Week 3 College Football Superlatives from Kramer's Korner

Adam Kramer@kegsneggsNational College Football Lead WriterSeptember 15, 2014

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When Steve Spurrier’s voice met microphone moments after South Carolina’s 38-35 upset victory over Georgia—a game that will be remembered for the Gamecocks’ 4th-and-inches pickup by quarterback Dylan Thompson with only a minute remaining—he was asked about the decision to go for it rather than punting.

We are all well-aware of this ritual by now. Someone asks the Ol’ Ball Coach a question, he responds with dry, hilarious truth—perhaps even a jab at a familiar football fixture—and then we proceed to laugh in unison. 

This response, however, was somehow above and beyond the typical Spurrier encounter. It was a dismissive shoulder shrug, a facial expression that required the cooperation of hundreds of muscles and raw, overwhelming confidence.

Lost in the chaotic nature of the win—along with the various pieces of wreckage left in Week 3—was the fact that South Carolina beat a Top 10 team only weeks after being dismantled and sold for parts against Texas A&M.

We assumed that recovery was impossible. Given what we saw, it was hard not to. But the Gamecocks bounced back, and one of the best football magicians to ever walk the Earth worked one of his most amazing tricks yet in just under three weeks. 

In doing so, the Ol’ Ball Coach reminded us he’s more than Stephen King-sized book of catch phrases. (Although he still delivered on that end too, and you just knew he would.)

Is South Carolina perfect? Not by any means. In a way, however, it makes the performance on Saturday even more impressive.

As for awards and observations from Week 3, here they are.

Offensive Player of the Week: Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati

Al Behrman/Associated Press

Remember this guy? Once at Notre Dame, once verbally committed to Indiana—no, really—and now at Cincinnati, Gunner Kiel appears to have landed in the right place. In his first start for the Bearcats, Kiel completed 25 of 37 passes for 418 yards. He also ran for 24 yards and found the end zone six times as Cincinnati beat Toledo 58-34.

Kiel threw for more than 200 yards and three touchdowns in the first quarter, and although Toledo made an interesting second-half push after being down early, it didn’t last long.

His debut was years in the making, although it was indeed worth the wait.

Dominant Defender: Shaq Thompson, Washington

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 13: Linebacker Shaq Thompson #7 (with ball) of the Washington Huskies is congratulated by teammates after returning an interception for a touchdown in the first quarter against the Illinois Fighting Illini on September 13, 2014 at
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

For the second consecutive week, Washington takes home Dominant Defender honors. Defensive lineman Danny Shelton was selected after his four-sack performance in Week 2. This week, we’re moving back one level and highlighting Shaq Thompson, who is quickly becoming a superstar if he’s not there already. 

Thompson found the end zone twice, once on a 36-yard interception return and the other on a 52-yard fumble recovery. Linebackers are really not supposed to move as quickly as he does.

He also finished with four tackles in Washington’s 44-19 win over Illinois. Oh, and last week he found the end zone as a running back. (That doesn’t factor into this weekly award, but it serves as a reminder that you should be watching him.)

Video Game Box Score: 

-The entirety of West Virginia-Maryland was a video game. It featured 1,141 total yards, 795 passing yards and 77 points. The most glaring items to stand out on this game, however, came courtesy of the Mountaineers. Quarterback Clint Trickett threw for 511 yards and WVU ran 108 plays. 108!

-Coming into its game against Texas Tech, Arkansas had run the ball 69 times. On Saturday, the Hogs ran it 68 (!!!) times for 438 yards. Yes, Bret Bielema’s team finished with more running plays than passing yards (61). You should get a plaque or something for that.

Anti-Video Game Box Score:

-It took USC—one of the nation’s more potent rushing attacks—29 carries to reach 20 yards on Saturday against Boston College. Flipping sides, the Trojans rushing defense allowed 452 yards rushing on 54 carries. Yes, college football is weird. (More on that in a bit.)

-Alabama’s O.J. Howard is arguably the nation’s most talented tight end. Through three games, however, he has zero catches. This is absolutely baffling and the most shocking stat so far this season. Someone throw him a ball, please.

Biggest Surprise 

BOSTON, MA- SEPTEMBER 13:  Fans storm the field after the Boston College Eagles 37-31 win over the USC Trojans at Alumni Stadium on September 13 in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Winslow Townson/Getty Images)
Winslow Townson/Getty Images

We expected USC to be mildly hungover after beating Stanford and somewhat sluggish due to jetlag. But we did not expect to see a talented USC defense allow 37 points and 506 yards...to Boston College. (I’m sorry, Eagles, but this part is important.)

Behold the power of an unpredictable sport and the difficulty that is the week-to-week grind. On paper, it always looks so easy, especially after we watched BC crumble to Pitt only a week earlier. And in reality, we gave the Trojans a win here long before that.

Then the season came and the unexpected showed up at our house with a six-pack. Kudos to Steve Addazio and the rest of the Eagles on the upset.

Best Moment

Rick Neuheisel did not expect for his son Jerry to see the field for UCLA on Saturday. After an injury to quarterback Brett Hundley, however, the redshirt sophomore was thrown into action against Texas. And he played well. His pump-and-go touchdown late in the fourth quarter secured the win for the Bruins.

Dad, who works as an analyst for the Pac-12 Network, watched anxiously. The network recorded him doing so—along with his joy, anger, stress and every possible emotion you could imagine—along the way.

We're certainly glad it did.

Well done, Jerry. Well done, Rick. 

For the Highlight Reel

The entire sequence looked far too easy and natural for Josh Doctson, which is why the TCU wideout is receiving appropriate highlight-reel love. 

