NCAA Football

LSU Football: Tigers' RB Leonard Fournette's Heisman Pose an Embarrassment

What in the Hell was Leonard Fournette thinking?

Did Fournette really celebrate his first career touchdown with a Heisman pose against Sam Houston State?

Maybe Fournette will be right. Maybe he can just see what none of the rest of us can. Maybe he will lift that bronze statue one day.

But seriously, what in the Hell was he thinking?

LSU head coach Les Miles was not thrilled. Once the prized 5-star recruit hit the sidelines, he chewed him out.

"This is about a team and about what we're trying to get accomplished, and I just needed him to understand that," Miles said to SEC Network sideline reporter Maria Taylor at halftime.

He reiterated the same sentiment in his postgame press conference.

Good for Miles.

ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit was also bothered by Fournette's self-serving celebration.

Right on, Herbie.

Fournette would not score again. He finished the night with 92 yards rushing on 13 carries to go along with 32 yards receiving. Those numbers against Sam Houston State are nothing to brag about.

Fournette has done nothing to prove he is worthy of the most prestigious award in college football. He is not even a top-10 candidate on his own team.

Amidst all the hype surrounding "Buga Nation," LSU's coaches and players have raved about his work ethic and humility. One empty-minded moment does not discount that, but it does put them in an awkward position to answer questions about it.

The Heisman pose also does not discount a dominant performance from LSU. The Tigers defeated the Bearkats 56-0, which included first career touchdowns from fellow freshmen Brandon Harris, Malachi Dupre and Darrel Williams.

Miles and LSU's upperclassmen will likely have a few more words for Fournette. He will learn from his mistake and the team will move on just fine.

But seriously, what was Fournette thinking?

 

Stats, rankings and additional information provided by cfbstats.com and LSU Sports Information. Recruiting ratings courtesy of 247Sports. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Follow me on Twitter @CarterthePower.

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Michigan State vs. Oregon: Game Grades, Analysis for Spartans, Ducks

After being down 27-18 early in the third quarter, the Oregon Ducks scored 28 unanswered points en route to a 46-27 victory over the visiting Michigan State Spartans.

Although the score was 24-18 in favor of MSU at halftime, the Spartans outplayed the Ducks thoroughly in the first half. Michigan State's defensive line shut down the vaunted Oregon rush attack, allowing only 13 yards on the ground in the first half. 

Quarterback Connor Cook also looked sharp, hitting receivers with little difficulty. However, Oregon's defense stiffened and forced Cook into some nervy situations. The Michigan State signal-caller did throw for 343 yards, but he also threw two interceptions—with one occurring in the red zone. 

Oregon signal-caller Marcus Mariota led the charge in the second half. He finished 17-of-28 for 318 yards and three touchdowns. He also rushed for 42 yards on nine carries. 

Check out first-half and final grades for both the Spartans and the Ducks. Additional analysis for different position units will also be addressed.

Final stats from the game can be found here at NCAA.com.

 

Michigan State Spartans Game Grades

Pass Offense: Cook was very good early, and for the duration of the first half. He was afforded the time to sit back and hit open receivers on crossing routes. Cook was also clinical on out routes, exploiting the perimeter of the field. 

In the second half, Oregon brought considerable pressure. As a result, his eyes dropped and was not able to look down the field for his targets. He threw two ill-advised passes into coverage, which both resulted in interceptions. 

On the night, the Michigan State quarterback finished a respectable 29-of-47 for 343 yards and two touchdowns.

 

Run Offense: MSU had moderate success in the first half with Jeremy Langford. The productivity in the passing game allowed for the Spartans to take advantage of Oregon's nickel package on the ground. Langford had a 16-yard touchdown scamper early in the second quarter.

In the second half, MSU virtually abandoned the running game in order to keep up with the Oregon offensive onslaught. Oregon's defense began to blitz with much frequency, and thus the running lanes dried up.  

On the night, Michigan State ran for 123 yards on 36 carries. This averages out to a paltry 3.4 yards per carry. 

 

Pass Defense: This was the worst unit on the night for the Spartans. If there was a problem area in the first half, it was the secondary. Blown coverages led to a 70-yard touchdown by Devon Allen, and a 64-yard reception by Darren Carrington. 

The second half was no different. Long touchdown throws to Allen and Keanon Lowe really got Oregon's offense rolling. Surprisingly, stud safety Kurtis Drummond had a poor game. At times, he was confused by the Ducks motion on offense. 

 

Run Defense: The Spartans played lights out in the first half. Oregon was only able to accrue 13 yards on 13 carries. The defensive line also sacked Mariota three times in the first half, and rendered the zone-read element to Oregon's offense useless. Not only did the defensive line get consistent pressure, but the linebackers did an excellent job of clogging the running lanes. 

In the second half, Oregon's offense got into a rhythm. The pace of the game picked up considerably. As a result, the MSU defense wore down a bit. Oregon finished the evening with 173 yards on 40 carries for a 4.3 yards-per-carry average. 

All in all, it was a valiant effort by the Michigan State front seven. 

 

Special Teams: A solid grade across the board for this unit. R.J. Shelton had a 59-yard kickoff return in the second half. Kicker Michael Geiger connected on both of his field goal attempts. 

Perhaps most importantly, the Spartans kept Oregon's explosive return game at bay. 

 

Coaching: Dantonio completely outschemed Mark Helfrich and the Oregon staff in the first half. Outside of two big passing plays, the Ducks offense was completely stagnant. Cook had full command of the offense, and the play-calling had a nice mix of the run and pass. 

In the second half, it felt as if MSU abandoned the run game a bit too easily. Cook was throwing more on first and second down, enabling Oregon to bring pressure. Traditionally speaking, Michigan State uses the running game to set up the passing attack. This scenario didn't play itself out this evening. 

 

Oregon Ducks Game Grades

Pass Offense: Oregon's offense was jump-started by two big passing plays in the first half—a 70-yard touchdown to Devon Allen and a 64-yard reception by Darren Carrington. Outside of these two plays, the passing attack wasn't overly impressive. The pressure by Michigan State's defensive line didn't allow for Mariota to get into any sort of rhythm. 

