Key Week 1 takeaways for each Top 25 team

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Hokies' Kumah muscles through tackles for TD (0:33)

Virginia Tech QB Josh Jackson tosses pass to TE Eric Kumah, who powers through multiple tackles and runs 49 yards into the end zone. (0:33)

The season is finally here and all of the nation's Top 25 teams -- from Alabama to LSU -- will be in action this weekend. Here's the most important thing you need to know from each of them as their games go final. Check this page throughout the weekend for updates.


No. 1 Alabama 51, Louisville 14

Since the Alabama dynasty began under Nick Saban, the Tide never truly had an elite quarterback. They do now, and that has to be a scary proposition for the rest of college football. Tua Tagovailoa started against Louisville and was in control from the start, leading touchdown drives on four of his five possessions at the helm in the first half. He made picture-perfect throws, improvised to make others and showed off his running ability, too, making a statement that this team should belong to him. Nick Saban will find mistakes to get upset about, the way he often does in blowouts, but it was apparent to anyone who watched that he's finally got a superstar quarterback to lead the best program in the country. -- Andrea Adelson


No. 2 Clemson 48, Furman 7

Trevor Lawrence didn't start the season as Clemson's quarterback. It's hard to imagine, though, that he won't be the quarterback of record to end the season for the Tigers. Lawrence threw three touchdown passes in his much-anticipated debut after entering the game in the second quarter of Clemson's rout of outmanned Furman on Saturday. Senior Kelly Bryant started the game as planned and played the entire first quarter. He also started the third quarter, and while Bryant threw a couple of nice passes, he also looked like he might have been peeking over his shoulder a bit to start the game. And why not? Lawrence's talent is undeniable. He threw an 18-yard laser on an out route in the second quarter, an NFL throw if there ever was one, and he just seems to unlock more of the Tigers' offense. Granted, he's going to look like a freshman at times and make some mistakes, but he's the kind of difference-maker who gives Clemson a chance to beat every team on its schedule, particularly as he continues to grow and get more comfortable. -- Chris Low


No. 3 Georgia 45, Austin Peay 0

Georgia lost a boatload of star players from its 2017 team that reached the College Football Playoff National Championship, but several young replacements emerged in Saturday's 45-0 rout of FCS foe Austin Peay at Sanford Stadium. While sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm seems to have a firm grasp on the starting job -- he completed 12 of 16 passes for 157 yards with two touchdowns in limited duty against the Governors -- freshman Justin Fields showed why he'll probably see the field this season. Fields, the No. 1 player overall in the 2017 ESPN 300, completed 7 of 8 passes for 63 yards with one touchdown and ran three times for 33 yards. California transfer Demetris Robertson, who was granted immediate eligibility by the NCAA, also made an immediate impact for the No. 3 Bulldogs, scoring on a 72-yard run on an end-around play. The bad news: Freshman running back James Cook, the younger brother of former FSU star Dalvin Cook, was ejected for a helmet-to-helmet hit on a punt return in the fourth quarter. He had runs of 36 and 26 yards before he was ejected. Cook will be suspended for the first half of next week's SEC opener at South Carolina. -- Mark Schlabach


No. 4 Wisconsin 34, Western Kentucky 3

Wisconsin doesn't have many questions heading into this season, but the Badgers are replacing seven defensive starters from 2017. That's a significant amount of production and experience to have to make up for, but the Wisconsin defense didn't seem to be fazed Friday night. Of the nine Badgers getting their first career starts against Western Kentucky, seven were on the defensive side. Those new defenders helped Wisconsin hold the Hilltoppers to only three points and 305 total yards of offense. It's only the first game of the season, but if defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard can work his magic and keep his crew progressing, it will be a big help in making a potential playoff push at the end of the season. -- Tom VanHaaren


No. 5 Ohio State 77, Oregon State 31

Will Urban Meyer's absence derail Ohio State's playoff hopes? Not if new starting quarterback Dwayne Haskins continues to be as sharp as he was in his Columbus debut. The Buckeyes got a little sloppy after a weather delay extended halftime by more than an hour, and the defense allowed some big plays that would be cause for concern against a stronger team, but this loaded offense with Haskins pulling the levers looks like it will be hard to slow down. Four different Buckeyes had at least four receptions on an efficient day through the air for Haskins (22-of-30, 313 yards), and running back Mike Weber added four touchdowns by himself. Most importantly, Haskins showed poise and control during his three-plus quarters on the field. -- Dan Murphy


