The Rundown: Week 2 Stars, Surprises and Statements and a New Top 10

For better or for worse, which teams, players and coaches stood out in Week 2 filled with blown leads and impressive performances?
By Ross Dellenger ,

The Rundown returns for Week 2, and oh what a busy one it was. Lots of blown leads (Nebraska, come on), a ton of incredible performances (holy smokes, Rondale Moore) and some wow moments (I mean, who expected Maryland to score 42 points in a single half against a ranked team?).

Let’s dive into the second go-around of The Rundown, where we rank our top 10 teams and then give you 55 observations from the day, each ranked by category, because we all love rankings.  

TOP 10… Teams

1. Clemson
Last week: 1
Last game: Beat Texas A&M 24–10
Next game: Saturday at Syracuse

Defensive coordinator Brent Venables’s unit held Jimbo Fisher’s offense to fewer than 300 yards and 6-of-16 on third-down attempts. The Tigers won in a very SEC manner.

2. Alabama
Last week: 2
Last game: Beat New Mexico State 62–10
Next game: Saturday at South Carolina

The Tide rolled the Aggies, now winning their first two games by a combined 104–13 score. It might be three blowouts in a row, with Will Muschamp and his reeling Gamecocks up next. Nick Saban is 16–0 against his former assistants, beating them by a combined score of 650–220.

3. Georgia
Last week: 3
Last game: Beat Murray State 63–17
Next game: Saturday vs. Arkansas State

The Racers tied the score at 7 midway through the first quarter—and then allowed five unanswered touchdowns, all of them in a single quarter. The Bulldogs get another warmup next weekend before the showdown against Notre Dame. 

4. Oklahoma
Last week: 4
Last game: Beat South Dakota 70–14
Next game: Saturday vs. UCLA

Jalen Hurts threw for 259 and ran for another 47. We’re not sure which game is a bigger pushover for the Sooners, this past Saturday or next Saturday. The Bruins are 0–2 after losing to San Diego State. 

5. LSU
Last week: 5
Last game: Beat Texas 45–38
Next game: Saturday vs. Northwestern State

The Tigers’ new offense made its debut on the national stage by rolling up 573 total yards and 28 first downs. They scored on eight of 11 drives.

6. Ohio State
Last week: 6
Last game: Beat Cincinnati 42–0
Next game: Saturday at Indiana

The Buckeyes looked good, real good. But we still don’t know much about them, and we won’t until deep into October, when they finally play a team that finished in last year’s top 25.

7. Notre Dame
Last week: 8
Last game: Beat Louisville 35–17
Next game: Saturday vs. New Mexico

The Irish got a break after a Labor Day night win over the Cardinals. Georgia looms in a top-10 showdown in Athens following the matchup with the Lobos.

8. Wisconsin
Last week: NR
Last game: Beat Central Michigan 61–0
Next game: Sept. 21 vs. Michigan

The Badgers have given up zero points on the season. That’s right—they’ve pitched two shutouts to open the year. They vault into our top 10 after a struggling performance from Michigan and a Texas loss. 

9. Auburn
Last week: 8
Last game: Beat Tulane 24–6
Next game: Saturday vs. Kent State

Freshman QB Bo Nix followed up his comeback over Oregon with a steady, 207-yard outing against the Green Wave, but the Tigers’ offense has a long way to go.

10. Michigan
Last week: 7
Last game: Beat Army 24–21 in 2OT
Next game: Sept. 21 at Wisconsin

The Wolverines and their new offense barely escaped over the triple-option-running Knights. This does not bode well for their future.

Top 9… Wow Performances

1. Jeudy-cious

The Alabama receiver tied a single-game receiver record with three touchdowns as the Crimson Tide rolled over New Mexico State. He’s got 18 catches for 240 yards and four scores in the first two games of the season. He is good. He is very, very good.

2. Moore has more

Purdue’s Rondale Moore, we predict, will make The Rundown on a near weekly basis. On Saturday in a win over Vanderbilt, he caught 13 passes for 220 yards, scored a touchdown and had this beauty.

3. Chase this

LSU receiver Ja’Marr Chase was the best player on a football field Saturday that included a lot of good players. Chase ran crisp routes, showed speed and displayed solid hands. He finished with eight catches and 147 yards.

4. McFar-out

Maryland RB Anthony McFarland is a nifty, tough-to-tackle back that the Terrapins use in an assortment of ways. In the big win over Syracuse, McFarland had 67 yards rushing on 11 carries and caught two passes for 45 yards. He combined to score three times. 

