College football scores, winners & losers in Week 3: The Big Ten stumbles in a big waySeptember 16, 2018
Week 3 of the college football season is in the books. Sure enough, several marquee games across the landscape had major impacts.
Though Ohio State went down to Texas and came away with a signature win over TCU, the rest of the Big Ten fared less favorably. After Saturday, how many legitimate contenders are there to the Buckeyes?
And in the SEC, LSU stole a crucial early-season conference win at Auburn thanks to a game-winning field goal. With those games and so much more, it’s time to take a step back and digest everything that’s happened through the first three days of Week 1.
Ohio State: Anyone with a brain knew Ohio State was going to get TCU’s best shot. Horned Frogs coach Gary Patterson is one of the best in the game for a reason. He’s a brilliant defensive mind and also bold enough to take calculated chances. For about two-and-a-half quarters, Ohio State was in a real battle before three quick scores in four minutes changed the tone in a 40-28 win. TCU is a quality team that can compete for a Big 12 championship. Consider this test passed for the Buckeyes. The injury to defensive end Nick Bosa is concerning, however.
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow: It feels a little wrong to call the Ohio State transfer a “missing piece” for LSU’s offense, but when was the last time the Bayou Bengals had at least a semi-dependable quarterback? Burrow isn’t a game changer for the Tigers, but he did enough to keep the sticks moving in LSU’s 22-21 thriller over Auburn. He makes big plays when they need to be made. On LSU’s game-winning drive alone, he had conversions on third-and-7 and a fourth-and-7. Keep in mind this was in his first SEC road start. This isn’t an anomaly. He was also solid in third-down passing situations against Miami in Week 1. Through three weeks, LSU has the two best wins in the country. They may not have one if they were abysmal at quarterback.
BYU: There was something strange about BYU being a 23.5-point underdog against No. 6 Wisconsin. The line felt a little large. Yes, that’s easy to say in hindsight of the Cougars’ 24-21 win in Madison, but low-key they’ve been a good team in the first three weeks. They upset Arizona in Week 1 and came up short against Cal, which should be a bowl-bound team. Is this an unexpected upset? Of course, but BYU has been a little better than most anticipated. Last year’s 4-9 output was probably an anomaly.
Kansas: Rutgers is b-a-d, bad. Still, Kansas doesn’t win every day, let alone notch a 55-14 takedown. So let the Jayhawks celebrate these little moments of satisfaction that come with beating the literal hell out of an opponent. The last time Kansas won back-to-back games was 2011. The last time it won back-to-back games against FBS opponents was in 2009 when Mark Mangino was coaching. Rock Chalk, etc, etc.
The Big Ten: A good policy is to never make sweeping conference generalizations that will only have to be walked back later. That being said, the Big Ten had a rough day in Week 3. Outside of Ohio State’s win over TCU, the Big Ten didn’t have much going for it outside of some chalk scores. Wisconsin was upset at home by BYU. So was Nebraska at home against Troy, 24-19. Rutgers was housed by Kansas and Temple boat-raced Maryland 35-14. Northwestern blew an 18-point lead to lose to Akron 39-34 at home and Illinois gave up 18 fourth-quarter points to South Florida in a 25-19 loss. Finally, Purdue got nipped again 40-37 at the horn by Missouri. Not great.
Coaching saviors: Coaching tends to be overvalued in college football. It matters, make no mistake, but talent goes a long way. It doesn’t guarantee anything, but it’s harder to win without it. Coaches like Scott Frost (Nebraska), Willie Taggart (Florida State) and Chad Morris (Arkansas) are finding that out quickly. Combined, they are 2-6 through three weeks. And Arizona, led by Kevin Sumlin, is winless heading into its game vs. Southern Utah. In time, they may get things turned around. Some tasks are obviously larger than others. For now, they’re a lesson that regarded coaches can indeed struggle. Even Nick Saban went 7-6 and lost to Louisiana-Monroe in his first season.
