The first week of college football is in the books, and there are some questions leftover. There are some lingering things that seem to beg to be analyzed, and I’m the guy to do it. Let’s get right to it.
The game of the week certainly was the marquee matchup in Dallas with the Michigan Wolverines coming in to face the Alabama Crimson Tide. Michigan was coming in ready to make a statement in this game, not only for their own school but for the conference they play in. The Tide were looking to replace a ton of talent that got drafted into the NFL or graduated.
The game’s final score was 41-14, with Alabama coming out on top, and in truth, the game wasn’t even that close (and I realize that’s a 27 point victory). After Alabama’s initial 3-and-out, the offense found a nice rhythm and was able to move the ball with relative size against an undersized Michigan defense. When Michigan had the ball, and playing without their best running back (Fitz Toussaint) , the Wolverines turned the best player overall, Denard Robinson, into a pocket passer, keeping him from using his legs and potentially exposing the inexperienced Alabama defense. Robinson was unable to make many plays with his arm, largely due to the fact that Alabama’s defensive backs, led by Dee Milliner, were able to defend so well.
It was coming out party for true freshman RB T.J. Yeldon for Alabama…the phenom had 111 yards on just 11 carries, and routinely broke tackles and made defenders miss. The other running backs Alabama played had equal success, as Alabama rushed for more than 200 yards as a team. All in all, it was a dominating effort from the very first snap of the game.
Switching over to the other big game this weekend for those in the state of Alabama, Auburn traveled to Atlanta to take on Clemson (again) in this year’s version of the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic. Not having watched this entire game (it was on where I was watching the Alabama/Michigan game), I can’t speak to the entirety of Auburn’s effort, but what I did see was not that encouraging if you’re an Auburn fan.
The first thing that stands out to me for Auburn is their lack of a run defense. Clemson RB Andre Ellington ran roughshod over the Auburn defense to the tune of 231 yards. Clemson as a team got 528 total yards on offense so if people were looking for a drastic improvement in the Brian VanGorder Era as the defensive coordinator, they didn’t get it this week.
On offense, Auburn managed to get some momentum established with their tandem of running backs, as Tre Mason and Onterio McCalebb worked hard to get 188 yards of rushing between them. Kiehl Frazier started at QB and he managed to find Emory Blake for a nice 54 yard score, but outside of that, there wasn’t much to speak of from him. And he wasn’t able to really run it all, which is a little confusing to me, only because he had some success running the ball last year.
Nothing much outside those two games nationally really…a couple of close games in non-conference matchups that surprised me. Stanford just got by San Jose State, Florida had their hands full with Bowling Green, Northern Illinois gave Wisconsin all they could handle at Camp Randall Stadium, and Oklahoma took a while to get warmed up against Mike Price’s UTEP squad. But no major upsets in week one to speak of really.
And that was the week that was in college football!