What We're Seeing: First impressions from Week 2
The Eye on College Football writers offer their quick takes on what they're seeing around the country.
Every game day Saturday, the three-man Eye on College Football crew watches football ... a lot of football. Here's their knee-jerk impressions of what they've seen during Week 1. This post will update throughout the day.
Georgia 41, South Carolina 30 [RECAP]
There have been two really, really dumb things accepted as fact concerning recent editions of the Georgia Bulldogs. To wit:
1. Mike Bobo is a poor play-caller. Though too pass-focused early in his career, Bobo has consistently overseen one of the SEC's best, most-balanced attacks for years, not that many rabid Dawg fans have noticed. Maybe they noticed today, when Bobo's gameplan and play-calls repeatedly opened up the Gamecock defense, kept Jadeveon Clowney a non-factor, and most notably got Georgia off their own 1-yard line -- with a genius flip to the fullback -- on the game's decisive drive.
2. Aaron Murray isn't a big-game quarterback. 17/23, 309 yards, 4 touchdowns, no interceptions, 13.4 yards per attempt, massive play after massive play on third down, 41 points vs. the same defense that dominated North Carolina in Week 1.
The next time someone says Murray can't win the big one or the Dawgs could do better than Bobo, it won't be possible for me to roll my eyes as hard as I would like. -- Jerry Hinnen
So maybe Manti Te'o really was important to the Notre Dame defense? After not allowing more than 26 points in any regular season game last year the Irish have now allowed more than 40 points in two of their past three games.
Tonight the Wolverines shredded the Irish defense for 460 yards, as Devin Gardner -- sporting a new number -- threw for 294 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 82 yards and a fifth score. Gardner's favorite target was Jeremy Gallon who caught eight passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns of his own.
If what we saw on Saturday night was the future of Michigan's pro-style offense post-Denard Robinson, well, the Big Ten should be worried.
LSU 56, UAB 17 [RECAP]
Obviously there's not a lot to take away from the final other than "LSU is way, way better than UAB," but it's still worth noting Zach Mettenberger's final stat line: 16-of-19, 282 yards, 5 touchdowns, no interceptions. No, the Blazers aren't anyone's idea of a defensive juggernaut, but this comes a week after Mettenberger went 16-of-32 for 7.8 an attempt and no picks vs. a very good TCU secondary. The senior is getting a ton of help from his receivers -- Jarvis Landry and Odell Beckham (136 yards, 3 touchdowns Saturday) are playing as well as any wideout tandem in the country through two weeks -- but LSU has had receivers for years. What they haven't had for years is a steady, competent, strong-armed quarterback.
They have the defense and special teams, as always. What happens if they do have that quarterback? -- Jerry Hinnen
Miami will likely be ranked for the first time since 2010 after knocking off No. 12 Florida at home in one of the uglier games of the day -- and it's only mid-afternoon. The Hurricanes were outgained 424-211, converted just one third down and Duke Johnson was limited to 2.7 yards per carry against Florida's talented defense -- reloaded this week with multiple team rules violators.
Five Florida turnovers and an impressive performance by Miami's defensive front kept the Hurricanes (2-0) undefeated and highlighted some glaring issues for the Gators moving forward. Jeff Driskel threw a pair of interceptions and lost a fumble, as the offense could not take advantage of good field position provided by the defense throughout the second half. Driskel's fumble, inside the Florida 10-yard line, set up a Duke Johnson 2-yard rush to put the game out of reach. -- Chip Patterson
It took all of two games, but Tim Beckman's Fighting Illini have already matched their 2012 win total. With a 45-17 victory against Cincinnati on Saturday morning, the Illini are to a 2-0 start and riding strong offensive performances. After averaging a lowly 16.7 points per game last season the Illini have managed to score 87 points in their first two games, with quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase leading the way. Through two games Scheelhaase has thrown for 726 yards and six touchdowns. He threw for 1,361 yards and four touchdowns in all of last season.
