The season started on Thursday, 8/31, and all was right with the world once again.
Minnesota 51, UNLV 23: I never thought it would be possible to sweat out a 51-23 victory. The Gophers won their first home opener at TCF on Thursday night, but needed some big-time special teams play, and a thunder clap of a blocked field goal by Ra'Shede Hageman. The most important headline to come out of Thursday's match-up was that they didn't screw it up. Perhaps the most frightening (and all-too-usual) statement made about Minnesota's performance:
Things started out exactly according to plan...for UNLV.
Good job, Minnesota, you had one of the most gut-wrenching non-blowout blowouts in the history of football. Philip Nelson (Mankato Jesus) threw for just 99 yards and one TD. He was also the team's leading rusher. Donnell Kirkwood went out with an ankle injury. Boo! Here's more post-game reaction from The Daily Gopher. Next up for the Gophers: New Mexico State (0-1).
Indiana 73, Indiana State 35: the Hoosiers scored more points since, well, damn near ever. Crimson Quarry says that it was more points since 1901. 1901 was also the year that the Alabama Constitution required voters to pass literacy tests. That was the first and only time that literacy was even remotely tried in Alabama. Why did I just slam Alabama? I have no idea, but it was fun. Anyway, Indiana's defense still needs a little work, but the offense is just what most of us expected. Next up for the Hoosiers: Navy (0-0).
Michigan State 26, Western Michigan 13: due to having to work and make money so my kids can eat, I was unable to watch this game, and I didn't have the foresight to set my DVR. However, I did keep an eye on Twitter and the Game Cast throughout the night (an advantage of having a desk job). Reading this prediction post over at The Only Colors, and then comparing to what was really happening, prompted this reaction while I was at said desk:
Note that most of the predictions were blowouts. To be fair, there were like three people who seemed to have a better idea of what would really happen (they must have been Western fans). Then, there was the reaction. Finally, this may have been the worst passing performance in MSU history. The defense was good, as expected. Next up for Sparty: South Florida (0-1).
Wisconsin 45, UMass 0: Way to ice your kicker, Charley Molnar; not that making it would have done you any good, but geez! On the Badgers' side of things, it couldn't have looked much better. Joel Stave looked very good in the second half. When the game was clearly in hand, perhaps Curt Phillips would have come in, but instead he did this. And the running backs; holy Ameche and Dayne, the running backs! Now I get to listen to Badgers fans rave for the next week about how they are going to compete for a national championship because they beat a team who went 1-11 last year. God help me! Next up for Wisconsin: Tennessee Tech (who?? 1-0).
Illinois 42, Southern Illinois 34: This was entertaining. I found myself watching more of this game than of the Wisconsin game. The Champaign Room thinks this was an ugly win, and they're damn right. However, it was a win. I said this in my analysis of Illinois' schedule:
...with the Salukis losing six defensive starters from last year, new Illinois OC Bill Cubit may have an opportunity to start the season with a victory.
Give Bill Cubit a big thank you, Illinois fan. Next up for the Illini: Cincinnati (1-0).
Penn State 23, Syracuse 17: I saw none of this game; not even any highlights. Instead, let's rely on Nick Polak, over at Black Shoe Diaries, and his grading of Saturday's game. Unsurprisingly, Christian Hackenberg got the start for the Nittany Lions, and he seems to have done well, but it sounds like Bill O'Brien wants to temper the excitement a little bit: "Let's not waltz him into the College Football Hall of Fame, here. All he did was throw the ball--he's on scholarship for that." Next up for PSU: Eastern Michigan (1-0).
Ohio State 40, Buffalo 20: Winning by only 20? Bravo, Brutus, bravo. You do realize that Buffalo was 4-8 last year, right? Read about the Buckeyes' good, bad, and ugly day on Saturday over at Land Grant Holy Land. Twenty points? Next up for the Buckeyes: San Diego State (0-1).
Nebraska 37, Wyoming 34: Corn Nation predicted a blowout and an ineffective Cowboys' team. Blackshirts? Riiiigggghhhht. No disrespect to Wyoming (it's a much more beautiful state than Nebraska, after all), but to have to hang on against the Cowboys shows that Bo handed out those Blackshirts waaay to early. Next up for Nebraska: Southern Miss (0-1).
Northwestern 44, Cal 30: Fake injuries? Yeah, yeah, I remember seeing Cal doing it, but it doesn't make it okay. Play the game. You're Wildcats for cryin' out loud! The predictions over at Sippin on Purple were pretty measured compared to some of what we've seen with the other teams, because people who went to Northwestern are really smart. You were damn lucky to escape with a win against a true freshman in Jared Goff. Next up for Northwestern: Syracuse (0-1).
Iowa 27, Northern Illinois 30: Heading into the weekend, BHGP felt that this was perhaps the most important game of the season. A failure against the Huskies, and the Hawkeyes' season could follow the path of least resistance. BHGP promptly posted this thread. My eternal hatred for all things Iowa makes me smile at all of this. Next up for Iowa: Missouri State (0-1).
Purdue 7, Cincinnati 42: Well, that sucked to be you, Purdue. Analysis will end with these...
I apologize to all my family, teammates, friends and fans. My performance today was unacceptable. Never played that bad in my life— Rob Henry (@RobHenry15) August 31, 2013
Staying off twitter for a while because there obviously needs to be a lot more work done and a lot less talking on my part. #BoilerUp— Rob Henry (@RobHenry15) August 31, 2013
Next up for Purdue: Indiana State (0-1).