A Dominant Tide
T.J. Yeldon became the first Alabama freshman to rush for 100 yards in their first game in Alabama's crushing of Michigan.
BamaOnline’s Chris Walsh probably best described what happened in what was supposed to be the most intriguing game of opening weekend.
“Saturday night was reminiscent of a Texas steer being castrated, slaughtered, marinated, thrown on the grill and then devoured. No. 2 Alabama jumped all over No. 8 Michigan while taking a 31-point lead in the first half and then essentially sat back with a toothpick in its mouth until the clock ran out on the 41-14 final score.”
Alabama’s offense was dominant, with McCarron throwing for almost 200 yards and two touchdowns, but the story of the offense was freshman running back TJ Yeldon. Yeldon became the first true freshman running back in Alabama history to break the 100 yard mark in his first game. Yeldon finished the game with 116 yards on the ground. Even more impressive though, it only took him 11 carries to do it.
And if there was any concern about the Alabama defense, there isn’t any more. Alabama held Denard Robinson to just 27 yards on the ground, a career low as a starter. Michigan averaged just 2.4 attempts per rush on the game.
The biggest surprise out of Clemson’s 26-19 win over Auburn on Saturday night was Clemson’s 320 yards rushing on the game. Auburn had a tough time handling Clemson’s tempo offense, and on multiple occasions early were still trying to get calls in while Clemson was ready to snap the ball. Aggie fans had to like watching Clemson’s 5-9 speedster back Andrew Ellington run for over 230 yards in the game.
On the offensive side, Kiehl Frazier had a less than stellar debut completing just 11 of his 27 pass attempts. Though he did throw for almost 200 yards, so when the passes were completed, they were big plays.
Auburn played mostly out of the nickel, which they’ll likely also do against A&M this season, but their defensive backs struggled to make tackles in the run game. You can bet the Aggies are going to again put that to the test later in the season.
Jeff Driskell handled most of the snaps for penalty-plagued Florida.
Penalties abound for Florida
Florida’s opening contest against Bowling Green was marred by penalties. Muschamp’s team was among the most penalized in the nation last year, and opened up this season by committing 14 penalties for 106 yards. That’s going to be a major factor this weekend at Kyle Field. Not only are teams more likely to commit motion penalties on the road, but with it being A&M’s first game they’ll also be fighting through the rust.
As for the play itself, Florida’s offense was uninspiring on Saturday. The final score is really misleading in this game, because if not for two missed field goals by the Falcons, they would have had a lead in the fourth quarter of this game.
Though ostensibly locked in a quarterback battle, it was Jeff Driskel who took the majority of the snaps on Saturday, completing 10 of his 16 pass attempts for 114 yards. Florida’s offense was very vanilla though, so don’t be surprised if it looks significantly different this Saturday.
On the defensive side, the Gators weren’t as dominant as you would have expected against Bowling Green. Matt Shilz is a veteran quarterback though, and he managed the game well and didn’t make many mistakes. We’ll see the difference experience makes when A&M’s freshman quarterback takes the field Saturday.
Successful debut for Mettenberger
Zach Mettenberger completed 19 of his 26 passes for 192 yards for a successful opener for LSU. However, his offensive line is going to have to do better if he’s going to make it through the entire season. Mettenberger was sidelined for a drive after a vicious sack rattled his cage a bit, and he took a couple of other hits in the pocket as well.
Other than protecting the quarterback, LSU was solid in the first game of the year. Kenny Hilliard averaged more than 10 yards per carry on his way to 141 rushing yards, While Alfred Blue was able to run for almost 8 yards per carry on his way to a 123 yard night.
SMU Hammered at Baylor
Me and a friend decided to cap off a weekend of watching football with a last minute trip to Waco to see the Bears take on SMU, A&M’s opponent two weeks from now. Simply put, SMU was terrible. They didn’t have the horses to defend Baylor’s vertical passing game, and Garret Gilbert looked like the same player who struggled at Texas for two years.
Gilbert can stand in the pocket and make a good throw to his primary read, but if he has to make a progression and adjust his feet he becomes extremely erratic throwing the ball. He also stares down his primary receivers, which not only is going to lead to interceptions, but also tees up is receivers for big hits from the safeties.
Zach Line was impressive, and was really the only bright spot in an otherwise dismal game for the Mustangs.
Ole Miss had their hands full with Central Arkansas, and trailed at halftime 20-14. Bo Wallace was efficient in the passing game, completing 20 of his 24 passes and was a threat in the running game as well. Wallace led the Rebels 82 yards rushing. Ole Miss dominated this game statistically, but certainly didn’t dominate it on the field.
Missouri and Arkansas dominated their week one opponents, even if it did take Arkansas a while to pull away from Jacksonville State. We’ll get a much better feel for these two teams over the next few weeks when Missouri hosts Georgia Saturday and Arkansas takes on Alabama later this month.