By Ty Schadt, Staff Writer
The first week of college football was full of interesting storylines that excited viewers across the nation. Fans witnessed upsets, overtime thrillers and dominant performances in the opening weekend. Here are some outcomes from week one.
First up is #9 Tennessee vs. Appalachian State. According to ESPN, Tennessee came into the game a 23 point favorite. However, by halftime, the Vols found themselves facing a 10 point deficit thanks to several costly first half turnovers. In the second half, Tennessee mounted a comeback and forced an overtime, where the game would eventually be decided. Senior quarterback Joshua Dobbs fumbled the ball into the end zone and junior running back Jalen Hurd fell on it, avoiding what would have been a disastrous turnover and securing the win for the Vols. Despite escaping the near upset with a score of 20-13, Tennessee dropped from #9 to #17 in The Associated Press Top 25 Rankings.
Next, #15 Houston upset #3 Oklahoma with a score of 33-23. The turning point in this exciting game came with 8 minutes left in the third quarter, when Houston senior defensive back Brandon Wilson took back a missed 53-yard field goal attempt 109 yards to the house, giving the Cougars a 26-17 lead. Oklahoma couldn’t recover from the deficit and, in turn, dropped to #14 in the rankings, while Houston leaped to #6.
Wisconsin dealt an early blow to #5 LSU’s national title hopes by defeating the Tigers 16-14. LSU junior running back and Heisman candidate Leonard Fournette had a solid game, rushing 23 times for 138 yards, but his efforts weren’t enough to top the Badgers. A 47-yard field goal with 3 minutes remaining, followed by a defensive stand put the nail in the coffin, causing LSU to plummet to #21 and Wisconsin to shoot up to #10.
In what was arguably the most exciting game of the week, unranked Texas outlasted #10 Notre Dame and won 50-47 in two overtimes. Notre Dame junior quarterback Deshone Kizer put on a show, passing for five touchdowns and rushing for 77 yards. However, the Longhorns emerged victoriously. In the second overtime, senior quarterback Tyler Swopes won the game for the Longhorns, bullying his way through defenders and diving into the endzone. Notre Dame dropped eight spots to #18 following the upset and Texas leaped to #11.
Alabama proved why they are ranked #1, blowing out #20 USC 52-6. According to ESPN, many analysts were skeptical of the Crimson Tide’s top rank due to their lack of experience at quarterback. However, true freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts silenced his critics, recording four total touchdowns and leading his team to victory. Sophomore running back Damien Harris led the Tide in rushing, managing 138 yards on nine carries. Alabama will continue to fill the #1 spot following the blowout, and the Trojans will be playing their next few games unranked.
#6 Ohio State also had a dominant performance, pounding Bowling Green 77-10. Junior quarterback JT Barrett threw six touchdown passes as the Buckeyes set a school record with 776 total yards of offense. Alongside Barrett, running back Curtis Samuel had himself quite a day. The junior contributed in many ways, tallying 177 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns as well as 84 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown. After the blowout, OSU climbed to the #4 spot.
Every week is sure to be filled with games similar to the ones mentioned above, so it will be interesting to see what the AP rankings look like in the coming weeks. One loss can make or break a season, and that is why college football is such an exciting sport to watch.