College Football: What We Learned In Week Three
Week Three of the 2017 college football season has come and gone, and what we thought was going to be a ho-hum Saturday turned out to be a bit more exciting. We had the Hail Mary ending at The Swamp, one Heisman front-runner goes down and new Heisman front-runners arise, some close calls for top programs, and of course, upsets upsets…UPSETS. I look into these angles as I discuss the top takeaways from college football in Week Three.
1. Hail Mary In The Swamp
For three quarters, it didn’t look like much a game between the Florida Gators and Tennessee Volunteers. However, in the fourth quarter, all hell broke loose, and the game became a barn burner. Tennessee clawed its way back from a ten point deficit, and with 45 seconds left, it seemed the game would go to overtime. That’s when Gators’ freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks put his mark on school history with an epic 63-yard Hail Mary to win as time expired. It was a crazy finish that will resonate with both programs for the rest of the season, and then some.
2. Lamar Jackson Falters, Oklahoma Quarterbacks Rise
Last year’s Heisman Trophy winner, Louisville Cardinals quarterback Lamar Jackson, had a frustrating night against Clemson. He couldn’t make the plays with his arm or legs, as he seemed overwhelmed by the Tiger’s ferocious defense. Meanwhille, Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfleld and Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Mason Rudolph have both moved to the front of the line, with outstanding performances. Mayfield finished with 331 yards and four touchdowns on 17-of-27 passing, while Rudolph had 423 yards and five touchdowns on 20-of-28 passing. Look for their Bedlam match-up in November to be a possible tiebreaker.
3. Top Programs Barely Escape With Wins
Normally, when you schedule certain games against inferior opposition, one would expect a cake walk. However, that was not the case for some top teams yesterday. The Michigan Wolverines underwhelmed in their victory against Air Force, especially quarterback Wilson Speight, who may be the anchor that drags them down. The Auburn Tigers were extremely sloppy in their victory over Mercer college, not a good look that needed to impress after their blowout loss to Clemson last week. Lastly, South Florida’s offense, once again, struggled to get much going early in their game against Illinois, before showing their true might in the second half.
4. Upsets, Upsets and More Upsets
Of course, what wouldn’t be like college football to have some pretty big upsets. You had the Memphis Tigers defeat the UCLA Bruins, as Josh Rosen made two critical errors towards the end of the game. It also doesn’t help that head coach Jim Mora has botched the building of the team around Rosen. You had the once mighty LSU Tigers get steamrolled in Starkville by Mississippi State. It looks like the Bulldogs provided a blueprint for other teams on how to play LSU for the rest of the season.
5. Nebraska Pays $820,000….To Be Embarrased
Finally, you had another MAC-B1G upset, as Northern Illinois defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers in Lincoln. It is now evident that head coach Mike Riley is on the hot seat. Quarterback Tanner Lee threw three interceptions, including two returned for touchdowns in the first half, and is now in danger of getting benched. The defeat was so bad, that even the AD couldn’t hold back in his frustration – “I’m angry, I’m frustrated, I’m disappointed”. Let that sink in.