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By Mark Schlabach, ESPN.comBOONE, N.C. -- Appalachian State quarterback Armanti Edwards' teammates affectionately call him "Money" and "Well-Dressed," the latter an obvious reference to the fine Italian suits. After what Edwards did in the Mountaineers' jaw-dropping 34-32 upset of No. 5 Michigan on Saturday at Michigan Stadium, Division I-A football coaches around the country probably are calling him a "mistake."
Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images
Armanti Edwards' throwing and running helped Appalachian State down Michigan.
By Ivan Maisel, ESPN.comThe fears of an offseason are either realized or allayed on the first weekend of the season. A team trains for months, steps to the open door of the plane and jumps, rip cord in hand. At Oregon, quarterback Dennis Dixon's 275 yards of total offense quelled concerns that his summer playing minor league baseball would dull his literacy when reading a linebacker. At Oklahoma and at Notre Dame, the summer hum of speculation over the identity of the starting quarterback sounded like talk-show cicadas. Sooner freshman Sam Bradford threw a 15-yard touchdown pass in the first minute of the game against North Texas, and the sighs of 80,000 or so Oklahoma fans rustled leaves all across Norman. Irish sophomore Demetrius Jones started against Georgia Tech. While it is tempting to compare the Notre Dame offense to watching paint dry, why insult Sherwin-Williams? At least we know why coach Charlie Weis kept the identity of his starting quarterback a secret: He didn't have a starting quarterback. Stanford might have allowed UCLA 624 yards in its 45-17 loss to the Bruins. But the Cardinal saw pale green shoots emerging from the scorched earth of the two-year Walt Harris Era. The Cardinal noticed it pushed No. 14 UCLA late into the third quarter. T.C. Ostrander bemoaned his play after throwing the first 300-yard game for Stanford in two years. If that sounds damning with faint praise, wait until you hear Stanford first-year coach Jim Harbaugh. "We have a football team here now," Harbaugh said. Alabama no longer takes for granted 52-6 victories over Division I-AA teams, which explains the joy generated by a defeat of Western Carolina. Nebraska raised eyebrows with its offensive output of 625 yards, a total that would have been expected during the prolific dominance of the Tom Osborne Era. Coaches still might not know what they have, but one game gives them a more accurate picture of what they don't have. Now the real work begins.
By Pat Forde, ESPN.comGAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The Florida Gators were very much as advertised in their season opener. Explosive on offense. Vulnerable on defense.
John Raoux/AP Photo
Tim Tebow showed he can do more than just run.
By Ron Higgins, Special to ESPN.comSTARKVILLE, Miss. -- There were no mouth-dropping 70-yard passes thrown by a 6-6 quarterback shaking off 240-pound linebackers like they were lint. There were no running backs stepping off 50 yards to the end zone, no receivers in a contest with each other to see who could make the most spectacular catch.
Rogelio V. Solis/AP Photo
Matt Flynn was more of a game manager against Mississippi State on Thursday night.
By Brett Edgerton, ESPN.comIn case you missed it -- and with a midnight ET kickoff on Oceanic Cable Pay-Per-View, we're guessing you did -- Colt Brennan continues to make the case for pencil-written record books. Will there be anything left for this guy to break by the last month of the season? After setting the NCAA record for TD passes (58) and passing efficiency (186.0) last season, the Hawaii quarterback started 2007 by throwing for 416 yards and six TDs before something finally stopped him. That something wasn't Northern Colorado. That something was halftime. By then, Brennan already had racked up his 15th career 400-yard game, increasing his own Division I-A record. By then, he already had broken his own school mark for yards in a half. Heck, by then he already had become the nation's leading passer for the weekend.
Ronen Zilberman/AP Photo
Colt Brennan piled up a game's worth of stats in just one half.
