Winners and Losers from Week 2 of College Football

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2017

Winners and Losers from Week 2 of College Football

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    Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

    Baker Mayfield and the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners exited Saturday as the undisputed winners of Week 2 after taking down the second-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes on the road.

    However, in a week littered with marquee matchups, quarterbacks dominated the stat sheet. Lamar Jackson highlighted the performances with a six-touchdown day in Louisville's ACC opener, but stars from both the Big 12 and Pac-12 showed out, too.

    But not every national contender had memorable outings. Michigan and Auburn now have something to prove. Other losers of the week include upsets and potential drops in job security.

Winner: Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

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    The other quarterback in Oklahoma, Baker Mayfield, gets most of the attention. Mason Rudolph, however, deserves a weekly spotlight if Oklahoma State's offense maintains its pace.

    In a 44-7 smackdown of South Alabama, the senior completed 25 of his 38 attempts for 335 yards, throwing three touchdowns and running for one more. Rudolph had comparable numbers in a Week 1 win, slicing Tulsa for 303 passing yards and four total scores.

    Additionally, he broke Brandon Weeden's program record for career passing yards. Rudolph now has 9,352 in 31 games.

    But the accomplishment is merely a sidenote to him.

    "That's not even one of the goals on my goal sheet," Rudolph said, according to John Zenor of the Associated Press. "Getting the Big 12 title is the ultimate goal, and it's going to take a lot more of these performances to get there."

Loser: North Carolina's Defense

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    "He's not going to beat us," North Carolina linebacker Andre Smith said of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson, per Andrew Carter of the News & Observer. "We're just going to stop anything that he tries to do."

    Love the confidence. Not the execution.

    While carrying Louisville to 47-35 triumph, Jackson completed 25 of 39 passes for 393 yards—the third-highest total of his career—and three touchdowns. He scampered for 132 yards and three scores, notching two in the decisive fourth quarter.

    According to Carter, Jackson set a record for the most yards of total offense (525) against a UNC defense.

    The Heels couldn't stop anything he did.

Winner: Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

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    Bradrick Shaw handled a team-high 18 carries in Wisconsin's victory over Utah State, but a leg injury sidelined him Saturday.

    Jonathan Taylor took full advantage of the opportunity.

    The freshman running back followed his 87-yard debut with a 223-yard, three-touchdown outburst to help Wisconsin dispatch FAU 31-14.

    Although Chris James added 101 yards on 16 attempts, Taylor stole the spotlight. And really, there's no downside for the Badgers. The offense needs a stable of backs for the run-focused scheme, and Taylor showed he can handle a large volume of carries.

    Even if Shaw reclaims his starting job, Wisconsin should be confident it has added another reliable piece.

Loser: Michigan's Offense

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    Wilton Speight capped Michigan's first offensive possession with a 43-yard strike to a wide-open Kekoa Crawford. And after a pick-six in their favor, it seemed the Wolverines would run away from Cincinnati.

    That didn't happen until their second defensive touchdown—which came in the fourth quarter—because the offense stumbled through the middle frames.

    Speight lost a fumble early in the second quarter and missed several open passes throughout the unimpressive 36-14 win.

    "We gotta get into a rhythm. We have to, all 11, we gotta execute," head coach Jim Harbaugh said in a video posted by the Detroit Free Press. "And that's on us as coaches, and the players, to evaluate what's causing it, how to get our offense into a rhythm."

    Perhaps fortunately for the Wolverines, they have Air Force, Purdue and a bye week to close September. But they cannot let the offense fail to complement a tenacious defense much longer.

Winner: Nathan Stanley, Iowa

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    In case anyone questioned Matt Campbell's ability, Iowa State showed on Saturday how much progress the program has made. One year after getting blown out by Iowa 42-3, the Cyclones held a 10-point edge in the fourth quarter.

    Coughing up the lead stings, but it's why Iowa quarterback Nathan Stanley is a winner. The first-year starter completed 27 passes in 41 attempts, racking up 333 yards and five touchdowns.

    Yes, star running back Akrum Wadley helped out with a spectacular game-tying 46-yard catch on his team's final drive of regulation. He totaled 190 yards and two scores in the 44-41 overtime win.

    But Stanley played wonderfully in his second career start.

Loser: Northwestern

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    With the exception of a few years, Northwestern is notorious for starting slowly. Well, 2017 will not be an outlier in the trend.

    The 1-0 Wildcats traveled to Durham, North Carolina, and proceeded to put together a stinker. Duke rolled to a 21-3 lead before NU managed a touchdown shortly before halftime. After the break, the Blue Devils tallied 20 straight points, eventually winning 41-17.