5. Mont-astic

Colorado QB Steven Montez led the Buffaloes to Saturday’s biggest comeback. He threw for 375 yards as Colorado stormed back from 17–0 down to beat Nebraska. His 96-yarder TD strike jump-started a 24-point fourth quarter.

6. Joe knows

Joe Burrow threw for more yards (471) in a single game than any LSU quarterback has since 2001. He tossed darts to a trio of gifted receivers, finishing 31-for-39.

7. The other Purdue player

The guy who throws passes to Purdue’s Moore is a dude by the name of Elijah Sindelar, and he finished 34-for-52 for 509 yards and five scores. Hello.

8. Fields of grass

Ohio State QB Justin Fields is also a regular on The Rundown here early in the season. He was 20-for-25 passing and rolled up 42 yards rushing in addition to 224 through the air. He combined for four touchdowns in the romping win over Cincinnati.

9. The traveling Nebraska fans

Give it to the Huskers. They came to Boulder and they came in droves. What they watched was their team blow a 17-point halftime lead.

Top 8… Bad Beats, Beatdowns and Blown Leads

1. Texas A&M’s last-second TD

The Aggies, trailing by 21 points with six seconds left, scored a touchdown on fourth-and-goal to cover a spread that bounced around from 17 to 19 points. Now that is a bad beat, fellas. 

2. Maryland’s massacre

So much for that big showdown between Syracuse and Clemson next week. The Terrapins and their explosive offense—yes, those words were all used together—thrashed the Orange in Mike Locksley’s second game as coach. The Terps had 42 points—at the half. They won 63–20 in a stunning outing.

3. No-braska

The Huskers, a three-point favorite, led 17–0 at halftime and 24–14 with 13 minutes left before blowing the game in overtime. The Buffaloes stormed back to ruin all your Big Red bets and Scott Frost hype.

4. A Trojan stomping

With a backup quarterback and all, USC whipped up on Stanford, also with a backup quarterback, 45–20, to ever so slightly cool coach Clay Helton’s seat. QB Kedon Slovis, replacing the injured J.T. Daniels, went 28-for-33 for 377 yards and three touchdowns, numbers that you’d expect from an air raid QB.

5. Never pass (or kick), Army

The Knights were oh-so close to pulling the upset in the Big House, and they should have. They missed a field goal in regulation to win it, and one of their five pass attempts—five—was an interception thrown while inside the Michigan 5-yard line. 

6. Buckeye beating

In a matchup against former Ohio State offensive coordinators, Ryan Day bested Luke Fickell. This was a thorough beatdown in just about every statistical category, including total yards (508–273), first downs (31–13) and third-down efficiency (3–14 to 7–11).

7. UL-Mon-Noooo

The Warhawks were an extra point away from a second overtime at Florida State. Kicker Jacob Meeks, who had made a field goal and five PATs earlier in the game, missed. The Seminoles escaped. 

8. Getting cocky

South Carolina took out its frustration on poor Charleston Southern, 72–10, and set records in the process. The Gamecocks amassed the most yards in the history of the program (775) and the 72 points were the most a Will Muschamp–coached team has ever scored. 

Top 7… Things (Good and Bad) About Austin

1. The beef rib at Black’s BBQ

Do you like dinosaur bones? We’re not talking about the ones hanging inside the Smithsonian. Black’s BBQ in Austin dishes out gigantic beef ribs that’ll have you gnawing to get every scrap of the beautifully charred, tasty beef. Tell me this thing’s not from a triceratops.

2. The people

Andre BouMitri is a host at the downtown Austin bar Dogwood. On Thursday night, he stood under a burnt orange Texas flag while wearing an LSU hat and telling purple-and-gold passersby, “Goooo Tigers!” The people of Austin welcomed their Louisiana buddies with open arms. One downtown spot even played ‘Callin Baton Rouge’ for all those Tigers in the house. College football is the best.

3. Drinks at Small Victory

There is a parking garage on Seventh Street in Austin that houses one of the city’s best-kept secrets. Small Victory is a speakeasy bar on the second level of, yes, a parking garage. It’s got a great vibe, solid service and strong drinks (get the Little Italy).

4. The heat, my god, the heat

They say Texas Heat is something altogether different, and they are correct. It is hot like the puff of air emerging from a cracked oven, hot like the bottom of a frying pan, hot like the exhaust from a tailpipe. LSU-Texas kicked off at 6:44 p.m., plenty late in the day for a cool Texas night, right? The temperature at kick: 98 degrees. 

