B/R's College Football Weekly Awards: Week 3
Following an absolutely wild weekend, college football handed us a pleasant Saturday to catch our collective breath.
But that doesn't mean Week 3 lacked fascinating outcomes.
Oregon leveled BYU, Texas A&M clipped Miami and Kansas—Kansas, folks!—continued its winning ways. And in the mountains of North Carolina, Appalachian State escaped a major letdown with a jaw-dropping walk-off victory.
B/R's Weekly Awards is spanning the country and recapping the best of the weekend.
Team of the Week: Oregon Ducks
Two weeks ago, Georgia embarrassed Oregon. There is no sugarcoating the 49-3 demolition the Ducks endured.
Don't throw out those Pac-12 Championship predictions just yet.
After cruising past Eastern Washington last weekend, Oregon put together an impressive 41-20 victory over 12th-ranked BYU. Bo Nix exploded for a second straight five-touchdown performance, tossing two scores and scampering for three.
Most impressively, the Ducks controlled the game on the ground. Minnesota transfer Mar'keise Irving rushed for 97 yards, and Noah Whittington added 66. Nix (35 yards) and Jordan James (33) rounded out the effort, which allowed Nix to attempt only 18 passes all day.
Rather than dealing with two Top 25 losses to begin the year, Oregon now enters Pac-12 play on a promising note.
Play of the Week: App State's Miracle
Troy seemed destined to become the Buzzkill of the Week.
Heading into the game, Appalachian State had everything on its side. After last Saturday's upset of Texas A&M, the Mountaineers even swiped ESPN's College GameDay. This was a crowning moment for the program, which entered as a 14-point favorite.
Troy, however, was literal seconds away from pulling off a shocking result. The defense made a goal-line stand with 1:10 to play and seemingly sealed a 28-24 victory. App State responded and forced a punt, and Troy intentionally took a safety. Although the 'Neers earned a desperation chance, the likelihood of a last-second score was low.
But not zero.
As regulation expired, Chase Brice's pass sailed toward a few yards shy of Troy's end zone. Somehow, some way, Christan Horn caught the deflection going backward, headed toward the corner and sprinted past the pylon to give App State a miraculous triumph and cap a momentous day for the program.
Atta-Boy of the Week: Arizona Dethrones FCS Power
North Dakota State is the preeminent power of the Football Championship Subdivision. Heading into Week 4, the Bison boasted a six-game winning streak over FBS opponents, too. Plus, they headed to Arizona as a three-point favorite.
But the 'Cats had other plans.
The inevitable seemed to appear late in the third quarter as NDSU took a 28-24 lead. Bulldozing back Hunter Luepke scored his third touchdown of the day, and—like so many times before—the visiting Bison took control.
Arizona, however, scored a go-ahead touchdown with 4:53 to play in regulation. Then, the 'Cats forced a three-and-out and burned the final 2:48 on their last drive to seal a 31-28 upset win.
Honestly, we should've seen it coming. We need to start expecting success from last season's transitive national champion.
Pin Drop of the Week: Notre Dame's Survival
Cal finished one agonizing incompletion shy of potentially sending Notre Dame into a tailspin.
Not only did the visiting Golden Bears hold three separate leads, they almost scored on the final play of regulation.
Jack Plummer avoided pressure and heaved a prayer into the end zone. After three deflections, the ball dropped into the chest of Cal receiver Jeremiah Hunter. But he could not corral the ricochet, providing a massive sigh of relief to a Fighting Irish fanbase begging for a win.
Perhaps if Hunter had caught the ball, Cal coach Justin Wilcox would've attempted a two-point conversion. Why not play for the win on the road as a two-touchdown underdog?
Instead, the Irish managed the first victory—uninspiring though it was—of Marcus Freeman's tenure.
Wrong Sport Award: College Basketball's Big Names
Are we absolutely certain this is football season?
Here's a list of notable 3-0 teams: Duke, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina, Syracuse and UCLA.
