A wild weekend of football is in the books. Here are my thoughts from this weekend’s slate of games. Photo courtesy – Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
There always seems to be that one weekend of the college football season where the unexpected seems to rule the day. That’s basically what took place this past weekend. While most of the Top 25 dominated their opposition, there were other games that seemed to get the attention of everyone nationally. It all started on a wild Friday the 13th in the suburbs of Boston.
There were three games on Friday night that really got the weekend wackiness started. North Carolina nearly completed a comeback against Wake Forest (in a conference match-up that wasn’t a conference match-up for some reason). Washington State was able to out duel Houston in Houston. But the one thing no one saw coming was Kansas beating Boston College on the road. Prior to Friday, Kansas had not beaten a Power 5 school on the road since 2008! Kansas didn’t just win, they dominated Boston College. Carter Stanley, quarterback for the Jayhawks, had a great game, but it was the Jayhawks ground attack that really sparked the offense has they rushed for 330 yards and three scores. Coincidentally, the Jayhawks scored 48 points on the night they broke their 48 game road losing streak. Freaky occurrence on Friday the 13th.
The craziness didn’t stop on Friday though. Saturday saw a mixture of both the expected and unexpected. As for the expected, the overwhelming majority of Top 25 teams won and won big over their opposition. #1 Clemson had a dominating performance over Syracuse in the Carrier Dome. The Tigers offense got off to a great start, sputtered, then ended the game strongly. Trevor Lawrence continues to looks shaky early on this season as he threw a pair of interceptions, bringing his total to five through three games. He did throw for a career high 395 yards though. Clemson’s defense is what has been so impressive. After giving up 14 in the opener to Georgia Tech, the Tiger’s defense has effectively shut opposing offenses down. Syracuse QB Tommy DeVito was running for his life on Saturday night as the Tigers sacked him 8 times in the game. Many wondered about Clemson’s defense coming into the year. I think so far, Brent Venables and those guys are showing they are still one of the best in the country.
South Carolina played a good first half against Alabama. Had it not been for some mental mistakes and penalties, South Carolina could have even taken the lead at one point. The second half was a different story, as the Tide came out and curb stomped South Carolina on their way to a 47-23 win. Two takeaways from this game. One, Alabama’s defense is still good, but they aren’t nearly the caliber that they are used to. Two, South Carolina will be a sneaky, dark-horse in the SEC East with Ryan Hilinski at quarterback. The kid can play and he played a really good game against that ‘Bama defense. He’ll be a headache for a lot of teams for the next few years. Honestly now, as a Clemson fan, South Carolina sort of scares me. That game at the end of the year might be closer than we would expect.
No surprises this week as Georgia, LSU, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Auburn, Oregon and Boise State all rolled over their opposition. Virginia struggled at home against Florida State, but not surprisingly, the Noles found a way to choke the game away. In the Cy-Hawk Trophy game between Iowa and Iowa State, two weather delays and some late game dramatics saw a similar result to years past, Iowa State finding a way to lose against their in-state rival. This time it was a muffed punt with under two minutes to go that sealed the Cyclones fate. Iowa has now won five in a row in the rivalry.
There were a number of surprising results in the FBS on Saturday. For instance, Maryland, a team that scored 79 and 63 in their first two games, was held to a measly 17 points against Temple. The Terrapin’s offense had looked unstoppable in the first two games, but credit Temple for taking down the #21 Maryland team. Colorado beat Nebraska a week ago and followed that up by losing at home to the Air Force Academy in overtime. Michigan State lost a snoozer in East Lansing to Arizona State 10-7. And Idaho, a program that only had two winning seasons as a FBS school, almost beat Wyoming, who two weeks ago beat Missouri at home.
The biggest surprises to me came in the SoCon. Furman blew yet another halftime lead over a FBS opponent, losing to Virginia Tech 24-17. I will say this, Furman is still a really good team and you could tell in both loses that depth was a big issue. Virginia Tech has a very tough, very physical defense and made if very hard for Furman to move the ball. I didn’t think Furman would win, but I also didn’t see them blowing the 14-3 lead in the second half either.
I picked The Citadel to beat Georgia Tech, but deep down, I didn’t think they’d actually do it. And in actuality, they should have lost if not for a bad coaching decision by Georgia Tech at the end of regulation. The Yellowjackets scored the game winning touchdown, but Geoff Collins called a timeout prior to the ball being snapped. They would go on to lose to The Citadel in overtime. At this point in the year, I think The Citadel and Furman are the two best teams in the conference, but we still have a long way to go in the season. A lot can still happen.
The most shocking results in SoCon games this weekend came from home teams as three of the four teams playing at home lost. Western Carolina was the only team to squeak out a win, and squeak out a win they did against D-II program North Greenville. Mercer, Wofford and ETSU all lost at home as the favorites. Bizarrely, Wofford lost a game in which they had the ball for 20 more minutes than Samford, ran more plays than Samford and didn’t turn the ball over. 2019 has been head scratching for the Terriers thus far. VMI broke their conference & D-I losing streaks by beating ETSU on the road in overtime. It was the first win over a D-I school (either FBS or FCS), first conference win and first road win for the Keydets since 2016.
The 2019 college season has been anything but dull early on. And if Week 3 is any sign for the rest of the year, it is definitely going to be a wild ride both in the FBS and at the FCS level (especially in the SoCon). Looking forward to a great week next week.
Let me know what your biggest takeaways/surprises were in Week 3. Like and follow us on Twitter and on Facebook. Check out the Week 3 Sunday Recap show on soundcloud.com @ The Spread w/ Cameron Tarrant.