Top 25 Showdowns, Big Upsets Highlight Week 3 in College Football
It was a wild week in college football, with some crazy performances and wild upsets. Here are the key takeaways from Week 3.
Alabama Gets Some Payback and Is Still the Team to Beat
Only two teams in history can say they’ve beaten Nick Saban three straight times, but the No. 1 Crimson Tide made sure No. 19 Ole Miss wouldn’t be the third.
It didn’t look that way early as the Crimson Tide fell behind by three touchdowns in the second quarter. Alabama rallied to take a big lead, but then had to sweat out a late Rebel rally that fell just short and the Tide emerged with a 48-43 victory. The Crimson Tide ground game emerged as a strength, with sophomore running back Damien Harris rushing for 144 yards and a score while freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts became the first Alabama quarterback since 2001 to rush for 100+ yards (146 on the day). But the offense also needed help and got it in the form of two defensive touchdowns and a punt return score.
Ole Miss jumped out to a 24-3 lead but, just as it did in Week One against Florida State, let off the gas and watched as Alabama went on a 45-6 run. The Rebels threatened late with two touchdowns (thanks to a recovered onside kick) in an eight-second span with under three minutes to play. But it proved to be too little, too late. Quarterback Chad Kelly continued his hot/cold play, throwing for 421 yards and three touchdowns, but throwing a pick and fumbling, both of which were returned for Alabama touchdowns.
Louisville Will Go as Far as Lamar Jackson Can Carry Them
The Lamar Jackson Heisman train has hit full speed ahead as the sophomore quarterback continued adding big numbers and highlight-reel plays in leading the No. 10 Cardinals to a 63-20 blowout of No. 2 Florida State. It was the third-largest margin of defeat ever by a Top Three team and the 63 points was the most ever given up by the Seminoles.
Jackson was a one-man wrecking crew for the Cardinals, accounting for 362 yards and five touchdowns (four rushing) while adding a couple more clips for his Heisman highlight reel.
Jackson is now second in the nation in rushing, scoring and total offense and has, more importantly, put Louisville very squarely in the championship hunt. With Florida State already in the rearview mirror and Clemson still ahead, as long as he stays healthy the Cardinals are looking like legitimate ACC and playoff contenders.
Youth is Served at Ohio State
Coming into this season, No. 3 Ohio State had fewer returning starters (6) than any team in the country. So many thought this could be a down or rebuilding year for Urban Meyer’s squad. But apparently the Buckeyes didn’t get that memo.
Ohio State jumped out to an early 14-0 lead at No. 14 Oklahoma and never looked back en route to a 45-24 drubbing of the Sooners. Oklahoma had no answers for an Ohio State rushing attack that rushed for 291 yards on 6.1 yards per carry. That run set up four receiving touchdowns by Buckeye receiver Noah Brown, including this heavy favorite for catch of the year.
The Buckeyes start conference play next week and have a tough matchup on Oct. 15 at Wisconsin. But they should be solid favorites in every game leading up to a season-ending matchup with No. 4 Michigan, a game that very well could determine a CFB playoff spot.
Big 12, We Hardly Knew Ye
It only took three weeks for the Big 12 to tap out of the national title fight. Oklahoma, the conference team with the best championship resume coming in, already has two double-digit losses. Texas jumped all the way to No. 11 after beating Notre Dame, but the Longhorns fell at Cal. TCU, a dark-horse preseason playoff pick, and Oklahoma State both fell out of the AP poll after losses.
Only No. 21 Baylor and West Virginia remain unbeaten and it’s difficult to see either of them running the table. While strange things can happen in college football, it would take some out-of-this-world intervention to get the Big 12 back into the championship hunt.
Don’t Mess With the FCS
While Appalachian State isn’t in the FCS anymore (although they might wish they were after yesterday’s 45-10 home loss to No. 25 Miami), the small schools showed they can still play with the big boys. North Dakota State, the five-time defending FCS champions, went on the road and scored nine unanswered points in the final four minutes to come from behind and knock off No. 13 Iowa. But don’t call it an upset—the Bison have now won six straight over FBS opponents.
Hold On to the @#$% Ball!
OK, I’m not one of those crotchety old guys who doesn’t want football players to celebrate. But is it too much to ask that they actually finish the play before they do it?!
Last week, Clemson’s Ray-Ray McCloud cost his team a touchdown when he flipped the ball out of his hand on a would-be 74-yard punt return touchdown before he crossed the goal line. This week, it happened again—twice!
Oklahoma’s Joe Mixon was credited with a 97-yard kickoff return touchdown even through replay showed he clearly lost the ball before crossing the goal line (the play was not reviewed—which seems to be a recurring theme regarding video of Mixon).
And Cal running back Vic Enwere lost the ball at the one-yard line while showboating on what would have been an icing touchdown against Texas. Luckily for the Bears, the officials ruled that there was no immediate recovery, so the Bears kept possession at the one-yard line and ran out the clock.
Fortunately for Mixon and Enwere, their boneheaded moves didn’t change the outcome of the game and were overshadowed by an even dumber move this weekend, when South Carolina State kick returner Ahmaad Harris literally forgot to take a knee on a touchback.
I don’t expect players to always do everything right. But is it too much to ask that they know--and follow--the most basic rules of the game?