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Power Ranking in College Football



The first full weekend of the 2019 season is in the books, and the five straight days of college football have confirmed many of our preseason beliefs, while defiling the hopes and dreams of summer for some fan bases across the country.

Six teams – Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, Oklahoma, Ohio and LSU – appear to be the cream of the crop, at least after a week.

Rud, Boise and Wisconsin were among the big surprises.

Florida State, Missouri, Tennessee and UCLA were among the disappointments.

Here are ESPN's strong leaderboards after Week 1:


Tigers quarterback Trevor Lawrence struggled a bit while defending defending national champion Clemson, throwing two interceptions in a 52-14 Georgia Tech route. But ACC's reigning player of the year Travis Etienne picked up where he left off, running 12 times for 205 yards with three sensors. Remarkably, the Tigers have averaged more yards on Etienne's runs (8.6) than passes for Lawrence (8.2) over the past two seasons, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

Forward: vs. Texas A&M (Saturday, 3:30 p.m., ABC)

Travis Etienne rushed 12 times for 205 yards and three touchdowns in a victory to open Clemson's season. Todd Kirkland / Icon Sportswire

Even without linebacker Dylan Moses, who was removed for the season with a knee injury, the Crimson Tide's defense seemed as dominant as ever with a 42-3 victory over Duke in Atlanta, the Blue Devils had just 204 yards of offense with 11 first downs and turned the ball over three times. Christian Harris and Shane Lee had six games in each of their first careers.

Next: vs. New Mexico (Saturday, 4:00 PM ET, SECN)


The Bulldogs lost their top six pass picks in 2018, and quarterback Jake Fromm did a good job spreading the ball with a 30-6 victory at Vanderbilt. Six players caught two passes in Georgia's 14th consecutive SEC win over SEC East, with Demetris Robertson and Matt Landers emerging as a threat to big games. New offensive coordinator James Cowley used the same recipe as the Bulldogs ran 40 times for 323 yards with two touchdowns.

Next: vs. Murray State (Saturday, 4:00 pm ET, ESPN2)


At least one myth was buried over the weekend: Alabama's transfer Geelen Herts does not throw the ball well enough to score in the Lincoln Riley system. The Herts completed 20 of 23 passes for 332 yards with three touchdowns – while running 16 times for 176 yards with three more scores – in a 49-31 win over Houston. His 508 yards of total offense were the fifth-highest total in OU history. Even more impressive: OU's defense, which ranked last in the FBS in 2018's pass defense, held Houston's Eric King to 167 passing yards on the debut of new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. vs. South Dakota (Saturday 7pm ET)


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Georgia Transfer Justin Fields' first game in Ohio went as well as one might expect as he went for four touchdowns and run for another in a 45-21 victory over the Florida Atlantic. The field completed 18 of 25 passes for 234 yards and led the Buckeyes to land their first four possessions before the OSU offense broke out in the second half. Fields was extremely effective when he had time in his pocket, completing 15 of 16 passes when not under pressure. He plans to get a much tougher test than Cincinnati's defense this week.

Next: vs. Cincinnati (Saturday 12:00 PM ET, ABC)


6. LSU (1-0)

The Tigers' new offensive attack, unhindered, was welcome for LSU's long-suffering fans in Georgia Southern's 55-3 route. Quarterback Joe Burrow completed 23 of 27 passes for 278 yards and five touchdowns, with almost all of his production coming in the first half. The Tigers scored 21 points in the first and second quarters each – failing to score three touchdowns in any quarter in 2018. The Tigers averaged just 3.7 yards per carry, but new passing game coordinator Joe Brady saved a few wrinkles for next week's trip to Texas.

Next: in Texas (Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, ABC)


The Longhorns had to replace eight defensive starters from 10-4 teams last season and start results for coordinator Todd Orlando were encouraging in a 45-14 victory over Louisiana Tech. The Longhorns threw a stoppage for the first three quarters, forced three turnovers (a rough penalty to the passer canceled a fourth turnover, pick-six) and allowed only 73 rushing yards. It was a good start with the mighty LSU offense coming to Austin next week for what may be the biggest non-conference game since No. 1, Ohio State played there in 2006.

Forward: vs. LSU (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, ABC)


The debacle of the new Wolverines appearance against former Alabama assistant Josh Gathis was a mixed bag in a 40-21 victory over Middle Tennessee. Michigan Shea Paterson completed 17 of 29 passes for 203 yards with three touchdowns, but he failed twice. The Wolverines had 453 yards on offense, but scored just 13 points in the second half when penalties and other errors thwarted strikes. Still, it was a good first step to modernize crime.

Next: vs. Army (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, FOX)

Game

1:27

Shea Patterson throws three touchdowns when Michigan defeats Tennessee Middle 40-21 .


