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College Football Week 1’s early standout performances

It’s Saturday. It’s College Football gameday! However, we already have two full nights of action packed week 1 football in the books. There’s already been more highlights than the entire NFL pre-season.

Some of these will be more well known than others. Everyone knows that Travis Etienne ripped up his own personal best in Clemson’s win over Georgia Tech. With 208 all purpose yards, and 3 touchdowns, Etienne added further evidence in his case to be college football RB1.

Speaking of RB1, no one who surprised to see Jonathan Taylor destroy USF last night. He accounted for 4 total touchdowns (2 rushing and 2 receiving) to stake his case for the Doak Walker Award.

In amongst these established and expected performances, there were some fantastic week 1 games from some players you may not be familiar with. Here we have a look at a few before the second half of week 1 kicks off at 5pm UK time.

Isaih Pacheco – Running Back – Rutgers

UMass ran out to a 14-0 lead early on in the birthplace of college football, Rutgers, on Friday night. However, 3 first half touchdowns from sophomore running back , Isaih Pacheco, turned the tide of the game. The Scarlet Knights added a field goal and another Pacheco touchdown in the second half to win 48-21.

It was expected that the Rutgers rushing offence would go through Raheem Blackshear. However, he was largely bottled up on the ground. Where he struggled, Pacheco found success.

He ended the night with 20 carries, 156 yards, and 4 touchdowns. He ran in two 2 yard touchdowns, a 7 yarder but was most impressive on the 57 yard touchdown that tied the game at 21-21. Pacheco showed elusiveness at the line of scrimmage, before showing burst and long speed to find the end zone.

Justin McMillan – Quarterback – Tulane

The Green Wave flowed over Florida International on Thursday night, with 350 rushing yards in a 42-14 win. They had 8 players who accounted for double digit rushing yards, led by Darius Bradwell. the senior had 13 carries for 90 yards.

However it was the performance of quarterback Justin McMillan that was most impressive. The transfer from LSU contributed not only through the air, but was one of the biggest contributors to the rushing statistics.

McMillan accounted for 199 passing yard, 51 rushing yards, and 3 total touchdowns. He completed 14/18 passing and had 9 rushing attempts. He showed great footwork in the pocket, and a strong arm, on a 42 yard touchdown pass that Darnell Mooney spectacularly caught in the end zone. His footwork was highlighted again on a 17 yard touchdown run which also showcased his elusiveness.

Demetric Felton – Wide Receiver – UCLA

The first player to shine on a losing side. UCLA opened the week 1 slate in Cincinnati and looked shaky at best in a 24-14 defeat. Quarterback, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, seemed skittish from the get go and threw two interceptions to go with two touchdowns.

UCLA looked brightest when Felton was involved in the offence. Although he is listed on the roster as a wide receiver, he saw plenty of time in the backfield. He handled 23 carries for 71 yards.

It was his capabilities as a wide receiver which stood out on Thursday night. This was highlighted by a 75 yard touchdown in the second quarter. Felton lined up as a running back, broke out to the right uncovered and caught a pass from Thompson-Robinson. He evaded a tackle at the UCLA 35 yard line, and used his pace to beat two men to the end zone.

If UCLA can figure out how to settle DTR and how best to use Felton, they could have an explosive offence this year.

Chubba Hubbard – Running Back – Oklahoma State

The Oklahoma State Cowboys opened up their season on Friday night with a 52-36 win over Oregon State. The Cowboys have a number of exciting players this season, including star wideout Tylan Wallace and redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders. However, it was running back Chubba Hubbard who stole the show.

Hubbard accounted for the opening Oklahoma State touchdown, then added two third quarter scores to put the game to bed. He led the team with 221 rushing yards off 26 carries. That gave him an incredible 8.5 yards per carry.

His 53 yard run for his third touchdown was a thing of beauty. Some fantastic o-line play opened up a gigantic hole and Hubbard burst through. He showed some juice to out sprint two defenders and find the end zone.

Jamie Newman – Quarterback – Wake Forest

Utah State were a pre-season darling, especially with growing hype around quarterback Jordan Love. However, Wake Forest sprung a surprise on Friday night with a 38-35 victory.

For all the hype around Love, it was Jamie Newman who put on a show. The junior won the battle to be the Wake Forest quarterback over former QB1 star Sam Hartman in the summer. Friday night he showed why.

On the opening drive, he dropped back and unfurled a beaut of a pass to find Sage Surratt in the end zone. In the second quarter, he did the same again. Drop back, unfurl, end zone, touchdown. This time for Scotty Washington who high pointed the ball over the Utah State corner.

Newman added a 1 yard touchdown rush to open the third quarter scoring, nosing Wake Forest ahead 24-21. It wouldn’t be the last time Newman would give the Demon Deacons the lead in the game.

That would be their game winning drive at the end of the fourth. Newman connected with Kendall Hilton to open the drive with an 18 yard game. Newman than dropped back in the pocket, and found Sage Surratt in Utah State territory. Surratt took the ball all the way to the 1 before being apprehended. After 3 attempts to punch it in with Cade Carney, Newman found Kendall Hinton for the game winning touchdown.

Those performances were just some of the lesser known standouts from week 1 so far. We’re only halfway through a thrilling slate of week 1 college football. Keep your eyes on @Ninetnineyards and @collegechaps for the best coverage of the best sport.

Article written by:

Oliver Hodgkinson is a New England Patriots and Boston College fan who has followed the game since 2012. He covers all aspects of College Football and the AFC West. You can find him on Twitter at @ojhodgkinson

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