College Football 2011: Best And Worst Of Week 3
Things are starting to heat up as the weather cools down.
The weekend was headlined by a clash of the titans, as No. 1 Oklahoma fought off a a tough challenge from No. 5 Florida State to pull out a thrilling win, but that was merely the cap to an exciting week around the nation.
Records were broken, Heisman front runners began to emerge and some stunning upsets highlighted a tremendous week in the nation.
And Notre Dame finally won a game.
Here now are the best and worst from college football's third week.
Best: Marcus Lattimore Torpedoes Navy
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
For three quarters, it seemed that Navy may pull off their biggest upset since the Battle of Midway.
Facing tenth ranked South Carolina on the road, the Midshipmen entered the fourth quarter with an improbable 21-17 lead.
As good as the Middies were on the ground—274 yards and three touchdown—they faced a foe who was better...and did it single handedly.
Sophomore sensation Marcus Lattimore set a career high with 247 yards rushing on 37 carries and scored three touchdowns, including the game winner early in the fourth quarter.
For good measure, he added four receptions for another 25 yards.
If one player defined "beast mode" on Saturday, it was Lattimore, who's Heisman candidacy was firmly legitimized.
Best: Georgia Tech's Ground Game
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Georgia Tech has always been among the better rushing offenses in the nation, but what they did on Saturday was truly jaw dropping.
Against Kansas, the Yellow Jackets ran for a school record 604 yards. Yes. 604 yards.
What is perhaps most astounding is that they did that damage on only 50 carries, meaning that as a team they averaged 12.1 yards per carry.
Here are a few individual stat lines to illustrate:
Orwin Smith - five carries, 157 yards and one touchdown.
Embry Peeples - five carries, 110 yards and one touchdown.
Roddy Jones - four carries, 72 yards and one touchdown.
That, dear football fans, is domination.
Best: Another Texas Tech Passing Record
Not all records that were set on Saturday came on the ground.
By now, gaudy passing numbers out Lubbock are something to be expected. However, this Saturday, there was a performance so remarkable that it merits inclusion on this prestigious list.
Junior quarterback Seth Doege, threw for a Red Raider-like 401 yards, which was nice.
His five touchdown passes against zero interceptions was excellent.
His 40 completions in 44 attempts was record-setting.
Doege opened the game with 15 consecutive completions en route to setting the NCAA record for completion percentage (90.9) in a game with over 40 attempts.
Granted, it was against New Mexico, but the feat is remarkable nonetheless.
Best: Chris Rainey Rains on Vols' Parade
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
When Tennessee came into Gainesville to open SEC play against Florida, it was Vols' quarterback Tyler Bray that was receiving most of the attention after his stellar play last week.
However, it was a dynamic Gators' running back who stole the show and the win.
Chris Rainey torched Tennessee by ground and by air on Saturday, racking up 238 total yards, including a scintillating 83-yard touchdown reception to lead No. 16 Florida's 33-23 win.
Rainey ran 21 times for 108 yards, caught two passes for 104 yards and returned three punts for 21 yards in an effort that surely put the rest of the SEC on alert.
Oh, and he also blocked a punt to complete a dominant day.
Best: LSU's Defense...Again
Butch Dill/Getty Images
The Tiger defense has already received recognition in this weekly best and worst feature for their opening day effort in shutting down the Oregon Ducks, and in the spirit of giving credit where credit is due, they appear two weeks later.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs entered the game with the nation's fifth best offense, averaging 588 yards per game.
They were led by the rushing attack of running back Vic Ballard and quarterback Chris Relf, who had totaled 458 yards through the first two games.
Then they ran into LSU. Or, more specifically, they ran very little.
A dominating and suffocating defensive effort resulted in the pair combining for only 48 yards, with Relf averaging 0.6 yards per carry. As a team, the Bulldogs managed only 193 yards and six points as LSU won handily 19-6.
This probably won't be the last time LSU's fast and furious defense shows up among the week's "best".
Worst: ASU's Line is Offensive
One of the most hyped teams over the off-season was Arizona State.
