Thanks to AT&T's incredible slowness in setting up home Internet service, I was unable to listen to yesterday's game via Internet radio. The extent of what I have seen from yesterday's game can be found here. The rest I have gleaned from the game stats. Those of you who were at the game can feel free to correct any misinterpretations I make.
What I liked...
Winning. God, I'd almost forgotten how much fun it is to watch the Cats win.
Josh Freeman. His line was solid, 18-of-24, 232 yards, 3 TDs. But the biggest number: 0 interceptions. Check out the video linked above for a replay of his first touchdown strike to Brandon Banks, as the throw was a thing of beauty.
Speaking of Brandon Banks, this guy can play. I had no idea how small he was until I started gathering info for this post. For the first time in my life, I can safely say I am bigger than one of our contributing football players.
Overall, we have to be pretty happy with the wide receivers. We knew no one person was going to replace Jordy Nelson, but Freeman did a good job of spreading the ball around, as seven players had multiple receptions.
Defensively, a lot of good to talk about. North Texas averaged 408 yards per game last year; it had 205 last night. Giovanni Vizza threw for 238 yards per game last year; last night he had 100.
This probably should have been mentioned earlier, but think about this: last night the Cats were penalized four times for 30 yards. In last year's season opener at Auburn, that number was 16 for 171.
Finally, a big shoutout to punter George Pierson. He averaged 42.7 yards per punt, pinned UNT inside the 20 on two of his three boots (with no touchbacks), and had one punt of 50 yards. Looks like he'll be more than a serviceable replacement for Tim Reyer.
What I Didn't Like...
The ground game was somewhat lacking. While 165 yards isn't bad, it's really not that good, especially against UNT. The Mean Green's opponents ran for almost 230 yards per game last year. Keithen Valentine and Logan Dold weren't bad, but I'd desperately like to see Leon Patton back in the backfield. Probably a pipe dream.
Not a lot of defensive pressure. Ian Campbell picked up a sack, as did Courtney Herndon, but that was it. Last season, UNT gave up more than three sacks per game. It would have been nice to see three or four last night.
On top of that, holding a team to 105 rushing yards is usually pretty good, but UNT really doesn't even bother with a running game, and they managed that number. Because I didn't see any of the game, feel free to correct me if I'm off-base on that comment.
Where we're headed...
Next week it's Montana State coming into Manhattan. We'll have much more on the Bobcats this week, but for now know that they hammered Adams State last night, 59-3. Adams State is a tiny Division II school in Alamosa, Colo., whose athletics Web site is non-functional. I can tell you, however, that the Grizzlies were 2-9 last season.
Around the Big 12...
Thanks to DirecTV, I was able to see quite a few more games yesterday than I usually would. Here's what I noticed...
Nebraska 47, Western Michigan 24
My roommate the Husker fan ordered this game on pay-per-view, so I watched. Nebraska looked alternatively sharp and awful, and Joe Ganz was kind of ordinary. His overall numbers (20-for-36, 345 yards, four TDs, two INTs) were good, but my roommate observed that he seemed to panic in the pocket on occasion, unloading the ball long before he was under real duress. Overall, though, a solid start for Nebraska, considering I picked this as a possible surprise game. It was probably closer than the score indicates, but it was still a 23-point win.
Oh, and Cody Glenn was really good at linebacker.
For More: Corn Nation
Oklahoma State 39, Washington State 13
Mystman995 texted me precisely as Washington State began its first touchdown drive of the day and wrote, "Wazzou offense looks absolutely awful." My reply was something along the lines of "OSU doesn't look very good either," and despite the comfortable win, the Pokes' numbers were pretty pedestrian. I'm not accustomed to seeing OSU only manage 367 yards of total offense. Good thing they have a good field goal kicker.
Missouri 52, Illinois 42
I have a confession to make. I love watching Mizzou on offense. Chase Daniel running that system is a thing of beauty. The Tigers are going to put up some ridiculous numbers on offense this year.
And thank God, because their defensive effort, especially in the second half, was fairly ordinary. Granted, Juice Williams is the truth, but they were giving up yards in humongous gouges. I'm still high on MIzzou, but it would behoove the Tigers to shore up some of those defensive problems.
For More: Rock M Nation
Arkansas State 18, Texas A&M 14
I've said it all along. I am more than "not sold" on Mike Sherman. In fact, I think his hire was disastrously stupid. So does Panjandrum. And while one game is not nearly enough to decide whether I'm right, oh Lord, this one was ugly. I realize Stephen McGee ran a passing offense in high school, but if I remember correctly he had shoulder surgery a few years ago and now has the approximate arm strength of Dylan Meier. Thank God for Mike Goodson accounting for more than a third of A&M's offensive output, huh Ags? Yikes.
KU 40, Florida International 10
Not that this game was ever in doubt, but it wasn't exactly the 55-3 thrashing the 'beaks dealt FIU last year. I'm sure I'm looking at this from the glass-half-empty perspective, KU-wise, but, uh, 128 yards rushing? Junior-college transfer Jocques Crawford is well on his way to his season goal of 2,000 rushing yards after picking up 32 yards on 11 carries last night.
Also, it was good that Mangino got Todd Reesing out of the game at the end to give the backups some experience. Wait, what? He didn't? The final score was on the board at the end of the third quarter, and no backups (and no scoring) in the fourth?
For More: Rock Chalk Talk
Texas 52, Florida Atlantic 10
Didn't see a second of it, haven't seen the stats. Looks like Colt McCoy had a good game, and the young secondary obviously wasn't a problem against the FAU passing attack like I'd contemplated.
For More: Burnt Orange Nation
Texas Tech 49, Eastern Washington 24
Ho-hum, another 500+ yard passing night for Graham Harrell. But other than that, can anyone really say they were impressed with Tech's performance? The Red Raiders went to halftime with less than a two-touchdown margin. That is not what I'm accustomed to seeing out of Mike Leach's teams against FCS competition.
For More: Double T Nation
Oklahoma 57, Chattanooga 2
For More: Crimson and Cream Machine