Week three saw teams make statement wins and a few surprises. Here are my winners and losers:
- Clemson Tigers: Quarterback Kelly Bryant threw for 316 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for two touchdowns. Linebacker Dorian O’Daniel had a pick six as the Tigers dominated the Louisville Cardinals 47-21. I think people are starting to notice the defending champion Tigers now.
- Florida Gators: Quarterback Felepie Frank’s 63-yard Hail Mary to wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland as time expired helped the Gators defeat the Tennessee Volunteers 26-20. 37 points were scored in the fourth quarter, not an instant classic, but the last 15 minutes were.
- Vanderbilt Commodores: Quarterback Kyle Shurmur’s go-ahead touchdown run with 8:23 left in the game and defensive stops late helped Vandy stun the Kansas State Wildcats 14-7. This is their first win against a ranked non-conference opponent since 1946 (yes, you read that right). The Commodores have held their opponents to 13 total points so far, a great win for them and head coach Derek Mason. They’re 3-0 for the first time since 2011.
- Memphis Tigers: Quarterback Riley Ferguson threw for 398 yards and six touchdowns that helped the Tigers upset the UCLA Bruins 48-45. A great program building win for the Tigers and head coach Mike Norvell. The Tigers could be one of the non-Power Five teams vying for that New Year Six bowl bid.
- San Diego State Aztecs: After a 20-minute darkness delay, quarterback Christian Chapman’s 8-yard touchdown pass to tight end David Wells with 54 seconds left helped the Aztecs surprise the Stanford Cardinal 20-17. It’s the Aztecs third straight win against a Pac 12 team. At 3-0, they’re another non-Power Five team to look out for that’ll be vying for that New Year Six bowl bid.
- Northern Illinois Huskies: The Huskies had a pick six and running back Jordan Huff scored the go-ahead touchdown with less than nine minutes left as the Huskies shocked the Nebraska Cornhuskers 21-17. They’re the first non-Power Five team or major independent to win in Lincoln since 2004, they got a cool $820,000 to boot.
- Louisville Cardinals: The defense gave up 613 total yards and were 5 for 16 on third downs in their loss to Clemson.
- LSU Tigers: The Tigers just couldn’t get their offense going and their defense couldn’t stop Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who had four total touchdowns, as the Bulldogs dominated the Tigers 37-7.
- Tennessee Volunteers: Yes, the Vols gave up a last-second Hail Mary, but interceptions and missed field goals were the Vols’ undoing in their loss to Florida.
- Nebraska Cornhuskers: Quarterback Tanner Lee’s two early interceptions (one a pick six) put the Huskers in an early hole, they eventually lost to Northern Illinois. Athletic director Shawn Eichorst did give head coach Mike Riley, a vote of confidence, but he and other Husker fans and former players are frustrated.
- Kansas State Wildcats: Quarterback Jesse Ertz’s two interceptions and being only 4 for 16 on third downs stalled drives in their loss to Vandy.
- UCLA Bruins: The defense couldn’t slow down Memphis’ offense and some ill-advised passes by quarterback Josh Rosen cost the Bruins in their loss to Memphis.
- Stanford Cardinal: Quarterback Keller Chryst only had 72 passing yards in the Cardinal’s loss to San Diego State.
Storylines Going Into Week Four:
Utah goes to Arizona. Florida State hosts NC State. Texas Tech faces Houston. Texas A&M meets Arkansas. UCF faces Maryland. Alabama better be on upset alert at Vandy.
USC goes up north and plays California. Can TCU slow down Oklahoma State? Duke plays North Carolina (no this isn’t basketball season yet). Can Michigan get their offense together against a scrappy Purdue? SDSU plays Air Force.
Mississippi State meets Georgia. Penn State travels to Iowa. Florida plays Kentucky. Washington goes to Colorado. Arizona State hosts Oregon. UCLA goes to Stanford.
