Week 1, Statistically Speaking

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A statistical snapshot of the week that was in college football…

.845Urban Meyer‘s winning percentage, the best among active coaches with at least 10 years of head coaching experience.  Bob Stoops and Nick Saban are next at .792 and .749, respectively.

1 — Games in Week 1 that pitted ranked opponents (No. 20 Wisconsin vs. No. 3 Alabama).

3 — Sacks for Michigan State’s Riley Bullough in his first career start at middle linebacker in Michigan State’s win over Western Michigan.

4 — Touchdown passes for Everett Golson in his Florida State debut, a 59-16 win over Texas State.  Golson also threw for 302 yards.

4 — 10-win seasons for Michigan State under Mark Dantonio.  Prior to Dantonio’s arrival, the program had two 10-win seasons in its history.

6 — Different teams that have won the Big 12 the last six seasons (Baylor, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and TCU). No other Power Five conference has had as many different champions in that six-year span.

8 — Road games for Louisiana-Monroe this season, the only FBS team that can make that claim.  Those eight games will lead to ULM traveling 17,224 round-trip miles.

10.48 — Yards per play averaged by Baylor in its 56-21 win over SMU, setting a school record in the process.  The Bears rolled up 723 yards of total offense.

11 — Knee surgeries for Bobby Swigert since 2012.   In his first game in three years, the Boston College wide receiver caught two passes for 16 yards, including an 11-yard touchdown.

11.5 — Yards per carry averaged by North Carolina’s Elijah Hood in rushing for a career-high 138 yards in South Carolina’s 17-13 win.

11.6 — Wins per season for Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, the most of any active head coach with at least five years experience.  The only others currently averaging in double digits are Washington’s Chris Petersen (11.1), Ohio State’s Urban Meyer (10.9) and Oklahoma’s Bob Stoops (10.5).

13 — Consecutive weeks Colorado and Hawaii will play without the benefit of a bye this season, the only FBS teams that can make that claim.  Arizona, FIU, UMass and North Texas will all play 12 straight weeks to open the year.

14 — Consecutive road wins for Ohio State, the longest amongst FBS teams.  OSU’s last road defeat came on Nov. 26, 2011 at Michigan.  The Buckeyes will begin their defense of their national title on the road in Blacksburg Labor Day night.

16.78 — Miles Georgia Tech has run for since Paul Johnson took over the Yellow Jackets in 2008.  That equates to 29,536 yards, the most of any FBS team in that span.

20 — Returning starters for Ohio, the most of any FBS program.  Tennessee, UCLA and Vanderbilt, with 18 apiece, pace all Power Five teams.

23 — Yards per carry true freshman Marcus Marshall averaged in rushing for 184 yards in Georgia Tech’s Thursday win over Alcorn State.

26 — Career wins for Ohio State’s Braxton Miller, the most of any active FBS quarterback.  Miller likely won’t add to that total this season, though, as he moved to H-back in the offseason.

41 — Consecutive games in which Arizona State’s D.J. Foster has caught at least one pass, the longest such streak in the country.  Foster is also coming off a season in which he was the only FBS player to rush for at least 1,000 yards and catch at least 600 yards worth of passes.

76 — Points scored by Ole Miss, the most the Rebels have scored in a single game since a 1935 win over West Tennessee Teachers College.

88 — Times Wake Forest’s Alex Kinal has punted without a touchback.  Kinal’s last punt that sailed into the end zone came in November of 2013.

95 — Consecutive games Stanford had scored at least 10 points, the longest such streak in the country, prior to its 16-6 upset loss to Northwestern.

152 — Yards rushing for Oregon State quarterback Seth Collins in a 26-7 win over Weber State, averaging 8.9 yards per carry.

134 — Seasons Navy spent as a football independent before playing its first game Saturday afternoon as a member of the AAC.

184 — Players on Navy’s roster, easily outdistancing No. 2 Army’s 145.  Nebraska carries the biggest Power Five roster at 136.

223 — Rushing yards for Ray Lawry in Old Dominion’s win over Eastern Michigan.

233 — Return yards for Maryland’s Will Likely, setting the Big Ten record in that category.  The previous mark was 201 by Iowa’s Nile Kinnick way back in 1939.

322 — Passing yards for Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes against Stephen F. Austin… in the first half alone.  The Red Raiders quarterback finished the game with 425 yards and 473 yards of total offense as he added 48 on the ground.

323 — Passing yards for Wake Forest’s John Wolford in the win over Elon Thursday.  It was the first 300-yard game of his career, and bested his previous high of 291 yards set last September.

399 — Passing yards for Al Cobb in VMI’s loss to Ball State.  His previous career-high was 396, set in the 2014 regular-season finale.

424 — Career-high passing yards for Matt Johnson in Bowling Green’s loss to Tennessee.

659 — Yards of total offense Southern Illinois put up against Indiana in a 48-47 loss.  It was the program’s most yards against an FBS team since 1970.

1,302 — Games Rutgers has played in its history, the most of any FBS program.  Penn, with 1,353, holds the all-time NCAA record.

1944 — The last season a true freshman started an opener at left tackle for Clemson prior to Mitch Hyatt lining up Saturday and protecting his quarterback’s blind side.  The last to do it was Phil Prince, who went on to become the university’s president.

1967 — Up until this season, the last year Michigan played host to both Michigan State and Ohio State.

2010 — Last year Arkansas State started a season with same head coach as the year prior until 2015. Blake Anderson is in his second season at ASU; his predecessors, Hugh Freeze (Ole Miss, 2011), Gus Malzahn (Auburn, 2012) and Bryan Harsin (Boise State, 2013) spent one season each with the Red Wolves.

