Connor Cook threw a long touchdown pass for Michigan State’s first points of the season – and coach Mark Dantonio’s immediate reaction was concern.
That’s because Cook needed to be helped off the field after a late hit to his left leg.
“That looked pretty ugly out there, but he rebounded after that, and he went right back in the football game,” Dantonio said. “I’m pretty sure he’s fine, based on how he played.”
Cook shook off that early scare to finish with three touchdown passes, and No. 8 Michigan State rolled to an easy 45-7 victory over Jacksonville State on Friday night in East Lansing, Mich.
Cook completed his first nine passes in a nearly flawless performance. He sat out the second half after going 12 of 13 for 285 yards.
Michigan State won the Big Ten and the Rose Bowl last year thanks to its outstanding defense, and although that unit lost a few standouts it was hard to tell the difference in this season opener against the Gamecocks.
Nick Hill ran for two touchdowns in the first half, including a 17-yarder that featured a nice spin past a potential tackler. At one point, Cook was 9 for 9 for 257 yards.
The Spartans led 38-0 at halftime, and when Jacksonville State finally scored early in the third quarter, it was the first touchdown Michigan State had allowed at home since Oct. 12 – a span of 215 minutes, 40 seconds of playing time.
Colorado State 31, Colorado 17: Transfer Dee Hart rushed for 139 yards and two touchdowns in his CSU debut to help the Rams rally past the Buffaloes at Denver.
Colorado State’s Treyous Jarrells finished with 121 yards, giving the Rams two 100-yard running backs in a game for the first time since 1996.
Trailing most of the contest, Garrett Grayson put Colorado State on top for good with a 16-yard TD pass to Rashard Higgins early in the fourth quarter. Hart extended the lead minutes later with a 3-yard rush as the Rams beat the Buffs for a second time in three seasons.
Arizona 58, UNLV 13: Anu Solomon threw for 425 yards and four touchdowns in his first career start, and the Wildcats broke a 45-year-old school record with 787 total yards in a season-opening rout of the Rebels in Tucson, Arizona.
Solomon shook off some early-game jitters with a series of big plays to break the school freshman record for passing yards, highlighted by a 92-yard touchdown pass to Austin Hill on the first play of the second half.
The Wildcats broke the school record of 691 total yards, set against New Mexico in 1969.
Syracuse 27, Villanova 26 (2OT): Punter Riley Dixon threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Kendall Moore on a fake field goal in the second overtime, and the Orange stopped a 2-point try to beat the Wildcats at Syracuse, New York.
Villanova’s John Robertson connected with tailback Gary Underwood for a 9-yard touchdown strike to pull the Wildcats within one. Villanova coach Andy Talley went for the victory with the 2-point conversion attempt, and defensive end Robert Welch stopped Robertson at the 4.
BYU 35, Connecticut 10: Taysom Hill threw three touchdown passes and ran for two scores to help the Cougars beat the Huskies at East Hartford, Connecticut, spoiling Huskies coach Bob Diaco’s debut.
Texas-San Antonio 27, Houston 7: David Glasco II scored two first-half touchdowns to help the Roadrunners defeat the Cougars at Houston.
Western Kentucky 59, Bowling Green 31: Brandon Doughty threw for a school-record 569 yards and six touchdowns to help the visiting Hilltoppers beat the Falcons in the head coaching debuts of Jeff Brohm and Dino Babers. Brohm’s Hilltoppers had a school-record 702 total yards against the defending MAC champions.