Texas A&M and Central Florida, who lost their starting quarterbacks to the NFL Draft this past May, made a smooth transition in replacing Johnny Manziel and Blake Bortles.
Texas A&M saw quarterback Kenny Hill set a school record for completions and passing yards in a game in their rout of South Carolina. Central Florida brought in last year’s backup, Justin Holman, after their original starter struggled in the first half.
Hill, a sophomore, won’t make fans forget about Johnny Manziel, but his 44 completions and 511 passing yards helped the Aggies earn the first signature win in college football in the playoff era. His monster night also set records for South Carolina regarding passing yards and total yards allowed to one player. This sparked several “King of the Hill” puns across the sports reporting world.
Hill, following the act known as “Johnny Football,” told reporters after the game, “I don’t really like ‘Kenny Football.” It looks like the country will have to think of a more original nickname.
In the process, South Carolina’s 18-game home winning streak was snapped.
Holman, also a sophomore, was the backup to eventual third overall pick Blake Bortles and was the backup again to Pete DiNovo, who won the starting role prior to the season. DiNovo was unable to lead the Knights down the field, compiling only 61 yards of offense during the first half, including stalling at the goal line, resulting in a turnover on downs.
Besides Holman getting sacked at the end of the first half, he was very productive and rallied UCF from a 10-point deficit before losing on a last-second field goal to Penn State.
He finished the day averaging nearly 15 yards per completion and also ran for two touchdowns.
Both teams played with chips on their shoulders during the season’s first week as they were both underdogs and losing a first round draft pick to the pros didn’t make things any easier. Despite Central Florida’s loss, they have a glimmer of hope under center. Had Holman started the game, UCF may have wound up victorious, but that’s a moot point.
The Aggies’ high-powered offense didn’t skip a beat with their new quarterback. Throwing in their loss of two more Top 10 picks on offense (tackle Jake Matthews and wide receiver Mike Evans) makes Hill’s performance even more impressive.
The emergence of two rising stars at the quarterback position should put both the American Athletic Conference and the SEC on notice.
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