B/R's College Football Weekly Awards: Week 3
During a weekend of some fascinating near-upsets and sleepy wins around college football, a kicker stole the show.
Missouri kicker Harrison Mevis put himself in a record book with a 61-yard game-winning field goal, taking down a top-15 team in the process. Another top-15 squad fell in Gainesville, an apparently haunted place that Tennessee has not managed to survive in two decades.
This edition of Weekly Awards otherwise has a heavy Pac-12 flavor, largely thanks to a statement road victory, an ironic loss and epic touchdown from an offensive lineman.
Oh, also: Colorado keeps being dramatic.
This adventurous journey back through Week 3 of the 2023 campaign begins with the upset in Florida.
Team of the Week: Florida Gators
After playing so poorly in the loss at Utah, Florida desperately needed to show it would be competitive in 2023. While second-year head coach Billy Napier wasn't on the hot seat, frustration was rising.
Nothing a win over 11th-ranked Tennessee can't help.
Trevor Etienne spearheaded the 29-16 upset in the rivalry game, scampering for 172 yards with a trip to the end zone. Most impressively, the Gators scored touchdowns on four straight first-half drives to build a 26-7 lead. Florida basically controlled the entire game.
What happens next is critical. UF lost to Kentucky and Vanderbilt last season, and those SEC opponents await following a matchup with Charlotte next week.
Like Miami head coach Mario Cristobal in Week 2, though, Napier found a signature win to validate what he's trying to build at Florida.
Statement of the Week: Washington Huskies
Michigan State players are dealing with a program in turmoil as head coach Mel Tucker is under investigation for sexual harassment.
On Saturday, Washington thrashed the Spartans.
Michael Penix Jr. bolstered his potential Heisman Trophy-worthy campaign with 375 yards and four touchdowns in the opening half alone. He finished the 41-7 rout with a season-high 473 yards, propelling the Huskies to setting an MSU opponent record of 713 total yards.
Rome Odunze (180 receiving yards), Ja'Lynn Polk (118) and Jalen McMillan (96) continued tearing apart coverage, and tight end Jack Westover reeled in three of Penix's four touchdown passes.
Heading into Pac-12 play against Cal next weekend, Washington boasts one of the nation's scariest offenses.
Panic Alarm of the Week: Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama, we have a problem.
Texas downed the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa last weekend, sparking a quarterback change. They benched Jalen Milroe in favor of Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner, who proceeded to complete just 5-of-14 passes for 34 yards during the first half at South Florida.
Because of Buchner's ineffectiveness, the Tide turned to true freshman Ty Simpson. He fared a little better and hit five of his nine attempts for 73 yards in an unsightly 17-3 win over USF.
Why didn't Milroe replace Buchner? Well...
"I think that's an internal team thing," Bama head coach Nick Saban said, per Matt Stahl of AL.com. "I think that everybody has the opportunity to respond in the right way then things don't go exactly like you want them to. We play the guys that practice the best all week long."
This is a messy situation, and Alabama—which hosts Ole Miss on Saturday—must fix it quickly.
Hype-Saver of the Week: Colorado's Clutch Drive
Colorado State head coach Jay Norvell ignited the in-state rivalry with comments that, while presumably intended for his players and not Deion Sanders, didn't sit well in Boulder.
The immediate reaction was that Colorado would steamroll the visiting Rams, who lost to Washington State 50-24 earlier this season. Colorado State was already a three-touchdown underdog, and Norvell's interview only added fuel to CU's emotional fire.
But CSU almost pulled it off anyway.
Colorado State—which held a 28-17 edge in the fourth quarter—pinned the Buffs at their own 2-yard line with 2:06 remaining and still holding a 28-20 lead. Colorado needed a huge drive to save its unbeaten record.
Shedeur Sanders delivered. He completed 5-of-6 passes for 106 yards on a drive that included two five-yard penalties and ended with a 45-yard touchdown strike to Jimmy Horn Jr., along with a game-tying two-point conversion throw to Michael Harrison.
Colorado ended up winning 43-35 in double overtime, setting up a showdown at No. 10 Oregon in Week 4.
Irony of the Week: Sacramento State Downs Stanford
I believe Troy Taylor, who entered a tough situation at Stanford, will make the Cardinal annually competitive again.
Meanwhile, I know Taylor had a fascinating Week 3 loss.
Not only did Stanford fall to lower-division Sacramento State—which opened the week as a top-10 team in the FCS—but that's the program Taylor left to take charge in Palo Alto. Many of his former players and coaches guided the Hornets to a memorable 30-23 win.
After the game, Taylor understandably deflected all of the questions about Sacramento State and said his focus is entirely on this Stanford team. That's exactly what we should have expected him to do, too.
But I would love to hear how Taylor truly processed what could've been an emotional result.
Anti-College Kicker of the Week: Harrison Mevis, Missouri
If you aren't on X, formerly known as Twitter, on a given weekend, you should know about a tradition. When a specialist misses a high-percentage field goal, a stream of #CollegeKickers posts ring out.
Being a kicker is a thankless job. You could bury 9-of-10 attempts, but that single miss is a big deal.
So, I appreciate when someone ruins the #CollegeKickers jab.
In a thrilling upset of No. 15 Kansas State, Harrison Mevis stepped up and hammered a 61-yard kick—the longest in SEC history—as time expired. Fans stormed the field to celebrate Missouri's 30-27 victory.
The wildest part? Missouri had taken a bad delay-of-game penalty that cost the offense five yards.
"I would have preferred it from 56," Mevis said afterward, per Dave Skretta of the Associated Press. "But you know, it really doesn't matter. It's going to be the same kick."
Best of the Rest: Week 3
Play of the Week: Oregon State's Tricky Touchdown
We love a lineman touchdown. Oregon State busted out a lovely trick play, rolling DJ Uiagalelei to the right and threw a backward pass across the field to left tackle Joshua Gray. The longtime starter trotted into the end zone to help OSU beat San Diego State 26-9.
Shutout of the Week: Fresno State Blanks ASU
Considering how much production Fresno State had to replace on offense, I wouldn't have been surprised if the Bulldogs endured a slow start to the season. Instead, they upset Purdue in Week 1, escaped Eastern Washington in OT last Saturday and toppled Arizona State 29-0 in Week 3. Pretty good three-game stretch, I'd say.
Golf Clap of the Week: Rutgers Improves to 3-0
How about one quick word before the record is blemished? Not only is Rutgers 3-0 since 2012, but the Scarlet Knights have earned three comfortable wins. They smacked Northwestern 24-7, cruised past Temple 36-7 and hammered Virginia Tech 35-16 in Week 3.
Michigan is likely end the undefeated fun next Saturday. Rutgers may have a path to a bowl appearance with games against Wagner, Michigan State and Indiana still on the slate, though.