It’s about that time to put up the preseason magazines now that college football has concluded week three. The third Saturday in September didn’t disappoint, with several upsets, statement wins and program-defining moments. Unknown players have emerged, newly hired coaches are now under fire and teams solidified themselves as contenders, while others were exposed as pretenders.
Notre Dame: The Irish put together a hard-fought game at home against a decent SEC team. Notre Dame controlled the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and rushed for 245 yards on offense and limited Vanderbilt to 94 yards on the ground. The Irish played smart ball and the offense had no turnovers. Junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush finished with 206 total yards, including 84 on the ground and a touchdown. Running back Tony Jones Jr. had 174 total yards. The Irish defense forced three turnovers and stopped the Commodores fourth quarter rally.
The ACC looked good overall in non-conference play, despite three games that were cancelled because of Hurricane threats. Conference play started for six teams and some surprised with their play, while others disappointed. Syracuse and Boston College have offensive firepower. Florida State is a complete mess at the moment. Clemson continues to dominate on defense and Duke is still undefeated after two consecutive road wins over Power 5 teams.
Boston College: The Eagles had themselves a shootout with the Demon Deacons and put up 524 total yards and 41 points for their conference opener. Sophomore signal-caller Anthony Brown threw for 384 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. AJ Dillon rushed for 185 yards and a score and Jeff Smith hauled in six catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns. Boston College defense had two interceptions and stopped Wake Forest late rally to get the hard-earned road win and remains undefeated on the season.
Clemson: The Tigers decided to start true freshman quarterback Trevor Lawrence and he threw for 194 yards, one touchdown and an interception. The offense racked up nearly 600 total yards, but turned the ball over three times, including two interceptions. True sophomore running back Travis Etienne rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns. True freshman wideout Justyn Ross caught three passes for 103 yards and a score. Clemson’s defense held Georgia Southern scoreless for the first three quarters.
Duke: The Blue Devils won their second straight road game against a Power 5 opponent to remain undefeated on the season. Freshman quarterback Quentin Harris threw for 174 yards and three touchdowns and also had 83 rush yards. Duke’s offense rumbled for 225 yards on the ground. The Blue Devils defense held the Bears scoreless in the first half and forced two turnovers.
Florida State: The Seminoles look confused on offense and was held scoreless for the first three quarters. Florida State could only put one touchdown on the scoreboard against Syracuse suspect defense. The offensive line looked horrible and the Seminoles were held to just 62 total yards on the ground. Deondre Francois threw for 178 yards and an interception. Florida State’s defense gave up 222 yards on the ground. Head Coach Willie Taggart told the media that he believes his team will be fine, but from the looks of their play on the field, the Seminoles have a very long way to go.
Georgia Tech: The Yellow Jackets started slow out of the gates and was held scoreless in the first half. TaQuon Marshall rushed for 103 yards and two touchdowns, but struggled to throw the ball. The offense had two costly turnovers and the team lost their conference opener and second straight game.
Louisville: The Cardinals struggled at home and were lucky to walk away with a win against a Sun Belt team. The offense had no passing attack, but did rush for 204 yards. Freshman quarterback Malik Cunningham finished with 217 total yards, including 129 on the ground. Louisville’s defense had an interception, but gave up 428 total yards to Western Kentucky.
Miami: The Hurricanes are finally starting to gel on offense with 473 total yards, including 268 on the ground. Senior quarterback Malik Rosier threw for 205 yards and two touchdowns to go along with 80 yards rushing and three scores. DeeJay Dallas rushed for 110 yards and a touchdown and true sophomore wideout Jeff Thomas caught five balls for 105 yards and a score. The Miami defense had an interception and the “Turnover Chain” surfaced and cornerback Trajan Bandy wore it around his neck.
Pittsburgh: The Panthers rebounded after getting blown out last week to rival Penn State. Pittsburgh struggled on offense, but the defense played well for most of the game with two turnovers and held the Yellow Jackets scoreless in the first half.
