Winners and Losers CFB – Week 2
LSU is the real deal and Joe Burrow is the QB the Tigers have been looking for. I have been skeptical the last few seasons as the Bayou Bengals always seem to disappoint with their lack of creativity on offense. This is not the same LSU team that has been struggling the last few seasons. The quarterback position has been a weakness the last decade but they seem to finally have found an answer. Quarterback Joe Burrow was the star of the game, going 31-of-39 passing for 471 yards and four touchdowns, in the biggest game of his two-year career at LSU. Burrow was able to find Justin Jefferson on third-and-17 for a 61-yard touchdown to push the lead to 44-31, and ice the game away. During the play, Burrow was surrounded by Longhorn defenders as he was able to find space in the pocket to deliver the pass. LSU seems to have taken the next step in trying to compete with Alabama and Georgia in the SEC.
Tennessee has done something that the Volunteers have not accomplished since 1980. They have started 0-2 with both losses coming at their home stadium. The Vols lost in Week 1 to the Georgia State Panthers and then choked away the game this week against the BYU Cougars. BYU was down by 3 with less than 30 seconds left when QB Zach Wilson hit a wide open Micah Simon for a 64 yard completion that allowed the Cougars to tie the game up and send it to overtime. BYU ended up scoring on both their overtime drives and won on the 5 yard rush by RB Ty’Son Williams. Tennessee should have been more prepared on the Hail Mary throw to Simon and have suffered the consequences since. The Vols next play against the Chattanooga Mocs football team, but even that doesn’t seem like a surefire win.
Maryland has been a team that has garnered a lot of attention lately and has shown us that they are a team to be reckoned with in the Big East. After dismantling the Howard Bison football team, 79-0, the Terrapins followed that up with 63-20 drubbing of the 23rd ranked Syracuse Orange. Quarterback Josh Jackson, the graduate transfer from Virginia Tech, led the Terrapins with 296 passing yards. Jackson consistently extended drives and completed 21 of 38 passes against the skilled Syracuse pass rush. Saturday’s emphatic win gives promise to a season where not many expected this team to make noise. Based on the first 2 weeks, a bowl game should be a given but their potential for even more is still an unknown.
The strength of the Pac 12 South is in question due to upset losses by the Stanford Cardinals and Washington Huskies. I wanted to find a way to talk about both upsets that occurred in the Pac 12 so I grouped them here. The 23rd ranked Cardinals were demolished by the USC Trojans 45-20 and did not score in the 2nd half of the game. Yes they were without their starting QB, but so were the Trojans. This has to be one of the better wins in Clay Helton’s time with the Trojans. In the other shocker, the 14th ranked Washington Huskies were downed by the Cal Bears 20-19. Bears kicker Greg Thomas kicked a game winning 17 yard field goal with only 8 seconds left to seal the victory for the Bears. The loss adds confusion as to who will win the Pac 12 South and makes it seem more likely that the Utah Utes are the best team overall in the Pac 12.
I had to create my own category for the Wolverines. After Week 2, their performance against Army could fit into either category. At least they didn’t lose but there were also some decisions made that were very concerning. The Wolverines are winners because their playoff hopes are still alive and they escaped what would have been another black mark for the Michigan football team. When it comes to losing, there are concerns about the decision making by the coaching staff. On a 4th and 2 at the Army 19 with less than 10 minutes remaining in a tie game, Jim Harbaugh blew off the potential go ahead field goal to go for the first down. The Wolverines promptly lost four yards. On the next possession, Harbaugh went for a 4th and 1 at the Army 43, with 2:32 remaining in a still-tied game. That 4th down decision ended badly as well, and it gave Army a shot at a 50-yard field goal at the end of regulation that came up short. They were very lucky to escape this game with a win, but it seems their luck will run out eventually.