Heisman Trophy Finalists Include Joe Burrow, Justin fields, Jalen Hurts, Chase Young
The finalists for the Heisman Trophy have been unveiled and LSU quarterback Joe Burrow, Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts, and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields and defensive end Chase Young are headed to New York this weekend for the 85th edition of the award for the most outstanding college football player.
The winner will be announced on Saturday night during a ceremony that kicks off at 8pm est on ESPN.
“In my opinion, he should win it,” LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said, according to ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura. “In my opinion, he’s going to win it. The best thing about Joe is he’s a team player. All he wants to do is win this game. Individual awards are not high on his list. That’s what makes him such a great team player.”
While Burrow may have the most momentum heading into the ceremony, and is the likely number 1 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, Young is the first Ohio State defensive player to finish in the top four in Heisman voting, and Young is the first defensive player from the Big Ten to do so since Michigan’s Charles Woodson won the award all the back in 1997.
Young led the nation with 16.5 sacks and in tackles for loss per game with 1.9.
Additionally, Ohio State is the seventh school to have multiple players invited to the Heisman ceremony in the same year, but the first to have both an offensive player and a defensive player.
Rutgers Brings Back Greg Schiano with Eight-Year, $32 Million Deal
Rutgers is bringing back Greg Schiano as their head coach following a lengthy negotiation process that has led to an eight-year, $32 million deal, according to ESPN.
“Today we open the next great chapter for Rutgers Football,” Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs said. “Coach Schiano is absolutely the best person to lead our program. He brings a quality of leadership and integrity that will make all of us proud in the years ahead. I couldn’t be more excited for our student-athletes and our fans.
“A lot of hard work lies ahead, but we will all keep chopping together with Coach to achieve success in the Big Ten. We all know what the goal is and we all must do our part. I can’t express enough appreciation to Greg and Christy Schiano, the first family of Rutgers Football. Welcome back!”
Schiano went 68-67 from 2001-2011 as Rutgers head coach.
“Rutgers University and this football program have meant the world to me and my family,” Schiano said in a statement put out by the school. “I arrived here in 2000 with the goal to build a program that would be a source of pride for the state of New Jersey and develop great young men. I look forward to embracing that challenge once again. This is a great opportunity for all of Rutgers to pull together to get us back to where we all know we belong. It will take everyone on this campus and in the State of Rutgers to get this done.”
Schiano left Rutgers in 2012 to become the head coach of the Tamp Bay Buccaneers, in a tenure that lasted just two years.
“I commend Rutgers Athletics Director Pat Hobbs and Coach Schiano for reaching an agreement following very complex negotiations to bring on this new, exciting chapter for Rutgers Athletics,” Rutgers President Robert Barchi said. “We are all thrilled to welcome Coach Schiano. He is the right coach at the right time to build our Big Ten football program into a long-running source of pride for Rutgers.”
Ole Miss Fires Matt Luke
Ole Miss is moving on from head coach Matt Luke, who was fired on Sunday following three seasons at the helm of the Rebels.
“After evaluating the overall trajectory of our football program, we did not see enough momentum on the field and determined a change is necessary in order for our student-athletes to compete at the highest level” Athletics director Keith Carter said in an official statement.
“While improvements were evident in certain aspects of the program, we are judged ultimately by our record, and, unfortunately, we did not meet the standard of success that we expect from our program. We will always be grateful to Coach Luke for his leadership, particularly from a recruiting, academic and overall culture standpoint. At the same time, winning is important, and we know that we can compete for championships at Ole Miss.
“A search is underway to find a new head coach who can build a complete program that attracts top talent, develops them as young men and sustains a winning mentality. We will be looking for the leadership, energy and commitment to excellence necessary to compete in the Southeastern Conference and galvanize our passionate fan base.”
Luke compiled a 15-21 record during his tenure at Ole Miss.
According to the Clarion Ledger’s Nick Suss, the firing of Luke was not well-received by some of the players, with some storming out of the team meeting angry over the decision.
Many are speculating that the Egg Bowl was what set the firing in motion. However, it is worth noting that attendance was becoming an issue in the midst of a losing season, and with a new athletic director in the fold, change was likely coming sooner or later.
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