College Football: Five things we learned after Week 1

It is the most glorious time of the year, as Week 1 of the 2017 college football took center stage. There were a bunch of the top teams that got off to sluggish starts to open the season, while others showed why they are the best in the nation. All in all, there was plenty of “the good, the bad and the ugly”. Here are my five biggest takeaways from this week.

1. The More Things Change, The More They Stay The Same for Alabama

Alabama Crimson Tide Head Coach Nick Saban has the standard recipe for domination. He employs a punishing rushing attack with talented offensive linemen and even more talented running backs. He features a defense with players that are destined for the NFL at every position. He never takes unnecessary risks, and runs the tightest ship for any program in the nation. It was all on full display against the Florida State Seminoles on Saturday night.

At the half, Alabama led by three points, 10-7. However, over the course of just a handful of plays, in typical Crimson Tide style, the game was locked up. All it took was a blocked punt, a field goal, a recovered fumble on the ensuing kickoff, a touchdown run, two interceptions, and that was all. It was game over, and the Crimson Tide showed why they are the best team in the nation.

2. Lamar Jackson Opens Season With A Bang

The Louisville Cardinals had a rough go all night against the Big-10’s Purdue Boilermakers on both sides of the ball. However, Cardinals quarterback, and reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Lamar Jackson came through with a very gutsy performance that included a Heisman-reel moment or three.

He completed 30-of-46 passes for 378 yards and two touchdowns, adding 107 yards on the ground. Whenever the Cardinals looked like they were beaten, Jackson showed true leadership and moxie in leading his team to a hard-earned victory. Jackson’s bid to become only the second repeat Heisman champion is off to a nice start, even if the Cardinals looked less than impressive.

3. A Texas-Sized Debacle For The Longhorns

During the off season, no head coaching move was more celebrated than when the Texas Longhorns signed Tom Herman away from the Houston Cougars. Herman boasted that he would bring them back to prominence, even throwing some shade at former coach Charlie Strong. After Saturday’s 51-41 debacle against the Maryland Terrapins at home yesterday afternoon in Austin, Herman may have some regret in speaking those words.

The final score actually does not do any justice to how bad this loss for the Longhorns. They went into the game favored to win by nearly three touchdowns. They lost the turnover battle, were plagued by penalties, had no discipline on defense and got humiliated at home for their efforts. If not for a defensive score and two special-teams touchdowns, this game would have been even more out of hand.

4. A Star Is Born At Ohio State in J.K. Dobbins

We have seen many impressive freshmen running backs for the Ohio State Buckeyes (Archie Griffin, Eddie George, Maurice Clarett), but no one made as big a first impression as J.K. Dobbins. Dobbins was the driving force behind the Buckeyes’ big 49-21 win over the feisty Indiana Hoosiers.

He broke the school’s freshman record for most rushing yards in a first game, finishing with 181 yards on the ground and 205 total yards from scrimmage. He was flawless, showing his skills with jump cuts, quickness, and vision. His ability to break through allowed J.T. Barrett to finally make some big plays downfield later in the contest.

5. The Oklahoma State Freight Train Is Real

When you look at the Oklahoma State Cowboys on paper, you see an offense that could score at will, with skilled players at all the main positions. It was on display against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, as the high-powered offense put up 59 points with ease in the blowout win. The ease with which Mason Rudolph, Justice Hill, James Washington, and company were able to move the ball and score at will on Thursday night was remarkable.

Rudolph completed all but four of his 24 pass attempts for 303 yards and three touchdowns, two of which were hauled in by Washington, who finished with six catches for 145 yards. It is the biggest reason Oklahoma State entered the season as the No. 10-ranked team in the nation and will be a treat to watch all year long.

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Nick Ficorelli
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