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Friday, Dec. 26, 2014

Plenty of surprises in college football's week one

Posted Tuesday, September 2, 2008, at 10:36 PM

College football season is officially upon us and I couldn't be any happier.

Not sure what it is exactly, perhaps the atmosphere, the proliferation of intriguing match-ups each week or maybe its just the emotion, but I just enjoy college football more than the pros.

An IU fan by birth, I could probably point towards the recent surge of success by the Hoosiers on the gridiron for some of the Saturday afternoon joy. The fact that the Hoosiers went to a bowl game last year added fuel to the pigskin fire as well.

Week number one in the collegiate ranks certainly a lot of fans of perennial powers with a sour taste in their mouths.

In Big Ten country, you can hardly fault Illinois' loss to a very offensively talented Missouri team. If you're a fan of sheer offense, there weren't many better games than the 52-42 yardage fest the Tigers won.

You'd be hard pressed to find many better talents than Missouri receiver Jeremy Maclin as well. All he did was return one kickoff 99 yards for a TD and set up another score with a 45-yard punt return. Oh yeah, he also caught four passes before having to leave the game with an ankle injury.

Overall, the teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of offense.

Michigan fans are quite likely a lot more displeased after a second straight season-opening loss, this one to visiting Utah.

Defense, supposedly the team's foundation while the Wolverines got accustomed to running Rich Rodriguez' spread offense, was ripped for 313 first half yards by the Utes.

Definitely not the Big Blue team the fans were hoping to see.

Utah was able to hold on for a 25-23 win that bolsters the team's resume in the postseason.

Michigan was certainly not the only power that fell on the opening weekend.

Texas A&M fans were left aghast after the Arkansas State (who?) Red Wolves, formerly the Indians, went on the road to score an 18-14 upset. The loss ended a 20-game season-opening winning streak for the Aggies. For Arkansas State, the win was the first over a Bowl Championshiop Series foe and definitely made the Sun Belt Conference board members smile.

No. 17 Virginia Tech was also an upset victim, dropping a 27-22 decision to visiting East Carolina that just shows how the gap between the traditional powers and the so-called mid majors is quickly lessening.

Nationally ranked Pitt also was dropped and Pre-season Heisman hopeful running back LeSean McCoy had a rather ho-hum afternoon.

Yes, Heisman voters are already scouring the country for big statistics and its hard to argue the performances of USC QB Mark Sanchez who threw for 338 yards and three touchdowns against Virginia. Ohio State running back Beanie Wells was having a good afternoon before an ankle injury sidelined him and Wisconsin's PJ Hill racked up more than 200 yards rushing in a victory against Akron.

Over in Mountaineer country, Pat White didn't seem to miss Rodriguez' tutelage at all, throwing for a career-high five touchdowns to help dispel the thoughts that he's a run-first QB.

For Big Ten fans, Illinois QB Juice Williams had a big day in the Illini loss, throwing for 451 yards against a surprisingly porous Tiger defense. I can't help but point out the Hoosier's Kellen Lewis' effort as well. The junior threw for 144 yards and two scores, but was especially effective on the ground, running for 197 yards and two TD's in the Hoosiers new hurry up offense.

Plenty of great stuff in week one and both Purdue and Notre Dame haven't seen any action yet. Can the second week top the opener?



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