Fighting the Irish overcame a slow start in Louisville before pulling out to win 35-17 on Monday night. Notre Dame's rebuilt defense, which was supposed to replace the top links of Tehn Won Connie and Dru Tranquil of 2018, showed some pain at an early age as the Cardinals moved more than 200 yards. But the Irish used three turnovers to open a 14-point lead in the third quarter, and the Louisville defense had no answer for their strong play. The Irish will have an extra week to rectify their mistakes before they face New Mexico at their home on September 14, followed by reflection in Georgia next week.

Up Next: vs. New Mexico (September 14, 2:30 PM ET, NBC)


Bo knows the returns. Auburn freshman freshman Bo Nix headed for a late first down and then fired a 26-yard touchdown pass to Seth Williams with nine seconds left in a 27-21 win over Oregon in Arlington, Texas. The Knicks, whose father, Patrick, played a retreat for the Tigers from 1992 to 95, completed 13 of 31 passes for 177 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The Knicks still have a long way to go, but Auburn's defense is good enough to keep the Tigers in games until he becomes more comfortable and develops as a passer.

Forward : Against Tulane (Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, ESPN2)


The defense of Texas A and M looked much better in Jimbo Fisher's second season, holding superb Texas up to 8 rushing yards on 15 attempts at a 41-7 victory. After completing just seven passes in 13 games last season, the Aggies picked up four in their first game of 2019. This was the highest interception of a game at Texas A&M since 2006. Agia received a much more demanding test at No. 1. Clemson next week. Texas A&M nearly stunned the Tigers before falling 28-26 to College Station last season.

Next: in Clemson (Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, ABC)


12. Utah (1-0)

Utah's offense was quite volatile in the openings of the FYROM, but its defense more than held its 30-12 victory, its ninth consecutive victory in the Holy War rivalry. Francis Bernard returned a catch for 58 yards and Julian Blackmon had another pick-six for the Ducks, who had three turnovers and held the Cougars to just 92 rushing yards. Zach Moss, who missed the last five games of 2018 with a knee injury, ran for 187 yards with one score for the Utes.

Above Next: vs. Northern Illinois (Saturday, 1pm ET, Pac-12 Network)


The long wait for Georgia's Jacob Ayson transfer is over and he's making the most of his chances at a 47-14 victory over opponents at FCS Eastern Washington. Ayson, who has not played since opening in 2017 in Georgia when injured and losing Jake Fromm's starting job, completed 27 of 36 passes for 349 yards with four touchdowns. One of the Huskies' concerns: All-American center Nick Harris injured his left knee in the first quarter and Henry Bainivalou was stopped for the first three games, according to coach Chris Petersen.

Next: vs. California (Saturday, 10:30 PM ET, FS1)


After holding off to beat Miami 24-20 weeks ago, the Gators have an open date last weekend. They will play UT Martin on FCS on Saturday before playing Kentucky on Sept. 14 and against Tennessee at home next week, which can go a long way in deciding if they are the team to challenge Georgia in the SEC SEC East. The Gates believe it will drop its defense stats this week after accumulating a whopping 10 sacks against the Hurricanes.

Forward: vs. UT Martin (Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, ESPNU)


It wouldn't be wise to read too much on the 79-7 route on the state of Idaho at Penn State , but the Nityon Lions have shown they can be fast and athletic enough in defense to challenge Ohio State and Michigan in the Big Ten East. The Nittany Lions limited the Vandals to just five first downs, four rushing yards on 28 attempts and 145 total yards. The Jetur Gross-Matos Junior Defense had 2 sacks and three gear.

Next: vs. Buffalo (Saturday, 7:30 pm ET, FOX)


The Badgers turned over to USF, which should have been better in 2019, with a dominant protective efforts. Escape from Wisconsin, Jonathan Taylor ran for 135 yards with two touchdowns and caught two passes for 48 yards with two scores, outscoring the Bulls himself, 183-157, in total yards. The Bulls only managed nine first downs and 26 rushing yards on 23 attempts, as Wisconsin looked like the favorite of the early Big Ten West.

Next: vs. Central Michigan (Saturday, 3:30 PM ET), BTN)

play

1:57

Jonathan Taylor catches two touchdowns and moves for more two while Wisconsin rolled past South Florida.


17. UCF (1-0)

The Knights do not appear to have concerns about dropping after losing two-time American Athletic Conference Attacker of the Year Mackenzie Milton to a serious knee injury. In fact, UCF coach Josh Hoppel can have at least two options: Notre Dame transfer graduate Brandon Wimbush and freshman Dillion Gabriel, who attends the same high school as Milton in Hawaii. The rebates were more than effective at stopping 62-0 on FCS foe Florida A&M. Wimbush completed 12 of 23 passes for 168 yards with two sensors; Gabriel was 9-for-13 for 127 yards with three scores.

