College Football: Week 2 Recap

Josh Sachnoff@@JSachnov17Contributor IIISeptember 11, 2013

College Football: Week 2 Recap

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    Even without a lot of intriguing matchups, Week 2 of the college football season was still filled with big game hype and surprising upsets. Notre Dame and Michigan played their last scheduled game at Michigan Stadium, Georgia bounced back at home against South Carolina, and Miami (FL) was finally able to get that statement win they had been seeking against Florida. 

    There were also major college football programs that suffered stunning losses on Saturday, such as Texas and USC. 

    With another week of the college football season in the books, here is a recap from Week 2:

Game Attended: Notre Dame @ Michigan

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    It was the final meeting in “The Big House” between these two rivals. The final game of the series will be   next season at Notre Dame.  

    Michigan’s offense ended up being the difference-maker Saturday night. Junior quarterback Devin Gardner looked impressive and appears to be a fit for Al Borges’ system.

    It also helped that Gardner had talented wide receiver Jeremy Gallon, who caused problems for the Notre Dame defense all night by recording 184 receiving yards and three touchdown. Running back Fitzgerald Toussaint also made a difference in the running and passing game. 

    The Wolverines were in control most of the game, as they never trailed, but the Fighting Irish wouldn’t go away. Senior quarterback Tommy Rees continued to take the offense down the field with  wide receiver TJ Jones and tight end Troy Niklas making key catches. 

    Notre Dame trailed 34-20 heading into the fourth quarter, but quickly changed that by taking advantage of a Gardner mistake. Gardner tried to throw the ball away in the end zone instead of taking a safety. The ball ended up in the hands of Stephon Tuitt for a Notre Dame touchdown. The Irish were right back in the game. 

    Notre Dame then added a Kyle Brindza field goal to make it 34-30 with 9:15 remaining in the fourth quarter.

    The most crucial and controversial part of the game was on Michigan’s drive after Notre Dame’s field goal. There were two costly pass interference calls that gave the Wolverines the opportunity to put the game away. Gardner eventually threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Drew Dileo, which basically sealed the deal. 

    The Wolverines defeated the Irish 41-30, making it their fourth consecutive win over the Irish at Michigan Stadium. 


Picks and Results for Top 10 Games

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    Overall Record: 15-5

    Week 2 Record: 6-4

    Note: Team in bold indicates author's pick.


    Prediction: Florida 28, Miami (FL) 17

    Result: Miami (FL) 21, Florida 16

    It was expected to be a low-scoring ball game, but the Hurricane defense came to play and caused nightmares for quarterback Jeff Driskel and the Florida offense. The Canes’ went on to convert five turnovers and finally have a big win to give them some momentum.


    Prediction: Cincinnati 35, Illinois 27

    Result: Illinois 45, Cincinnati 17

    The Fighting Illini are proving that Bill Cubit’s spread offense is working. Senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase passed for 312 yards and four touchdowns. Cincinnati was behind the entire game and was eventually outscored 17-0 in the fourth quarter. The biggest loss of the game for the Bearcats was quarterback Munchie Legaux, who suffered a nasty knee injury with 9:25 remaining in the fourth quarter and will be out for the rest of the season. 


    Prediction: Oregon 48, Virginia 16

    Result: Oregon 59, Virginia 10

    The Ducks dropping 59 points at ACC opponent Virginia was no surprise to anyone. Oregon started strong right out of the gates and there was no reason to believe that Virginia would even come close to making a comeback. The Duck offense, led by quarterback Marcus Mariota and running back De’Anthony Thomas, had 557 total yards of offense. The defense also converted four turnovers.


    Prediction: Georgia 35, South Carolina 31

    Result: Georgia 41, South Carolina 30

    When many doubted that Mark Richt and his Dawgs could bounce back after a loss at Clemson, they proved their critics wrong. A lot of credit to a talented South Carolina team, but Georgia made the big plays when they needed to. Star quarterback Aaron Murray’s 85-yard touchdown pass to Justin Scott-Wesley early in the fourth quarter gave the Dawgs a much needed 41-30 victory. 


    Prediction: Northwestern 34, Syracuse 21

    Result: Northwestern 48, Syracuse 27

    The Wildcats went home to Evanston and didn’t disappoint. Pat Fitzgerald’s squad blew out Syracuse on Saturday night as they put up 581 yards on offense and caused four interceptions on the defensive end. Northwestern wide receiver Tony Jones had 185 receiving yards and one touchdown.


    Prediction: Texas 31, BYU 17

    Result: BYU 40, Texas 21

    This was supposed to be Mack Brown and his Longhorn’s year to be back in the national discussion after disappointing and mediocre seasons since advancing to the BCS National Championship in the 2009-10 season. 

    BYU put up 550 rushing yards on the Texas defense, which is the most it has ever given up in school history. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill could not be stopped as he rushed for an astounding 259 yards and three touchdowns.


    Prediction: Oklahoma 35, West Virginia 13

    Result: Oklahoma 16, West Virginia 7

    We knew it would be a low-scoring affair between these two teams, but a 16-7 final score was a bit unexpected. 99 total points last season to just 23 this season. It’s clear the Sooners and Mountaineers will not have the fire power on offense it had in 2012.


    Prediction: Auburn 27, Arkansas State 21

    Result: Auburn 38, Arkansas State 9

    With Auburn attempting to make a comeback after a brutal 3-9 finish in 2012, the Tigers blew out head coach Gus Malzahn’s former Arkansas State team. The Auburn rushing game seems to be the driving factor in their early success. Cameron Artis-Payne and Tre Mason rushed for a combined 201 yards and two touchdowns. 