North Carolina: The Tar Heels game was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence.
NC State: The Wolfpack game was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence.
Syracuse: The Orange made a statement against the Seminoles and coach Dino Barbers has his boys humming on offense. Syracuse rushed for 222 yards and was up 23-0 before it gave up a touchdown to Florida State. Freshman quarterback Tommy DeVito threw for 144 yards and a touchdown. The Orange defense played their best game of the season and held the Seminoles scoreless for the first three quarters and just 62 yards on the ground.
Virginia: The Cavaliers racked up 552 total yards on offense, including 379 through the air. Junior quarterback Bryce Perkins threw for three touchdowns and no interceptions. Senior running back Jordan Ellis rushed for 171 yards and three scores. Senior wideout Olamide Zaccheaus hauled in nine passes for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Virginia’s defense forced two turnovers.
Virginia Tech: The Hokies game was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence.
Wake Forest: The Demon Deacons found themselves trading punches with the Eagles in an entertaining offensive shootout. Wake Forest offense racked up 512 total yards, including nearly 300 on the ground. Quarterback Sam Hartman threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns, but threw two costly interceptions. Senior running back Matt Colburn rushed for 117 yards and a score. Wake Forest defense gave up 524 total yards to Boston College and couldn’t get a stop at a crucial moment in the game that could’ve tied up the score before the end of regulation.
The entire conference took a hit last Saturday with Wisconsin, Maryland, Nebraska, Purdue and Northwestern all losing at home. Rutgers got annihilated at Kansas and Illinois couldn’t take care of business against South Florida in Chicago. There were some bright spots for the conference with Ohio State thumping a talented TCU team in Arlington. Michigan is starting to click on offense. Indiana, Penn State and Iowa blew out its non-conference foes to remain undefeated.
Indiana: The Hoosiers have been impressive on offense so far this season and racked up 457 total yards, including 255 on the ground. Sophomore quarterback Peyton Ramsey finished with 216 total yards and a rushing touchdown. Stevie Scott rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns. Indiana’s defense held Ball State scoreless in the second and fourth quarter to remain undefeated at 3-0.
Illinois: Illinois’ defense held South Florida scoreless in the second and third quarter, but the Bulls 18 points in the fourth proved to be too much to overcome. The Fighting Illini’s defense had two interceptions but still got steamrolled for 626 total yards, including 411 through the air. Backup freshman quarterback MJ Rivers threw for 168 yards and Mike Epstein rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown.
Iowa: Junior quarterback Nathan Stanley threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns, with an interception. Senior wideout Nick Easley caught ten balls for 103 yards and a score. The Hawkeyes were up 38-0 before letting Northern Iowa score a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Iowa’s offense racked 545 total yards, but turned the ball over twice. Iowa’s defense continues to be dominant and limited Northern Iowa to just six yards on the ground, forced two turnovers and held the Panthers scoreless for the first three quarters.
Maryland: Just when everyone started to believe in the Terrapins, they drop a home game to an average Temple team. The offense played horribly, threw two interceptions and was held scoreless in the first and third quarter. Anthony McFarland was the only bright spot for the offense and rushed for 107 yards.
Michigan: The Wolverines seem to have got it together finally on offense, finishing with 434 total yards, including 197 on the ground. Michigan’s defense gave up 20 points but did force a turnover. Quarterback Shea Patterson threw for 237 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.
Michigan State: Had a bye-week.
Minnesota: The Gophers defense dominated, with three turnovers, held the Red Hawks to 199 total yards, including 91 on the ground and scoreless in the first quarter and second half. Zack Annexstad threw for 142 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions. Bryce Williams rushed for 141 yards and Tyler Johnson caught nine passes for 133 yards and three touchdowns.
