Week Zero has come and gone and while not as meaty as previous ones it was a ton of fun! If you missed anything don’t worry I’ve got you covered right here, let’s get started.
Best Games of the Week
1. Jacksonville State-North Carolina A&T: This one got off to a slow and penalty filled start. Both defenses showed up and we ended the first half with a score of 7-3 but then... the 3rd quarter happened! Out of nowhere 27 points were scored between the two teams with a lot of back and forth. We had long touchdown passes, kickoff returns for touchdowns and long runs busted off. The game came down to the very end as JSU was driving down the field for a game winning score when quarterback Zerrick Cooper fumbled with 17 seconds left to secure the 20-17 win for North Carolina A&T.
2. Hawai’i at Colorado State: This is one most of us didn’t see coming. This was supposed to follow a script with new Colorado State quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels (Washington transfer) leading the Rams to a season opening win but the Rainbow Warriors had different ideas. The college football world was introduced to Cole McDonald and the high-flying Hawai’i offense (also they had a bunch of shovel passes to a running back-lineman hybrid.)
While Carta-Samuels gave his best effort in the second half to pull off a monumental comeback it wasn’t quite enough. The Rainbow Warriors got out of Fort Collins with a 43-34 upset win. With a lot of points and a lot fun this game was a great way to kick off the 2018 season. This game also included a false start penalty called on “everyone but the center” that is week zero at its finest folks.
3. Prairie View A&M at Rice: The Mike Bloomgren era at Rice got off to a fast start as they took a 13-0 lead but that all changed very quickly as they found themselves trailing 28-19 in the 3rd quarter. The Owls came storming back and sealed the win on a last second field goal by Zack Fox. A field goal that the cameras had a hard time capturing for the viewing audience.
this may legitimately be the worst camera work i've ever seen on this rice game winner. i know camerawork is hard but man come on pic.twitter.com/4qtFsnd3ZM— patrick mayhorn (@patrick_mayhorn) August 26, 2018
Rice has a long road ahead of them but at least that 10 game losing streak is over.
Top Dogs of the Week
1. Cole McDonald - Hawai’i, QB: McDonald burst onto all of our radars going 26-37 for 418 yards and 3 touchdowns. If this kind of production sticks all season then the Rainbow Warriors could be a force in the Mountain West this year.
2. The entire Wyoming defense: It was hard to single out one player here. Great defense is a Craig Bohl specialty and the Cowboys stifled the New Mexico State offense all night long. It held the Aggies to -9 rushing yards, 135 total yards, 7 first downs and only one touchdown that came very late in the 4th quarter. By season’s end Wyoming could potentially have a top 30 defense on their hands making them a real threat to challenge for the Mountain West title.
Wyoming's defense in the first half: Zero points allowed, one first down allowed, eight yards allowed.— Andy Bailey (@AndrewDBailey) August 26, 2018
The Cowboys had held New Mexico State to zero first downs and minus-11 yards before the Aggies' final drive of the half.
Wyoming's winning time of possession, 21:13 to 8:47. pic.twitter.com/QZyb7SVSwk
3. Tristen Wallace - Prairie View A&M, WR: Now I could’ve gone with Rice’s Emmanuel Esukpa here who had a great day in his own right BUT it would be criminal to leave out this performance even in a losing effort. Wallace almost single-handily upset the Owls, the Oregon transfer scorched the Rice secondary for 5 catches, 147 yards and a touchdown and he made it look easy.
In the Dog House
1. Mike Bobo, Colorado State head coach: While some of the heat should fall on his defensive coordinator, the buck stops with the guy in charge. Bobo had been hospitalized for 10 days leading up Saturday’s game but the Rams offense looked flat until a 4th quarter surge and the defense may even be worse than last year’s and it was dreadful. Coming off of a disappointing season, this was not the start Colorado State fans envisioned and even had some people calling for his job which isn’t out of the ordinary for college football fans.
the first FIRE BOBO, like the first wafting maple leaf of autumn— Holly Anderson (@HollyAnderson) August 26, 2018
2. Matt Romero - New Mexico State, QB: The Aggies offense was basically dormant the entire game. Even going up against a stout Wyoming defense isn’t a good enough excuse and the numbers are even more unkind to the whole New Mexico State offense. Romero had 140 yards, a late touchdown in garbage time and was even benched at one point in the 3rd quarter. This offense has a long way to go if they want to get the Aggies back to another bowl game.
Top Tweets of the Week
1. This was a shot fired at former Wyoming QB and first round draft pick Josh Allen.
This Wyoming offense looks a lot better now that they have a QB— BUM CHILLUPS (@edsbs) August 26, 2018
2. An accurate depiction of the current college football playoff standings.
The current College Football Playoff Picture pic.twitter.com/JHB7nW7MQi— Quigs (@BigSeanQ) August 25, 2018
3. Only facts here.
The best part of college football is just how often nobody knows what the hell they are doing.— Ralph D. Russo (@ralphDrussoAP) August 26, 2018
What did we learn?
1. Hawai’i is going back to the run-n-shoot offense: Nick Rolovich took a step in the right direction bringing back the high flying offense that put the Rainbow Warriors on the map. This could attract more recruits to come play football on the island.
2. Rice is a looooooooong rebuild: Hiring Mike Bloomgren makes a lot of sense for Rice, he comes from Stanford which means he knows what it takes to win at a “academic institution.” But the Owls narrowly avoided what would have been an embarrassing upset. Rice has a long way to go to get back to competing for C-USA championships.
3. Week Zero is a great spotlight: Saturday proved that if you are the only show in town that people will watch. The national exposure for the programs that played last night is invaluable. We know names like Cole McDonald, we know about the Wyoming defense and we know that the top HBCU team can compete at the highest level with any FCS team. We could be doing more with week Zero which brings me to my final point.
G5 Conferences Should Do More With Week Zero
Giving the casual college football fan a chance to watch your program can never be a bad thing. So why not utilize this weekend a tool to attract more eyeballs? All G5 conferences and top FCS programs would benefit greatly from taking one of their top games and putting it on Week 0. Imagine if this weekend had the Boise State and Troy game, that would do huge numbers for the Mountain West and Sun Belt. Not to slight what we just had, it was a lot of fun, but this Week 0 sundae could use a little cherry on top.
BONUS: Here’s a kicking tee retrieving dog I just couldn’t leave out from New Mexico State!
The TL is very sad right now, so here's New Mexico State's very good tee-fetching dog Striking https://t.co/JjgGExdLky pic.twitter.com/MlWItfAJac— Morgan Moriarty (@Morgan_Moriarty) August 26, 2018