College football’s five-day opening weekend still has games remaining, but Today’s U decided there were ample reasons to stop down on a Sunday night and get you caught up. Here’s a collection of notes, quotes, numbers and tweets that should be worth your time.
Coordinators, we salute you
Defensive coordinator Brent Venables’ unit held Auburn to 272 yards and 3-of-17 on third down as No. 2 Clemson opened the season with a 19-13 victory. Late in the week, Venables heard rumors that Auburn coach Gus Malzahn might roll out some single wing/Wing-T formations.
Venables did what we all do when we need information, STAT. He went to the Internet.
“So we literally are watching Apopka High School, I’m watching Rick Darlington, the Glazier Clinic on YouTube the night before last,” Venables said. “Then I pulled up Google: ‘How To Stop the Wing-T.’ So I found a guy that defended it like I think I would want to do it. I just kind of took a few things from him. Told our guys, ‘Look, I don’t know if they’re going to do it.’
“We didn’t want to panic our guys, because we could have worked on only that in our walk-through (Friday). We needed to work on other things and didn’t want to chase ghosts. We [laid out] a basic plan for it, and for the most part, it was OK. So, yeah.”
- West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson had to replace eight starters from last season’s salty unit. After stuffing Missouri in the Mountaineers’ 26-11 victory, he threw some shade at SEC Network analyst Booger McFarland, who had predicted the Tigers’ offense would roll. Mizzou ran 100 plays for 462 yards but couldn’t produce points. “Some big guy named Booger, he said they’d score 30 today,” Gibson said. “If any of you guys can get hold of him and let him know that didn’t happen, I’d appreciate it.”
- Former USC coach Lane Kiffin was fired by former athletic director Pat Haden on the tarmac at LAX in 2013. Last night, Kiffin’s offense – with freshmen quarterbacks – hung half a hundred on the Trojans – 465 total yards, 7.4 yards per play. Since becoming the Crimson Tide’s offensive coordinator in 2014, Kiffin has won a national championship and Saturday he got the game ball. (If you don’t think he remembers his cold-blooded dismissal, check out this tweet of his son with the game ball and the reference to the runway run off.)
Post game w the game ball!!! #3:14AM-LAX pic.twitter.com/cxQkJ89254
— Lane Kiffin (@Lane_Kiffin) September 4, 2016
- Kentucky led Southern Miss 35-10 with less than a minute left in the first half. The Golden Eagles, with former (as in, fired) Wildcats offensive coordinator Shannon Dawson calling the shots, went on a 34-0 run for a 44-35 victory. Southern Miss gashed Kentucky for 520 total yards – 262 on the ground, 258 through the air.
Late night in Laramie
A really late night. When a game scheduled for an 8:30 p.m. local (Mountain) time kickoff is delayed by rain and lighting, of course it winds up going triple overtime.
Cowboys quarterback Josh Allen’s 7-yard touchdown run in the third OT gave Wyoming a 40-34 victory over Northern Illinois. The game started nearly two hours later than scheduled (10:19 local time) and ended at 2:35 a.m. local time. The game-winning play was worth losing a night’s sleep.
The first Saturday of the season started in Ireland with Georgia Tech and Boston College kicking off at 7:30 Eastern, and there were 21 straight hours of football thanks to the NIU-Wyoming delay. More, please.
Welcomed with a win
Here’s a list of coaches who posted their first victory as an FBS coach. All of the coaches are in their first season except for David Beaty, whose first team at Kansas went 0-12 last season. (Given the opponents, we assume the celebrations included cupcakes.)
- Scott Frost (Central Florida): 38-0 over South Carolina State.
- David Beaty (Kansas): 55-6 over Rhode Island.
- Kirby Smart (Georgia): 33-24 over North Carolina.
- Mike Norvell (Memphis): 35-17 over Southeast Missouri State.
- Frank Wilson (UTSA): 26-13 over Alabama State.
- Matt Viator (Louisiana-Monroe): 38-21 over Southern.
- J. Durkin (Maryland): 52-13 over Howard.
- Scottie Montgomery (East Carolina): 52-7 over Western Carolina.
- Tyson Summers (Georgia Southern): 54-0 over Savannah State.
- Mike Neu (Ball State): 31-21 over Georgia State.
- Kalani Sitake (BYU): 18-16 over Arizona
It’s not social; it’s media
Out of the 10s of thousands of tweets from the weekend, here are a few that caught our attention.
- This might have been the catch of Week One. Houston quarterback Greg Ward might have been throwing this one away, but not on receiver Linell Bonner’s watch.
He was throwing that out of bounds. Can't tell me different. https://t.co/LSRMOfWFiy
— Andrew HammondAP (@ahammsportsgeek) September 3, 2016
- Saturday morning there was an earthquake in central Oklahoma that shook the surrounding states and was felt in Fayetteville. Arkansas offensive line coach Kurt Anderson displayed his tweet chops with this explanation.
