Georgia’s protection was not only a positive factor in 2021. It was The Certain Factor. And after Saturday? Certain, issues look about the identical.
The Bulldogs did nearly all the pieces proper in a 49-3 rout of Oregon, a workforce coached by former Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning. If anybody was going to have a notion of what was awaiting in Atlanta, it was the man who would have been on the Bulldogs’ sideline a 12 months in the past.
School Soccer Playoff will increase to 12 groups as early as 2024
It was hardly a defense-only effort. Georgia scored touchdowns on its first seven possessions. Stetson Bennett IV threw for 368 yards and two touchdowns. The Bulldogs averaged 9.2 yards a play, and so they went 9-for-10 on third down.
Nonetheless, Oregon managed a mere discipline objective, and padded its yardage whole into semi-respectable territory (313 yards) with a 100-yard fourth quarter. And even then, even with the backups within the sport throughout rubbish time, Georgia managed a fourth-down stand inside its 5 with lower than two minutes remaining.
Whatever the numbers or the Bulldogs’ losses to the NFL (5 Dawgs on D have been taken within the first spherical), Georgia’s program relies on protection. It hasn’t allowed greater than 20 factors a sport in any of the final six seasons. Its whole protection rankings within the Kirby Good period (beginning in 2016): sixteenth, sixth, thirteenth, third, twelfth, second.
And whereas it’s typically silly to attract too many conclusions from an opener, it seems Georgia’s protection stays one thing to not be trifled with. In a sport with few positive issues, it’s reassuring to have one thing to depend on. Little question Bulldogs followers really feel the identical means after that revamped unit’s placing debut.
This isn’t a placement the Wildcats have loved a lot in latest seasons. They misplaced seven in a row to shut out 2019, went 0-5 to get Kevin Sumlin fired after the truncated pandemic season after which went 1-11 in Jedd Fisch’s debut season final 12 months.
Put one other means: Expectations couldn’t be that excessive for a workforce that had misplaced 23 of its final 24 outings heading into its opener in opposition to San Diego State.
As an alternative, Arizona rolled out of Southern California with a 38-20 thumping. Washington State switch Jayden de Laura threw for 299 yards and 4 touchdowns, three of them to Jacob Cowing. And the Wildcats’ protection, which quietly went from constantly poor to first rate not less than half the time final season, held the Aztecs to 62 passing yards and simply 4 yards a play.
This doesn’t assure something over the lengthy haul. Mississippi State involves city subsequent week, adopted by FCS energy North Dakota State (a placing instance of administrative malpractice in Tucson when the sport was agreed to 5 years in the past, because the Bison are 6-0 in opposition to FBS groups since 2010).
Nevertheless it’s a begin, and a complete lot higher than the hopelessness that’s enveloped Arizona’s program since even earlier than the pandemic.
Even with USC and UCLA, Pac-12 soccer has been fairly bleak
The opening week of the season has extra shades of grey than every other. There’s so much everybody thinks they know, however a complete lot much less that they really know.
With solely previous seasons (with not less than some totally different gamers populating the roster) to go together with, there’s extra guesswork concerned. So there find yourself being groups who seem a lot better than anticipated, and a few who wind up handing over surprisingly sloppy showings.
Just a few groups get the advantage of a easy thumbs up or thumbs down primarily based on the outcome from these past their most fawning trustworthy. This 12 months, the Razorbacks are a type of groups.
Arkansas was coming off a 9-4 season. It had honest-to-Hog-Heaven preseason buzz tied to one thing apart from a coach’s imminent firing for the primary time in not less than a half-dozen years. And it had 2021 playoff participant Cincinnati coming to city.
Even when the Bearcats have been down 9 NFL draft picks, the barometer for Sam Pittman’s workforce was clear. Win, and there can be few (if any) complaints. Lose, and the faculty soccer world has not less than just a little cause to revisit the offseason hype.
