College Football: Winners and Losers from Week 2

David KenyonFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 10, 2022

College Football: Winners and Losers from Week 2

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    Khalan Laborn | Michael Reaves/Getty Images

    The second week of the 2022 college football season is off to a more dramatic start than anticipated.

    Despite losing quarterback Quinn Ewers to a clavicle sprain, Texas nearly pulled off an incredible upset. The Longhorns took top-ranked Alabama to the wire but fell in heartbreaking fashion.

    In the mid-afternoon window, though, Marshall provided the fireworks. Steven Gilmore's pick-six sealed the stunning upset of eighth-ranked Notre Dame.

    And, hey, even Duke and Northwestern featured an exciting finish.

    We're breaking down winners and losers throughout the day. This piece will be updated as results go final.

Winner: Sam Hartman's Return

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    AP Photo/John Amis

    Last year, Sam Hartman accounted for 50 touchdowns and propelled Wake Forest to the top of the ACC's Atlantic Division. Although the Demon Deacons lost a few important players, they remained a Top 25 team thanks to Hartman.

    In early August, though, a medical issue—now known to be a blood clot—sidelined him indefinitely.

    We didn't know if that meant one game or the entire season. Wake Forest cruised past lower-division VMI in the opener without him, but the Deacs soon received the terrific news that Hartman would be cleared to play at Vanderbilt this weekend.

    And he returned in style.

    Hartman completed 18-of-27 passes for 300 yards and four scores in Wake's comfortable 45-25 victory. He even threw a key block on Quinton Cooley's 24-yard touchdown run.

    Now that Hartman is back under center, the 23rd-ranked Deacs are officially a contender in the ACC again.

Loser: Alabama's Next Week of Practice

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    AP Photo/Michael Thomas

    Nick Saban is going to be livid.

    Yes, the Crimson Tide squeaked past Texas in a 20-19 nail-biting victory. Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young engineered a clutch last-minute drive to set up Will Reichard's winning field goal.

    Alabama, however, committed 15 penalties—the most ever by a Saban-coached team—for 100 yards. The offensive line had an unimpressive day, the receivers struggled to create separation and the Tide barely escaped a feisty Texas squad.

    The good news for Bama: Ugly wins are still a win.

    But after such an undisciplined performance, it'll be a tough week of practice in Tuscaloosa.

Winner: Drew Sanders' Breakout Game

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    AP Photo/Michael Woods

    The moment felt inevitable.

    As a member of the 2020 recruiting class, Drew Sanders earned a 5-star billing from 247Sports' composite rankings and committed to Alabama. He was a dynamic two-way player who focused on defense when he arrived at a program known for developing elite pass-rushers.

    Sanders, though, held minor roles in two seasons with the Crimson Tide before transferring to Arkansas this offseason. He put together a nice debut, notching five tackles and a sack against Cincinnati last weekend.

    He flat-out dominated South Carolina on Saturday.

    While collecting a team-high 11 stops, Sanders posted three tackles for loss with two sacks, forced two fumbles, broke up a pass and added a hurry. Behind him and an overpowering rushing attack, Arkansas toppled the visitors 44-30.

Loser: Northwestern's Final Inch

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    What a brutal way to lose—especially given the production that Northwestern back Evan Hull had amassed.

    Duke jumped out to a surprising 21-0 advantage, but NU steadily trimmed the gap. They scored 16 unanswered points and ultimately trailed 31-23 late in the fourth quarter.

    Northwestern quarterback Ryan Hilinski completed five straight passes to begin the potential game-tying drive. Then, an offsides penalty put the Wildcats at Duke's 16-yard line with 32 seconds to play.

    Three snaps later, Hull looked like he was about to score. He scampered up the middle, tried to split a pair of Duke defenders, lunged toward the end zone...and lost the ball. Duke recovered, sealing a 31-23 victory.

    It was a nightmare finish for Hull, who otherwise caught 14 passes for 213 yards, rushed for 65 yards and totaled two touchdowns. But he and the 'Cats desperately needed the slightest bit more.

Winner: Marshall's Big Upset

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    Micah Abraham | AP Photo/Michael Conroy

    Whenever it seems a weekend isn't full of great matchups, all upsets take on another level of significance.

    Marshall headed to Notre Dame as a three-touchdown underdog, but the visiting Thundering Herd played a tremendous game. They scored first, held a 9-7 halftime lead and increased the lead to 26-15 on Steven Gilmore's pick-six of Tyler Buchner late in the fourth quarter.

    Notre Dame still had 4:35 to assemble a miracle comeback. However, quarterback Drew Pyne—who replaced Buchner mere plays earlier after a hard landing on his left shoulder—tossed an interception.

    While the Irish managed a glimmer of hope with a blocked punt and a touchdown, Marshall recovered an onside kick to cement the 26-21 shocker.

    Notre Dame coach Marcus Freeman became the first coach in program history to start his tenure 0-3.

Loser: Texas A&M's Debacle

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    AP Photo/Sam Craft

    Folks, the Sun Belt came to play in Week 2.

    Marshall took the spotlight early at Notre Dame, and Appalachian State followed suit at Texas A&M.

    Last weekend, App State surrendered 63 points in a devastating two-point loss to North Carolina. But the Sun Belt favorite responded in incredible fashion, taking down the sixth-ranked Aggies in their own building.

    Midway through the fourth quarter, Michael Hughes buried a 29-yard field goal to give the Mountaineers a 17-14 edge. On the ensuing drive, Texas A&M kicker Caden Davis lined up for a potential game-tying 47-yard attempt. However, he struck the ball poorly, and it dropped harmlessly short of the uprights.