Sorry folks we had an early morning OL walk thru. May have felt like an earthquake.
— Kurt Anderson (@OLINEPRIDE) September 3, 2016
- Mississippi State fans probably have this looping through their nightmares; a game-winning field goal doinked off the upright.
Check out the guy on the stairs… https://t.co/BrfO08goqv
— Doug Gottlieb (@GottliebShow) September 3, 2016
- USC’s Jabari Ruffin lived up to his name with this crotch stomp of an Alabama player. Ruffin, who might be a Draymond Green fan, was ejected.
Come on man pic.twitter.com/1DBPbB0P27
— Michael Shamburger (@mshamburger1) September 4, 2016
- ABC’s Brent Musburger was calling the Clemson-Auburn game … until he dropped a line about Louisville coach Bobby Petrino and his transportation choices.
"When he gets off his motorcycle, HE'S GOOD!" Love this man.https://t.co/gozoU24wkn
— Medium Happy (@jdubs88) September 4, 2016
- This Wyoming play fake led to a touchdown that nobody watching on television saw … because it was such a good play fake.
Wyoming just totally fooled the CBS Sports Network camera guy on this TD. https://t.co/ubgkCZTwcc
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) September 4, 2016
Charlotte was boat-raced at Louisville, 70-14. This aborted opening kickoff by the 49ers provided the foreshadowing.
Summing up Charlotte's night against UofL pic.twitter.com/Gls7ScwXTR
— John Lewis WDRB (@JohnWDRB) September 2, 2016
Western Kentucky won its opener easily, 46-14. The Hilltoppers added the “l” with their smoky and trippy entrance, becoming the … yes, Hilltopplers.
You know it’s going to be a long season when it starts like this https://t.co/DaT9KKL1Bb
— Jeremiah Jensen (@JJSportsBeat) September 2, 2016
Kudos to the photographers who had the sharp eye and the quick clicks to capture these sideline uniform combos. This is another reason why names on the back of jerseys are worthwhile. It is our good fortune to now ask if “We have some of your tasty beverage to wash this down?”
Lies, damn lines and statistics
- No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 5 LSU lost. The last time that two Associated Press top five teams lost on the first week of the season was 1972. No. 1 Nebraska lost to unranked UCLA, and No. 4 Arkansas lost to No. 8 USC.
- New Mexico defeated South Dakota, 48-21, giving the Lobos season-opening victories in back-to-back years for the first time since 1997.
- Wake Forest defeated Tulane, 7-3. It’s the third time in the last 15 games the Demon Deacons have won and not scored more than seven points. Only one other FBS team has done that once during that span. In 25 games under coach Dave Clawson, Wake Forest has scored more than 24 points once – against Elon, an FCS school.
- Alabama is now 4-0 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, with an average margin of victory of more than 32 points per game.
- You have to go back 120 years to find the previous worst loss in USC history. Before Saturday’s 52-6 shellacking by Alabama, the Trojans’ worst loss to open a season came in a 30-0 loss to Whittier Reform in 1896. It was the worst USC loss since a 51-0 loss to Notre Dame in 1966.
- According to how statistics are kept, Tennessee’s game-winning touchdown against Appalachian State – a fumble recovered in the end zone – goes down as 0 rush for 0 yards for a rushing touchdown.
- Baylor’s 55 points in the opener are the most points scored in a single game in Jim Grobe’s 227 games as a Division I coach. In the final five games he coached at Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons scored a total of 65 points.
- If there is an emoji for a sieve, that would be North Carolina’s social media mark. In their last four games going back to last season, the Tar Heels have allowed 1,561 yards rushing. Ironically, in Saturday’s season-opening loss to Georgia, the 289 UNC allowed was the lowest rushing total during the four-game stretch.
- Boston College’s 17-14 loss to Georgia Tech in Ireland extended the Eagles’ ACC losing streak to nine, the longest conference losing streak in school history. Six of those nine losses have been by three or fewer points. B.C. hasn’t won an ACC football or men’s basketball game since March 10, 2015.
- LSU’s touchdowns in the 16-14 loss to Wisconsin came in a span of 67 seconds. That means for the remaining 58:53, the Tigers failed to move the scoreboard.
- Colorado’s 44-7 victory over Colorado State is the biggest margin of victory in the rivalry since 2001. Nine of the last 14 games in the series had been decided by seven or fewer points.
- Army won its first FBS road game since 2010 with its victory at Temple. It ended a 13-game losing streak in Philadelphia. The Black Knights’ last victory in the City of Brotherly Love came in 2001 against Navy.
The final word
South Carolina won its debut under new coach Will Muschamp, beating Vanderbilt 13-10. Muschamp on the Gamecocks’ offense:
“I wouldn’t say it was conservative. Because my last name is Muschamp, you say it’s conservative.”