College Football – Winners & Losers – Week 1 – by Andy Moore

Well week 1 was huge wasn’t it, we had upsets, primetime humiliations, and the usual crazy catches, big hits and nail biters.

Going forward we’ll be looking at the winners and losers from the previous weekend’s football here at ATFP.

With week 1 in the bag and the NFL about to get into full swing, it’s about to get full on – just the way we like it!

So without further ado…

Winners

Cole McDonald – Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors

A slightly random one to get us underway, but with a stat line of 826 yards, 9 TDs and 0 INTs over two games (Hawai’i opened up a week early against Colorado State), it’s hard to ignore what McDonald is doing.

After a barnstorming first weekend against the Rams, McDonald went one better against Navy, a gleaming completion rate of 73.2% and a passer rating of 91.9 put him amongst one of the highest rated QBs of the week.

McDonald is a third-year sophomore out of California, who served as Dru Brown’s backup last year, has fully established himself as the man in control in Honolulu – becoming the first Warriors player ever to be named the Mountain West’s Offensive Player of the Week.

After ripping apart the favored Navy (you should check out his dart of a throw to Jo Jo Ward), McDonald comes up against Rice in his third game of the season, look to see him put up another huge stat line in that one.

Cole McDonald
Photo: JAMM AQUINO / Star Advertiser

Drew Lock – Missouri Tigers

Tipped to be one of the top QBs in the 2019 NFL draft, Drew Lock got off to a big start in week 1 as the Tigers came up against the UT Martin Skyhawks. Lock threw for 289 yards and 4 TDs with a completion rate of 76% as Mizzou strolled to a 51-14 victory.

Naturally, there will be bigger challenges to come but you could see how pumped Barry Odom was with his star QB from the first drive.  Lock picked out Emanuel Hall for a pair of aesthetically pleasing TDs and a monster gain down the left of the field before halftime, and had the Tigers cruising before being rested for Taylor Powell.

The senior decided to skip the 2018 draft, and if he can keep up this standard of performance it’ll be proved a good decision in Nashville next year. We’ll check back in with Lock in week 4 when he’ll really have to prove his mettle against Georgia.

Until then, look for him to pick apart Purdue and Wyoming over the next fortnight.

Notre Dame

This one was always going to be tight, but the way the Fighting Irish battled through the Wolverines on Saturday night made for fantastic watching. The final stats showed how tight it was, Michigan totaled 307 yards, 20 first downs and had the ball for 33 minutes, Notre Dame totaled 304 yards, 21 first downs and had possession for 27 minutes. A close game all around.

The fact that the Irish came out of winners is a testament to their name, but what is more impressive is that not one of their players stood out as a particular star in the performance, this was a true team effort. Brandon Wimbush made a couple of valuable scrambles and did well to average 7.7 yards per completion but his passer rating of 62.8 was nothing special. Jafar Armstrong’s 15 carries for 35 yards certainly wasn’t game changing but the two TDs he punched in were and Chris Finke only really made one contribution but it was a big TD.

Stanford looks to be the next big challenge for Brian Kelly’s men, look to them to improve their number 8 ranking before that week 5 matchup.

Notre Dame
Photo: Paul Sancya, AP

Losers

Florida State Seminoles

It wasn’t pretty, was it? The start of the Willie Taggart era saw the Seminoles fail to get the ball into the end zone. The Virginia Tech Hokies turned up for the primetime Monday night slot in style, with their defense only allowing 12 first downs and claiming five turnovers in the process.

The stat that demonstrated how brutally dominant Virginia’s defense performed was that Cam Akers ran the ball 14 times, including for a beautiful 85-yard burst and still only had 82 yards on the night. Making his first start since his season-ending injury last year, Deondre Francois threw 3 picks and had a QB rating of a measly 27 and their defense only hurried Josh Jackson twice.

Taggart has since said that he feels Hokies players were exaggerating injuries to delay the Seminoles offense. They may well have been, but it isn’t a good look for the new Head Coach who will be hoping for a much easier ride against Samford in week 2.

FSU
Photo: OCTAVIO JONES | Tampa Bay Times

Miami Hurricanes

The Move the Sticks podcast laughed and called the Canes ‘WAY overrated’ after their loss to LSU at the weekend. And, in all honesty, it’s hard to disagree at the moment; the creators of the ‘turnover chain’ were humbled by a hard-working Tigers team led by Nick Brossette on Sunday night.

Malik Rosier looked desperate for support from the off, and the Canes found themselves down 33-3 going into the fourth quarter. Jeff Thomas stepped up with three major catches, but other than that there were minimal positives for the U on offense. Rosier continues to polarise, but aside from his two picks, he wasn’t at fault that much on Sunday. Too often he was forced ineffectively out the pocket by a strong LSU pass rush.

The Canes should and will rebound against a weak Savannah State next week, but man that will have been a tough pill to swallow for a Miami side so hyped before the season.

Texas Longhorns

This one is pretty self-explanatory, after a testing off-season for their opponents, the Longhorns were expected to show up and get the job done against Maryland. They were also expected to get the job done a year previous, both times they failed in their objective.

After the tragic death of Jordan McNair, the Terrapins looked more than up for a fight and streaked into a 24-7 lead. Sam Ehlinger led a 2nd half comeback, but the Longhorns offence turned the ball over three times in the final 7 minutes as they stumbled to defeat and likely dropped out the rankings in the process.

Texas’ Head Coach, Tom Herman, wasn’t wrong to emphasize that his team were their own worst enemy after the game, in addition to the three turnovers, Texas lost 102 yards to penalties on the night, almost as many as Maryland rushed for.

Like FSU and the Hurricanes, Texas should get back to winning ways against Tulsa on Saturday, but their ambitions will have taken a severe dent in week 1.

Games to watch in Week 2:

  • Georgia @ South Carolina
  • Clemson @ Texas A&M
  • USC @ Stanford
  • Michigan State @ Arizona State

By Andy Moore @Ajmoore21

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