College football is officially back. Four games occurred this weekend and have piqued the interest of college football fans everywhere for the big opening weekend to come. Looking back on the four games, here are 5 things we learned from week 0.
1. Hawai’i has a new star quarterback
The Warriors changed their offensive system to make it more wide open and pass-happy. It paid dividends in their opening game against Colorado State. Last season Hawai’i averaged 22.8 points per game, which ranked 105th in the country. Against the Rams, they scored 43 points.
Hawai’i needed a new quarterback when Dru Brown decided to transfer. Cole McDonald stepped in as the starter and had a reputation as a good runner, but was not seen as a good thrower. He proved any doubters wrong with 418 passing yards and three passing touchdowns on 70.3% completion. McDonald also led Hawai’i in rushing with 96 rushing yards and two touchdown runs.
The emergence of McDonald and the new offensive system has changed all expectations for Hawai’i’s season. After a 3-9 season and only eight starters returning it looked bad, but after their first performance of the season, it looks like they are going to a bowl game.
2. K.J. Carta-Samuels and Preston Williams are a good duo
Carta-Samuels had to sit on the bench at Washington for three seasons behind Jake Browning. He finally got his chance to start at Colorado State and did not waste the opportunity. He threw for 535 yards, a new school record, and five touchdowns. As a part of a good comeback effort, he was able to keep Colorado State in the game.
Williams was Carta-Samuels’ favorite target against Hawai’i. The former Tennessee Volunteer finished the game with 198 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He looked like the most talented player on the field and gives hope to the Colorado State passing game.
There will be much more to come from this duo this season.
3. Wyoming is just fine without Josh Allen
Allen dazzled fans last season with his strong arm and athletic ability. He did it so much that he was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft. There were some doubts about Wyoming’s offense coming into the season without him, but they only ranked 104th in scoring last season, with him on the team.
Wyoming scored 29 points against New Mexico State to open the season. Last season, Wyoming scored 29 points or more three times last season. New Mexico State may not be the best team, but they did make a bowl game last season. The Cowboys should have a better offense without Allen and with a freshman quarterback in Tyler Vander Waal.
In 2017 Wyoming went 8-5 and they should be vying for a similar or better record this season. The defense is one of the best in the country, ranking ninth in points allowed per game with eight returning starters from last year’s team.
4. Leon McQuaker is a tackling machine
Even though they lost, New Mexico State may have found a new star linebacker. McQuaker didn’t start last season, but totaled 42 tackles. He got significant playing time in three games last season, which was his junior campaign.
McQuaker started out his senior season with 18 total tackles against Wyoming, including one tackle for loss. That puts him on pace for 216 total tackles through the end of the regular season. He won’t keep up that pace, but he has shown that he will fly around the field to make plays.
5. Rice has a lot of work to do
This was mentioned in the five things to watch for in week 0 article, but the result on the field confirmed it. Rice beat Prairie View A&M on a last-second field goal to win 31-28. People can cling to the saying “a win is a win”, but in college football, there is always more to analyze.
As mentioned earlier in the week, Prairie View A&M is a decent, but not great FCS program. About 95% of FBS teams will beat a team like the Panthers without a problem. This win did help them secure a chance at two wins this season (they also play UTEP who is not expected to do well). Mike Bloomgren will have a major rebuild to do before making a bowl game is even possible.
Make sure to check out our college football page for more updates and rankings.