In the second half, Mariota used his legs to buy time in the pocket. This allowed him to keep his eyes downfield. He found Allen for another touchdown in the second half, and also found a streaking Keanon Lowe for a 37-yard touchdown strike. As the pressure lessened, Mariota's effectiveness in the passing game grew. 

 

Run Offense: Oregon's offensive line was getting blasted off of the ball in the first half by Michigan State's defensive line. The running backs had little in the way of running room. It was shocking to see Oregon rush for only 13 yards on 13 carries in the first half. 

Royce Freeman was the catalyst in the second half. The freshman back rushed the ball 13 times for 89 yards and two touchdowns. He was easily the most productive back on the night. MSU then had to account for Mariota's success in the air. As a result, Oregon was able to run the ball with more effectiveness. The unit as a whole finished with 173 yards on 40 carries.

 

Pass Defense: Michigan State had a lot of success early in the contest on throws over the middle. Cook was surgical at times in finding soft spots in the Oregon zone. Not to pick on anyone, but Dior Mathis did not have a great day. MSU wide receiver Tony Lippett beat him multiple times on moves after the catch. 

In the second half, the pressure up front aided greatly in clamping down on the Spartans passing game. Two bright spots came in the form of Erick Dargan's interception in the first half, and the incredibly athletic interception made by Ifo Ekpre-Olomu in the second half. 

 

Run Defense: Give credit to Oregon for containing Michigan State's rushing attack. A point of emphasis during the offseason was to get stronger and bigger up front on both sides of the ball. A noticeably bigger-looking Oregon defensive line played with an impressive physicality.

Arik Armstead and Joe Walker in particular excelled. Armstead was practically living in MSU's backfield during the second half. Walker attacked the line of scrimmage impressively, and had multiple tackles for loss on Langford. The Ducks held Michigan State to 123 yards on 36 carries (3.4 yards per carry).

 

Special Teams: Matt Wogan nailed his lone field-goal attempt. The wrinkle on the extra-point attempt proved to work, as holder (and backup quarterback) Taylor Alie threw a pass to starting defensive end DeForest Buckner for a two-point conversion following the first touchdown of the game.  

Both Allen and Ekpre-Olomu were solid in the return game.

 

Coaching: Adjustments needed to be made after a poor first half. Helfrich and his staff was considerably outcoached on both sides of the ball during the first 30 minutes. Oregon wasn't pressuring Cook, and the offense looked surprisingly vanilla. 

The play-calling in the second half became much more diversified. Oregon began attacking the heart of the field with its passing game. Helfrich was able to push the tempo to Oregon's high-octane level, and it began to wear out the Michigan State defense. 

Defensively, new coordinator Don Pellum dialed up exotic looks. Pressures came from different parts of the formation, and it confused the Michigan State signal-caller.

Unlike in the first half, Cook was unable to stand comfortably in the pocket and deliver throws down the field. The Oregon defense allowed only three points in the second half. It was a huge reason as to why Oregon's offense got into a rhythm. 

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Michigan State vs. Oregon: Game Grades, Analysis for Spartans, Ducks

After being down 27-18 early in the third quarter, the Oregon Ducks scored 28 unanswered points en route to a 46-27 victory over the visiting Michigan State Spartans...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Virginia Tech vs. Ohio State: Score and Twitter Reaction

Urban Meyer's perfect regular-season record at Ohio State is now a thing of the past, and Michael Brewer is the main culprit. 

Brewer threw for 199 yards and two touchdowns on 23-of-36 passing, leading Virginia Tech to a shocking 35-21 upset victory over the No. 8 Ohio State Buckeyes in front of a stunned record crowd of 107,517 in Ohio Stadium on Saturday night.

The Hokies put the Buckeyes on upset alert early by jumping out to a 14-point halftime lead. Ohio State rallied back to tie the game before Brewer led the Hokies on a game-winning touchdown drive with 8:44 remaining in the fourth quarter to take the lead for good. 

Here's a quarter-by-quarter score of the game:

Ohio State had its chances late in the game, but freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett threw two brutal fourth-quarter interceptions. The final one came on the Buckeyes' last-ditch comeback drive, which Donovan Riley returned for a score to seal the victory. 

ESPN's Travis Haney called the Big Ten's College Football Playoff chances after the shocking upset:

The two sides were nearly identical on offense as Ohio State outgained its opponent 327-324, but struggles on third down doomed the home team. The Buckeyes were a woeful 4-of-16 on third down, while the Hokies went 9-of-17. 

Virginia Tech's defense bent but didn't break. As a unit, it put the clamps down as the program is known to do, and that gave Brewer the confidence to shake off his three turnovers. 

"Playing at Virginia Tech, you know you're always going to have a great defense backing you up," Brewer said after the game, per the ESPN broadcast. "I just had to tell myself to forget about it and play the next play. That's what you have to do in big games, and I'm so incredibly proud of the team. ... We had a great game plan going into it and we're fortunate to come out with the win."

There were few—if any—rumblings of the Buckeyes being on upset alert heading into this one. That had more to do with a young Virginia Tech team coming in than Meyer's crew, who struggled for much of its season-opener against Navy. 

But the Hokies certainly didn't view it as an unwinnable game when they arrived in Columbus.

"Winning this big out-of-conference game would definitely be big for our program and also for the ACC, just to prove that we’re capable of beating those big schools in other conferences," Virginia Tech's Luther Maddy told ESPN's Andrea Adelson. "It would make a big, big statement."

Virginia Tech wasted no time starting to make that statement. After holding the Buckeyes to an opening three-and-out, the Hokies flipped the field position and quickly made their move in front.

Brewer led the Hokies on a 10-play, 43-yard drive capped off by Shai McKenzie's two-yard plunge into the end zone that made it 7-0 Virginia Tech midway through the first.