It's way too early to project how good this Illini team can be in 2013, but through two games it's already clear that this team will be improved over last year's squad. -- Tom Fornelli
Christian Hackenberg continues to look impressive for the Nittany Lions. Things got off to a bad start for the true freshman as his early fumble was recovered for a touchdown to put Eastern Michigan ahead 7-0 early, but things got much better from there. Hackenberg would finish his second career start with 306 yards passing and a touchdown. Of course, he also had an interception, but turnovers are just part of the territory when dealing with a true freshman quarterback. Thanks to 100-yard rushing performances from Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch, those turnovers didn't keep Penn State from an easy 45-7 win. -- Tom Fornelli
Oklahoma State 56, UT-San Antonio 35 [RECAP]
Entering the season, the Cowboys' quarterback decision was roughly framed as "better-passing Clint Chelf vs. better-running J.W. Walsh." Though that was always an oversimplification, Walsh showed exactly how dumb it was with a sparkling passing performance vs. the Roadrunners: 24 of 27 for 322 yards, four touchdowns, and no picks. (Just to show he still had his option skills, he also ran for 14 yards and a touchdown.) A week after Chelf got the start and the Oklahoma State offense mostly spun its wheels against Mississippi State, with Walsh in control and comfortable, that same offense looked like a proper Mike Gundy attack again, seemingly putting up a touchdown whenever it felt like it.
Of course, it needed to look like that. Also a week after the Cowboys defense looked much-improved in holding the Bulldogs to 3 points, it gave up 35 to a UTSA program still in just its second FBS season. Some things, as they say, will never change. -- Jerry Hinnen
There's a quarterback controversy in East Lansing, as Andrew Maxwell did not start for the Spartans on Saturday afternoon. Instead, that job went to Connor Cook, but before the day was over the Spartans had used three quarterbacks, including Maxwell.
Maybe the answer at the quarterback position is the Michigan State defense?
The Spartans defense scored two more touchdowns on Saturday, giving them four defensive touchdowns through the first two games of the season. The Michigan State offense has managed to score two touchdowns. Screw the quarterback, just punt on first down. -- Tom Fornelli
Are you looking for a darkhorse Heisman candidate who could rise out of nowhere and unexpectedly end up in New York this December? Well, may we present to you Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton?
Keeton had another huge day on Saturday, throwing for 359 yards and five touchdowns while also rushing for 77 yards, leading his team in both categories. Which means that, through two games, Keeton has racked up 836 yards of offense and eight touchdowns already this season. Now, the odds of a quarterback from Utah State actually winning the Heisman are somewhere between "did you forget your medication?" and "never going to happen," but if Keeton keeps putting up numbers like that there's no reason why he shouldn't get some consideration. -- Tom Fornelli
Virginia tried their best to keep this interesting, but speed and talent do not know time zones. The quick-striking Ducks continued to roll in Mark Helfrich's first cross-country trip as head coach, clocking in under two minutes for seven of their eight touchdown drives. The Ducks were aided by turnovers for a few of those, as Virginia quarterback David Watford threw three interceptions and lost a fumble in the third quarter at the Cavs' 24-yard line.
Even with 559 yards of offense and 59 points -- the most scored against Virginia since Illinois' 63-21 win against the Cavs in the 1999 MicronPC Bowl, also known as the Russell Athletic Bowl in a former life -- there are plenty of areas where the Ducks can improve. The Ducks had nine penalties accepted, converted on just three third downs and Marcus Mariota tied his career low with a 50.0 completion percentage on 14-of-28 passing.
That's just nitpicking, though. Third downs don't mean as much when you can find the end zone on first and second down. -- Chip Patterson
There's been a lot of attention paid to how poorly Nebraska's defense has performed recently, and for good reason. But the Blackshirts finally had a performance to be proud of on Saturday against Southern Miss. Not only did Nebraska hold Southern Miss to 284 yards of offense and 4.4 yards per play, but they even put some points on the scoreboard.
Both Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Ciante Evans returned interceptions for touchdowns in the first quarter. The Cornhuskers would force four turnovers in the game, and nearly had five as they forced a fumble but couldn't recover the ball. It's a promising performance from a unit that will get a real challenge next week when UCLA comes to Lincoln. -- Tom Fornelli
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