3,473 — Undergraduate students enrolled at Tulsa, the smallest of any FBS program.

40,122 — Total miles Hawaii will travel for its six 2015 road games. UH will be the only FBS program to play games in five separate time zones, traveling to Ohio State (Eastern), Wisconsin (Central), Boise State (Mountain), New Mexico (Mountain), Nevada (Pacific) and UNLV (Pacific).

QB controversy in Tuscaloosa? Freshman Tua Tagovailoa impresses at Alabama spring game

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Alabama’s annual A-Day spring game took place at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday and those tuning in to the Crimson team’s last minute 27-24 win over the White team had to be especially impressed with the Tide’s explosive offense under new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll.

In particular that comes at the quarterback position, where there might be more of a controversy at the spot than first thought. Incumbent Jalen Hurts was very sharp on his downfield passes but his strong outing (301 yards, two touchdowns, one interception) was overshadowed by true freshman Tua Tagovailoa, who simply stole the show down in Tuscaloosa.

The early enrollee signal-caller from Hawaii jumped onto the scene in the first half of the game and wound up completing 17 passes for 313 yards, three touchdowns and an interception while working with both the first- and second-team offenses. You could normally dismiss numbers put up against a team’s second-string defense, this is Alabama we’re talking about so you know it’s coming against numerous future All-SEC players.

Tagovailoa did throw a pick-six in the second quarter but that was mostly because linebacker Terrell Hall made an unbelievable play on a swing pass to snatch the ball out of the air and run it all the way back to the opposite end zone. Freshman tailback Najee Harris (70 yards rushing) as well as stud wide receivers Calvin Ridley, Robert Foster and Jerry Jeudy (134 yards, two scores) also stood out on Saturday.

In all, offense ruled the day as the two quarterbacks combined for over 600 yards through the air. That probably won’t make reviewing film with Nick Saban all that pleasant for members of the secondary next week but was probably good news to most fans after lackluster performances down the stretch to end last season.

Either way, everybody should probably start brushing up on how to pronounce Tagovailoa even if he doesn’t ultimately unseat Hurts as the starter because the young QB has lived up to the early billing by recruiting analysts.

Baylor freshman tailback Abram Smith out for the season with spring ACL tear

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Baylor kicked off the first spring game of the Matt Rhule era on Saturday and wrapped things up with a 65-39 Gold team victory over the Green squad that included a pretty impressive touchdown catch from former basketball player Ish Wainright.

The news wasn’t all rosy in Waco however as after the game Rhule announced that freshman running back Abram Smith would be lost for the 2017 season after suffering an ACL tear in the Bears’ first spring practice.

Smith wasn’t being counted on as being a starter this season but his loss is a fairly big blow to the team’s depth at the position. Returnees JaMycal Hasty and Terence Williams already missed parts of the spring game due to injuries on Saturday, leaving just senior Wyatt Schrepfer to take most of the carries late in the contest.

All three figure to be good to go by the time fall camp rolls around but there’s not much behind them with Smith being lost for the year. A three-star recruit coming out of high school, the early enrollee likely would have seen some snaps in 2017 but will instead have to spend it redshirting on the bench.

Brian Kelly takes the blame for Notre Dame’s struggles last season

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Notre Dame wrapped up spring football with the Irish’s annual spring game on NBC Sports Network on Saturday afternoon in South Bend and front and center was not surprisingly head coach Brian Kelly.

While fans of the team were probably most interested in how quarterback Brandon Wimbush looked, Kelly did go into detail about what the offseason has been like after last year’s disappointing 4-8 campaign. While the coach has been known to be a bit defensive when it comes to the team’s struggles, he did open up during a sit-down interview and was transparent in taking the blame for the way 2016 went.

“When you have a losing season, you have to look at yourself first,” Kelly told NBC Sports’ Jac Collinsworth. “I’ve always felt like there isn’t a bad football team but there is bad leadership and I don’t think I provided the kind of leadership (last year). It starts with yourself.”

Kelly goes on to discuss the significant changes to the Irish coaching staff, how this team is very much a work in progress and how Wimbush is handling taking over as the starting signal-caller.

The Gold team ended up winning the spring game 27-14 over the Blue team behind a strong defensive performance. If Saturday’s outing was any indication, Notre Dame should be much improved this upcoming season and that seems to start from the top on down.

SEC commissioner confirms graduate transfer rule changes will be discussed at spring meetings

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We’re still over a month away from the SEC’s annual spring meetings down in Destin, Fla. but one item we might be able to confirm is on the agenda will be the graduate transfer rules for the conference.

It’s a hot topic around the league and particularly so at Florida, which is in the mix to land Notre Dame graduate transfer Malik Zaire but can’t officially take him due to restrictions from the conference office.

That may change however, as SEC commissioner Greg Sankey confirmed in a radio interview on Friday with ESPN Gainesville.

“It will come up,” Sankey said, according to SECCountry.com. “I do think we need to look where we’ve been restrictive in the past because of the absence of national rules and look at reducing some of those restrictions. I’m one who would position it as interest in freeing things up without just removing every restraint, because I think the restraints have been healthy for us.”

At the heart of the issue is a rule that limits schools from taking additional graduate transfers if previous graduate transfers failed to meet academic requirements after enrolling. The move was designed to prevent a number of situations where players would transfer over just to play and not really go through coursework at their new school.

Other NCAA conferences have failed to follow the SEC’s lead in this area however and now the league is being put at a bit of a disadvantage on the graduate transfer market. This is particularly an issue with the Gators this offseason but it seems as though there will be quite the discussion down in Destin among athletic directors and head coaches about changing the rules to be on more of a level playing field with other conferences on this front.