College Football Week 3 Roundup
Week 3 is in the books! Wow! What a great weekend of college football it was! Let's look back to see what happened:
1. Which team had the most impressive win?
Robert: Northwestern. The Wildcats haven’t been relevant in years, but they are the winners of the 2015 Nerd Bowl. The Big Ten program has dominated both Stanford (who just defeated USC at the LA Coliseum) and Duke and has given up just 16 total points in three games this season. Northwestern currently boasts the country’s stingiest defense, yet its offense needs some work, as freshman quarterback Clayton Thorson has completed just over 50% of his passes and has tossed more interceptions (2) than touchdowns (1).
David: Definitely Ole Miss. The Rebels had never beaten the Alabama Crimson Tide in back-to-back years until Saturday. Chad Kelly threw for 341 yards and three touchdown passes and the Ole Miss defense forced five turnovers as the Rebels were able to get a huge victory in Tuscaloosa. At one point, Ole Miss was up 30-10. Although it’s still early, the Rebels look like the real deal.
Sean: This game might have been a blowout, but I was really impressed by the Georgia Bulldogs’ offensive explosion against South Carolina. The 52 points that the Bulldogs put up is the most that any opposing offense has scored against a Steve Spurrier-coached team. To put into perspective just how impressive that offensive performance was, Georgia gained 95.1% of the yards available to it. That’s insane, and it’s probably the best metric you’ll see an offense put up against an SEC defense.
Andy: LSU was a known powerhouse coming into the season, but the absolute dismantling of Auburn showed how dominant this team can truly be. Led by Sophomore RB Leonard Fournette, the #8 Tigers travel to Syracuse next week for a game that they should handle easily. LSU should give the rest of the SEC a run for its money this season.
2. Which team had the most disappointing loss?
Robert: Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets traveled to South Bend to take on Notre Dame, who were playing their first game without injured starting quarterback Malik Zaire. Not only did the GT defense get decimated by RB C.J. Prosise (22 carries, 198 yards, 3 TDs), but the option offense was completely stuffed by Notre Dame’s front seven. If it wasn’t for two meaningless touchdown passes in the final minute, Justin Thomas’ QBR would have been even more atrocious than the 9.3 he posted. Granted Georgia Tech won’t be passing much this season, but this game proved that the Jackets are vulnerable on both sides of the ball.
David: Auburn. Although this shouldn’t come as a surprise considering they had to go to overtime to beat FCS foe Jacksonville State, it still has to sting. Auburn was picked by many (including me) to go to the college football playoffs, and so far they have absolutely failed to live up to expectations. Their 45-21 loss to LSU could signify a long season for them. Unless miraculous changes happen, this team is in serious trouble.
Sean: I’ve got to give this one to BYU. BYU was given every opportunity to pull the upset for a third straight week, but just couldn’t get it done against UCLA. When an opposing true freshman QB gifts you with three interceptions, you have to take advantage of that. To come out of this with a one-point loss is just heart-breaking, and it’s one that the Cougars will be lamenting about for the rest of the season.
Andy: Alabama. Losing to a good SEC rival in Ole Miss by a score of 43-37 isn’t exactly a disappointment, but the Crimson Tide showed that their issues on defense and under center make them extremely vulnerable to good teams. If they can’t outplay good teams in Tuscaloosa, how can they do it into the playoffs?
3. Offensive Player of the Week
Robert: C.J. Prosise, RB, Notre Dame and Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU. For the second straight week the senior back averaged over nine yards per carry, a figure aided by a 91-yard touchdown run, the longest in Notre Dame’s illustrious history. Prosise has racked up the fifth most rushing yards in all of college football and his success will help keep defenses honest against QB DeShone Kizer. Fournette absolutely obliterated Auburn’s porous defense, finishing the game with 19 carries for 228 yards and three scores. The SEC’s supposedly stout defenses cannot contain LSU’s sophomore sensation.
David: Greyson Lambert. When you set an NCAA record for completion percentage, you deserve some love. Lambert absolutely tore up South Carolina’s defense as he passed for 330 yards and three touchdown passes on 24/25 passing (a ridiculous 96.0 completion percentage). In most cases, he won’t put up the flashiest numbers. But it’s obvious that he can step up when the Georgia Bulldogs need him to.
