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The 10 craziest things that happened in Week 1 of the college football season

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The 10 craziest things that happened in Week 1 of the college football season

Oh college football, how we missed you. The beautiful, wonderful chaos that is college football returned to full swing this weekend and it did not disappoint. What makes the sport so incredible is how crazy and unpredictable it is. What was the biggest surprise in professional sports last year, a team other than Golden State winning the NBA title? That’s cute. The first week alone of college football provided several stories much crazier than that..

With apologies to Notre Dame-Louisville who are set to play Monday, it’s time to recap the craziness of Week 1. Here are the 10 craziest things that happened in Week 1.

A freshman quarterback may have ended the Pac-12’s season

In 2018, a mediocre SEC team in Auburn defeated eventual Pac-12 champion Washington in the first week of the season. We didn’t know it at the time, but that game colored the way the Pac-12 was perceived all season and was at least partly responsible for costing the conference a playoff spot. Auburn did it again on Saturday defeating what looks like one of the top teams in the Pac-12 and they did it with a true freshman quarterback.

Bo Nix completed only 13 of his 31 attempts for 177 yards. He threw two picks and two touchdowns, but he also had the most important play of the game, throwing the game-winning touchdown to Seth Williams with just nine seconds remaining.

It is too soon to tell if this game will doom the Pac-12’s playoff hopes again, but maybe the conference should stop scheduling Auburn.


A bad start for the SEC

Besides the big win for Auburn, it was an awful start for traditionally the best conference in the sport. Here's a quick rundown:

  • Tennessee suffered perhaps one of its worst losses in program history in a 38-30 defeat to Georgia State. Afterward , Georgia State head coach Shawn Elliott rubbed salt in the wound as he said this was actually the second biggest win in program history the first being the 2017 Cure Bowl victory over Western Kentucky. 
  • Ole Miss had fewer than 200 total yards of offense in a 15-10 loss to Memphis.
  • South Carolina blew a big lead against UNC and did not take advantage when the Tar Heels gave them a free shot to win the game at the end. More on that later.
  • Missouri blew a 14-0 first-quarter lead on the road at Wyoming for the 37-31 loss.

Don't worry though. No doubt both Alabama and Georgia will find a way to make the College Football Playoff.

Tulsa runs for less than 0 after running back aims for 200

Tulsa running back Corey Taylor said Thursday he felt 100 yards for each of the team’s top running backs against Michigan State was “pretty reasonable.”

Well, that was some pretty strong bulletin board material for the Spartans who held Tulsa to negative-73 rushing yards for the game.

It should be noted that sacks are counted as rushing yards in college football. Zach Smith was sacked six times for negative-32 yards so that certainly did not help. But Taylor himself was held to a negative-one yard on seven carries. Tulsa’s leading rusher on the day was Shamari Brooks who carried the ball six times for a grand total of zero yards.

I’m no mathematician, but 0 and negative-1 are both less than 100, right?

Howard’s punt team

Maryland obliterated Howard to the tune of 79-0. Here's a fun stat: Of Maryland’s 79 points, 30 of those points were handed to them by Howard’s punt team.

Here are the highlights:

  • A 14-yard punt that set up a Maryland touchdown
  • A fumbled punt that set up a Maryland touchdown
  • A 3-yard punt that set up a Maryland touchdown
  • A 40-yard punt return for a Maryland touchdown
  • A punt block in the end zone for a Maryland safety

Howard punter Isaiah Moore did manage to kick a 72-yard punt in the game though so at least there was that.

Matt Campbell’s Iowa State needed triple overtime to beat Northern Iowa

Every year coaches enter the season on the hot seat. At some point, fans of those teams are going to advocate for their coach to be fired early in the season to get a jump on the next hot name in the coaching carousel. That name for a lot of people will be Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell. That same coach needed triple overtime to coach the Cyclones to a win over FCS opponent Northern Iowa.

Campbell is still a good coach and Iowa State will still be fine this season. But that’s just something for fans to think about before clamoring for their current coach to be fired so you can snatch him out of Ames.