    App State back Camerun Peoples promptly iced the upset with a couple of first downs, sealing yet another memorable result for the program.

Winner: DJ Uiagalelei's Response

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    John Byrum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

    There's no question DJ Uiagalelei heard the rumblings. After an inefficient showing in Clemson's win over Georgia Tech, the clamors for freshman backup Cade Klubnik grew louder.

    But on Saturday—even though the opposition was lower-division Furman—Uiagalelei quieted the noise.

    The sophomore quarterback hit 21-of-27 throws for 231 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. He averaged 8.6 yards per attempt, topping the eight-yard mark for only the second time in 15 games as the Tigers' full-time starter.

    Look, that final stat defines the uncertainty around Uiagalelei. It wouldn't be surprising if Klubnik works into a larger role and perhaps the QB1 spot this season.

    In the aftermath of Klubnik's exciting debut, though, Uiagalelei ensured Clemson is his team for at least another week.

Loser: Pitt Squanders Hot Start

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    Justin Berl/Getty Images

    The mid-afternoon mayhem continued in Eastern Pennsylvania between No. 24 Tennessee and No. 17 Pitt.

    Pitt, a six-point underdog, twice held 10-point leads in the first 20 minutes, but Tennessee surged later in the second quarter to carry a 24-17 edge into the locker room. The outlook seemed grim for Pitt, which had lost starting quarterback Kedon Slovis to an undisclosed injury.

    Behind a career day from running back Israel Abanikanda—who totaled 175 scrimmage yards—the Panthers never lost hope. They forced overtime thanks to backup QB Nick Patti's four-yard touchdown to Jared Wayne late in the fourth quarter.

    But the Vols took control in the extra session.

    Hendon Hooker connected with star receiver Cedric Tillman for a touchdown on the opening drive. And after UT's Trevon Flowers brought down Patti for a clutch 12-yard sack, Patti's fourth-down pass fell incomplete and wrapped up UT's 34-27 triumph.

    Pitt's hot start and late comeback kept the optimism alive, but the reigning ACC champs fell disappointingly short of a quality upset.

Winner: Afternoon Madness

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    Nakia Watson | John Fisher/Getty Images

    Unless you want to spend four hours reading about the weekend, we simply can’t feature every game. Saturday had so much chaotic fun to know, though.

    Washington State went on the road and upended No. 19 Wisconsin because of a 31-yard touchdown catch from Nakia Watson, who transferred from UW two years ago. Texas Tech executed a last-minute scoring drive to force overtime with No. 25 Houston and won in the second extra period.

    FCS school Eastern Kentucky beat Bowling Green 59-57 in a seven-overtime marathon. For good measure, Iowa State snapped a six-game losing streak to rival Iowa with a fourth-quarter touchdown in a 10-7 win.

    That all happened in addition to the madness at Notre Dame, Texas A&M and Pitt in the same kickoff window. When one dramatic game finished, another one was there to take its place.

    What a beautiful, nonstop day.

Loser: Keeping Up with the Chaos

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    Within minutes—and I mean, literally, count them on one hand—of adding the previous section, Week 2 laughed in my face.

    Gardner-Webb almost joined the FCS/FBS upset list as a 32.5-point underdog at Coastal Carolina, but CCU snuck out a game-winning drive in the fourth quarter.

    Holy Cross stunned Buffalo with a 46-yard touchdown as time expired to win 37-31. By God's grace, the Hail Mary from Matthew Sluka somehow found Jalen Coker in the middle of four Buffalo defenders.

    Kansas then sealed a road victory at West Virginia with an incredibly rare 13-point overtime win. After the KU offense scored a touchdown to begin OT, cornerback Cobee Bryant snatched a game-sealing interception and ran it back for an unnecessary and wonderfully appreciated score in a 55-42 final.

    And, lastly, Incarnate Word vs. Nevada nearly matched that score as the former racked up 616 yards to complete a 55-41 victory and FCS/FBS upset on the road.

    Seriously, y'all: college football is the best.

Winner: Kentucky Slows the Hype Train

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    James Gilbert/Getty Images

    Welcome back to the roller coaster, Florida fans.

    Last weekend, the Gators clipped defending Pac-12 champ Utah to start the Billy Napier era in style. This weekend, Napier received a rude welcome to the annual matchup with Kentucky.

    The visitors emerged from The Swamp with a 26-16 triumph as the result of a stellar defensive performance.

    Florida quarterback Anthony Richardson torched Utah for 274 total yards and three touchdowns in Week 1. Kentucky, on the other hand, limited the Heisman Trophy hopeful to 143 yards on 35 pass attempts and just four rushing yards.

    Mark Stoops' squad has become a thorn for Florida. Since snapping a 31-game losing streak in the series in 2018, the Wildcats have now earned three victories in the last five matchups.

Loser: East Coast Sleep Schedules

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    AP Photo/George Frey

    Having set up Jake Oldroyd for a 35-yard field goal in the final seconds, BYU could've won at the end of regulation.

    What fun is that, though?

    Oldroyd pulled the attempt to the left, sending yet another Top 25 matchup to overtime. The miss ultimately only delayed a triumph for No.21 BYU against the No. 9 team in the country.

    During the first OT period, Baylor kicker Isaiah Hankins misfired on a 43-yard attempt. BYU elected for three conservative play-calls, giving Oldroyd a chance for redemption from 37 yards. And he missed again.

    BYU's offense returned to the field, and Lopini Katoa quickly powered in a short touchdown run. Finally, the Cougs wrapped up the victory with a fourth-down stop on defense. The game ended 26-20 at 2:19 a.m. ET.

    Who needs sleep anyway?

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