Sean: While David goes with the obvious choice here, I’m going to go with someone who was put to the test and passed with flying colors. It’s not easy to play your first SEC game against Alabama and come out with a victory, but that’s what Chad Kelly did. Kelly threw for 341 yards and three touchdowns, while adding 21 yards and another score on the ground. He rekindled the memories of Johnny Manziel having a similar performance against the Tide. Sure he had some luck (throwing off his back foot, while getting hit by multiple defenders, only to have his pass bounce off a defender’s helmet and into the hands of an open receiver for a touchdown), but he had the poise of someone who had done this before.
Andy: Baker Mayfield went 32-for-38 with 487 yards and 4 TDs while dismantling Tulsa on Saturday. He also ran for two more scores. In fact, Mayfield set Oklahoma’s school record for all-purpose yards in one game with 572 yards total. Any time a school record is set at a school like Oklahoma, recognition is in order. The former Texas Tech QB is making Oklahoma look like a serious contender this season.
4. Defensive Player of the Week
Robert: This one’s easy - Northwestern sophomore LB Anthony Walker. Walker has won the Big Ten defensive player of the week award twice in the first three weeks. This past weekend against Duke, Walker led the Wildcats D with 19 total tackles. His lateral speed has helped Northwestern limit its opponents to 5.3 points per game.
David: Myles Garrett. There might not be a better pass rusher in the nation than Myles Garrett right now. He had an incredible game against Nevada with seven tackles (four for loss) and 3.5 sacks. Garrett is a blitzing machine and will be a nightmare for any quarterback that has to deal with him.
Sean: This player has flown under the radar the past couple of weeks, but Boston College DE Harold Landry played great against Florida State. The sophomore registered 4.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and 11 total tackles. He was the key cog on a defensive front that gave BC ample opportunities to knock off the Seminoles. Consistently getting in the face of Everett Golson, Landry was part of a force that held the Florida State QB to just 119 passing yards. Clearly, Landry deserves some recognition for his performance.
Andy: Colorado’s Kenneth Olugbode had 13 tackles and a pick six, giving his Buffaloes a 7-point lead over the Colorado State Rams in the 4th quarter. Colorado went on to win the contest in overtime, and Olugbode’s high motor was a major reason for the
victory. The 60-yard interception return was Colorado’s first of the season.
5. Freshman of the Week
Robert: Penn State running back Saquon Barkley has been an absolute monster since being handed the keys to the Nittany Lions offense. In Penn State’s opening game, Barkley was given just one rushing attempt. Since then? He’s simply gone off for 310 yards on 30 carries. In a 28-3 win over Rutgers on Saturday, the explosive back rumbled for 195 yards and two scores on 21 carries. His 9.1 yards per attempt ranks sixth in the nation.
David: Jake Browning. The freshman quarterback for the Washington Huskies had a very solid game as he passed for 368 yards and three touchdown passes on 22/31 passing. Browning was an absolute beast in high school as he set a high school national record for touchdown passes (229) including a ridiculous record-breaking 91 touchdown passes his senior year. Good numbers in high school don’t always translate to good numbers in college but Browning has looked like a very steady for quarterback for the Huskies after a slow start.
Sean: I’m going to go with another lesser-known QB that plays for Middle Tennessee. Brent Stockstill played phenomenally against Charlotte this past weekend, racking up 369 yards and five touchdowns through the air. If that’s not good enough, Stockstill’s pass efficiency rating was 261.10, while he completed 23 of 27 passes. Granted I know this was against Charlotte, who is in the process of transferring from the FCS, but that team was 2-0 heading into the matchup having already beaten an FBS opponent this season.
Andy: I’ll have to agree with Robert -- Saquon Barkley tore up the Rutgers defense on Saturday. For a team that can’t seem to get its supposedly tremendously talented quarterback to hit any receivers, Barkley is a saving grace for an otherwise troubled offense. What makes him even more impressive is that Barkley is performing at such a high level behind one of the worst offensive lines in college football.