The first Thursday night on the college football schedule featured a pair of top 10 teams, a triple overtime contest, a three-hour weather delay, and plenty of good catches to keep us entertained well into the middle of the night.
You may have slept through some of it, but then again, so did Ohio State’s offense for a half. Here’s a quick rundown of what went down Thursday night around college football.
No. 2 Ohio State struggled early, but looks darn good in second half
What did we learn about the Buckeyes in Week One? For starters, they can be pretty good when firing on all cylinders. The biggest problem Ohio State will have is their receivers creating opportunities. J.T. Barrett may have looked off at times last night, and there were a few passes that could have been better unless there was a bad route run, but the biggest problem Barrett had passing the ball early on was simply finding anyone open enough to get their hands on the ball.
The good news is the Buckeyes will have a running game they can generally rely on. I have been all in on Mike Weber as a potential breakout Heisman hopeful this season, but a hamstring kept him off the field last night. Enter freshman J.K. Dobbins, who rushed for 181 yards to set a freshman rushing record. The Texas product missed out on the touchdown fun, though, as Antonio Williams finished off a pair of touchdown drives by carrying the ball into the end zone.
Barrett passed for 304 yards and three touchdowns as Ohio State woke up in the second half and outscored Indiana 36-7 in the second half of the 49-21 win. If you listened to me and took the Buckeyes to cover, you are welcome. Never a doubt.
I will say Indiana’s defense can be a problem. They just don’t have the depth to go 60 minutes against a team like the Buckeyes. Indiana quarterback Richard Lagow ended the night with 410 yards and three touchdowns, but two interceptions. And watch out for Simmie Cobbs Jr., because if he’s making plays like these, he’ll be causing problems for defenses all season.
I don’t care that this was overturned. Big men rumblin’ to the end zone is always worth a view.
And one more highlight from the Ohio State win…
Mason Rudolph racks up big numbers against Tulsa
Going into the year, we knew one thing for sure about Oklahoma State. The Cowboys are going to put up points and quarterback Mason Rudolph is going to rack up the yardage and touchdowns along the way. In a season opener at home against Tulsa, he most certainly did just that.
Mason Rudolph played like the @HeismanTrophy candidate he is. #GoPokes #okstate #CowboyUp18 pic.twitter.com/X1JCPvWPvy
— Oklahoma State FB (@CowboyFB_Elite) September 1, 2017
This will generally be the case all season for Rudolph and the Cowboys, a team that could very well contend for and win the Big 12 this season. But what else did we learn about Oklahoma State? Justice Hill went for 132 rushing yards and James Washington hauled in six receptions for 145 yards and two touchdowns, but we also expected that to be the case.
If you are concerned about Oklahoma State’s defense at all after giving up 432 yards and 26 first downs, I wouldn’t get too concerned with the schedule in front of them. We’ll see what happens at Pitt in a couple of weeks, but there is not much standing in the way of Oklahoma State this season outside of Oklahoma.
Welcome back, Randy Edsall
UConn was supposed to have a comfortable game to welcome back Randy Edsall as head coach, but Holy Cross gave the Huskies some fits last night. The Crusaders from the Patriot League, who went 4-7 a year ago, held a 20-7 advantage on the Huskies at halftime. But as so often seems to happen, the FCS upset bid ran out of steam and UConn managed to grab a win.
Practicing the victory formation on the sideline was actually a pretty wise decision, but this goes to show you just how much work Edsall needs to do to rebuild the program he left after taking it to a share of a Big East championship and a trip to the Fiesta Bowl.
Pac-12 After Dark couldn’t shade Arizona State’s issues
I didn’t have high expectations for Arizona State this season and if the season opener at home was any indication, I was validated in that negative outlook. Take nothing away from New Mexico State, because that would be unfair, but the Sun Devils showed plenty of warts despite picking up a win to start the new season.
Arizona State was outgained by 149 yards, gave up 27 first downs, rushed for just 79 yards on 40 rushing attempts and the offensive line gave up seven sacks to a team that accumulated just 11 sacks in 12 games a year ago. Disgusting for Arizona State. Todd Graham’s hot seat getting warmer after a win pretty much sums up the kind of year it could be at Arizona State.
But this catch by New Mexico State wide receiver Jaleel Scott was worth staying up for if you were watching on the east coast.
Also, this dude’s name is fantastic.
This dude is definitely on the wrong sideline of this ASU-NMSU game pic.twitter.com/tV9lkHQtbC
— Sarah Kezele (@SarahKezele) September 1, 2017
Hey, I remember you, Shane Morris!
Michigan faithful will remember Shane Morris. He’s now at Central Michigan, making plays like these it seems.
.@ShaneMorris_7 with the hops! #FireUpChips #MACtion pic.twitter.com/G3zZkUCyAz
— #MACtion (@MACSports) September 1, 2017
Morris and the Chippewas outlasted Rhode Island from the FCS in triple overtime, 30-27.
Don’t sleep on the FCS, and a Division 2 upset!
There was more enjoyment to be had if you looked for it. In the FCS, the contest between Maine and New Hampshire gave us a trophy game, and upstart program Kennesaw State gave Samford a good contest in the first game of the season. Trophy games are fun.
The Brice-Cowell Musket goes to @unh_football! #CAAFB pic.twitter.com/eQWOVVNvYr
— CAA Football (@CAAFootball) September 1, 2017
Not to be outdone, Tennessee State upset Georgia State in the first game in the renovated Turner Field in Atlanta. Treon Harris, former Florida quarterback, continues to ruin the football fun for fans in the state of Georgia.
TSU defeats Georgia State, 17-10!#BigBlueRising pic.twitter.com/KzLmv4pRSu
— TennesseeSt Football (@tsu_football) September 1, 2017
Dig a little deeper and you will find one of the season’s early upsets. No. 2 Grand Valley State, previously coached by Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, was upset in Division 2 action last night by Indianapolis University.
Big upset in D2 last night: Unranked Indianapolis defeated #2 Grand Valley State, 24-20: https://t.co/7F93qrPH9S
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) September 1, 2017
On Tap Friday Night
Two top 25 teams are in action Friday night before we get to the meat of the Week 1 schedule on Saturday. No. 8 Washington travels across the country to play Rutgers tonight in New Jersey. Elsewhere on Big Ten soil, No. 9 Wisconsin is hosting Utah State. Expect comfortable wins from each top 10 program.
Colorado State looks to follow up last week’s smashing debut against Oregon State by taking on in-state rival Colorado in the Rocky Mountain Showdown. Watch out for the Rams.
Another highlight tonight is Lane Kiffin’s coaching debut at FAU against Navy. Hopefully for him, it goes better than Butch Davis’ return to coaching. Davis and FIU were demolished by UCF last night. Absolutely annihilated.
And stay aware of a potential FCS-over-FBS upset Friday night with Fordham visiting Army.