Five games featuring teams in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll. A preseason School Soccer Playoff contender put on the ropes by a team from the Group of Five. A matchup in prime time between two of the very best groups within the nation.
The 2021 faculty soccer season is already at prime velocity after a Week 1 slate filled with implications for the School Soccer Playoff and the nationwide championship.
For one, No. 1 Alabama’s brutal rout of No. 16 Miami (Fla.) confirmed a group in midseason kind. However for the Hurricanes, the loss reveals the hole between being in competition for the New 12 months’s Six and taking the step into true playoff competition.
No. 3 Oklahoma cruised into halftime towards Tulane however barely held on for a detailed win. Within the Massive Ten, a throwback game between No. 20 Penn State and No. 15 Wisconsin wasn’t settled till the ultimate minutes.
These video games and others lead the winners and losers from the primary full Saturday of the 2021 season:
The Bulldogs’ protection dominated Clemson and carried Georgia to a 10-3 win with significant down-the-road implications for the playoff. There are questions in regards to the well being of the Georgia offense, particularly given quarterback JT Daniels’ incapacity to push the ball downfield towards the Tigers’ secondary. However these struggles could also be a testomony to Clemson, which has actual points up entrance on offense however may journey this protection to a different ACC title. Relating to Georgia’s protection, this can be a unit overloaded with elite expertise and one ok to hold the Bulldogs previous Alabama and to the nationwide championship.
Beating LSU 38-27 is the second UCLA has been ready for since Chip Kelly’s return to the Pac-12. All offseason, the chatter across the Bruins was that this was by far the deepest and most solidly constructed roster of Kelly’s tenure. There was nonetheless a query of what enchancment that might muster — whether or not seven wins or an actual shot on the convention title — and the way it might fare towards LSU. By gaining 476 yards of complete offense and holding the Tigers to 48 speeding yards on 25 makes an attempt, the Bruins proved they’ve turned a nook in Kelly’s fourth 12 months.
Whereas not a masterpiece, the 16-10 win against Wisconsin displays Penn State’s inner optimism that final 12 months’s 4-5 end was much more the product of the pandemic than any downturn from James Franklin’s program. There are nonetheless points to deal with, starting with the well being of an offense nonetheless figuring out the small print below new coordinator Mike Yurcich. Whereas quarterback Sean Clifford rallied to throw for 247 yards and a rating, the Nittany Lions ran for less than 50 yards on 1.8 yards per carry, with a giant chunk of that complete coming through a 34-yard achieve from operating again Noah Cain. Clifford did keep away from turnovers, nonetheless, and that meant the distinction in a slim win.
The Steve Sarkisian period acquired off on the proper foot with a 38-18 win towards No. 23 Louisiana-Lafayette, the preseason favourite within the Solar Belt and among the finest groups within the Group of 5. The Longhorns acquired efficiency from first-year beginning quarterback Hudson Card, who completed with 224 yards and two scores. Sarkisian drew up a recreation plan for operating again Bijan Robinson, who performed as much as expectations with 103 yards on the bottom, 73 receiving yards and two touchdowns. Few groups had a extra spectacular win in Week 1.
After a disappointing 2020 season outlined by accidents at a number of key positions, Kansas State kicked off September with a formidable 24-7 win towards Stanford in Arlington, Texas. With senior quarterback Skyler Thompson again below middle after lacking most of final 12 months, the Wildcats ran for 200 yards on 6.5 yards per carry and averaged 10.3 yards per move try.
The superstars from the 2020 group are gone. Alabama nonetheless did not miss a beat. Paced by quarterback Bryce Younger, who accomplished 71% of his throws for 344 yards and 4 touchdowns, the Crimson Tide whipped Miami 44-13 to kick off this system’s newest championship push. If Saturday is any indication, the Tide are able to make one other run at perfection.
The Warhawks misplaced once more, this time 45-10 to Kentucky, to increase this system’s dropping streak to 12 video games. However a humorous factor occurred on the way in which to a different defeat: ULM truly led the Wildcats 7-0 within the first quarter. Why is that significant? As a result of that marked the Warhawks’ first lead at any level towards any opponent since late within the fourth quarter of a 31-30 loss to rival Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 30, 2019. That makes new coach Terry Bowden’s debut successful.
