Winners and Losers from College Football’s Week 3

If you entered Week 3 as either a Heisman favorite or a highly-mentioned quarterback, then chances are you left unscathed. The top stars and quarterbacks, for instance, Baker Mayfield, Lamar Jackson, Saquon Barkley, Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold all provided reputable showings this week.

Further more, several fourth quarters of certain SEC and Pac 12 showdowns carried enough excitement to last an entire afternoon.

Here are the rest of Week 3’s winners and losers.

*Since this is a weekly segment, the previous week’s winners and losers can be found here.

Winners

Florida Gators: No one is going to confuse the Gators as a formidable bunch just yet. However, Florida’s offense is showing signs of progress…somewhat. It might have come 115 minutes into the season, but Florida finally registered its first offensive touchdown of 2017, which came on a 5-yard TD pass from Feleipe Franks to Brandon Powell.

But what proved to be the Gators; most clutch play against rival Tennessee came in the waning seconds of regulation. After the Volunteers tied it in the final minute, Franks threw a 63-yard Hail Mary to win it.

This win came as a sigh of relief for Florida, who needed this more than anyone. Two weeks after losing a season opener for the first time in 28 years to Michigan, the Gators entered this game facing the possibility of starting 0-2 for the first time since 1971. Fortunately, that streak lives on for another year.

Oklahoma State Cowboys: Oklahoma State extended their streak of games with an opening-score drive to seven during their manhandling of Pitt, 59-21. In addition, the Cowboys became the third FBS team this season to score 49 points in a half. With that in mind, it’s time to move Rudolph into the topmost tier — and that’s whether you’re talking about pro potential or Saturday afternoon explosiveness. Also, it might be time to do the same with the No. 8-ranked Cowboys.

Rudolph’s stat line on Saturday was magnificent, completing 26 of 37 passes for 497 yards and 5 TDs. In total, Rudolph has thrown for 1,135 yards (3rd most in FBS), 11 TDs, while holding down a QBR of 198 so far in 2017.

More difficult challenges await for Rudolph and Oklahoma State. TCU visits Stillwater next week. Plus, a trip to West Virginia in late October could be very interesting. Oklahoma State’s offensive line might be an issue, and the defense remains a perennial program question until proven otherwise. But given how good this offense has been, it’s possible we’re headed toward a Nov. 4 Bedlam showdown with No. 3 Oklahoma — and perhaps a rematch a few weeks later in the Big 12 championship game — and that either or both matchups could have serious College Football Playoff implications.

Clemson Tigers: Clemson squashed all of the hype surrounding Louisville and quarterback Lamar Jackson’s Heisman run on Saturday night. Despite the final box score indicating Louisville rattled off 433 yards and 21 points against the Tigers, Clemson’s defense did just about everything right to make Jackson uncomfortable in the pocket. The Tigers’ pass rush, which was primarily led by linebacker Dorian O’Daniel, swallowed up the Cardinals’ offensive line; recording four sacks, adding to their FBS-leading 15 this season.

On defense alone, Clemson is playoff material. However, questions arose yesterday whether or not the Tigers’ offense was on the same pedestal. In his first true road test of the season, quarterback Kelly Bryant answered those questions, throwing for 316 yards and three total touchdowns. In addition, Clemson also was able to work in an efficient run game, rushing for a total of 297 yards (6.2 yards per rush). If Bryant and the rest of Clemson’s offense can ever catch up to its powerful defense in the future, there’s a case to be made that Clemson is the favorite for another national championship.

Losers

Kansas Jayhawks: Oh, Kansas. Despite the on-field results, there was offseason optimism that David Beaty was gradually rebuilding Kansas’ football program and that it would become at least competitive in the Big 12. But after a 42-30 loss at Ohio, it appears that the Jayhawks are not even competitive in the MAC (they’d lost to Central Michigan last week) — and under Beaty, they’re 3-24 and still have only one win over an FBS opponent.

If there’s a GIF that resembles all the troubles Kansas is currently facing, it would be when all five of the Jayhawks’ offensive lineman failed to block for quarterback Peyton Bender at the start of the 2nd quarter.

To make matters worse, Kansas has now lost 42 consecutive road games, two away from tying the all-time road losing streak set by Western State from 1926-1936.

UCLA Bruins: A tip for any west coast athletic director: When you schedule games in the eastern time zone – include some sort of stipulation requiring the game to kick off no earlier than noon in your own time zone. Let’s be clear: the 9 a.m. Pacific kickoff wasn’t why the Bruins fell to Memphis — that can be attributed to a porous defense — but it didn’t help.

But back to that defense, or lack thereof. UCLA brought back shades of their Week 1 display when Texas A&M grabbed that 42-14 lead before the Josh Rosen Show took its course. The Bruins surrendered 559 yards of offense to Memphis this week in a 48-45 loss. Tigers’ QB Riley Ferguson slung it all over the field – racking up 398 yards and six TDs.

For UCLA, it was also their third consecutive game in which they’ve allowed 150+ rushing yards. At least their quarterback Josh Rosen performed well in his first road test of 2017, completing 34 of 56 passes for 463 yards and two scores, Rosen did throw a costly pick-six in the third quarter though.

Missouri Tigers:  Year 2 under Barry Odom was supposed to be different, but so far it has been anything but that. Getting manhandled by South Carolina last week was one thing, but to then get steamrolled by Purdue again at home? This is not the kind of change anyone had in mind.

Odom already fired a defensive coordinator who wasn’t calling defensive plays (Odom had already taken over those duties). So, to add fuel to the fire, what does Odom’s defense do against Purdue? Promptly allow 477 yards of total offense and nearly six yards per play.

Missouri’s offense didn’t prove its worth at all either, manufacturing only 203 total yards, 10 first downs and three points against the 93rd best total defense in the nation.

Week 3’s Top Performers

Passing

  • QB Nic Shimonek, Texas Tech: 37/50, 543 yards, 6 TDs against Arizona State
  • QB Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State: 23/32, 497 yards, 5 TDs against Pitt
  • QB Josh Rosen, UCLA: 34/56, 463 yards, 4 TDs

Rushing

  • RB Josh Adams, Notre Dame: 18 carries, 229 yards against Boston College
  • RB Ito Smith, Souther Miss: 27 carries, 219 yards, 1 TD against ULM
  • QB Brandon Wimbush, Notre Dame: 21 carries, 207 yards, 4 TDs against Boston College

Receiving

  • WR Tavares Martin, Washington State: 10 receptions, 194 yards, 3 TDs against Oregon State
  • WR Collin Johnson, Texas: 7 receptions, 191 yards against USC
  • WR Cam Phillips, Virginia Tech: 14 receptions, 189 yards, 3 TDs against East Carolina

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