Against Minnesota, Doctson ran a fade and the pass was all but certain to be heading out of play. Thanks to his Stretch Armstrong-like maneuver, however, he was able to haul in the pass with relative ease and make an arduous grab look somewhat simple.

If the College Football Playoff Started Today... (or Why I Hate Your Team)

Reminder: If your team is not included, it’s because I have a personal vendetta. There can be no other reasonable explanation.

Georgia and USC are out; Oklahoma and Texas A&M are in. There feels like some separation between the top two teams with our limited sample size, although that could change this weekend with bigger games looming.

1. Oregon

2. Oklahoma

3. Florida State

4. Texas A&M

Five Leftovers to Chew on 

PISCATAWAY, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13: Head coach James Franklin of the Penn State Nittany Lions hugs quarterback Christian Hackenberg #14 after a game against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at High Point Solutions Stadium on September 13, 2014 in Piscataway, New Je
Alex Goodlett/Getty Images

1. James Franklin won’t receive dramatic applause for beating Rutgers in his first Big Ten game, but I was impressed. Yes, it came against a turnover-happy Scarlet Knight team, and this is a game PSU should win. But with so much attention on the NCAA’s decision last week, you expected the focus to be off. This was a huge, impressive victory given the bizarre circumstances.

2. How about a little love for Bret Bielema and Arkansas? Bielema, of course, has been an easy target this year, but it’s obvious to see how much better the Razorbacks have gotten in one offseason. It’s not flashy, but when you run for 438 yards and score 49 points on the road, it doesn’t have to be. Good luck stopping those two backs.

3. On the topic of improving teams, let’s talk Colorado. After watching the Buffs and Arizona State in its entirety, I’ll say this: Colorado still has a long way to go before it's a team the Pac-12 has to be worried about, but the progress is both impressive and obvious. Mike MacIntyre is doing an underrated job there; I hope he stays around long enough to see it through.

4. Bold uniform attempts, particularly with historic programs, typically fail. But the Shamrock Series uniforms Notre Dame wore against Purdue on Saturday night were absolutely lovely. The game itself wasn’t all that watchable, but at least both teams looked nice. Bright side, indeed.

Notre Dame uniforms😻🍀🔥 pic.twitter.com/dGhsVUkMDN

— Daquan Davis (@ShowtimeQUAN_) September 14, 2014

5. Myles Garrett is already must-see television for Texas A&M, and the true freshman has only played in three games. His five-and-a-half sacks are second in the country overall, and he has quickly become one of the more dynamic defensive ends in the SEC. With Arkansas, Mississippi State, Ole Miss and Alabama coming up, it will be fascinating to see what he does next.

Fan of the Week: This Guy

This game is attracting all types of fans. This guy put tape on and then went to the beach. 90 minutes later: voila pic.twitter.com/9av2AfI7h2

— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) September 13, 2014

Wait, there’s more.

Guys, I didn't even tweet out that fan's back earlier: pic.twitter.com/cfUILqrTWz

— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) September 13, 2014

I have only one complaint, and it’s not the hat. If anything, the head accessory adds to this scene.

With that said, sir, you have to take that “I” and make it a “1.” I understand you might be new at this—it was taken at Rutgers, after all—but we take our pointless conference abbreviations seriously and you look like a serious man.

Your “Weird Football” Game of the Week

Thursday nights oftentimes deliver weird, entertaining games. These are not necessarily “good” games, but you will likely see something you've never seen before. If you watched BYU beat Houston on Thursday—staying with it beyond the Cougars' 23-0 lead—you were treated to a luxury spread of weird. 

There was a Madden-like glitch from a Houston cornerback. I hate it when you press the triangle button too early.

There was an ejection for a punch that landed air.

Air punch http://t.co/xr3DHSuRix

— Michael Shamburger (@mshamburger1) September 12, 2014

There was this extra-point attempt.

And yes, there was a Hail Mary.

As always, thank you, weird football.

The Best, Worst Incompletion of the Year

Kent State's performance against Ohio State on Saturday could be summed up in one play. Colin Reardon will undoubtedly have better passes than this, although I feel like this should come with bonus points for creativity.

The Best, Worst Touchback of the Year 

East Carolina delivered an enormous upset on Saturday against Virginia Tech. It also gave its special teams coach a blunder that he can hang on his bathroom wall for guests to see. It's actually quite hypnotic.

Sometimes You Just Need a Hug

Kicking is football’s most unappreciated trade. When you make a kick, you are patted on the head and then forgotten. When you miss, you are the world’s largest goat in a spotlight the size of a swimming pool. 

UMass kicker Blake Lucas had the opportunity to tie Vanderbilt late in the game with a short field. Unfortunately, he was unable to deliver. As the spotlight kicked on, however, Lucas got a kind embrace from an expected place. Vanderbilt’s Adam Butler cut his celebration short to offer up a hug.

Sometimes, especially times like these, we could all use one.

Let's Play a Game: What is Will Muschamp Saying?

1. "I hate goat spit."

2. "Goals, kids!"

3. "Mulch it!"

4. "I feel like I'm doing a good job and there's no need for the hot seat talk."

From the Peanut Gallery (Best Tweets of the Weekend)

We are still waiting for the UK team to find the stadium. Other teams are usually here by now. Wonder if they will be as lost on the field.

— Gainesville Police (@GainesvillePD) September 13, 2014

What did Holgorsen say to Lambert before game-winning kick? "I haven't talked to Josh Lambert since he got on campus."

— Allan Taylor (@AllanTaylorWVU) September 13, 2014

@mitch54 @CorkGaines @daynperry omg pic.twitter.com/AiV4kkdtLK

— nick pants (@nick_pants) September 13, 2014

So is this good or nah? pic.twitter.com/SQGLyxqoMe

— Austin Steele (@AustinSteele) September 15, 2014 

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