What happened and what mattered in Week 1 Thursday games in the first big weekend of the 2018 college football season?
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The marquee Northwestern vs. Purdue game was fantastic, and there were a whole slew of other interesting battles – just not among the Power Five teams. What mattered from the Week 1 Thursday night games?
5. The FBS vs. FCS games
The FCS world represented itself well, coming achingly close in a few of the fun battles.
The Jimbo Fisher era kicked off with a bang, with Traveon Williams ripping off 240 yards and three touchdowns in the 59-7 win over Northwestern State. The quarterbacks were fine – Kellen Mond hit 17-of 25 throws, Nick Starkel connected on 5-of-8. The most exciting part? A&M used a tight end – Jace Sternberger caught five passes for 56 yards and two scores.
Oh San Jose State … three turnovers, 12 penalties, and a defense that gave up 589 yards were too much to overcome in the 44-38 loss to UC Davis. Montel Aaron threw for 254 yards, but Josh Love couldn’t do enough to push the passing game. Bailey Gaither caught six passes for 137 yards and two scores.
Utah gave up 10 first quarter points in the 41-10 win over Weber State, but the D allowed 61 yards, the O came up with 587. Tyler Huntley threw for four scores, but the Utes turned it over four times.
Taylor Cornelius threw for 295 yards and five scores as Oklahoma State rolled to a 58-17 win over Missouri State. The Cowboys rolled up 742 yards, but weren’t sharp – Cornelius was okay, not amazing.
UAB dominated Savannah State 52-0, with a balanced offense coming up with 285 yards on the ground and 263 through the air. AJ Erdely hit 22-of-28 passes for 228 yards and two scores with a pick.
Georgia State survived Kennesaw State 24-20, helped by a missed fourth down try to get the ball back for one final drive. Diondre Champaigne caught a touchdown pass with 41 seconds for the win. QB Dan Ellington completed 20-of-28 passes for 187 yards and three scores, and ran for a team-high 77 yards.
Caleb Evans ran for an 11-yard touchdown with 11 seconds left to slip by SE Louisiana 34-31. Evan ran for 62 yards and the score, and hit 35-of-53 passes for 346 yards and two scores with a pick.
The stars are back at Ball State. Injured for most of last year, QB Riley Neal threw for 259 yards and two scores and ran for another, and James Gilbert ran for 100 yards and a score in the 42-6 win over Central Connecticut State.