5. The wings at Green Mesquite

Another barbecue joint? Yes. The entire city smells like one big barbecue pit, which is pleasant unless you are insatiably hungry. The Green Mesquite’s barbecue wings were stellar. Nothing fancy, just nicely grilled drumettes and wings slathered in sauce. 

6. The scooters

First off, we do admit here at The Rundown that we greatly enjoy riding on the motorized scooters that have become so prevalent in major cities. However, Austin has a scooter problem. Exhibit A.

7. The huevos rancheros from The Caroline

The Carolina is not your normal hotel lobby restaurant and bar. It is a sleek, open-air spot with a cool vibe and some of the best over-easy eggs, beans and rice you’ve ever eaten. (Also, the Aloft in downtown Austin is about as fine of a hotel you can find.)

Top 5… What the Hell Is Going on in…

1. Knoxville

The Vols are 0–2 for the first time since 1988 after losing at home to Georgia State and then BYU. This week, UT held a 16–13 lead in the final minute with the Cougars back up at their own 20-yard line. The Vols allowed a 64-yard pass to set up BYU’s game-tying field goal. They lost in overtime.

2. Tallahassee

The Seminoles are a mess. A week after blowing an 18-point lead at home to Boise State, they eked out a win over UL-Monroe—only because the ULM kicker missed an extra-point in overtime.

3. Ann Arbor

The Wolverines’ new offense looks like… well, kind of looks like they’re old offense. Michigan struggled mightily against Army, having to win in overtime. Both QB Shea Patterson and coach Jim Harbaugh made some… interesting decisions. 

4. Westwood

The Chip Kelly era just keeps getting worse. The Bruins, losers at Cincinnati last week, dropped a 23–14 game to a San Diego State team that last week beat Weber State 6–0. You read that correctly. Kelly is now 3–12 in his return to college.

5. Tampa

Charlie Strong and the Bulls are 0–2 after a 14-10 loss at Georgia Tech. USF now has 10 total points this season.

Top 4… Numbers to Know

1. Two

Touchdowns that Washington has scored against Cal in their last eight quarters of football. The Bears upset the Huskies on Saturday night with a 20–19 victory a year after their 12–10 win in Berkeley. 

2. 814

Yards that Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts has amassed in the first two games of his Sooners career. There is a legit chance that OU coach Lincoln Riley turns a third straight transfer quarterback into a Heisman Trophy winner. (Yes, it’s still early.)

3. Zero

Points Wisconsin has given up this season. The Badgers start the year with shutouts of South Florida and Central Michigan.

4. Four

Army’s number of drives of 10 plays or more in the near win over Michigan. Programs are going to stop scheduling Army.

Top 3… Big Wins for the New Guy

1. Mel Tucker, Colorado

The Nick Saban disciple and ex-Georgia defensive coordinator didn’t wait long to make a splash in Boulder. His squad stormed back from a 17–0 halftime deficit, clipping Nebraska in overtime. The Buffaloes scored a whopping 24 points in the fourth quarter.

2. Mike Locksley, Maryland

Locks & Co. steamrolled No. 21 Syracuse with an offensive onslaught that dumbfounded many. The Terrapins are 2–0 and they’ve scored a combined 142 points in their first two games. Hell of an opening for the ex-Alabama offensive coordinator. 

3. Mack Brown, North Carolina

The 68-year-old Brown gets back on The Rundown after his team beat Miami 28–25 a week after the Tar Heels stormed back to upset South Carolina. This time around, UNC is the one that blew a lead before needing a 10-yard TD pass with 1:01 left to win it (and a missed game-tying field goal from Miami kicker Bubba Baxa).

Top 2… Quotes

1. Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee

The Vols defense allowed a 64-yard pass in the final minute to lose. What defense were they playing? “The one,” he said, “where you don't give up a 70-yard completion.”

2. Les Miles, Kansas

The Jayhawks won Miles’s debut last week, but they lost at home to baseball school Coastal Carolina on Saturday. The score: 12–7. “What led to the offensive struggles was a secondary that played some quality zone coverage and frankly we couldn't quite beat that.”

Top 1… Most Annoying Commercial on TV

1. Summer love

If you haven’t seen AT&T’s new commercial featuring a boy band and its catchy tune that we’ve dubbed “Summertime Love,” then you haven’t been watching enough football. We here at The Rundown have had the song jingling in our heads for more than a week. “Get up! Get up!” it begins. “Summertime love and the summertime love. Give me one chance and I’ll treatcha like a princess…”

Have a college football question? Email it to sicollegefootball@gmail.com for a chance to have it answered in our weekly mailbag.

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