Ohio State's crowd was quieted, but it soon had reason to cheer when the Buckeyes turned around their sluggish offensive start. Barrett did the honors, taking his team 83 yards—61 of which, including the touchdown, came from his legs—to tie things up at 7-7.

CBS Sports' Jeremy Fowler noted the scrambling quarterback's success:

Ohio State had seemingly regained momentum of the game and Ohio Stadium had recaptured its energy, but it all got zapped away in the matter of one drive.

A personal foul allowed Virginia Tech to start its next drive near midfield, and Brewer marched his team down the field on another methodical drive to get back in front. They converted two third downs on the drive and broke through on the ground, as freshman Marshawn Williams scored a 14-yard touchdown with seconds left in the first quarter.

It was the freshman's first ever collegiate touchdown, as ESPN College Football captured:

Things were in Virginia Tech's favor thanks to masterful early execution, but eventually the Hokies needed the breaks to come their way to have a shot at the massive upset.

They started in the second quarter. The Buckeyes moved well within field-goal range twice early in the second, but Sean Nuernberger missed a 40-yard field goal followed by a 27-yarder. 

Later, a bad snap would force them out of position for a third opportunity as Hokies Journal noted:

Meanwhile on offense, Virginia Tech slowed a bit in the second but put it together one last time just before the half. Brewer took the Hokies down the field in just 1:09, throwing a 10-yard touchdown to Sam Rogers.

Suddenly, the Hokies were taking a commanding 21-7 lead into halftime against a Top 10 opponent. 

As Ohio State was trailing by double digits at the half, Michigan State had just lost on the road to Oregon, and Fox Sports' Clay Travis couldn't help but note the College Football Playoff implications:

ESPN Stats & Info noted blitzes led the way for the Hokies' early success:

It was like all of the air had been sucked out of Ohio Stadium at halftime, and it was more of the same starting the second half. Virginia Tech's defense continued to clamp down on third down, and the Buckeyes were failing to make the plays in the passing game needed to get back in it.

Then, the entire dynamic shifted with one pass.

Barrett connected with Michael Thomas on a 53-yard bomb late in the third for Ohio State, which trimmed the deficit to 21-14. 

On Virginia Tech's next possession Brewer made a poor throw across the field that was picked off by Buckeyes safety Von Bell. 

All of a sudden, a record crowd at The Horseshoe was rocking:

Virginia Tech continued to rebound on the defensive side by slowing Ohio State's passing attack, but the Hokies offense couldn't keep up its first-half momentum. They turned the ball over again, this time with Brewer being strip-sacked in his own territory by Joey Bosa and recovered by Rashad Frazier.

Unlike after Bell's interception, the Buckeyes didn't squander the opportunity. Ezekiel Elliott broke free on the left side, scampering home for a 15-yard touchdown that tied up the score early in the fourth.

Ohio State had completed its comeback, and the writing was on the wall for a resounding victory. That had Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee feeling for Hokie nation:

But as it turns out, they didn't have anything to be down about after all. 

Fresh off two turnovers on his previous possessions, Brewer led his Hokies on a huge fourth-quarter possession that allowed Virginia Tech to re-take control. He marched them on a six-play drive capped off by Bucky Hodges' 10-yard catch in the corner to put the Hokies up 28-21.

After their 14-point comeback was thwarted from the Hokies' late drive, the Buckeyes needed a convincing showing from their offense and it just wasn't there. Virginia Tech continued to have all of the answers on defense, forcing an Ohio State punt with six minutes left despite the Buckeyes trailing by a score.

Barrett got his chances to lead the Buckeyes back into the game, but his late touchdown toss went to the wrong team as SB Nation's Brian Floyd joked about:

Just weeks ago, hopes for Ohio State's 2014 season were littered with College Football Playoff aspirations. Even after Braxton Miller went down for the season, the Buckeyes remained dark-horse candidates to make the final four.

That's almost certainly an idea of the past now. Ohio State was kicked to the curb by an unheralded Virginia Tech team, and the lack of chances the Buckeyes have to notch quality wins from here on out makes a late-season resurgence unlikely.

Ohio State will try to shake off the upset next week at home against Kent State.

As for the Hokies, no one is going to be sleeping on them anymore. Frank Beamer seemed to be heading into a rebuild in 2014 with plenty of youth at the skill positions, but there's no doubt now that he has a team capable of contending in the ACC.

Virginia Tech doesn't play top-ranked Florida State in the regular season, meaning the Hokies could come out on top in a wide-open ACC Coastal and set up a thrilling conference title game should both teams go undefeated. They will continue that dream on Sept. 13 against East Carolina. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Sam Houston State vs. LSU: Game Grades, Analysis for the Tigers

After an emotional win last week against Wisconsin, LSU took it to Sam Houston State from the beginning, winning 56-0 in front of over 100,000 fans at Tiger Stadium. The final box score can be viewed here thanks to NCAA.com.

The offense was on point, the defense frustrated the Bearkats and the special teams were solid despite no trickery. It was a game the Tigers needed to get them ready for the SEC leg of the season, which will start on Sept. 20. And while the Tigers played a near-flawless game, Les Miles and Company will surely find some mistakes they have to correct before they play Louisiana-Monroe next week.

So here’s a report card for the Tigers’ performance against Sam Houston State.

 

Pass Offense: Both Anthony Jennings and Brandon Harris did not throw the ball a lot, but when they did, they were able to hit their receivers with ease. Jennings was 7-of-13 with 188 yards and three touchdowns, while Harris was 4-of-5 with 62 yards and one score. Both players made good decisions all game, and a reason for that is they had time to throw due to great protection up front.

 

Run Offense: But as good as the air attack was for the Tigers, their strength is running the ball, and it was on full display Saturday night. Leonard Fournette, Darrel Williams and Kenny Hilliard all rushed for at least 50 yards, and each scored a touchdown. All three players had great vision, ran hard and wore down the Sam Houston front seven. But if that wasn’t enough, Jennings and Harris got in on the action as well. Both players rushed for a combined 96 yards and one score. It’s almost unfair the depth of running backs the Tigers have. It’s more unfair that the Tigers have two quarterbacks who can run as well as the running backs.

