Week 2 in the college football world saw plenty of offensive explosions from some top ranked teams as Hurricane Irma threatened the southern part of the country.
#10 Florida State, #16 Miami, #21 South Florida, #22 Florida, and UCF would all cancel games in preparation for the evacuations that the state of Florida took as precautionary measures.
Friday night action saw #11 Oklahoma State play unranked South Alabama, who came into the spotlight last year after their wins over Mississippi State, 21-20, and then ranked #19 San Diego State 42-24. The Jaguars would not be so successful against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, led by senior quarterback Mason Rudolph. Rudolph would accrue 335 passing yards with 3 touchdowns, 2 of which would go to senior receiver Marcell Ateman. The Cowboys will play at Pittsburgh next weekend.
#1 ranked Alabama played Fresno State as their home opener. As expected, the Tide rolled all over the Bulldogs, 41-10. Quarterback Jalen Hurts went 14 for 18 passing with 128 yards and 1 touchdown, while rushing for 154 yards and adding 2 rushing touchdowns as well. Freshman running back for the Tide Najee Harris was the second best rusher, with 70 yards on 13 carries. Saban called out the defense, however, saying he believed they weren’t completely prepared for some of the things they saw in the past two games despite giving up only 17 points between them. Prepare to see a heavier focus on defensive stops as they play a high-powered offense in Colorado State.
Saquon Barkley had a tremendous game for #4 Penn State as they battled in-state rival Pittsburgh. The junior running back would score a touchdown on the ground as well as in the air as Penn State would beat Pitt 33-14. Another in-state rival between #14 Stanford and #6 USC would showcase USC sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold, who would complete 21 out of 26 passes for a tremendous 316 yards and 4 touchdowns, with 2 going to both Deontay Burnette and Steven Mitchell Jr. Junior running back for the Trojans Ronald Jones II would rush for 2 touchdowns of his own with 116 yards on 23 touches. His counterpart, freshman Stephen Carr would rush for 119 yards on just 11 touches. While Stanford running back Bryce Love would rush for 160 yards and a touchdown, and their defense would intercept Darnold twice, the Cardinal truly had no offensive answer to match the Trojans. Stanford will travel to San Diego State, while USC will prepare to face Texas at home.
Another game between two top ranked teams would feature #3 Clemson hosting #13 Auburn in a strong defensive battle between the two squads. Both defenses would hold stout, while Clemson would never surrender a touchdown to Auburn. Clemson would be down 6-0 in the second quarter, but their defense would step up, led by junior defensive end Austin Bryant, a Georgia native, and not allow another score from Auburn again. Bryant would account for 4 of the 11 sacks on Auburn’s quarterback Jarrett Stidham. From there, junior quarterback Kelly Bryant would take over, who would finish the game with 181 passing yards, 59 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. Auburn’s offense only finished with 117 yards overall, with 13 of those being on the ground. Auburn’s offensive line has to find ways to protect Stidham as they take on Mercer next Saturday, and Clemson’s defense will have to stay on top of their game as they play the electrifying Lamar Jackson and the #17 Louisville Cardinals.
In a primetime game featuring two potential Heisman candidates, the #5 Oklahoma Sooners would upset the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes at home. Baker Mayfield is the heart and soul of the Sooner offense, and would step up and show his leadership as he passed for 386 yards and 3 touchdowns. The receiving corps would account for over 80% of Oklahoma’s offensive production of 490 yards, where as Ohio State would struggle to make their offensive production count. JT Barrett would complete 19 out of 35 passes for 183 yards, and their offense would generate 350 yards, and JK Dobbins would again shine light for the Buckeyes with 72 yards and a touchdown, but extending drives would prove to be a problem for Ohio State. Barrett would not make the big plays their offense needed, and the Buckeyes would lose 31-16 to a team that could prove to be a national title contender. Both teams will play at home next weekend, with Oklahoma hosting Tulane and Ohio State hosting Army.
Most other teams throughout the top 25 routed their unranked opponents. #7 Washington played Montana at home, where Jake Browning would throw for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns, with 22 completions on 26 attempts, although he would throw 1 interception. 5 rushers on the Washington offense would rush for a touchdown a piece, and senior tight end Will Dissly would catch 2 from Browning in a lopsided 63-7 victory. Washington next faces Fresno State at home.
