Feed aggregator

College Football Scores 2014: Week 3 Results and Top Stars for Top 25 Teams

The clashes between elite teams were much less common than in the previous two weeks, but Week 3 of the college football slate featured everything from upsets of top-25 teams to dominating performances from the nation's elite.

College football results can be incredibly different from week to week. Just look at South Carolina, who emerged from the brink of becoming unranked to posting a 38-35 home win over sixth-ranked Georgia.

Bleacher Report summed up the result:

As per usual, Todd Gurley was a force for Georgia, but he couldn't play defense and South Carolina gashed the Bulldogs defense for 451 total yards. After coming out flat to start the season against Texas A&M, the Gamecocks got right back into the SEC East hunt with the win.

The upsets continued on Saturday in Blacksburg, Virginia to a team familiar with upsets this season. No. 17 Virginia Tech couldn't continue the momentum from its victory the previous week over Ohio State, falling to East Carolina, 28-21, in the weekend's biggest upset.

ESPN SportsCenter broke down that game:

The Pirates took a commanding 21-0 lead, before Hokies quarterback Michael Brewer led his team back to a tie the game with a minute left. But Shane Carden took over at that point, marching East Carolina down the field on a game-winning TD drive.

The loss continued a painful trend for Frank Beamer's crew, as ESPN's Brett McMurphy reported:

Louisville joined Virginia Tech as the top-25 schools that were upset Saturday. The Cardinals were beaten 23-21 by Virginia in Louisville's first conference game on the road as a member of the ACC. 

Bobby Petrino's 21st-ranked Cardinals were turning heads in their new conference early on, but they couldn't handle a Cavaliers team that now looks impressive after a close loss to UCLA to open the season. 

Like those teams, Oregon found some trouble early, trailing Wyoming 7-0 after one quarter. But the Ducks eventually clicked on offense, with Marcus Mariota leading his second-ranked team to a dominating 48-14 win.

Mariota made this spectacular play for one of his four total touchdowns, per ESPN SportsCenter:

As for teams looking to bounce back, Ohio State washed the bad taste out of its mouth from last weekend's home loss to Virginia Tech with a 66-0 win over Kent State.

J.T. Barrett threw six touchdown passes in a little over two quarters, and the Buckeyes cruised to their most lopsided victory in nearly 20 years, per OhioStateBuckeyes.com's Jerry Emig:

Stanford, like Ohio State, rarely finds itself having to bounce back, but the Cardinal were in that position Saturday. They shut out Army, 35-0, just one weekend after a gut-wrenching loss at home to USC.

While the SEC slate was dominated by the Georgia-South Carolina thriller, a pair of top-25 standouts from the conference also stood out, most notably the Missouri Tigers.

The 20th-ranked Tigers beat Central Florida 38-10 at home on Saturday behind four Maty Mauk touchdown tosses and a stout defensive effort. The Knights notched more first downs than Missouri, but the Tigers defense stiffened when it mattered.

As for Ole Miss, it had no trouble at all dominating Louisiana-Lafayette in the Rebels home opener, winning 56-15. Bo Wallace threw four touchdowns, and the 14th-ranked Rebels scored three more times on the ground to move to 3-0 on the season.

Take a look below at all the finals involving top-25 teams and a list of the best performances in those games. 

 

Shane Carden, East Carolina: 23-of-47, 427 Yards, four Total TDs

Shane Carden, world. World, Shane Carden. 

The East Carolina quarterback burst onto the scene with a dominating performance against Virginia Tech, throwing for more than 400 yards against a secondary that caused fits for Ohio State the week prior. 

His performance was unlike the others listed in that it wasn't for a ranked team. Rather, it came at the expense of one, as his huge game led ECU to a 28-21 upset over the 17th-ranked Hokies.

ESPN College Football noted his insane stat line:

Carden's play Hokies ranks as one of the all-time best performances against the Hokies, per ESPN Stats and Information:

The senior has been a starter for the Pirates since 2012, and he has been putting up big numbers pretty much since then. But such production never before came against such a talented and respected defense. Carden gashed Virginia Tech early on and came up in the clutch with the game-winning scramble with 16 seconds left to secure the victory.

