By Pete Ruden
College football is finally back, and the first week did not disappoint anyone outside of Tallahassee and Gainesville.
There were close games and upsets on nearly every channel, giving fans an incredible slate of action in games that were mostly nonconference battles.
In what was likely the most anticipated game including a Big Ten team, Michigan showed that it is for real, taking down then-No. 17 Florida, 33-17.
Florida got on top early, taking advantage of two-consecutive Pick-6s.
However, Michigan took advantage of Florida’s sputtering offense, which was plagued by suspensions. The Wolverine defense remained firm against the depleted Florida offense, allowing fewer than 200 yards of total offense.
Including sacks, the Gators managed just 11 yards on the ground on 27 runs, 0.4 yards per carry.
A defense of that caliber will certainly help give a team confidence, so Cincinnati should be wary when it travels to Ann Arbor this weekend.
Even though he lost eight players on defense to the NFL, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh said it was the best he had seen his defense pursue the ball carrier since he started coaching for the Wolverines.
“Eleven tackles for a loss, 6 sacks, and a defense that was really running to the football,” Harbaugh said. “Holes were closing up fast when there were holes there, and I thought our defense did a great job in that regard. Best I’ve seen since I’ve been coaching here at Michigan in terms of a defense pursuing and running to the football.”
Maryland’s bittersweet opener
D.J. Durkin and Maryland gave Tom Herman a rough time in his first game as the new Texas head coach.
Maryland opened its season with a huge win over the then-No. 23 Longhorns, beating them in a high-scoring battle, 51-41.
The victory broke a 17-game losing streak against ranked opponents.
It should’ve been a day of celebration for the Terrapins, but injuries put a damper on it.
Starting quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome tore his ACL, ending his season prematurely. Before being forced to leave the game in the third quarter, Pigrome was having a very solid game, going 9-for-12 for 175 yards, 2 touchdowns, and an interception.
A dual-threat quarterback, Pigrome also added 64 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
“He’s worked really hard to prepare himself to earn the starting job, and he went out and played really, really well,” Durkin said. “He’s mentally tough, he’s physically tough. He’ll bounce back and be as good as ever.”
Ohio State set for top-5 matchup
After beating Indiana in the opener, Ohio State will have its hands full this weekend when No. 5 Oklahoma marches into Columbus.
Oklahoma is coming off a 59-7 win over UTEP, and it boasts one of the most balanced offensive attacks in the young season.
The Sooners’ passing attack was incredible, totaling 496 yards and 4 touchdowns. The ground game was impressive in its own right — Oklahoma rushed for 180 yards and another 4 touchdowns.
Heisman candidate Baker Mayfield was incredibly efficient, completing 19-of-20 passes for 329 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Though they lost star receiver Dede Westbrook, the Sooners still have plenty of playmakers to beat opposing defenses.
“They carried on from what they did last year,” Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said. “They were one of the best teams in America offensively last year. They did lose some weapons, but they successfully reloaded, and that’s what you’d expect at a place like Oklahoma.”