Nebraska: The Huskers are at a crossroads right now early in the season. Having a game cancelled due to inclement weather, then losing a nail-biter at home to Colorado is a tough pill to swallow. However, losing at home for the first time to a Sun Belt team isn’t sitting well with the Husker Faithful. Nebraska was slow out of the gates, had multiple turnovers and penalties and struggled throwing the ball with a backup quarterback. The Blackshirts played solid, but couldn’t get the crucial stops on when it needed to. The Huskers are now 0-2 for the first time since 1957 and have a to travel to the Big House this Saturday to face Michigan.
Northwestern: The Wildcats were up 21-3 before letting the Zips come back and steal the win. Northwestern’s offense racked up 491 total, including 405 through the air. Senior quarterback Clayson Thorson threw for 383 yards and three touchdowns, but had two costly interceptionans. Tight end Cam Green caught 11 balls for 125 yards and two scores. The Wildcats defense gave up 39 points and forced no turnovers and the team suffered their second straight loss at home.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes finally played a quality opponent in the non-conference and came out with an impressive win. Ohio State racked up 526 total yards on offense, including 344 through the air and scored 40 points. Sophomore quarterback Dwayne Haskins continues to impress with two touchdown passes and no interceptions. Running back J.K. Dobbins finished with 121 yards on the ground and the offense had no turnovers. Ohio State’s defense held TCU’s offense scoreless in the fourth quarter.
Penn State: The Nittany Lions dominated on both sides of the ball to get the blowout victory at home. Penn State’s offense racked up 643 total yards, including 297 on the ground. The Nittany Lions defense held Kent State to just four rush yards and scoreless in the second half. Senior quarterback Trace McSorley threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns, with one interception. Senior wideout DeAndre Thompkins caught four balls for 101 yards and a score.
Purdue: The Boilermakers played great on offense and found themselves in a shootout with the Tigers. The offense racked up 614 yards, including 572 through the air. Senior quarterback David Blough had three touchdown passes and an interception. Rondale Moore, Brycen Hopkins and Isaac Zico combined for 20 receptions, 373 yards and two touchdowns. 37 points wasn’t enough to get the win with Missouri finishing with 608 yards of total offense and Purdue dropped its third straight game at home.
Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights got flat-out embarrassed at Kansas. The defense allowed 544 total yards, including 400 on the ground and 55 points. Rutgers offense turned the ball over six times and was held scoreless in the second half. Raheem Blackshear was the lone bright spot for the offense with 102 rush yards.
Wisconsin: The Badgers injuries seem to have finally caught up with them, after losing at home to Brigham Young. The loss snapped Wisconsin’s 42-game win streak against non-conference opponents and 20-game win streak for the regular season. Quarterback Alex Hornibrook threw for 190 yards and an interception. Jonathan Taylor rushed for 117 yards but was held out of the endzone. Wisconsin’s defense gave up 191 yards on the ground and forced no turnovers.
The conference as a whole took a step in the right direction. Oklahoma won its conference opener, Oklahoma State, Texas and Texas Tech looked great against non-conference foes and Kansas got its first blowout win in a long time. TCU and Baylor came up short and lost their first game of the season but the league looks better from top to bottom.
Baylor: The Bears suffered their first loss of the season. Sophomore quarterback Charlie Brewer threw for 175 yards, but the Bears offense struggled with two turnovers and was held scoreless in the first half. Baylor’s defense gave up 225 yards on the ground and created no turnovers.
Iowa State: The Cyclones put up a fight against the mighty Sooners, but fell short and lost their second straight game to go 0-2 on the season. Iowa State’s offense racked up 447 yards, including 360 through the air. Sophomore quarterback Zeb Noland threw for two scores and an interception. Junior receiver Hakeem Butler caught five passes for 174 yards and two touchdowns. The Cyclones defense couldn’t find a way to slow down the Sooners offense and gave up 519 total yards.
Kansas: What a turnaround for Kansas this season, winning two straight games after dropping the season-opener to an FCS team. The Jayhawks lit up the scoreboard for 55 points and racked up 544 total yards on offense, including 400 on the ground. Freshman running back Pooka Williams Jr. finished with 158 rush yards and a touchdown. Kansas defense allowed only 14 points and held Rutgers offense scoreless the entire second half.
