Kelly Bryant was dynamic in Clemson's season-opening victory over Kent State.Todd Bennett/Getty Images
While the big game of the first full weekend of the college football season will be played Saturday night between No. 1 Alabama and third-ranked Florida State at the brand-new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the defending national champion Clemson Tigers opened their season in blowout fashion with a 56-3 destruction of overmatched Kent State.
With Deshaun Watson off to the NFL’s Houston Texans, Kelly Bryant has taken over the quarterback responsibilities. He was sharp in his first game, as he completed 16 of 22 passes for 236 yards and a touchdown. Bryant also took advantage of his running opportunities, as he added 77 yards on the ground.
C.J. Fuller had two rushing touchdowns and ran for 51 yards, while Deon Cain had two receptions for 70 yards and a touchdown.
STANDOUT PERFORMER ALERT: C.J. Fuller with 2 touchdowns vs. Kent State https://t.co/skzo7XR1bB
The Tigers are the No. 5 team in the nation, but they are not going to surrender their national championship without a fight. They did not get one in their first game of the season against the Golden Flashes.
No. 11 Michigan overcame a shaky performance by quarterback Wilton Speight and opened its season with a 33-17 victory over 17th-ranked Florida.
Speight threw back-to-back interceptions for touchdowns in the second quarter, and that helped give Florida a 17-10 lead. However, the Wolverines defense was simply too strong, and the Gators were never able to get their offense in gear.
Michigan scored the last 23 points of the game and dominated the second half. In addition to its strong showing on defense, running back Ty Isaac carried 11 times for 114 yards and Tarik Black caught two passes for 83 yards and a touchdown.
Top 25 Scores and Stats
Winner, Score, Loser, Key Stat
Alabama (1), 24-7, Florida State (3), Damien Harris rushes for 73 yards and a touchdown.
Ohio State (2), 49-21, Indiana, J.K. Dobbins rumbles to 181 yards.
USC (4), 49-31, Western Michigan, Ronald Jones II runs for 159 yards and three touchdowns.
Clemson (5), 56-3, Kent State, Clemson outgains Kent State, 665-120.
Penn State (6), 52-0, Akron, Penn State defense holds Akron to 159 yards.
Washington (8), 30-14, Rutgers, Dante Pettis tallies three receptions for 85 yards and a punt-return TD.
Wisconsin (9), 59-10, Utah State, Alex Hornibrook throws for 244 yards and three touchdowns.
Auburn (12), 41-7, Georgia Southern, Jarrett Stidham passes for 185 yards and two scores.
Louisville (16), 35-28, Purdue, Lamar Jackson totals 485 yards of offense and two touchdowns.
Miami (18), 41-13, Bethune-Cookman, Miami RB Mark Walton: 148 rushing yards, 9.3 yards per carry.
Kansas State (20), 55-19, Central Arkansas, Jesse Ertz throws for 333 yards and 4 TDs.
Maryland, 51-41, Texas (23), Maryland RB Ty Johnson: 132 rushing yards, 11 yards per carry.
Oklahoma (7), 56-7, UTEP, Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield: 19-of-20 for 329 yards, three TD passes.
Michigan (11), 33-17, Florida (17), Michigan outgains Florida, 433-192.
South Florida (19), 31-17, Stony Brook, South Florida QB Quinton Flowers: 186 passing yards, two TDs, 67 rushing yards.
Georgia (15), 31-10, Appalachian State, Nick Chubb chugs his way to 96 yards and two scores.
LSU (13), 27-0, BYU, Derrius Guice sets the tone with 122 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Stars of the Week
Penn State RB Saquon Barkley
It’s a little early to make a declaration about the Heisman Trophy, but Penn State running back Saquon Barkley certainly announced his presence in Penn State’s season opener against Akron.
Saquon Barkley moment No.1 of 2017 (CC @KegsnEggs) https://t.co/lty6BGspWJ
Barkley dominated with his quickness and speed, and he gained 172 yards on 14 carries and scored two touchdowns. He also showed his versatility with three receptions for 54 yards, and he showed his escapability in the open field.
While Barkley knew he had a great game, he was quick to credit his teammates and say that their time is coming as well.
“We have so many playmakers,” Barkley said, per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN.com). “Some games are going to be my game, some are going to be (quarterback) Trace (McSorley)’s game, some games it’s going to be (tight end) Mike (Gesicki) and obviously others on the offensive side of the ball.”
Maryland QB Tyrrell Pigrome
Few gave Maryland a chance in its season opener on the road in Austin, Texas, against the Texas Longhorns, but the Terps were not intimidated by their opponent or their location.
#Maryland passer Tyrell Pigrome had just one offer to play QB. Today D.J. Durkin & Walt Bell look like geniuses: https://t.co/01u1zFAO1O https://t.co/lZ55YYvK3d
Maryland has struggled quite a bit since joining the Big Ten conference, but the Terps registered a 51-41 upset. The Maryland offense functioned at a high level throughout the game, and quarterback Tyrrell Pigrome was largely responsible for getting the offense in gear.
Pigrome completed nine of 12 passes for 175 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and he also carried the ball 11 times for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Pigrome suffered a twisted knee in the late going, and he had to be helped off the field, but his game-changing plays gave Maryland a chance to register one of the most important victories in the history of the school’s football program.
Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield was on fire in the Oklahoma season opener.Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Mayfield comes into the season as one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, and he strengthened that reputation after opening the season in razor-sharp fashion.
Mayfield completed 19 of 20 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns in the Sooners’ 56-7 victory over UTEP. Mayfield completed his first 16 passes, and he dictated the pace of the blowout.
After building a 35-7 halftime lead, Mayfield was able to hand the QB responsibilities over to Kyler Murray and Tanner Schafer.