25 Things We Learned from Week 3
As we get deeper into the college football season, the competition increases. And as teams begin facing stiffer competition, college football fans learn more about certain programs and players.
Week 3 was quite the teacher, as some players emerged out of left field, a couple of struggling programs showed that things won't change anytime soon and a Heisman candidate proved that he's still extremely gifted.
What else did we learn during the last week of the college football season? Read on to find out.
Georgia Tech Has a Passing Game!
Because of Paul Johnson's obsession with the triple option, many think Georgia Tech just does not throw the ball. Sophomore quarterback Vlad Lee obviously didn't get the memo, as he's thrown for 314 yards in the first two games and is completing a decent 55.6 percent of his passes.
He's also thrown six touchdowns, which is half of what Georgia Tech had all of last season.
The Yellow Jackets will continue to be one of the top rushing teams in college football, but if Lee can keep making plays with his arm, they could make some noise in the ACC this season.
Brett Hundley Is a Star
Enough of the Teddy Bridgewater and AJ McCarron love. Some know about Brett Hundley, but it's about time he starts getting mentioned among the best quarterbacks in the country.
In the game against Nebraska, Hundley led UCLA to a major comeback on the road by throwing for 294 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 61 yards.
Hundley is a quarterback that NFL scouts are keeping a close eye on, but it still feels like he's being slept on by way too many people. It's time that changes, and it also wouldn't hurt for him to be mentioned in Heisman discussions.
Washington's Offense Is Downright Scary
It's easy to look past Washington in the Pac-12 when Oregon is putting up numbers that would be impossible to duplicate in a video game. However, Washington has a solid offensive group itself.
Quarterback Keith Price threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns in the Huskies' 34-24 win against Illinois. Running back Bishop Sankey had a career day by rushing for 208 yards and a score, and wide receiver Kevin Smith had 104 yards receiving on only five receptions.
Washington is ranked in the Top 25 in both passing and rushing, and it's also averaging 36 points per game. That Oct. 12 meeting against Oregon is a matchup that should be circled on your calendar.
Ford Childress Is the New Starter for West Virginia
West Virginia may have finally found the quarterback who will replace Geno Smith. Ford Childress, who made his college debut against Georgia State, threw for 359 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-7 Mountaineers victory.
Granted, he wasn't playing against the best competition in the world, but keep in mind that Childress was a third-string quarterback a week ago. Paul Millard didn't exactly light up the stat sheet, and the coaching staff obviously isn't completely confident in transfer Clint Trickett.
At least for another week, West Virginia is set at quarterback with the redshirt freshman.
Nick Marshall May Be on His Way
Nick Marshall may have finally arrived.
The first-year starter, who made his SEC debut against Mississippi State, was able to lead the Auburn Tigers down field on a 12-play, 88-yard drive to knock off the Bulldogs 24-20. For the game, he completed an impressive 67.6 percent of his passes for 339 yards and two touchdowns.
Marshall knew his team was going to win, per Joel A. Erickson of AL.com: "I told them that we were going to win this football game," Marshall said. "I knew I had made mistakes throughout the game, but I didn't let that get to me. I put it behind me."
Auburn appears to have hit the jackpot with this kid.
Florida State Is More Than Jameis Winston
Jameis Winston is an intriguing prospect for Florida State, but this team has a lot more weapons who need to start getting a little national attention.
In a 62-7 win over Nevada, plenty of Seminole playmakers stepped up, including running backs Karlos Williams and Devonte Freeman, who both topped 100 rushing yards. Rashad Green also made a spectacular catch in the end zone to remind folks why he's one of the best receivers in the country.
Florida State racked up 617 yards and 29 first downs. Although the defense and the star quarterback are talked about the most, the Seminoles have plenty of under-the-radar stars who can do damage.
USC May Have Finally Found Its Rhythm
USC's defense wasn't a problem. The offense? Well, it made you want to stab your eyeballs with an icepick.
However, in a 35-7 win over Boston College, the Trojans managed 21 first downs, 521 yards and actually moved the ball with some consistency. Marqise Lee was the big-play receiver he usually is, hauling in two passes for 90 yards and a touchdown, while the running game produced 257 yards.