That excitement seemed on the verge of validation when the Sun Devils defeated then-No.19 Missouri a week ago which resulted in rankings in both major polls.
They figured to have momentum on their side as they traveled to Champaign to face an upstart Illinois team.
With their defense holding the Illini to only 240 total yards and 17 points, surely ASU's explosive offense led by quarterback Brock Osweiler that had averaged over 42 points-per-game could pull of an easy win.
That is, if their offensive line had shown up.
Which it didn't.
Osweiler was under fire all game long. After only being sacked once in the previous two games, Osweiler went down six times and was harassed on nearly every other passing attempt.
With ASU leading 14-10 in the fourth quarter and driving for the put-away score, Osweiler was sacked and fumbled. It was recovered by Illinois, who scored the eventual game-winning touchdown.
Worst: Ohio State's Quarterbacking
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images
The Ohio State Buckeyes knew that there would be some rough patches in the wake of the mess left by the recent scandals. Saturday was the first.
In their "Ineligible Bowl" match-up with Miami, the No. 16 Buckeyes' void at quarterback was exposed before a national television audience.
For most of the game, Miami quarterback Jacory Harris' two interceptions equaled as many passes caught by Buckeyes as the Ohio State quarterback Joe Bauserman.
Backup Braxton Miller entered the game late and swiftly equaled his predecessor's completion total, but the game was no longer in doubt.
For the day, the Bauserman and Miller combined to complete four of their 18 for 35 yards and one interception while averaging an ungodly 1.9 yards per attempt.
Their complete ineptitude through the air canceled out a nice 174-yard day for Ohio State on the ground, as they fell 24-6 to the Hurricanes.
As a result, the Buckeyes have dropped out of the Top 25 for the first time in seven years.
Worst: Kansas' Defense
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Georgia Tech's performance earned them a spot among the week's best. In contrast, the Kansas defensive effort was so putrid it deserves an inglorious spot among the worst.
The picture above perfectly encapsulates the day the Jayhawk defense had against Georgia Tech.
They were pushed down, run past, juked by and dominated from start to finish. As mentioned earlier, they were gutted for 604 yards on the ground. Yet as historically bad as that was, their pass defense was just as bad.
Yellow Jacket quarterback Tevin Washington completed just four of seven passes. However, those four completions covered 164 yards and included two touchdowns.
(As a side note, Washington has a mind-boggling 22.8 yards-per-attempt figure this season, with his 17 completions going for 637)
Taken as a total, Kansas allowed 768 yards on 57 plays, giving up an average of 13.5 yards every time Georgia Tech took a snap.
Worst: Mother Nature Strikes Back
Taking a week off after adversely effecting numerous games on opening day, Mother Nature reared her scornful head again this Saturday...and Sunday.
Oklahoma State traveled to Tulsa, with kickoff scheduled for 9:10pm. However, a powerful storm front moved into the Tulsa area that caused a lengthy delay.
Kickoff finally occurred at 12:16am, and the Tulsa fans who stayed quickly wished they hadn't.
Oklahoma State's powerful offense roared out to a 31-6 lead at the half en route to a decisive 59-33 victory, a win that finally ended at 3:35am.
A bonus "best" goes out to any fans who stayed there until the bitter end. That's dedication.
Worst: BYU's Ball Security
BYU came into Week 3 as a 3.5-point favorite over their in-state rivals the Utah Utes. But as is often the case in a rivalry as intense as the Holy War, all numbers get tossed out the window.
So to went the Cougars' ball security.
Nothing can swing being a 3.5 point-favorite to a 44-point loser faster than committing seven turnovers and that's exactly the script BYU followed.
BYU only trailed 14-10 at the half, but a disastrous second half resulted in 40 unanswered Ute points. Cougar quarterback Jake Heaps tossed one interception and fumbled twice and four other fumbles doomed BYU to their worst loss to Utah since 1922.
The BYU running game did them no favors, gaining 11 yards on 22 attempts. The Cougars may now be second-guessing their decision to maintain the rivalry despite no longer sharing a conference with Utah.
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