No. 9 Auburn 21, No. 6 Washington 16

The Huskies' offense is going to have to look long and hard in the mirror to understand why they lost a very winnable game against Auburn. Inside the red zone and on third down -- in the most crucial moments -- Washington's offense stalled out far too many times. Senior quarterback Jake Browning was uncharacteristically careless with the ball as well, throwing one interception and fumbling on third-and-goal. And all of that despite a handful of spectacular catches from his receivers, including two SportsCenter-worthy grabs by Ty Jones. The loss, overall, is yet another bad look for a struggling Pac-12. -- Alex Scarborough

There are going to be a lot of what coaches call "teachable moments" to come out of Auburn's nail-biting win over Washington. The offense as a whole couldn't execute with any consistency and quarterback Jarrett Stidham took too many chances with the football. Twelve penalties is unacceptable by any measure, and a failed two-point conversion almost came back to haunt the Tigers. But when the pressure was on, Stidham showed why he might be the best quarterback in the SEC, leading a game-winning drive with less than nine minutes remaining. The defense took it from there, showing why it might have the best pass-rushers in the SEC. The Tigers, who have a brutal schedule with road games at Mississippi State, Georgia and Alabama, needed this one. -- Scarborough


No. 7 Oklahoma 63, Florida Atlantic 14

No Baker Mayfield, no problem for the Sooners -- at least in Week 1 against Florida Atlantic, as Oklahoma derailed the Lane Train with a rout of Kiffin's Owls. Quarterback Kyler Murray was especially impressive in his first start of the post-Mayfield era. He completed 9 of 11 passes for 209 yards to go along with a series of electrifying scrambles before taking a seat late in the second quarter with the game in hand. The zone-read combination of Murray and running back Rodney Anderson has the look of being downright devastating, as Anderson rushed for 100 yards and two touchdowns on only five carries. Saturday's shutdown performance was also a promising start for a Mike Stoops defense that got shredded down the stretch last season. As expected, the Sooners clearly look like the Big 12 favorite. If Murray builds on this performance, OU figures to remain a serious CFP contender, as well. -- Jake Trotter


No. 25 LSU 33, No. 8 Miami 17

The Hurricanes came into the season with College Football Playoff hopes and those were all but dashed on Sunday night following a 33-17 whipping at the hands of LSU. Their schedule -- which has only two other top-25 teams remaining on it -- might not be strong enough to help them climb back into the mix. The fact that they've now lost four straight since starting 10-0 last season is also troubling. The offense was a mess and Malik Rosier struggled mightily in the intermediate passing game; by the time they found the end zone, it was 33-3 LSU. The defense -- which made the turnover chain famous last year -- yielded zero turnovers in the season opener. -- Sam Khan Jr.

And just like that, the narrative around the Tigers shifts. All that Ed Orgeron hot seat talk can be washed away for a bit after a 33-17 drubbing of No. 8 Miami, a game in which the Tigers led by 30 at one point. The offense was productive, but far from perfect. Joe Burrow will have to be much more accurate but he didn't turn the ball over and the run game, led by Nick Brossette, was great. The defense was dominant, holding Miami to 2.4 yards per rush and harrassing Miami quarterback Malik Rosier regularly. There are some things to clean up ahead of a Week 3 clash with Auburn, but the Tigers are in a good place to start the season. -- Khan


No. 10 Penn State 45, Appalachian State 38 (OT)

The Nittany Lions squeaked out a 45-38 win against Appalachian State in overtime after intercepting a pass in the end zone to end the game. Penn State had issues in all three phases of the game after allowing a kick return for a touchdown and seeing Appalachian State recover an onside kick on special teams. Quarterback Trace McSorley didn't throw his first touchdown pass of the game until the fourth quarter. The defense gave up 38 points and 451 total yards to the Mountaineers. The Nittany Lions replaced eight starters on defense, lost offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead and running backs coach Charles Huff to Mississippi State, saw wide receivers coach Josh Gattis leave for Alabama and had all-everything running back Saquon Barkley leave for the NFL. Those losses combined with the results of this game will create some questions going forward. -- VanHaaren


No. 11 Michigan State 38, Utah State 31

The Spartans narrowly beat Utah State in a game that wasn't decided until the last few minutes. Michigan State showed some holes on defense, giving up 319 yards through the air, but the biggest takeaway was that the Spartans' run game struggled against a Utah State team that ranked No. 115 in rushing defense last season. The offensive line had issues throughout the game, as did running back LJ Scott. Connor Heyward was the lone bright spot in the run game with 42 yards and two touchdowns on five carries. The line failed to dominate up front and Scott had only 84 rushing yards on 23 carries. That needs to be fixed if Michigan State is going to get through the conference schedule later in the season.-- VanHaaren


