College Football Pick’em
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Week 1 of the college football season began with a bang on Thursday night, courtesy of 16 games that provided a great appetizer for what’s in store over the rest of the weekend. The evening’s headlining contest between No. 17 Pittsburgh and West Virginia lived up to its billing, as the Panthers escaped with a 38-31 win in a thrilling finish.
The Mountaineers surged ahead 31-24 with 10:37 left in the first edition of the Backyard Brawl since 2011, but the Panthers came to life at the end thanks to a go-ahead 56-yard interception return for a touchdown from cornerback M.J. Devonshire with 2:58 remaining. It was the the first of two pick sixes during Thursday’s action, with the second coming from Purdue’s Chris Jefferson against Penn State. The Nittany Lions were able to narrowly survive that miscue for a dramatic 35-31 win.
Those outcomes were just two among a handful that stood out from Thursday’s action. In other notable games, No. 12 Oklahoma State withstood a late charge from Central Michigan for a 58-44 victory. The Cowboys got six total touchdowns from quarterback Spencer Sanders, but their defense looked suspect in the second half. Elsewhere, No. 22 Wake Forest handled business against VMI with a 44-10 win, Tennessee dominated Ball State 59-10 and Missouri overcame a slow start to beat Louisiana Tech 52-24.
No. 17 Pitt 38, West Virginia 31 —
No. 12 Oklahoma State 58, Central Michigan 44 — Recap
Tennessee 59, Ball State 10 — Recap
No. 22 Wake Forest 44, VMI 10 — Recap
UAB 59, Alabama A&M 0 — Recap
Missouri 52, Louisiana Tech 24 — Recap
Penn State 35, Purdue 31 — Takeaways: Clifford rallies Nittany Lions late
Minnesota 38, New Mexico State 0 Recap
Fresno State 35, Cal-Poly 7 — Recap
Check out the entire Week 1 scoreboard
Final: Penn State 35, Purdue 31
Full recap from Penn State-Purdue and takeaways at this link, but suffice it to say that the top games from Thursday night’s slate delivered in a massive way. Penn State escaped with a dramatic win, and Pitt did as well by outlasting West Virginia. Both games featured thrilling finishes. Thursday night’s slate has been mostly free of drama otherwise, but the top games delivered the goods.
This one has been wild all night.@PennStateFball jumps ahead in the final minute on a @seancliff14 ➡️ @KeyvoneL TD. pic.twitter.com/WCP0Ih8BPA
Final: Missouri 52, Louisiana Tech 24
The Tigers were 19-point favorites over what should have been a potent Bulldogs offense. That fuse never got lit thanks to a stifling defense that allowed just 337 yards. That’s very big because there was some concern on that side of the ball heading into fall camp. Luther Durden, Mizzou’s prized recruit from the Class of 2022, had two rushing touchdowns — an indication that coach Eli Drinkwitz intends to use him in a wide variety of ways in 2022. Is Missouri a contender for the SEC East? That’s way too premature. However, it did look like a much more complete team thanks to its defense and willingness to get creative when it has the ball.
Nathaniel Peat (@PeatNathaniel) is back in town! Touchdown!
📺 ESPNU#MIZ 🐯🏈 pic.twitter.com/tfkrWePsF1
Mid 4Q: Purdue 31, Penn State 28
As if the Pittsburgh-West Virginia finish wasn’t good enough, we’ve got another good one brewing at Purdue. The Boilermakers just took the lead on this play, re-igniting their home crowd and putting Penn State on the ropes with 8:29 remaining. Follow full coverage of this game at this link.
Pick-6 for the lead. 🚂@cjjefferson_ x @BoilerFootball pic.twitter.com/FNquJvarmQ
Final: Pittsburgh 38, West Virginia 31
Party in Pittsburgh! The Panthers survive the first Backyard Brawl since 2011 as WVU’s last-ditch effort falls just short. The Mountaineers faced a 4th-and-16 with 35 second left. Initially, he hit Reese Smith for what was ruled a completion at the goal-line. But upon further review, it was deemed that the football hit the ground first. Pitt took over on downs, and that does it. Panthers win a thriller. Great, great game to kick off Week 1.