    Prediction: Michigan 24, Notre Dame 20

    Result: Michigan 41, Notre Dame 30

    Michigan led the entire game, but Notre Dame wouldn’t give up. Defense didn’t end up playing as big of a factor. Wolverine quarterback Devin Gardner had a solid night, as he passed for 294 yards and two touchdowns. Irish quarterback Tommy Rees did well, but his two interceptions ended up hurting in the end. Michigan wide receiver Jeremy Gallon was the game-changer of the night as he had three touchdown receptions.


    Prediction: USC 30, Washington State 24

    Result: Washington State 10, USC 7

    This was an all-time low at USC for head coach Lane Kiffin and his Trojans. It wouldn’t have been a surprise if USC had won in a close game, but to lose to a Pac-12 team that has been in the cellar by a score of 10-7 at home is almost as bad as it can get. 

    USC had just 54 yards through the air and quarterbacks Cody Kessler and Max Wittek each had one costly interception. Once again though, the Trojan defense played well and held the Cougars to an astounding seven total rushing yards.

What We Learned: Lane Kiffin's Seat Is on Fire

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    After a disappointing win at Hawaii on the opening Thursday of the college football season, improvement on the offensive end was expected against Washington State, who was one of the worst teams in the Pac-12 Conference last season. 

    The game could not have been any uglier as the Trojans lost 10-7 at home in the Coliseum. It’s fair to say that Lane Kiffin’s seat is burnin’ up. At least having Clancy Pendergast has helped the Trojans on the defensive end, but the offense is a nightmare. 

    The fact that All-American wide receiver Marqise Lee only had seven receptions for 27 yards against Washington State is a red flag and cry for help. The quarterback situation with Cody Kessler and Max Wittek is not working out so well after their first few games, meaning the offense has needed to rely heavily on young running backs Tre Madden and Justin Davis. 

    The USC program is on the downslope and is already not meeting expectations this season after only two games against below average teams. USC athletic director Pat Haden is going to have to make a decision on whether or not to let Kiffin finish out the 2013 season.

    If the Trojans have bad outings at home against Boston College and Utah State in the next two weeks, things could get rather interesting in LA. 


What We Learned: The Nation Overestimated Texas

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    This was going to be the year Texas would be back according to 16-year head coach Mack Brown.

    The Longhorns went into Provo Saturday night against a BYU team that had lost a week ago at Virginia and received a beatdown.

    After a promising first week where they won convincingly 56-7, it was back to last year’s defensive nightmare. 

    BYU set a school record with 679 total yards. The Cougars rushed for 550 yards, which is the most rushing yards in one game Texas has ever given up. Even more embarrassing to the Longhorn defense, BYU quarterback Taysom Hill  ran for 259 yards and three touchdowns. 

    After Saturday night, Texas fired defensive coordinator Manny Diaz and went with Longhorn Network analyst Greg Robinson to replace him. 

    Robinson went 10-37 as the head coach of Syracuse from 2005-2008 and had Michigan near the bottom in the nation as a defensive coordinator under former head coach Rich Rodriguez from 2009-2010. Is this really the answer to a better defense?

    It may be time for a makeover in Austin. 



What We Learned: Devin Gardner Is the Real Deal

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    Devin Gardner proved on Saturday night against Notre Dame that he is the right player for the quarterback job.

    Gardner made smart decisions, such as when to make plays with his legs and if he should throw the ball away to avoid costly turnovers. 

    Gardner made one bad play the entire night. It's when he tried to throw the ball away in the end zone during the fourth quarter and accidentally threw it into the arms of Notre Dame defensive lineman Stephon Tuitt for a touchdown.

    Other than that, he was accurate and was able to get the ball to talented wide receiver Jeremy Gallon to make key plays and score touchdowns. 

    Gardner is overall a better quarterback than Denard Robinson, and he will make this Wolverine offense the best it’s been since former Michigan quarterback Chad Henne was under center in 2007. 

    Gardner has thrown for 456 yards and five touchdowns this season.

What We Learned: “The U” Could Be Back

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    There is a reason the word “could” needed to be used. The Hurricanes had one of their biggest wins since the 2009 season, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they are completely back yet. 

    They’re headed in the right direction, though, under third-year head coach Al Golden.

    The offense has an All-American weapon in running back Duke Johnson and the Canes’ on defense looked like their old selves on Saturday, as they converted five total turnovers against the Gators. Quarterback Jeff Driskel had problems as Miami caused three of their five turnovers in the red zone. 

    “The U” will be considered back if they knock off in-state rival Florida State for the first time since 2009, win the ACC Coastal Division and make a BCS bowl game.  


Final Thought

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    After a huge win over South Carolina this past Saturday, how can you not be impressed by Mark Richt and the Georgia Bulldogs

    They were defeated by Clemson and many lost hope figuring the Dawgs would stumble at home to SEC East Division opponent South Carolina for a fourth consecutive time. 

    All-American candidate Aaron Murray passed for 309 yards, four touchdowns and had no interceptions. Murray’s biggest play was an 85-yard touchdown pass to Justin Scott-Wesley at 13:55 in the fourth quarter. Running back Todd Gurley also continued to prove why he is one of the best backs in the country as he racked up 134 yards and one touchdown.

    With so much emphasis on the offense, how about the Georgia defense? The defense made a huge stop with 8:28 remaining in the fourth quarter on a 4th-and-1 on the goal line. That stop basically put the game out of reach for the Gamecocks and the Dawgs would go on to win 41-30.

    Moving forward, the Dawgs now control their destiny in the SEC East Division, as well as in the national title race as well. A win at home against LSU on Sept. 28 would be another step in the right direction for their third consecutive SEC Championship game appearance in Atlanta.