25 Things We Learned from Week 2 of College Football
Week 2 of the college football season provided a number of interesting storylines and performances that most fans didn't see coming.
A college football powerhouse proved that it's still a force to be reckoned with after a win over a national championship contender; a few players who were dark-horse Heisman candidates separated themselves from the pack with remarkable showings; and there were also a handful of backup quarterbacks who stepped up in the time of need.
What else did we learn during the second week of the season?
Read on to find out.
Trevone Boykin Is the QB for TCU
Who is the quarterback for TCU?
Well, it looks like Trevone Boykin will lead the offense for the majority of the season, following an injury to Casey Pachall. As reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram's Stefan Stevenson on Sunday, Pachall will miss the next eight weeks with a fractured arm.
Boykin played quarterback for much of last season and brings playmaking ability to the position. He finished last year with 2,054 passing yards, 417 rushing yards and 18 total touchdowns.
TCU has the huge advantage of having two talented quarterbacks on its roster this season, but the Horned Frogs have a tough matchup this week. They will get set to begin Big 12 play on Thursday on the road against Texas Tech.
Missouri Has Work to Do
Missouri is now 2-0 to begin the season but escaped by the skin of its teeth during a 38-23 win over Toledo on Saturday.
The Rockets were within striking distance until the fourth quarter, when Missouri's Marcus Murphy put the game away with an eight-yard touchdown run.
Their record is fine and dandy now, but the Tigers should be blowing teams like Toledo out of the water. The Rockets averaged 5.4 rushing yards per attempt and finished the contest with 387 total yards, which was three more yards than the Tigers.
Unless improvement on both sides of the ball takes place, Mizzou will have a tough time dealing with a brutal SEC schedule in a couple of weeks.
Northwestern Is a Real Contender
Believe it or not, Northwestern has a real shot to win the Big Ten.
After a solid win over California in the season opener, the Wildcats left no hope for Syracuse, crushing the Orange 48-27 at home. Northwestern also racked up an impressive 581 total yards of offense, and the defense forced four turnovers.
The quarterback tandem of Trevor Siemian and Kain Colter has been effective, and the feisty defense continues to make game-changing plays.
Of course, it's hard to buy into this team until we see their performance against Ohio State in a few weeks, but Northwestern has looked mighty sharp to begin the season.
Ohio State Is OK Without Braxton Miller
No Braxton Miller, no problem for Ohio State.
The star quarterback left the San Diego State game due to a leg injury, and backup Kenny Guiton stepped in and didn't miss a beat. Guiton passed for 152 yards and two touchdowns, while also leading the team with 83 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Ohio State won the game 42-7.
Guiton did a nice job of replacing Miller last season in the Purdue game, and his performance Saturday was just another indication that the Buckeyes should be alright if Miller was to miss significant time this season.
Boston College Will Make Some Noise
New head coach Steve Addazio has already matched last year's total of two wins. Let's celebrate like it's 1999!
In all seriousness, Boston College is a team that could trip up a few contenders in the ACC. The Eagles manhandled Wake Forest in a 24-10 win on Friday night, holding the Demon Deacons to 4-of-14 on third-down attempts and forcing three turnovers. Running back Andre Williams also had a career day, rushing for 204 yards and a touchdown.
Boston College isn't a conference contender, but it is clear that this isn't the same team from last year that lost nine of its last 10 games. You can certainly expect more competitiveness this time around from the Eagles.
Tennessee's Defense Is Improving
Don't look now, but Tennessee has the sixth-best defense in the SEC. It's allowing just 302 yards per game, which is a major improvement over last year's average of 471.3 yards per game.
In their 52-20 win over Western Kentucky, the Volunteers forced seven turnovers and sacked the quarterback twice. Five of those turnovers came on five straight possessions!
Last season, the Vols only forced 17 turnovers and had 17 sacks for the year. Unless the first two games were a tease, those numbers should easily be topped by the midway point of the season.
Welcome back, Tennessee.
Blake Bell Still Has a Chance
One of the most shocking moves of the offseason was when Trevor Knight was named the starting quarterback over Blake Bell for the Oklahoma Sooners.
As expected, it didn't very take long for this quarterback competition to open back up.
Knight had a hard time in a 16-7 win against West Virginia on Saturday, as he completed just 50 percent of his passes and threw two interceptions. The score shouldn't have been that close, especially when the defense forced three turnovers and the offense ran for 316 yards.
As reported by Carey Murdock of SoonerScoop.com, Knight will miss the game against Tulsa next week with sprained knee ligaments, and there's a good chance that Bell could take the starting job away from him with a solid performance.