FIU 38, Bryant 37 (OT)
Florida International starts the Mike MacIntyre era off with a dramatic overtime victory over Bryant. Check out the final play here. Program was 1-16 over the past two seasons, so you can excuse their celebration for beating Bryant — even though Bryant was an FCS foe.
FIU GOES FOR BROKE AND WALKS OFF BRYANT!!!!!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/wt9fcZN9yh
Late 4Q: Pittsburgh 38, WVU 31
What a turn of events. A dime of a throw from JT Daniels intended for Bryce Ford-Wheaton is intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Pitt’s M.J. Devonshire with 2:58 left. What a game-changer.
3:41 4Q: Pitt 31, WVU 31
Wow, the Panthers just issued a big-time answer with a 24-yard TD reception from Israel Abanikanda. Seven-play, 92-yard drive to equalize this game. That was a huge play from Abanikanda, who hasn’t been much of a factor in the run game tonight. Big-time finish coming in this rivalry game. Things started slow, and Pitt’s offense is certainly less explosive in the post-Whipple era. But it has been effective.
Final: Oklahoma State 58, Central Michigan 44
This game felt more like what we’re used to from Mike Gundy teams at Oklahoma State. After letting former defensive coordinator Jim Knowles’ unit steer the ship to a 12-2 season, the Cowboys reasserted their offensive identity tonight. Spencer Sanders looked great and was the star for the Pokes with 400+ yards passing, 4 TDs and 2 more TDs on the ground. The defense? Now, that was another story. The Chippewas rolled up 546 yards as QB Daniel Richardson hit 36 of 49 passes for 449 yards and 4 TDs. CMU got the ball back late down just two scores. A dose of cold water on a big offensive night for Oklahoma State.
OH MY 🤯
What a touchdown for @CMU_football‘s Jalen McGaughy 👏 pic.twitter.com/AuncqHT6PV
Final: Tennessee 59, Ball State 10
The Volunteers had no problem dispatching of an out-manned Cardinals squad in what was the beginning of Vols’ quarterback Hendon Hooker’s Heisman campaign. The dual-threat star threw two touchdowns, rushed for two more, and operated the high-paced offense with precision. More importantly, the defense swarmed the Ball State offense and left no doubt from the moment the ball was snapped. It was an emphatic win for a team that has had issues with lesser opponents early in seasons before.
For the first time since the 1993 season, @Vol_Football has scored 45 or more points in four consecutive games. pic.twitter.com/i17gJ8ERWU
10:37 4Q: WVU 31, Pitt 24
JT Daniels sneaks one in for West Virginia as the Mountaineers take a 31-24 lead with 10:37 remaining. That was a 6-play, 72-yard drive. Been a bit surprising how WVU has been able to move the ball tonight on a veteran Pitt defense playing in front of a raucous crowd. Plenty of time left in this one, but it’s obvious WVU has no quit.
Start 4Q: Pitt 24, WVU 17
The Mountaineers are driving as the fourth quarter begins in what has been an absolute slugfest of a game between two long-time rivals renewing their hostility for the first time since 2011. A 20-yard CJ Donaldson rush has West Virginia in position to potentially tie this one up as the fourth quarter begins. Good stuff at Heinz Field.
Half: Penn State 21, Purdue 10
Purdue led 3-0 after the teams exchanged punts to start the game. But the Nittany Lions scored touchdowns on three of their final four possessions of the half, capped by a quick-strike 67-yard score from Sean Clifford to Brenton Strange that was set up by a TJ Sheffield fumble. Purdue was driving and had a chance to take the lead before that fumble, which may have resulted in a 14-point swing.
STRANGE FOR THE TD 🔥
What a drive by @PennStateFball to close out the half pic.twitter.com/BaJTSaO4bO
Half: Missouri 24, Louisiana Tech 10
The Tigers were held scoreless in the first half, but things changed in a hurry once the field was flipped. Cody Schrader scored from five yards out just four seconds into the second quarter, which was almost immediately followed up by a Joseph Charleston pick six with just 42 seconds later to push the Tigers lead to 14-3. Star freshman receiver Luther Burden scored his first college touchdown on a five-yard run midway through the second frame to make it an 11-point game. It took a little while, but Brady Cook and the Mizzou offense got cooking and doesn’t look to be slowing down anytime soon.