Kansas State: The Wildcats had a nice bounce back week and got a much needed comfortable win. Sophomore quarterback Skylar Thompson threw for 213 yards and two touchdowns. Junior wideout Isaiah Zuber hauled in seven passes for 144 yards and two scores. The Wildcat defense held Roadrunners offense scoreless in the second and third quarter.
Oklahoma: The Sooners opened up conference play on the road and rumbled for 519 yards of total offense. Kyler Murray continues to impress with 348 yards through the air and three touchdowns to go along with 77 yards on the ground. Junior wideout Marquise Brown caught nine passes for 191 yards and a score. Oklahoma’s defense had an interception and held Iowa State’s offense to 87 rush yards to remain undefeated.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys looked unstoppable on offense and finished with 422 total yards against a great Boise State defense. Quaterback Taylor Cornelius had 284 total yards and a touchdown. Running back Hill rushed for 123 yards and a score and Tylan Wallace hauled in five passes for 105 yards. Oklahoma State’s defense has been the biggest surprise of the season and limited Boise State offense to just 34 yards on the ground and scoreless in the first and fourth quarter.
TCU: The Horned Frogs showed speed on offense and racked up 511 total yards, including 308 through the air on the Buckeyes talented defense. Junior running back Darius Anderson rushed for 154 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore quarterback Shawn Robinson threw for 308 yards and touchdown, but was intercepted twice. The Horned Frogs offense struggled in the second half and were held scoreless in the fourth quarter
Texas: Tom Herman seems to finally have his team playing like they’re supposed to. True sophomore signal-caller Sam Ehlinger threw for 223 yards and two touchdowns. The Longhorns defense held the Trojans to just five yards rushing, picked off a pass and held the USC scoreless during the last three quarters.
Texas Tech: The Red Raiders got a much needed win for coach Kliff Kingsbury. Texas Tech looked impressive offensively in its shootout with Houston. The offense racked up 704 total yards, including 605 through the air and scored 63 points. Freshman quarterback Alan Bowman had five passing touchdowns, Ta’Zhawn Henry rushed for 111 yards and four scores and Antoine Wesley finished with 13 catches, 261 yards and three touchdowns. Texas Tech continues to struggle on defense after giving up 635 total yards and created no turnovers.
West Virginia: Game was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence.
The league had a great week in non-conference play. Washington State, Stanford, California, Colorado and Oregon remained unbeaten. Herm Edwards Sun Devils lost a close game and Kevin Sumlin Wildcats finally got their first win. Chip Kelly’s Bruins and Clay Helton’s Trojans need to find an answer on offense fast. Overall the conference looks stronger than it has from top to bottom in recent years.
Arizona: Sumlin finally got his first win of the season as the Wildcats coach, even if it had to come against an FCS opponent. The offense played a great game and racked up 626 total yards, including 268 on the ground and scored 63 points. Junior quarterback Khalil Tate threw for 349 yards and five touchdowns. Senior wideout Tony Ellison caught four passes foe 111 yards and a score. Arizona’s defense still needs work after surrendering 463 total yards to Southern Utah.
Arizona State: Edwards finally suffered his first loss, but his team showed heart in defeat. Arizona State’s defense allowed 440 total yards, including 311 on the ground. The Sun Devils offense played decent and was a dropped pass in the red zone from tying the game up. Arizona State struggled to run the ball and only ended up with 36 rush yards. Senior quarterback Manny Wilkins threw for 341 yards and two touchdowns. Freshman receiver Frank Darby caught five balls for 127 yards.
California: The Bears offense racked up 482 yards, including 213 on the ground and remained undefeated. Freshman signal-caller Chase Garbers threw for 224 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. The Bears defense played well in the secondary and only allowed 179 yards through the air.
