College Football Winners and Losers from Week 2
And we're back with more winners and losers for college football, now in Week 2.
Close games, upsets, a miserably failing Big Ten (for the most part) and a dominant SEC were the big stories.
Did the Pac-12 move into becoming the nation's second-best conference? Well, there's only one way to find out.
Including those crucial field-goal attempts, Saturday was filled with agony, frustration, exhilaration and pure euphoria.
Let's see who won and who lost during another eventful college football weekend.
Winner: Dylan Thompson
South Carolina backup quarterback Dylan Thompson was under center against East Carolina, and he effectively burned the Pirates defense.
On the day, Thompson went 21-of-37 for 330 yards and three touchdowns. The Gamecocks rolled, 48-10.
This is a great confidence booster for the sophomore quarterback, and with eight different players getting at least two catches, coach Steve Spurrier has to feel the same way.
Loser: Ball State's Second Quarter
The Ball State Cardinals were an obvious underdog against the No. 12 Clemson Tigers.
Still, the Cardinals found themselves down just 13-7 after the first quarter, and a potential upset remained possible.
Well, Clemson went on a tear in the second quarter, outscoring Ball State 32-3.
Tajh Boyd threw all three of his touchdowns in this quarter, and the Tigers went up 45-10 by the half. Sure, Ball State won the second half 17-7, but it didn't matter after the previous bulldozing.
Loser: Hurricanes on the Ground
If the Miami Hurricanes were to match Kansas State's physical play, they had to dominate and slam the Wildcats in the ground game.
Unfortunately, this plan never saw any success, as Bill Snyder's defense held the 'Canes to just 40 yards on 29 carries.
Additionally, Miami fumbled three times and lost each one. After Kansas State won the time of possession battle 37 minutes and 16 seconds to 22:44, the 52-13 final score in favor of the Wildcats doesn't surprise.
Winner: Maryland-Temple Game
After Week 1, this Temple-Maryland game for Week 2 looked like an awful matchup.
The Owls had crushed Villanova (not impressive), and the Terrapins barely won over William & Mary.
As for this contest, though, Temple and Maryland combined for 63 points and had seven turnovers. So, despite the constant changing of possessions, each team was moving up and down the field rather well.
Both teams also combined to go 11-of-31 on third downs, which isn't all that bad (35 percent). After Maryland took a big 26-3 lead at the half, Temple made a nice comeback but eventually lost, 36-27.
This kind of exciting contest wasn't expected, so the Big East and ACC can feel good about it.
Loser: Sam Ficken
Penn State has lost again and is now 0-2 in 2012.
The Nittany Lions' Week 2 game was at Virginia, and the Cavaliers only managed 17 points. It was, however, enough to win, as Penn State kicker Sam Ficken missed four field goals.
Virginia won 17-16 despite being outgained in yards, having seven more penalties, turning the ball over four times and losing in time of possession.
Just goes to show the importance of special teams.
Winner: One-Point Finishes
Four games this weekend finished with a one-point differential.
Wake Forest beat North Carolina 28-27, South Florida defeated Nevada 32-31, Virginia outlasted Penn State 17-16 and Rice upset Kansas on the road 25-24.
What a weekend for the non-featured games.
The Colorado Buffaloes football program has seen some frustrating results over the years, and 2012 is no exception.
This time, the Buffaloes fell to the Sacramento State Hornets of the FCS Big Sky conference, 30-28.
2005 was Colorado's last winning season.
Loser: The Battle for the Cy-Hawk Trophy
The Iowa State Cyclones went on the road in a hostile environment and got a 9-6 win over in-state rival Iowa for the Cy-Hawk Trophy.
But that's just it: 9-6 is an ugly game. The game featured six combined turnovers and a missed extra point.
Each team averaged less than three yards per carry, and that score is more indicative of a single wrestling match, not a football game. Then again, Iowa is a great state for wrestling, so perhaps the fans weren't so displeased.
Winner: Everyone Ranked Behind Wisconsin
The Oregon State Beavers pulled off a major upset over the No. 13 Badgers, 10-7. They held Montee Ball to just 61 yards rushing on 15 carries.
With this upset, it's reasonable to anticipate schools like Texas, TCU, Virginia Tech, Michigan and Kansas State moving up in the polls.
