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Nati Harnik/Associated Press
The college football season is in full force as Week 2 brought drama despite not having many ranked matchups. The early games held chalk into the evening as high-ranked teams had no issues putting points on the board.
We saw Heisman candidates Jonathan Taylor and Dwayne Haskins have great games, while Khalil Tate struggled once again to meet expectations.
With conference play coming soon, there were upsets like Eastern Michigan over Purdue, Duke over Northwestern and East Carolina over North Carolina to highlight the early slate.
It was the late games that led to white-knuckle finishes among the top teams.
We have you covered on the Week 2 winners and losers, and will continue to update throughout the night as results come in.
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Nati Harnik/Associated Press
Colorado and Nebraska collided as two formerly great programs. This was Scott Frost’s first game as head coach for the Cornhuskers, but Buffaloes star receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. dominated with a clutch performance on the road.
The sophomore has thus far lived up to the hype set for him by former Colorado coach Gary Barnett, who called him “the best player CU has had in the last 20 years,” per the Pac-12 Network’s Michael Yam. Shenault has 21 receptions for 388 yards and two touchdowns through two games, including 10 catches, 177 yards and a score Saturday. His 40-yard touchdown with 1:06 left in the fourth sealed the 33-28 win over the Huskers.
Shenault and quarterback Steven Montez have been perfect for each other. Montez’s ball placement has given Shenault the chance to use his 6’2″, 220-pound frame and finishing ability at the catch point.
He’s an emerging star.
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Jim Cowsert/Associated Press
The lone Friday night game not only dealt with a weather delay, but it also failed to deliver the offensive fireworks expected from a contest featuring SMU head coach Sonny Dykes. The Mustangs jumped out to an early lead as TCU sleep-walked through most of the first half, and SMU must’ve felt good entering halftime down just two points. The Horned Frogs pitched a shutout in the second half of the Iron Skillet showdown, though, and won by 30 points, 42-12.
The big-picture loser was TCU’s hope that its offense could challenge Ohio State in Week 3. The Horned Frogs scored just half their points on offense, and none of their scoring drives began on their own side of the field.
Gary Patterson’s defense and special teams were fantastic outside the opening drive, but both sides of the ball will have to execute at a high level against a loaded Buckeyes team next week.
It all starts with quarterback Shawn Robinson. He completed only 15 of 28 passes and was careless with the football. He threw one interception and had a fumble, though TCU recovered it. The offense had five fumbles.
TCU offensive co-coordinators Sonny Cumbie and Curtis Luper will have to find easier way to score. The Buckeyes have a young defense that has shown cracks, but the hope that the Horned Frogs can score in the 40s looks misguided.
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Charlie Riedel/Associated Press
Mississippi State’s early returns on hiring head coach Joe Moorehead to replace Dan Mullen have been exceptional. It’s not clear if the Bulldogs are SEC contenders, but they successfully avoided losing a trap game against Kansas State.
Their 31-10 win over Bill Snyder’s Wildcats featured dominant running performances, as the team racked up 370 yards between running back Kylin Hill and quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. Hill was tremendous in Saquon Barkley’s former workhorse at Penn State—where Moorehead was the offensive coordinator—rushing for 211 yards, two touchdowns and catching a 16-yard touchdown pass.
The budding star showed nimble feet and great acceleration for a 215-pounder. He’ll be a must-watch player in the SEC this year, as his ability to be more than a downhill power back is a game-changer.
Snyder has made a career of causing more athletically gifted teams play undisciplined, but it didn’t matter that the Bulldogs had nine more penalties than his Wildcats. Mississippi State’s experience in the trenches paid off as they bulldozed rushing lanes on offense and stymied everything the Wildcats tried.
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Two games into the year for what was supposed to be one of the nation’s most dangerous offenses, the Arizona Wildcats are 0-2. Their 45-18 blowout loss to the Houston Cougars once again showed a non-functioning offense despite the presence of supreme playmaker Khalil Tate at quarterback.
Wildcats head coach Kevin Sumlin’s Air Raid attack has never looked so disjointed, and the defense hemorrhaged yards. Sumlin told ESPN.com’s Paul Carcaterra (via Sam Khan Jr.) that Tate was dealing with an ankle injury suffered in the first half, but the game was all but over by then.
Not all of this is on Tate’s shoulders, but with two losses featuring subpar play from him, the quarterback has seen his Heisman Trophy campaign end before it really began.
An overcorrection has neutralized Tate’s running ability. He tweeted his support for a higher profile passing scheme this past offseason—which he discussed with Bleacher Report’s Matt Hayes—and it affected the school’s decision to go with Sumlin at head coach. Instead of exploiting the running lanes created from man coverage with his legs, he’s forcing passes to covered receivers as he tries to prove his passing chops.
It’s fine for the second-year starter to want to show development as a passer. But there’s a balance he must find between doing what’s most effective for the team and him, and that’s on Sumlin to guide his growth.
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In one of the best games of the early slate, South Florida rallied in the fourth quarter to beat Georgia Tech 49-38. The contributions of freshman receiver Terrence Horne significantly helped the Bulls. He finished the game with back-to-back kickoff returns for touchdowns and a three-yard touchdown reception.
His 98-yard and 97-yard touchdown returns in the first quarter put him in rare company. According to David Hale of ESPN, just eight players in the last decade have had 229 return yards in one game against a Power Five opponent, and Horne accomplished that in the first quarter of his second career game.
The former 3-star prospect spurned UCF, Arizona State and others to sign with the Bulls. Every team in the country could have used a speedy return man like Horne. His performance will be one to keep in mind as the season progresses.
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The Nebraska Cornhuskers had the Colorado Buffaloes right where they wanted them on 3rd-and-24 with 1:14 left in the game. With Nebraska leading 28-27, Colorado quarterback Steven Montez airmailed a throw over the middle, and it momentarily looked like the Cornhuskers were one more stop away from winning their first game under Scott Frost.
Instead of playing the ball, which at worst would’ve been a completion well short of the first-down marker had it been on target, Nebraska safety Antonio Reed blasted receiver Jay MacIntyre—and was flagged for it.
From the unnecessary roughness penalty, the Buffaloes were awarded 15 yards, a fresh set of downs and a chance to win the game. On the next play, Montez connected with receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. for a game-winning 40-yard touchdown.
The hit overshadowed a seven-sack day from the Cornhuskers defense and a solid debut from frosh quarterback Adrian Martinez. Instead, the storyline after Week 2 is how the blunder was so easily avoidable.