Winners and Losers from Week 3 of College Football

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 20, 2020

Winners and Losers from Week 3 of College Football

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    In new head coach Jeff Hafley's debut, Boston College cruised to an ACC victory over Duke.
    In new head coach Jeff Hafley's debut, Boston College cruised to an ACC victory over Duke.Associated Press

    An off-field story stood as the biggest news in Week 3 until Miami unleashed an offensive barrage on Louisville to earn Saturday's best win.

    After postponing the season in August, the Big Ten reversed course and will be playing football in 2020. Ohio State is a championship contender, while Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin are among the teams chasing the Buckeyes for the league crown.

    However, they're not returning to the field for several weeks; the Hurricanes, meanwhile, put up 485 yards and 47 points in a key victory at Louisville on Saturday.

    Yes, it was otherwise an unspectacular slate. Suggesting the opposite would be disingenuous, considering only one Big 12 team and no SEC teams played a game. But as Oklahoma State struggled with Tulsa and Tulane blew a 24-point lead to Navy, unspectacular still provided intrigue.

Winner: Big Ten Football

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Less than five weeks ago, Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said the decision to postpone fall sports would not be revisited.

    Spoiler alert: They reversed course.

    The Big Ten announced plans for an eight-game regular season to begin Saturday, Oct. 24. The conference championship game is scheduled for Dec. 19, and the 12 remaining teams will square off in a cross-division matchup that day as well. The league also released the full schedule Saturday morning.

    Whatever you ultimately think of the decision, Big Ten football is officially back.

Loser: The Oklahoma State Hype Train

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    Brody Schmidt/Associated Press

    After an offseason full of praise for quarterback Spencer Sanders, running back Chuba Hubbard and wide receiver Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State's high-powered offense didn't do much.

    Sanders exited the Cowboys' game against the Tulane Green Wave with a lower extremity injury, and the impact of his absence can hardly be overstated. Still, it wasn't until the fourth quarter that Hubbard or Wallace picked up the slack. Entering the final frame, Oklahoma State trailed Tulsa 7-3.

    Shane Illingworththe third-string quarterbackprovided a much-needed spark and connected with Wallace twice for 60 yards. Those explosive plays set up Hubbard's go-ahead touchdown.

    Oklahoma State's wealth of experience on defense saved the day; the unit held Tulsa to 1-of-15 on third and fourth down. Tulsa's horrible clock management and string of procedural penalties also helped Mike Gundy's team survive.

    Ultimately, the Pokes looked up at the scoreboard and saw a 16-7 victory. But it's a good thing aesthetics aren't a factor quite yet.

Winner: Jeff Hafley in Boston College Debut

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    Following the 2019 season, Boston College moved on from Steve Addazio and replaced him with Ohio State defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley. He couldn't have asked for a much better debut.

    Notre Dame transfer Phil Jurkovec threw for 300 yards, hitting Zay Flowers for 162 yards and Hunter Long for 93 with a touchdown apiece. David Bailey added a rushing score, and the defense kept Duke to just 4.9 yards per play in a 26-6 triumph.

    "I'm giving every one of those players a game ball," Hafley said afterward, per Tyler Calvaruso of Eagle Insider.

    Boston College needs to focus on Texas State next weekend. However, we're now looking forward to Hafley and Co. taking on Sam Howell and North Carolina on the first Saturday of October.

Loser: Tulane's 24-Point Lead

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    BYU thumped Navy in the season opener, racking up 580 yards during a 55-3 rout of the Midshipmen. And when Tulane jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead, it seemed history was repeating itself.

    Midway through the third quarter, though, Navy discovered an answer to its straining offense: ye old forward pass.

    The triple-option attack didn't abandon the running game, but Dalen Morris completed two passes for 68 yards on Navy's first scoring drive. After another touchdown and a safety, Morris tossed his first career score to Mychal Cooper and hit Devin Mathews for a game-tying two-point conversion.

    Navy then forced back-to-back turnovers on downs, and Bijan Nichols buried a 33-yard field goal as time expired to complete a remarkable 27-24 comeback win.

Winner: Dillon Gabriel, UCF

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    John Minchillo/Associated Press

    Dillon Gabriel enjoyed his Saturday in Atlanta.

    Georgia Tech upset Florida State last week and snatched an early 7-0 lead against UCF, but Gabriel responded in a big way. The Knights scored four straight touchdownsincluding three passing scores from the sophomoreand took a 28-14 edge into halftime.

    After a scoreless third quarter, the Yellow Jackets trimmed UCF's advantage to seven. Again, though, Gabriel stepped up and carried the Knights; three consecutive touchdown drives sealed a 49-21 win.

    Gabriel racked up a career-best 417 yards in his season debut, completing 27 of 41 passes with four touchdowns and one interception.

Loser: Appalachian State's Late Scoring Chances

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    Brian Blanco/Associated Press

    Appalachian State will remember this disappointing loss to Marshall as a "woulda, coulda, shoulda" letdown.

    Trailing 17-7 in the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers had a big play on 4th-and-inches near midfield. Mike Evans caught a play-action pass and rumbled 41 yards, but Marshall's Brandon Drayton forced a fumble that Nazeeh Johnson recovered in the end zone. Then on the next possession, App State's Chandler Staton missed a 26-yard kick.

    The 23rd-ranked Mountaineers left a touchdown and field goal on the field in the fourth quarter and lost by 10. It doesn't take a math major to determine the sting of those mistakes.

    App State will be dropping out of the polls, and 2-0 Marshall has a strong case for its first Top 25 ranking in six years.

Winner: Miami's New-Look Offense

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    Wilfredo Lee/Associated Press

    Don't say it. Don't say it. Don't say it.


    In all seriousness, Miami put together an incredible showing in a 47-34 victory at Louisville. First-year offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee had a brilliant and creative game planparticularly in the second halffor an impressive win on the road.

    Star quarterback D'Eriq King threw for 325 yards and three touchdowns, hitting tight end Brevin Jordan seven times for 120 yards and a score. Cam'Ron Harris and Jaylan Knighton scored 75-yard touchdowns on Miami's first two plays of the second half.

    After a couple of immensely frustrating years of offense, this unit is clearly capable of a massive output each week. The 'Canes are not officially back, but they might not be terribly far, either.

    Miami's next challenge is a big one; The U hosts rival Florida State in prime time next weekend.