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2023 College Football season: Top performing teams from Week 1

It was the first full weekend of college football and it's not even done yet, with No. 9 Clemson traveling to Durham, North Carolina to face Duke on Monday night at 8 pm ET. 

There were a lot of snoozers in the Top 25 ranks. On Saturday alone, there were 20 games featuring Top 25 teams. 

In 19 of them, the average margin of defeat was 40 points, with ranked teams winning games by 74, 73, 66, 53 and 52 points. None of those games featured a single-digit margin of defeat and only two stayed within two touchdowns. 

But there were a couple of special showings this weekend, headlined by a sparkling performance from the worst team in the FBS last season. Below are this weekend’s top performing teams in College Football Week 1.

Coach Prime has the receipts

Much was made of Coach Deion Sanders’ arrival in Boulder, Colorado. 

Coming off three successful seasons at FCS Jackson State, he was taking over a historically bad Colorado Buffaloes team, one that went 1-11 last year and lost by an FCS-worst average of 29.1 points a game. 

Sanders brought in 53 transfers and 86 new players overall and has faced considerable criticism and skepticism over his approach and confidence. ESPN’s College Gameday even showed last season’s depth chart with virtually every name crossed out. 

It didn’t matter. Sanders’ confidence was justified, as Colorado produced a school-record 510 yards as well as four touchdown passes from Shedeur Sanders, Deion’s son, to knock off No. 17 TCU, 45-42, in Fort Worth. 

Four wide receivers had more than 100 yards receiving for Colorado, including phenom Travis Hunter.

One of several players following Deion Sanders from Jackson State, Hunter had 11 catches for 119 yards and also recorded an interception while taking part in more than 100 plays both ways in 100-degree heat. 

Freshman Dylan Edwards had a memorable college debut with 159 combined yards and four touchdowns for the Buffaloes. 

The game was a belter, featuring six lead changes in the second half, including four in just 6 minutes, 24 seconds of play in the fourth quarter alone. 

The Horned Frogs, who went 13-2 and reached the College Football Playoff National Championship last season, were led by Chandler Morris’ 279 yards passing and Emani Bailey’s 164 yards rushing.  

Florida State makes grand opening statement

Last year was a turnaround season in Tallahassee, Florida. 

The Florida State Seminoles posted their first winning season since 2017. They went 10-3, winning six straight to close the season. 

They started the year with a 45-24 win over LSU, their opponent in this year’s season opener as well. It was Week 1’s only match-up between Top 10 teams, and the eighth-ranked Seminoles made a statement.

Trailing 17-14 at the half, Florida State scored 31 straight points in the second half to defeat the No. 5 Tigers, 45-24, and officially announce themselves as College Football Playoff contenders.

Jordan Travis threw for 342 yards and four touchdowns, two in each half, and added another touchdown on the ground for the Seminoles. 

Keon Coleman, a transfer from Michigan State who had 798 yards and seven touchdowns receiving last year for the Spartans, caught three of those touchdowns from Travis and totalled nine catches for 122 yards. Johnny Wilson also surpassed 100 yards receiving for Florida State.

Jayden Daniels threw for 347 yards and a touchdown and ran for 64 yards for LSU, which got rushing touchdowns from Noah Cain and Tre Bradford in the first half.

Daniels threw a 75-yard touchdown late in the game to Brian Thomas Jr., who had seven catches for 142 yards overall.

Maye, UNC win battle of Carolinas

North Carolina’s Drake Maye is expected to be in contention for the Heisman Trophy, going up against USC’s Caleb Williams as the top two choices for the award and to be the No. 1 pick in the 2024 NFL Draft.

Maye only made that chatter louder as he threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns and the Tar Heels scored three straight touchdowns in the second and third quarters to pull away from South Carolina, 31-17, in Charlotte.

North Carolina dominated the ground game, rushing the ball 39 times for 168 yards, including 37 yards and two touchdowns from Omarion Hampton. Meanwhile, the Tar Heels’ defense held the Gamecocks to negative-2 yards on 31 carries. British Brooks led North Carolina with 103 yards rushing.

Spencer Rattler paced South Carolina’s offense, completing 30-of-39 passes for 353 yards, including nine completions to Xavier Legette for 178 yards, but he did not find the end zone all game. 

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