Studs and Duds from Week 3 in College Football
From the offensive outburst of Oregon to the near collapse by Michigan, Week 3 of the college football season had its fair share of studs and duds.
As always, there were upsets, near misses and some outstanding individual performances.
But which of those stood out the most, and what performances would teams and players soon like to forget?
Here are the studs and duds from Week 3 of the college football season.
Stud: Texas Tech
There is no question that one of the surprise teams in the country this season has been Texas Tech.
After defeating SMU and Stephen F. Austin the first two weeks of the season, the Red Raiders had a marquee win in a 20-10 victory over TCU on Thursday night. That win was highlighted by a defense that was exceptional all game long.
The play of freshmen quarterbacks Baker Mayfield and Davis Webb has been important so far this season in the absence of Michael Brewer.
With the easiest part of the schedule coming up, the Red Raiders could be 7-0 and nationally ranked heading into a road game at Oklahoma toward the end of October.
Dud: Devin Gardner, QB, Michigan
Even though Michigan beat Akron 28-24, the Wolverines struggled mightily on both sides of the ball. One player in particular who did not have a good showing was quarterback Devin Gardner.
Gardner finished the game 16 of 30 passing for 248 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, including a pick-six at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Gardner also rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, but his interceptions nearly cost the Wolverines the game.
Stud: Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State
Boise State has not been the same team most are accustomed to seeing in 2013, but one player who has performed well so far is running back Jay Ajayi.
That was on full display Friday night. He led the Broncos to a 42-20 victory over Air Force, rushing for four touchdowns. He also totaled 125 yards on the ground on only 17 carries.
Ajayi already has six rushing touchdowns on the season. The sophomore will be a large part of the Boise State offense all year long.
The new American Athletic Conference has struggled so far this season, and that was on full display Saturday afternoon when Temple fell to FCS foe Fordham.
The Rams knocked off the Owls 30-29 in dramatic fashion. The loss propelled Fordham to 3-0 and Temple to 0-3 on the year.
Fordham wide receiver Sam Ajala scored the winning touchdown on a 29-yard touchdown pass with only four seconds remaining.
This was yet another dent in the armor of the new American Athletic Conference, and there might be plenty more to come the rest of the season.
Stud: Joe Southwick, QB, Boise State
Boise State quarterback Joe Southwick put on quite a performance for the Broncos in a 42-20 victory over Air Force on Friday night.
The fifth-year senior set a school record for completion percentage, going 27-of-29 for 287 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
It was a game that did not start the way the Broncos had hoped, but the play of Southwick, along with running back Jay Ajayi, helped Boise State start 1-0 in the Mountain West.
No question that Michigan had perhaps the worst showing of any top team in the country, narrowly defeating lowly Akron 28-24.
The Zips managed 418 yards of total offense against the Michigan defense and also forced four Michigan turnovers.
The Wolverines could have easily been sitting at 2-1 right now.
Stud: Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
Texas A&M wide receiver Mike Evans proved that he is an absolute man on Saturday against Alabama. The sophomore caught seven passes for 279 yards, including a 95-yard touchdown.
When Manziel was in trouble, he would throw the ball up to Evans, who would almost always come down with it. This is a guy who has a chance to put up some astronomical numbers this season.
He could be an All-American by the end of the year.
Dud: Wake Forest
After losing to Boston College last week, Wake Forest was looking to rebound against Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday.
The Demon Deacons offense did not show up once again, as the Warhawks went on the road and knocked off Wake Forest 21-19. Wake Forest only managed 325 yards of offense and 15 first downs.
A failed two-point conversion with four seconds remaining spelled defeat, and it looks like 2013 could be a long year for the Demon Deacons.
Stud: Alabama Offense
It is not often that Alabama allows 42 points in a game, but that was the case against the talented Texas A&M offense.
No worries, though, as the Crimson Tide offense put together one of its best performances in recent memory, compiling 49 points and 568 yards. Quarterback AJ McCarron was 20-of-29 for 334 yards and four touchdowns.
Even though he fumbled near the goal line, running back T.J. Yeldon finished with 149 yards and a score on 25 carries. For as unimpressive as this group was against Virginia Tech, they were on point against Texas A&M.
Dud: Penn State
Central Florida is certainly no pushover, but a team like Penn State is expected to win at home against the Knights. That was not the case, as Central Florida came away with a 34-31 victory over the Nittany Lions.
The Penn State defense allowed 507 yards of offense to Central Florida (219 on the ground and 288 through the air).
That is not what head coach Bill O'Brien was expecting coming into this one.
Stud: Oregon Offense
The Oregon offense could be a stud every week, but the performance this group put on against Tennessee was spectacular, even for the Ducks.
Oregon finished the game with 687 yards of total offense, led by quarterback Marcus Mariota.
Mariota completed 23 of 33 passes for 456 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 27 yards and a score on six carries.
No question that this offense is the most explosive in all of college football.
Not many people expected Tennessee to beat Oregon, much less hang within 20, but the way the Vols played certainly leaves cause for concern as SEC play is right around the corner.
Tennessee allowed 687 yards and 59 points in a 59-14 defeat at the hands of the Ducks. After the first few drives of the game, the Vols simply could not stop the Ducks, and they also struggled to move the ball on offense.
If Tennessee plans on making a bowl game, it is going to have to play better than it did against Oregon.
Stud: Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State
For Florida State freshman quarterback Jameis Winston, topping his performance from the first game of the season was certainly not going to be an easy task.
