College football Week 0 is upon us, and the team of draft evaluators and CFB analysts at Pro Football Network are here with instant takeaways from the weekend slate. Find our immediate reactions to all the action from start to finish in college football’s Week 0 games.
Taking into account all of the weekend’s slate of action, our CFB/Draft Department will all be on hand for their instant reactions as they come in. For clarity’s sake, each takeaway, reaction, and result will be culminated by the initials of the analyst responsible. CM for Cam Mellor, IC for Ian Cummings, OH for Oliver Hodgkinson, and JF for James Fragoza.
FSU EDGE Jared Verse announces himself
8:59 PM: There have been multiple highlight-reel plays for the Seminoles against Duquesne and Albany transfer Jared Verse has certainly made his fair share of them. Verse has been active in all facets but impressive most recently with his pass rush. He swatted the hands of Duquesne’s left tackle and used his speed and athleticism to bend around the edge before the Dukes QB hit the back of his dropback for an impressive sack. CM
Tatum Bethune standing out on defense for FSU
8:30 PM: UCF transfer Tatum Bethune has quickly made a name for himself at FSU. In just over two quarters worth of action, Bethune has made plays in coverage and in run defense. To open the third quarter, Bethune diagnosed a run play, clogged the intended rushing lane, and hit the hole with calculated aggression that saw him shed his blocker and tackle the back for a big loss. CM
Charlotte, FAU providing fireworks early
7:25 PM: It was a quick start for both offenses in the Charlotte vs. FAU matchup. Charlotte QB Chris Reynolds found WR Grant Dubose on an impressive strike where DuBose high-pointed the ball over his defender and pulled away on the ground for a touchdown.
FAU RB Larry McCammon showed off patience, vision, and burst when he took the rock in between the tackles and exploded for a long touchdown run. The offenses both stymied after that as heat and conditioning seemed to start taking their toll. CM
Utah State comes back, holds on to defeat UConn
7:24 PM: The Utah State Aggies are ultimately 1-0 despite falling down early to the UConn Huskies. They spotted the Huskies an early 14 points while their offense looked sluggish by all accounts. Utah State utilized three touchdowns from Logan Bonner and an impressive display of depth for the reigning Mountain West Champions as they dominated the second half for the most part. UConn looked much improved as a team after replacing 40 different scholarship players under new head coach Jim L. Mora. Utah State 31, UConn 20. CM
Tommy DeVito, Chase Brown pace Illinois victory
7:01 PM: The Illinois Fighting Illini gave the reigns to Syracuse transfer QB Tommy DeVito and it paid off as the signal-caller led a calculated gameplan under new offensive coordinator Barry Lunney Jr. DeVito gave way for Chase Brown to handle the ball-carrying duties with great success. Brown totaled three scores including two on the ground and one through the air. Illinois 38, Wyoming 6. CM
FSU finally kicks off, Jordan Travis looks sharp
6:40 PM: It took a bit for Florida State and Duquesne to get rolling but after an hour and a half weather delay, the Seminoles started off lightning fast. It was an impressive showing with accurate, on-time passes for QB Jordan Travis and a drop that would’ve resulted in a touchdown pass before Travis used his legs to score the first FSU touchdown of the season.
FSU used a RB committee with Treshaun Ward getting the start with Lawrence Toafili spelling him but Oregon transfer Trey Benson getting the work in the red zone. Each running back had their moments but it was a three-yard gain on third and one from Benson that impressively extended the drive. CM
Doug Brumfield, UNLV impress in win over Idaho State
6:39 PM: The UNLV Rebels got their 2022 season off in an impressive way. QB Doug Brumfield threw for four first-half touchdowns and well over 300 yards in a dominant showing. Brumfield didn’t play a single down in the second half as the snaps went to Tennessee transfer Harrison Bailey and last year’s starter Cameron Friel. UNLV ran the ball incredibly well and their transfers played even better with their first-team starters in the first half before resting in the second half. UNLV 52, Idaho State 21. CM
Byron Vaughns continues to impress for Utah State
5:18 PM: Byron Vaughns just had another really impressive play for Utah State. Won’t show up on the stat sheet, but he beat his OT with a quick swim, then immediately recognized a screen off to his side and smothered the RB. QB had nowhere to go and was swallowed up by the rush. Vaughns is also a Shrine Bowl 1000 watchlist player. IC
Illinois duo Chase Brown, Isaiah Williams proving too much to handle
5:10 PM: From the opening whistle against Wyoming, Chase Brown has been dominant for Illinois. Brown needed two touches before scoring the game’s opening touchdown and has been the workhorse since. Isaiah Williams has showcased his own dominance, making something out of nothing on multiple occasions. His best play was negated by penalty where he took a surefire tackle for loss and gained 11 yards with a first down had an illegal block from across the field not negated it. CM
Utah State defenders Hunter Reynolds, Byron Vaughns making plays early
4:44 PM: Despite being down 14-0 early, Utah State DB Hunter Reynolds with a great interception, reading the true freshman QB on the scramble drill and swooping in front of the boundary WR for the pick. Reynolds is a former Michigan transfer and had over 80 tackles, a pick, and three deflections in 2021. Picking up where he left off in 2022.