By Joe Schad, ESPN.comAUBURN, Ala. -- There were more than 86,000 fans Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium, many of them students who had donned bold orange dresses or khaki pants, blue blazers, and blue and orange ties, most all of them expecting a home Auburn rout. But Kansas State -- notably sophomore quarterback Josh Freeman and a veteran defense that found ways to give Auburn's youthful offensive line fits for the most of the night -- caused unexpected pain. There was pain on the face of Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox, battered through all of last season, as he repeatedly was pounded to the grass. At one point, on the Auburn sideline, Cox barely could raise his right arm, and as trainers applied ice to his throwing shoulder, he winced in obvious pain. "We're better than this!" Auburn offensive line coach Hugh Nall screamed, to no lineman in particular, before coach Tommy Tuberville echoed the sentiment. Then, as fast as a War Eagle descends upon the stadium before kickoff, pain turned to joy. Cox, whose rushing attack had failed him all evening, engineered a long scoring drive, capped by a touchdown pass in the final minutes, to put the Tigers ahead. Then, defensive end Quentin Groves, battling dehydration issues much of the contest, broke through for a sack of Freeman, jarring the ball loose for defensive end Antonio Coleman to rumble in for a game-sealing touchdown. "Never saw him," Freeman said of Groves, long after the game. A sea of orange on the sideline, celebrating. And in the stands, a sea of orange, after a long, uncertain night, doing the same.
By Ted Miller, Special to ESPN.comSYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Sometimes reality matches, or even eclipses, the hype. That's how suddenly giddy Washington fans feel about the brilliant debut of redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Locker, one of the most heralded recruits in program history.
Kevin Rivoli/AP Photo
Jake Locker's performance against Syracuse lifted Husky hopes.
By Ivan Maisel, ESPN.com
By Bruce Feldman, ESPN The MagazineIf you're on the East Coast and didn't stay up to watch the Idaho-USC game, you didn't miss much. The Trojans, nearly 50-point favorites, had little trouble dispatching the Vandals. But aside from an eye-popping one-handed TD grab by Vidal Hazelton, there was little for Trojan fans to get fired up about.
By Jorge Milian, Special to ESPN.comMIAMI -- Randy Shannon said his first victory as the Miami Hurricanes' coach was "just a normal win." To prove it, Shannon gave the game ball he was awarded by Miami's players following Saturday's season-opening 31-3 rout of Marshall to equipment manager Bobby Revilla. "The game's over," said Shannon, who served as the Hurricanes' defensive coordinator for six seasons before he was promoted to head coach last December. "You can't dwell on it. You can party all night, get Gatorade thrown on your head, have everyone in Miami pat you on the shoulder. But you know what? That isn't going to win the game next week against Oklahoma." No, Shannon isn't sentimental, but he is a realist. While a home win against Marshall was nice, doing the same on Saturday in Norman, Okla., against the eighth-ranked Sooners will be far more impressive -- and difficult -- for a Miami team that has lost its past five consecutive road games against ranked opponents. Players reportedly were told by Shannon that they had five minutes to enjoy the Marshall victory. "I don't even know about five," Shannon said Sunday. "It might have been shorter than that, about three or two."
By Brett Edgerton, ESPN.comWhether it's by kickoff, punt or opposing turnover, no program over the past eight years has scored more touchdowns via returns than Miami (59) and Virginia Tech (58), which were up to their old tricks on opening weekend. The Hurricanes' Chris Zellner returned a Marshall fumble for a TD, while the Hokies' Victor Harris intercepted an East Carolina pass and took it 18 yards for one of only two Tech touchdowns. By the way, the pick by Harris was the 137th of the decade by the Hokies, a mark that easily is tops in the country.
By Brett Edgerton, ESPN.comIt wasn't a good weekend to be one of the two winningest programs of all time. Quite depressing, in fact. For the first time since 1934 -- the height of the greatest depression of them all -- both Michigan (No. 1 in wins) and Notre Dame (No. 2) opened the season with a loss. With a 34-32 loss to Appalachian State, the Wolverines became the first team ranked in the AP poll to fall victim to a team from Division I-AA. Their suddenly deficient defense didn't exactly help matters. If you're counting at home -- and Lloyd Carr bashers, we know you are -- that's now 108 points and 934 passing yards given up by the Maize and Blue during their current three-game losing streak. Meanwhile, with a 33-3 loss to Georgia Tech, all the Fighting Irish did was suffer the most lopsided season-opening setback in the history of the program, a program that dates back to the first Grover Cleveland administration (1887). The previous worst opener was a 21-point loss to eventual national champion Pitt in 1976. Notre Dame, which similarly lost home games to USC (45-14) and Florida State (37-0) in 2003, seems to collect these 30-plus-point South Bend losses in bunches, specifically over five-year periods.
By Brett Edgerton, ESPN.com