Loser: Anyone Who Thought Pittsburgh Had a Chance
After losing to Youngstown State at home, the Pittsburgh Panthers traveled to Cincinnati to play the Bearcats.
Well, Pitt was whipped early on and was down 17-0 at the half. Cincy ended up winning 34-10, and 2012 is shaping up to be one dismal year for the Panthers' last season in the Big East.
Fortunately for Pitt, at least it doesn't face another Ohio school this year.
Winner: Notre Dame Offense
The Notre Dame offense struggled considerably in scoring opportunities last season.
Whether it was turnovers or failing to convert in clutch situations, the Irish failed quite often. Well, 2012 has a different feel, and the latest contest vs. Purdue is evidence of that.
Only turning the ball over once, Notre Dame went 11-of-19 on third down, and Tommy Rees orchestrated an impressive two-minute drill toward the end.
The Irish avoided the home upset, winning 20-17 with 324 passing yards against a tough Boilermakers defense.
Winner: Will Muschamp
The 2011 season was rather disappointing for Will Muschamp's Florida Gators.
Sure, they won the Gator Bowl, but expectations are always high in Gainesville. That said, the Gators struggled to defeat Bowling Green of the MAC to open the season, and faced a much tougher challenge in Texas A&M on the road in Week 2.
College Station is never an easy place to play, but Muschamp's squad prevailed, 20-17. Down 17-7 halfway through the second quarter, Florida scored 13 unanswered points to welcome the Aggies to the SEC.
With no turnovers, few penalties and winning the time-of-possession battle, Muschamp got a major victory here.
Tough break for the Arkansas Razorbacks.
Ranked No. 10 in the USA Today coaches' poll, Arkansas faced UL-Monroe out of the Sun Belt and lost 34-31 in overtime.
On top of the loss, the Razorbacks dealt with an injury to quarterback Tyler Wilson, per CBS Sports:
Tyler Wilson reportedly out with a concussion for Arkansas's 2H vs. ULM. Hogs lucky to be up 21-7--outgained 301-269, but big red zone stops— Eye on College FBall (@EyeOnCFB) September 9, 2012
Plus, Arkansas gets No. 1 Alabama next week.
Winner: Braxton Miller
Braxton Miller is a boss.
Against Central Florida, he went 18-of-24 for 155 yards and one touchdown (one pick) and had 141 rushing yards with three more scores.
The man was Ohio State's entire offense, and the Buckeyes got the win, 31-16.
Playing against a tougher opponent in California next week, this game was a huge confidence booster for Miller and the Bucks.
Winner: North Carolina State Secondary
In a defensive slugfest where North Carolina State's offense punted nine times, the Wolfpack's defense stepped up big.
Winning 10-7 over Connecticut, three different members of the Wolfpack's secondary recorded an interception of Husky quarterback Chandler Whitmer.
David Amerson, Earl Wolff and Brandan Bishop each got a pick, leading to North Carolina State winning the field-position battle. That's all anyone can ask for in a defensive game, because UConn started 10 drives inside its own 30-yard-line.
Loser: The Big Ten
Before we get all giddy about Ohio State being 2-0 along with Michigan State, the Big Ten did anything but impress in Week 2.
Sure, Michigan bounced back after getting pummeled by Alabama. However, all three of these schools defeated inferior teams who are also non-BCS opponents.
Except for Northwestern, every other Big Ten school that played a BCS opponent this week lost.
Wisconsin fell to Oregon State, Nebraska to UCLA, Penn State to Virginia, Purdue to Notre Dame, Iowa to Iowa State and Illinois to Arizona State.
The wins by Indiana over Massachusetts and Minnesota over New Hampshire aren't impressive.
In short, not a strong week for the Big Ten.
Winner: The Pac-12
Unlike the Big Ten, the Pac-12 had a great weekend.
Washington getting dominated by LSU aside, Arizona, UCLA and Oregon State each came up huge.
The Wildcats ran No. 18 Oklahoma State off the field late, UCLA upset No. 16 Nebraska and the Beavers shocked No. 13 Wisconsin.
Other solid wins against other BCS schools came from USC over Syracuse, Arizona State smacking Illinois, Oregon thrashing Fresno State and Stanford over Duke.
The Pac-12 went 9-3 in Week 2.
Winner: Kolton Browning
Aside from Arkansas offensive line getting dominated by Louisiana-Monroe's defense, quarterback Kolton Browning was the Warlock's maestro.
