What were some of the positive take-aways from Week 2 of college football? Here’s a few:
Oklahoma offensive line
There was so much to take from the game of the weekend that saw the Sooners beat the Buckeyes on the road in convincing fashion. Mayfield was electric, the defense stepped up, but how about the offensive line? One of the key matchups entering the contest was the Ohio State rotation of talented pass rushers against an offensive line that don’t allow many sacks and are discussed among the better units in the nation.
Scheme unquestionably helps the stats, with plenty of quick passing concepts, in addition to Baker Mayfield’s scrambling ability to escape pressure. That said, with Bosa, Hubbard, Lewis, Holmes and Jones, they were still expected to be a significant factor. They certainly were in the comeback win over Indiana to open the season, as their pass rush totaled five sacks in that contest and looked every bit of an elite frontline.
The Sooners O-line were far from perfect, losing the occasional battle, but won the war. The Buckeyes defense were held to a relatively subdued two sacks with only a couple additional quarterback pressures registered. The leader of the group for Oklahoma, left tackle and NFL draft prospect Orlando Brown, was composed and in control throughout, handling each man taking their turn to line up opposite. Lincoln Riley’s team has playoff and national title aspirations to go with aims of retaining their Big 12 title, and as much as Mayfield will grab all the headlines, their strength in the trenches will play a big part should they achieve their goals.
Lamar Jackson’s Heisman campaign
The Heisman is an award in which production is king, and Lamar Jackson has to be the front runner again this season. He’s been picked apart, and criticized for some of the errors late last season, and that he won the award for 2016 perhaps due to there not being a good enough alternative. Sorry, but no. Jackson was a worthy winner last year, and if he carries on like he has through two weeks, he is a favorite again.
The junior quarterback was unstoppable against North Carolina, with 525 total yards, and accounting for six touchdowns; three passing and three rushing. There’s no doubt that his film against the Tar Heels included a number of wildly off-target throws; there’s still going to be a few of those in his pass game that remains a work in progress. Yet, after two games, Jackson has a very solid 64.7% completion rate in an offense that has him challenge defenses deep often, and has 771 passing yards that is good for fifth in the nation with five TD passes and no picks yet. Then add in 239 rush yards and three scores on the ground, and that boosts him to number one nationally in total yards.
Terry Godwin, Georgia Wide Receiver
One-handed grabs are frequently seen these days, but that doesn’t make them any less spectacular, and Bulldogs’ junior receiver Terry Godwin had arguably the play of the day in the narrow win over Notre Dame. Take a look at the spectacular scoring play below:
3rd and 93
A play of this nature could result in placing the Louisiana Tech offense in the “loser” of the week category, but perhaps this should be a winner, when considering the fans of this sport. Great execution wins the day for entertainment value the vast majority of the time, no question. But it doesn’t hurt to occasionally see something that reminds that this sport always throws up something new and bizarre.
With Tech in the red zone looking for a score, a crazy fumble has the ball careening backward in a series of failed scoops and kicks that resulted in an 87-yard loss to set up the wonderfully unique down and distance of 3rd and 93.
The week wasn’t quite so memorable for some:
The Ohio State passing game
There were concerns over the offense in the first half of Ohio State’s win over Indiana in Week 1, that eventually found the big plays through the air to compliment a strong ground debut from true freshman JK Dobbins. The youngster again impressed overall, but the passing game still looks off.
Against the Hoosiers, senior quarterback JT Barrett still managed to throw three touchdowns and stay mistake-free with no interceptions, even if he did only see a completion rate of 57.1% (some notable drops of course a contributing factor there). That fell to just 54.3% completions against the Sooners, with no TD throws and a pick.
Even beyond the numbers themselves, it was clear in watching that there was little in the way of spark or inventive play calling from new coordinator Kevin Wilson. Barrett was hesitant himself in taking the conservative approach and keeping the ball for a handful of rush yards on occasion. There never looked to be a comeback within this group late in the game.
Of course, this is a group of relatively new and inexperienced receivers this year, and chemistry is still developing. There remains a lot of talent, through the offensive line, the ground game with Dobbins and Weber, and top-level athletes out wide. The Buckeyes lost early to Virginia Tech a few years ago before going on to win the national title, and still have a chance to do the same, but they have little room for further error.
Continuing with quarterbacks struggling for early season form, Stidham brought optimism and expectation with him as a transfer from Baylor via junior college. He will struggle to thrive though without better pass protection in front of him, even taking into account the strength and talent of the Clemson defensive line they faced this week.
The pass attack was close to non-existent in the 14-6 loss, totaling just 79 yards through the air at 3.3 yards per attempt, no touchdowns, and with Stidham completing just 13 of 24 passes.
There’s plenty factors in the issues beyond their new starting quarterback, but let’s just say that his popular preseason consideration as a possible Heisman contender (15-1 odds in mid-August from Westgate Las Vegas) seems a long way off at this early stage.
What moments and performances stood out to you this week? Comment below!
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