Florida State scored 31 points in a half, then got shutout in the second and lost

After a horrible 2018, Willie Taggart and the Seminoles were desperate to put that year behind them. An opening game against Boise State gave them a great opportunity. Florida State looked like a completely different team as they dominated the first half and took a 31-19 lead.

Then the 2018 Seminoles showed up for the second half.

Florida State gave up 26 unanswered points, was shutout in the second half and all of this happened in Tallahassee where the game was moved due to Hurricane Dorian.

Neither James Madison nor West Virginia wanted to win

JMU was gunning for the upset over West Virginia on Saturday. Down 20-13, it was fourth down with about two and a half minutes left to play. These are the moments you love in college football, the plays where everything is on the line. The ballgame rests on a single play so of course JMU...punted?

So a chance to pull off the big upset against an FBS opponent and JMU elected to punt the ball. To be fair, the Dukes were on their own 22, but that still seems like a curious decision.

The crazy thing is that it almost worked.

West Virginia ran the ball for four yards, was called for a false start, ran for one yard, threw an incomplete pass on third down against a team that had no timeouts left and ended up punting the ball back to JMU. The Dukes could not take advantage and West Virginia, begrudgingly I would assume, took the W.

You can read more on the game no one wanted to win here.

Nevada freshman walk-on kicker earns game-winner and a scholarship

For a while, it looked like Saturday was not going to be a good day in Nevada. The Wolf Pack trailed Purdue 24-7 at halftime but battled back to tie the game at 31. Then they turned to Brandon Talton...for a 56-yard kick as time expired. That’s a tough kick for an NFL kicker. Talton is a walk-on true freshman.

Not only did that kick earn Dalton the win, it also earned him a scholarship after the game.


North Carolina took a knee on fourth down and could have lost because of it

Mack Brown was on the verge of winning in his first game since returning to the sidelines on Saturday. UNC led South Carolina 24-20 late in the fourth and the Tar Heels were in victory formation...only it was fourth down and there was still time on the clock.

OK, so we see this sometimes. Clearly, quarterback Sam Howell would get the ball and scramble around, maybe run all the way back to the end zone to waste the remaining few seconds before jumping out the back and giving up a meaningless safety.

Howell did not do that. Instead, Howell took a knee...on fourth down...and on the Tar Heel’s own 47. Punt and the game is probably over (sorry Michigan). Instead, Brown’s squad gave South Carolina at least a chance to win the game that should have been over. It didn’t cost Brown the win, but it absolutely could have.

Hugh Freeze coached and conducted a press conference in a hospital bed

Liberty head coach Hugh Freeze suffered complications from a staph infection that left him with severe back pain. He ended up undergoing emergency surgery as the staph infection was potentially life-threatening, according to ESPN's Chris Low. Freeze seems to be recovering and obviously I wish him well. This, however, was quite the sight.

Yes, that is Freeze coaching from a hospital bed. So indispensable is Freeze as a coach and dedicated is he to his craft that this was deemed an acceptable solution.

As if that wasn't bizarre enough, Freeze actually conducted interviews and had his postgame press conference from bed.

Oh, and Liberty lost 24-0. A for effort though.

Freshman Landers Nolley II hits seven 3-pointers to led Virginia Tech over Lehigh

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Freshman Landers Nolley II hits seven 3-pointers to led Virginia Tech over Lehigh

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Redshirt freshman Landers Nolley II is making up for lost time.

Nolley made seven 3-pointers and scored 27 points Saturday, leading Virginia Tech to a 79-53 victory against Lehigh.

"I'm one of the most impactful freshmen in the country," he said, adding that being forced to sit out last season allowed him to get better. "I got more knowledgeable, skill. I got in better shape, my mind (got) better. It prepared me for the moments I'm in now."

Nolley started slowly, "but in the second half I just started to let it come to me. I just started hitting shots and caught a streak and racked up some quick points."