USC: The Trojans have some work to do after Texas pulled away 37-14. Clay Helton is 1-2 on the season and USC has its first set of back-to-back double-digit losses since 2000. This isn’t a great Longhorns team, either, and yet USC found itself completely unable to run the ball (-5 yards on 16 attempts) or do anything on special teams. And USC gets Washington State next on a short week, too. A Pac-12 South title is looking a lot less secure than it was in the preseason.
Utah: Nothing about a 21-7 loss to Washington was pretty by either side, but the Utes put on a clinic of how to shoot yourself in the foot frequently and with dire consequences. Utah lost three turnovers and easily could have had two or three touchdowns on the board that instead went nowhere. From fumbles to missing wide-open receivers in the red zone, Utah found about every way possible to stay off the scoreboard. Missed opportunities have become a recurring theme under coach Kyle Whittingham, but regardless, the Utes can’t get this one back.
Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois: The Seminoles hit rock bottom when they lost 30-7 to Syracuse. There are a lot of words to be written about this, but what sums up the general anxiety better than anything else is the sheer disgust Francois seems to have for his offensive line. He’s so mad at them he doesn’t even want their help peeling himself off of the turf. He continues to take more hits than just about any other quarterback — so many hits he should qualify for worker’s compensation. Watch this and say you wouldn’t be mad, too:
Best of the rest
Texas Tech QB Alan Bowman: The true freshman quarterback went 43-of-59 for a whopping 605 yards and five touchdowns in the Red Raiders’ 63-49 win over Houston. That’s a Big 12 single-game freshman passing record and yet somehow still a pedestrian day for Texas Tech.
Penn State running back Miles Sanders: Saquon Barkley is gone to the NFL and this is a sad fact for college football. However, it would very much appear that Penn State has another GIF machine in Sanders. This B-button move against Kent State is extremely Saquon-esque. Sanders had 86 yards in the 63-10 victory.
Vanderbilt, encapsulated: Vanderbilt’s catch-turn-strip-turn-fumble-turn-touchback for Notre Dame had more ups and downs than a roller coaster. And, in a way, no play was more appropriately Vanderbilt. The Commodores gave Notre Dame everything it could handle, but came up short 22-17.
Ole Miss: The Rebels scored on the first play from scrimmage against Alabama, a 75-yard strike from Jordan Ta’amu to D.K. Metcalf. It’s no secret that Ole Miss has a fun offense and some of the best wide receivers in the game, but that was a hot start if there ever was one. The problem? Ole Miss never scored again in a 62-7 beatdown.
Oregon State: The Beavers were down 30-7 against Nevada, came all the way back to within two points (37-35) and then missed a 34-yard game-winning field goal as time expired. That’s harsh. Thoughts and prayers. At least the Beavers have a cool turnover gimmick?
Woo Pick Sooie: Just how bad was Arkansas” 44-17 loss to North Texas? Three different quarterbacks threw a grand total of six interceptions, including one pick-six thrown by John Stephen Jones. That would be the grandson of Hogs alum Jerry Jones. Ouch.
Memphis running back Darell Henderson: The speedy back had 233 and two touchdowns in Memphis’ 59-22 rout of Georgia State Friday evening … on just 14 carries. It was his second consecutive 200-yard game and he has nine games of at least 100 yards dating back to last season.
Purdue: The Boilermakers might be the best 0-3 team in the country (yes, really). They’re also the best team at catching passes off of each other’s helmets. Check out this deflected catch in Purdue’s loss to Missouri. That’s just putting the team before the individual.
Middle Tennessee’s failed trick play: Word to the wise: You’re not going to run straight ahead and out-muscle Georgia. However, another word to the wise: You’re not going to get cute and outsmart Georgia, either. Middle Tennessee found this out the hard way in a 49-7 loss to the Bulldogs.
Your “what the heck?” score of the day: South Dakota State 90, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 6. Seriously.