Colorado: The Buffaloes continue to look good on offense and racked up 491 yards, including 311 on the ground and scored 45 points. Senior running back Travon McMillan rushed for 162 yards and two touchdowns. Colorado’s defense held New Hampshire’s offense to 42 rush yards, scoreless in first half and fourth quarter and forced three turnovers to remain undefeated.
Oregon: The Ducks continue to quack on offense, with 443 total yards, including 309 through the air. Junior quarterback Justin Herbert passed for 309 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions. Oregon’s defense held San Jose State’s offense to a mere 29 yards on the ground and had two interceptions.
Oregon State: Turnovers is what cost Oregon State a road win at Nevada and the Beavers committed three. Other than that Oregon State looked great on offense and racked up 540 total yards, including 459 through the air and scored 35 points. Senior quarterback Jake Luton passed for 284 yards and a touchdown, with a interception. Freshman running back Jermar Jefferson rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns. True sophomre wideout Isiah Hodgins caught 14 balls for 200 yards and two scores.
Stanford: The Cardinals had a pedestrian game on offense and racked up only 351 yards. Star running back Bryce Love didn’t play and Stanford had no 100-yard rusher. Sophomore quarterback K.J. Costello threw for 214 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions. Junior wideout JJ Arcega-Whiteside was limited to three catches, but two of them were scores. Stanford’s defense held UC-Davis to 10 points, 50 yards on the ground and scoreless in the second and third quarter.
UCLA: Fresno State came to the Rose Bowl and dog-walked UCLA. The Bruins offense was held to 270 total yards, four turnovers and scoreless in the first and fourth quarter. Freshman quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson threw two costly interceptions and the Bruins passing-attack struggler. UCLA’s defense allowed 426 total yards, including 270 through the air. Kelly clearly has his work cut out for him and UCLA is 0-3 for the first time since 1971.
USC: The Trojans continue to struggle offensively, especially on the ground with a mere five yards. and was held scoreless during the last three quarters. Freshman quarterback JT Daniels threw for 322 yards and an interception and feshman wideout Amon-Ra St. Brown caught nine passes for 167 yards. The pressure is on Helton now that the Trojans lost three of their last four games.
Utah: The Utes struggled offensively, especially in the passing game. Utah’s defense played well enough to win and held Washington scoreless in the fourth quarter. Head Coach Kyle Whittingham will have to go back to the drawing board and teach his offense how to stop turning the ball over.
Washington: The Huskies looked very good on defense as expected and held the Utes offense to 261 total yards, three turnovers and scoreless for the last three quarters. Senior running back Myles Garrett rushed for 143 yards and a touchdown and junior wideout Aaron Fuller had 108 receiving yards.
Washington State: Mike Leach continues to have his offense ahead of schedule and the Cougars racked up 565 total yards, including 524 through the air and scored 59 points. Senior signal-caller Gardner Minshew threw for 470 yards and two touchdowns. Sophomore wideout Davontavean Martin hauled in 13 balls for 149 yards and a score. Washington State’s defense held Eastern Washington scoreless in the first and fourth quarter.
The league looked very good as a whole. Besides Arkansas embarrassing loss to North Texas at home the conference looks the strongest in the country through week three. Alabama, Mississippi State, Missouri, Georgia, Kentucky and LSU all remain undefeated.
Alabama: The Crimson Tide continues to dominate and hammered Ole Miss from start to finish. The offense looked impressive on offense with 516 total yards, including 306 through the air and scored 63 points on the road. True sophomore signal-caller Tua Tagovailoa threw for 191 yards and two touchdowns. True sophomore wideout Jerry Jeudy caught three passes for 136 yards and two scores. The Rebels offense scored on its first drive but was held scoreless for the rest of the game, with 248 total yards and three turnovers.
Arkansas: The Razorbacks struggled to throw the ball and looked terrible for a second-straight week. Losing at home to North Texas left a black eye on the SEC. The offense had six interceptions and the defense gave up 44 points at home.
