MBG’s Top 25 Week in Review
Good morning, Geniuses and welcome back. Week One is in the books and wow does it feel good to have College Football on our screens again. Only three Top 25 teams lost in the first (real) weekend of games but those losses stung hard.
In today’s Part 1 we recap the top teams in the country, including Georgia, Ohio State, and Texas knocking off shaky starts before pulling away and the shellackings that FSU and Duke put on top 10 squads.
#1 Georgia 48 – UT Martin 7
Here’s a fun fact. Last year, Georgia played five non-SEC teams (Oregon, Samford, Kent State, Ohio State, TCU). In those five games, the first team offense had a grand total of 3 three-and-outs. Against UT Martin on Saturday? 3.
Georgia would eventually figure it out, sort of, with Bowers and Beck finding the endzone in the first half.
The second half went a little better, with Mekhi Mews and Roderick Robinson getting on the board. UT-Martin would finally do the same when Trevonte Rucker caught a touchdown late in the 4th.
A win is a win, but Georgia fans had plenty to gripe about after the game was over.
#2 Michigan 30 – East Carolina 3
Did I miss a tweet or news alert that Jim Harbaugh died? It certainly felt that way given the “tribute” that took place, but Michigan fans were all about it.
Once the game started, the love was a little less loud, especially for the offense.
After shaking off the rust, McCarthy would find his groove and find Roman Wilson. Again and again. And again.
Three touchdown connections between JJ and Roman helped Michigan get out to a 30-0. Michigan almost pitched a shutout but the Pirates would hit a chip shot field goal as time expired to avoid being blanked.
#3 Ohio State 23 – Indiana 3
We continue the slow starts on offense trend, this time in Bloomington, Indiana. The Buckeyes would get out to a 7-0 lead after their first drive, but two three-and-outs and an interception by McCord on the next possessions had the doomers out early.
A couple field goals made it 10-3 at the half and there wasn’t much to be thrilled about.
In the second half, Ohio State would get running backs Chip Trayanum and Miyan Williams a little more involved.
Indiana wasn’t able to do much against the Buckeyes’ defense for most of the day, managing only a first half field goal, and this one ended 23-3.
#4 Alabama 56 – Middle Tennessee 7
The question for most of the offseason was who would start at Quarterback for the Crimson Tide. After one game, I think Alabama fans have their answer.
Ok. That might be jumping the gun a little bit, but Jalen Milroe did look pretty good in his first start as the signal caller. He’d lead the offense to touchdowns on its first two drives, including a wild scramble and run after a botched snap for his first score of the game.
Still, not every fan was happy. Especially not after two consecutive punts and some questionable play-calling.
Alabama would go into the half up 28-0 after two more touchdown drives by Milroe and he’d start the second half with another two to make it 42-0.
Ty Buchner would come in and he’d also show off some moves. Safe to say Bama fans feel pretty good about the QB room.
#5 LSU 24 – #8 FSU 45
The marquee matchup of Week One was quite a game…for the first half. LSU would get stuffed at the goalline on their opening drive but the two teams would then trade scores to make it 7-7.
What followed next was some sloppy play from both sides. A three-and-out by Florida State was followed by another turnover on downs by LSU. Florida State would then punt the ball away again only for LSU to muff the catch and give the ball right back. What did FSU do next? Throw an interception of course.
A 7-7 first quarter was followed by better play from both sides in the second quarter. LSU would lean on the run game for a score by transfer Noah Cain. Up 14-7, Tiger fans were feeling optimistic.
Florida State would respond with Jordan Travis finding Keon Coleman in the end zone on a gorgeous pass and catch to tie it up 14-14.
If Keon is this good, imagine how good Deon is.
LSU would tack on a field goal to make it 17-14 at the break but that was the last moment of happiness for their fans. The second half was all Seminoles.
It was 24-17 after Jordan Travis ran it in with 2:42 left to go in the 3rd quarter.
Groove back indeed. The game looked like it could still go either way but in the span of 10 minutes the Seminoles defense would get an interception, force a three-and-out, and force a turnover on downs.
They certainly would. Those three stops all led to touchdowns by the Noles and in the blink of an eye this game was a beat down, 45-17.
A late TD by the Tigers made it 45-24 but this one had been well over already.
#6 USC 66 – Nevada 14
The Trojans played their second game of the season this week and looked just as good as they did in their opener. The first drive would repeat a similar theme from game one, Caleb Williams finding freshman phenom, Zachariah Branch for a touchdown.
The Wolf Pack were able to keep Branch quiet the rest of the game, but they had no hope of containing Caleb Williams.
On the other side of the ball, USC’s defense created a ton of turnovers last year and in this game they got another, a 23-yard scoop and score by Stanley Ta’ufo’ou.
