At the end of Week 1, Bo Nix was the talk of college football after his game-winning touchdown against No. 16 Oregon on prime-time television. He wasn’t the only first-year quarterback to impress in Week 1, though.
While it’s rare to find a true freshman under center in 2019, these five rookies not only earned their spot as a starter but led the way to victories in Week 1. Here are the top five true freshman quarterbacks in college football after the first week of play.
5. Max Duggan, TCU
He didn’t have much of a test in his first college football game, but Max Duggan of Council Bluffs, Iowa, put up a solid showing against Arkansas-Pine Bluff, which TCU defeated 39-7. Duggan shared playing time with graduate transfer Alex Delton, as the two are still battling for the starting spot on the Horned Frogs’ depth chart. Delton got the start and looked better on the run (67 rushing yards and a long of 54), but he went 10-of-22 through the air for 119 yards and had a QB rating of 40.6.
Duggan completed 16 of his 23 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown. He led all three of TCU’s touchdown drives and ran for a score, as well. He looked like the superior signal-caller in the game and may earn the start by the time the Horned Frogs travel to Purdue on September 14.
After that last drive, @MaxDuggan_10 is now the game’s leading passer with 136 yards. Not to mention he has now scored TCU’s first rushing and passing touchdowns of the season. He has only played three drives…
— Colin Post (@colinp_3) September 1, 2019
4. Jayden Daniels, Arizona State
Jayden Daniels of San Bernardino, California, on Thursday became the first true freshman to start a Sun Devils season opener since 1972. In his debut against Kent State, Daniels went 15-of-24 through the air for 284 yards and two scores and added a one-yard run for a touchdown.
— Greg Brandt (@devywarehouse) August 30, 2019
Going forward Daniels will need to get quicker on his feet and get rid of the ball faster to avoid getting sacked as many times (five) as he did Thursday. Otherwise he looked poised and a strong fit in the Sun Devils’ offense.
3. Sam Howell, North Carolina
Mack Brown made his return to football as the head coach of North Carolina on Saturday, and he put his faith in Sam Howell to lead the way. The Tar Heels faced South Carolina, and the Gamecocks were favored by two scores. South Carolina led for most of the game and was up 20-9 in the middle of the third quarter.
Then Howell took over and connected with Dyami Brown for a 22-yard touchdown and Beau Corrales for another 17-yard TD catch to put North Carolina in the lead. Howell finished the game 15-of-24 passing for 245 yards, and his come-from-behind crusade proved he is ready for college-level competition.
Sam Howell please don’t break my records 😂😂🐏😂😂😳
— Marquise Williams (@1MjWilliams2) September 1, 2019
2. Bo Nix, Auburn
Another player who felt plenty of pressure in a game his team trailed a majority of the time, Bo Nix suited up for Auburn as the first true freshman QB to start for the Tigers since 1946. Nix didn’t blow anyone away, as he completed 13 of his 31 passes for 177 yards against Oregon’s defense. What he did, however, was cap off the game with a gutsy 26-yard touchdown pass to Seth Williams that gave Auburn the lead with seconds remaining.
— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) September 1, 2019
All Auburn needed to do was run the clock out and kick a field goal to win, so Nix’s decision to pass into coverage may not have been the best choice, but who is complaining after he converted? The fact he led a comeback drive and pulled off a 27-21 win against a ranked team gives him the No. 2 spot on the list, but his overall performance will need to improve if Auburn’s going to compete with the other powerhouses on its schedule.
1. Hank Bachmeier, Boise State
The most impressive true freshman of Week 1 was Hank Bachmeier, who guided Boise State to a 36-31 triumph at Florida State despite trailing by 18 at one point in the first half. Early on Bachmeier took a beating by the Seminoles defense and got sacked five times, but he turned it around in the third quarter and ended the game with 407 passing yards, the most by a Boise State first-time starting quarterback.
Boise State’s true freshman QB Hank Bachmeier is having a day against Florida State 😳
– 407 yards
– Has led Boise St. to 23 unanswered points pic.twitter.com/k9jjDdNTi2
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) August 31, 2019
Bachmeier went 30-for-51, with a passing TD and an interception. The 24th-ranked Broncos have the chance to go undefeated on the season after they took down one of the most difficult opponents on their schedule, and Bachmeier’s stats should only get better as the season goes on.