Friday's slate of college football games was not as appetizing as Thursday's, but without any other football on, including NFL preseason games, it was still a nice dose of football before things really cranked up Saturday.
The biggest bit of news happened in Big Ten country in the Michigan State-Jacksonville State contest. On the first series of the game, quarterback Connor Cook lofted a beautiful touch pass to Tony Lippett that resulted in a 64-yard touchdown. Right after he released the football, however, he took a helmet right to the left knee and had to be carried to the bench area with no weight put on his leg.
Obviously, losing Cook would have been a huge blow to the Spartans' College Football Playoff hopes, considering they have to play Oregon next week. Despite the hit looking bad at first glance, Cook was worked on by trainers and trotted back out onto the field the next series.
On his first snap after the injury, he tossed a 71-yard pass to Lippett to show he was alright. Cook finished the night 12-for-13 for 285 yards and three touchdowns. He also added a score on the ground after keeping it on the option near the goal line. Cook didn't turn in a performance like Texas A&M's Kenny Hill did on Thursday but was nevertheless as advertised and even completed a jump pass in a collapsing pocket for a first down at one point. He's definitely a player NFL scouts are interested to see develop throughout the season.
Here are a few other things you need to know from Friday's college football action:
- Running back Jeremy Langford came off the field limping at one point in the first quarter for Michigan State. Nevertheless, he also managed to not miss much playing time and finished with 57 yards against Jacksonville State. Mark Dantonio will certainly need Langford healthy and more productive next week in Eugene.
- Another quality signal-caller in action on Friday? BYU's Taysom Hill. The Cougars quarterback looked much sharper in the passing game (granted, against a UConn defense) and brought his trademark running style out east, as well. In the first half alone, he managed to rack up 249 yards and four touchdowns to put the game out of reach before BYU reached the locker room. He tacked on another rushing score in the second half to finish with 405 yards of total offense.
- Saturday night might be alright for fighting, but so was Friday. Bowling Green defensive back Darrell Hunter punched a Western Kentucky tight end and was ejected. That wasn't all, as Syracuse starting quarterback Terrel Hunt was kicked out for throwing a punch, as well.
- Speaking of the Orange, Syracuse played in perhaps the most entertaining game of the night. After Hunt went out, it was a rough night for Syracuse, which needed a fake field goal on 4th and two just to survive 27-26 in the second overtime. The Wildcats did end up making a miraculous catch to score a touchdown but couldn't get the two-point play in the end zone for the win. Not a good sign with teams like Florida State and Clemson on the schedule for Scott Shafer.
- Good news for Auburn's game against Arkansas, as the school announced senior defensive back Robenson Therezie was cleared to play by the school after dealing with an eligibility issue. It is unknown how much he'll play against the Razorbacks, but he's expected to contribute for the Tigers after being named a preseason second-team All-SEC selection.
- Heck of a coaching debut by Jeff Brohm, as Western Kentucky put up 59 points and 702 yards of offense to beat (and upset a favored) Bowling Green. Quarterback Brandon Doughty's stat line? 46-for-56, 569 yards and six touchdowns.
- How bad was Houston's offensive line against UTSA? Well, the Cougars had 17 carries for -53 yards, including sacks, at halftime (they finished 23 for -26 yards). Quarterback John O'Korn was not sharp at all for Houston and struggled with a feisty Roadrunners defense all night to ruin the opening of the school's new stadium. Larry Coker (remember him from his run at Miami?) has done a heck of a job in San Antonio.
- Nice second act for former Alabama running back Dee Hart in Colorado State's opener. The transfer poured it on in-state rival Colorado with 139 yards rushing and two touchdowns. Hart looked very good in the power running game employed by Jim McElwain in the 31-17 win. Buffs' sophomore quarterback Sefo Liufau had his moments, while the team's defense did not.
- First-time starter Anu Solomon had a few early misses but settled down quite nicely for Arizona at quarterback as the game progressed. Solomon finished the game with a school freshman record 425 passing yards as the Wildcats torched UNLV to set the school record for total offense, too. Wide receiver Austin Hill, a potential early draft pick, looked like he was fully recovered from an ACL tear when he took a short pass 92 yards for a touchdown to open the second half.