As Lincoln Riley said after the game, “When big people score, football is more fun.”
#7 Penn State 38 – West Virgina 15
Penn State and new QB Drew Allar opened up their season hosting the Mountaineers. It started well with Allar hooking up with KeAndre Lambert-Smith for a 72-yard score in the first quarter.
West Virginia would score to knot it up at 7-7 but the Nittany Lions would return the favor and it was 14-7 at the half thanks to Nick Singleton and the T-Formation.
There were some kicking questions after Sandar Sahaydak missed two field goals. And by questions I mean these:
Penn State would go up 21-7 in the third on another score by Lambert-Smith but this game felt much closer than the Happy Valley crowd wanted. West Virginia pushed around the Penn State defense, especially up front.
Still, a 25 yard pitch and catch by Allar in the fourth made it 31-7 to put it out of reach. The squads would trade late touchdowns and this one ended 38-15.
#9 Clemson 7 – Duke 28
The Tigers were a 13-point favorite going into this game but they looked anything but a favorite.
The criticism was fair as Clemson started the 2023 season with a punt, missed field goal, punt, and fumble. It wasn’t until Will Shipley got in the endzone in the second quarter that Clemson finally had a reason to smile.
The second half wouldn’t go any better. Clemson would let Duke quarterback Riley Leonard run all over them on the opening drive of the third quarter and then in response missed a chip shot field goal.
After yet another miscue, this time a fumble in the red zone on a botch RPO, Clemson fans were in a living nightmare.
Clemson’s defense would find a stop to keep the game at 13-7 but you’ll never guess what happened next…
Another fumble in the red zone and this time Duke took advantage. The Blue Devils would score another touchdown to go up 21-7.
Clemson would get a few more chances but in a callback to 2011/2012, “Clemsoning” would appear to be back.
For you kiddos that are too young to remember, it ain’t a good thing.
Duke would end up tacking on another score and this one ended 28-7, Duke.
#10 Washington 56 – Boise State 19
On paper this looked like one of the better matchups in Week One. It started out looking like that on the field too, but the Huskies and Michael Penix, Jr. had no intention of letting this one be close.
The game started slowly, with Washington punting on its first two drives.
The teams would each score touchdowns, with Boise State failing to get the PAT, and it was 7-6 after one quarter.
Penix would finally get warmed up and in the second quarter he’d lead three touchdown drives to make this one 28-12 at half.
The second half is where Washington separated themselves. After the Broncos scored to make it 28-19, it was all Huskies the rest of the way. Odunze and McMillan would both score and the backups would tack on two more late.
Still, there’s some concerns in Washington about maybe being a little too one-dimensional.
Guess we’ll find out soon enough.
#11 Texas 37 – Rice 10
On field temperatures were scorching hot in Austin, but unfortunately for Longhorns fans the Texas squad was not.
The opening drive saw Ewers and the Texas offense fail to convert a 4th down deep in their own territory. Rice would capitalize and go up 3-0 very early.
It’s never too early in the season to make rash judgments.
It would get a little better as Jonathan Brooks would find the endzone to make it 7-3. The bright spot for Sark’s squad was definitely the defense.
Jaylan Ford continued his level of play from last year, picking off J.T. Daniels in the second quarter.
Texas would get a couple of field goals from Bert Auburn and lead 16-3 at the half. And while last year brought plenty of stress in the third-quarter, this year’s Texas team came out in the second half much more ready to play.
Quinn Ewers would find Georgia transfer AD Mitchell for an easy score and on the next drive would connect with Ja’tavion Sanders for a touchdown.
The answer was not really, but Texas did go up enough to send in the backups. Everyone’s favorite guy on campus is the backup quarterback and for this game at last that was Maalik Murphy.
There’d be no more points from the Texas offense the rest of the way and a late touchdown from Luke McCaffrey had this one ending 37-10.
#12 Tennessee 49 – Virginia 13
Josh Heupel’s Volunteer team had a magical 2022 and they got off to a similarly out of this world start against the Cavs in 2023.
Jaylen Wright ran wherever he wanted to and Joe Milton went 3-3 on the first drive of the season.
Hold on though, it’d get a little ugly for a minute as Tennessee had a couple punts and a couple turnovers and all the sudden the calls for the backup started to swell.
The Tennessee defense would be enough to keep the Knoxville crowd from getting to crazy.
They’d limit Virginia to just a field goal in the first half while creating a few turnovers.
Milton would find his footing and on four consecutive drives spanning the end of the second and start of the third, he’d lead the Vols to touchdowns.
This one was 35-3 in the third but you’d never know it reading the boards.
Still. There was clear improvement for Tennessee and they’d win 49-13 letting up only one touchdown in the second half.
Long way indeed.
Make sure you tune in to the MBG podcast tomorrow and come back for Part 2 on Thursday.