In the midst of talks of more hurricanes and assessing damage done by Hurricane Irma, week 3 of college football continued on.
The in-state and ACC rivalry between #17 Miami at #11 Florida State would be postponed, while Florida International would not travel to Indiana and Central Florida would not host Georgia Tech. All other games would go according to schedule however.
On Friday, Illinois would take on #22 South Florida. USF would strike first in a game that highlighted senior quarterback Quinton Flowers. However, the Fighting Illini would block the extra point and return it for 2 points, making for a score 6-2. Flowers dominated the game, completing 15 of his 27 passes for 280 yards and 4 touchdowns. He was also the top rusher of the game with 106 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. USF had a lot of high points, and would not let Illinois to get into an offensive rhythm. USF will play host again to Temple next Thursday night.
#1 ranked Alabama would give up a season high 23 points in a win on Saturday afternoon over Colorado State, 41-23. Colorado State proved their offensive prowess, scoring 3 touchdowns on a defense that had only given up 2 combined touchdowns and a field goal in their last 2 games. Head coach Nick Saban went into this game wanting to see more out of his defense, which kept CSU from scoring in the first half to give their squad a 17-0 lead after a 27 yard run from sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts, and a 78 yard pass from Hurts to junior receiver Calvin Ridley. Hurts would control this game, In the second quarter, Alabama’s defense would allow Colorado State to score a field goal and a touchdown, making the score 17-10. The end of the second quarter as well as the 3rd quarter and beginning of the 4th would belong to Alabama’s offense, scoring 3 touchdowns and a field goal. Colorado State would strike last on a field goal and two touchdowns of their own. The Tide will still have many defensive questions to answer as they gave up 391 yards, which is uncharacteristically high for their stout defense. Alabama will take on SEC opponent Vanderbilt in Rocky Top, and Colorado State will take their bye week before traveling to the tropical island of Oahu to play Hawaii.
Tulane came to play #2 Oklahoma, and faced what any team would expect from the second best team in the nation. Senior quarterback Baker Mayfield had another amazing game, furthering his case for the Heisman Trophy. Mayfield threw for 331 yards and 4 touchdowns, going 17 for 27. This is Mayfield’s 3rd straight game this season in which he threw for over 300 yards and has not thrown an interception. Although Tulsa scored the first touchdown, Mayfield struck back to tie the game at 7 with an 82 yard bomb to freshman receiver CeeDee Lamb, who would also catch their next touchdown and again tie the game at 14. The game would become entirely Oklahoma’s to dominate after a pick 6 from sophomore corner Parnell Motley would open the flood gates for 5 more Sooner touchdowns. The Sooners will open their own conference play next Saturday against 0-3 Baylor for the Big 12.
#14 Louisville and Lamar Jackson would not have an answer for quarterback Kelly Bryant and #3 Clemson. Although both Jackson and Kelly would throw for over 300 yards, Clemson’s run game would be entirely too much for Louisville to handle. While not one single rusher would hit the 100 yard mark for the Tigers, 3 would rush for touchdowns, including Bryant running for 2 of his own. Bryant would play the role we expected to see out of Jackson, completely owning the tempo of the game. The game would be tied at 7 at the end of the first quarter, but Clemson would own the second and third quarters. Lamar Jackson would pass for 2 touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but it would be much too late for the Cardinals. Clemson’s offense would be almost unstoppable, accruing 613 total yards in an offense many thought would need to rebuild after losing quarterback Deshaun Watson among many others. Bryant is proving himself more than capable of taking the reins of this offense as they will go up to Massachusetts to play ACC opponent Boston College, and Louisville will look to rebuild their confidence at home against Kent State.
#4 Southern California was not expecting the dog fight they got when Texas arrived in Los Angeles. Texas was looking for a signature win, but neither team would score in the first quarter nor most of the second. USC would score off a 15 yard pass from sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold to junior receiver Deontay Burnette with 2:40 left in the quarter. Texas would not have an offensive answer for the score, but a 38 yard pick-6 by safety Deshon Elliot would tie the game for them. USC would strike again 2 plays later on a 56 yard pass from Darnold to Ronald Jones II as the first half expired to lead the game 14-7. Texas would score the only points in the third quarter on a field goal. The fourth quarter would be almost scoreless, but Texas would drive down the field and score a touchdown with less than a minute left on a 17 yard pass from freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger to senior receiver Armanti Foreman to give the Longhorns the lead, 17-14. With the game seemingly in hand, USC would answer the call and drive down the field theirselves with only 45 seconds on the game clock for a game-tying field goal, and we were off to overtime. USC took no time to strike first, with Darnold passing to Burnett on the first play to lead 24-17. Texas would retaliate, with Ehlinger slinging a 3 yard pass to freshman tight end Cade Brewer to tie. In the second overtime, Ehlinger would not be so lucky, and lose the ball after a 4 yard run to be recovered by USC, who then scored a field goal to end the game. The struggle for the Longhorns continues on, but their defense can’t be blamed, completely stepping up after the first game against Maryland. Their true freshman almost completed what would have been the biggest upset of the weekend, but small miscues early in the game were hard to come back from. They will have the weekend off to work and make a huge decision between Ehlinger or sophomore quarterback Shane Buechele if he can return healthy. USC will hit the road to play California, two undefeated teams with a long history.
