Stat Pack: Week 0

The return of the college football regular season is here. 

Opening kickoffs took place around the country last weekend, and there is more set to take place later this week. 

A pair of Associated Press Top 25 programs picked up wins in No. 6 USC and No. 13 Notre Dame. Both starting quarterbacks threw for four touchdowns, while Caleb Williams began his Heisman Trophy defense campaign and Sam Hartman welcomed himself to Notre Dame

Here are some of the top statistical performances from Week 0. 

Zachariah Branch, USC 

Among this week’s top performers includes true freshman Zachariah Branch of USC. 

In his first collegiate game, Branch scored two touchdowns, including a 96-yard kickoff return that he took back to the end zone. 

Branch caught all four of his targets for 58 yards, which were the second most among Trojans behind Tahj Washington who caught 85. Branch converted three first downs for USC, averaging 14 1/2 yards per catch. 

He leads the NCAA with 232 all-purpose yards after his college debut. That’s quite the start for the USC freshman wide receiver. 

Audric Estime, Notre Dame 

While Hartman paced the Fighting Irish through the air, Estime kept the balance on the ground. 

It wasn’t an entirely even offensive game for Notre Dame. Hartman and Steve Angeli passed for 253 yards while Notre Dame collected 191 rushing yards. 

Estime racked up 95 of those yards — and had 26 more receiving. 

Hartman and Notre Dame handed the ball off to Estime six times on the game’s opening drive. The junior ball-carrier capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown rush after setting himself up on the previous play by running for seven yards. 

Estime is currently tied for fourth in the NCAA behind his 95-yard rushing performance. He began the season on a high note that Notre Dame will look toward as it continues its run to start the year. 

Shomari Lawrence, Florida International University 

The NCAA leader in rushing yards, Lawrence and FIU battled Louisiana Tech in an early conference matchup. 

Lawrence debuted for the Panthers, making his move from South Dakota of the Football Championship Subdivision. 

The 6-foot running back broke off for a 67-yard touchdown rush less than one minute into the game’s opening drive.

Lawrence had runs of 16 and nine yards thereafter and converted on two first downs. He totaled 15 carries and averaged 9.27 yards per attempt, almost four yards more than Estime who is the next closest running back. 

While Louisiana Tech gave up a lead it once held by as much as 17-3, Lawrence gave an early look at what he can do in a Panthers uniform. 

Isaiah Tufaga, Hawaii 

Tufaga represents one of two defensive players who round out this week’s stat pack. 

The sixth-year linebacker Tufaga had a busy season opener against Vanderbilt. He led the Rainbow Warriors with eight tackles, and several came after passes that showed Tufaga’s ability to run across the field. 

Tufaga also leads the NCAA after recording a pair of sacks. He stopped Vanderbilt quarterback AJ Swann twice in the second quarter for a pair of 8-yard losses. 

The two sacks made up three of Tufaga’s tackles for losses, which are also an NCAA high after Week 0. Hawaii’s second half comeback bid may’ve fallen short, but Tufaga played well and led the defense with his ability to fly to the football. 

De’Rickey Wright, Vanderbilt 

A 6-foot-4 safety playing in the Commodores’ secondary, Wright patrolled the field and came up with two interceptions to lead the way to a 42-35 victory. 

With 6:12 left to play in the second quarter, Hawaii crept the football up as close as Vanderbilt’s 1-yard line. 

Wright swooped in on a first-and-five situation and snagged the football, bringing down his first interception and resulting in a touchback for the Commodores offense to begin.

Wright also had his hand involved in a number of other plays. He recorded three tackles, a pass break-up and a forced fumble, all the while helping Vanderbilt maintain a lead for the majority of the game. 

His second interception came in the final two minutes of the game when Hawaii quarterback Dalen Morrs made his only throw of the game. Wright caught the ball with 1:43 left to play, and Vanderbilt held onto it the rest of the way.