 

Pass Defense: The Tigers gave Sam Houston quarterback Jared Johnson no time to make any plays. Johnson only completed eight passes and threw for 142 yards. The Tigers forced him to throw two picks, and he was sacked a couple times as well. The speed of the secondary was too much for Johnson and the receivers. Led by Dwayne Thomas, the secondary smothered the Bearkats receivers, which is why the Tigers were able to shut out Sam Houston.

 

Run Defense: But another reason the Bearkats could not put any points on the board is the fact they only rushed for 50 yards. The linebackers for LSU were all over the running backs because the defensive line led by Quentin Thomas took out the offensive line consistently, and that gave guys like Kendell Beckwith and Kwon Alexander room to make plays. The Bearkats came into the game as one of the better run offenses in the FCS, but the size and speed of the Tigers was too much to handle.

 

Special Teams: It was a quiet night for the special teams partially because they did not attempt any field goals, and Sam Houston only kicked off once, which was in the third quarter. But Tre’Davious White was good in punt returns, averaging 13.3 yards per return. And Jamie Keehn was able to boom a 56-yard punt late in the game. The special teams for LSU did their job, which was set the tone for the offense and defense each series. They did that with no issue, and they will be focused more as the season rolls on.

 

Coaching: Les Miles knew everything about Sam Houston State, so he wanted his team to start fast and finish faster. Miles and his coaching staff never let up, and they shouldn’t have because they have to evaluate talent when it’s time to see who’s ready to play when they start the SEC leg of their schedule. But the one thing Miles did that deserved two thumbs up is he talked Fournette down after he scored a touchdown and did the Heisman pose. Miles knows that one player is not bigger than the program, and he made sure the freshman running back knew that.

 

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Oregon Proves They Are Best Team in College Football

The Oregon Ducks took down the Michigan State Spartans in a battle in Eugene. Bleacher Report's College Football Analysts Michael Felder and Barrett Sallee break down what this win means for the Ducks. Do you think they can win it all?

Watch the video and let us know.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Oregon Proves They Are Best Team in College Football

The Oregon Ducks took down the Michigan State Spartans in a battle in Eugene. Bleacher Report's College Football Analysts Michael Felder and Barrett Sallee break down what this win means for the Ducks...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

East Carolina vs. South Carolina: Game Grades & Analysis for Pirates & Gamecocks

An unstoppable running game and an opportunistic defense led the 21st-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks to a hard-fought win over East Carolina, 33-23, on Saturday night. 

You can check out the stats from the game here. You can find grades and analysis for both teams below.

East Carolina Pirates Grade Analysis

Pass Offense: Shane Carden was good in the first half, not so good in the second half. South Carolina's pressure forced Carden into some bad decisions in the third quarter, and that proved to be the difference in the game. Senior quarterbacks must make better decisions with the ball than Carden did in the second half.

Run Offense: The Pirates ran well, they just didn't run enough. Of course, ECU's offense is designed to throw the ball a lot, but when something is working, you should stick with it. The Pirates ran for 132 yards on 21 carries. They should have run the ball more, specifically with Breon Allen.

Pass Defense: The Pirates did a good job against Dylan Thompson and South Carolina's talented receivers, but they didn't get to the passer enough. More pressure would have likely led to bad decisions by Thompson. Cornerback Josh Hawkins was all over the place for ECU. 

Run Defense: ECU was thoroughly dominated up front. In the second half, South Carolina was routinely getting six or seven yards per carry. The Gamecocks held the ball for over 10 minutes in the game-clinching drive late in the fourth quarter. East Carolina had no answer for Mike Davis.

Special Teams: Pirates kicker Warren Harvey connected on three of his four field-goal attempts. He did, however, have one blocked. The Pirates couldn't get anything going in the return game, either. ECU's only punt of the night went for 52 yards. 

Coaching: Play-calling was an issue for the Pirates on Saturday. When the momentum was turning because of turnovers, the Pirates refused to run the ball. Defensively, ECU did a good job in the first half, but struggled to commit more defenders to the run game in the second half. In the end, though, the talent disparity is what lost this game for East Carolina, not coaching. 

South Carolina Gamecocks Grade Analysis

Pass Offense: Thompson's overall stat line was solid, but his play was erratic. Especially in the first half. Thompson was 10-of-20 to start the game and missed several throws high and wide. South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier is hard on his quarterbacks, and if Thompson doesn't play better moving forward, he will be benched.

Run Offense: Davis is a serious Heisman contender. Davis, who some thought may not play this week, changed the game once he entered it. Davis routinely made guys miss and broke several tackles. Brandon Wilds is very good, but the Gamecocks will go as Davis goes. The offensive line can run block as well as anyone in the nation. 

Pass Defense: The Gamecocks struggled to defend ECU star Justin Hardy. Hardy finished the game with 10 catches, but only 133 yards. They did a good job of not letting him get too many yards after the catch. USC was bad in the first half, but the two third-quarter interceptions were the difference in this game.

Run Defense: The Gamecocks weren't bad against the run, as they committed more defenders to stopping the pass and rightfully so. Outside of one big run, USC did a good job overall of defending the run. Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward knew the way to beat ECU was to defend the pass first and worry about the run later. 

Special Teams: Elliott Fry is automatic. USC's kicker connected on all four attempts, and Spurrier has a lot of confidence in his young kicker. For a team that plays a lot of close games, Fry is a weapon. Just like ECU, the Gamecocks punted only one time. Shon Carson had a big return to open the game, but little else. 

Coaching: Spurrier and Ward both adjusted in the second half. Everyone knows Spurrier loves to chuck it deep—and often—but he did a good job of sticking with the run. Also, he called several short passes to get Thompson into a rhythm. Ward's defense was completely different in the second half. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Leonard Fournette Busts out the Heisman Pose After Touchdown Run

LSU running back Leonard Fournette hit the Heisman pose after his touchdown run vs. Sam Houston State.

How well do you think this freshman will do this year?