Byron Vaughns makes a TFL for Utah State by using ankle flexion and length to pry around blockers in pursuit. IC
Ricky White takes control at UNLV
4:38 PM: The UNLV Rebels are starting to control the game even more against Idaho State, most notably an impressive 70-yard touchdown reception from former Michigan State WR Ricky White. Facing a zero-blitz, press-man coverage, and no safety help over the top, White called for the ball and got a great pass from QB Doug Brumfield downfield. White then used his game-breaking speed to run away from his man for six. It’s an impressive start for a budding QB-WR combination at UNLV. CM
UConn Huskies, LB Jackson Mitchell shocking Utah State early
4:30 PM: UConn LB Jackson Mitchell charged into congestion and ripped the ball free from the Utah State Pailate Makakona, forcing and recovering a fumble in one fell swoop. Mitchell has good size and athleticism and is on the Shrine Bowl 1000. Early on, he’s making an impact on the second level. IC
Aidan Robbins impresses early for UNLV
4:15 PM: Former Louisville RB Aidan Robbins is filling big shoes at UNLV for the great Charles Williams. So far, so good, however as Robbins has proven to be too much for Idaho State to withstand. He uses his 6’3″, 230-pound frame incredibly well and has terrific contact balance not to mention the strength break any arm tackle. It’s impressive early for Robbins and UNLV. CM
Northwestern stuns Nebraska from Ireland
4:05 PM: It wasn’t the prettiest displays of football for the Irish football fans but Northwestern stunned Nebraska in a Big Ten clash to start the Week 0 slate of football. Northwestern was paced by Evan Hull and their QB Ryan Hilinski who threw for 314 yards and two touchdowns. More immediate reactions can be found from Oli Hodgkinson, who was in attendance at Aviva Stadium. Northwestern 31, Nebraska 28. CM
Evan Hull states his case
3:59 PM: This’ll be a résumé game for Evan Hull. Making guys miss and making the most of little seams up the second level. Also proved himself as a receiver when given the chance. Really solid performance. IC
Coco Azema flashing elite all-around ability
3:55 PM: In the waning stages of the game, Coco Azema has flashed in every facet: Aggressive in closing on route breaks and making deflections, coming downhill in run support with aggression, and making plays as a blitzer. IC
Western Kentucky, Austin Reed emerge victorious over Austin Peay
3:40 PM: There were some sluggish moments in Austin Reed’s debut for Western Kentucky. The West Florida transfer quarterback had some incredible moments but had some sluggish throws and late decisions that plagued what could have been a dominant first game. In total, Reed threw for four touchdowns and WKU knocked off Austin Peay 38-27.
One thing is for certain, however, in their victory over Austin Peay, the Hilltoppers had a coming-out party for their next playmakers at wide receiver. Daewood Davis hauled in six receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown while Malachi Corley had five catches for 61 yards and three scores. Western Kentucky 38, Austin Peay 27. CM
Making a name for himself: Northwestern’s Malik Washington
3:21 PM: Malik Washington might not be drafted, but he’s making a name for himself today. He’s a 5’9”, 194-pound receiving threat who’s consistently gotten open with his easy separation ability and zone awareness. And on his most recent catch, he made a defender miss with a quick juke and exploded into space for a big gain. IC
Austin Reed’s promising start for WKU
3:20 PM: It took some time but the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers got their new quarterback in sync. The rain stymied that when the third quarter opened up but Austin Reed continued rolling after the rain. Reed hit multiple deep shots including an impressive throw to Malachi Corley in the end zone where he split dropping zone defenders and threw Corley open in the back of the end zone. It was Corley’s third touchdown of the day and Reed currently sits with four scores through the air against Austin Peay. CM
Nebraska RB Anthony Grant a budding star
3:00 PM: Anthony Grant: Former FSU commit who dominated at the JUCO level in 2021, amassing 241 carries, 1730 yards, and 18 touchdowns. Displayed good vision, lateral agility and footwork, and contact balance on that TD run. Not the biggest back at 5’11”, 200, but could be a nice gem for Nebraska. IC
Halftime adjustments for Nebraska
2:40 PM: Nebraska’s pass rush was cold in the first half, but they finally made Ryan Hilinski uncomfortable at the start of the second. On the team’s first third down of the half, Garrett Nelson was able to drive back Peter Skoronski and compress pocket. Skoronski out of his stance quickly, but drifted a bit too far back and exposed his torso to power exertion from Nelson. Skoronski’s athleticism and technical consistency has been valuable today, but without elite size, his margin for error is smaller at tackle. IC
Wildcats starting to take control?
1:58 PM: Northwestern’s secondary is doing everything possible to stop Nebraska’s passing offense. Safety Coco Azema just had a superb deflection over the middle of the field, surging into contact and jarring Trey Palmer at the catch point. One of Azema’s best traits is his willingness to throw himself around and attack plays — both against the run and the pass.
