1 – Colorado Buffalo Stampede (vs. #17 TCU)
One of the most notable result of the opening weekend slate of college football: Deion Sanders and his Colorado team might not need time to fine tune this rebuild. As 20 point underdogs on the road against last years National Championship runner up TCU, the Buffalo never looked the part.
Quarterback Shadeur Sanders completed 38 of his 47 pass attempts for 510 yards (a school record in his first game) and 4 touchdown passes, true freshman running back Dylan Edwards had 3 of those touchdowns (4 total) and accumulated 159 yards on 11 touches, and two-way standout Travis Hunter made 11 catches for 119 yards and added an insanely athletic interception at the goal line to stall out a TCU drive. Oh, and he played 134 snaps in the game. By games end, Colorado had four receivers over 100 yards.
Where Colorado goes from here is still an unknown, but they’ve shown the ability to get to a bowl game in year one. The defense will obviously need to be better when they get into conference play against more proven quarterback competition, but offensively they gelled immediately in the electric offense brought over from Kent State by new offensive coordinator Sean Lewis.
Colorado hosts Nebraska next week in Coach Primes home debut.
2 – Washington QB Michael Penix Jr (vs. Boise State)
Sticking in the Pac-12 here, Penix entered 2023 as a notable Heisman candidate after a stellar 2022 season. After a slow start that saw the Huskies shutout in the first quarter, Penix and company left no doubt with a 28 point blitzkrieg in the second quarter that saw the lefty throw for 4 of his 5 touchdowns on the day and take a 28-12 lead into halftime. It was never really close after that, and the Huskies would ultimately win 56-19 against a Boise team expected to be in the New Years Six discussion, and that I had in my preseason Top 25.
Penix finished the game 29/40 for 450 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Penix spread the ball around efficiently to his trio of brilliant receivers, as Rome Odunze, Ja’Lynn Polk and Jalen McMillan combined for 18 receptions for 328 yards and 4 touchdowns. All three receivers had at least 95 yards in the game.
Penix and the Huskies play host to Tulsa next week in a matchup that the Huskies should dominate before an interesting road trip to face Michigan State a week later.
3 – Coastal Carolina S Clayton Isbell (vs. UCLA)
I rarely dish out five star accolades to players on the losing end of a contest, but Isbell did something against UCLA that deemed it necessary: he had 3 interceptions against the Bruins, including two of them being in the end zone while the UCLA offense was inside the Coastal ten yard line. Isbell also led the team in total tackles for the game.
The Chanticleers ultimately lost the matchup 27-13, but without Isbell making those three plays it very well could have been worse. Star quarterback Grayson McCall struggled against the Bruins defense and the offense couldn’t get much going behind a weak offensive line that was getting mauled.
Isbell comes to Coastal after a one year stop as a backup at Utah, but before that he was an all-Missouri Valley Conference player for the Illinois State Redbirds. The Chants will host FBS newcomer Jacksonville State next week in a matchup of intriguing G5 teams.
4 – Stanford LB David Bailey (vs. Hawaii)
Sophomore linebacker David Bailey looked very bit the future star as a true freshman last year for the Cardinal, and he opened play in 2023 by having a career day against the Rainbow Warriors. Bailey sacked Hawaii quarterback Brayden Schager 3 times and totaled 4 tackles for loss in the 37-24 win, and tied the team lead in tackles with 6.
There is plenty of excitement around the development of Bailey from within the program, as the consensus four star recruit stuck around after the coaching change and looks every bit the prototypical pass rusher from a size and bulk standpoint. Take it from a notorious sports loser like me, Stanford will likely have a rough year but identifying players like Bailey and finding joy in these performances will help you Cardinal faithful get through the pain.
Bailey and Stanford will have a tough test on the road in a Pac-12 After Dark matchup against reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams and the USC Trojans next weekend.
5 – Florida State WR Keon Coleman (vs. #5 LSU)
Talk about making first impressions. The Michigan State transfer suited up for the first time as a Seminole on Sunday night and torched the Tigers defensive backs to the tune of 9 receptions for 122 yards and 3 touchdowns. I mentioned in my ACC Preview that Coleman was primed to take off as a national name in this offense.
Florida State went on to win impressively, 45-24, and solidify that they are a real playoff contender with a well rounded roster of experienced veterans and future NFL picks. The Seminoles have Southern Miss on the schedule next week before kicking off ACC play.