Watch the video to see Fournette's touchdown and celebration

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Is Michigan HC Brady Hoke on Hot Seat After Embarrassing Loss to Notre Dame?

Head coach Brady Hoke and the Michigan Wolverines took a 31-0 beating by Notre Dame. Bleacher Report's College Football Analysts Michael Felder and Barrett Sallee discuss how worried Brady Hoke should be.

Do you think he is on the hot seat?

Watch the video and let us know!

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Winners and Losers from Week 2 of College Football

Week 2 of the college football season is underway. And shame on anyone who thought this slate of games, though poor on paper, would mean a lack of excitement.

[Glances around nervously.]

There's already a lot that's happened across the country. That's why we have a weekly "Winners and Losers" recap to capture all that was good—and all that was painful—during another week of college football action. 

As you have probably noticed, Winners and Losers is live before all the games have ended. Fear not, as this post will be updated as events warrant. 

So let's get the conversation going. Which teams, players, coaches and/or moments were the best from Week 2? Which ones were the worst?

The answers are in the following slides.

Begin Slideshow

Everett Golson vs. Michigan: Stat Line, Highlights, Twitter Reaction

Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson put on quite a show in the Fighting Irish's 37-0 demolition of the Michigan Wolverines. The senior signal-caller ran his team's offense to near perfection on the night, putting up an incredible final stat line and providing the South Bend, Indiana faithful with a night to remember.

Head coach Brian Kelly didn't name him the starter until mid-August, but Golson has taken the designation and run with it. Golson got off to a fine start in Week 1 with 295 passing yards and two touchdowns against Rice. He did well to build on that performance Saturday night against a much higher-profile opponent.

Golson tossed his first touchdown pass early in the second quarter, a quick-hitter one-yard throw to Amir Carlisle. His leadership ability was on full display throughout the contest, something that Kelly noted was vital to his capturing of the starting position.

"Generally when you look at making that decision, I'm using from January through right now as the basis of that decision, so winter workouts, how he handled himself with the team, our workouts, his spring practice and then his leadership in the summer and in camp here," said Kelly, via ESPN.com's Matt Fortuna.

Take a look at Golson's second touchdown pass of the game, a 24-yard screamer to William Fuller as an example of his poise, accuracy and command of the offense, via the official Twitter profile of Fighting Irish athletics:

SportsCenter liked the way he had the offense rolling in the first half:

Bleacher Report's own Adam Kramer noted that Golson looked like a much different quarterback than the one who would occasionally frustrate Fighting Irish fans with erratic play last season:

The second half was more of the same, with the Notre Dame defense capitalizing on Michigan mistakes and feeding the ball to Golson and company.

Although Golson finished with minus-14 rushing yards, he still showed off his mobility on several plays. His ability to make key passes both in and outside of the pocket will be crucial to his team's success as the season moves along.

Golson's second-half touchdown pass to Carlisle was a thing of beauty, per the Fighting Irish:

Bob Wojnowski of The Detroit News praised Golson but did note that Michigan was working with a depleted secondary:

Bleacher Report's own Michael Schottey used the lopsided scoreline to praise Golson, essentially calling him a complete quarterback when compared to Michigan's Devin Gardner:

Notre Dame is in good hands with Golson performing like this. As an independent school, they need standout victories against big programs to establish themselves as playoff or major bowl contenders. It is a very promising start on both sides of the ball for this squad; it will look to continue that success in Week 3 against an intrastate foe in Purdue University.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

San Jose State vs. Auburn: Game Grades, Analysis for the Tigers

It may have taken them nearly half a quarter, but once the Auburn Tigers got scoring they never stopped.

Backed by a superior rushing attack, the Tigers made beating San Jose State look easy. It was such a dominant effort, the final score of 59-13 doesn’t even do it enough justice.

Check out the game’s final stats here and take a look at first- and second-half game grades as well as analysis below.

 

Pass Offense

This was never going to be a strong suit for Auburn. But when you have such a talented rushing attack, who could blame you?

Quarterback Nick Marshall only threw for 101 yards and a touchdown on 10-of-19 passing. Sure, he rarely had to pass, but when he did, it was typically off target. Backup Jeremy Johnson looked like a more comfortable passer in his short cameo in garbage time.

 

Rush Offense

What more could be said about this unit?

The Tigers racked up a whopping 358 rushing yards and six touchdowns on the ground on 50 carries. Cameron Artis-Payne (16 CAR, 112 YDS, 3 TD), Marshall (11 CAR, 102 YDS, 1 TD) and Corey Grant (10 CAR, 89 YDS) all topped 80 yards rushing. Even true freshman Roc Thomas looked strong in his collegiate debut, finishing with 51 yards on nine carries, including a touchdown on his first touch.

This is a unit that truly can’t be stopped. 

 

Pass Defense

Overall, the secondary was very solid. 

Yes, the unit had its rough patches early in the first quarter and early in the second half. But when all was said and done, Auburn held the Spartans to just 254 yards and one touchdown on 19-of-32 passing while intercepting three passes.

Quarterback Blake Jurich was pressured all night and spent a lot of time on his back.

 

Rush Defense

Who said the Tigers struggled on the defensive line?

The unit stifled San Jose State all night, leaving running lanes nearly impossible to find. The Spartans only managed 65 rushing yards on 45 attempts (1.4 YPC). It was so tough to run that only once did a running back manage to crack a rush for over 10 yards, and it only went for 13.

This is a unit that will surprise a lot of people.

 

Special Teams

After dominating last season on special teams, Auburn was back to its old tricks. 

This time, Quan Bray returned a punt, juked several defenders and took it back to the house for a cool 55 yards. It wasn’t a play that will be replayed on ESPN for weeks, but it was impressive in its own right.

Place kicker/punter Daniel Carlson connected on his only field goal and kicked two punts for a total of 80 yards.

 

Coaching

The Tigers appeared out of it from the beginning, but that quickly changed. 

Head coach Gus Malzahn refocused his troops, and Auburn never looked back. Defensively, Ellis Johnson had his defense step up to make key stops in pivotal moments.

