The wait is over: college football is back. There were many exciting games, including some top-25 matchups, and there were some surprising outcomes as well. The following is a breakdown of the big highlights from Week 1.
Michigan vs. Notre Dame
Week 1 gave college football fans a great first College Game Day down in South Bend with matchup of #12 Notre Dame and #14 Michigan. Jim Harbaugh is entering his fourth year as Michigan’s head coach against Brian Kelly, who is in his 8th season at Notre Dame. With ESPN’s College Game Day in town there were clearly high expectations for the game, and the excitement was definitely in the air.
Notre Dame was able to jump out to an early 14-0 leader over the Wolverines with a highlight catch by Chris Finke for a 43-yard touchdown and a Jafar Armstrong 13-yard rushing touchdown. The Wolverines offense could not get anything going, and it was not looking good for them. In the second quarter, Michigan showed a sign of life putting up 10 in the second quarter thanks to a 24-yard field goal by Quinn Nordin and a 99-yard kick return by Ambry Thomas. But Notre Dame was also able to tack on 7 more thanks to a Jafar Armstrong 4-yard rushing TD, giving him his second of the game. This made the game 21-10 heading into half with Notre Dame leading.
The second half did not feature as much scoring as the first half, as both defenses really started to play to their full potential as there were just 6 total points scored by both teams in the second half. Notre Dame tacked on 3 more in the third quarter thanks to a Justin Yoon 48-yard field goal. Finally, in the 4th quarter Michigan had a 3-yard TD run by Karan Higdon, making it 24-17 Irish. Then at the end of the game Michigan had a chance to tie the game, but they ended up turning the ball over as Te’Von Coney forced a fumble. Notre Dame recovered the ball, ending Michigan’s last chance of life and ending the game with Notre Dame beating Michigan 24-17.
Penn State v.s Appalachian State
Number 10 Penn State had a surprisingly tough and nerve-racking game for Penn State fans, as their opening game in Happy Valley against Appalachian State was not as much of a cake walk as they thought.
Penn State opened the game with a 7-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a Trace McSorley 12-yard TD run to give the Nittany Lions the quick 7-0 lead. But Appalachian State quickly responded by returning the kick 100 yards to the house right after the Penn State score, tying the game 7-7. App State went on later to close out the first quarter with a 38-yard field goal by Chandler Staton giving App State the lead 10-7 at the end of the first quarter. Though early, it had to be giving Penn State fans a bit of uneasiness early. There was very little scoring in the second, as the only score was a field goal by Jake Pinegar to tie the game at 10 heading into half. Seeing a small school tied with #10 ranked Penn State at halftime in Happy Valley had the eyes of the public on the game, as there was a possibility of an upset.
Penn State then entered the third quarter looking like a different team. They scored two touchdowns in the third quarter, a 10-yard run by McSorley and a Ricky Slade 27-yard run, giving Penn State the 24-10 lead at the end of the third, allowing Penn State fans to feel a little more comfortable. But App State was not done yet. In the 4th quarter, App State opened the quarter with a 17-yard TD pass to Malik Williams from Zac Thomas. Penn State quickly answered with a TD of their own, making it 31-17 with just 11 minutes remaining. Appalachian State rallied for 3 more touchdowns to take the lead 38-31 with just a 1:47 remaining and social media was blowing up as App State was just a minute away from going on the road and upsetting #10 ranked Penn State on opening day. McSorley then drove Penn State down field to tie the game at 38 with a 15-yard TD pass to KJ Hamler with just 42 seconds left. The game then proceeded to overtime.
OT started with App State winning the coin toss and deferring, giving Pemm State the ball first. Penn State capitalized with a 4-yard TD by Miles Sanders. It was then Appalachian State’s opportunity to try and send it to a second overtime. Appalachian State came down and was inside the red zone and threw a jump ball into the end zone where the Penn State safety picked it off, ending App States chance of an upset in Happy Valley. Penn State won 45-38 in OT in a surprisingly tough opening game.
In other major college football action, #19 Florida State took on #20 Virginia Tech in Florida. Deondre Francois’ first game back from a knee injury last year that made him miss the entire 2017 season did not go well. The Hokies destroyed the Seminoles 24-3 in Florida and ruined Francois’ return to the field.
The #5 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes took on the Oregon State Beavers in Columbus, except the Buckeyes had to open their season without head coach Urban Meyer for the way he handled former assistant coach Zach Smith’s domestic violence scandal. Smith has been fired from team while, Meyer is suspended for the first 3 games of the season. On the field it was no problem for the Buckeyes, though, as they dominated Oregon State 77-31.
In the only top-10 matchup of the week #6 Washington took on #9 Auburn, Auburn was able to pull off the slight upset, winning 21-16 over the Huskies.
All in all, Week 1 was a good week. and college football is finally back. If the first week is any indication, it looks like this year will be an exciting year.
New AP Top 10 Rankings After Week 1
4. Ohio State
8. Notre Dame