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Week One Highlights

Scott Haynes, College Football Senior Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Could the 2010 college football season gotten off to a better start? It began with some of the nation's top teams flexing their muscles. There were shootouts, defensive struggles and thrilling overtime affairs. That was all before the last game on the docket, a premier showdown between two of the nation's best on Labor Day. If week one is any indication of how the season is going to shape up, we all are in for a big treat.

BREAKING THESE BRONCOS WON'T BE EASY: We had to wait until Labor Day to watch the game of the week, but it was well worth it, as the top-10 showdown between Boise State and Virginia Tech definitely lived up to the hype. The Broncos jumped out to an early lead only to watch the Hokies battle back and take control of the game. Then, as he has done on several occasions during his career, All-American candidate Kellen Moore came up huge when it counted most, leading BSU to the decisive score with just over a minute to play in the game. With the win, the Broncos have certainly gotten past what seems to be the season's toughest test, and very well could catapult into the BCS Title Game.

Kellen Moore led BSU to the decisive score with just over a minute to play against Virginia Tech.
FINALLY ARRIVED? Steve Spurrier was supposed to take South Carolina football to new heights when he took over in Columbia a few seasons ago and 2010 may just be the year that the former Gator guru delivers. The veteran-laden Gamecocks completely outclassed a decent Southern Miss team in the opener, behind a balanced offensive attack that amassed over 200 yards on the ground and through the air. This week we all will get a better gauge of the Gamecocks, as they welcome the Georgia Bulldogs to Columbia for SEC action.

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: There was plenty of noise coming from football programs all over the country this summer and with first impressions now in, here is a run- down of those that walked the walk after talking the talk. It was only Marshall, but Ohio State looked awfully good on both sides of the football in routing the Thundering Herd this past week. Joining the Buckeyes in terms of good starts include the aforementioned Boise State and South Carolina, along with defending champion Alabama and Oregon. Michigan had a tough opener against UConn and a big win (30-10) certainly had to cool the seat that Rich Rodriguez is sitting on these days. Brian Kelly's debut in South Bend resulted in a victory. It wasn't pretty at times, but the Irish definitely showed flashes of potential in their victory over Purdue.

BITTER DISAPPOINTMENT: Now for the teams that failed to deliver in their season-openers. They may have won the game, but the 2010 Florida Gators looked sluggish at times in a 34-12 win over Miami-Ohio and certainly lacked the same intensity that the squads led by Tim Tebow brought to the field. John Brantley has the toughest job in the country in trying to replace a legend and although Urban Meyer is a gifted coach and mentor, it will be Brantley that is under the microscope each and every week. He will definitely have to improve his play if the Gators want to be a real threat to win the SEC. Another team that failed to impress in week one was Pittsburgh, which lost to Utah in overtime. North Carolina came up just short against LSU, but a lot of that had to do with mass suspensions handed down to the Tar Heels just prior to the game. Finally, Washington didn't get the job done on the road against a talented BYU program. Following five wins in Steve Sarkisian's debut season in 2010, the Huskies were perhaps poised for a big year, especially with Jake Locker back under center. Locker was good in the opener, just not good enough. Hopefully that isn't a theme in Seattle this season.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: There were several players who got their 2010 campaigns off to rousing starts. QB standouts included Matt Barkley (USC), who threw for 257 yards and five TDs against Hawaii; Ryan Mallett (Arkansas), who threw for 301 yards and three TDs in a win over Tennessee Tech; T.J. Yates (North Carolina), who threw for 412 yards and three TDs vs. LSU; Cameron Newton (Auburn), who passed for 186 yards and three TDs, while rushing for 171 yards and two scores against Arkansas State, and fellow dual-threats Taylor Martinez (Nebraska), who passed for 136 yards vs. Western Kentucky, while rushing for 127 and three TDs and Joshua Nesbitt (Georgia Tech), who rushed for 130 yards and three TDs in a win over South Carolina State.

Tailbacks of choice include Kendall Hunter (Oklahoma State), who rumbled for 257 yards and four TDs against Washington State, Kenjon Barner (Oregon), who decimated New Mexico with 147 yards rushing and five TDs, and DeMarco Murray (Oklahoma), who rushed for 218 yards and two TDs against Utah State.

Wideouts who stood out include Kealoha Pilares (Hawaii), who amassed 176 yards and three TDs against USC, Ryan Broyles (Oklahoma) with 142 yards and two scores against Utah State, Justin Blackmon (Oklahoma State), 125 yards, three scores against Washington State and Jheranie Boyd (North Carolina), who had 221 yards and one TD against LSU.

Of course, LSU's All-American CB Patrick Peterson, who amassed 257 return yards, scoring once on a kickoff and once on a punt return and leading the Tigers to a hard-fought victory over top-25 foe North Carolina was the special teams player of the week.

SNEAK PEEK: Week two of the college football season is shaping up to be even better than week one. There are three top-25 battles on the docket, as the Miami Hurricanes invade Columbus to put the Ohio State Buckeyes to the test. Next it is Florida State at Oklahoma and finally a classic duel between Penn State and top-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Other quality matchups include Oregon at Tennessee, Michigan at Notre Dame, Georgia at South Carolina and Auburn at Mississippi State.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Scott Haynes at shaynes@sportsnetwork.com.

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