Week 2 gave us thrilling finishes, near upsets and even a couple elite matchups between top 10 teams who looked like they were in mid-season form. Even though it’s still incredibly early in the season—too early to be discussing the College Football Playoff?—we’re already learning which programs need to start panicking, which are going to exceed expectations and which are going to give us heart palpitations every single Saturday.
And so, without further ado, here are your biggest winners and losers from Week 2:
How about those Terps? Maryland totally shredded No. 21 Syracuse 63–20 on Saturday, breaking a school record for the most points scored against a ranked opponent. Mike Locksley’s team is now 2–0 and has scored a combined 142 points in its first two games. Impressive.
Maryland quarterback Josh Jackson, who transferred from Virginia Tech, went 21 of 38 for 296 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. He spread the ball around, hitting eight different receivers, while the running game smashed through the Orange’s defense for 354 yards and six TD. Maryland led 42–13 at halftime, and the offensive onslaught continued after the break.
Locksley, the former Alabama offensive coordinator, has installed an up-tempo, spread offense with run-pass options. So far, it’s working, and Locksley told reporters after the game that his team is “not even close to being the type of team that I want us to be.”
An impressive opening two weeks for the Terrapins, who won’t face the likes of Ohio State or Michigan until November.
2. Purdue’s dangerous duo
Quarterback Elijah Sindelar and receiver Rondale Moore are turning into quite the flashy tandem for the Boilermakers. In a 42–24 win over Vanderbilt, Sindelar passed for 509 yards and five touchdowns and ran for another, while Moore hauled in 13 catches for a career-high 220 yards and a touchdown.
If they’re going to be connecting for plays like these all season, Purdue could become must-see TV.
For all the excitement around this win, however, Purdue’s running game needs some help. The Boilers rushed for only 31 yards on 18 carries as a team and are going to have to make some improvements there to be a contender in the Big Ten.
3. Joe Burrow’s night vs. Texas
LSU quarterback Joe Burrow had a career night that vaulted him into Heisman Trophy consideration. The senior, who transferred to LSU from Ohio State before the 2018 season, completed 31 of 39 passes for 471 yards with four touchdowns and an interception in a dramatic 45–38 win over Texas at Darrell K Royal Stadium.
Burrow’s most eye-popping throw was his last one. On third-and-17 from the LSU 39, he hit Justin Jefferson for a 61-yard touchdown. LSU then converted a two-point conversion when Burrow found Ja’Marr Chase in the end zone to give the Tigers a comfortable 45–31 lead with 2:27 to play. Texas still made things interesting after that, but ultimately ran out of time.
Burrow is clearly thriving in LSU’s new offense, which features the passing attack instead of relying on a traditionally stingy defense and powerful running game to win. First-year passing-game coordinator Joe Brady, who came to the Tigers from the Saints, is going to be a game-changer for this team.
The Wolverines played as poor of a game as you could while still managing to win. Michigan’s new offense under former Alabama assistant and new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis looked more like its old offense in a lucky double overtime 24–20 win over Army.
Michigan’s offensive line had a rough day as the running game averaged 2.4 yards per carry—Rice actually moved the ball better against an undersized Army defense last week (6.0 ypc). The passing game, though, wasn’t much better. Quarterback Shea Patterson, who was nursing an injury but still got the nod over backup Dylan McCaffrey, went 19 of 29 for 207 yards with no touchdowns and two fumbles. In just two games this season, the Wolverines have lost five fumbles; last season UM only lost three total.
There were plenty of other self-inflicted wounds, too. Michigan had nine penalties for 58 yards, for example, and now fans are rightfully wondering why their new offense—led by a former Alabama assistant—is sputtering. Meanwhile Maryland’s new offense—also led by a former Alabama assistant—is thriving. The Terps have scored 142 points in their first two games under former Bama OC Mike Locksley and Michigan nearly lost to Army. And to make matters worse, Ohio State demolished Cincinnati, 42–0.
Up next for Michigan is a bye week during Week 3 during which it’ll try to regroup before heading to Madison to face Jonathan Taylor & Co. Will this serve as a wakeup call?
On Saturday afternoon, former storied rivals Nebraska and Colorado got together to relive their old Big 12 days. The Cornhuskers held a steady 17–0 lead at halftime and looked like they were going to go up 2–0 in Year 2 of the Scott Frost era…before totally collapsing. Nebraska, ranked No. 25 heading into this game, dominated the first half and star quarterback Adrian Martinez led touchdown drives of 96 and 95 yards. Then in the second half, he was sacked six times and threw a pick.
The Buffaloes took advantage and piled up 300 yards and 34 points to come back and win 34–31 in overtime. Students rushed the field and Frost told reporters after the game that “this was one of the hardest losses I’ve ever been part of.”
Frost is now 0–6 on the road dating back to 2018. What will this mean for the Huskers hype and rebuild moving forward?
Before the season opener vs. Louisiana Tech, members of the Texas secondary started wearing T-shirts that said: “There’s only one DBU.” They continued to wear them heading into Week 2 while preparing to face LSU, a program that consistently churns out NFL caliber defensive backs and has often dubbed itself “DBU.”
Texas safety Caden Sterns told reporters that the shirts weren’t meant to offend the Tigers, but rather “honor the dudes who came before us.” Regardless, LSU wanted to prove Texas was wrong for even thinking of themselves in that way and show who the real DBU was Saturday night in their primetime matchup.
Here’s the thing though: neither team really lived up to that reputation. LSU QB Joe Burrow picked apart the Longhorns’ secondary, passing for 471 yards and four touchdowns. And, for the first time in school history, the Tigers had three 100-yard receivers in a game. Meanwhile, Texas QB Sam Ehlinger exposed the Tigers, passing for 401 yards and four touchdowns and two Longhorns had more than 100 yards receiving.
So maybe these programs should tout themselves as QBU.
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