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College Football 2014: Week 1 Recap
Monday, 2014 September 1 - 1:05 pm
Michigan restores order to the universe; N.C. State squeaks out a win.

Michigan 52, Appalachian State 14
Michigan got three touchdown catches from Devin Funchess, and both Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith rushed for over a hundred yards, as this one turned into a rout by the second quarter.


The offensive line took a little time to get its rhythm, but Devin Gardner efficiently kept the drives alive with timely completions. Gardner finished an astonishing 13 of 14; his one incompletion was a good read but simply an errant throw. In the second quarter, it was clear that all those practice reps at inside zone running finally paid off: as designed, the line opened up cutback lanes and the running backs took advantage. It looked like Kyle Kalis played a pretty solid game at right guard after coming in during the second quarter; hopefully that means he's back at full strength after coming back from his back injury.

The new aggressive defense was in full display... it seems like a majority of snaps were played with some manner of blitz and press coverage. App State QB Kameron Bryant only managed 58 yards on 19 attempts, with one interception, before getting pulled in the fourth quarter. Michigan had a bit of trouble containing interior runs at times; I'll have to look at some replays to identify the issues.

Now, this wasn't a great App State team, and this game tells us very little. But then again, last year we were struggling to put away teams like Akron and UConn, so comfortable wins are a welcome relief.

Edit: A few things I forgot to mention. One, Devin Funchess came out wearing the #1 jersey, an honor I think he totally deserves. Two, Doug Nussmeier's first play call was a bubble screen. Hooray! Three: App State has a receiver gloriously named Simms McElfresh, and props to him for making a difficult catch for a touchdown late in the game.

Grades: Offense B+, Defense B+.
Heroes: Devin Funchess, Blake Countess, Offensive Line.
Goats: None.

Next week: at Notre Dame, 7:30 PM on NBC.

N.C. State 24, Georgia Southern 23
That thud you heard was the sound of the Wolfpack fan base dropping their expectations for this season onto the ground. Georgia Southern dominated the first half of this game. But Jacoby Brissett finally managed to find a rhythm midway through the third quarter, and N.C. State scored touchdowns on three of its final four possessions to claw to a one-point win.

There were problems getting movement on both the offensive and defensive line; Brissett was inconsistent early on; and I was disappointed that Thornton wasn't getting snaps until the second quarter. (The culmination of his punishment for his off-season troubles, maybe?)

There are glimmers of hope. Brissett was sharp at the end of the game and ended up passing for nearly 300 yards; on the ground, the team managed 4.9 YPC. There's definitely a lot of work to do on defense, but hopefully a few confidence-building wins will get this team on track.

Next week: Old Dominion. ODU is a better team than Georgia Southern, and State will need to be on its toes.

Notable Games
A lot of top teams showed flaws and vulnerabilities in their openers.

#1 Florida State had some trouble putting away Oklahoma State, but managed to hang on for a 37-31 win. Florida State's defense is perhaps not as formidable as everyone expected.

#2 Alabama similarly struggled to beat West Virginia, 33-23. Again, the defense was surprisingly soft.

#5 Ohio State trailed for the entire first half against Navy, but eventually found its rhythm and won 34-17. Still, it's clear that OSU without Braxton Miller is far from being a top-5 team.

#7 UCLA beat Virginia, but it took three defensive touchdowns to do it.

#21 Texas A&M blew out #9 South Carolina 52-29. Johnny Who? Look out for A&M to shake up the SEC race.

#12 Georgia crushed #16 Clemson, 45-21. Georgia is for real this year, folks.

#13 LSU rallied to beat #14 Wisconsin 28-24. Wisconsin had this game well in hand for three quarters, only to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. This could have been a defining early win for the Big Ten conference; now we'll have to endure months of talk about how the SEC is the superior conference. Again.

Penn State needed a last-second field goal to beat UCF. Christian Hackenberg threw for 454 yards, but also threw two costly interceptions; meanwhile Penn State only managed 57 yards on the ground. The verdict is still out on the Nittany Lions.

Northwestern lost to Cal 31-24. This might be another down year for the Wildcats.

Rutgers pulled out a surprising victory against Washington State. Rutgers was picked to finished last in the Big Ten, so this is a boost for both the school and the conference.

Arizona racked up 787 yards in beating UNLV 58-13. Give 'em hell, Rich Rod.

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