No. 12 Notre Dame 21, No. 14 Michigan 14

Notre Dame's defense has taken even another step. Mike Elko transformed a subpar defense into a solid one in 2017, generating spikes in takeaways and pressures. But Clark Lea, Elko's protégé and a first-time coordinator, could be crafting an elite unit this fall. Notre Dame's aggressiveness up front and sure tackling prevented Michigan from making explosive plays and kept the Wolverines' offense out of the end zone until the final minutes. Defensive end Khalid Kareem led a ferocious rush as Notre Dame bested Michigan's offensive line for most of the game. While Notre Dame's aggressive first-half offense built a quick lead, the defense made sure there would be no Michigan comeback. Despite some question marks in the secondary, the Irish prevented downfield passes and swarmed to the ball. If the defense continues to ascend and Notre Dame gets stable quarterback play, it should be right in the thick of the playoff hunt. -- Adam Rittenberg

A new quarterback can't mask old problems with the line, the passing game and the overall offensive identity. Shea Patterson showed a few flashes of the different skills he brings but too often lacked the time to make impact plays. Michigan lost the line of scrimmage most of the night. Notre Dame consistently pressured the pocket and contained between-the-tackles runs. Other than a 52-yard pass to Nico Collins early in the third quarter, Michigan couldn't consistently attack downfield. And the offense looked choppy, fluctuating from shotgun spread concepts to Patterson under center with bigger personnel. Patterson seemed at his best with play-action and rollouts, but he took two sacks that cost Michigan points in the first half and threw an interception on a back-foot throw. The Wolverines missed wideout Tarik Black (foot) as they lacked options to stretch the field. -- Rittenberg


No. 13 Stanford 31, San Diego State 10

It wasn't the start the country was expecting from star running back Bryce Love (18 carries, 28 yards), but it didn't matter as the Cardinal took revenge against the Aztecs. Love's ineffectiveness shouldn't be a concern -- he has without a doubt proved his talent. Instead, the major takeaway is that Stanford is much more dynamic in the passing game as quarterback K.J. Costello (21 of 31, 332 yards, 4 TDs, 1 INT) and receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside (6 catches, 226 yards, 3 TDs) were both brilliant. With that improved dimension, teams won't be able to give as much attention to stopping Love as San Diego State chose to do, which, in theory, should make him even more dangerous and keep him fresher deeper into the season. -- Kyle Bonagura


No. 15 USC 43, UNLV 21

It's easy to find things to nitpick about after USC's win over UNLV, but all things considered, the Trojans showed enough to indicate they will again be a serious contender in the Pac-12. That's primarily because of the performance of quarterback JT Daniels, who became just the second true freshman in program history to start the season opener. As the game went on, Daniels became more comfortable and the team became more explosive. With Stanford and Texas waiting the next two weeks, it was important for USC to help Daniels progress as quickly as possible. USC has a lot to clean up in its run defense: UNLV ran for 308 yards on 43 carries. If a team like the Rebels can find that much success on the ground against USC, it doesn't bode well for what the most talented teams might be able to do. -- Bonagura


No. 16 TCU 55, Southern 7

It was a nice start to the season for sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson, who's taking over for Kenny Hill. In a blowout of Southern, Robinson accounted for five touchdowns in the first half, highlighted by scoring scampers of 36 and 9 yards. Robinson also passed for 182 yards and three touchdowns before coming out of the game at halftime. The Horned Frogs will have another tuneup Friday against SMU before a massive showdown against Ohio State on Sept. 15 in Arlington, Texas. The Buckeyes figure to have the advantage in several areas, particularly with their defensive front against TCU's revamped offensive line. Robinson's athleticism, however, could be an X factor. -- Trotter


No. 17 West Virginia 40, Tennessee 14

Quarterback Will Grier kicked off his Heisman campaign by carving up Tennessee in his hometown of Charlotte, North Carolina. Grier completed 25 of 34 passes for 429 yards and five touchdowns, as the Mountaineers coasted to a convincing 40-14 win. Grier was on point throughout, but his gorgeous 28-yard loft to Gary Jennings Jr. midway through the third quarter was a backbreaker for Tennessee -- and a throw few quarterbacks in college football can make. West Virginia's high-powered attack, however, isn't only about Grier, as the Vols found out. Jennings, the reigning Big 12 receptions champ, and David Sills V, a Biletnikoff finalist last year, both went over 100 yards receiving. Former Alabama transfer T.J. Simmons, in his West Virginia debut, gave the Mountaineers their first touchdown on a dazzling 59-yard reception. It was only one game, against a rebuilding opponent. But West Virginia looked the part of Big 12 title contender -- and maybe more. -- Trotter