Was it a fluke?
Maybe, but USC fans will certainly take it after the constant struggles this unit has had the last two seasons.
Virginia Tech Is Still Virginia Tech
It looks like it's going to be another long season for Virginia Tech. After sleepwalking in the game against Alabama, the Hokies barely escaped with a 15-10 win against East Carolina.
Oh, sure, this may be the best East Carolina team in program history, but seriously? Virginia Tech shouldn't have this many problems against a lower-tier program.
Progress was supposed to be made after last year's 7-6 season. But the offensive line can't protect, Logan Thomas is still a turnover machine and a receiver has yet to emerge as the go-to guy.
In an improved ACC, Virginia Tech is in trouble.
AJ McCarron Is More Than a Game Manager
Remember how it was cool to label AJ McCarron a game manager?
Not so cool anymore.
The senior quarterback matched Johnny Manziel stride for stride in the Crimson Tide's victory over Texas A&M. He threw for 334 yards and four touchdowns while missing his target only nine times out of 29 pass attempts. He also threw a five-yard touchdown pass in the final minutes to put Alabama up 14 points and secure the win.
McCarron is making more and more plays, and critics have less and less to say.
Connor Cook May Be the Answer for Michigan State
Running game? Check.
Defense? Double check.
Quarterback? Uh, not so much.
That has been the story of Michigan State the last couple of seasons. But Connor Cook may have finally changed the way most look at Michigan State. He threw for 202 yards and four touchdowns in the Spartans' 55-17 win against Youngstown State.
Yes, it's never impressive when you perform well against a program named "the Penguins," but it's a start, and it's certainly an improvement over former starter Andrew Maxwell. It'll be interesting to see how well he plays next week against Notre Dame.
Casey Pachall Can't Heal Fast Enough
Casey Pachall is out for the next several weeks due to a broken arm. And while TCU is blessed to have another experienced quarterback in Trevone Boykin, he isn't nearly as accurate as Pachall.
In a 20-10 loss to Texas Tech, Boykin threw for only 194 yards and two interceptions. He had a severe case of happy feet and made poor decisions with the ball. The offense severely struggled with him at quarterback.
Boykin is a playmaker, but the Horned Frogs need a more polished quarterback to lead the team. They need Pachall to get healthy.
Alex Collins Is Special
Is it too early to claim Alex Collins as the best player of the 2013 recruiting class?
Well, he did become the first SEC running back to top 100 yards in his first three games, as noted by Brett McMurphy of ESPN, and the first in NCAA history since some guy named Adrian Peterson. Yeah, he's pretty awesome.
Collins has 418 rushing yards and is averaging six yards per carry. If he can continue this type of production, he may soon get the title as the best running back in the country.
Michigan Can Be Beaten
Michigan had a huge victory last week over Notre Dame, but the team followed that up with a near-loss to Akron.
OK, maybe if this was basketball and LeBron James was playing, this would be understandable. But Akron, the football team? Uh, no.
The Wolverines still managed to win the contest, but not before turning the ball over four times. This just goes to show that Michigan still has a little work to do and can be knocked off on a bad day.
SEC May Not Be All Defense
The SEC prides itself on defense, and it's the main reason the conference continues to produce national championships each season.
But what's going on?
The Alabama-Texas A&M matchup produced a combined 91 points, Tennessee allowed 59 points to Oregon and South Carolina gave up 25 points to Vanderbilt. The defenses haven't shown up early, as six SEC teams are allowing more than 400 yards per game.
At this point, it seems that only Florida has an elite defense.
Tennessee Isn't Back
Tennessee was brought back to reality in a 59-14 beatdown against Oregon. The defense couldn't keep up with the overall speed of the Ducks, and the offense scored only one touchdown in the first three quarters.
Head coach Butch Jones has Volunteer fans believing again, and the team got off to a nice start, winning the first two games, but it's clear this turnaround project won't happen overnight.
It will be interesting to see how the Volunteers hold up next week against Florida.
Ohio State Buckeyes Are Clearly the Best Big Ten Team
If you didn't believe before, you should now have zero doubts that Ohio State is head and shoulders the best team in the Big Ten.
