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Studs and Duds from Week 2 in College Football

Brad ShepardFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2013

Studs and Duds from Week 2 in College Football

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    From the "Battle in the Big House" to the tilt to determine early-season supremacy in the SEC East to a South Florida showdown, Week 2 in college football provided plenty of drama.

    Even with top-ranked Alabama idle and preparing to travel to College Station for this weekend's main event against "Johnny Football" and Texas A&M, the storylines were bountiful, as were the studs and duds.

    Week 2 provided a nice bounce-back for a pack of hungry Dawgs and a Provo party that served Texas beef.

Stud: Taysom Hill, QB, BYU

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    If there was one single dominant display from any team this weekend, it was the thorough thumping Brigham Young handed Texas in a 40-21 win in Provo.

    That was thanks largely to sophomore quarterback Taysom Hill, who gutted the Longhorns on the ground. His 259 rushing yards accounted for the second-best single-game rushing performance by an FBS quarterback in the past decade, behind Vince Young's 267-yard performance against Oklahoma State in 2005.

    Hill shredded beef all night.

    He added three rushing touchdowns and 129 passing yards in a dominant performance.

    After a week when he ran for just 42 yards on 11 carries in a road loss to Virginia on a soggy field, Hill was simply the best player on a field full of athletes. He proved he's all the way back from a knee injury that sidelined him for the last half of last season. 

Dud: Jeff Driskel, QB, Florida

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    As unforgettable as Taysom Hill's day was, Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel's was just as forgettable.

    Despite throwing for a career-high 291 yards, the former top-ranked high school quarterback turned the ball over three times to allow the Miami Hurricanes to win a game that was otherwise dominated by the Gators.

    Three times, UF had the ball inside the Canes' 20-yard line and failed to score, due to a Driskel interception, a failed sneak on 4th-and-1 and a Trey Burton fumble. The Gators had five turnovers in the game, and Driskel threw across his body and into coverage several times.

    Florida coach Will Muschamp told the Orlando Sentinel's Edgar Thompson after the game: "Bottom line is, you cannot continue to shoot yourselves in the foot. Especially in the red zone...just killer turnovers."

Stud: Gardner-to-Gallon

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    Those Michigan-Notre Dame games just feel big, don't they?

    On one of the biggest national stages, a couple of dark-horse Heisman Trophy candidates emerged for the Wolverines in front of the largest crowd ever to witness a college football game (115,109). Quarterback Devin Gardner and favorite target Jeremy Gallon hooked up eight times for 184 yards and three touchdowns, as Michigan beat the Fighting Irish, 41-30, in the Big House.

    Notre Dame simply didn't have an answer as that lethal connection carried UM to a 2-0 record.

    Wearing No. 98 in a tribute to 1940 Heisman Trophy winner Tom Harmon, who was honored before the game, Gardner looked the part of an award winner himself.

    He finished 21-of-33 for 294 yards and four touchdowns. Gardner also added a rushing touchdown. According to Josh Slagter of MLive.com, the 184 receiving yards were a career high for Gallon, as were Gardner's 82 rushing yards.

    Gardner told ESPN's Adam Rittenberg that Saturday is only the start of what the Wolverines expect to accomplish this season.

    "We still have unfinished business in the season," he said. "This isn't the game. It's only the second game of the year. We have much bigger goals."

Dud: Quarterback Injuries

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    It was a terrible day for quarterback injuries, including one that will sideline a senior for the rest of this season.

    Cincinnati quarterback Munchie Legaux suffered a nasty leg injury when he was hit by two Illinois players, and he spent Saturday night in the hospital with the season-ending setback, according to ESPN.com. The Bearcats lost to the Illini. Senior Brendon Kay will replace Legaux.

    Legaux's was the worst injury, but it wasn't the only one.

    TCU quarterback Casey Pachall broke his non-throwing arm in Saturday's win over Southeastern Louisiana, and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Stefan Stevenson reported Sunday that Pachall will miss eight weeks. Sophomore Trevone Boykin will take the reins of the Horned Frogs like he did when Pachall went through a substance abuse treatment program last season.

    Finally, the highest-profile quarterback injury occurred in Columbus, where Ohio State signal-caller Braxton Miller's Heisman hopes took a hit when he left with an MCL injury against San Diego State.

    Though Miller's exit was the most newsworthy, it's also the least serious. Urban Meyer expects his star back next week.

Stud: Al Golden, Head Coach, Miami

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    He has guided "The U" through the past couple of sanction-sagging seasons, recruited admirably in the face of all the allegations and is trying to build once-proud Miami back the proper way.

    Saturday's 21-16 win over the Florida Gators was Al Golden's biggest step yet.