The unit bent on several plays, but it made the big plays that snuffed out the Spartans’ drives.

 

All stats courtesy of NCAA.com.

For complete coverage and everything college football, you can reach Sebastian on Twitter and via email at Sebastian.LenaBR@gmail.com.

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Michigan vs. Notre Dame: Game Grades for Wolverines and Fighting Irish

Notre Dame showed no mercy during its final scheduled meeting with Michigan, handing its familiar foe a shelling Saturday night in South Bend. 

During the first half, Michigan showed signs that it would compete and mark the ending of an era with a spirited performance. That wasn't the case during the second half, which was dominated by the No. 16-ranked Irish in every shape, form and fashion imaginable. 

Get the complete box score at NCAA.com. 

 

Pass Offense

UM: Pass offense? Well, in the first half, it appeared that Devin Gardner and Devin Funchess would again be the heroes of the day. They connected for a quick three strikes before halftime but were capped in the second. 

Gardner finished with 188 yards. 

Funchess finished with 106. 

ND: Everett Golson completed 12 of his first 16 passes before really sinking his teeth into Michigan's uncharacteristically lethargic secondary. And to think, the DBs were supposed to be a strength for the Wolverines, who were embarrassed in front of 80,000 (and Touchdown Jesus). 

Golson finished with 225 yards and three touchdowns. 

 

Run Offense

UM: Derrick Green and De'Veon Smith's slow starts are due to a faulty O-line that refuses to live up to its "improved" reputation. Neither sophomore stood out Saturday. They combined for 31 yards in the first half. 

ND: The Irish didn't have to run the ball much. But when they did, Cam McDaniel (who scored a TD in the first half), Greg Bryant and Tarean Folston made them count. Their carries sustained drives and frustrated the Wolverines' D-line, which bent but didn't snap in half. 

 

Pass Defense

UM: It was pretty much nonexistent, especially in the second half. Again, the trouncing at the hands of the Irish was a tale of two halves: one competitive, one not so much. It's going to be a long week for Michigan's players and coaches...a really long week. 

Notre Dame had 217 passing yards by the beginning of the fourth quarter.

ND: Considering that the Funchess Show was put on hold, the Irish did pretty well. Other receivers had catches, such as Jehu Chesson, who had a pair of nice grabs, but not one did significant damage—not even Funchess, who cracked 100 yards early in the fourth quarter. 

 

Run Defense

UM: Notre Dame's Cam McDaniel exposed Michigan's weakness, defending the run up the middle. Well, that's one weakness. Although the Irish didn't put up crazy stats in the rushing column, they were effective and did what they wanted on the ground. 

And that was to set up Golson's pass, which was the obvious key to Notre Dame's win. 

ND: Brian VanGorder's defense was relentless. Because of its effort, it led the way for the team's first shutout of Michigan, per NBC. 

 

Special Teams

UM: Matt Wile missed two field goals in the first half. One of them, the latter 48-yard attempt, was due to bad footing. 

ND: Job completed. 

 

Coaching

UM: Well, I wasn't on the sidelines (didn't even make the trip to South Bend, actually), so I can't speak about the communication/game-planning in the trenches. But the fact that Michigan didn't show up says a lot about preparation. I'm not saying Michigan didn't prepare, because I know it did. But it didn't prepare enough. 

That's on everyone, all the way up to Hoke and down to the trainers. Win together, lose together. 

ND: I'd say Brian Kelly's game plan worked well. He let Golson dictate the pace. Considering the outcome, that was the correct choice. 

 

Follow Bleacher Report's Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81

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Michigan vs. Notre Dame: Score and Twitter Reaction

In the final matchup of a long rivalry between Michigan and Notre Dame, the Fighting Irish got the last laugh with a 31-0 win.

Everett Golson led the way with 226 passing yards and three touchdowns in one of the better performances of his young career. Meanwhile, the defense was fantastic, forcing four Devin Gardner turnovers and holding the Wolverines to just 2.9 yards per carry in the shutout.

Ryan Field of Fox Sports 1 provided this interesting note at the end of the game:

Devin Funchess was a lone bright spot for the visiting team with nine catches for 107 receiving yards, but he appeared to injure his knee in the fourth quarter, creating a full nightmare scenario for the Wolverines. 

Michigan seemed ready to score early on, but a pair of missed field goals in the first few drives killed that opportunity. Notre Dame was then able to strike first thanks to two pass-interference penalties, setting the ball up at the 1-yard line. Cam McDaniel punched it in to go up 7-0.

From that point on it was Golson's time to shine, as he continued to make big plays to keep putting points on the board, like this series to make it 14-0:

Those watching along could not help but be impressed by the improvements of the young quarterback:

The defense deserved a lot of credit as well, keeping the Wolverines off the scoreboard. Ralph Russo of The Associated Press provided his look at that side of the ball:

Notre Dame was able to add another touchdown right before the half on a great throw and catch from Golson to William Fuller:

Adam Shear of Fox 28 liked what he saw in this final play as the home team was able to go up 21 at halftime:

Things did not change much in the second half as Michigan once again struggled to get anything going offensively. Golson added a third touchdown with a pass to Amir Carlisle, his second receiving touchdown of the day, making it 28-0 in favor of the Irish.

At this point, Charles Robinson of Yahoo Sports was embarrassed for the Wolverines:

A few more turnovers by Gardner, and Bleacher Report's Michael Schottey was able to provide a simple analysis of the game:

While Gardner did give his team a few more chances, Notre Dame held tough to secure the 31-point victory to close out this series in style.

College GameDay explained before the game that Michigan had gotten the better of this matchup in the past:

The series goes back over 100 years, although the two programs did not start playing regularly until the late 1970s. Still, this has been considered one of the more entertaining matchups each season as it features two of the most popular football teams in the nation.

Unfortunately, there are no more games between the two sides currently on the schedule.

According to Matt Fortuna of ESPN, Michigan coach Brady Hoke left the door open for a return in the future, saying, "Who knows when is going to be the last game? We just know we aren't going to play them in the near future."

