Beat Southern Illinois 42-34
After last season’s disaster, there is little doubt the Illini needed a positive result to start the season, but I’m not sure this was it. While the Illini rolled to a commanding 39-17 lead behind the passing of Nate Scheelhaase, the running game wasn’t a factor and the defense couldn’t keep the Salukis from fighting back, needing a 4th down overthrow to seal the win. Still, with the FCS showing its teeth in week 1, Illinois will take the win.
Hero of the Hour: QB Nate Scheelhaase – Passing 36-28-416-2-1
Next Up: Cincinnati
Beat Indiana State 73-35
This game was too close for comfort last season; this year, it was over midway through the second quarter as the Hoosiers took a 45-7 lead. It wasn’t perfect, with IU turning the ball over three times and allowing the Sycamores to give them a minor scare, but the offense continued to score almost at will as they finished with a near-record points haul, and the defense performed well.
Hero of the Hour: QB Nate Sudfeld – Passing 17-12-219-4-1
Next Up: Navy
Beat Buffalo 40-20
The result was never really in doubt, but the Buckeyes allowed a middle-tier MAC team to hang around for way too long, hardly fitting behaviour when many of their top 25 opponents flashed their muscle (TSUN, anyone?). Sure, Braxton Miller had problems with cramps, and they were missing some guys, but the offensive line and rebuilt defense had some issues that need to be ironed out sooner rather than later, or the Buckeyes could slip down the rankings fast. On the positive side, running back Jordan Hall made the most of his increased playing time with a career day.
Hero of the Hour: RB Jordan Hall – Rushing 21-159-2, Receiving 3-14-0.
Next Up: San Diego State
Beat Syracuse 23-17
In a battle of first year starting quarterbacks, PSU freshman Christian Hackenberg outplayed Oklahoma transfer Drew Allen to give the Nittany Lions the win. Hackenberg threw for 278 yards and 2 TDs, although he threw a couple of head-scratching interceptions too, but that’s par for the course. Even with rookie QBs, the defenses led the way, combining for 7 turnovers, 25 first downs and just 7 of 36 third down conversions. It certainly wasn’t the prettiest game to watch, but it was a solid first game for the Lions against an opponent with a pulse.
Hero of the Hour: DB Stephen Obeng-Agyapong – 4 Tackles, 1 Sack, 1 Forced Fumble and Recovery, 1 Interception.
Next Up: Eastern Michigan
Lost at Cincinnati 42-7
In the biggest black eye on an inconsistent night for Big Ten football, the Boilermakers were flattened by a good-looking Bearcats outfit. The Purdue offense was a disaster, looking at times like they were handed the playbook on Saturday morning. Quarterback Rob Henry looked liked a freshman instead of an experienced fifth-year senior, and the running attack got little going. The defense was okay, forcing three turnovers and keeping the Boilermakers in the game before wearing down in the second half. Let’s put this one down to growing pains.
Hero of the Hour: DB Frankie Williams – 5 Tackles, 1 Interception
Next Up: Indiana State
Beat Massachusetts 45-0
After struggling through their non-league schedule last season, and much of the season, the Badgers wanted to make a statement to open this year, and boy, did they. Wisconsin’s offense ran over the beleaguered Minutemen to the tune of 393 yards and 4 TDs on just 44 carries. Melvin Gordon, James White and Corey Clement all gained over 100 yards, while receiver Jared Abbrederis gained 122 yards and 2 TDs on his 2 receptions. The defense held UMass to just 212 yards.
Hero of the Hour: RBs Melvin Gordon, James White and Chase Clement – Rushing 40-388-3
Next Up: Tennessee Tech
Lost to Northern Illinois 30-27
The Hawkeye’s may have won last year, but if they repeated the feat this year, that may have been the upset, as the MAC champs looked strong again. Iowa lost some players from last season, and were breaking in a new quarterback in Jake Rudock, but still took the lead 27-20 with 6:42 left. The Huskies tied it up, then on the ensuing possession, Rudock threw an interception to set up NIU’s clinching field goal. The sophomore played well enough, throwing for 256 yards and a score, and running for another, but he also threw a couple of picks.
