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College Football 2012: Week 1 Recap
Monday, 2012 September 3 - 2:09 pm
Not a good start for our teams.

Michigan 14, Alabama 41. Well, ugh. There are very few positives to take away from this game. On offense, Michigan was miserable; take away two long bombs (71 and 44 yards) and Michigan only managed 154 yards. Vincent Smith, starting in place of the suspended Fitzgerald Toussaint, proved to be completely ineffective plowing into the Alabama defensive line. To be fair, he wasn't helped by Al Borges' play calling, which never really threatened to use Denard Robinson as a runner. Through the air, Robinson failed to connect with his receivers. This was sometimes the result of poor route-running by QB-turned-WR Devin Gardner, sometimes the result of bad reads, but mostly the result of outstanding cornerback play from Alabama.

On defense, Michigan lost Blake Countess to a season-ending knee injury near the beginning of the game. This made Thomas Gordon come in as the nickel back and he played poorly, taking bad tackling angles and blowing coverage assignments. Michigan's defensive line at time looked good against Alabama's front, but not consistently enough to shut down drives. Alabama had 5.5 YPC on the ground, and though Michigan sacked A.J. McCarron a couple of times, it simply wasn't enough; on the whole, the team was physically outmatched.

Michigan has a lot of work to do, and faces a dangerous Air Force team next week.

Heroes: Will Campbell, who mostly held up to Alabama double-teams on the line; Dennis Norfleet, who looks dangerous as a kick returner; Jeremy Gallon, who looks like the best receiver on the team.

Goats: Thomas Gordon, who was frequently out of position; Al Borges, who failed to use Robinson effectively and did not employ enough misdirection to negate Alabama's physical superiority; Dave Brandon, Michigan's athletic director who though scheduling this game would be a good idea.

Grades: Offense F, Defense C-.

N.C. State 21, Tennessee 35. This game pretty much went the opposite of how I thought it would go, with N.C. State being the team committing the turnovers and giving away what was otherwise a pretty close game. Mike Glennon threw four interceptions; meanwhile Tyler Bray threw for 333 yards and two touchdowns for the Vols. State only managed one sack against Bray, and N.C. State's vaunted cornerbacks were frequently torched by Tennessee's talented receivers. And as feared, State's running game hasn't gained much traction, with three running backs combining for just 113 yards.

The good news for State is that this game is probably more of an indication that Tennessee is a pretty good team, rather than State being a bad one. State played poorly for a lot of the game, but still managed to show flashes of competence and still had a chance at making a comeback midway through the fourth quarter.

Other Notable Games:

#13 Michigan State's defense held on against a rebuilt #24 Boise State offense, and the Spartan's eked out a 17-13 win.

#21 Stanford looked sluggish without Andrew Luck and barely beat San Jose State 20-17.

#3 LSU beat North Texas 41-14, and I only mention that because the score is embarrassingly identical to the Michigan-Alabama score.

#12 Wisconsin survived a late rally from 1-AA Northern Iowa and held on to win 26-21.

#14 Clemson beat Auburn 26-19. Clemson is a serious contender again for the ACC title this year.

Ohio State walloped Miami (OH) 56-10 in Urban Meyer's debut.

Penn State did not fare as well in Bill O'Brien's debut, falling to Ohio University 24-14. I think the Penn State fans are starting to face a long, hard reality check.

Iowa squeaked by Northern Illinois 18-17, needing a late fourth-quarter touchdown to escape with the win.

Maryland also need a fourth quarter touchdown to beat William and Mary in a 7-6 snoozefest.

Miami beat Boston College 41-32.
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