College Football Scores 2013: Biggest Takeaways from Early Saturday Action
Week 2 of the college football season has commenced and the landscape has already been altered. Rivalry games have taken place, superstars have faced injuries and top 25 teams have been upset.
Here's what we've learned from Saturday's early action.
There have been shortage of thrills early in the college football day, as offensive clinics and tight finishes have been at every turn. For all of the highs, however, there have been lows, as some of the biggest names in the nation have faced the injury bug.
To start it all off, however, we begin with one of the biggest upsets of the season thus far.
Miami (FL) is Legitimate
The Miami Hurricanes won its season-opening game against the Florida Atlantic Owls by a count of 34-6. One week later, the Hurricanes were tasked with defeating a significantly superior in-state rival when they faced the No. 12 Florida Gators.
Miami proved just how legitimate they are with an impressive 21-16 win.
Are the Miami Hurricanes an ACC title contender?
It's fair to question the Gators' status as a Top 15 team, but there's no rationale in debating whether or not they're a high-quality football squad. Florida is still a top member of the storied SEC and, no matter how many players it lost to the NFL, it entered this meeting as a heavy favorite.
Miami proceeded to play an SEC-style football game and won. That's saying something.
The Hurricanes managed to grind this one out, forcing five turnovers and playing extraordinary ball in the trenches. They allowed just one touchdown and overcame a lackluster offensive performance to make a powerful statement.
Miami may or may not be a national championship contender, but it's certainly a force to be reckoned with in the ACC. With a top-tier running back in Duke Johnson and a fast and powerful defense, the Hurricanes are the best they've been in years.
Florida learned that the hard way.
Quarterback Depth is Critical
As if you didn't know this already, Saturday's early action displayed just how important it is for a team to have a reliable backup quarterback. Not only did multiple field generals sustain injuries, but quite a few big names were forced to leave their respective games.
And by big names, I mean big names.
The hits started early, as Clemson Tigers quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Tajh Boyd was sandwiched hard and forced out of a 52-13 win against South Carolina State. The state of South Carolina drew silent as one of the best in the nation saw his future in doubt.
Fortunately, Boyd would return to the game after the injury was downgraded.
Sideline report: Tajh will be fine. He had the wind knocked out of him.— Jeff Fischel (@JeffFischel) September 7, 2013
Boyd went on to pick up 169 yards on 14-of-23 passing, also running for a score. With that being said, it was junior Cole Stoudt that led the charge with 143 yards and three touchdowns through the air, completing 19 of his 20 pass attempts.
Unfortunately, not every player was as lucky as Boyd.
The No. 24 TCU Horned Frogs defeated Southeastern Louisiana 38-17 behind two passing touchdowns by Trevone Boykin. The issue is, Boykin is TCU's backup quarterback, which leaves the starter in a position of doubt.
According to David Ubben of Fox Sports Southwest, TCU starting field general Casey Pachall suffered a forearm injury and has already been ruled out for the Horned Frogs' game against Texas Tech on Thursday, Sept. 12.
Perhaps the biggest name to suffer an injury was Heisman Trophy front-runner and Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller. The dynamic playmaker suffered a knee injury on the first drive of the game and was forced to the sidelines.
Fortunately, reports say that Miller could've returned.
We won't know if that's true until the Buckeyes travel to play the California Golden Bears on Saturday, Sept. 14. Either way, this was a day of injuries to big-name quarterbacks.
That displays just how important depth is.
Teddy Bridgewater Isn't Slowing Down
A case could be made that Teddy Bridgewater of the Louisville Cardinals is the front-runner to go No. 2 overall in the 2014 NFL draft, with South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney locking up No. 1. Thus far, Bridgewater has justified the hype.
Say what you will about his level of competition, but with 752 yards, nine touchdowns and just one interception in a matter of two games, the Louisville star has proven his ability.
Is Teddy Bridgewater the best pocket passer in the nation?
Bridgewater was 23-of-32 for 397 yards and four touchdowns during a 44-7 win over Eastern Kentucky. He hit nine separate receivers, with six catching at least three passes and three picking up touchdowns.
He did all of this with just one rushing attempt.
While duel-threat quarterbacks have become the craze, Bridgewater is using his athleticism to be elusive. Rather than going on the run and putting his body in harm's way, Bridgewater has been able to avoid the pass rush and hit his receivers with accuracy on the move.
At this point, we're having an easier time asking who the second-best quarterback in the nation is.
Bridgewater has completed 76.7 percent of his passes and displayed the poise of an NFL prospect both against Eastern Kentucky and Ohio. He's reading defenses at the line and, with a favorable schedule, has the look of a player who could lead his team to an undefeated season.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, however, let's enjoy a star coming into his own.
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