The Hokies' 4-0 start in their first year under coach Mike Young is their second 4-0 start in as many years. It seemed fitting, too, that they honored former coach Charlie Moir with a moment of silence before the game. Moir, who died Friday, won a school-record 213 games at Tech from 1976-87, and was the coach in 1981 and 1982, the last time Virginia Tech began two seasons in a row by winning their first four games.

P.J. Horne added 14 points and Hunter Cattoor had 11 for the Hokies. Freshman Tyrece Radford added eight points and 11 rebounds.

Jeameril Wilson and Jordan Cohen each scored 11 for the Mountain Hawks (2-2). Lehigh trailed just 37-32 at halftime but managed just nine field goals and 21 points after the intermission.

Virginia Tech led 46-36 and used a 25-6 run to expand its lead to 71-42 with 5:50 remaining.

"We ended up turning the basketball over, which gave them easy opportunities and run-outs," Lehigh coach Brett Reed said. "The momentum of the gym and the game just kind of changed with our lack of execution and being sloppy with the ball."

BIG PICTURE

Lehigh: The Mountain Hawks committed 19 turnovers and Virginia Tech turned them into 26 points. Lehigh scored 16 points off the Hokies' 10 turnovers.

"They did a very good job of collapsing on the ball," Reed said. "A lot of times our ball-handler was under duress -- led to a lot of turnovers for us. But we also had some unforced turnovers, which ultimately kind of led to them being able to stretch the game."

Virginia Tech: The Hokies made a season-high 14 3-pointers and have made at least 10 in three of their four games this season. Nolley was 7 for 12 from beyond the arc and is 15 for 32 for the season.

UP NEXT

Lehigh has a quick turnaround, playing Misericordia on Monday night at home.

The Hokies remain at home and play Delaware State on Wednesday night.

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Huff, Diakite lead No. 9 Virginia past Columbia

Huff, Diakite lead No. 9 Virginia past Columbia

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (AP) -- Jay Huff showed flashes of what he can do offensively for No. 9 Virginia last year.

This season, with increased opportunities, he's turning into one of the Cavaliers' top offensive weapons.

"Points, if they come, they come, and if they don't and we still get the win, it doesn't really matter to me," Huff said.

Huff and Mamadi Diakite each scored 13 points Saturday and Virginia beat Columbia 60-42.

"I was very impressed with the presence he had on the court," Lions coach Jim Engles said. "I thought they used him well on ball screens and he just had a really good presence. He didn't get sped up. It was very obvious to see that he knew what the next action was. He's a really talented kid."

Huff did some scoring with a baby hook he worked on during the offseason. He made his only 3-point attempt and caught a pass from Kihei Clark for a reverse alley-oop dunk. He also grabbed six rebounds and blocked five shots in just under 20 minutes of action.

"He definitely makes my job a little bit easier," said Clark, the team's point guard. "He can also space the floor and shoot the three, so that makes it hard on defenders for sure."

Clark added 10 points and five assists for the Cavaliers (3-0), who led 31-17 at halftime and substituted liberally throughout the second half. Walk-on Chase Coleman and redshirt freshman Francisco Caffaro each scored the first points of their college careers late in the game.

Mike Smith scored 16 points to lead the Lions (1-3), whose point total was the highest Virginia has allowed this season.

"It was an unbelievable environment for our kids to experience," Engles said.

The Lions finished 16 of 56 from the field (28.6 %) and were 4 for 11 from 3-point territory.

BIG PICTURE

Columbia: The Lions fell to 10-32 in their history against teams in the ACC, and 0-2 this season. They lost 65-63 at Wake Forest on Nov. 10. Columbia's last victory against an ACC school came on Dec. 27, 1969, when the Lions beat Wake Forest 101-78.

Virginia: The Cavaliers came into the game having allowed 34 points to each of their first two opponents, and the Lions were right on that schedule when they finished the first half with 17 points. Caffaro, a 7-footer, had three points, two fouls and two turnovers in seven minutes.

UP NEXT

Columbia: Stays on the road, facing St. John's on Wednesday night.

Virginia: Hosts Vermont on Tuesday night.

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