Credit score to the Razorbacks: They managed a 31-24 victory, a reasonably even sport that noticed Arkansas play to its strengths (224 speeding yards) and convert a few takeaways in plus territory into fast landing drives. Okay.J. Jefferson (18 of 26, 233 yards passing, three TDs plus 62 yards and a landing on the bottom) may not begin getting ready a Heisman acceptance speech this week, however he was fairly, fairly good.
Arkansas will get South Carolina and Missouri State (the latter bringing a reunion with former coach and famous motorbike aficionado Bobby Petrino) earlier than dealing with Texas A&M and Alabama in back-to-back weeks. The Razorbacks are going to reveal lots over the following 4 weeks. Frankly, they already did one thing fairly spectacular of their opener.
The faculty soccer teaching carousel simply took one among its wildest spins
There’s no cause to go overboard in regards to the Blue Devils’ 30-0 victory over Temple to start Mike Elko’s teaching tenure in Durham. Temple was one of the vital lifeless groups within the FBS within the second half of final season (therefore why Stan Drayton was making his head teaching debut with the Owls), and Duke nonetheless has lots to show as soon as it begins ACC play.
Nonetheless, the Blue Devils’ preliminary effort beneath Elko ought to be appreciated. They scored on 4 of their first 5 possessions to leap to a 24-0 lead on the break Friday, and the shutout was their first of an FBS opponent since pummeling North Carolina, 41-0, in 1989 beneath Steve Spurrier. Duke’s final residence shutout of an FBS college? A 3-0 barnburner over Wake Forest in 1978.
There are many groups that can puzzle over lackluster openers, and some positive to be smarting from gorgeous losses. Duke didn’t come near falling into both class — progress for a workforce whose season mainly was over with an opening-week loss at Charlotte final season.
The No. 8 Wolverines weren’t purported to have issues with Colorado State, and so they didn’t. They scored on eight of their 10 possessions and didn’t surrender some extent till 8:59 remained in a 51-7 rout of the Rams.
Not everybody considered as a playoff contender handles its enterprise as methodically as Michigan did. That counts for one thing.
One sport in, and the entire transfer as much as FBS is figuring out simply splendidly for the Dukes, who crushed Center Tennessee, 44-7, and handled their guests like one of many many FCS applications they drubbed with regularity in latest many years.
Quarterback Todd Centeio threw for 287 yards and 6 touchdowns, the latter determine tying a faculty document. Maybe extra spectacular — not less than by a smidgen — was a defensive effort that restricted the Blue Raiders to 119 whole yards (together with simply 12 on the bottom).
FCS-to-FBS strikes aren’t uniform and require not less than some kind of an adjustment, however now and again they do go easily. The Dukes aren’t assured to flirt with a 10-win season like they normally do, however not less than in the beginning issues are going fairly effectively.
It was extremely unlikely the Crimson Tide would face a critical menace in opposition to Utah State. Nonetheless, the visiting Aggies went 11-3 final season, profitable each the Mountain West title and a bowl sport in opposition to Oregon State.
It wasn’t a no person that got here to Tuscaloosa to gather a test on Saturday evening. However that’s about all Alabama gave up in a 55-0 victory. Throw in Bryce Younger doing Bryce Younger issues — 195 yards and 5 touchdowns passing, 100 yards and a rating speeding — and Alabama regarded the a part of the nation’s No. 1 workforce.
Look, the straightforward punching bag from Saturday’s early video games is Iowa’s 7-3 victory over South Dakota State. Successful a sport with precisely seven factors with out scoring a landing is extraordinarily on-brand for the Hawkeyes, who collected a pair of second-half safeties to account for the profitable margin.
However there’s a case to return down tougher on North Carolina, which squandered a 20-point lead within the fourth quarter and gave up 40 factors within the ultimate 12:10 of a 63-61 victory at Appalachian State.
There’s so much to select at there, however maybe essentially the most befuddling a part of the entire expertise was the Tar Heels amassing an onside kick after the Mountaineers pulled inside 56-55 however didn’t convert a two-point conversion. Slightly than simply falling on the ball and operating out the clock, North Carolina introduced it again for a landing — leaving time for App State to attain once more earlier than flubbing one other two-point strive.
