Barkley and Lee, ad infinitum; more late Week 1 Snap Judgments
Snap Judgments from Saturday’s evening games. For more from SI.com check out our early and midday Snaps, plus our game coverage of Alabama-Michigan, Auburn-Clemson, Ohio-Penn State, South Carolina-Vanderbilt, Washington State-BYU, NC State-Tennessee and Boise State-Michigan State and our full Top 25 review.
• No. 1 USC 49, Hawaii 10. The first line of the play-by-play report from tonight’s Trojans-Warriors game reads thusly: “15:00 USC Matt Barkley pass to Marqise Lee for 75-yard gain (TD).” Do not adjust your monitors. USC whipped out a 75-yard touchdown on tonight’s first play from scrimmage. Not a bad argument in favor of keeping that top spot in the AP Poll, even if it was just against Hawaii, who helpfully boosted the Trojans’ numbers with three turnovers and six sacks allowed.
Don’t forget our “one data point is worse than no data points” argument from the other night. USC is very good at football; Hawaii not so much. But both courses will correct in one direction or the other before the season winds down. We still know nothin’ bout nothin’. What we do know is that tonight’s fireworks were very entertaining, particularly if you like video games.
Before being retired a few minutes into the fourth quarter, Barkley put up a nice, shiny 50-minute performance: 23-of-38 passing, 372 yards, four touchdowns and no picks. Barkley’s star turn was matched by that of tonight’s favored target, Lee, who wrapped up his home opener with 187 yards on just 10 catches. Robert Woods added two additional touchdown receptions. And did we mention Lee ran back a kick the entire length of the field for a touchdown? That’s an afterthought tonight. That’s how good Lee was.
As for the much worried-about position of USC running back: Curtis McNeal got the starting nod, but Silas Redd led the backs with 55 yards on nine carries and a touchdown. (And a fumble.) Linebacker Hayes Pullard recorded the Trojans’ third touchdown of the first quarter with a 27-yard interception return. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 19 Oklahoma State 84, Savannah State 0. Here are Savannah State’s win-loss records for the past three seasons: 1-10, 1-10, 2-8. It is honestly sort of unseemly that this game even got scheduled. Here now is a list of numbers that happened as a result of this game being scheduled: Wes Lunt, 11-for-11, 129 yards. J.W. Walsh, 13-of-21, 149 yards, two scores, one interception. Joseph Randle, six carries for 107 rushing yards, two scores. Desmond Roland, nine carries for 104 rushing yards, three scores. Corey Bennett, 12 carries for 91 yards, one score. Jeremy Smith, three rushing touchdowns. You get the idea. Lunt is a new starter, so it’s nice that he and the rest of the ‘Pokes got to scrimmage for a quarter before yielding to backups and taking in the brisk night air. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 2 Alabama 41, No. 8 Michigan 14. Stewart Mandel was down in Dallas tonight, but real quick: Alabama’s freshman running back T.J. Yeldon ran for 14 yards on his first carry and would end the night with 111 rushing yards, one catch for 26 receiving yards and a touchdown. Stars fell on Alabama, and they pretty much all landed in Bryant-Denny. [BOX | RECAP | VIDEO]
• No. 14 Clemson 26, Auburn 19. Check SI.com for Andy Staples’ full report from the Georgia Dome but, first, some applause: Big night for Clemson’s Andre Ellington, credited with 231 rushing yards on 26 carries. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 7 Florida State 69, Murray State 3. Nothing drastic to report tonight other than a left foot injury to Brandon Jenkins. Jenkins didn’t return to duty during the blowout, but Jimbo Fisher said in his postgame press conference that X-rays were negative. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 3 LSU 41, North Texas 14. The Mean Green was allowed to score! How accommodating of the home team. Tidbits from an otherwise unremarkable win: Zach Mettenberger missed a portion of the game following a nasty sack, but returned to action shortly after the knockdown. Odell Beckham Jr., Tyrann Mathieu’s replacement punt return man, returned two punts for scores, one of which was called back on a penalty. LSU had two tailbacks with 100-plus yard outings: Kenny Hilliard with 13 carries for 141 yards and two touchdowns, and Alfred Blue with 16 carries for 123 yards. [BOX | RECAP]
• Texas State 30, Houston 13. See, this is what we’re talking about when we call the preseason predictions a complete flailing shot in the dark. We got the Ohio upset right, and had Houston pegged to win C-USA if UCF ended up ineligible. College football’s trickster gods are cruel. [BOX | RECAP]
• And now, a list of teams that experienced some degree of early fear in putting down an overmatched opponent: Arkansas over Jacksonville State [BOX | RECAP], Ole Miss over Central Arkansas [BOX | RECAP], Kansas State over Missouri State [BOX | RECAP], and Indiana over Indiana State [BOX | RECAP].