 

J.T. Barrett, Ohio State: 23-of-30, 312 Yards, Six TDs, INT

To say that J.T. Barrett would like to forget last weekend's debacle at home against Virginia Tech would be an understatement. Saturday was the first step in erasing that memory.

Ohio State and Barrett showed no mercy in a 66-0 drubbing of Kent State. The freshman quarterback completed 23 of 30 passes for 312 yards and a whopping six touchdowns.

Here's one of his touchdown passes, per ESPN College Football:

Barrett threw three interceptions last weekend against the Hokies and squandered opportunity after opportunity to get the Buckeyes back in it. But if he keeps up his play from Saturday, Ohio State will be just fine—you know, other than already having a loss. 

 

Marcus Mariota, Oregon: 19-of-23, 221 Yards; Five Carries, 71 Yards (Four Total TDs)

Oregon Heisman Trophy contender Marcus Mariota played only just past halftime of the Ducks' 48-14 win over Wyoming, but he certainly made the most of it. He finished with a strong 19-of-23 passing performance for 221 yards. He added 71 more on the ground and scored four total touchdowns.

Mariota even laid out for a somersault touchdown in the front corner of the end zone, which prompted USA Today's George Schroeder to wonder if that's worth the risk:

After dominating the second half last weekend against Michigan State, Mariota has gained some serious steam in the Heisman conversation. While a performance against Wyoming won't be his crowning moment, he padded his stats and brought his best for the short time he was in the game. 

 

Vince Sanders, Ole Miss: Eight Receptions, 125 Yards, Two TDs

Ole Miss has a few members of its receiver corps who can go off any given game. On Saturday, it was Vince Sanders.

The senior wideout caught eight receptions for 125 yards and two touchdowns, leading the way for a 56-15 Ole Miss victory. Oh, and he posted that stat line before halftime:

The Rebels' offense—and the whole team, really—is primarily filled with young, budding talent. But a team doesn't get to Ole Miss' caliber without key contributions from the seniors, such as Sanders' big game Saturday.

 

Maty Mauk, Missouri: 14-of-24, 144 Yards, four TDs, INT (six Carries, 30 yards)

If you haven't already heard, Maty Mauk is quickly establishing himself as one of the SEC's top quarterbacks, and he made another big statement on Saturday.

The Tigers dominated UCF to the tune of 38-10, and Mauk was a huge reason why. He didn't air it out a ton—he had 144 yards passing—but he was efficient in and around the red zone with four touchdown tosses. 

The dual-threat passer also made his impact on the ground, turning six carries into 30 yards.

Per David Morrison of the Columbia Daily Tribune, Mauk's start to the season is one of the best in school history:

Missouri now has three of its four season-opening nonconference games out of the way, and the Tigers will face Indiana at home on Saturday. If Mauk continues to play at this level, they could tear through the SEC East and repeat as division champions after all.

 

Todd Gurley, Georgia: 20 Carries, 131 Yards, TD

It came in a losing effort, but Todd Gurley didn't do much to squander his Heisman Trophy campaign at South Carolina.

Gurley ran for 131 yards on 20 carries and took it to the Gamecocks defense. The Bulldogs were down virtually all game, but it didn't matter—they ran the ball, and Gurley came through.

In fact, the worst decision the Bulldogs made was to not give the ball to Gurley near the goal line when Georgia trailed. The Bulldogs ended up missing a field goal that would have tied the game:

Gurley looks so dominant this season that he's a bright spot even in Georgia's worst moments.

 

Follow Steven Cook on Twitter for more breaking news and analysis on all things sports.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Brett Hundley Injury: Updates on UCLA Star's Elbow and Return

With a Heisman Trophy and early selection in the NFL draft potentially in his sights, UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley must now overcome adversity in the form of an elbow injury suffered against Texas, according to David Ubben of Fox Sports Southwest:

Stewart Mandel of Sports Illustrated reveals Hundley's replacement:

Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times has more detail:

After two productive seasons as the Bruins' starting quarterback, Hundley decided to return for his red-shirt junior season. That came as a surprise to some since many assume that he would have been a first-round selection along with Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel and Teddy Bridgewater.

While there were obvious risks involved with returning to school, UCLA head coach Jim Mora revealed prior to the 2014 season that he though Hundley made the right decision, per NFL.com's Bryan Fischer.

