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.