Jadeveon Clowney Heisman Hype Is Dead
Jadeveon Clowney has no chance of winning this year's Heisman Trophy.
In two games, he has just six total tackles, two tackles for a loss and one sack. Teams are taking him out of the game altogether by running away from him and forcing other South Carolina players to make a play. While this still proves that he is having an effect on the field, it doesn't help his Heisman chances.
Voters want to see eye-popping statistics, and Clowney just isn't delivering those.
He's still a wonderful player, but don't expect him to make history by winning the prestigious award.
Texas A&M's Defense Needs Help
Texas A&M must regroup on defense if it is going to have any chance of competing for a national championship. The Aggies allowed Rice to score 31 points in the season opener and then allowed 240 rushing yards to Sam Houston State on Saturday.
The defense ranks 84th in the country with an average of 29.5 points per game allowed. If bottom-feeding teams are having this much success against the Aggies, what in the world will Alabama, Ole Miss and LSU be able to accomplish?
Texas A&M better figure out something quickly, especially with the Crimson Tide coming to town this week.
J.W. Walsh Is the Next Great Oklahoma State QB
J.W. Walsh made a strong case for why he should remain Oklahoma State's starting quarterback.
In a 56-35 win over UT San Antonio, the sophomore completed 88.9 percent of his passes and threw for 326 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for a touchdown. Those numbers are simply insane for a young player who made just his fourth career start.
Senior Clint Chelf also played well in the win, but he hasn't been nearly as consistent as Walsh.
Walsh will likely continue to lead the Cowboys' pass-happy offense.
Tommy Rees Is Still Shaky
Is it too late to bring back Gunner Kiel?
Tommy Rees reverted back to his old ways in a 41-30 loss to Michigan, as he completed just 56.9 percent of his passes and threw two costly interceptions.
Rees played extremely well in the season opener against Temple, but he's always been a hot-and-cold quarterback who can make poor decisions at the most crucial points of a game.
Rees is a better backup than a starter, and his high turnover margin continues to further that belief. The senior must play better going forward, as the schedule isn't going to get any easier.
Johnny Manziel Is Still "Johnny Football"
In his first full game of the season, Johnny Manziel threw for a cool 403 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran for 36 yards and a touchdown, leading the Aggies to an easy win over Sam Houston State.
It was just another day at the office for college football's most polarizing player.
There was no drop-off in his game, as he bumped his completion percentage to 69.4 percent and is making better decisions with the ball. He looks like he really could become just the second player to win the Heisman Trophy more than once.
Of course, all that is for not if Manziel and the Aggies fall flat in their highly touted contest with Alabama this week.
Todd Gurley Is a Monster
Every college football fan in the country should be jumping on the Todd Gurley bandwagon. If you still aren't convinced that he is the best running back in the country, there's no hope for you.
The sophomore now has 288 rushing yards on 42 carries and has scored four total touchdowns this season. In Georgia's 41-30 win against South Carolina on Saturday, Gurley rushed for 134 yards and scored twice. Keep in mind, the Gamecocks have one of the better defensive fronts in college football, but it was still no match for this future stud NFL draft prospect.
Gurley should have already been high on your radar, but his most recent performance had to of sealed the deal for any possible nonbelievers.
Irish Defense Not Who We Thought They Were
They are who we thought they were!
Well, not really.
Along with quarterback Tommy Rees, Notre Dame's defense failed to get off the bus for the big game against Michigan. The Irish surrendered 460 yards and allowed the Wolverines to go six of 12 on third-down conversions.
Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner sliced through the Irish defense, and Notre Dame also had no answer for wide receiver Jeremy Gallon.
The Irish can do so much better defensively.
LSU Has an Offense
It's no secret that LSU has had one of the best defenses in the country, but the offense has shown wonderful progress under new offensive coordinator Cam Cameron this season as well.
Quarterback Zach Mettenberger is one of the most improved players in the nation, as he's completing 62.7 percent of his passes and threw a single-game school record five touchdowns in LSU's 56-17 victory over UAB this weekend. The running game is also doing a great job by averaging more than 170 yards per contest.
If LSU can continue to display this type of balance offensively, the SEC West race just got a lot tighter.
Baylor Is Scary Good
Baylor is a poor man's Oregon.
In fact, the Bears may have an even better offense than the Ducks, as they've averaged 69.5 points per game this season. Running back Lache Seastrunk continues to perform at a high level, but there are also five receivers who are averaging more than 20 yards per reception for the Bears.
