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Outside the Pac-12: What we Learned From Week One

The take aways from outside the Pac-12 after one week

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Texas Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

What a fantastic start to the college football season! Already in week one we have seen domination, upsets, shootouts, stout defense and crazy plays. After one week there is much to examine from the first week of action outside the Pac-12.

Young QBs Show Up

True freshmen quarterbacks came to play in week one. While Jalen Hurts and Jacob Eason did not get the starting nods, it became clear very quickly upon their arrival in the game that they had control of the offense. Both came in when their team was down and showed a steady hand to lead a comeback. Hurts came in when Bama was down 3-0 and after some early slip-ups stormed on to 118 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, 32 rushing yards and another two rushing touchdowns. More than just turning the game around he was calm, cool and collected in the spotlight.

As was Eason who had 131 passing yards and a touchdown. Though his stats are not too special he did what he needed to; he stepped up and made the throws that he had to so that Nick Chubb could have room to rumble. He also did not turn over the ball.

A true freshmen who did get the start was Shane Buschele who threw for 280 yards and two touchdowns en route to the first game won by a starting true freshman for the Texas Longhorns. Very impressive by these young men to step up and not fade in the spotlight.

Nick Chubb is the RB to Beat

Nick Chubb is not only one of the best running backs in the country, but he may be in the best situation of any back. He showed no signs of slowing down after his knee injury, coming in strong with 222 yards and two touchdowns. We saw great run blocking up the middle and he could bounce to the outside, mixed with a solid passing offense that helps keep the box clear. Chubb could be in for a big season.

The SEC Runs on Pass Rush

Whether in a win or loss, the SEC still had impressive pass rushers in the front seven all over this weekend. Myles Garrett had 1.5 tackles for loss and a sack, but also caused a lot of disruption on UCLA’s line which helped linebackers like Claude George and Shaan Washington both tally a tackle for loss and a sack each.

Alabama was able to bring constant pressure, usually with only four men rushing. Jonathan Allen was a big part of the pressure with two sacks, as was linebacker Ryan Anderson who also had a sack. The pass rush also created the lone turnover for USC when, after pressure came up the middle, USC’s Max Browne threw a poor pass that was picked by Marlon Humphrey and returned for a score.

Auburn kept the Clemson Tigers to 19 points, which never happened last year. Furthermore they kept DeShaun Watson to 21 rushing yards and while Mike Williams tore up the Tigers with 174 receiving yards they bent but did not break. Clemson scored under 30 only three times all last season and Auburn kept them in check by not letting up huge runs on the edge almost the entire game. The only big run let up was a 20-yard scamper by Wayne Gallman, Clemson’s running back.

Even bottom-level teams in the SEC like Vanderbilt have solid pass rush from the likes of Zach Cunningham who had 12 tackles, three for loss, with a fumble recovery.

This is what the SEC does well and they will continue to have pass rushers making highlight plays all season long.

The Dual-Threat QB is Everywhere

The spread offense has heralded in the duel threat quarterback across the country. It is a natural consequence as the spread leaves so many running lanes if the coverage holds up. We have seen the build towards dual-threat QBs over the last couple of years, but now it just seems expected that the quarterback must be able to make plays with his legs.

Deondre Francois: 419 passing yards, 59 rushing yards, 2 total touchdowns.

DeShone Kizer: 215 passing yards, 77 rushing yards, 6 total touchdowns.

Shane Buechele: 280 passing yards, 33 rushing yards, 3 total touchdowns.

Jalen Hurts: 118 passing yards, 32 rushing yards, 4 total touchdowns.

JT Barrett: 349 passing yards, 30 rushing yards, 7 total touchdowns.

Kenny Hill: 439 passing yards, 45 rushing yards, 5 total touchdowns.

Lamar Jackson: 286 passing yards, 119 rushing yards, 8 total touchdowns.

And that excludes Deshaun Watson and Greg Ward Jr. who both were kept in check on the ground in week one despite solid passing weeks. While these quarterbacks are really fun to watch on Saturdays, this could have an impact on the next few NFL drafts.

Big 10 Still Just Big 2

The Big 10 went 12-2 over the first weekend and, for the most part, the games were blowouts. However, the conferences’s only real contenders are still Ohio State and Michigan. Ohio State is coming off a weird year of quarterback controversy that left them looking a little lost even in the wins. Now JT Barrett is the sole leader of the team, which will help keep this team steady. Michigan is going to win in large part to its top-three defense. The rest of the Big 10 is fraught with inconsistency and poor quarterback play.

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