I was wrong--Western Carolina did have enough for a surprise. A rather horrifying surprise that had me thinking some very depressing things about the defense in general and the secondary in particular. The Catamounts offense, which was one of the worst groups in I-AA last season, put together an easy 87-yard, 10-play touchdown drive on its first possession.
By game's end, that drive had accounted for nearly half of their total yards and about 20% of their snaps.
State followed an early three-and-out with four consecutive touchdowns, all of them through the air, and by halftime, everything was in its right place. (Not something to be taken for granted. Also: OMGLOL.)
Russell Wilson threw for 306 yards, four scores, and averaged almost 10 yards per attempt, but TOB admitted afterward that, "We aren't where we need to be. We have to get Russell back into the swing of things. We played him all the way into the third quarter because he hadn't played quarterback since the end of last season.
"We have to get him back into the rhythm of the game. He's not anywhere close to where he was at the end of last year."
That was the sense I got, too. Plenty good enough to overwhelm Western Carolina, obviously, but just not quite there. If it's possible for a 48-7 game to be unsettling...okay, that's going too far. Selective doomsday memory at work, certainly. But even after acknowledging the first game caveats, the whole thing felt very five-winnish to me.