectations for the Michigan State Spartans are lofty, with the bar set to competing in a national championship.  With that in mind, the last thing the Spartans would want is a week one loss to an unranked opponent, but that is almost what happened on Saturday.

The number 11 ranked Spartans took it down to the wire before they finally pulled out a 38-31 win over Utah State. Offensively, while they were able to put 38 points on the board, it didn’t always look pretty at times.

Quarterback Brian Lewerke was 23 for 33 with 287 yards and 2 touchdowns, but he also had an interception and lost a fumble. Twice they also had to settle for field goals despite getting all the way down to the Utah State 1-yard line.  Basically, what it boils down to for the Spartans is that they survived week one, but if they were to play like this against some of their Big Ten opponents, most notably Ohio State, it might be a long season for Michigan State..

Ohio State Wins Without Meyer On The Sideline

Speaking of Ohio State, they were also able to get a week one victory despite Urban Meyer not being on the sideline as he serves his suspension.  Ranked number 5 in the nation, there hasn’t been a whole lot of talk of football for the last several months when Ohio State’s name has come up.

Urban Meyer, who has been mired in an investigation surrounding his knowledge and lack of action regarding former assistant Zach Smith and accusations of his domestic violence.  Still, the athletes of Ohio State were able to put the focus back on the field Saturday as they beat Oregon State 77-31.

The Buckeyes were able to accumulate 721 yards of offense and tied a record for points scored in an opener. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr. went 22 for 30 with 313 yards and 5 touchdowns. Ohio State’s next game will be against Rutgers on Saturday.

Battle Of Two Top-10 Teams

One of the most intriguing week one matchups featured number 9 Auburn against number 6 Washington.  It wasn’t the prettiest of games as there were 22 penalties, both running games were ineffective and there were only 3 touchdowns scored, but sometimes in week one, it is just about getting a victory, not how you get it.

For Auburn, quarterback Jarrett Stidham went 26 for 36 with 273 yards and a touchdown. Not to be outdone, Washington’s Jake Browning went 18 for 32 with 296 yards and a touchdown. Browning did also add an interception. While those numbers aren’t awful, the running games were pretty ineffective.

On the game, both teams averaged less than 3.3 yards per carry. Ultimately, the game came down to a 4th and 16 for Washington, allowing Auburn to bring pressure and give Browning no chance for a completion.  While both teams have a lot to improve for their next games, both also still have the firepower to make runs at the playoff.  For Washington, though, a week one loss makes it an uphill climb for the rest of their schedule.

Florida Atlantic University Gets Trounced By Oklahoma

Lane Kiffin is a very polarizing figure.  After stops at USC, the Raiders and Alabama, he now finds himself in the second year at FAU.  After a pretty solid season that saw them go 11-3 and win the Conference USA, there were rumblings as whether Lane Kiffin and FAU might make similar noise this year.

The problem for Kiffin is that no one told that to Oklahoma.  Oklahoma came out and blasted FAU in the first half, leading 42-0 after two quarters. The final score was 63-14. For Oklahoma, they definitely looked like a team deserving of a top-10 rank (they are currently ranked 7th).

Quarterback Kyler Murray went 9 for 11 with 209 yards and 2 touchdowns.  On the rushing side, Rodney Anderson led the way with 5 rushes for 100 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Trey Sermon (9 rushes for 69 yards), Kennedy Brooks (4 rushes for 51 yards), and Marcelias Sutton (4 rushes for 38 yards) also had a touchdown.  Regardless, Oklahoma looked like the team we expected and for Lane Kiffin and FAU, they have some work to do.

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