The Oklahoma State offense we envisioned before the 2017 season was on full display in Week 1.
The Cowboys blew out Tulsa 59-24 as QB Mason Rudolph threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns. Heck, one more score and Rudolph would have finished with as many TDs as incompletions.
Rudolph was 20-24 passing for 303 yards. Wide receiver James Washington, the preseason favorite for the Biletnikoff Award, had six catches for 145 yards and two of those touchdowns. The other went to LSU transfer wide receiver Tyron Johnson, whose first catch as an Oklahoma State player was a 44-yard score.
Oh, running back Justice Hill also ran for over 130 yards. This is a well-rounded Oklahoma State attack.
It was almost a banner night for the FCS
Though one FCS team was able to register a victory over an FBS foe on Thursday night when Tennessee State spoiled the opening of new Georgia State Stadium, the total was nearly three.
The first game of Randy Edsall’s second tenure as head coach at UConn almost had a disastrous result. The Huskies, with junior college transfer David Pindell starting at quarterback, struggled to get anything going early in the game against Holy Cross.
After falling 13-7 late in the first half, the Huskies fumbled the ensuing kickoff. Edsall was befuddled.
UConn just fumbled on a kick return. Holy Cross recovered at the UConn 21. Holy Cross leads 13-7 with 4:21 left in the first half. pic.twitter.com/c9gvOoUS1C
— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) September 1, 2017
It got worse from there when the Crusaders scored three plays later to take a 20-7 lead into halftime.
The third quarter was equally sluggish for the Huskies — until Edsall summoned senior Bryant Shirreffs at quarterback. Shirreffs lost the starting QB gig to Pindell in preseason camp, but he immediately provided a spark and led his team to a touchdown on three of its next four drives to take a 27-20 lead. Holy Cross had a chance to tie things late in the fourth, but turned it over on downs deep in UConn territory. It took some extra practice, but the Huskies were able to run the clock out from there and secure the victory.
• Things were even wackier for Central Michigan against Rhode Island.
CMU led Rhode Island, which went 2-9 in 2016, 13-0 at halftime and 21-7 in the fourth quarter, but the Rams stormed all the way back despite quarterback Tyler Harris throwing six — yes, six — interceptions. CMU had the chance to run the clock out in the final minutes, but quarterback Shane Morris — remember him? — fumbled deep in his own territory.
Three plays later, URI tied it on a 14-yard TD pass from Harris to Aaron Parker to force overtime.
The teams each mustered a field goal in the first overtime, and Rhode Island had the chance to win after yet another Morris fumble to open the second extra frame.
This time, Rhode Island kicker C.J. Carrick missed a 33-yard game-winning try to the right, giving CMU life. Carrick hit from 36 to open third overtime before the Chippewas finally ended it on a Devon Spalding touchdown run, avoiding a nightmarish open to the 2017 campaign.
• A familiar face was the quarterback for the only FCS team to beat an FBS opponent Thursday night. Ex-Florida quarterback Treon Harris led the way for Tennessee State, throwing for 145 yards and rushing for 91 more, in a 17-10 win over Georgia State.
This was GSU’s big debut in Georgia State Stadium, which was formerly the Atlanta Braves’ Turner Field. The stadium looked great, but the Panthers could muster only 273 yards and turned the ball over four times in the loss.
Georgia State’s next home game isn’t until Sept. 30 against Memphis.
• Central Florida destroyed Florida International 61-17. After some early hiccups kept FIU in the game early, UCF scored 26-straight points to take a 40-10 halftime lead. QB McKenzie Milton finished 16-21 passing for a staggering 360 yards and four touchdowns. It was not a good night for FIU coach Butch Davis’ return to college football.
• Minnesota’s win over Buffalo in coach P.J. Fleck’s Big Ten debut didn’t have the offense the other two games did. The Gophers scored two first-quarter touchdowns and added a field goal in the fourth to win 17-7 over Buffalo. QB Conor Rhoda played more then Demry Croft, though neither player separated himself too much from the other.
Welcome to the P.J. Fleck era at Minnesota pic.twitter.com/SbrTrMKaOr
— Dr. Saturday (@YahooDrSaturday) August 31, 2017
• Utah pulled away from North Dakota in the second half for a 37-16 win. New starting quarterback Tyler Huntley, who beat out returning starter Troy Williams, was 23-32 for 227 yards passing with a touchdown and an interception. He also had 18 carries for 70 yards and two scores while running the Utes’ new offensive system under coordinator Troy Taylor.
RB Zack Moss, replacing Joe Williams, also had a nice night. He had 22 carries for 128 yards and a touchdown.