UCLA storms back for emotional win over Nebraska; more early Week 3 Snap Judgments
Snap Judgments from the Week 3 early 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 midday Snaps.
• No. 16 UCLA 41, No. 23 Nebraska 21: After an emotional week -- and some touching gestures by the Cornhuskers -- the Bruins got off to a slow start in Lincoln on Saturday. They appeared exhausted early and Nebraska seemed set to cruise to an easy victory. But late in the second quarter, UCLA found a spark.
Thirty-eight unanswered points later, the Huskers were left shell-shocked by Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley for the second straight year. The sophomore completed 16-of-24 passes for 294 yards and three touchdowns. And UCLA's defense, after appearing sluggish in the first half, held Nebraska scoreless in the second.
Cornhuskers quarterback Taylor Martinez was relatively sharp in defeat, throwing for 200 yards and three touchdowns, with no interceptions. But the Nebraska ground game was a disappointment, gaining just 128 rushing yards. The Huskers (2-1) would obviously like to have this one back, but their next four games are very winnable. They play South Dakota State, Illinois, Purdue and Minnesota before a critical showdown with Northwestern on Nov. 2.
The Bruins (2-0) overcame adversity and convincingly won a tough non-conference game. This is the sort of character-building victory that should serve the team well as it begins Pac-12 play next month. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 14 Oklahoma 51, Tulsa 20: The Belldozer Era began with a bang, but not in the way that many people might have anticipated. Rather than barreling through defenders on the ground, junior quarterback Blake Bell picked apart the Golden Hurricane with his arm. He completed 27-of-37 passes for 413 yards and four touchdowns. Bell added 24 rushing yards to round out his superb all-around performance.
Tulsa, which won 11 games in 2012, continues to slide after beginning the season with high hopes. The Golden Hurricane are now 1-2 and need to turn things around quickly before the start of C-USA play.
Perhaps the first three weeks of the season haven't played out quite the way that the Sooners (3-0) once imagined, but their defense, which has allowed just 27 points, has been stellar, and the offense looked potent under Bell today. Oklahoma has a bye next week before coach Bob Stoops’ team faces Notre Dame on Sept. 28, when fans will get to see if the Sooners are for real. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 7 Louisville 27, Kentucky 13: Rivalries tend to bring out the best in underdogs, and the Wildcats’ defense was an unlikely star in the early part of this game. Kentucky (1-2) hung with the Cardinals in the first half, as Louisville coach Charlie Strong tried to establish the run rather than simply turning quarterback Teddy Bridgewater loose.
But after a long drive ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass from Bridgewater to receiver DeVante Parkerthat that put the Cards up 10-3 late in the second quarter, Louisville (3-0) rolled to a comfortable win. Bridgewater, a Heisman hopeful, completed 16-of-28 passes for 250 yards and a touchdown. The Wildcats are making strides under first-year coach Mark Stoops, but transforming Kentucky from a losing program to a winning program is going to take time. Still, Stoops should be encouraged by his team's effort in this one. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 5 Stanford 34, Army 20: Cardinal coach David Shaw said during the Pac-12 teleconference this week that his team wouldn’t have any trouble with a noon East Coast start because Stanford (2-0) practices bright and early every morning. But whether it was travel, the kickoff time or something else, the Cardinal stumbled out of the gate and trailed the Black Knights (1-2) 6-0 early. Shaw's team eventually bounced back and dominated the rest of the way, rushing for 189 yards and holding Army to seven second-half points. Running back Tyler Gaffney was solid in the win, picking up 150 total yards and scoring two touchdowns. [RECAP l BOX]
• Virginia Tech 15, East Carolina 10: Wins are not going to come easy for the Hokies (2-1) in 2013. Tech's formidable defense should keep the team in most games, but the offense, which has already had to deal with a rash of injuries, looks shaky. Quarterback Logan Thomas did pass for 258 yards and two touchdowns, while the Hokies D forced three turnovers and recorded a safety. The Pirates (2-1) have some talented players, but their depth is an issue against opponents with superior athleticism. [RECAP l BOX]
• Indiana 42, Bowling Green 10: This amazing blocked punt for a touchdown -- and a couple of fourth-down, red-zone stops notwithstanding -- the Falcons (2-1) couldn’t keep up with the Hoosiers’ explosive offense on Saturday. Indiana (2-1) quarterback Nate Sudfeld averaged 19.8 yards per completion, while running backs Stephen Houston and Tevin Coleman combined to rush for 284 yards. Five different Hoosiers had at least 30 receiving yards.
Bowling Green was done in by stalled drives, missed field goals and lost opportunities. But the Falcons' schedule shapes up nicely before an Oct. 12 trip to Mississippi State. Bowling Green has a shot to potentially enter that game 5-1. [RECAP l BOX] • Louisiana-Monroe 21, Wake Forest 19: Welp ... The Demon Deacons looked horrific on offense for the majority of this game, but they started to put things together on their final drive of the afternoon. Wake ran a series of quick-hitting passes that played to the talents of quarterback Tanner Price and wide receiver Michael Campanaro. But a 23-yard touchdown pass to flanker Orville Reynolds with four seconds left was too little, too late. The Deacs couldn't convert the two-point try that would have tied the game. Things have gone from bad to worse in Winston-Salem -- and the meaty part of the schedule is still to come. [RECAP l BOX]