Throw in some questionable clock administration in Thursday’s video games ( you, Purdue), and it looks as if getting acclimated to the season isn’t merely confined to conditioning, ball safety and the like.
If there have been any illusions in regards to the Hokies quickly climbing out of the ditch they discovered themselves in on the tail finish of the Justin Fuente period, they have been promptly extinguished in a 20-17 loss at Outdated Dominion.
Issues have been largely self-inflicted for Virginia Tech, which gave the Monarchs seven factors once they sailed a snap for a discipline objective over the holder’s head that was picked up and carried into the tip zone. It was one among 5 Hokie turnovers, together with 4 interceptions by Marshall switch Grant Wells.
It was a decent defensive exhibiting for the Hokies, however there aren’t many locations to cover in a front-loaded schedule. Virginia Tech may even see West Virginia, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Miami and N.C. State earlier than the tip of October. If there are going to be fixes to assist salvage new coach Brent Pry’s season, they’ll be wanted sooner quite than later.
The 49ers (0-2) absorbed a 41-24 loss at residence in opposition to William & Mary that was even worse than a 17-point loss to an FCS college would usually recommend.
The Tribe rolled up 303 speeding yards, 559 whole yards and averaged 8.5 yards a play. With Maryland, Georgia State and South Carolina nonetheless to return, issues aren’t going to get any simpler for Charlotte because it wades deeper into its nonconference schedule.
The Midshipmen actually needed for instance how this wasn’t going to be just like the final two years, once they endured consecutive shedding seasons (however not less than beat Military to shut out 2021). A 14-7 loss to Delaware didn’t accomplish that process.
In equity, Navy’s protection did its half. It pressured the Blue Hens right into a pair of fourth-down giveaways and 5 three-and-outs. Delaware managed solely 202 whole yards, and one among its touchdowns got here after it was gifted possession on the Navy 21 due to a fumble.
But when the Midshipmen are going to be good, they’ll have to muster greater than 2.9 yards a carry. Navy had solely 4 runs of not less than 10 yards, and none of greater than 14 yards. A bit of explosiveness would go a good distance for a workforce whose remaining schedule is eight American Athletic opponents, Notre Dame and its two service academy rivals (Air Power and Military).
The Utes didn’t play poorly of their 29-26 loss at Florida. They didn’t play in addition to the Gators, however there was by no means a “how in the world did this happen?” second both.
In truth, Utah regarded as if it was going to answer Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson’s two-yard landing run with 85 seconds left with a rating of its personal — not less than till Amari Burney picked off Cameron Rising ultimately zone to seal a victory in Billy Napier’s debut because the Gators’ coach.
So to be clear, this isn’t an embarrassing outcome for Utah, the defending Pac-12 champs who opened the season ranked within the high 10 for the primary time. However it’s in all probability irritating, undoubtedly disappointing and — within the massive image — positively a missed alternative.
The Utes had the vast majority of their starters again from a 10-win workforce. Florida had misplaced 10 of its final 16 video games. And whereas there was positive to be an opening-game bump with a brand new coach, this was an opportunity to beat a brand-name opponent on the street (even when it has seen higher days, just like how Utah dispatched Michigan in Ann Arbor in 2014).
Saturday doesn’t tarnish Utah’s Pac-12 title hopes. The Utes have been not less than aggressive with the standard SEC East energy it confronted, in contrast to Oregon. However any playoff speak isn’t prone to resume until Utah can rip off a profitable streak that covers a few months.
Is it potential? Certain. But when it happens, it’ll largely occur in anonymity. Which is form of a disgrace, because the Utes have a powerful identification, Rising is an entertaining central determine on an excellent offense and the protection will little doubt reply with fury after giving up 283 speeding yards to Florida. There are worse selections to maintain tabs on than Kyle Whittingham’s workforce as Saturday nights morph into Sunday mornings for the following three months.