5⭐️ freshman Luther Burden has his first career TD with @MizzouFootball 🔥 pic.twitter.com/rbJMqoAZrB
5:54 3Q: Pittsburgh 17, West Virginia 17
They are brawling out in Pittsburgh, where the Panthers just tied the game at 17-17 with six minutes left in the third quarter. Big 64-yard connection between Kedon Slovis and Jared Wayne set up a plunge TD run from Daniel Carter. Slovis is just 9 of 14, but those 9 completions have gone for 171 yards. Panthers have run the football quite a bit with mixed-to-poor results. But they’ve bitten off chunks when they’ve decided to throw.
Start 3Q: Wake Forest 23, VMI 3
After an explosive first quarter the Demon Deacons cooled off a bit in the second. But it’s still a commanding 23-3 lead for Wake Forest as the second half begins against VMI. Ellison and Turner are both over 60 yards already on the ground and averaging nearly 7 yards per carry apiece. Mitch Griffis is 14 of 18 for 176 yards and a TD while filling in for star QB Sam Hartman.
Early 3Q: West Virginia 17, Pittsburgh 10
Well, here’s one that could be monumentally influential on the final score of the Backyard Brawl. West Virginia capitalizes on the game’s third phase with a special teams touchdown to take a lead on Pitt early in the second half. The Panthers just punted again, and now, all of the sudden, the Mountaineers have the football up by a score in the third quarter.
BLOCKED PUNT 🚫@WVUFootball scored on the next play! pic.twitter.com/hclotgWZMj
Half: Pittsburgh 10, WVU 10
Casey Legg hits a 24-yard field goal as the first half ends for WVU to even the score at 10-10. The Backyard Brawl has lived up to its name in a physical, slow-paced and defense-oriented game so far. Pittsburgh has run the football 19 times and thrown it just eight times. Panthers get the football to star the third quarter.
Start Q2: Lousiana Tech 3, Missouri 0
Eli Drinkwitz reeled in a great recruiting class, but it hasn’t translated to success on the field quite yet. Stud freshman wide receiver Luther Burden hasn’t recorded a catch but has two carries for 25 yards. The Tigers are in the red zone as they change directions after the first frame. Missouri’s offense has been disjointed at times, including on the second of Burden’s runs just before halftime.
Half: Oklahoma State 44, CMU 15
Central Michigan seemed like a formidable foe here in a Week 1 contest for an Oklahoma State team replacing a lot on defense. To be clear, the Chippewas have been reasonably effective on the offensive side with QB Daniel Richardson completing 19 of 22 passes. But WOW, the Pokes’ offense has been lights outs. Spencer Sanders has accounted for five TDs (3 passing, 2 rushing) and OK State has totaled 393 yards. Oklahoma State gets ball to start the third quarter.
😅 @CowboyFB… AGAIN
Dominic Richardson this time 👏 pic.twitter.com/X632mp7XsJ
Halftime: Tennessee 38, Ball State 7
There won’t be an upset on Rocky Top. The Volunteers offense has been unstoppable, quarterback Hendon Hooker’s Heisman Trophy campaign has been kicked off with three total touchdowns and the defense isn’t having any issue whatsoever taking care of the Cardinals. It’s Ball State … but Tennessee taking care of business early in the season is noteworthy.
Absolutely would not be denied
📲 https://t.co/g1s9FndhMf pic.twitter.com/If7rggYjqn
Late 2Q: Pitt 10, WVU 7
West Virginia and Pittsburgh just traded fumbles, and the latest turnover from WVU’s Kaden Prather gave Pitt the football in great filed position. From there, the Panthers went 6 plays and 35 yards for a 4-yard TD run from Rodney Hammond Jr. Not even 300 combined yards from these teams in a game that has a decidedly old-school feel. It’s almost like these teams got in a time machine and picked up where the rivalry left off in 2011.
