Oregon rips through Tennessee; more midday Week 3 Snap Judgments
Snap Judgments from the Week 3 midday slate. For more content, check out SI.com's stories on Alabama and Texas A&M from College Station, our takeaways from Ole Miss-Texas and Michigan-Akron and our early Snaps.
• No. 2 Oregon 59, Tennessee 14: The confines of Autzen Stadium are not particularly welcoming to programs in rebuilding mode. The Volunteers learned that lesson the hard way on Saturday, as the Ducks looked as dangerous as ever in routing coach Butch Jones' team.
Heisman-contending quarterback Marcus Mariota became the first Oregon player to throw for 400 yards in a game since Kellen Clemens in 2005. Mariota went 23-of-33 for 456 yards and four touchdowns while accounting for 483 of the Ducks' 687 total yards.
Things looked mildly interesting in the first quarter, when Tennessee took a 7-0 lead on a four-yard pass from quarterback Justin Worley to wide receiver Justin Croom. But the Ducks regained their composure and rattled off 59 consecutive points. The performance signaled a historically bad loss for the Vols, and the road doesn't get any easier: Four top-20 teams (Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Alabama) loom among Tennessee's next five opponents.
The most impressive part of Oregon's offense is its efficiency. The Ducks averaged nine yards per play against the Vols. New coach Mark Helfrich has his team firing on all cylinders -- its 184 points through the first three games are the program's most since 2010 -- but now it must keep things rolling in Pac-12 play. The Ducks welcome UCLA to Eugene on Oct. 27 before traveling to Stanford on Nov. 7. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 1 Alabama 49, No. 6 Texas A&M 42: The game fans have been waiting for lived up to its sky-high expectations. Despite a late Aggies' surge, the Crimson Tide held on for the victory in College Station. SI.com's Andy Staples and Stewart Mandel were at Kyle Field and have more from the scene. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 10 Florida State 62, Nevada 7: Seminoles redshirt freshman quarterback Jameis Winston wasn't quite as accurate on Saturday as he was during his debut against Pitt in Week 1. He had a whopping three incompletions against the Wolf Pack (he had two against the Panthers), but he still managed to finish 15-of-18 for 214 yards and two passing scores.
• USC 35, Boston College 7: For all of the uproar following USC's loss to Washington State in Week 2, the Trojans boast a strong defense and a productive rushing game. Both were on full display against Boston College on Saturday. Running back Tre Madden rushed for 102 yards, becoming the first Trojan to open the season with three straight 100-yard games in 32 years, while USC's defense limited the Eagles to 184 total yards. Still, coach Lane Kiffin's job won't feel any more secure unless his team can replicate those numbers against higher-quality competition. [RECAP l BOX]
• Michigan State 55, Youngstown State 17: Was this the same Michigan State team fans saw during the last two weeks? The Spartans offense finally came alive against FCS foe Youngstown State on Saturday afternoon. Through its first two games, Michigan State's defense had scored four of the team's six touchdowns. In this one, the offense was responsible for seven of the team's nine trips to the end zone. Perhaps this was the tune-up quarterbacks Connor Cook and Tyler O'Conner needed before a matchup with Notre Dame next week. [RECAP l BOX]
• Georgia Tech 38, Duke 14: Yellow Jackets' defense coordinator Ted Roof left Penn State in January to return to the school where he previously coached for four and a half seasons. Two games into the 2013 campaign, Roof's defense has been a major part of Georgia Tech's success. The unit allowed just two touchdowns against Duke and held the Blue Devils to 254 total yards. Jackets quarterback Vad Lee also did his part, throwing for a career-high four touchdowns and running for another score. [RECAP l BOX]
• UCF 34, Penn State 31: The Blake Bortles Show has been fun to watch so far this season, and it left State College on a high note this Saturday. UCF's quarterback finished 20-of-27 for 288 yards and three touchdowns as the undefeated Knights sunk Penn State for the program's first-ever win over a Big Ten opponent. For the year, Bortles has completed 71.4 percent of his attempts and has tossed seven touchdowns to one interception. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 19 Washington 34, Illinois 24: The Huskies haven't enjoyed much luck away from home of late; they entered Saturday having lost seven of their last nine games away Husky Stadium. But Washington's fortunes reversed on Saturday, as it built a 21-point lead by the third quarter and held off advances by the Illini. Defensive end Josh Shirley recorded four sacks and helped contain Illinois quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase to only 9-of-25 passing. [RECAP | BOX]• Iowa 27, Iowa State 21: The Hawkeyes snapped a two-game losing streak to the rival Cyclones thanks to quarterback Jake Rudock, who accounted for all three of Iowa's touchdowns. Iowa State rallied and cut the deficit to six points late in the fourth quarter, but the Hawkeyes recovered an onside kick to seal the win. The loss sent the Cyclones to 0-2 for the first time since 2007. [RECAP | BOX]