Of course, the Wolverines now have bigger problems than figuring out whom they will play next season and beyond. They have to figure out a way to bounce back from this loss before the year gets any worse.

Michigan will return home next week to face Miami (Ohio), which has started the year 0-2. If the Big Ten school cannot get a win in this one, this could be a long year.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame will play its next game at Lucas Oil Stadium against Purdue. The Irish have a tough schedule throughout the season, but this could be a chance to relax with an easy matchup and tweak some things before it gets much more difficult later in the year.

Until then, Brian Kelly's squad will remain a team on the rise in the next few polls.

 

Follow Rob Goldberg on Twitter for the latest breaking news and analysis.

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Leonard Fournette vs. Sam Houston State: Stats, Highlights, Twitter Reaction

Much of college football expected Leonard Fournette to steal the headlines during LSU's Week 1 affair against Wisconsin. Instead, he waited until a week later. 

The Tigers' infinitely hyped true freshman running back was unleashed against Sam Houston State on Saturday, carrying the ball 13 times for 92 yards and a touchdown in LSU's 56-0 win. He also caught one pass for 15 yards. 

Fournette failed to make a positive impression on August 30 against the Badgers with his eight carries going for just 18 yards, but he made those struggles a distant memory on Saturday in the span of just two plays.

He escaped for a 40-yard rush in the first quarter, and one play later plunged into the end zone from four yards out for his first collegiate touchdown.

Head coach Les Miles again opted for the more seasoned Kenny Hilliard to start at running back, but Fournette wasted little time making his impact felt on the Tigers' second possession of the game. His first three rushes were a combined two yards before the 40-yard rush and resulting score.

Then, with one ill-timed celebration, he put the target on his back for criticism by striking the Heisman pose in the endzone.

It's not like Fournette striking the Heisman pose is the first time that the true freshman has been linked to the prestigious trophy. After all, Fox Sports' Bruce Feldman went as far as to pick him to win this year's Heisman and is one of many who entered 2014 all-in on the Fournette hype. 

But needless to say, many weren't amused by the antics, including his own coach. As USA Today's Glenn Guilbeau noted, Miles pulled Fournette aside for some words when he came off the field:

Scott Rabalais of The Baton Rouge Advocate added the following:

ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit was also among the critics, posting some harsh criticism of the freshman:

Ivan Maisel of ESPN noted that he's acting new on the scene, and well, he is:

Guilbeau later wondered whether he was foreshadowing a somewhat smaller award in his future:

The critics of Fournette came out in droves, and that wasn't really a surprise. Many were pumping the brakes on him after minimal impact in Week 1, and despite all of the hype that has been created for him, it was still his first career touchdown—against Sam Houston State, seemingly as the team's second-string running back.

But even though many people disliked Fournette's move, others didn't see the problem in it, including ESPN's Alex Scarborough and Sam Khan Jr.:

There may have been some overreactions to Fournette's antics, but given the way Miles reacted, he didn't take it lightly. 

Will Weathers added a quote from the head coach at halftime:

Fournette's performance on Saturday was largely defined by his touchdown celebration, but otherwise it was a solid outing for the youngster. He showed his breakaway speed on a 40-yard rush, got some tough yards between the tackles and even made a reception.

As LSU Football noted, he also made an impact on a kickoff return:

If anything, Miles and his coaching staff opted to give Fournette even more burn in the second half after his gesture rather than bench him. He nearly scored for a second time in the fourth quarter with a 27-yard rush that set up Hilliard's two-yard score to put LSU up 56-0 late. 

Fournette was one of many freshmen showing up in the second half, as ESPN's Travis Haney noted:

He may have made the wrong headlines with his celebration, but everything else from Fournette was impressive on Saturday. The freshman was hitting holes with power and made himself useful in passing and in special teams.

And when he finally made it into the open field like many Tigers fans were holding their breath for, he didn't disappoint.

His near 100-yard performance on Saturday was much more encouraging than the 18 yards he posted against Wisconsin the week prior, and he certainly showed that he won't be an afterthought on the Tigers offense. But considering the opponent they faced and the impact Hilliard continues to have, the sky-high expectations for Fournette's freshman season should still be tempered. 

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Marcus Mariota vs. Michigan State: Stats, Highlights, Twitter Reaction

With the Oregon Ducks' 46-27 win over the Michigan State Spartans on Saturday, Marcus Mariota took a big step forward toward booking his place in New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation.

The junior quarterback finished 17-of-28 passing with 318 yards and three touchdowns. He added 42 yards on the ground.

Chris Huston of HeismanPundit.com believes that Mariota has jumped to the top of the Heisman race after the victory:

Following the game, Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich had one word to explain why Mariota did what he did on Saturday, per John Canzano of The Oregonian:

It wasn't the most impressive performance of his career, but rarely has the player's importance to the Oregon offense been more glaring. The Ducks offense didn't look itself on Saturday, especially in the first half.

Mariota's 70-yard touchdown pass to Devon Allen in the second quarter was one of the few big plays for the unit through the first two frames, via ESPN College Football:

NFL.com's Bryan Fischer was surprised at how poorly the home team was executing, especially with Mariota at 100 percent:

Yahoo Sports' Pat Forde thought that Oregon was far too reliant on Mariota's play-making ability and resourcefulness:

One of the biggest reasons the Ducks were struggling was the constant pressure on Mariota from the Michigan State front seven. The obvious way to stop a mobile dual-threat quarterback is hitting him in the pocket before he can get going, and that's exactly what the Spartans were doing in the first half, per ESPN Stats and Info:

Making matters worse was Andre Yruretagoyena's exit with an injury, per Lindsay Schnell of Sports Illustrated:

Michigan State led 24-18 going into halftime.

In the second half, Oregon was a completely different team. Smart Football's Chris B. Brown felt that the Ducks needed somebody to be the spark offensively, and Mariota answered the call:

Oregon punted on its first two possessions of the second half before reeling off four touchdowns on their final five drives. Mariota was responsible for two of those touchdowns, first hitting Allen for a 24-yard TD pass and then connecting with Keanon Lowe for six points, which gave the Ducks the lead back.

