Texas A&M's answer to Johnny Football announced his presence in a big way.
Sophomore Kenny Hill was named the Aggies' successor to Johnny Manziel just a week ago, but looked like a three-year veteran in thrashing South Carolina on the road Thursday night, 52-28. He threw for 511 yards, breaking Manziel's school record in his first game as a starter. And with that, offensive coordinator Jake Spavital's name got all the hotter as one of the nation's most highly regarded assistant coaches. This from NFL Media insider Albert Breer:
Here are a few other things you need to know from Thursday night's college football action:
- Ole Miss linebacker Serderius Bryant was ejected for targeting in the Rebels' 35-13 win over Boise State on Thursday. Bryant led with his head in delivering a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit to Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick. Bryant led Ole Miss in tackles last year with 78. Unlike the bang-bang plays in the secondary that challenge the instincts of defensive backs, Bryant's hit came after Hedrick had released a throw, and looked much more flagrant.
- Vanderbilt and Temple had their game delayed by severe weather as a deluge in Nashville soaked the debut of new Commodores coach Derek Mason.
- Minnesota coach Jerry Kill was a welcome sight on the sideline for the Golden Gophers' 42-7 rout of Eastern Illinois. After a seizure brought on by his epilepsy, Kill missed two games last season, then coached the final seven games from the press box before returning to the sideline for the second half of a Texas Bowl loss to Syracuse. He had vowed in May that he would be on the sideline for the 2014 opener, and he lived up to that promise Thursday night.
- The quarterback who broke Tim Tebow's state high school record for touchdowns got the start for Wake Forest Thursday. However, he couldn't lead the Demon Deacons' offense to paydirt. John Wolford completed 12 of 22 passes for just 97 yards in a 17-10 loss to Louisiana-Monroe in which Wake's only touchdown came on a blocked punt.
Brooks: Hill dynamic in debut
- Apart from Hill's fabulous debut, one of the most encouraging signs from Texas A&M's win over South Carolina was the play of freshman safety Armani Watts. He broke up a couple of first-half passes with big hits in the secondary, then came up with an interception to help stem some Gamecocks home momentum late in the third quarter.
- An e-mail spared Vanderbilt a bizarre penalty in its season opener against Temple. The Owls, on the other hand, didn't spare the Commodores at all.
- Two performances of note in Ole Miss' 35-13 win over Boise State: 1) Standout sophomore receiver Laquon Treadwell was one of two Ole Miss receivers with more than 100 yards (7 for 103, TD); 2) Safety Cody Prewitt, who led the SEC in interceptions last year with six, recorded one of four interceptions by the Rebels' defense.