Dropping back 67 times, Browning completed 42 passes for 412 yards with three touchdowns to just one pick.
He shredded Arkansas through the air and also did some damage on the ground. Carrying the rock 16 times, Browning gained 69 yards and also scored the game-winner with his feet.
This man was clutch in Week 2, and it'll be interesting to see if he keeps it up throughout the year.
The Auburn Tigers struggled mightily against Mississippi State.
Managing just 15 first downs, Kiehl Frazier and the offense totaled only 216 yards and turned the ball over five times.
Unsurprisingly, Auburn lost the time of possession battle as well as the game, 28-10.
Going just 2-of-12 on third down, the Tigers gained a mere 91 yards on the ground, which is uncharacteristic for Auburn based on recent history.
On defense, the Tigers were burned through the air.
Bulldogs quarterback Tyler Russell went 20-of-29 for 222 yards and three touchdowns. In addition, Mississippi State amassed 166 rushing yards and recorded 23 first downs.
Loser: Louisiana Tech-Houston Referees
These poor referees were subject to one insane football game.
The Houston Cougars defeated the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, 56-49, in a game that featured 1,291 total yards.
The refs had to run up and down the field for 60 minutes and move the chains 78 times. They may have run a marathon during this game, that's how explosive it was.
Even worse, 26 penalties accounted for 226 yards, which only extended the duration of a game.
Winner: Crimson Tide Passing Game
Nick Saban can have a bit more faith when tossing the rock in 2012.
It was Western Kentucky, but the Hilltoppers gave Alabama a stronger match than expected.
A.J. McCarron was near flawless, going 14-of-19 for 219 yards and no picks. He threw four touchdowns, and four different players caught at least two passes.
Kevin Norwood and Christion Jones each caught two touchdowns, and McCarron connected with seven different targets in total.
Winner: USC's Red-Zone Efficiency
Matt Barkley threw for less than 200 yards, and the USC Trojans only accumulated 17 first downs against Syracuse (the Orange had 27).
And yet, Barkley tossed six touchdown passes, the longest a 29-yarder to Robert Woods in the first quarter.
In any other offense, running between the tackles happens near the goal line. Defenses are always more difficult to throw on when inside the red zone, so this is quite an eye-opening performance from Barkley.
Perhaps Lane Kiffin is preparing him more for pro football, because we do see quite a bit of passing inside the red zone on Sundays.
Loser: Fresno State's Run Defense
Fresno State could not stop Oregon no matter what defensive scheme was called.
The Ducks piled up 366 rushing yards on 58 attempts. Kenjon Barner and De'Anthony Thomas combined for 303 yards and five touchdowns.
Thomas had 102 yards on just seven carries (14.6 per touch).
That's just not fair.
Winner(s): Zach Paul and Jack Griffin
This Florida International-Akron game was intense.
The Golden Panthers came out on top, 41-38, in overtime, but this game featured some excellent special teams. More specifically, kickers Zach Paul of Akron and Jack Griffin of FIU really shined.
Paul punted 10 times, had a long of 52 yards, put four inside the 20-yard line and averaged 42 per attempt. That's unreal for punting that many times.
Griffin, however, was more impressive. He punted 10 times with a long of 58 and had three inside the 20. He also served as Florida International's kicker and was a perfect 5-of-5 on extra points and 2-of-3 on field goals.
If anything, blame the defenses for not showing up.
Loser: California's Inconsistency
California may have won 50-31 over Southern Utah, though it wasn't a consistent performance.
The Golden Bears were down 3-0 at the end of the first quarter and led just 20-17 after three quarters.
Why? Because Cal couldn't figure out how to play a full game.Against a more solid opponent, scoring droughts like that won't fly.
The Golden Bears had 12 penalties for 106 yards and lost the time of possession battle 35 minutes and 55 seconds to 24:05.
Against the Buckeyes in Week 3, only scoring in two quarters will lead to a big-time loss.
Loser: Oklahoma State
So much for beating Savannah State 84-0 in Week 1.
Getting soundly beaten by the Arizona Wildcats, 59-38, the Cowboys were called for 15 penalties that totaled 167 yards. They also turned the ball over four times.
As expected, they also lost the time-of-possession battle, and not playing defense came back to bite them once again.
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