The Northwestern vs. Nebraska battle feels like a war of attrition in the trenches. And slowly, the tides are turning toward the Wildcats, largely due to the presence of Adebare. On the last drive, he beat RT Bryce Benhart with a quick, violent swim inside. Adebare’s complete mix of tools is dangerous, allowing Northwestern to move him around and cultivate ideal matchups. For now, Thompson is managing. But Adebare’s continued presence may cause trouble. IC
Northwestern RB Evan Hull is an ox
1:45 PM: Evan Hull might just add to the depth of this RB class. He is not the biggest guy, but as his mid-second quarter run showed, he brings constant leg churn on his runs and can stack quick cuts and slip through arm tackles on his way to space. He’s also a very able receiver out of the backfield and can follow his blocks while setting up space with short-area adjustments. IC
Travis Vokolek shows promise for Nebraska
1:40 PM: Travis Vokolek has been showing a ton of promise today. Has the size, body control, and strong hands to be a safety blanket over the middle of the field. He’s been a backup for most of his career, but could find new life with Thompson under center at Nebraska.
Adebawore’s appeal doesn’t just come from his size and athleticism, but also from the alignment versatility he derives from it. On one snap in the mid-second quarter, Adebawore rushed from the 3-tech spot and blew open a lane on the interior with relentless energy. Thompson was able to get the ball off quickly, but Adebawore’s ability to generate pressure from multiple alignments is truly invaluable. IC
Quinton Newsome showing to be top dog for Nebraska’s secondary
1:30 PM: Nebraska has a ton of length at cornerback. Quinton Newsome is the top dog in the CB room, and he showed it with a deflection against Malik Washington, carrying him upfield and compressing the cage with his long arms. But Nebraska also has Braxton Clark — a 6’4” albatross — on the other side. Keep an eye on them as they’re challenged more and more in this close game. IC
Feldman’s Freak List member Adetomiwa Adebawore wreaking havoc for Nebraska
1:18 PM: Adetomiwa Adebawore is wreaking havoc early on for Northwestern’s defense, using his play strength, short-area burst, and aggression to seal off the edge in run defense, and charging hard downhill as a pass rusher, generating pressure. Adebawore is a Feldman Freak at 6’2”, 280 with a 37.5” vertical and a 6.9 three-cone. You’re seeing all his traits — burst, agility, power, and motor — today. IC
Nebraska RB Anthony Grant looks to be an integral part on offense for Huskers
1:13 PM: Nebraska running back Anthony Grant has been getting involved in all facets of the offense. Showed some nice elusiveness as an after-the-catch threat as well as driving his 5’11”, 200-pound frame in short-yardage situations. OH
Northwestern CB Cameron Mitchell skies for PBU
1:10 PM: Northwestern CB Cameron Mitchell makes a great deflection at the catch point downfield against Trey Palmer. Thompson made a perfect throw, but Mitchell stuck to his man and elevated at the catch point. Mitchell could be drafted with a strong season. Palmer, meanwhile, has had a couple drops already. He has talent and is getting open, but needs to be more consistent converting. IC
Nebraska’s Chris Kolarevic stymies Northwestern drive
1:05 PM: Chris Kolarevic flying around the field for Nebraska’s defense. Made a tackle in pursuit on Malik Washington and then came downhill for a TFL. 6’1”, 225-pound defender with nickel versatility, and he’s making a big impact early on. IC
Casey Thompson on the verge of a breakout
12:50 PM: Casey Thompson has the tools to be a breakout QB in Nebraska’s offense under Mark Whipple. He’s got the athleticism to evade and extend plays, as well as the arm talent to generate velocity and mix in touch on throws. That first drive showcased his talent. But a slight controlled shoulder tilt also enabled him to fit the ball into that tight window for the TD. Continued growth from a mechanical standpoint could help Thompson engineer a Kenny Pickett-esque rise under Pickett’s old OC. IC
Nebraska transfer talent Trey Palmer, Marcus Washington, Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda each contribute early
12:45 PM: The Nebraska Cornhuskers featured a heavy dose of their transfer talent early as Trey Palmer, from LSU, saw three of the first four targets on Nebraska’s opening drive. Marcus Washington and Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda each saw targets including the latter’s impressive TD haul to push Nebraska up early. CM
WKU WR Malachi Corley impresses early
12:31 PM: Malachi Corley looks poised to inherit the production left by Jerreth Sterns and Mitchell Tinsley at WKU. The 5’11”, 210-pound WR showed zone awareness and natural receiving skills on that touchdown. IC
Western Kentucky QB Austin Reed shakes rust with TD toss
Saturday, Aug. 27, 12:20 PM: Western Kentucky QB Austin Reed looked shaky early, missing a few receivers that were open. He misdiagnosed an unblocked defender and threw off his back foot moving to his weak side as well. But all things are forgotten after an A.J. Brathwaite Jr. interception led to a 16-yard touchdown to Malachi Corley. Reed’s talent is there and it seems like Austin Peay is the perfect medicine for his nerves early on. CM
PFN is on the ground at Northwestern vs. Nebraska
Friday, Aug. 26: Pro Football Network Draft Analyst Oliver Hodgkinson will be live and in-person, covering the Northwestern vs. Nebraska game from Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland, on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. ET. Exclusive content, live reactions, and immediate takeaways will be available separately on profootballnetwork.com/college-football.