Hero of the Hour: LB Christian Kirksey – 15 Tackles, 1 Fumble Forced, 1 Fumble Recovery (TD)
Next Up: Missouri State
Beat Central Michigan 59-9
The game itself wasn’t pretty, and CMU lost their starting quarterback AND running back early, but the Wolverines are happy with their first game of the season, pummeling the Chippewas in a game that never looked like it would be close from the moment Joe Reynolds recovered a blocked punt to open the scoring. Wolverine QB Devin Gardner threw a couple of picks, but for the most part was efficient in his first season-opening start. Michigan kept the ball on the ground, using a combination of Gardner and RBs Fitzgerald Toussaint and freshman Derrick Green to pace the attack. The defense allowed just 210 total yards and had 4 sacks. Not a perfect game, but there are few complaints coming out of Ann Arbor.
Hero of the Hour: QB Devin Gardner – Passing 15-10-162-1-2, Rushing 7-52-2
Next Up: Notre Dame
Beat Western Michigan 26-13
I talked a lot in the offseason about how MSU’s passing game would be much improved in the offseason, while their running game would struggle. I was wrong. Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook threw for just 116 yards against a stubborn Bronco secondary, but Jeremy Langford kept the ground game ticking over to save face for the offense. The Spartan defense was unsurprisingly outstanding, holding WMU to 11 yards rushing and 204 overall. Of the two passing TDs allowed, one was with less than two minutes remaining, too little, too late for a game Bronco team. Michigan State know where they need to improve this season.
Hero of the Hour: RB Jeremy Langford – Rushing 20-94-1, Receiving 2-7-0.
Next Up: South Florida
Beat Nevada-Las Vegas 51-23
Anyone who watched this matchup last season probably wasn’t looking forward to the rematch, but the Golden Gophers are greatly improved from 2012, although it didn’t look it in the first half as the Rebels played hard, going into the half down just 13-16. Then the Gophers special teams took over in the third quarter, returning the second-half kickoff for a score and blocking a punt, also for a TD. UNLV kept fighting, and even drove deep into Minnesota territory at the beginning of the fourth, but Briean Boddy-Calhoun snared an errant Nick Sherry pass and took it to the house, effectively ending the game. The Gophers piled on the points late. Another B1G team who’ll be working on the passing attack during the week, as Philip Nelson was less than satisfactory throwing the ball..
Hero of the Hour: The Special Teams – 1 Blocked PAT, 1 Kick Return TD and 1 Blocked Field Goal returned for a TD.
Next Up: @ New Mexico State
Beat Wyoming 37-34
After allowing 115 points in the last two games of 2012, the Cornhuskers needed to show that their defense was championship caliber this season. Giving up 602 yards to the Cowboys was not the start they had hoped for. Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith shredded the Nebraska secondary for 383 yards and 4 TDs, including 2 in the last 6:02 to give Big Red a scare. Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez took a beating, but still threw for 3 TDs to keep the Cornhuskers on the right side of the scoreline, but Wyoming wouldn’t back down, instead just running out of time.
Hero of the Hour: RBs Ameer Abdullah and Imani Cross – Rushing 32-219-2 (combined)
Next Up: Southern Mississippi
Won @ California 44-30
The Wildcats had a fine season in 2012, and wanted to stress that the season was a taste of things to come. First on the agenda was a Cal team featuring a new coach in Sonny Dykes, who promised an exciting offense based on his track record at Louisiana Tech. The game certainly didn’t disappoint, as both teams traded blows for until Northwestern put the game out of reach late in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats lost do-everything QB Kain Colter to concussion early in the game, which may impact their offense over the next couple of weeks. Cornerback Daniel Jones is also out for the season, another tough loss.
Hero of the Hour: LB Collin Ellis – 4 Tackles, 1 PBU, 2 Interceptions (2TDs)
Next Up: Tennessee Tech
Topics: Ameer Abdullah, Buffalo Bulls, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Chase Clement, Christian Kirksey, Cincinnati Bearcats, Collin Ellis, Devin Gardner, Frankie Williams, Illinois Fighting Illini, Imani Cross, Indiana Hoosiers, Indiana State Sycamores, Iowa Hawkeyes, James Wh, Jeremy Langford, Jordan Hall, Massachusetts Minutemen, Melvin Gordon, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Nate Scheelhaase, Nate Sudfeld, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels, Northern Illinois, Northwestern Wildcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State Nittany Lions, Purdue Boilermakers, Stephen Obeng-Agyapong, Syracuse Orange, UNLV Rebels, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys