WASHINGTON — Labor Day weekend is the de facto transition from summer to fall and from crosswords by the pool to wings in front of multiple TV’s.
The first weekend of the college football season is also the longest — spanning from Thursday to Monday. I know we were all in on the “Civil Conflict” as ex-Maryland coach Randy Edsall’s Huskies were humbled by one of the schools that claimed a National Championship last winter.
By the time Virginia Tech plays Florida State Monday night, I’ll be ready for a nap. Meanwhile, teams with playoff hopes that suffered losses Saturday (Michigan, Washington and almost Penn State) have plenty of time to get back into the chase. And while their fan bases won’t be pleased to start 0-1, many are still coming back from the beach/lake/mountains and their last getaway.
Lose again in week two, and instead of short memories there may be some short tempers.
Maryland (1-0) Topped Texas 34-29 to prove that last year’s victory in Austin was no fluke. Even after letting a 17-point second quarter lead dissolve, the Terps made the necessary plays down the stretch. The best play? Sending ten men out for the first play from scrimmage and taking a delay-of-game penalty to honor deceased teammate Jordan McNair. The healing is far from over but for one afternoon the nightmare of 100 young men took a hiatus.
- Terrapin Triumphs: Freshman Jeshaun Jones ran for, caught, and threw a touchdown pass in his debut. Kasim Hill in his first game since last September threw for 222 yards and one touchdown. The defense held the Longhorns to 3-15 on third down while turning Texas over three times in the fourth quarter … with Antoine Brooks notching 11 tackles and the game-securing interception.
- Terrapin Troubles: The tailback rotation of Ty Johnson, Lorenzo Harrison, Tayon Fleet-Davis and Anthony McFarland was limited to 62 yards on 22 carries. Eight penalties for 70 yards is far from ideal as well. Speaking of less than awesome, during the weather delay at FedEx Field the press box sprang several leaks and multiple buckets were brought in to catch quite a bit of rain water.
Next: Saturday at Bowling Green.
Virginia (1-0) Dealt with their weather delay in the first quarter of their 42-13 rout of Richmond. Unlike two years ago, there would be no upset in Charlottesville and at least after one week there’s a smooth transition at quarterback in the post-Kurt Benkert era.
- Cavalier Congrats: Junior College transfer Bryce Perkins threw for 185 yards and two touchdowns while running for 108 yards and two more scores. Jordan Ellis rumbled for 146 yards and two TD’s while Olamide Zaccheaus caught six passes for 101 yards and a score. The defense notched two interceptions, held the Spiders to under 2 yards per carry and limited the visitors to 2-10 on third down.
- Cavalier Concerns: A.J. Mejia missed his only field goal attempt, a 35-yarder.
Next: Saturday at Indiana.
Navy (0-1) Did not have a weather delay in Honolulu, but the Midshipmen ran into a major storm by the name of the University of Hawaii in their 59-41 loss to the Rainbow Warriors. The Academy gives its students a full array of contingency plans, but there aren’t many that are effective when one falls behind 28-0 before posting your second first down of the night.
- Midshipmen Medals: Malcolm Perry ran for 108 yards and a touchdown while Zach Abey scored four times; the running game averaged 6.7 yards per carry. Elan Nash led the defense with eight tackles (seven solo).
- Midshipmen Miscues: The D allowed touchdowns on their first four possessions-with Hawaii settling for a field goal the fifth time they had the ball. Special teams had a blocked punt returned for a score during the first half where the Rainbow Warriors took control of the game.
Next: Saturday at home against AAC foe Memphis.