I’m going to start this week’s piece off with a fantastic fact for you:
This was the first year since 1965 that Florida, Florida State, and Miami all lost to their first NCAA Division 1 opponent of the season (thanks for that one Jeff Darlington)!
That brings us nicely to this week’s winners and losers, with the NFL returning all our games were on Friday or Saturday but the quality of the action certainly didn’t drop.
Justin Herbert – Oregon
An early Heisman tip, as well as being labeled as a first-round pick in the 2019 draft – not a bad start to the season for the Oregon QB! And it is perfectly evident why people are saying good things about him. Herbert has thrown for 9 touchdowns with a passer rating of 213.4 over the first two games of the season.
The Eugene native has yet to surpass 300 yards in a game as the Ducks have been able to rest him during the second half in 58-24 and 62-14 blowouts, but the quality is on show for everyone to see. On Saturday Herbert threw four touchdowns before being rested – his first pass into the end zone was arguably his best, squeezing the ball over the shoulder of the Cornerback and into the hands of Jaylon Redd, perfect.
But don’t just take my word for it, Portland State Head Coach, Bruce Barnum said: “We got Herbert-ed. Justin Herbert: Everything we thought he was and more. Honestly. He got them at every third down, he threw through tiny windows.”
The Tigers survived a potential upset in Texas on Saturday night, the two-point score highlighting how close this game was. With time running out, Kendrick Rogers caught a deflected pass in the end zone and the Aggies were a two-point conversion from tying the scores. Kellen Mond broke out the pocket and was forced to the sideline, he heaved the ball into the end zone, only to be picked off instead.
It made for quality entertainment, but what it also showed is that this Clemson side is well up for the fight this year. With a schedule that currently features no ranked teams, this might well be a Championship year for them as well.
The QB battle is definitely want to watch as starter Kelly Bryant is feeling the pressure from true freshman Trevor Lawrence. Bryant has performed admirably so far, passing for 205 yards and a TD whilst adding another 54 yards and a TD on the ground on Saturday, but Lawrence is keeping pace, using his 5 completed passes to clock 93 yards and a TD coming off the bench.
Tipa Galeai – Utah State
Galeai was given a second chance by Utah State after he was kicked off the TCU Horn Frogs in 2017 following a video which showed him assaulting two fellow students. Not a great start to his college career.
However, after sitting out last season, the former three-star recruit is showing that he’s refocused his life and he could well end up being an NFL linebacker. Galeai leads college football in sacks after week 2 with 3.5 from games against Michigan State and New Mexico State with one of those sacks against New Mexico resulting in a fumble.
Galeai has the build of an elite pass rusher, with his 6ft 6” frame combining with a 4.87 second 40 yard dash. If he keeps up the form he has shown in the opening weeks, look for his name to appear on scouting reports across the US.
After a 38-31 victory over Utah on the opening day, Michigan State came crashing back to earth with a loss to Arizona State in week 2. What will make the loss more galling for the fans of the Spartans will be the manner of the victory.
Despite an early turnover, the Spartans looked comfortable going into the fourth quarter, cue a Manny Wilkins led come back and a last minute field goal as they gave up 13 straight points and slumped to a 16-13 defeat.
The defeat has seen the East Lansing based team drop down the rankings by 10 places to 25th. However, they do have the chance to bounce back with a series of winnable games against Indiana, Central Michigan and Northwestern before a huge clash with Trace McSorley’s Penn State.
Wilton Speight – UCLA
A year ago Speight was the Michigan starter, with the full backing of Jim Harbaugh – now he’s sadly picked up another injury that is threatening to derail his time in California as well. The UCLA transfer picked up a back strain against Cincinnati in an opener in which he threw for 45 yards from 12 attempts before leaving the game injured.
Speight was convinced to transfer to Cal after Chip Kelly gave him assurances he’d be playing in a pro-style offense during his last year of eligibility and he’d clearly put work in over the summer, being named starter ahead of the Cincinnati game. However, that future is now up in the air, with three other QBs waiting in the wings, Speight may have suffered one too many pieces of bad luck.
Brandon Wimbush – Notre Dame
There was a feeling after Notre Dame’s big win over Michigan in week 1, that perhaps Brandon Wimbush was ready to step up and drive the Fighting Irish to the playoffs this season. Week 2 threw some serious shade on that storyline.
Wimbush threw 3 picks and fumbled the ball against Ball State on Saturday, and, with the utmost respect, Ball aren’t exactly a renowned defense. To make things worse, the New Jersey native didn’t add any TDs to the scoresheet in a 23-16 victory, letting his RBs take the brunt of the load in a battle of a game in Indiana.
Next up for the Fighting Irish are the Vanderbilt Commodores who have only allowed an average of 8.5 yards a game so far this year, forcing three turnovers in both of their games as well. Wimbush is going to need to improve or it is quite possible Brian Kelly could turn to Ian Book fairly soon.
Week 3 matchups to watch:
- Penn State @ Kent State
- Michigan @ SMU
- LSU @ Auburn
by Andy Moore – @Ajmoore21