Big numbers and big scores dominated the statbook this opening weekend, but Old Dominion’s Ray Lawry bullied his way through the Eastern Michigan defense to the tune of 223 yards and four touchdowns, leading all Division I rushers. The carries and yardage were career highs for Lawry. Even more, Lawry accomplished his impressive total almost exclusively in the second half. With the Monarchs trailing for the entire first half, Lawry only managed 70 yards on the ground and no touchdowns, and Eastern Michigan led the Old Dominion 17-10. But that’s when the Monarchs fed Lawry, who exploded for a 54-yard run early in the third for his first touchdown of the game to bring ODU out of a two-score deficit. Lawry continued to dominate in the second half, tying the game twice with a two-yard touchdown in the middle of third and five-yard score at the end of the quarter. Lawry scored the go-ahead touchdown with two minutes to go in the game on 45-yard run to give ODU a 38-34 lead the Monarchs held on to for the first win of the season.
In the one of the most complete and dominating defensive performance by a player during the opening weekend, Marshall's Tiquan Lang single-handedly changed the course of a back-and-forth battle with Purdue on Sunday. Lang bookended Marshall's first ever victory over a Big 10 team with two interception return touchdowns. On the first play from scrimmage, Lang picked off Purdue's Austin Appleby and returned it for a 30-yard touchdown to give Marshall a quick 7-0 lead. With the lead swinging back and forth between the teams, Lang sealed the victory for the Thundering Herd with a 55-yard interception return touchdown that put Marshall up 10 points with 1:35 left in the game in what ended up being the final score of the game. Lang wasn't done there, as the junior cornerback broke up a deep pass by Appleby in what would be Purdue's final drive of the game and finished with a team-high 17 tackles.
Much like the rest of the Terrapins, Maryland return specialist William Likely ran rampant on Richmond, scorching the Tigers on kick and punt returns. Likely finished with 296 return yards and his 233 punt return yards broke a 75-year-old Big Ten record set by Iowa Hawkeye and Heisman Trophy winner Nile Kinnick in 1939. Midway through the fourth quarter, Likely returned a Richmond punt 67 yards for the score, capping off an impressive special teams performance by the junior.