Written by: Case Conley
College football is finally back and week 1 did not disappoint. There were some big matchups including a top 5 showdown in Columbus for Notre Dame and season openers for Michigan and Michigan State.
On Friday night, the Spartans took on Western Michigan in East Lansing. Behind a 14-point 4th quarter Michigan State came out with a 35-13 victory. Peyton Thorne threw for 233 yards and 4 touchdowns with 1 interception in an up-and-down opener. Wisconsin transfer Jalen Berger showed his skills with 16 carries for 120 yards rushing with a touchdown. Sophomore receiver Keon Coleman caught 4 catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. The Spartan offense was very up and down after pulling away early to a 21-3 lead but slowed down not scoring in the third quarter until two consecutive scoring drives in the 4th. Defensively, UNLV transfer defensive end Jacoby Windmon shined. With 4 sacks and a forced fumble, he was the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week. The other story on defense was the injuries suffered. Starting linebacker Darius Snow will be done for the year with a right leg injury and 5th-year captain Xavier Henderson sustained a right leg injury as well but according to head coach Mel Tucker “is sore but will be ready when he is ready”. The Spartans will need to be more consistent offensively and see if some young players on defense can step in spots with the injuries.
On Saturday afternoon, Michigan took on Colorado State and won in a rout 51-7. In the first start of the year for Cade McNamara, it was somewhat disappointing, he was just 9/18 for 136 yards and a touchdown. This included 3 drives that stalled out in the red zone for 3 field goals. It was the run game that was huge for the Wolverines. Blake Corum and Donovon Edwards both ran for over 60 yards and a touchdown. The other quarterback JJ McCarthy took over and played 2 scoring drives including his 20-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter. The defense excelled again just like last year with 7 sacks and an interception along with a 45-yard scoop and score touchdown early in the third. However, after the game, McNamara said the quarterback situation where he was starting the first game and McCarthy starting next week against Hawaii was “not expected”. This quarterback controversy is dragging along and Jim Harbaugh has to make a decision sooner than later on which quarterback will take over the team.
On Saturday night, Notre Dame traveled into Ohio Stadium to take on Ohio State. After taking a 10-7 lead into the half, the Irish did not score in the second half and lost 21-10. New starter Tyler Buchner looked competent however the running game was non-existent against the improved Buckeye defense only getting 76 yards on 30 carries. Irish coaches Marcus Freeman and Al Golden had a great game plan, limiting big plays from the Ohio State offense and forcing them to drive the length of the field. Ryan Day and CJ Stroud struggled in the first half but decided to feed the running backs in the second. TreVeyon Henderson and Miyan Williams both ran 91 and 85 yards each with Willams scoring the dagger late in the 4th. A big injury was to Buckeye Jaxson Smith-Njigba. The elite receiver suffered a hamstring injury and will miss multiple weeks. An MRI within the next week will reveal the overall damage. Notre Dame will have to find a way to consistently move the ball offensively and perhaps feed tight end Michael Mayer even more.
Written by: Case Conley – Michigan Sports Network Intern
Photo Courtesy of: The Detroit Free Press