Five Division I college football games happened on Saturday. UMass beat Duquesne (63-15), Rice beat Prairie View A&M (31-28), North Carolina A&T beat Jacksonville State (20-17), Hawaii beat Colorado State (43-34), and Wyoming beat New Mexico State (29-7). If you went through the rest of your life without knowing those results, there’s a good chance you’d be happy anyway.
But the whole fun of Week 0 is that it offers enough quirks to affirm for us that college football’s really back. In 2017, that was Oregon State flashing a play-call card with the Crying Jordan meme on it and then immediately fumbling in the season’s first game.
In 2018, we got all this.
Hawaii unveiled what might be the best helmets of the year.
The islands have been dealing with severe weather associated with Hurricane Lane, one of the most significant weather events in recent Hawaiian history. The Rainbow Warriors put together this nice gesture for the people back home.
In those helmets, 17.5-point underdog Hawaii won at Colorado State by repeatedly gashing the Rams with a mean shovel screen.
Hawaii ran another shovel screen pass. just beautiful pic.twitter.com/Qx7284sA29— Sam Cooper (@SamDCooper) August 26, 2018
Colorado State kept falling for the Bows’ ruse, firing a bunch of defensive linemen upfield while a running back slipped behind them and took a little flick from QB Cole McDonald. Hawaii averaged 8.5 yards per play, up from the 5.7 it posted in 2017.
Nick Rolovich’s team further got back to its run-and-shoot roots, going aerial without trouble:
Oh, aaaaaaand Hawaii lined up in a DOUBLE-PUNTER FORMATION.
Yep, that’s Hawaii lined up in punt formation...with 2 punters. pic.twitter.com/ZiCUXJsx2u— The Go Big Redcast (@GoBigRedCast) August 26, 2018
The punters kick with different feet, and the idea — apparently — is that they could roll out in either direction and create some chaos for the return unit.
The Bows called timeout with the play clock approaching zeroes and didn’t actually run a play out of this look. Their audacity is commendable anyway. It’ll be exciting when they run it for real.
Jacksonville State kicker Cade Stinnette captured imaginations.
That’s a 6’1, 270-pound kicker.
But A&T won, tying UCF for Division I’s longest current winning streak: 13 games and counting.
Just in time for the Aggies to beat FBS’ East Carolina next weekend.
People caught fair catches on kickoffs outside the end zone, then got the ball moved to the 25, for the first time in college football history.
The inaugural player to do this, under a new rule designed to discourage dangerous returns, was UMass’ Zak Simon. He caught a boot from Duquesne’s John Domit at the Minutemen’s 11-yard line, with 10:27 to play in a game UMass would win 63-15. Simon deserves to go down forever as the trailblazer of the rule.
It does seem teams aren’t in a rush to use the new rule. There were only a couple of kickoff fair catches across the day’s five games, and it seemed some people didn’t even know about it. At one point, a ref turned on his mic to explain to confused CSU players (who were pointing at the end zone) and fans (who were booing) why Hawaii was getting to walk the ball up to the 25.
Prairie View A&M — a 23-point underdog at Rice — had a two-score lead in the fourth quarter.
And it was impressive ...
... but PVAMU lost that lead, in part because of a snap through the end zone that turned a punt into a safety.
Rice eventually won on a 24-yard field goal, but the camerawork was some of the funniest you will ever see in your life.
this may legitimately be the worst camera work i've ever seen on this rice game winner. i know camerawork is hard but man come on pic.twitter.com/4qtFsnd3ZM— patrick mayhorn (@patrick_mayhorn) August 26, 2018
It led to this defining image of Week 0 2018:
For its first game as an independent, New Mexico State had much improved student attendance against Wyoming.
This is what a bowl win has done for NMSU's student attendance. Think the G5 bowls don't matter? pic.twitter.com/ip9L75oOdF— Forgotten5 (@RememberF5) August 26, 2018
In 2017, the Aggies made their first bowl appearance in 57 years. The program’s hoping that Arizona Bowl win against Utah State will be transformative. It’s neat to see people excited about rooting for a program that looked moribund for decades.
But, wow, did Wyoming put an unholy beating on New Mexico State.
The score doesn’t quite tell the story. The Pokes looked better on Saturday than they ever did in 2017, a year when they had a lot more hype (and a top-10 NFL Draft pick).
- Sack-adjusted rushing yards were 323-25, Wyoming.
- Yards per play, total: 5.8-2.8.
- First downs: 22-7.
- Time of possession: 37:38-17:18.
UMass beat Duquesne by more points, but in FBS-on-FBS games, nobody looked more dominant than Craig Bohl’s team. Wyoming looks a lot more enticing now than it did a few days ago as a potential threat to Boise State in the Mountain West Mountain.