End 1Q: Wake Forest 17, VMI 0
No Sam Hartman, no problem. That’s the case through one quarter of Wake Forest’s season. The Demon Deacons are still waiting for star QB Sam Hartman to gain medical clearance. But in the meantime, backup Mitch Griffis is filling in admirably, completing 9 of 10 passes for 112 yards, 1 TD and 0 INTs as Wake piled up 206 yards in the first quarter.
Tennessee is on cruise control on Rocky Top. By “cruise control,” I mean going 110mph down the Autobahn. The fastest offense in the country is operating at warp speed up and down the field. The latest drive resulted in a seven-yard touchdown run by Jabari Small in which the offensive line pushed him into the end zone for about five yards. Not only has the Volunteer offense not missed a beat, its defense looks much more fundamentally sound than it did a year ago.
7:14 2Q: Oklahoma State 30, Central Michigan 7
Oklahoma State is pulling no punches against Central Michigan. The Cowboys have pulled away for a 30-7 edge midway through the second quarter. The latest score was a 17-yard TD pass to running back Jaden Nixon from Spencer Sanders, who has three passing TDs and a running TD in the first half. Cowboys approaching 300 total yards already and appear to be in total command. You may not see many more updates from this one unless the Chippewas get feisty!
Jaden Nixon gets in on the TD action 🔥@CowboyFB is not letting up 😤 pic.twitter.com/1Bjyv1y7sW
A big-time Big Ten showdown is about to get started between Penn State and Purdue. The Nittany Lions have won the last nine games in the series, but the Boilermakers have home field advantage and are coming off a 9-4 season. Massive season-opener for both teams. We’ve got a live blog devoted exclusively to the game at this link.
The Mountaineers take a 7-3 lead with a 10-yard strike from JT Daniels to Bryce Ford-Wheaton. That followed a 44-yard rush from CJ Donaldson as the Mountaineers suddenly get explosive to surge ahead after a methodical first quarter from both teams. The Backyard Brawl has lived up to its name so far with a smashmouth feel.
ANSWER. MOUNTAINEERS. 😤#WVUvsPitt pic.twitter.com/3aSWA7252Q
End 1Q: Oklahoma State 16, CMU 7
Central Michigan running back Lew Nichols got tackled in the end zone, resulting in a safety that put Oklahoma State ahead 9-7 with less than a minute remaining in the first quarter. THEN, the Cowboys go 70 yards in four plays to sneak in another score on the final play of the first quarter, courtesy of a 17-yard run from QB Spencer Sanders. A 41-yard completion to Braydon Johnson helped set that one up. As for the safety, credit much of that to a 43-yard punt from Tom Hutton that Oklahoma State downed on the 2-yard-line. What a response for the Cowboys after Central Michigan had evened things up at 7-7.
TOO EASY FOR SANDERS! 👏💨@CowboyFB extends their lead 💪 pic.twitter.com/oY4379OWeL
This punt … not what South Carolina State had in mind. The weirdness of college football never disappoints.
What the hell was this pic.twitter.com/jEO3VqIAGL
Q2: Tennessee 17, Ball State 0
The Volunteers have had issues taking care of lesser opponents early in the season at times, but this doesn’t appear to be one of those instances. The Vols picked off Ball State on the very first play, and Hendon Hooker for a 23-yard touchdown on the very next snap. Hooker punched it in from one yard out to push the lead to 17-0 at the end of one frame. More importantly, though, is that Tennessee’s defense has looked well-coached, is on the same page and stopped Ball State on two, fourth-down attempts. That defense was a liability last year, but so far so good in 2022.
First play on defense: INT
First play on offense: TD
ALL GAS NO BRAKES 🍊 @Vol_Football pic.twitter.com/8uCeAqwSxK
Pitt 3, West Virginia 0
Wow, the Panthers have really changed things up following the departure of offensive coordinator Mark Whipple for Nebraska. Frank Cignetti Jr. has come over from Boston College, and head coach Pat Narduzzi made it no secret that he wanted to run the ball a little more. Well, through one quarter, that has certainly been evident in the way the Panthers have played offense. They just capped an 11-play, 73-yard drive that took 6:48 off the clock by kicking a 42-yard field goal. Nine rushes vs. just 4 passes for Pitt so far. But Kedon Slovis is 4 of 4 and has looked nice when they’ve let him sling it.
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