    "Coach [David Cutcliffe] and his guys wanted it a lot more than we did," NU coach Pat Fitzgerald said, per Stephen Wiseman of the News & Observer. "We got out-coached, out-executed, out-played."

    That's for sure.

    Wildcats star runner Justin Jackson managed 18 yards on just seven carries, while quarterback Clayton Thorson trudged to an 11-of-29, two-interception day. The offense went 1-of-10 on third down, and the defense surrendered an extraordinary 15-of-22 mark.

    Fitzgerald's team might pull a Northwestern and rattle off seven wins in 2017, but that was a horrid showing.

Winner: Will Grier-David Sills Connection

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    College football is full of great stories, and it appears West Virginia is ready to add another chapter to that book.

    Will Grier arrived at Florida in 2014, surged into the starting lineup the next year as a redshirt freshman and then transferred due to a yearlong performance-enhancing drug suspension. The Mountaineers could hardly ask for a better start from the quarterback.

    David Sills committed to USC as a quarterback in seventh grade. After an adventurous journey, the junior has found a home at receiver for West Virginia.

    Grier found Sills nine times for 94 yards and two touchdowns in WVU's season-opening loss to Virginia Tech, but that was merely an appetizer. During a 56-20 mashing of East Carolina, Sills notched seven catches, 153 yards and three scores. Grier ended the afternoon 19-of-25 with 352 yards and five touchdowns.

    Their path weren't expected to travel through Morgantown, but the unlikely duo is becoming one of the nation's most lethal connections.

Loser: Power 5 Teams vs. Directional Michigan Schools

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    It was a solid weekend for Michigan schools in the MAC.

    Western Michigan came up short but stayed reasonably close to Michigan State. Though inexperience at quarterback proved to be the problem, the Broncos hung within 14 for most of the game. MSU, to its credit, held off the feisty opponent.

    Neither Kansas nor Rutgers can say the same.

    Central Michigan knocked off a Big 12 program for the second straight year thanks to a massive day from Michigan transfer Shane Morris. The southpaw accumulated 467 passing yards and five touchdowns, guiding Central to a 45-27 win at Kansas.

    And in Piscataway, New Jersey, Paulie Fricano's trio of field goals propelled Eastern Michigan to 16-13 triumph over Rutgers. Brogan Roback threw for 260 yards and one score in the victory.

Winner: Tulsa's Rushing Attack

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    The band formerly known as Louisiana-Lafayette surrendered 343 rushing yards to Southeastern Louisiana in Week 1. That was a bad sign heading into a matchup with Tulsa.

    D'Angelo Brewer fulfilled the Ragin' Cajuns' worst nightmare in Week 2. He headlined a Golden Hurricane offense that amassed 424 yards rushing and eight touchdowns on the ground in a 66-42 victory.

    Brewer piled up 262 yards and three scores on 38 carries, while backup Corey Taylor II scampered for 68 yards and two touchdowns. Quarterback Chad President added a pair of scores on the ground (and one passing), and freshman runner Shamari Brooks collected 79 yards and one score in garbage time.

    Even after losing four enormous pieces from its 2016 attack, including quarterback Dane Evans, Tulsa's offense remains an absolute burden to stop.

    And Louisiana has a rather sizable issue to address on defense.

Loser: Tyson Summers' Job Security

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    Auburn dismantled Georgia Southern in the opener, winning 41-7 while holding the Eagles to just 78 yards of offense. But hey, that's an SEC contender; no big deal, right?

    Falling 22-12 to FCS foe New Hampshire, though, is not a promising sign for Georgia Southern coach Tyson Summers.

    The Eagles lost a fumble, punted twice, missed a field goal and turned the ball over on downs while New Hampshire raced ahead 22-0. Southern mustered 12 straight points in the second half, but the comeback happened too late for a real threat.

    After two nine-win seasons under Willie Fritz—now the coach at Tulane—Southern has sputtered to 5-9 under Summers. Unless the offense begins to show real improvement, his tenure may be short-lived.

Winner: Shea Patterson, Ole Miss

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    UT-Martin steadily inched ahead of Ole Miss, taking a 16-7 lead midway through the second quarter. Rebels quarterback Shea Patterson decided he'd had enough.

    The budding star responded by leading six consecutive scoring drives to give the Rebels a 45-23 advantage. During that stretch, Patterson completed 22 of 29 attempts for 365 yards and four scores, ending five possessions with a touchdown and another with a field goal.

    Patterson's 489-yard explosion broke the program record (465) held by his predecessor, Chad Kelly.