#5 Penn State would absolutely demolish Georgia State, 56-0 in front of over 100 thousand fans. Senior quarterback Trace McSorley would be responsible for 5 touchdowns, 4 passing and 1 rushing, on the afternoon that would see 8 of them in total, all from Penn State. McSorley would be an almost perfect 18 for 23 with 309 yards before relinquishing his duties for the afternoon. Georgia State would generate 320 yards of total offense, but turnovers and inability to get into the red zone would prevent them from scoring. Georgia State will travel to Charlotte, and Penn State will open Big Ten play at Iowa.
The #6 Washington Huskies would dominate Fresno State, and much like Penn State, would have no problem finding the end zone. Senior receiver Dante Pettis would be the star of the game, being responsible for 4 touchdowns. He would catch 2 short passes from junior quarterback Jake Browning, a 73-yarder from Browning as well, return his 8th punt for a touchdown for 77 yards, and even add a 36 yard pass to his stats. Washington surrendered most of Fresno State’s points late in the game, but looked overall solid in the victory. The Huskies will go to Colorado late Saturday night looking to keep their record perfect.
#7 Michigan had another difficult week as they hosted Air Force. Michigan’s two lone touchdowns occurred in the second half of a game plagued by field goals. Air Force would tie Michigan twice, but never be successful in taking the lead against the Wolverines. Michigan will look to improve to 4-0 as they travel to Purdue. #8 Ohio State would not struggle with Army in a decisive 38-7 victory. Senior quarterback JT Barrett had a better game against the Black Knights, throwing 25 completions on 33 attempts for 270 yards and 2 touchdowns and adding a rushing TD, but freshman running back JK Dobbins continues to hold the spotlight. He rushed for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 52-yard run. Ohio State plays UNLV at home next.
#9 Oklahoma State and #10 Wisconsin would also make light work of their opponents, Pittsburgh and BYU respectively. OSU’s quarterback Mason Randolph would be responsible for 5 touchdowns, as they would beat Pitt 56-21, while Alex Hornibrook would throw for 4 touchdowns for Wisconsin to beat BYU 40-6. OSU will take on undefeated Big 12 opponent #16 TCU, and Wisconsin will have the weekend off.
#12 LSU faced a mountain they were not prepared for as they traveled to Mississippi State and lost, 37-7. Junior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald led the Bulldogs for 180 passing yards and 2 touchdowns as well as 2 rushing touchdowns, as their defense kept LSU’s stellar run game quiet. Mississippi State would outgain LSU in total yardage, 465 to 270, undoubtably a season low for the Tigers. Their 7 points are also a season low, and in fact they haven’t scored so few points since they played Alabama in 2016. Mississippi State’s defense has proven themselves a force to be reckoned with, and they will hope to do the same at Georgia next week. LSU will take on Syracuse at home.
#14 Auburn had a bit of a struggle against Mercer, overcoming 5 turnovers to win 24-10. While junior running back Kamryn Pettway ran for 128 yards and 3 touchdowns and sophomore quarterback Jarrett Stidham would complete a whooping 32 of his 37 passes for 364 yards, ball security was a predominant issue throughout the game. Both would be accountable for a takeaway by the Mercer defense, but their offensive effort was enough to put the game away for the Tigers. They will face Missouri and open their SEC play.
#16 Virginia Tech would destroy East Carolina 64-17, #20 TCU would allow SMU to score 36 but win 56-36, and #21 Washington State would also beat Oregon State 52-23. Everyone else ranked between 18 to 25 would have a much tougher time with their opponents. #18 Kansas State would lose to Vanderbilt 14-7 in a back and forth battle. Junior quarterback Kyle Shurmur would have the first and last laugh as he would throw for the opening and game winning touchdowns for Vandy in their first win over a ranked, non-conference opponent since 1946. #19 Stanford would also fall to San Diego State 20-17 after a bizarre darkness delay would give SDSU just enough time to draw up a game winning drive. Also losing was #23 Tennessee on a wild hail Mary-esque throw by Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks as time expired and the Gators won 26-20. The play seemed like some of the ones we’ve been seeing out of Tennessee to pull the astonishing upsets they’ve been doing over the past few years, but they were on the receiving end this time. #25 UCLA also lost in a gut-wrenching, back and forth affair against a strong Memphis team. Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson was responsible for 6 touchdowns, which made up for all but one of their scores, the last being a pick-6 by freshman linebacker Tim Hart. Josh Rosen would throw for 463 yards and 2 touchdowns, but would also throw 2 interceptions.
#13 Georgia would steamroll over Samford in a Bulldog battle. True freshman Jake Fromm would come out strong, throwing for 165 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 8 completions, but once again it was UGA’s running game that kept the pressure off the freshman. Senior running back Nick Chubb would rush for 131 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns of his own. Junior receiver Terry Godwin would have a spectacular game of his own, catching 2 touchdown passes from Fromm, with one being a 51 yard reception and giving Fromm the bulk of his yardage. Sophomore Mecole Hardman would catch Fromm’s first touchdown pass, but the highlight of the game was truly on Chubb and freshman running back Deandre Swift, who rushed for 54 yards and a touchdown as well. Sophomores Brian Herrien and Elijah Holyfield would also see 9 and 8 touches, respectively, for a combined 99 yards. As a whole, the running backs averaged 5.3 yards a carry, churning out yardage in the way that has become signature for UGA. Fromm will need to be careful as the Dawgs will host Mississippi State, the freshman coughed up the ball twice. The Bulldogs of Mississippi State will not be as forgiving as those of Samford, but if the running game can be as consistent, and add senior Sony Michel back in the lineup, the game should be one of the best of the week.
And there lies week 3. So far the upsets and close calls this week were some of my favorites, hoping my team (maybe yours) isn’t on the end of one next week.