College football's best plays, trolls and celebrations of Week 1

ByESPN Staff ESPN logo
Monday, September 5, 2022

For all the fun, drama and storylines the offseason provides, whether it be about conference realignment and even (at the very last minute) a playoff expansion announcement, when Week 1 actually kicks off, we're more than ready for some actual games.

College football gave us a little bit of everything this week, from plenty of expected results, some surprises, some wild games, and of course, some memorable moments.

Here are some of the best moments from the first Saturday of the season.

Play of the week

What Florida quarterbackAnthony Richardson did on the Gators' 2-point conversion pass against Utah left many wondering, "How did he do that?" The pump fake and pirouette combination alone was enough to make jaws drop, but then came the laser throw to a completely wide open Ja'Quavion Fraziars in the back of the end zone.

What if we told you Richardson did the exact same thing in practice one day?

"I'm talking about the exact same scenario," coach Billy Napier said. "So I think we're figuring out here that this guy's a pretty special player."

Richardson confirmed when he did the fake-out spin move in practice, it was the first time he had ever attempted it.

"Just trying to make something happen and I guess it worked. I'm glad it worked," he said with a smile.

-- Andrea Adelson

Best troll

Arkansas handed Cincinnati its first regular-season loss since 2019, then its social media team added insult to injury by dragging their city's local delicacy, Skyline chili, into it.

The mention of an undefeated season is also important to note because it likely (definitely) squashes any chance of the Bearcats reaching the College Football Playoff for a second year in row.

But hey, guess they can try again next year.

For Week 1's best trolls, check this out.

Best celebration(s)

The many phases of this celebration from Bryce Young are equally as joyful and just plain funny. From the high jump and big smile, it's straight back to business once Nick Saban comes into view and it's time to think about what's next for Alabama.

But frankly, what's not to be happy about when you win your Week 1 game 55-0?

Small school games you might have missed

Division II: No. 5 Grand Valley State 25, No. 4 Colorado Mines 22

In a battle of top-five Division II teams, GVSU, winner of four national titles in the 2000s, eased out to a 17-0 lead, but Colorado Mines charged back behind John Matocha's 350 passing yards. The Orediggers scored 22 straight to take the lead, but after a fourth-down pass interference penalty, Cade Peterson found Jayk Slager to give GVSU the lead in the final minute. Colorado Mines completed a 36-yard pass to the GVSU 5 on the final play, but time expired.

NAIA: No. 1 Morningside 30, No. 3 Northwestern (Iowa) 29

The defending NAIA champs just barely won their 15th straight game. They're 54-1 since the start of 2018, with the only loss coming to Northwestern in the 2021 spring season, and this one could have gone either way. Nearly every score met an immediate response from the other team, but after Northwestern clawed to within one point with 4:02 left, Morningside converted a fourth down and a third down to eat up the rest of the clock and move to 1-0.

-- Bill Connelly

Overreaction of the week

The Pac-12 is done

If you hadn't heard, it wasn't a great offseason for the Pac-12. UCLA and USC, its two most valuable brands, unexpectedly announced they're leaving for the Big Ten. Oregon coach Mario Cristobal went home to Miami. Arizona State is under NCAA investigation, putting Herm Edwards' future in doubt. Then came Week One. Oregon went to Atlanta and was blasted by defending national champion Georgia in a 49-3 rout. Defending Pac-12 champ Utah fell 29-26 at Florida after Utes quarterback Cam Rising threw an interception in the Gators' end zone with 17 seconds remaining. After just one week, the Pac-12's two highest-ranked teams have losses, and the league's CFP hopes seem done. Maybe not. Maybe the Trojans will end up being the best team on the West Coast. The Trojans, in coach Lincoln Riley's debut, made easy work of Rice in a 66-14 victory. Oklahoma transfer Caleb Williams completed 19 of 22 passes for 249 yards with two scores, both of which were caught by reigning Biletnikoff Award winner Jordan Addison, a transfer from Pittsburgh. The Trojans will have to get better on defense, but with their high-powered offense they might be the Pac-12's best hope for a CFP bid.-- Mark Schlabach

Takeaways from Week 1

1. Ohio State's offense needs to, and should, step up

Ohio Statewas forced to win in a gut-it-out way it wasn't used to -- and wasn't able to a year ago in a similar game against Oregon. It's hard to believe the Buckeyes won't continue to progress offensively, especially when leading receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba returns, and they're going to have to for a top-four finish. Notre Dame's defense deserves credit, though, and the Irish remain a team worth watching in the playoff race.

-- Heather Dinich

2. USC's defense might not be as bad as we thought

It was a day of many firsts for USC on Saturday as Lincoln Riley and Caleb Williams debuted in Los Angeles, but despite the 66 points and the nearly perfect day on offense, three pick-6s from the defense stole the show. On three different occasions, USC defenders found themselves in the right place at the right time -- twice off balls that were coughed up by Rice receivers and once on a last-minute effort by Rice quarterback TJ McMahon, who threw the ball right at linebacker Ralen Goforth.

Whether it was 93 yards for corner Calen Bullock, 40 yards for linebacker Shane Lee or 31 yards for Goforth, all three were able to take it back to the end zone and add to the blowout. The only other time USC has had three interceptions returned for touchdowns in a game was in a 1982 matchup with Arizona.

-- Paolo Uggetti

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