    "I'm so happy for him," said receiver DaMarkus Lodge—who had 133 yards and one touchdown—per the school. "He worked hard all summer and I knew he could do it, so it wasn't a surprise for me, but I'm happy for him."

Loser: Auburn's Offensive Line

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    Look, blocking Clemson's defensive line is really, really hard. But that's the job, and Auburn failed at it during a 14-6 loss in the ACC's Death Valley.

    Gus Malzahn's team surrendered 11 sacks, including four to Austin Bryant, two to Christian Wilkins and one to Clelin Ferrell. The front seven flushed Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham out of the pocket on several other dropbacks, too.

    Protecting Stidham wasn't the only problem, however. The line struggled to create space for Kamryn Pettway, who mustered 74 yards on 22 totes. Just one of his carries covered more than 10 yards, and it came on the opening drive.

    The 117 yards of total offense was the lowest output in Malzahn's four-plus-year tenure on the Plains—and the third sub-200-yard day over the program's last six games.

    Auburn has dreams of dethroning Alabama and winning the SEC and reaching the College Football Playoff, but that's not going to happen if the offense is unable to run the ball.

Winner: Josh Rosen, UCLA

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    The best way to avoid needing a 34-point comeback is to lead 35-7 at halftime. As always, this expert analysis is provided for free.

    In all seriousness, Josh Rosen continued his hot streak in a massive way Saturday afternoon against Hawaii.

    Rosen only had three incompletions in 25 attempts, posting 329 yards and five touchdowns in the 56-23 triumph. Darren Andrews caught three of those scores.

    "There's a reason he's a future NFL draft pick," Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich said, per UCLA. "We knew that coming in. ... I'm impressed. He's a quarterback, not just a pretty arm."

Loser: Baylor's Start

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    Baylor head coach Matt Rhule could not have envisioned his team's year starting like this.

    In Week 1, the Bears lost 48-45 to Liberty. And Saturday, they dropped a 17-10 decision against UTSA. Both losses came at home.

    What could be a dynamic rushing attack trudged to 137 yards on 31 carries. Arizona transfer Anu Solomon misfired on 16 of his 26 throws, managing 121 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Baylor finished 2-of-11 on third down.

    Heading into the campaign, it seemed Rhule's debut season at the school would at least end in a postseason berth. After two games, the outlook has quickly shifted to how poorly the season may end.

Winner: Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

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    College football may have a new king.

    Buoyed by a wonderful defensive display, Baker Mayfield propelled the Sooners to a 31-16 upset of No. 2 Ohio State in Columbus.

    The two-time Heisman Trophy finalist stated an early case for a third straight trip to New York, connecting with his teammates on 27 of 35 attempts for 386 yards and three touchdowns.

    Astoundingly enough, just one of Oklahoma's first 10 drives did not reach Ohio State territory. The margin could've been even wider had the Sooners not fumbled twice and also missed a field goal during the opening half.

    Mayfield and OU have officially joined Alabama as Playoff favorites.

Loser: Notre Dame's Running Game

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    Notre Dame, which had the 80th-ranked rushing offense in 2016, obliterated Temple to the tune of 422 yards last week. The explosion offered hope for an improved season on the ground.

    Perhaps the Irish will rebound, but Georgia flat-out dominated them at the line of scrimmage in a 20-19 road triumph.

    Notre Dame plodded its way to 55 yards on 37 attempts. Josh Adams registered fewer than three yards per carry on 19 tries, and the Irish surrendered six non-sack tackles for loss.

    "Georgia was better than us up front," Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly said, per Pete Sampson of Irish Illustrated.

    Notre Dame wasn't expected to compete nationally in 2017, but Week 2 was a moderate letdown after the encouraging opener.

Winner: USC's Offense

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    USC took care of business in impressive fashion. The Trojans accumulated 623 yards of total offense—the most Stanford has allowed since 2010—in a 42-24 dismissal of the Pac-12 power.

    Ronald Jones II and Stephen Carr tallied a combined 235 yards rushing and two trips to the end zone, and they were the key contributors in USC's 10-of-12 third-down mark.

    But everybody wants to know about the quarterback. And he was pretty good, too. Sam Darnold threw for 316 yards and four touchdowns, linking up with both Deontay Burnett and Steven Mitchell Jr. for two scores apiece.

    "Pretty special," head coach Clay Helton said of Darnold on the Fox broadcast following the win. "I'm glad he's a Trojan."

    And USC is thrilled to be 2-0.


    All recruiting information via Scout. Stats from or B/R research. Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow Bleacher Report CFB Writer David Kenyon on Twitter @Kenyon19_BR.