NCAA Football Week 3 Recap


The results from Week 3 of the college football season shuffled the Top 25 rankings more than a deck of cards in a casino. There were also record-setting performances, upset scares, and one of the worst fake field goal attempts in recent memory. Without any further preamble, let’s take a look at how things went down.

Top Stories:

  • ‘Rebelling’ against the ‘Tide’: #15 Ole Miss thwarts late comeback attempt, stuns #2 Alabama

Sooner or later one of the top teams had to take a tumble, and in Week 3 that team was the #2-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide who were felled in Conference play by the #15-ranked Ole Miss Rebels 43-37.

Ole Miss, who scored 149 combined points in their first two games this season, more than any school in college football history, started to take command of the game in the second quarter, after a stand-off opening quarter that featured a lone Ole Miss field goal on the scoreboard.

Following an Alabama field goal to tie the score, Rebels running back Jordan Wilkins and quarterback Chad Kelly tallied rushing touchdowns less than a minute apart to give Ole Miss a 17-3 lead. With the Ole Miss defense frustrating ‘Bama quarterback Cooper Bateman, the Crimson Tide turned the offense over to Jake Coker, who had started the team’s first two games of the season under center. Coker, on his first drive of the game, marched the Tide 75 yards in 16 plays, capping it off with a 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Richard Mullaney right before halftime.

Ole Miss took the second half kickoff and made it count, as Kelly found wide receiver Quincy Adeboyejo for a touchdown on a 66-yard catch and run. The Rebels converted each of their next two drives into field goals, pushing out to a 20-point lead with under 4 minutes remaining in the third quarter. But the Crimson Tide were not going away that easily.

Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly dives for the endzone against Alabama during the Rebels 43-37 upset win over the Crimson Tide. (Marvin Gentry/USA Today Sports)

Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly dives for the endzone against Alabama during the Rebels 43-37 upset win over the Crimson Tide. (Marvin Gentry/USA Today Sports)

Coker busted in for a touchdown from 3 yards out on ‘Bama’s last drive of the third quarter, and led the Tide 46 yards in 6 plays on their next drive, hitting ArDarius Stewart with an 8-yard touchdown strike to narrow the Rebels lead to just 6. The tug-of-war match would continue, however, with Ole Miss answering Stewart’s score just 45 seconds later on a 73-yard touchdown connection between Kelly and Cody Core. Under two minutes later, following an Ole Miss interception, wide receiver Laquon Treadwell hauled in a pass from Kelly for a 24-yard touchdown reception, extending the Rebels lead to 19.

Jake Coker and company though, were not done trying to work some comeback magic, with the Alabama quarterback leading his troops on a 14-play drive, finished off by a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Derrick Henry. Down two scores with just over six-and-a-half minutes to play in regulation, Alabama decided to attempt an onside kick which they recovered, setting them up at the Ole Miss 30-yard line. Two minutes later, Coker found Richard Mullaney in the endzone for their second touchdown connection of the night, making the score 43-37.

With the Ole Miss offense stalling late in the game, it was their defense stepping up big, pressuring Coker into throwing another interception, and then forcing Alabama to turn the ball over on downs to seal the Rebels upset victory.

The Ole Miss defense forced five turnovers on the day, and capitalized by converting those turnovers into 24 points. Chad Kelly finished the game with 341 yards passing, three touchdowns through the air and one touchdown on the ground in the win.

For Alabama, who plummeted 10 spots in the AP Rankings with the loss, it’s back to the drawing board as they prepare to face Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday. Ole Miss, now #3 in the nation following the victory, will look to continue their undefeated start to the season against in-conference opponent Vanderbilt Saturday.

  • The Escape Artists: #22 Missouri foils UConn’s attempted trickery; #1 Ohio State fends off tough Northern Illinois squad

Everyone loves an underdog story, and Week 3’s script did not disappoint in that category, with multiple opportunities for the underdog to rise above their competition for an upset victory. But, with the way many games ended, it felt as if an editor went back and re-wrote the finales- to make the results more realistic, more believable.

It started with the early game on Saturday, between #22 Missouri and UConn. The Huskies, coming off a 2-10 season a year ago, were looking to play spoiler against the Tigers, but in their valiant effort came to prove one major point about football and sports in general- it only takes one play to change everything.