    His opportunistic defense came up with big plays at key times, and the ACC continued to flex its early-season muscle with a win over Southeastern Conference royalty. A win like that can go a long way to curtail the Gators' recent recruiting success in South Florida.

    CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman, however, cautioned about reading too much into this victory:

    Miami's not "back" until it wins another national title. Or at least an ACC title. If you've won five national titles, more than anybody else in the past 30 years, you're not "back" just by beating a top 15 opponent at home.

    Golden hasn't completed the rebuild of the program yet, but it's a strong start. 

Dud: Mack Brown, Head Coach, Texas

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    How much longer will a proud program stand for doing so little with so much talent?

    Offseason whispers of Texas being back proved ill-fated Saturday night, when the Longhorns were absolutely pummeled by BYU. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was the latest scapegoat, as he got fired on Sunday, according to Chip Brown of Orangebloods.com.

    Texas allowed 550 rushing yards to the Cougars, the most ever by a BYU team and the most ever given up by a Longhorns team, so Diaz's firing was justifiable.

    But he isn't the only problem. 

    It's a mess in Austin, and that program is wasting top-five recruiting classes and more talent than nearly anybody else in the country.

    When will the powers that be at UT acknowledge the game has passed Mack by?

Stud: Oregon Ducks

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    The Oregon Ducks flew all the way across the country for their first game east of the Mississippi River since coming to Knoxville to play Tennessee three years ago.

    Even jet lag couldn't slow them down.

    De'Anthony Thomas, Marcus Mariota and Thomas Tyner basically took turns making the Virginia Cavaliers look silly in a 59-10 bloodletting. A week after embarrassing FCS Nicholls State, Oregon made Mike London's team look like it was in a lower division, too.

    This team is obviously very good; we all knew that. The Tennessee Vols travel to Eugene next week to potentially become the next victim of the "Quack Attack."

Dud: USC Trojans

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    The "Boy Wonder" is probably wondering what's next.

    The Trojans lost to Washington State, 10-7, at home on Saturday night, and setbacks like that are simply unacceptable at USC. Ever since Lane Kiffin's team was ranked No. 1 at the beginning of last season, it's been all downhill for the Trojans. USC went 7-6 last season, finishing with an uninspired effort in the Sun Bowl, and now they're struggling badly at the start of this season.

    USC's offense is baaaaaaaad. Really, really bad. During the first half of the game against Wazzu, the Trojans failed to convert any of their six third-down attempts, and it didn't get much better after the break. Kiffin is trying to juggle quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Max Wittek, and neither has proven adept at running the offense.

    According to CBS Sports' Gregg Doyel, Kiffin's end is near—if the fans have anything to say about it.

    Not much of the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum crowd of 77,823 stayed for the end, but those who did stay were angry.

    They were booing Lane Kiffin and his Southern California football team after the Trojans' 10-7 loss Saturday night to Washington State, and they were screaming at true freshman quarterback Max Browne to take off his redshirt and save this team, and they were chanting "Fire Kiffin."

Stud: Georgia's Offense

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    The Georgia Bulldogs are probably going to have to win shootouts this year.

    Their 41-30 win over South Carolina to get a leg up in the SEC East is proof that they're OK with that. A week after a dizzying, heartbreaking loss at Clemson, UGA rebounded with an impressive showing.

    It would be easy to anoint senior quarterback Aaron Murray as the player of the game after he threw for more than 300 yards, but he wasn't even the most impressive player on his offense. That distinction goes to sophomore running back Todd Gurley, who ran for 132 yards and looks every bit the Heisman candidate.

    Perhaps best for UGA fans, the young offensive line that was maligned against Clemson neutralized Jadeveon Clowney and South Carolina, as Murray went largely unharassed. This Georgia offense is very, very prolific.

Dud: Western Kentucky's Butterfingers

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    Bobby Petrino's Western Kentucky Hilltoppers probably went into Knoxville on Saturday with hopes of knocking off a second consecutive SEC opponent.

    The Tennessee Volunteers are, after all, rebuilding and vulnerable.

    But nobody could prepare them for what transpired during a forgettable first-half stretch of football that was historically horrible. In six offensive snaps, the Hilltoppers had five turnovers—three Brandon Doughty interceptions and two fumbles.

    Though the NCAA doesn't keep statistics on turnovers per consecutive snaps, the record for consecutive possessions with a turnover is seven. Florida State had four fumbles and three interceptions in its first seven possessions of a 42-13 loss to Florida on Oct. 7, 1972, according to this Associated Press story.

    Though it didn't get quite that bad for
    WKU, the blitz of blunders turned a 3-0 lead into a 31-3 deficit and sank any hopes for an upset of the Vols.

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