There weren’t quite as many upsets through Saturday’s games in week three, yet it was still a slate packed full of action.
For a long time on Saturday evening Notre Dame were written into the losers column, as were UCLA and a number of other teams who just managed to turn close games into wins against inferior opponents.
The best thing about watching college football in the UK is that the action is still ongoing when you wake up at 6.30 on a Sunday morning. This week that was just in time to watch the end of the Arizona State game…
The Terrapins have started the season quietly and effectively, picking up three wins against three teams that could easily have prevented a real challenge for some of their lesser conference rivals.
SMU were in the US capital to provide Saturday’s opposition, bringing with them the talented Tanner Mordecai and an offense that is incredibly fun to watch. The Mustangs went back and forth with the home team, but Mordecai was nowhere near as careful with the football as his opposite number Taulia Tagovailoa. Dante Trader and Beau Brader picked off the SMU QB, and Ahmad McCullough recovered two fumbles to help Maryland on their way to a 34-27 win.
That’s not to say that the Terrapins don’t have issues of their own to overcome. A stop-start game saw them commit 15 penalties, much to Mike Locksley’s annoyance. However, Tagovailoa and his talented supporting cast got on with the job regardless, putting up 439 yards of offense and winning the turnover battle to pick up their third win of the season.
A very difficult trip to Ann Arbor is up next weekend, but so far so good for the Terps.
When the world saw the Georgia Bulldogs bulldoze through Oregon in week one, there were questions about the Ducks and how successful they’d be under a new coaching staff in 2022.
Well, in the two games since their opening day defeat, Dan Lanning’s men have flipped the narrative. Playing a ranked team in BYU on Saturday, Oregon looked dominant as they piled on the points through the first three quarters in a 41-20 win that was never in question.
Veterans of the Box Nix experience are well aware of the peaks and troughs that are associated with his game. Against the Cougars, he looked every bit the leader of a well polished offense as he put the ball in tight windows and hit his targets consistently all game long. With the score at 17-7, he hit Terrance Ferguson where only he could grab it over the middle of the field, and from that point onwards it was easy sailing for the Ducks.
The Oregon defense also deserves a shoutout, they managed to limit Jaren Hall to just 19 yards on the ground and the entire BYU offense only managed 61 total yards of rushing. An impressive feat which will no doubt see the Ducks bounce up the rankings this week.
Long term Iowa State QB, Brock Purdy, was entrenched as the starter in Ames for four years. The man that followed him was always going to have a tough task given Purdy’s consistency and the number of games he helped the Cyclones to.
Step forward Hunter Dekkers, Purdy’s backup for the last two years. Through the first three games of the season the former four-star recruit has been impressive. Against Southeast Missouri and on Saturday against Ohio, Dekkers has completed more than 77% of his passes for seven scores and only one interception. He did throw two picks against Iowa, but he still led his team for the winning touchdown in a real battle of attrition.
A 3-0 start and an impressive connection with star receiver, Xavier Hutchinson, is certainly not a bad way to endear yourself to the Cyclones’ faithful.
The comments underneath the final score graphic on Arizona State’s Twitter page were strangely positive following their defeat to Eastern Michigan on Saturday. A lot of the comments simply praised the way that Eagles played, but some were delighted that the 30-21 defeat may spell the end of Herm Edwards’ time as Head Coach of the Sun Devils.
Eastern Michigan scored on four of their five opening drives and never trailed against their PAC-12 opponents. It’s a damning indictment of Arizona State that, even with talented transfers such as Emory Jones, they couldn’t keep up with the Eagles.
Edwards now holds a 26-20 win-loss record with the Sun Devils, but with one anonymous coach calling ASU the ‘biggest dumpster fire’ in college football during the offseason, the writing might now be on the wall.
With all the optimism around the Miami Hurricanes this offseason, a matchup with a Texas A&M team that had just dropped a game to App State felt like a huge opportunity to make a statement.
Unfortunately, the Hurricanes couldn’t get the job done in College State. A series of drops and 50/50 passes by Tyler Van Dyke didn’t help Mario Cristobal’s team as they struggled to cope with a strong A&M defense. Nothing could have summed that up more than the final play for the Hurricanes on offense where Van Dyke threw a nice ball right into the outstretched hands of his receiver, only for the ball to hit the floor.
For what it’s worth, the Miami defense did well to limit Texas A&M and Max Johnson in his first start for the Aggies. Three sacks, six tackles for a loss and another three QB hurries show that the ‘Canes defense got to Johnson early and often, but it wasn’t enough to come away with the win.
With Clemson looking dominant early in the season, a loss like this will hit Miami hard.
It seems like yesterday that Northwestern were picking up the plaudits for a good opening day victory against Nebraska in Dublin. Since then they’ve dropped two games, first to Duke and on Saturday to Southern Illinois.
The Wildcats turned the ball over a lot in the defeat, with Ryan Hillinksi throwing two interceptions and fumbling to sum up his difficult day against the Salukis. By contrast, Southern Illinois looked assured, only turning the ball over once in a good performance after they dropped their first two games against Incarnate Word and Southeastern Missouri.
With Big Ten action about to get underway, this has been a very disappointing start for Northwestern as all the positivity from Dublin has ebbed away. They have one more opportunity to kick start their season against Miami (Ohio) next week, before games against Penn State and Wisconsin.
By Andy Moore (@ajmoore21)