Monday, September 4, 2017

Green's takeaways from Week 1

                                                       Photo Credit: UCLA Athletics

What a way to kick off the 2017 college football season as we saw upsets galore, crazy finishes and an old rivalry renew, so he are some takeaways from opening weekend:

1) Rosen rises to the spotlight in primetime in epic fashion:

When the chips looked to have been used in every direction, UCLA found a way to rise from the bottom to score 35 unanswered points in the game’s final 19 minutes to stun Texas A&M 45-44 at the Rose Bowl. Quarterback Josh Rosen went from dumped reject at the alter, to king of the mountain in the fourth quarter going 19-of-26 passing for 292 yards and four touchdowns.

Rosen put himself in college football folklore with a play out of Dan Marino’s playbook with a fake spike and a TD pass to Jordan Lasley with 10 seconds left to complete the epic comeback by the Bruins.

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin’s hot seat might have been ratcheted a few levels after the unthinkable loss as many fans will not let this one escape from their minds anytime soon.

2) Ohio State overcomes sloppy start in the Big Ten opener at Indiana:

Ohio State played the role of Floyd Mayweather, while Indiana had the privilege to play Conor McGregor as the latter came out of the gate charging with a 14-6 in the second quarter with mismatches at the wide receiver spot. Like the fight, Ohio State allowed Indiana to take all the shots in the arsenal before coming out in the second half with a flurry of punches courtesy of signal caller J.T. Barrett on its way to a 49-21 win.

Barrett threw all three of his touchdowns in the second half and finished with 304 yards through the air. A new star appeared to emerge in the Buckeye backfield as true freshman J.K. Dobbins carved up the Hoosier defense for 181 yards (most yards rushing in a debut game for OSU since Maurice Clarett in 2002) on 29 carries.

The Buckeyes need to be on all cylinders on Sept. 9 against the Oklahoma Sooners at Ohio Stadium or they could end up on the opposite end of the scoreboard.

3) Old Big East rivals rekindle a rivalry in the nation’s capital:

12 years in the making and albeit at a neutral site at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., No. 22 West Virginia and No. 21 Virginia Tech waged a back and forth contest for the Black Diamond Trophy, which harkened back to the days of the Big East when Don Nehlen (WVU) and Frank Beamer (VT) patrolled their respective sidelines.

Both quarterbacks put together stellar efforts as Virginia Tech quarterback Josh Jackson became an overnight sensation in the 31-24 win as he passed for 235 yards and a touchdown, to go along with 101 yards on the ground on 11 carries and a TD.

For West Virginia, Florida transfer Will Grier lit up the skies going 31-of-53 for 371 yards for three TD’s and an interception.

4) FCS upsets over FBS schools reign again:

One of the underrated aspects of the opening weekend are the inevitable upsets from the smaller schools in the FCS to the bigger schools in the FBS. This season followed the trend as Liberty’s 48-45 win at Baylor highlighted the upsets as ex-Nebraska player turned Liberty coach Turner Gill led the way in the way in similar fashion from the days of the Big Eight conference in the mid-1980’s.

Another notable upset included Howard, who came in as a 45-point underdog to UNLV and pulled off a 43-40 win. Caylin Newton, who is the younger brother of Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton, put together a solid effort with 330 total yards on offense and two rushing touchdowns.

5) Durkin revs Maryland in high gear in Austin:

Most fans and media members assumed the rebuild of Maryland would be a season or two away, but maybe the time is now for second-year coach D.J. Durkin— a Jim Harbaugh disciple from the University of Michigan.

Maryland stunned No. 23 Texas, 51-41 and controlled the tempo for the majority of the game as it snapped a 17-game losing streak against ranked opponents. The rushing attack was on full display as the Terrapins gained 263 yards, with Ty Johnson’s 132 yards on 12 carries and a touchdown as the highlight.

In a crowded Big Ten east with Michigan, Penn State and Ohio State at the top, do not count out Maryland as it could sneak another upset or two by in conference play.