Saturday marked the official start to the 2021 college football season, a welcome sight for college football fans across the country who've spent more than a year waiting for their favorite sport to return to normal.
While it's clear that the country is still very much in the midst of battling the COVID-19 pandemic, yesterdays display of tailgates, celebrations and full stadiums gave fans, players and coaches an experience they've long been waiting for.
Locally in the Big Ten, Nebraska and Illinois squared off in Champaign (Ill.) to open the 2021 season for the conference. In his Illinois head coaching debut, Brett Beilema got the best of Scott Frost - who's still looking to secure his first winning season since taking the job in Lincoln. Though Frost spent much of the off-season discussing his teams focus on eliminating costly mistakes, the Cornhuskers accumulated 5 penalties for 67 yards and left several scoring opportunities on the field.
Following the game, Frost acknowledged that Saturday looked eerily familiar.
“It looked like the same movie today," said Frost. "We can’t let it be that way. These kids, I feel bad for them because they put in so much hard work. We put a lot on this game, and they’ll bounce back, but I know how much better our team is right now than what we’ve been. Didn’t always look like it today.”
Another individual connected to the Big Ten conference garnered enough attention to become the topic of conversation on Saturday, but this time for the right reasons. Former Michigan running back Zach Charbonnet made his debut with UCLA as the Bruins tangled with Hawaii at the Rose Bowl. As part of a two back rotation, the former Wolverine wasted no time making his presence felt. With 8:27 left in the second quarter, Charbonnet had already amassed 106 yards and three touchdowns on just six carries.
The failures of Scott Frost and the impressive debut of Zach Charbonnet gave college football fans and analysts plenty to talk about on Saturday. Here are some of the top reactions from week zero of the college football season.
Reactions to Nebraska, Scott Frost:
Reactions to UCLA, Zach Charbonnet: