Clemson continues to show the heart of a champion. The Tigers didn’t even toy with Lamar Jackson and Louisville, destroying the Cardinals on the road. Kelly Bryant continues to shine at quarterback and led Clemson to over 600 total yards of offense against the beleaguered Louisville defense. Brent Venables’ ‘D’ was great at hemming in Jackson for most of the game, too, and neutralized his impact in the run game.
That was by far the most impressive win of the weekend, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Clemson vault to the top spot in the AP rankings because of it. Alabama wasn’t too impressive in its win over Colorado State, so Clemson should surpass the Tide.
Biggest Win of Week 3 – Oklahoma State 59, Pittsburgh 21
The Cowboys might have the most dangerous offense in college football. Oklahoma State lit up two Group of Five teams in its first two games, but the Pokes dismissed any notion that they were just feasting on cupcakes by dismantling Pittsburgh on the road this week. Mason Rudolph was phenomenal in the victory, leading the Cowboys to 49 first-half points and averaging a mind-boggling 16 yards per pass.
This might be the most complete Oklahoma State team we have seen. The defense was once again great and stout against Pittsburgh’s run game. There were holes in the secondary to be sure, but the Pokes only face a couple teams that are able to exploit that deficiency. They will face one of those teams next week in TCU.
Biggest Upset of Week 3 – Mississippi State 37, LSU 7
The Bulldogs will surely be ranked after completely dominating LSU at home on Saturday night. LSU couldn’t do anything right all night. The offense was ineffective as Danny Etling completed under 50 percent of his passes, and the ground game was stifled as well. Perhaps even more surprising was the play of the run defense, though. The Tigers were gashed for 285 yards and two scores on the ground, something that never happens against this defense.
It may be just the third game of the season, but the rumblings have already started about head coach Ed Orgeron. Coach O may be beloved by the players and much of LSU’s fanbase, but he was clearly the school’s third choice last offseason and was only hired after no other good coach wanted to make the move to Baton Rouge. Getting blown out by Mississippi State is not a good start in his first season as the full-time head coach.
Closest Call of Week 3 – USC 27, Texas 24 (2 OT)
Texas came so close to ripping out USC’s heart once again. The Longhorns were all set to score and go up seven in the second overtime, but Sam Ehlinger fumbled on USC’s two-yard line, and a Trojans field goal ended it. Still, it was a poor showing from USC just one week after it tore up Stanford’s vaunted defense. The Trojans ground game is in particular need of some help.
Ugliest Game of Week 3 – South Florida 47, Illinois 23
Penalties marred this game from the outset. There were 26 flags in the first half of the game, a record as far as anyone can tell and 31 total for the game. That led to both offenses sputtering in the first half and neither team was able to build momentum because of the constant whistles. South Florida eventually pulled away, but this game was almost impossible to watch in the first half.
Biggest Letdown of Week 3 – Northern Illinois 21, Nebraska 17
Nebraska was beat by a backup MAC quarterback this week despite almost doubling its opponent in total yards. The Cornhuskers continued to have quarterback woes as Tanner Lee threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns, in a Northern Illinois victory. The loss spells trouble for Mike Riley as the Cornhuskers now enter Big Ten play at 1-2 and might miss out on a bowl for the second time in his three seasons as coach. That would almost have fans missing the days of Bo Pelini, who at least won nine games per year.