No Braxton Miller? No problem. Backup Kenny Guiton has shown he could probably be a starter on many other teams, as he's led the Buckeyes to two straight victories and is completing 67.2 percent of his passes. The defense has also played well and has produced seven sacks in the first three games.
With struggles from Michigan and Nebraska, the Buckeyes look like an even stronger bet to win the Big Ten.
Mike Evans May Be the Best WR in the Country
Marqise Lee? Sammy Watkins? Forget about it!
Mike Evans is quickly making a name for himself and should be thrown into the conversation as the nation's top wide receiver.
He played Alabama's secondary for seven receptions, 279 yards and a touchdown. He consistently beat one-on-one coverage, found the holes in the defense and used his 6'6" frame to muscle away defenders for extra yards.
Evans was also Johnny Manziel's favorite target last season, and it is clear why. The kid has ridiculous talent.
Blake Bell Is Amazing
Blake Bell made Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops look foolish in his performance against Tulsa. He completed 73 percent of his passes for 413 yards and four touchdowns. The offense moved effortlessly and looked a lot better than when Trevor Knight was running the unit.
Knight missed the game due to a knee injury, but it will be interesting to see who starts the game against Notre Dame in two weeks. Judging by Bell's performance last week, it's clear he deserves the starting job.
Nebraska Is Still Lousy
OK, Nebraska. It's getting to the point of being absolutely ridiculous.
The Cornhuskers once had a 21-3 lead over UCLA and somehow lost the game 41-21. They didn't score once in the second half and watched the Bruins rack up 504 yards in the blowout victory.
How many times is this defense going to allow 500-plus yards? Does the athletic department need to start picking up walk-ons from the street?
Nebraska simply doesn't have the heart to compete for a conference title this season.
Texas Still Can't Stop the Run
Maybe defensive coordinator Manny Diaz wasn't the problem after all.
After firing the defensive coach, Texas allowed 449 yards to Ole Miss, including 272 rushing yards. Sure, Ole Miss has underrated playmakers, but the Longhorns are absolutely stacked defensively and shouldn't allow such drastic numbers.
The lack of energy appears to be deeper than a few X's and O's being passed down by a coach. Somebody needs to light a spark under this defense before things begin to unravel out of control any further.
Ole Miss Is Legit
It's not too early to realize that Ole Miss is building something special. There's still a lot of progress that needs to be made, but there is enough overwhelming talent to make the SEC West interesting.
The offense is extremely explosive with running back Jeff Scott and wide receiver Donte Moncrief. The defense is also athletic and covers a ton of ground, making life difficult for the opposing offense.
With wins over Vanderbilt and Texas, it's safe to consider the Rebels an above-average team at this point.
College Refs Are Terrible
Words can't explain what happened between Wisconsin and Arizona State.
Just watch the video.
Wisconsin Is a Tough Cookie
Even with the horrible call at the end of the game, Wisconsin proved to be a tough opponent. The Badgers ran for an impressive 231 yards against a respectable Arizona State defense and proved to be just as physical as the Sun Devils.
Wisconsin may not have pretty results and can be boring to watch at times, but it's also a team that can grind games out and overwhelm teams for 60 minutes.
The Badgers will be a tough out in Big Ten play. Watch out, Ohio State!
Notre Dame Is the Same as Last Season
There's no question that Notre Dame is a quality team. But what's with the constant struggling against mediocre opponents?
The Irish should be blowing unranked teams out of the water. Instead, Purdue lost the game 31-24 and had a real chance of winning the game late.
This was also an issue last season, as Notre Dame consistently had a hard time closing the door on teams that couldn't match the Irish on a talent level.
Yes, wins are great, but not every game should give the fanbase a near heart attack.
Johnny Manziel Is the Real Deal
Although Texas A&M lost to Alabama, Johnny Manziel played his tail off and silenced any critics he may have had.
The reigning Heisman winner torched Alabama's defense for 464 yards and five touchdowns. He also rushed for 98 yards. He was able to get anything wanted and continued to make the Crimson Tide's defense look average.
How many times has that happened?
Manziel is obviously the real deal, and his level of play won't decrease anytime soon.