Week 3 in college football is when we begin to get a picture of how the season will play out. Teams tend to confirm or disprove the initial takes we had on them. While everything stayed much the same between the heavy favourites there was still plenty of excitement on Saturday. Here’s the Inside Zone’s weekly roundup.
No change at the top
Divisional matchups come thick and fast now and consensus no.1 Alabama faced Ole Miss. It was billed as a true test of the new look Bama defense and they passed it with ease. Roaming safety Deionte Thompson and junior Trevon Diggs were excellent in stymieing the Rebels receiving threats AJ Brown and D.K. Metcalf. The final score of 62-7 could have been worse but Bama went to their third stringers as early as the third quarter.
Rightly or wrongly, Urban Meyer returns to the sidelines next week at Ohio State. He will be pleased with the job stand-in Ryan Day has done. They handled their first real test of the year with aplomb defeating TCU 40-28. Two big defensive plays, a strip sack from Nick Bosa and surprising pick six from lineman Dremont Jones were key to the victory. QB Dwayne Haskins had another strong night, so much so, the redshirt junior is now being talked as 2019 Draft material. The one concern was Bosa leaving the game with a groin strain early in the third.
It’s not often that the starting QB at a college is paid the same as his head coach but that’s the case at Oklahoma. Kyler Murray was drafted ninth overall in the MLB draft by the Oakland A’s. His signing bonus of $4.8 million nearly matches the annual salary of coach Lincoln Riley. Murray might add a Heisman trophy to his haul before starting his baseball career. He passed for 3 TD’s and rushed for 77 yards as the Sooners beat Iowa State.
A familiar name helped Georgia overcome Middle Tennessee. Elijah Holyfield, son of former heavyweight boxer Evander, rushed for 100 yards. The bevy of rushing options at Georgia meant QB Jake Fromm took a back seat. Elsewhere, Clemson’s QB battle raged on in a 38-7 win over Georgia Southern. Kelly Bryant still starts but the offense is sparked by freshman Trevor Lawrence. The upstart hasn’t ousted the veteran yet but the feeling is it won’t be long.
Is it all but over?
Auburn’s last minute 21-20 loss to LSU puts pressure on their playoff chances. With Texas A & M, Georgia and Alabama to play, this slip could be one too many. LSU’s defense has been one of the strongest in the country. The unit is led by hard-hitting backer Devin White and crazy talented sophomore safety Grant Delpit. Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham has been some analysts QB1 but a lackluster showing here won’t have impressed pro scouts.
Wisconsin were downed at home by BYU in the shock result of the day. The Badgers were put to the sword by running back Squally Canada and the wildly cheering Mama Canada. A loss like this all but seals the fate of a top team in terms of reaching the four team playoff. Notre Dame remain unbeaten but struggling to beat out Ball State in Week 2 and a narrow win over Vanderbilt this week is reason for concern. Vandy couldn’t get out of their own way in this battle and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Fighting Irish were subject of a defeat at the hands of an underdog soon.
Boise State were the last chance for a non-power 5 team to make the playoffs. They were beginning to make waves and the scalp of Oklahoma State would have increased the buzz. However, two blocked punts, one taken back to the house were enough to ensure the selection committee shouldn’t have a similar dilemma as last year’s UCF kerfuffle.
Pac-12 Washington still have an outside shot of the playoffs after their first week loss. Miles Gaskin was back at his best at running back with 143 yards and a TD as they beat divisional rivals Utah. Penn State’s Trace McSorley, is not built like an NFL QB but makes a hell of a college QB. Where have we heard that before? He undid Kent State with his feet, 3 rushing TD’s and 2 through the air as he continued to be a Heisman contender.
The 2006 Rose Bowl was one of the most iconic college football games ever. Saturday’s, USC v Texas was a much more low key affair. The Longhorns finally saw the best of QB Sam Ehlinger as they ran out 37-14 winners. Willie Taggart is in a mess at Florida State. After a shambolic tight win over Samford (not Stanford) it was barely a surprise they lost to Syracuse 30-7. The offensive line was so porous that QB Deondre Francois refused a lineman’s hand after one of multiple sacks. Scott Frost is another coach having trouble at a new team. His Nebraska were outworked by Troy leaving them 0-2 with a cancelled game opening their season. The pressure remains on for Frost, who was in charge of the unofficial National Champions UCF in 2017.