No. 18 Mississippi State 63, Stephen F. Austin 6

So far, so good in Starkville. Joe Moorhead's Bulldogs debut was a smooth one, even without star quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who was suspended. Keytaon Thompson showed last year in the Bulldogs' bowl game that he is plenty capable, and Saturday was no different, as he threw for 364 yards and five touchdowns, four of which were of the over-25-yard variety, displaying the vertical passing attack Moorhead brings to town. The Dawgs were dominant defensively, compiling a whopping 17 tackles for loss, and made quick work of the Lumberjacks, as expected. Overall, a good, sharp outing ahead of a key nonconference battle at Kansas State in Week 2. -- Trotter


No. 20 Virginia Tech 24, No. 19 Florida State 3

Plenty of hype surrounded new coach Willie Taggart and his debut at Florida State, especially after he promised his brand of "lethal simplicity" for the offense. But it's obvious after the opening loss to Virginia Tech that the Seminoles have plenty of work to do. The offensive line, which has been problematic over the past several seasons, couldn't hold back Virginia Tech's defensive front and the Seminoles had no running game until Cam Akers broke an 85-yard run in the fourth quarter. Deondre Francois wasn't much better. Florida State had problems putting together drives, and turnovers and special-teams miscues were costly as well. As Bobby Bowden said of Taggart pregame, "He's done everything you need to do to get a program going. That doesn't mean you're going to win right off. But I'm convinced the more I see him, he's going to win." -- Adelson

Before the game started, Virginia Tech coach Justin Fuente wondered how his young team would do on the road against an athletic and talented team. But it was his Hokies who played like the veteran group, and that started on the offensive and defensive lines. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster, among the best in the business, had a game plan to overwhelm the shaky Florida State offensive line and it worked to perfection, helping make up for a linebacker and secondary group that had little to no game experience going in. Offensively, Josh Jackson showed improvement and so did the receivers. There's plenty to clean up, including a few drives into Florida State territory that resulted in zero points, but Virginia Tech looks like a team that's a contender in the Coastal. -- Adelson


No. 21 UCF 56, UConn 17

Forget defending "national champions." The Knights came out like attacking "national champions," serving notice that their high-powered offense is still going strong as long as McKenzie Milton is behind center in a win over UConn on Thursday night. Though the Huskies did not put up much of a fight, it is impressive nonetheless that UCF has so many different playmakers on offense. Six different players scored touchdowns -- including newcomer Tre Nixon, an Ole Miss transfer making his debut for UCF. Nixon had over 100 yards receiving, and Milton turned in a 300-yard, five-touchdown performance. In Josh Heupel's debut as head coach, UCF beat its scoring average from its undefeated season a year ago. It's good to be the "champ." -- Adelson


No. 22 Boise State 56, Troy 20

Before the game, Boise State debuted its turnover throne, where only a defender who forces a turnover is allowed to sit. Linebacker Tony Lashley christened the throne with a first-half interception, but Tyler Horton put Troy away with two fumble-return touchdowns in the second half. Offensively, four-year starting quarterback Brett Rypien was crisp, completing 20 of 28 passes for 305 yards and four touchdowns. Boise has a massive tilt at Oklahoma State in two weeks. Win in Stillwater, and the Broncos could have the inside track to a New Year's Six berth. -- Trotter


Maryland 34, No. 23 Texas 29

For the second straight season under coach Tom Herman, Texas lost to unranked Maryland, casting doubt about the Longhorns' legitimacy as a Top 25 team and their ability to navigate a schedule that currently includes four ranked opponents. Herman was outcoached for much of the first half by Maryland interim coach and offensive coordinator Matt Canada, who has taken over for suspended coach DJ Durkin. Texas had just 11 yards on seven carries in its first four possessions, and didn't have any answer for Maryland true freshman Jeshaun Jones, who ran, caught and threw for scores in his debut. Texas had a botched 15-yard punt in the first half that led to a Maryland score as well as costly penalties and a baffling ineptitude on defense, and quarterback Sam Ehlinger continued a trend with another late-game turnover. Nothing Texas fans haven't seen before, and an all-too-familiar start for Herman. -- Heather Dinich


No. 24 Oregon 58, Bowling Green 24

As Justin Herbert goes, so go the Ducks. The junior quarterback completed just 10 passes against Bowling Green, but five -- yes, half -- of them went for touchdowns and totaled 281 yards. Dating back to 2004, only three FBS quarterbacks have had at least five passing touchdowns in a game with 10 or fewer completions. And only six players in that span threw for more yards in a game with as many or fewer completions. The point: Oregon has an explosive passing game. Ideally, Herbert will complete more than 47.6 percent of his passes (and he will), but it's hard to ask for more than 58 points. -- Bonagura