Texas A&M overcomes suspensions to handle Rice; early Week 1 Snap Judgments
• Texas A&M 58, Rice 31: Sure, Johnny Manziel was suspended for the first half, but the bigger story in College Station was the pregame suspension of a number of key Aggies’ defenders. Rice was able to pick up yards in bunches early and only trailed A&M 28-21 at the break.
But when Manziel came on to start the second half, Texas A&M seemed to wake up — and the defense finally started to get some stops.
Manziel was erratic on his first drive, which started at the Owls’ 34-yard line after an interception. He made a couple of nice runs but also sailed a throw and took a sack (the Aggies kicked a field goal). He settled in after that, scrambling for a first down and completing a sharp pass to wide receiver Mike Evans for a touchdown on his second possession. Of course, no update on the Heisman winner would be complete without a Breaking Bad moment: Manziel’s taunting earned him an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty at one point, which led to what seemed like 15 minutes of moralizing from the ESPN broadcast crew.
He finished 6-of-8 for 94 yards and three touchdowns. He also added 19 rushing yards.
Manziel is a polarizing, but that’s nothing new. By this point, it’s clear that no one wants him to be himself; everyone wants him to fit some preconceived notion of what a quarterback should be, a wish that has grown increasingly absurd. Sometimes players get chippy. Sometimes players talk to other players and make hand gestures and get fiery in the moment. In fact, many of the things people take issue with about Manziel now are the same things that made him such an interesting and dynamic player as a redshirt freshman in 2012.
The Aggies face Sam Houston State next Saturday, and several players will be suspended for at least a portion of that game, including cornerback Deshazor Everett, who was suspended for the first half against Rice, got ejected for targeting a receiver in the second half and will miss the first 30 minutes of A&M’s second game. The bad boys narrative isn’t going away, whether fans like it or not. [RECAP | BOX]
• West Virginia 24, William & Mary 17: It was taken for granted that the West Virginia offense would take a step back after losing stars Geno Smith, Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin to the NFL, but the hope was that Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen could rebuild his team quickly enough to handle a CAA opponent that won two games in 2012. Holgorsen started junior quarterback Paul Millard instead of Florida State transfer Clint Trickett, and Millard completed 9-of-12 passes in the first half.
Still, while West Virginia took its opening drive in for a touchdown, its offense didn’t really wake up until the second half. It’s clear that a lack of experience — along with the fact that running back Andrew Blue left the team this week — is having a big impact on WVU’s ability to move the ball. The Mountaineers offensive line started to get a push as it wore down the Tribe defense, and West Virginia finally took the lead for good with 3:22 remaining in the fourth quarter. An interception on William & Mary’s next possession sealed the victory.
• No. 10 Florida 24, Toledo 6: Gators fans are used to seeing their defense play well. What they don’t usually see is an efficient performance from the Florida offense. Quarterback Jeff Driskel was surprisingly calm and methodical, and running back Mack Brown looked strong on the ground, carrying 25 times for 112 yards and two scores. The Rockets were a popular upset pick coming into this game, but the Gators’ defense kept coach Matt Campbell’s creative offense in check. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 2 Ohio State 40, Buffalo 20: The Buckeyes jumped out to a 23-0 lead in the first quarter and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer went for two after each his team’s first two touchdowns, something that probably didn’t make the Bulls too happy. Buffalo coach Jeff Quinn’s offense finally started to get going after shaking off the rust, and quarterback Joe Licata showed why Bulls fans have high expectations in 2013 — he went 19-of-32 for 185 yards and two touchdowns. But this game was still business as usual for Ohio State, which benefited from efficient performances from running back Jordan Hall (159 rushing yards, two touchdowns) and quarterback Braxton Miller (15-of-22, 177 passing yards, two touchdowns, one interception; 77 rushing yards). The Buckeyes’ defense took a hit with cornerback Bradley Roby’s suspension and linebacker Ryan Shazier missing some time with cramps.
And then there was Khalil Mack:
Khalil Mack's afternoon: 9 tackles (7 solo), 2.5 sacks, 2.5 TFL, 1 INT, 1 TD. And good riddance, sir.—
Eleven Warriors (@11W) August 31, 2013
• Georgia Tech 70, Elon 0: Coach Paul Johnson doesn’t seem like the type of person who is pleased with a lot of things, aside from maybe a cold glass of water, a well-made bed and a quiet car ride. But even he couldn’t possibly be upset with the way his team performed in Week 1. The Yellow Jackets have struggled with some early-season opponents over the last few years (see: Middle Tennessee State), so having the offense humming from the get-go was a good sign. Quarterback Vad Lee threw only 11 passes as The Rambling Wreck rushed for 367 yards. [RECAP | BOX]
• Maryland 43, Florida International 10: Sophomore wideout Stefon Diggs (five catches, 97 receiving yards, one touchdown; 26 rushing yards) is a bona fide star, and a healthy quarterback in C.J. Brown (20-of-24, 276 passing yards, three touchdowns; 105 rushing yards, two scores) is a refreshing sight for the Terps. The Maryland offense has a lot more speed and athleticism than it did in 2012, and it seems that coach Randy Edsall’s recruiting efforts are finally pointing the program in the right direction. It remains to be seen if such a positive start can lead to a winning season, of course, but at the very least, Maryland might be something other than unwatchable this fall. [RECAP | BOX]
• Cincinnati 42, Purdue 7: Two new head coaches were on the sidelines for the matchup between the Bearcats and Boilermakers, and only one could walk away with the victory. Darrell Hazell’s Purdue offense put together a nice opening drive that culminated in a missed 40-yard field goal, but it then went dormant for most of the rest of the game, losing two fumbles and two interceptions. Cincinnati, meanwhile, looked comfortable under Tommy Tuberville. [RECAP | BOX]
•Boston College 24, Villanova 14: For a while, it appeared as if the Wildcats had a chance for an upset, and their fake punt may well be the play of the week. But the Eagles found a way to grind out a win and avoided spoiling Steve Addazio’s first game as coach. [RECAP | BOX]
• Wisconsin 45, Massachusetts 0: In case you forgot, Vegas knows exactly what it’s doing:
Wisconsin won 45-0 with a -44.5 spread. Damn that bet!
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) August 31, 2013