#8 Michigan hosted Cincinnati, and although they won 36-14, they did not exactly fire on all cylinders. The Wolverines were only up 17-14 in the third quarter, then finally scored 19 straight points, including a safety and a pick 6 from Lavert Hill. There were many mistakes the Wolverines must fix, but they will play Air Force next weekend.
#9 Wisconsin rolled over Florida Atlantic, 31-14. Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor ran for an astounding 223 yards and 3 touchdowns, and sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook threw for 201 yards and a touchdown. #12 LSU also demolished Chattanooga, 45-10. Junior running back Derrius Guice and senior running back Darrel Williams were responsible for 2 touchdowns a piece, while senior reciever D.J. Chark had 3 catches for 103 yards as well as a 65 yard punt return for a touchdown.
An offensive showdown between #17 Louisville at North Carolina turned into the Lamar Jackson show. The junior Heisman winner passed for 393 yards and 3 touchdowns, and also rushed for 132 yards with 3 more rushing touchdowns. While North Carolina’s quarterbacks Chazz Surratt and LSU transfer Brandon Harris threw for 384 yards together, it was not enough for the high powered Cardinals offense. UNC will try to get back on track against Old Dominion, while Louisville will be tested against a tremendous Clemson defense.
#18 Virginia Tech hosted Delaware and shut them out 27-0, while #19 Kansas State trampled Charlotte 55-7. #20 Washington State overcame a 31-10 deficit to take Boise State to triple overtime, and win 47-44 in an incredible thriller. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Hilinski completed 25 passes on 33 attempts for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns. The game was plagued with mistakes, each team coughing the ball up several times on both fumbles and interceptions. Ball security will definitely be a subject of discussion for both teams as Boise State has a short week of preparation for New Mexico on Thursday, and Washington State plays Oregon State at home.
In one of the most anticipated matchups of the week, #15 Georgia travelled to South Bend to play #24 Notre Dame for the first time since the 1980 National Championship. Notre Dame Stadium was filled with red and black, as Georgia fans from the country travelled well to support true freshman Jake Fromm in his first career start. Although Fromm coughed up the ball twice, he threw for 141 yards and a one-handed touchdown caught by the sensational junior receiver Terry Godwin. Notre Dame’s defense held UGA’s running back unit to only 185 yards, but surrendered a touchdown to senior Sony Michel to give UGA a 17-16 lead late in the third. The low scoring affair would feature mostly field goals, with Notre Dame kicking one in the 4th to lead 19-17, and sophomore kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, who became a scholarship player earlier in the week, kicking a 30 yard field goal to allow UGA to reclaim the lead 20-19 with 3:39, and would ultimately be the game winner. The Dawgs defense would hold stout, forcing a punt of Notre Dame’s next possession, then senior linebacker Davin Bellamy would sack Notre Dame junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush, force a fumble that would be recovered by his counterpart, senior linebacker Lorenzo Carter, and end the game. Ultimately, the defense from UGA proved to stand the test of time, coming up big when they were needed the most. The offense will have a bit more to work on, as Fromm will continue to be the starter for the Dawgs as they take on Sanford next week. Notre Dame will go to Boston College next weekend and look to get back into the top 25.
Jacksonville State came to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech. JSU came adequately prepared for Tech’s run game. Although they would give up 210 yards, they would not surrender many big rushes to the Yellow Jackets who rushed for over 500 yards last week in a double overtime loss to Tennessee. The Jackets would still find ways to get into the endzone, with TaQuon Marshall passing for 3 touchdowns in a game where he only threw the ball 7 times, and made 5 completions for 112 yards. Marshall would also rush for a touchdown himself. Freshman running back Jerry Howard would emerge as Tech’s leading rusher with 82 yards on 6 touches and a touchdown. Georgia Tech would cough up the ball 3 times, with Marshall fumbling it twice. Tech also will have questions to answer as ball security and special teams play were a bit of an issue. However, the Jackets will have the weekend off, as Hurricane Irma would force UCF to cancel their Saturday matchup.
Overall for week 3, #3 Clemson – #14 Louisville should be the game to watch, although Texas – #4 USC should be interesting as well. Texas coach Tom Herman is 6-0 against top 25 ranked teams, and 3-0 against top 10s. #12 LSU playing at Mississippi State should also be an interesting matchup as both teams begin SEC play, and have shown very stingy defenses and efficient offenses thus far.