Most of us got to see Alabama take Michigan behind the wood shed and Clemson nip Auburn, but there were several less-heralded games this past Saturday that served up even more excitement than the contests that grabbed most of the headlines. Here’s the Cliffs Notes version of five barn burners that got college football started in style.
Northwestern 42, Syracruse 41
‘Cuse QB Ryan Nassib threw four second half TDs to bring the Orange all the way back from a 35-13 third quarter deficit to take a 41-35 lead with 2:40 left. Just when it looked like Northwestern had choked it away, however, Pat Fitzgerald inserted his backup QB to try and answer the bell, and the move worked. Trevor Siemian led the Wildcats down the field, tossing the go-ahead TD with 44 seconds remaining and giving Northwestern the W in cardiac fashion.
Nevada 31, California 24
Wolfpack RB Stefphon Jefferson ran for three TDs, including his final score with 36 seconds left to break a deadlock and ruin the re-opening of the Golden Bears’ renovated stadium. After spotting the Wolfpack 14 points early, the Golden Bears stormed back to tie the game, but lost a fumble deep in Nevada territory and never could capture the lead.
Colorado State 22, Colorado 17
While neither of these teams have been very good lately, this rivalry game rarely disappoints on the entertainment scale, and this year’s version was no different, as this one saw lead changes in every quarter. Former Alabama offensive coordinator won his debut for the Rams, who stopped the Buffaloes with under a minute left after they had crossed into CSU territory.
Arizona 24, Toledo 17 (OT)
Things looked bleak for DickRod’s debut with Arizona when ‘Zona missed a 25-yard field goal as time expired, sending the game to overtime. Matt Scott’s TD pass, followed by a defensive stop, however, helped the Wildcats avoid the upset bug over another MAC school that put up a good fight in college football’s opening weekend. Arizona hung 624 yards of offense on the Rockets, but continually shot themselves in the foot with a pair of missed field goals, three turnovers, and two TDs called back by penalties.
UTSA 33, South Alabama 31
While it’s unknown whether this game as on TV or if anyone was in attendance, the Roadrunners kicked a 51-yard field goal with 16 seconds left to clip South Alabama in Mobile. Both football programs are in their infancy, but were treated to a dandy of a game that saw four lead changes in the fourth quarter alone.