Making Some Sense of College Football’s First Saturday

Johnny Manziel's play was solid but his mouth and antics were the story.

College Football kicked off its’ first full Saturday of the 2013 season yesterday. In typical fashion there were big-time blowouts, games that went down to the final seconds and big individual performances. I’m going to do my best to break some of the key action down and give you something to think about moving forward.

Manziel Returns – The second half of yesterday’s Texas A&M-Rice game in College Station couldn’t come fast enough for Aggies’ fans. After sitting out the first half, Manziel threw three touchdown passes to rescue the Aggies from the Owls who were more than up to the challenge. Rice trailed by just seven at the half and by just 10 in the fourth quarter before A&M pulled away.

For the most part, Manziel looked much like himself yesterday but also looked like a complete jerk too. He was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct after getting into several smack-talking sessions with Rice players. I say kudos to the Owls who let Manziel know time and time again about his autograph allegations. They goaded Manziel into it and he got caught. Get used to it Johnny.

If I’m Kevin Sumlin though, I’m more concerned about the fact my defense got torched for over 500 yards by the Owls. If they can do that, what will SEC foes do to them?

Price was excellent in a huge win over Boise State.

Whipping Out West – Lost in the East Coast bias that is college football was Washington’s 38-6 drubbing over #19 Boise State in Seattle. While I believe the win by the Huskies wasn’t totally shocking, the dominance in which they did it was.

Boise was seen as the BCS buster once again by many experts but that isn’t going to happen as the Broncos gave up over 550 yards of offense. Huskies’ quarterback Keith Price threw for 324 yards and two touchdowns while running back Bishop Sankey ran 25 times for 161 yards two scores. Washington is serving notice that they won’t be an easy out in the Pac-12 but they must be consistent to prove that.

FCS Serves Notice – On Friday night, defending Football Championship Subdivision Champion North Dakota State knocked off an FBS team for the second straight year when they scored with under a minute to play to beat Kansas State in Manhattan. Yesterday, Eastern Washington traveled to Corvallis, Oregon to play the 25th ranked Oregon State Beavers and the Eagles escaped with a wild 49-46 upset.

The two teams combined for 1,100 yards of offense with 635 of those yards rung up by the Eagles. Despite leading by double-digits at the half, EWU had to rally in the second half after the Beavers took the lead late in the game. Eagles’ QB Vernon Adams scored the game-winner with :18 remaining. Both Adams and OSU quarterback Sean Mannion were brilliant with both guys throwing for over 400 yards without an interception.

There was a time when any FCS team could play an FBS team and it wouldn’t have to worry about being beaten. Those days are long gone even for the FBS teams that are ranked.

Also from Saturday… Notre Dame and Michigan each did their part to enter next weekend’s showdown in Ann Arbor unbeaten. The Irish defeated Temple 28-6 while the Wolverines crushed Central Michigan 59-9… Nebraska held on late to defeat Wyoming 37-34 to keep the nation’s longest-active opening game winning streak alive. The number now stands at 28 straight opening victories. Virginia Tech has the record at 40 straight… Speaking of the Hokies, they were defeated by #1 Alabama last night in the Georgia Dome 35-10. Don’t let the score fool you though. The Bama offense mustered just 206 total yards while the Hokies had just 212. The Tide benefited from two Christion Jones returns for touchdowns (one punt and one kickoff).