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|College Football 2021: Week 1 Recap and Week 2 Preview||Wednesday, 2021 September 8 - 6:08 pm|
|All the good guys won this week!|
Week 1: Michigan 47, Western Michigan 14
This was the kind of methodical, boring thumping that was once commonplace in Michigan Stadium. You get a physically inferior opponent and Michigan slowly grinds it into dust. Nice and relaxing.
Mostly we're looking for clues about how the season will unfold, and there are some promising signs. Cade McNamara was efficient and accurate, going 9/11 with his two incompletions coming off tipped balls. He showed his ability to throw the long ball. Running backs Hassan Haskins and Blake Corum were the thunder-and-lightning combination we had hoped they'd be, ripping off 70 and 111 yards respectively despite some missed blocking by the OL. Dax Hill was nearly unblockable against passes to the flat. Aidan Hutchinson was a beast on the line. And backup QB J.J. McCarthy flipped a ridiculous across-the-field TD pass to Daylen Baldwin that seemed to travel about 65 yards in the air. So yeah, there's talent on this team.
The bad news: Ronnie Bell is out for the season after suffering a knee injury after a long punt return. It's a shame for the kid, because he looked poised for an All-American season. In less bad news, there's still a lot to clean up as far as OL and DL play, and the DBs were toasted early (but got better as the game went on).
So... yay? It's just nice to see competence and athleticism on this team; it seems like those things have been missing for a while. Combine that with a little luck and who knows?
Week 2: Michigan vs. Washington, 8:00 PM ABC
Washington just lost to FCS opponent Montana 13-7. That's only the second time a ranked FBS team has lost to an FCS team, and yeah let's not talk about the other time.
It's tough to glean a lot from this game because Montana is a pretty good team, but whoo, Washington suddenly looks a lot less fearful. We probably can't count on QB Dylan Morris to put up three interceptions again, not against our cornerbacks anyway. But here's a hopeful stat: Washington only mustered 65 yards on the ground, in part due to -24 yards in sacks, but even without that, it's only 89 yards on 23 carries. I think perhaps the Washington OL might be a weakness.
Prediction: Michigan 33, Washington 16.
Week 1: Penn State 16, Wisconsin 10
The kind thing to say was this was a defensive struggle. Really, though, it was mostly an ugly game, particularly on the Wisconsin side; they turned the ball over three times, which was enough to turn their statistical dominance into a scoreboard loss. As time was running out with Wisconsin down 6, Graham Mertz fumbled on first down at the Penn State 1 yard line. Wisconsin recovered, but then Mertz ended up throwing an interception on fourth down. If they had not fumbled and just played QB sneak several times in a row, they almost certainly would have the game.
Penn State avoided turning the ball over, but it was not an impressive offensive performance by any means. Especially troubling was that Penn State only managed 50 yard rushing on 18 carries. Maybe the Wisconsin rush defense is really that good, but how do you only give Noah Cain and Devyn Ford 9 total carries?
Still, it's a road win against a quality opponent, so it doesn't have to be pretty. Take it and move on.
Week 2: Penn State vs. Ball State, 3:30 PM FS1
Um, it's Ball State. Sure, they're coming off a win against (checks notes) the Western Illinois Leathernecks, and yeah, they went 7-1 in the MAC last season, but Penn State is a three touchdown favorite for good reason. The Cardinals might make it look good for a quarter, but I'd be surprised if Penn State doesn't cruise to a comfortable win.
Prediction: Penn State 35, Ball State 6.
Week 1: N.C. State 45, South Florida 0
Whoa; I didn't think NCSU had this kind of a performance in store for us. With a balanced 232 yards passing and 293 yards rushing, not much went wrong for the NCSU offense. The defense gave up a couple of long passes, but kept the Bulls off the scoreboard in part thanks to three interceptions. Suddenly the announcers were talking about NCSU as a contender to knock off Clemson, which... let's not get ahead of ourselves here.
Week 2: N.C. State at Mississippi State, 7:00 PM ESPN2
This will be an interesting matchup against an SEC team. The Bulldogs squeaked by Louisiana Tech 35-34 in week 1, needing a furious comeback after being down by 20 in the fourth quarter. You might think this is a vulnerable team, but I've seen this film before: NCSU has laid an egg in so many matchups like this that it's hard to be confident. Yes, everyone looked great against USF. No, that won't happen against more athletic opponents.
Prediction: NCSU 29, Mississippi State 27.
Week 1: Notable Results
Georgia looked strong defensively as they shut down Clemson, 10-3. Oklahoma was in trouble for a while against Tulane but scratched out a 40-35 win. Alabama crushed Miami 44-13. UNC was upset by Virginia Tech 17-10. Ohio State had some trouble putting away Minnesota but managed to win 45-13. Oregon didn't look great but squeaked by Fresno State 31-24. UCLA is 2-0 after a good win against LSU, 38-27. Iowa smoked Indiana 34-6, which I think is good news for the Michigan, since they play Indiana and don't play Iowa this year. Washington suffered a huge upset against Montana, as we mentioned before. Notre Dame needed some luck to get by Florida State in overtime, 41-38.
Week 2: Games to Watch on TV
At noon on Saturday, #3 Ohio State plays #12 Oregon on Fox. This game is interesting because both teams are in the playoff conversation but both looked vulnerable in Week 1. I guess I'll call that the Game of the Week. The Penn State vs. Ball State game is at 3:30 on FS1. At 4:30 on ABC, #10 Iowa plays #9 Iowa State, and you know, I think Iowa State would be a good pickup for the Big Ten. Washington vs. Michigan is at 8:00 PM on ABC. It's a pretty boring day overall as there are very few matchups between two ranked teams.
Posted by Ken in: sports
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