Week 1 Wrap

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No. 9 Auburn grinds out 21-16 win over No. 6 Washington, dealing Pac-12 early playoff punch

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No. 9 Auburn (1-0) managed to win a physical and defensive battle against the best the Pac-12 had to offer. The Tigers, fueled by three field goals by Anders Carlson and two key Washington turnovers took home a 21-16 victory over No. 6 Washington in Atlanta in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.

Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham completed 26 of 36 passes for 273 yards and a touchdown in the victory. Washington’s Jake Browning had a rough afternoon at times, but he did throw for 296 yards and a touchdown. Browning had one pass intercepted though, and a fumbled football in the third quarter from just outside the goal line came back to bite him and the Huskies.

Washington was primed to take a lead before the Browning fumble, but it was Washington’s defense that kept the game within reach for the entire game. Auburn could never find a true knockout blow against Washington until getting a game-winning touchdown on their last full possession of the game.

With Washington working their way to a 16-15 lead following a field goal, Stidham led the Tigers on a touchdown drive traveling 76 yards over 10 plays. JaTarvious Whitlow finished the drive with a 10-yard run, putting the pressure on Washington to find their way back to the end zone. Washington’s last chance on offense ended on a fourth down with 16 yards to go with Browning being sacked by Smoke Monday.

Much will be made about how this severely damages the Pac-12’s chances of getting a College Football Playoff representative at the end of the season, and it is understandable why that would be. Washington may have needed this win more than Auburn might, given the current standings of the SEC and Pac-12. The margin for error in the Pac-12 has been pretty thin the last few seasons, and a win against a top 10 team essentially on the road would have been a nice feather in the cap for the Huskies. But it’s just one game, and the entire college football season still pretty much has to be played. But Washington may not be able to afford another loss the rest of the season, where Auburn now has one of the top wins of the very early season.

Both Auburn and Washington will play their home openers next week against FCS competition. Auburn will host Alabama State, and Washington plays host to North Dakota.

After extended weather delay, Maryland sends No. 23 Texas home with loss

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For the second year in a row, Maryland (1-0) is starting the year with a win against Texas (0-1). The Terrapins managed to regroup after blowing a big first-half lead and weathered a nearly 90-minute weather delay in the fourth quarter to close out a 34-29 win against the No. 23 Longhorns.

Turnover issues popped up at the most unfortunate of times for Texas. After Maryland kicked a field goal to take a five-point lead, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger was picked off on the second play of the ensuing possession. Fortunately for Texas, the defense stood tall and forced a three-and-out to get the ball back. But on that next offensive series, Tre Watson fumbled the football after a pass completion for a six-yard gain on third-and-three. After video review, the ball was awarded to Maryland.

Maryland had a 24-7 lead in the first half, but Texas stormed into the locker room with momentum after cutting the lead to 24-22. As things seemed to settle down after the break, Texas took their first lead of the game on a Kyle Porter touchdown run in the third quarter. Maryland would answer with a lengthy 11-play, 75-yard touchdown drive on the ensuing possession. Tayon Fleet-Davis ran for a 17-yard score to grab the lead back for Maryland, but it was at this point Mother Nature decided to interrupt the game with Maryland up 31-29 early in the fourth quarter.

The weather delay clocked in at 1 hour 26 minutes and the game resumed with Maryland kicking off to the Longhorns after their go-ahead touchdown. The break did not hurt Maryland, as the defense made some plays, including a game-clinching interception by Antoine Brooks as Texas was moving down the field in the final minutes of the game. Texas was just 3-of-15 on third downs and Texas had three turnovers in the game, while Maryland was without a turnover all game long.

Kasim Hill led the Maryland offense with 222 passing yards and a touchdown. Freshman wide receiver Jeshaun Jones had a grand debut as well, becoming the first FBS freshman to score a touchdown with a reception, run, and a pass in the same game since Marcus Mariota did it in 2012.

Ehlinger was 21-of-39 for 263 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions.