The excellent news: Clemson will not face a group of Georgia’s caliber once more in the course of the common season. The dangerous information: To win the nationwide title, Clemson’s going to must beat a group nearly as good or higher than Georgia in January. Does that appear doable based mostly on what we noticed Saturday evening? Not if the offensive line would not enhance. However there’s loads of time till the postseason and sufficient of a observe report from Dabo Swinney and his workers to anticipate noticeable enchancment throughout ACC play. What the loss does, nonetheless, is take away the Tigers’ room for error with regards to ending within the prime 4.
Clemson was the ultimate piece of an terrible Week 1 for the ACC. Let’s shortly recount: Clemson misplaced to Georgia. Miami misplaced huge to Alabama. Georgia Tech was upset by MAC also-ran Northern Illinois. On Friday, North Carolina was upset by Virginia Tech. In all, the highest three groups within the ACC and the league’s finest playoff hopes — Clemson, Miami and UNC — are already holding a loss after one week. That is not good.
Welcome again to Vanderbilt, first-year coach Clark Lea. A fullback for the Commodores within the early 2000s, Lea’s return to Nashville was an utter dud: Vanderbilt misplaced 23-3 to East Tennessee State, a member of the Soccer Championship Subdivision. A minimum of there will likely be different possibilities for Lea to get a win in his debut 12 months, together with subsequent week’s journey to Colorado State and a date with Connecticut in early October. Nevertheless it’s protected to say the Commodores will likely be substantial underdogs in SEC motion.
The No. 21 Huskies lost 13-7 to Montana, turning into the primary ranked group to lose to a FCS opponent since 2016. That just about sums up their evening.
The missed alternatives towards PSU will drive the Badgers to play from behind within the race for the West division. Not that the loss is deadly by any means: Wisconsin has loads of possibilities to rally again into Massive Ten and playoff competition with future video games towards Notre Dame, Michigan and Iowa. Whether or not this group could make a run hinges on quarterback Graham Mertz and the operating recreation. For one, there’s a broad hole between the hype surrounding Mertz and the truth of his efficiency; he tossed two picks on Saturday, giving him seven towards 4 touchdowns in his previous seven begins.
Too shut. Method too shut. The No. 3 Sooners sneaked past Tulane 40-35 and raised some eyebrows alongside the way in which, particularly given the preseason expectations for the OU protection. On the opposite aspect of the ball, early Heisman Trophy favorite Spencer Rattler threw for 309 yards however two interceptions, whereas the Sooners solely averaged 3.3 yards per carry. Up 37-14 at halftime, OU introduced zero power out of the locker room and barely survived — Tulane even had the ball with an opportunity to win earlier than turning it over on downs with simply over a minute remaining.
What does this imply for OU? In the long term, nobody will keep in mind this slim win come November and December, when the playoff choice committee goes by means of the method of selecting the nation’s finest 4 groups. However by way of a takeaway, the lesson for OU is to maintain its foot on the fuel.
There isn’t any embarrassment in dropping to Alabama. There’s not even any actual embarrassment in being blown out by the Crimson Tide; it occurs to extra groups than not. However given the Hurricanes’ progress in 2020 below coach Manny Diaz and the group’s place among the many prime three groups within the ACC, to be picked clear by the Crimson Tide is a painful reminder of how far Miami is faraway from being an actual contender for the nationwide championship. That is not embarrassing, however it’s a sobering actuality for the Hurricanes.
Final 12 months’s Cinderella story within the Massive Ten, No. 17 Indiana’s 34-6 loss to No. 18 Iowa splashes a bucket of chilly water on the Hoosiers’ hopes of placing one other scare into Ohio State within the Massive Ten East. The win says one thing about Iowa, too — that the Hawkeyes, winners of six in a row to finish final 12 months, are a respectable contender for the New 12 months’s Six. However the Hoosiers dedicated three turnovers, gained simply 233 yards and had been outplayed by a large margin by a fellow Massive Ten group within the Prime 25.
The Huskies are a straightforward choose for the worst group within the FBS after dropping to Holy Cross 38-28 to fall to 0-2 on the younger season. As within the 45-0 loss to Fresno State to get issues began, UConn’s offense was abysmal: 262 complete yards, 2.3 yards per carry and 4 turnovers. With the loss, coach Randy Edsall falls to 6-34 in his second tenure with this system.
Comply with schools reporter Paul Myerberg on Twitter @PaulMyerberg