Look at the Missouri depth chart and you will see former Arlington Bowie standout Russell Hansbrough listed as a backup tailback.For anyone who watched Missouri’s 58-14 win against Murray State to start the 2013 season, however, Hansbrough looked more like another No. 1 option.Hansbrough, a sophomore who played in nine games as a freshman, broke out for 104 yards and two touchdown on just eight carries.“I have been talking all through practice and camp about Russell Hansbrough, and I have seen some glimpses he is going to be real good,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said to the media after his team’s win to start the season.Missouri starting tailback Henry Josey, a junior returning to the field after missing all of last season with a knee injury, picked up 113 yards on 13 carries, an impressive 8.7 yards a carry. Hansbrough had an average of 13 yards a carry. Together, they were electric.“It really doesn’t matter,” Hansbrough said when a reporter asked how Missouri decides which running back to put in the game. “Sometimes we’ll be on the sideline fighting about who’s about to go in. All of the running backs want to see each other succeed and go out there and make big plays.”Hansbrough was the spark for Missouri’s offense. He scored the Tigers’ first two touchdowns of the season, beginning with a 3-yard run to the left early in the first quarter. Then, after Murray State tied the game, Hansbrough juked a defender and broke free for a 51-yard score.Missouri is trying to bounce back after finishing 5-7 last year in its first season as a member of the Southeastern Conference. Hansbrough and the Tigers (1-0) will take on Toledo (0-1) on Saturday.
Games of the week
No. 6 South Carolina at No. 11 Georgia (3:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN): The Bulldogs’ brutal early-season schedule continues. Georgia (0-1) lost on the road at No. 4 Clemson to open the season and now has to face another top 10 power in the Gamecocks, led by standout defensive end and Heisman hopeful Jadeveon Clowney. Whoever wins could be on the way to winning the SEC East.
No. 14 Notre Dame at No. 17 Michigan (7 p.m. Saturday, ESPN): Michigan (1-0) and Notre Dame (1-0) each get their first real test of the season in a hyped matchup. The Wolverines scored 59 points last week against Central Michigan. The Irish gave up just six in a win against Temple to set up what should be a drama-filled chess match of strength vs. strength.
No. 12 Florida at Miami (11 a.m. Saturday, ESPN): The Hurricanes (1-0) may not be ranked, but a rivalry game against the Gators (1-0) should get Miami fired up on its home turf. This game will give more insight into this year’s Florida squad, which underwhelmed in a 24-6 win against Toledo to open the season.
Western Kentucky at Tennessee (11:21 a.m. Saturday) While it won’t be on national TV, the Hilltoppers (1-0) playing the Volunteers (1-0, 1-0 SEC) in Neyland Stadium could be one of the more entertaining games of the week. Western Kentucky coach Bobby Petrino, who left Arkansas in a scandalous cloud before last season, is trying to restart his career with a two straight wins against SEC opponents after beating Kentucky last week. A loss to Petrino would be disastrous for new Tennessee coach Butch Jones, whose team has to play five of its following next six games against ranked opponents, starting with No. 2 Oregon.
2 Incompletions thrown by Florida State redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston, who is also a star outfielder for the Seminoles and drafted by the Texas Rangers in 2012. Winston drew high praise from analysts and created a social media storm by dismantling Pitt’s defense with 356 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions on 25-of-27 passing in a 41-13 win for No. 10 Florida State.
7 Upset wins by FCS teams against FBS teams in the first week of the season, as the little guys made a big noise. Northern Iowa beat Iowa State, Towson beat UConn, North Dakota State topped Kansas State, McNeese State dominated South Florida, Eastern Illinois beat San Diego State, and South Alabama lost to Southern Utah. Eastern Washington capped the big weekend for FCS teams with a 49-46 upset of No. 25 Oregon State. Samford also beat underdog Georgia State, which is transitioning to FBS.
“Growing up in upstate New York, I used to watch it when I was growing up, when it was on television.” — ESPN college football analyst Mark May on the Michigan-Notre Dame rivalry. One problem: the teams didn’t play from 1943-78, and May was born in 1959. The error was pointed out on Twitter and picked up by multiple sports blogs.
“This will be decided by the players on the field and the preparation that goes along with it, so we can stick to that and dispense with the nonsense.” — Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly about his team’s matchup against Michigan after he drew criticism for downplaying the game’s importance as a regional tradition. In his weekly news conference, Kelly made sure to call the game a “great and historic rivalry.”