Say what you will about the current state of the Maryland program and all that has happened, but the players wearing the Maryland football uniforms absolutely deserved to enjoy the moment with a victory over the Longhorns once again.

Maryland will be on the road next week at Bowling Green. The Terrapins will play their first true home game in Week 3, against Temple. Texas will play their home opener next week with a game against Tulsa.

No. 7 Oklahoma picks up where it left off with 63-14 blowout of FAU

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The defending Big 12 champions looked to pick up the scoring pace right where they left it last season. No. 7 Oklahoma (1-0) scored four first-quarter touchdowns en route to a decisive blowout 63-14 victory over FAU (0-1). New Oklahoma starting quarterback Kyler Murray got a rest in the second half after throwing for 209 yards and two touchdowns and running back Rodney Anderson rushed for 100 yards and two scores.

Austin Kendall came in to relieve Murray for the second half (he was later carted off with an injury in the fourth quarter after hurtiung his left knee), but not before the successor to Baker Mayfield put on a show of his own to comfort any fan potentially wondering how Oklahoma’s offense would be without the 2017 Heisman Trophy winner. Murray completed nine of his 11 pass attempts for 209 yards. FAU’s defense was little match for Murray and the Oklahoma offense. Murray’s first touchdown pass was a 65-yard pass to Le Morris on the first play of a series, putting Oklahoma up 21-0 at the time.

Anderson didn’t need long to get going either. The Oklahoma running back took off for a 30-yard touchdown run on Oklahoma’s first possession of the season. He added a 65-yard touchdown run in the second quarter to push the lead to 35-0. Marquise Brown caught six passes for 133 yards as well.

But while the offense will make headlines, Oklahoma’s defense seemed ready to put on a show in their first chance to get on the field against an opponent since last season’s Rose Bowl, when Georgia outlasted Oklahoma and piled up a massive amount of yardage against them. Granted, FAU is far from Georgia, but the tone was set by the Sooners defense, limiting FAU to one third-down conversion out of 10 attempts. FAU may go on to put up some big numbers this season, certainly within Conference USA, but Oklahoma did well in not allowing the Owls to come in and put much of anything together.

Oklahoma will host another opponent next week with a popular head coach next week. The Sooners will welcome Chip Kelly and UCLA in Kelly’s first road game since returning to college football. FAU will play their home opener next Saturday with a game against Air Force.

No. 21 UCF routs UConn behind McKenzie Milton’s 5 TDs

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No. 21 UCF (1-0, 1-0 AAC) had little trouble turning the page on a new season with a new head coach. Quarterback Mckenzie Milton opened the season by throwing for 346 yards and five touchdowns as the defending AAC champions blasted UConn (0-1, 0-1 AAC) by a score of 56-17 on Thursday night.

UCF head coach Josh Heupel saw his team score two touchdowns in each quarter to earn his first head coaching victory as the Huskies were simply no match for the Knights. UCF’s offense rolled up over 600 yards on their hosts, including 272 yards on the ground as a team.

UConn quarterback David Pindell was intercepted once, but had a solid enough effort to suggest he could be a fun player to watch this season. Pindell completed 27-of-41 passes for 266 yards and a touchdown and he rushed for 157 yards and a score. Pindell will likely be picking up some big numbers as the season continues, and not every opponent UConn faces will be as stacked as UCF.

UCF wide receiver Tre Nixon caught five passes from Milton for 101 yards and two scores. In all, 10 UCF players caught a pass from either Milton or backup Darriel Mack Jr.

UCF’s defense did give up 486 yards, but the Knights also forced three turnovers while the offense never let go of the football.

The game actually got started on a somber note, when UCF cornerback Aaron Robinson was injured on the opening kickoff of the game. He was attended to by medics and trainers on the field for about 10 minutes before being carted off on a stretcher. There has been no update on his status, but he did have motion in his legs and gave a thumbs up as he came off the field on the cart.

UCF will play their home opener next week with a game against FCS South Carolina State. UConn will be on the road in Week 2 to take on another Group of Five heavyweight, No. 22 Boise State.