Baylor scores quickly and doesn't take its foot off the gas. While there will be better competition than the likes of Wofford and Buffalo, the Bears have proven to be a quality offensive team.
This is a legit Big 12 contender due to its incredible offense.
It Will Be Another Long Year for Indiana
Just when Indiana looked like it could be turning the corner under head coach Kevin Wilson, the Hoosiers went ahead and lost 41-35 to Navy.
That simply can't happen if you are a Big Ten program looking to rise in the rankings. Indiana's offense can score quickly, but the defense is allowing 35 points per game, which is going to be the team's downfall all season.
It looks like it will be a sixth straight season without a bowl appearance for Indiana, and Wilson's job will remain in jeopardy.
Devin Gardner Has Arrived
Just in case you thought Devin Gardner wasn't the real deal, he went out and stole the show with the whole country watching.
Gardner had an absolute field day against a great Notre Dame defense on Saturday night, throwing for 294 yards, rushing for 82 and scoring five touchdowns. He carried the Wolverines on his back and helped them knock off the Irish 41-30.
It's clear that Gardner is an elite college quarterback and should start stealing some of the shine away from Braxton Miller in the Big Ten. If he continues to play at this level, he may also enter Heisman discussions sooner rather than later.
De'Anthony Thomas Is a Heisman Candidate
De'Anthony Thomas is a legit Heisman candidate with two weeks in the books.
Although he's only carried the ball 29 times, he's averaging 8.7 yards per attempt and has scored five touchdowns. He's also on pace to rush for more than 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.
Due to Oregon's explosive offense and a number of players producing big numbers, there was skepticism as to whether or not a Duck could win the award this season.
However, Thomas has everything Heisman voters seek; "Black Mamba" makes splashy plays, is on a national title contender and is one of the top players in the country. If he can maintain his consistency, Oregon has a real shot to produce its first Heisman winner.
Texas Can't Play Defense
Just when you thought Texas couldn't get worse on defense, it gives up 679 yards to BYU and loses the game 40-21. In fact, the performance was so bad that defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was fired on Sunday.
The Cougars are far from an offensive juggernaut, but you wouldn't know that from watching this matchup. They picked up a ridiculous 33 first downs, and the ground game averaged 7.6 yards per carry.
With all the talent Texas has on both sides of the ball, this type of showing is simply inexcusable.
Aaron Murray Can Win the Big Game
It's official: We can stop talking about Aaron Murray coming up short in big games.
Georgia beat South Carolina 41-30 on Saturday, and Murray played like a stud. He completed nearly 74 percent of his passes and threw four touchdowns. He also didn't turn the ball over once, consistently making the right decision.
This may have been a turnaround game for Murray, and it could have also put Georgia back in the national championship picture.
Wisconsin Has a Real QB
Wisconsin has a great defense and a solid running game, but quarterback Joel Stave is starting to add a different dimension to this team. In two games, he has completed 71.7 percent of his passes and has thrown five touchdowns.
Granted, those games were against Massachusetts and Tennessee Tech, but he has at least stepped up his play and shown that he's capable of being a reliable option at the position.
The passing game will be key when Wisconsin travels this week to Arizona State.
Florida's Offense Still Stinks
Florida averaged just 2.8 yards per attempt on the ground and turned the ball over five times on Saturday. No, this wasn't against an elite SEC defense; the Gators were matched up against Miami, a team that allowed 486.4 yards per game last season.
Quarterback Jeff Driskel may be the worst quarterback in the SEC, and he seems to get worse when the pressure increases.
Because of an offense that can't score, it will be tough for Florida to win the SEC East.
Miami Is Back
All you Miami haters finally have a reason to be angry: The Hurricanes are back!
Miami was slowly making progress the last two seasons, but a 21-16 win over Florida on Saturday was a clear sign that the program finally has the talent to compete with the big boys. The team's stellar 2014 recruiting class is also an indication that the program is on the rise.
Miami can go toe-to-toe with anybody in the ACC and should be considered a legit contender to win the conference title. Miami fans have a real reason to be excited, as the long and gloomy days have come to an end.
USC Is No Longer USC
The team's demise was becoming clearer as the weeks went by, but USC's 10-7 loss to Washington State was the last straw for Trojans fans.
The offense can't move the chains—let alone score a touchdown—the play-calling is horrendous and the players don't look confident on the field. Doubt has to be setting in with the coaching staff, and there could be a head coaching change sooner rather than later.
Of course, there's plenty of talent to succeed, but until the results improve, USC is unrecognizable.