In a recent interview, Bo Jackson compared Cam Newton quarterback of Auburn's championship winning team last year and number one pick in this past April's NFL draft, basically to a superhuman football player.

Jackson, a fellow former Auburn alum, said Newton had the arm strength and power of Dan Marino and John Elway combined, he was quicker than Michael Vick and could run people over like Earl Campbell. Basically, he called Newton the perfect football player.

Well, after watching No. 23 Auburn struggle to beat unranked Utah St. in its first game without Newton, maybe there was something to Jackson's comments after all. Auburn won the game 42-38 after a late rally saved them from being the first defending champion to lose their opener since 1998.

Actually, that's not fair since it was the Tigers' defense which almost let it down. The defense gave up to 448 total yards to Utah St.'s offense, which was manned by true freshman QB Chuckie Keeton.

If it weren't for a late drive manned by Auburn QB Barrett Trotter (Newton's replacement), a successful onside kick conversion and a Michael Dyer 1-yard run - it would have likely been curtains on Auburn's hopes to repeat. Auburn coach Gene Chizik probably isn't thinking repeat after watching his team nearly lose; he's just hoping the team can get better soon. Next week, the team opens up its SEC schedule against Mississippi State.

Offensively and defensively we're a long way off of being able to win very many games right now, Chizik said.

Michigan Game Called, Notre Dame Delayed

The much-ballyhooed debut of Brady Hoke as head coach of Michigan Wolverines had to weather a storm that wasn't the Western Michigan offense.

The Michigan-Western Michigan game at Ann Arbor was called for lighting threats in the third quarter. At the time of the suspension, 6:18 p.m., Michigan was winning 34-10. Both teams agreed to mutually end the game.

Fans at Ann Arbor stadium, which seats approximately 108,000 fans, were cleared and evacuated.

The game was pretty competitive in the beginning with the Broncos driving down and scoring on their first series on Michigan. Antoin Scriven, WMU running back, scored on a 1-yard plunge putting the Broncos ahead. Michigan answered immediately with its own 1-yard run. After a long interception return by Michigan's Brandon Herron resulting in a TD, the Wolverines never looked back.

Michigan plays Notre Dame next week.

Speaking of lighting delays and Notre Dame, the No. 16 Fighting Irish had to deal with similar problems in their home opener against the South Florida Bulls. That game was delayed because of lighting in the third quarter with the Bulls leading 16-0. According to the NCAA rulebook, if lighting strikes within a 10-mile radius of an outdoor event, the game must be suspended.

Notre Dame Stadium was evacuated at 5:12 and fans were brought back in shortly after 7. The game resumed around 7:15 pm.

The Irish, coached by Brian Kelly, are one of the preseason favorites to appear in a BCS bowl.

Ohio State Wins in Luke Fickell's Debut

In his debut as coach of Ohio State, Luke Fickell watched the No. 18 Buckeyes trounce Akron 42-0.

Fickell takes over for long-time OSU coach Jim Tressel, who has forced out over an illegal benefits scandal. Along with Tressel, OSU is also without eight suspended players and Terrelle Pryor, who went to the NFL in a supplemental draft.

The distractions had no toll on the active Buckeyes who took to the Zips early and often. Redshirt senior quarterback Joe Bauserman led the way for the Buckeyes going 12-for-16 for 163 yards and throwing three touchdowns, he also ran for a TD.

Next week, OSU gets Toledo before a tougher test on Sept. 17 against Miami.