ICYMI: College Football’s Best of the Rest Night 1

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The first full offering of college football in the 2016 campaign featured some close, and strange finishes, so who cares if points were in short supply?

After years of games turning into a hybrid of football and hoops — Grassketball, if you will — some defense was a little refreshing. How often is it we get to the see the entirety of a winning team’s scoring in one tweet, as is the case for 1-0 Wake Forest?

Besides, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson won’t steal all of college football’s points every week — right?

Jackson doubled the SEC’s total touchdown production. By himself. In one half. The eight-touchdown outpouring against a wildly outclassed Charlotte 49ers bunch may have earned the sophomore this year’s Kenny Trill Award, bestowed upon the Opening Night play-maker who causes the most absurd knee-jerk reaction among media and the Twitterati.

Of course, the erstwhile Trill, now known simply as TCU starting quarterback Kenny Hill, had undue standards placed on him after just one performance against a middling opponent.

Jackson’s effort came against a subpar opponent, but his resume is substantial enough before Thursday night to suggest we’ll be hearing a lot more from him as the season continues. He ended his impressive freshman season outscoring yet another SEC team, and he did so head-to-head in that instance, putting on a clinic against Texas A&M in the Music City Bowl.

Perhaps Deshaun Watson has company in the ACC Atlantic. Good chance you’ll see his name appear on the updated Heisman Top 10 come week’s end, assuming the media and voter buzz remains throughout a loaded Saturday.

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe, Jackson’s same game-opening touchdown run played out on a purple-and-silver striped field somewhere in Arkansas.

Maybe that wasn’t a parallel universe at all, but rather Central Arkansas quarterback Hayden Hildebrand setting off a 48-point first half for the Bears at almost the exact same time Jackson began his one-man show. This run started the deluge in a 56-13 blowout of Houston Baptist, putting the Bears atop the Southland Conference, all alone.

D-2 College Football

Speaking of being all alone at the top, it was fleeting, but 13th-ranked Humboldt State enjoyed a few hours as the sole 1-0 team in Div. II. Thursday’s full slate kicked off with a matinee pairing of the Lumberjacks and Carson-Newman.

Tip of the cap goes to @jonmorse for alerting me to this one, which turned out to arguably be the best game of the day. Mercer and The Citadel gave this D-II contest a run for its money, but I digress.

The two sides combined for 97 points, including 21 in the final six minutes,

Though Humboldt State could and should be a factor in the Div. 2 race this season, Opening Night proved emphatically there is one team and one team on the mountaintop until someone knocks it off.

Defending national champion Northwest Missouri State destroyed nationally-ranked Emporia State, 41-14 (No. 12 or No. 24, depending on your source).

The Bearcats actually trailed 7-0, only getting their first points on the board in the final 90 seconds of the first quarter. That set off a deluge of 41 unanswered, spanning into the late fourth quarter. Four different Bearcats got in the end zone.

Emporia State can perhaps take some solace in another nationally-ranked team, No. 4 Colorado State-Pueblo took a 57-14 drubbing at Colorado School of Mines. Apparently you can take Bob Stitt out of the program, but Stitt still happens.

GAME BALLS

Kye Morgan and Gavin Heslop, Stony Brook: Gavin Heslop sprang the trap, blocking a North Dakota punt deep in UND’s own territory, and Kye Morgan closed the trap with his recovery in the end zone. The fourth-quarter touchdown proved to be the game-winner for Stony Brook.

The Stony Brook defense in general deserves love for shutting down North Dakota, particularly star running back John Santiago. One of the top rushers in FCS, Santiago could muster only 51 yards on 16 carries.

Elliott Fry, South Carolina: A big night of college football for special teams, South Carolina kicker Elliott Fry’s 55-yarder in the waning moments at Vanderbilt gave the Gamecocks an upset win.

Mike White, Western Kentucky: He didn’t quite reach his career total from his days at USF, but Western Kentucky’s replacement for Brandon Doughty came awfully close in his debut. 512 yards in a Hilltopper romp more than makes up for the mishap WKU encountered trying to get out onto the field Thursday night.