Missouri got on the scoreboard first, blocking a punt on UConn’s second drive of the game which resulted in a safety. The Huskies answered on their next drive following an interception by Jhavon Williams, which set them up at the Missouri 35-yard line. Five plays later running back Ron Johnson took a 6-yard carry in for a touchdown, giving UConn a 6-2 lead, a lead that would hold until the third quarter.

With a chance to extend their lead on their opening drive of the second half, UConn attempted a 49-yard field goal but missed, keeping the score at a four-point Huskies advantage. The Tigers took advantage of their good fortune, however, moving the ball 68 yards in 15 plays on their ensuing drive, capping it off with a 2-yard touchdown run by quarterback Marty Mauk.

The two defenses then dug in deep, holding their ground and stalling all offensive progress until UConn got the ball back with 4:33 remaining in regulation at their own 33-yard line. Quarterback Bryant Shirreffs marched his team into Missouri territory, and set his team up with a 4th down & 4 at Missouri’s 25-yard line after a 6-yard run on third down.

Down by three, UConn set up for a field goal looking to tie the score. The play was ultimately a fake, with holder Tim Boyle dropping back to pass, but his throw was intercepted, dashing UConn’s hopes of an upset. With a field goal being enough to tie the game at that point, it was ultimately UConn’s aggressive desire for a victory in regulation that became their downfall.

The next team up to the task of taking down Goliath- the Northern Illinois Huskies. With #2 Alabama losing in Week 3, would we also see the #1 team fall? Northern Illinois did all they could to try to answer that question with a yes, but it was not meant to be- they lost their glass slipper and it was never returned.

Facing Ohio State, on the road, the NIU Huskies marched into Buckeye nation intent on leaving with a win. They opened the scoring in the first quarter as Huskies running back Argeros Turner busted into the endzone from 5 yards out just over 2 minutes into the game. Following a trade-off of field goals, Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett, who relieved starting quarterback Cardale Jones, connected with Michael Thomas for a 23-yard touchdown reception midway through the second quarter to tie the score at 10 a-piece. Jones played only the first five drives of the game for the Buckeyes before being removed, completing just 4 passes and throwing two interceptions.

The Buckeyes traveled 73 yards in 11 plays on their first drive of the second half, converting their efforts into a field goal to take their first lead of the game. Northern Illinois managed only 6 yards of offense on their next two drives combined against Ohio State’s stalwart defense. The Huskies forced their fourth turnover of the game on OSU’s next offensive series, intercepting Barrett, but immediately returned the ball to Ohio State when, on the first play of their drive following the interception, quarterback Drew Hare was picked off by Darron Lee who took the ball back 41 yards for a touchdown.

Up by 10, Ohio State’s defense continued their dominant performance holding the Huskies to just a single field goal over their final four drives of the game, allowing the Buckeyes to escape with a 20-13 win. Northern Illinois forced five turnovers on the day, but could only turn two of them into points on the offensive side. For Ohio State, their Houdini escape-act was enough to maintain their #1 ranking in the Top 25. What the Huskies ultimately showed, however, is that Ohio State, despite being #1 in the nation, looks beatable. Very beatable.

  • Winning- Not So Optional: #8 Notre Dame stymies triple option offense, knocks off #14 Georgia Tech

The Georgia Tech triple-option offense is designed to deceive. Who’s going to run the ball- the quarterback, the fullback, the running back? Will it be a play-action pass? That deceptive nature guided them to 134 points in their first two games of the season. But the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were not to be fooled.

For many, when Notre Dame quarterback Malik Zaire was lost for the season to injury, it spelled trouble for the Fighting Irish moving forward, but DeShone Kizer has done well as his replacement. Saturday, it was Kizer’s arm getting the Irish on the board first against Georgia Tech, as he slung a 46-yard touchdown completion to Will Fuller halfway through the first quarter.

Shut down on their first four drives of the game, Georgia Tech finally answered the Notre Dame score on their fifth drive. A huge 46-yard run by Broderick Snoody, and an added 5-yard penalty, set up the Yellowjackets at Notre Dame’s 5-yard line. Fullback Patrick Skov took the ball on the next play, rumbling in for a touchdown to tie the game up at 7.

Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise (20) rumbled for 198 yards and three touchdowns against Georgia Tech Saturday. (AP Photo)

Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise (20) rumbled for 198 yards and three touchdowns against Georgia Tech Saturday. (AP Photo)

And then, Notre Dame running back C.J. Prosise took over. Prosise scored on a 17-yard run with just under two minutes remaining in the first half to give Notre Dame the lead once again. In the second half, Notre Dame’s defense frustrated Georgia Tech, holding them scoreless until the final minute of the fourth quarter, while Prosise continued doing damage on the ground offensively for the Fighting Irish. Prosise took a 1-yard carry to the house, and then broke free on a 91-yard touchdown run with 7 minutes to play in regulation, giving Notre Dame a comfortable 30-7 lead. He finished the game with 198 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

The Yellowjackets tried their best to come back from the 23-point deficit, scoring with 48 seconds on the clock, as quarterback Justin Thomas hit Skov for a 24-yard touchdown completion. An onside kick recovery set Georgia Tech up in Notre Dame territory, and two plays later, the Yellowjackets made it a one-possession game with Thomas finding Skov from 15 yards out.

But the magic was a one-time deal for Georgia Tech as Notre Dame recovered the ensuing onside kick and ran out the clock. The Fighting Irish took the victory 30-22. For Notre Dame, Kizer finished 21-of-30 passing for 242 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.

Top 25 Losses:

  • #2 Alabama (37) vs. #15 Ole Miss (43)
  • #6 USC (31) vs. Stanford (41)
  • #14 Georgia Tech (22) vs. #8 Notre Dame (30)
  • #18 Auburn (21) vs. #13 LSU (45)
  • #19 BYU (23) vs. #10 UCLA (24)

 

Top Offensive Performers:

Quarterbacks

  • Oklahoma: Baker Mayfield – 32/38, 487 yards passing, 4 TD passes
  • TCU: Trevone Boykin- 454 yards passing, 5 TD passes, 1 INT; 50 yards rushing, 1 TD
  • Bowling Green: Matt Johnson – 443 yards passing, 4 TD passes

Running Backs

  • Southern Mississippi: Jalen Richard – 230 yards rushing, 4 TDs
  • LSU: Leonard Fournette – 19 carries, 228 yards rushing, 3 TDs
  • Notre Dame: C.J. Prosise – 198 yards rushing, 3 TDs

Wide Receivers

  • Vanderbilt: Trent Sherfield – 16 receptions, 240 yards receiving, 1 TD
  • Bowling Green: Roger Lewis – 261 yards receiving, 3 TDs
  • Middle Tennessee State: Terry Pettis – 4 receptions, 167 yards receiving, 2 TDs

 

Top Defensive Performers:

  • Virginia: Micah Kiser – 15 tackles, 2 sacks
  • Texas A&M: Myles Garrett – 7 tackles, 3.5 sacks
  • Iowa: Desmond King – 8 tackles, 2 INTs
  • Kansas State: Elijah Lee – 12 tackles, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble
  • Washington: Brandon Beaver – 96-yard INT return for TD

 

Top Special Teams Performers:

1 Kick Return TD of 100 yards

  • Louisville: Traveon Samuel

 

60+ Point Scorers:

  • Oregon (61) vs. Georgia State (28)
  • Oklahoma State (69) vs. Texas- San Antonio (14)
  • Mississippi State (62) vs. Northwestern State (13)
  • Middle Tennessee State (73) vs. Charlotte (14)
  • Arkansas State (70) vs. Missouri State (7)
  • Arizona (77) vs. Northern Arizona (13)

 

Games to Watch in Week 4:

  • #3 TCU vs. Texas Tech (Saturday, 4:45 PM)
    • TCU crushed Texas Tech 82-27 last season; Texas Tech leads all-time series 30-24 (+3 ties)
  • Mississippi State vs. Auburn (Saturday, 7:30 PM)
    • Both teams enter play at 2-1, each having lost to LSU
  • #9 UCLA vs. #16 Arizona (Saturday, 8:00 PM)
    • UCLA has won last three meetings with Arizona, including a 17-7 win in 2014; Arizona leads PAC-12 with 163 points scored through 3 games
  • #13 Oregon vs. #18 Utah (Saturday, 8:30 PM)
    • Oregon has won 6 of the last 7 meetings with Utah; Utah seeking first 4-0 start since 2010
  • #19 USC vs. Arizona State (Saturday, 10:30 PM)
    • Arizona State defeated USC 38-34 in 2014; with a loss, USC would have their worst start to a season since 2001 when they opened 1-3