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NCAAF Week 3: Five Things We Learned

Week 3 of the college football season surely was an exciting one. Will this week's results be an accurate preview of what's to come this season?


Clemson will be a championship contender

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After yesterday’s major victory over Lamar Jackson and the No. 14 Louisville Cardinals, there is absolutely no doubt that the Clemson Tigers will contend for a national championship. Quarterback Kelly Bryant is a stud, and former Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson even tweeted after the game that Bryant will be even better than him. Bryant finished the game with 316 passing yards, 26 rushing yards, one passing touchdown, and two rushing touchdowns.

As impressive as Bryant was, the Tigers’ defense was even better, as they effectively contained Lamar Jackson and prevented him from doing any damage. While Jackson did throw for 317 yards and three touchdowns, the Cardinals were only able to put 21 points on the board thanks to a stellar Clemson defense. Furthermore, Jackson’s lone mistake proved to be a very costly one, as the interception he threw was returned for a touchdown by Dorian O’Daniel.

If there was any doubt about any possible regression for Clemson after losing Deshaun Watson and many other key players, that doubt is effectively gone now. Kelly Bryant is extremely capable of leading Clemson’s explosive offense down the field and putting points on the scoreboard, as he showed last night. The Tigers’ defense is the real deal, as they made one of college football’s best quarterbacks and last season’s Heisman Trophy winner look like an average quarterback at best. Sure, Jackson’s stat line still looked impressive, but he was not able to get the ball into the endzone. The Tigers are way better than their No. 3 ranking indicates, and it would be very surprising if they do not rise in the rankings this coming week.

Oklahoma State is a force to be reckoned with

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After their stellar performance in yesterday’s 59-21 blowout victory over the Pitt Panthers, the Oklahoma State Cowboys have emerged as a surprise playoff contender and must be taken seriously. Mason Rudolph has truly emerged as one of the top quarterbacks in the FBS. Rudolph was absolutely on fire yesterday, throwing for 497 yards, five touchdowns, and just one interception. He surely took advantage of a fairly weak Pitt secondary that has had trouble all season long.

The Cowboys’ defense was also very solid, as they held Pitt to just 21 points. Quarterback Max Browne could not get the job done, as he threw for just 60 yards before he was replaced by Ben DiNucci. DiNucci did not fare much better, as he finished the game with 228 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. Pitt did not have much of a running game either. Their leading rusher, Chawntez Moss, had just 36 rushing yards, and Qadree Ollison was held to seven rushing yards all game.

If the Cowboys can keep up this strong level of play, they can definitely make a run for the College Football Playoff. Mason Rudolph looks like a star, and the Oklahoma State defense looks quite good as well. The Cowboys look primed for a rise in the rankings and could be one of college football’s biggest surprises this season.

The week of the upset

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Week three of the college football season was full of many stunning upsets.  Despite throwing for 463 yards and four touchdowns, Josh Rosen was unable to get the job done. The two interceptions Rosen threw proved to be costly as the No. 25 UCLA Bruins were defeated by the unranked Memphis Tigers 48-45.

Furthermore, the No. 23 Tennessee Volunteers were defeated 26-20 by the No. 24 Florida Gators after Feleipe Franks threw a Hail Mary for a 63-yard touchdown in the final seconds of the game. Franks, who was benched in week one against Michigan and did not do much for the Gators during most of this week’s game, came up big when it mattered.

Bryce Love’s 184 rushing yards and two touchdowns were not enough for the No. 19 Stanford Cardinal, as they came up short in their 20-17 loss to the San Diego State Aztecs. Additionally, the No. 18 Kansas State Wildcats were upset by the Vanderbilt Commodores 14-7.

The biggest upset of the week was the Mississippi State Bulldogs’ 37-7 blowout victory over the No. 12 LSU Tigers. The Tigers’ defense was no match for the Bulldogs’ explosive offense, led by quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and running back Aeris Williams. The Bulldogs’ defense was stellar as well, holding the Tigers to just seven points. The Top 25 rankings list will look quite different this coming week, as there will be some new teams making an appearance thanks to the weekend of the upset.

The year of the quarterback

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Next year’s rookie quarterback class has the potential to be one of the best in NFL history. There are so many talented signal callers in the FBS who could turn pro following the season. Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield was impressive once again, finishing with 331 passing yards and four touchdowns in the Sooners’ victory over Tulane. USC’s Sam Darnold was on fire last night in the Trojans’ 27-24 win over the Texas Longhorns in double overtime. Darnold threw for 397 yards and three touchdowns, which helped lead USC to victory.

Penn State’s Trace McSorley was very good once again, throwing for 309 yards and four touchdowns in the Nittany Lions’ 56-0 blowout win over Georgia State. Jake Browning played very well for the Washington Huskies in their 48-16 victory over Fresno State, completing 19 of his 22 passes for 255 yards and four touchdowns. Mason Rudolph showed the world his star power, throwing for 497 yards and five touchdowns in Oklahoma State’s victory over Pitt.

Washington State’s Luke Falk was responsible for 42 of the Cougars’ 52 points in their 52-23 victory over conference rival Oregon State. Falk finished with 396 passing yards and six passing touchdowns. Despite losing to the unranked Memphis Tigers, UCLA’s Josh Rosen still had quite a game. Rosen threw for 463 yards and four touchdowns in the Bruins’ loss. Many quarterback-needy NFL teams will be very happy in April, as this draft class will be very deep. Many of the FBS’ top signal callers will get significant playing time in the NFL next season, and this quarterback class could end up as one of the NFL’s best.

There is reason to be concerned in Ann Arbor

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While the Michigan Wolverines are undefeated and ranked as the seventh best team in the country, they are not as good as their ranking indicates. Michigan coaches and fans should be very concerned, and rightfully so.

Michigan is undefeated and ranked so highly solely because of their defense. Wilton Speight is not that great of a quarterback, and running back Ty Isaac cannot carry the offense on his own. In fact, the Michigan offense scored just one touchdown in their 29-13 victory over the Air Force Falcons. The Wolverines’ defense is the reason why they won. On defense, Michigan put up three sacks, nine tackles for loss, one interception, and scored just as many touchdowns as the Wolverines’ offense did.

If the Wolverines want to be competitive and chase a playoff spot, their offense really needs to step up their game. With the way they are playing right now, the Wolverines do not deserve their No. 7 ranking, and the coaches and fans should be very worried. With many other top-ranked teams having explosive offenses, Jim Harbaugh should consider making some offensive changes if he and the Wolverines want to make a playoff appearance this season.

What were your takeaways from Week 3 of college football? Comment below!

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Justin Boguslavsky

Columbia University student, NFL and NCAAF writer, die hard Philly sports fan #FlyEaglesFly

Hot takes are my specialty

NCAAF Week 3: Five Things We Learned

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