Auburn: Junior quarterback Jarrett Stidham had a rough game and had two turnovers. Freshman running back JaTarvious Whitlow rushed for 104 yards and a touchdown. Auburn’s defense played good enough to win, but wasn’t as dominant up front and didn’t force any turnovers.
Florida: The Gators had a nice bounce-back game. The offense rushed for 222 yards and the defense allowed only 73 rush yards, forced three turnovers and held Colorado State scoreless in the first and fourth quarter. Sophomore quarterback Feleipe Franks had two passing touchdowns and an interception.
Georgia: The Bulldogs looked good on both sides of the ball. The offense racked up 484 total yards, including 261 on the ground. True sophomore quarterback Jake Fromm threw for three touchdowns and junior running back Elijah Holyfield rushed for 100 yards. Georgia’s defense limited to Middle Tennessee State offense to 130 yards through the air, two turnovers and scoreless in the first quarter and second half.
Kentucky: The Wildcats didn’t have a hangover after the monumental upset over Florida last week. The offense racked up 528 total yards, including 245 on the ground, had no turnovers and scored 48 points. Sophomore quarterback Terry Wilson threw for 163 yards and had 80 rush yards and a score. The Wildcats defense held Murray State offense to 180 yards through the air and scoreless in the first and third quarter to remain undefeated.
LSU: The Bayou Bengals defense had two interceptions and held the Tigers scoreless in the first and fourth quarter and the team is 3-0. Junior signal-caller Joe Burrow continues to grow as a passer and threw for 249 yards and a touchdown.
Mississippi State: The Bulldogs racked up 607 yards of total offense, including 331 on the ground and scored 56 points. Senior signal-caller Nick Fitzgerald threw for 243 yards and two touchdowns and added 107 rush yards and four rushing scores. Senior running back Aeris Williams rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown. Mississippi State’s defense Louisiana-Lafayette to 65 rush yards and scoreless during the second and third quarter.
Missouri: The Tigers continues to look great on offense, with 608 total yards, including 375 through the air and scored 40 points on the road. Senior quarterback Drew Lock had three passing touchdowns and an interception. Sophomore running back Larry Roundtree rushed for 168 yards and receiver freshman receiver Jalen Knox caught five balls for 110 yards and a touchdown. Missouri remains undefeated, but face a big test with Georgia coming to Columbia for game four.
Ole Miss: The Rebels potent passing attack was shut down and held to 133 yards through the air. Ole Miss defense got steamrolled on the ground and torched through the air. Senior signal-caller Jordan Ta’amu threw two interceptions. Luckily Ole Miss gets a tune-up game against Kent State before its road clash at LSU.
South Carolina: Game was cancelled due to Hurricane Florence.
Tennessee: The Vols finally played a great game on defense, held UTEP’s offense to 134 total yards and pitched a shutout. Tennessee’s offense found it groove and piled up 512 total yards, including 345 on the ground. Sophomore quarterback Jarrett Guarantano threw for 168 yards and a touchdown. True sophomore running back Ty Chandler rushed for 158 yards and a score.
Texas A&M: The Aggies continue to look impressive on offense and racked up 530 total yards, including 280 on the ground and scored 48 points. True sophomore signal-caller Kellen Mond threw for 210 yards and a touchdown and added 67 yards on the ground and two rushing scores. Junior running back Trayveon Williams rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown.The Aggies defense held Louisian-Monroe’s offense to 328 total yards and scoreless in the second half. Texas A&M will open up conference play at Alabama for the team’s first road game.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores had a great showing on the road and took the Irish down to the wire. The offense racked up 420 yards, including 326 through the air, but struggled to run the ball. Senior quarterback Kyle Shurmur had touchdown pass and an interception and junior tight end Jared Pikney hauled in five passes for 111 yards and a score. Vanderbilt’s defense limited Notre Dame to 135 passing yards but 245 on the ground.