That includes the schools—Duke, KU, UK and UNC—with the four winningest programs in college basketball history. Syracuse is sixth, UCLA is seventh and Indiana is 10th.
For good measure, throw in Maryland. On the gridiron, the Taulia Tagovailoa-led offense has guided the Terps to 3-0. Although the men's basketball team isn't as prestigious as the other seven programs, Maryland won a national title in 2002.
Best of all, Duke travels to Kansas in Week 4. If your brain initially thinks of a showdown at the Phog, you're not alone.
Statement of the Week: Washington Huskies
Entering the weekend, one of the biggest questions on my mind was: Wait, is Washington good?
That answer might just be a resounding yes.
Washington went against 11th-ranked Michigan State and flat-out dominated the Spartans 39-28. Transfer quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who previously beat MSU while at Indiana, threw for 397 yards and four touchdowns without an interception in 40 attempts.
Together with first-year coach Kalen DeBoer, Penix has sparked a program that looked lifeless in 2021. The school fired Jimmy Lake following a 4-5 start, and UW finished the season with offensive ranks no better than 107th nationally in yards per play and both yards and points per game.
Washington's next five contests are against Stanford, at UCLA, at Arizona State, against Arizona and at Cal. There is a very legitimate path to 8-0, if the Dawgs can continue this level of performance.
And they are really, really close to convincing us.
Best of the Rest: Week 3
The "You're in Big Trouble, Mister" Award: Auburn's Bryan Harsin
Auburn's boosters are notoriously nosey, and the recent offseason already wasn't kind to Bryan Harsin. It's safe to say the second-year coach, following a 41-12 beatdown at home against Penn State, will be feeling more pressure. Last week, we mentioned that Auburn could've landed the "Good Thing You Were Distracted" award because of an unimpressive win over San Jose State. Well, the CFB world was not distracted Saturday. And, more poignantly, neither were those boosters.
The "This Sport Makes No Sense" Award: Marshall Loses
Last weekend, Marshall outplayed Notre Dame and pulled off a stellar upset. Also that night, Bowling Green lost to FCS opponent Eastern Kentucky in seven overtimes. So, naturally, Bowling Green turned around as a 17-point underdog and celebrated a 34-31 victory over Marshall. Yes, in overtime. Because why not?
Golf Claps of the Week: The Upsets You Maybe Didn't See
So many interesting outcomes for us CFB fans. Wyoming threw a fun twist in the Mountain West standings with a victory over Air Force. Southern Illinois took out Northwestern, Tulane edged Kansas State and Eastern Michigan stunned Arizona State. Heck, even Rice toppled Louisiana! All of the winning teams were at least 12-point underdogs.
The Terrific Trio: Week 4
No. 5 Clemson at No. 21 Wake Forest (Noon ET, ABC)
The first marquee clash of the ACC season pits Clemson against Wake Forest, which dethroned the longtime power in the Atlantic Division last year. Clemson, though, won 2021's matchup. Neither team had a strong performance in Week 3, but this is an enormous chance for a valuable conference win.
No. 20 Florida at No. 11 Tennessee (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)
Not since 2017 have Florida and Tennessee been ranked in their annual showdown. That is set to end when the SEC East rivals meet on Rocky Top in Week 4. Tennessee, which is 3-0, has a great opportunity to snap a five-game skid against Florida. While the Gators have an absurd 16 wins in the last 17 contests, they're not exactly riding a hot streak after a loss to Kentucky and a narrow victory over South Florida.
No. 10 Arkansas vs. No. 23 Texas A&M (7 p.m. ET, ESPN)
Arkansas had quite a scare, huh? Missouri State jumped out to a 17-0 lead on the Razorbacks, who ended up earning a 38-27 victory to improve to 3-0. Texas A&M, meanwhile, capitalized on a few Miami miscues to pull out a 17-9 win against the 13th-ranked visitors and recover from last weekend's upset loss to App State. The game will be played, as usual, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Note: Odds references from Vegas Insider.