While he did not top that performance, he was very effective in a 62-7 Florida State victory over Nevada. Winston finished the game 15 of 18 passing for 214 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He also had a rushing touchdown.
While those are not outstanding numbers, the kid has only thrown five incompletions in his first two collegiate starts.
After leading 21-3 toward the end of the second quarter, Nebraska fell flat on its face the rest of the game, falling 41-21 to UCLA.
In what was without question the most important nonconference game of the year for the Cornhuskers, Nebraska had no answer for the UCLA offensive attack. The Blackshirts defense could not slow down UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley and the Bruins offense, allowing 504 yards on the game.
The Cornhuskers also struggled to run the football, only totaling 128 yards on 42 carries.
Stud: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
Johnny Manziel is bringing offense back to the SEC. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner put together quite a performance in a 49-42 loss to Alabama.
Manziel finished the game 28-of-39 for 464 yards and five touchdowns. He did throw two costly interceptions, but against a defense like Alabama, that does not come as a surprise. Manziel also did some damage with his feet, rushing for 98 yards on 14 carries.
While he is no longer the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, this kid looks like the best player in the country once again in 2013.
After a devastating loss in the season opener against Ole Miss, Vanderbilt rebounded nicely in Week 2 with a 38-3 victory over Austin Peay.
The Commodores disappointed against South Carolina over the weekend and now appear to be in serious jeopardy of qualifying for a bowl game. Despite only losing 35-25, Vanderbilt was never really in the game. The Commodores trailed 28-0, 20 minutes into the game.
A few late touchdowns do not change the fact that Vanderbilt is off to a slow start after finishing strong last season.
After falling behind 21-3, the UCLA offense woke up, as the Bruins scored the final 38 points of the game to come out with a 41-21 victory on the road against nationally ranked Nebraska.
Maybe it was the early start time (12 p.m. ET), or maybe it just took a while to get going, but either way, the UCLA offense woke up and dominated Nebraska in the second half.
With quarterback Brett Hundley leading the way, this offense has the talent to hang with just about anybody in the country. It could be a very interesting race in the Pac-12 this season.
Dud: South Florida
There have been plenty of disappointing teams this season, but one squad near the top of the list are the South Florida Bulls.
After losing 53-21 at home to FCS foe McNeese State in the opener, the Bulls improved in Week 2, suffering a 21-6 defeat at Michigan State.
That is why most were expecting South Florida to get over the hump in Week 3 against winless Florida Atlantic. That was not the case, however, as the Bulls fell to the Owls 28-10.
Stud: Blake Bell, QB, Oklahoma
Those who said Blake Bell couldn't throw the ball might be rethinking their stance after the performance he put on against Tulsa.
Bell finished the game 27-of-37 for 413 yards and four touchdowns. He also picked up 24 yards on the ground on 10 carries.
While it did come against Tulsa, those are still numbers that should not be taken lightly.
For a team like Kansas, winning games in the Big 12 is not going to be an easy task. That makes nonconference games that much more important.
After defeating FCS foe South Dakota 31-14 to start off the season, Kansas had a chance to go 2-0 on Saturday night against Rice. That didn't happen, as Rice came from behind in the fourth quarter to come away with a 23-14 victory.
Looks like it could be another long year in Lawrence for the Jayhawks.
After going 3-9 last year, including an 0-8 mark in the SEC, Auburn is off to a 3-0 start in 2013, including a 24-20 victory over Mississippi State on Saturday.
The Tigers scored a touchdown with 10 seconds remaining to seal the victory. Quarterback Nick Marshall hit tight end C.J. Uzomah with an 11-yard touchdown for a dramatic victory in the closing seconds.
Not many expected Auburn to be 3-0 at this point in the season, but that is the case under new head coach Gus Malzahn. Next week should be huge as a road trip to Baton Rouge awaits.
Dud: The Big 10
Week 3 was especially huge for the Big Ten, but once again it did not go according to plan. Big Ten teams took on seven schools from BCS conferences and only posted a 2-5 record.
There were some nice wins: Ohio State beat California 52-34, and Iowa defeated Iowa State 27-21. But for the most part, it was not a good day for the league.
Illinois fell in Chicago 34-24 to Washington, Penn State lost 34-31 at home against Central Florida, Nebraska was manhandled 41-21 at home against UCLA, Wisconsin lost 32-30 at Arizona State and Purdue blew a fourth-quarter lead, losing 31-24 to Notre Dame.
The Michigan debacle nearly made it even worse, but the Wolverines held on to beat Akron 28-24.
Still, not a good day for the Big Ten.
Stud: Ole Miss
The way Texas defeated Ole Miss last season certainly had to be on the minds of returning Rebels' players heading into the road contest against the Longhorns.
Whether or not revenge was a factor is unknown, but either way, Ole Miss was dominant in a 44-23 victory at Texas. Trailing 23-14 late in the second quarter, Ole Miss reeled off 30 straight points to end the game.
At 3-0, this team could be dangerous in the SEC this season.
Dud: Texas Defense
Texas was a team that had high expectations heading into the season. Once again, the Longhorns are falling flat on their face so far in 2013.
After dominating New Mexico State 56-7 in the opener, the Longhorns have suffered back-to-back losses at the hands of BYU and now Ole Miss, allowing at least 40 points in each game.
The Rebels scored the final 30 points of the game to come out on top 44-23. So much for that ultra-talented Texas defense.
Mack Brown might find himself on the hot seat within a few weeks if the Longhorns continue to play like they are. Dating back to last season, Texas has now allowed 40 or more points in six of its past 12 games.