Man, it's good to have football back, isn't it?
THIS IS A RHETORICAL QUESTION OF COURSE IT'S GREAT TO HAVE FOOTBALL BACK BECAUSE FOOTBALL!!!
And it's even better when your downtrodden teams in your downtrodden conference come out and smack a couple cupcakes in the mouth. What's notable about this is that Minnesota and Indiana have either been beaten by, or taken to the limit by bad, BAD teams, so convincing wins were needed. Let's break those games down, and look at a couple more, shall we?
Indiana 73, Indiana State 35:Everyone thought the Hoosiers offense would be formidable, but hol-eee crap. Both Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson looked good, but Roberson's 43 yard TD pass to SHane Wynn was a thing of beauty. Look, Indiana isn't going to hang 73 on everyone, and yeah, it was Indiana State, but this offense is legitimate. And their defense might not be the resistable force we've seen in the past, either. When the Sycamores made their 21 point run to get within 17 in the second half, 14 of those points were defensive scores. This team is light years ahead of where they were when Kevin Wilson took over, and they might make some serious noise in the conference this year.
Minnesota 51, UNLV 23: When Minnesota was losing to UNLV into the second quarter, how many of you thought to yourself 'welp, same old Minnesota?' I know I did. The Gophers offense struggled most of the night, the defense gave up a few big plays that shouldn't have happened, but they were very opportunistic on defense and special teams. They scored on a pick six, a kickoff return, and a blocked field goal. I thought Philip Nelson would be much better as a passer, but he threw for only 99 yards and was under 50% completion percentage. That said, in years past, this recipe of a struggling offense, mixed in with a defense that gave up several explosive plays, used to result in the Gophers losing to teams like UNLV...yet on Thursday they won by 28.
Fresno State 52, Rutgers 51, OT: Well, Rutgers is already looking ahead to joining the Big Ten next year, as they have checked the 'Go To The West Coast And Lose To A Team Most People Think You Should Beat' box. Still, Rutgers has a good football team, they just got gashed by Fresno State's no huddle all night long. I think they'll be a good football addition next year, but even with guys like Paul James and Gary Nova, I don't know that they'll be challenging the top of the conference.
Can we all just stop with the 'Clowney for Heisman' talk now? There's a reason defensive guys don't win the Heisman--they can be game planned for and neutralized. Unless, of course, you're playing them in the Outback Bowl. Allegedly. South Carolina looked impressive in beating North Carolina, but the Tar Heels accounted for Clowney on every play, and they made sure that if they were going to lose, it wasn't going to be because of him. He was disruptive off the edge a few times, but he was a lot more noticeable for dogging it and being neutralized than he was for making something happen.
I was also impressed with the comeback Ole Miss had against Vanderbilt. That freshman class is already paying off in Oxford, and so far it looks like it was money well spent for the Rebels, LOL IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE IT'S SO TRUE...allegedly. And seriously, James Franklin, you have a kid get his bell rung, could very well be concussed, who then throws up on the field...and you put him back in two plays later? That's terrible.
Lane Kiffin is so done at USC. They looked pretty awful against a bad Hawaii team, and had Hawaii's game plan been anything other than playing gracious host and continually giving up the ball to their guests, they wouldn't have won. Seriously, put the Timmy Chang-era Hawaii team on the field last night, and they win that game. USC should have had 35 at halftime, but it was impossible for them to lose, just because they just have a lot more natural talent, which is what they used to beat Hawaii. They're going to lose at least 3 or 4 games this year, and hopefully, our long national Kiffin nightmare will soon be over.
So that's how I saw Thursday unfold. There were a lot of good games last night, and a lot more in store tonight and Saturday. We'll have a game thread going up for tonight's game a little bit before the MSU kickoff, and of course, we'll have open threads galore on Saturday. I hope you enjoyed last night as much as I did, and enjoy the rest of the opening weekend!