Another season opener, another overtime thriller. This is getting to be old hat for Tulsa, which matched last year’s 38-31 double overtime defeat of Tulane with a 47-44 overtime win over FAU Saturday.
Wide receiver Keevan Lucas was the hero a year ago with 13 receptions, three touchdowns and 233 yards. He was the hero once more in the 2015 opener: 10 receptions, two touchdowns and 193 yards — and maybe the catch of the year thus far.
— CBS Sports Network (@CBSSportsNet) September 5, 2015
But, again…old hat.
— Kimmie(@kimmiexj) November 15, 2014
Saturday’s result was a new experience for at least one member of the Golden Hurricane, though. Philip Montgomery made his debut as head coach
“First game as a head coach, and then you go into overtime and all of those factors come into play, adrenaline’s pumping,” he said in his postgame press conference, per TulsaHurricane.com. “Heart rate’s up. Adrenaline’s going. Man, can’t get a better feeling than this.”
Montgomery’s introduction was a lot like some of the memorable games from his tenure as Baylor offensive coordinator: high-scoring and thrilling.
Montana Goes Down
Just one week after Montana became the first nonconference opponent to beat four-time defending FCS champion North Dakota State since 2010, the Griz dropped their conference opener Saturday to Cal Poly, 20-19.
Much like Montana stole the win over North Dakota State in the final seconds, Poly hit a 48-yard field goal just before time expired to leave Missoula with a win.
The lesson to take from Saturday’s results is that the Big Sky Conference is good this season; really good. Montana got to spend all of one week as a favorite before suffering a home loss to a solid, if not overlooked opponent.
Meanwhile, Big Sky stalwart Eastern Washington looked just fine without (and against) former quarterback Vernon Adams, rolling up 42 points at Oregon.
Much like the nation buzzed about Adams, his former teammate, Cooper Kupp, deserves recognition. The 2013 Jerry Rice Award winner should get it now after hauling in a ridiculous 246 yards Saturday. 246! Mark Helfrich would probably take him in green and gold (and black. And white. And silver. And sometimes pink).
Can Cooper Kupp transfer to #Oregon next?
— Jason Gold (@TheSportsGuy33) September 6, 2015
Eastern Washington may not have completed the FCS-over-FBS upset, but Big Sky brethren Portland State and North Dakota did. The Vikings’ 24-17 win at Washington State marked the Big Sky’s first defeat of the Cougars in six decades, while the nameless UND scored a measure of bragging rights in their home state against Craig Bohl, architect of counterpart North Dakota State’s dynasty.
Northern Arizona got in on the Big Sky’s upset act with a 34-28 win at Southland opponent Stephen F. Austin.
All told, Big Sky football may have had the single best Week 1 of any conference at any level of college football.
What Florida Quarterback Situation?
New Florida Gators head coach Jim McElwain has a track record for getting the most from quarterbacks. Look no further than his game plan for A.J. McCarron in the 2012 BCS Championship Game or Garrett Grayson’s development into a high-caliber NFL draft pick at Colorado State.
One game into his tenure at Florida, McElwain waved his wand over a pair of them, apparently. Treon Harris and Will Grier are both top 16 nationally in pass efficiency through Week 1, with Grier going 15-of-17 for 164 yards with two touchdowns, and Harris 14-of-19 for 215 yards and two scores.
Both are looking up at former Gators QB Jeff Driskel, No. 1 in the nation in passing efficiency coming off a 12-of-15 afternoon for 274 yards and four touchdowns.
Driskel scorched Southern in his Louisiana Tech, so his remarkable efficiency is to be expected.
Likewise, Grier and Harris had their star performances were against New Mexico State, which kicked off 2015 with an incredible 55-year bowl drought.
Were it not enough the Aggies had to truck all the way to Gainesville for the privilege of padding the Gators’ stats, some cretins robbed the team bus.
We'll it's a first. Our bus was broken into and all athletic dept staff and guests bags stolen inside! Not a joke pic.twitter.com/27aKcvbCGY
— Mario Moccia (@MarioMocciaNMSU) September 6, 2015
The New Mexico State athletic director tweeted both the University of Florida and Gainesville were “phenomenal” to the Aggies. It’s a shame to think an athletic department that takes on a game like this for budget reasons would have to spend a portion of the paycheck replacing players’ clothes and laptops.