From there, Michigan State was unable to mount a comeback.

It's still very early in the season, but you have to agree with Huston that Mariota has vaulted to the top of the Heisman Trophy chase, if he wasn't already there. He might have had some trouble early on, but you expect your best players to respond when handed adversity, and that's exactly what Mariota did.

You can't discount the strength of the Michigan State defense, either. According to Forde, the Spartans hadn't surrendered 30 or more points since 2011:

Every Heisman winner in the past has had that one signature performance that voters can look at when they make their final selection. Saturday may well have been that game for Mariota.

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Jameis Winston vs. Citadel: Stats, Highlights, Twitter Reaction

If you're a player hoping to woo the Heisman voters, then you better be pretty close to perfect when you go up against the mighty Citadel Bulldogs (sorry, Citadel). 

Jameis Winston did just that on Saturday night. 

The polarizing sophomore quarterback, who is looking to repeat as Heisman, played a little less than three full quarters during FSU's easy 37-12 win, completing 22 of his 27 throws for 256 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

He was on the field for six offensive drives. The first four went for touchdowns, while the last two resulted in field goals. As College Football Talk noted, he had an unbelievable stat line at the half:

The one incompletion? An attempted shovel pass to Kermit Whitfield that was originally ruled as a fumble, which ESPN's Jared Shanker pointed out:

Part of the reason for Winston's success was his willingness to share the love. As the Orlando Sentinel's Dustin Tackett noted, he did well to move through his progressions and spread the ball around:

Winston finished with completions to eight different receivers. His longest went to star Rashad Greene for 46 yards. Winston and Greene, who had 11 receptions for 203 yards in last week's opener, have an unstoppable connection right now, and the QB recently talked about his WR's importance, via the Tallahassee Democrat's Natalie Pierre:

Tomahawk Nation put it simply after one of Winston's best throws of the night:

Of course, it wasn't a perfect night. 

According to Shanker and thetriangleoffense.net's Joshua Flanagan, the sophomore quarterback clashed with head coach Jimbo Fisher on multiple occasions: 

Don't overreact, though. Patrik Nohe of ChopChat.com explained why the shouting matches aren't a big deal:

Overall, it's about as much as you could ask for in limited action against an overmatched opponent. 

The stats probably won't drop anyone's jaw—especially those of Heisman voters—but don't expect Florida State fans to worry too much about that. Winston is being asked to win games, and he continues to do just that in Tallahassee. 

He'll get a stiffer test at home against No. 23 Clemson in two weeks, but judging by Saturday's "warm-up" (again, sorry Citadel), he looks prepared and in-sync with the offense. 

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Auburn Football: Nick Marshall Not Sharp, but Still the Man at QB

Auburn quarterback Nick Marshall sat out the first half of the season, as Jeremy Johnson—his backup—lit up the stat sheet with 243 yards and two touchdowns in a 45-21 win over Arkansas.

Quarterback controversy?

No. 

Marshall is the man at Auburn, but it's clear from his performance in the Tigers' 59-13 win over San Jose State on Saturday night that he still has some work to do through the air. The senior completed 10 of 19 passes for 101 yards, one touchdown and no picks.

He sailed several passes, lost accuracy when he needed to put more touch on throws and generally looked like the same raw quarterback he was last season, despite being the first second-year starting quarterback in head coach Gus Malzahn's career as either a college head coach or assistant.

Malzahn commented on Marshall's night in the postgame press conference, according to Ryan Black of the Columbus Ledger-Enquirer. 

Make no mistake, despite the inefficiency, Marshall is still the man for Malzahn.

He rushed for 103 yards and a touchdown against the Spartans and is still what makes Auburn's offense tick. 

Sure, Auburn would like Marshall to be more consistent through the air. Offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee said this spring that he would like Marshall to complete "between 65 and 70 percent" of his passes on the season, according to Brandon Marcello of AL.com.

"It’s a goal. It should be a goal," Marshall told Marcello. "The expectations for us are high this year. I’m just going to do what they tell me and complete the passes like they want me to. I’ll go through all my progressions and not turn the ball over."

He isn't quite there on the season yet—he's at 56 percent (14-of-25) after two games—but Marshall routinely makes the right decision on zone reads, forces defenders to maintain eye discipline and takes advantage through the air when safeties creep up and peek in the backfield.

What more does he need to do?

Sure, the coaching staff would like him to progress as a passer, and if Marshall wants to make a career as a quarterback at the next level, it'd probably be a good idea. For this particular team, though, Marshall can follow the same script as last year and win a whole bunch of ballgames for Malzahn.

Isn't that the goal?

The offensive line has shown no signs of a letdown after losing first-round draft pick Greg Robinson at left tackle and left guard Alex Kozan to a season-ending injury. The running game is in good hands with Marshall, Cameron Artis-Payne—who's gone over the century mark in both of Auburn's games—and speedster Corey Grant.

Sure, Auburn is one-dimensional by choice and necessity with Marshall in the game, but that one dimension clicks at an elite level, so there's no reason to mess with success.

"Marshall 2.0" would be a luxury for the Auburn coaching staff, but the original version isn't too shabby and has proven during his career as the starting quarterback that what he does works, even if it doesn't always look pretty through the air.

Isn't that the point?

 

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and video analyst for Bleacher Report and co-host of the CFB Hangover on Bleacher Report Radio (Sundays 9-11 a.m. ET) on Sirius 93, XM 208. Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. All stats are courtesy of CFBStats.com, and all recruiting information is courtesy of 247Sports.

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Devon Allen Catches, Spins for 70-Yard TD

Oregon wide receiver Devon Allen made a great catch and spin move on his way to the end zone in the Ducks' 46-27 win over Michigan State.

Allen proving himself as a playmaker provides another weapon for quarterback Marcus Mariota to target.

How well do you think the Ducks will do this year?

Watch the video to see Devon Allen's highlight touchdown catch.

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