Next: at FAU (Saturday, 7:00 PM ET, CBSSN)


18. Iowa (1-0)

The Hawks started slowly and held Miami (Ohio) in the second quarter before pulling four touchdowns in the second half to win 38-14. Greater Concerns for Iowa Coach Kirk Ferenc: The Health of Left Combat Alaric Jackson, who left in the first quarter with a right knee injury. He went to the crutches locker room and did not return to the sideline for the second half. He'll be out for a few weeks, but he doesn't need surgery. Jackson and junior Tristan Wierffs were expected to be among the top FBI side-kickers.

Next: vs. Rutgers (Saturday, 12 p.m. ET, FS1)


The Orange led the FBS in forced turnovers with 31 in 2018, which is a big reason they won 10 games for the first time since 2001, Syracuse forced four more turnovers with a 24-0 victory over FCS Liberty, which had minus 4 rushing yards and allowed eight sacks. Now Syracuse has to eliminate its own mistakes as new quarterback Tommy DeVito has thrown two interceptions. DeVito completed 17 of 35 passes for 176 yards after replacing leading passing Eric Dungeon.

Next: at Maryland (Saturday 12:00 PM ET, ESPN)


The Cardinal climbed in defense to a 17-7 victory over Northwestern after losing the star to quarterback KJ Costello at the end of the first half. Costello kicked his head as he slid – the punch somehow didn't bring a punishment for targeting – and didn't return. Without Costello, Stanford's offense failed to score in the second half, but his defense limited the Wild Cats to just 210 yards, forced four turnovers and struck back in the end zone. Costello's status was not immediately known. The Cardinal hit the meat of their schedule with consecutive road games at USC and UCF and home games against Oregon and Washington coming up over the next five weeks.

Next: at USC (Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN)


The Spartans' concerns after Week 1 of 2019 mirror those of 2018, when they have scored six points in three of their last four games during the 7-6 campaign. MSU's defense was dominant in a 28-7 win over Tulsa, holding the Golden Hurricane to minus 73 rushing yards with six sacks, one safety and a resumption of victory for the score. But after passing 73 yards to press on his original possession, the MSU offense did not sign again. The Spartans average only 2.7 yards per carry; their running back (Connor Hayward, La Darius Jefferson and Elijah Collins) averaged just 2.2 yards per attempt.

Forward : Against Western Michigan (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, BTN) [19659060] The Ducks were on the wrong end of the Knicks' late game game for Auburn in Arlington, Texas, and they they missed the chance to make an early statement about the Pac-12. Quarterback Justin Herbert completed 28 of 37 passes for 242 yards with one touchdown, and the Oregon offensive line held against the Tigers' vaunted defense. But Oregon's mistakes allowed Auburn to keep the result close. The Ducks missed a pass, missed a goal on the field, and Herbert lost a shattered kick to Auburn 9. Managing the game of OU coach Mario Cristobal was also not great; he burned two timeouts after Herbert suffered a slight knee injury.

Next: vs. Nevada (Saturday, 7:30 PM ET, PACN)


The Broncos made an early statement as the top 5 team in the league with a stunning 18-point comeback win with 36-31 in Florida. True freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier was smashed in the first half by FSU's defense, but threw for 407 yards with one touchdown. He was particularly good on third down, completing 8 of 12 passes for 136 yards. Boise State's defense limited the Seminoles to just 99 rushing yards on 28 carries. After FSU scored its third and final takedown to take the lead 31-13 at the end of the second quarter, the Seminoles had 46 yards in 32 games. Next: vs. Marshall (Friday 9pm ET, ESPN2) his first career start. He completed his first 15 passes and threw for 420 yards with five touchdowns before dropping through the third quarter on 58-7 routes to New Mexico. Gordon completed passes to nine receivers in the first half and had 330 yards before halftime. It was the third highest overall score of half for the Washington state retreat; Connor Halliday had 337 against Cal in 2014, and Luke Folk had 335 in Arizona in 2015.

Next: vs. Northern Colorado (Saturday, 5pm ET)


Maybe a year 2 under Scott Frost will not go as smoothly as many believed. The Cornhuskers led South Alabama 14-7 at halftime and only released the Jaguars in a 35-21 victory over two defensive sensors and another special teams result. Quarterback Adrian Martinez completed 13 of 22 passes for 178 yards with one interception. Nebraska's offense surpassed 314-276 total yards. In the second half, the Cornhuskers had just 66 yards and had 44 yards for 98 yards.

Next: in Colorado (Saturday, 3:30 pm ET, FOX)


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