"In Brett's case, it was the best thing for him to come back. It will make him a better player in the long run," Mora said. "His dream is not going anywhere. His dream is to play in the NFL and his dream could become more vivid. Maybe he wins the Heisman. Maybe he's the first pick."

Mora laid out the best-case scenarios, but failed to mention what an injury could potentially do to his draft stock. It remains to be seen if Hundley's injury will have any long-term implications as far as the rest of the college football season and his draft status go, but it is disconcerting nonetheless.

This isn't the first time that Hundley has suffered an injury in the collegiate ranks. He tore his meniscus as a freshman in 2011, which resulted in him getting medically red-shirted. Hundley bounced back and became an elite signal-caller in 2012 and 2013, but that injury likely remained in the back of everyone's mind.

Hundley certainly didn't forget it as Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register reported prior to the season that Hundley took out an insurance policy:

That means Hundley is covered if this injury puts his NFL career in jeopardy, but Hundley and his supporters certainly hope that he won't have to collect on it.

If this ends up being little more than a scare, then Hundley still has a great opportunity to be taken early in the 2015 NFL draft. Mora had no doubts about his ability to transition to the NFL entering the 2014 campaign, per Stewart Mandel of Fox Sports:

Hundley certainly has an excellent skill set, ideal size and the production that NFL teams look for. After racking up over 4,000 total yards and 38 touchdowns as a freshman in 2012, Hundley's numbers dipped a bit in 2013, but they were still excellent.

Although he scored five less touchdowns and passed for nearly 700 less yards, he ran for almost 400 more yards, which is something that will appeal to NFL teams with dual-threat quarterbacks becoming all the rage.

While Hundley's NFL future may very well be hanging in the balance as it relates to this injury, UCLA's present is impacted as well. The Bruins' Pac-12 hopes hinge largely on Hundley's broad shoulders since he accounts for the vast majority of UCLA's offense.

If he is forced to miss any time, then the Bruins are going to struggle to remain afloat in the Pac-12 South. High-powered offenses are needed to truly remain competitive within the conference and the Bruins won't have that without Hundley.

There is always a chance that the injury will be little more than a minor hindrance and many are hopeful that is the case for Hundley and UCLA.

 

Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

ACC's Upset Weekend Does Not Help FSU's College Football Playoff Chances

Outside of Boston College's upset win over USC, it was not a good Saturday for the ACC, and that’s probably putting it mildly.

One week after handing Ohio State its first home loss since 2011, No. 17 Virginia Tech took a big step back, suffering a 28-21 loss to AAC foe East Carolina. Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch provided coach Frank Beamer's comments on the game:

No. 21 Louisville, expected to be one of the best teams in the ACC Atlantic Division, was defeated 23-21 at Virginia, which was 2-10 a year ago. The Courier-Journal's Jeff Greer shared Bobby Petrino's thoughts on the game, via Twitter, as he took responsibility for not preparing his players:

Of course, the best showing for the conference occurred in Chestnut Hill, as Steve Adazzio’s Eagles shredded the ninth-ranked Trojans on the ground to the tune of 452 yards and five touchdowns. Quarterback Tyler Murphy ran the read-option to perfection as he dazzled with 191 rushing yards and a score. 

But others didn't fare so well. 

Wake Forest traveled to Utah and lost to Mountain West mainstay Utah State 36-24. And Georgia Tech needed a Justin Thomas touchdown pass to Deon Hill with 23 seconds remaining to survive new FBS member Georgia Southern 42-38 after blowing every bit of a 35-10 lead.

Virginia Tech and Louisville will likely both fall out of next week’s Top 25 rankings, which is bad news for a league that entered this week with four teams in The Associated Press Top 25 (Florida State and Clemson are off this week before playing each other next week).

And that’s bad news for the Seminoles, in particular. 

While the defending national champions remain in solid position for the first College Football Playoff, their margin of error just decreased dramatically.

Strength of schedule is a major consideration of the College Football Playoff selection committee: The College Football Playoff website lists it as the No. 2 protocol behind a conference title. A weaker ACC hurts the Seminoles.

Louisville was perhaps the toughest game left on FSU’s schedule. The Seminoles visit the Cardinals on Oct. 30 for an ESPN-televised Thursday night game.

And while the Hokies remain contenders in the wide-open ACC Coastal Division, a loss will hurt their overall perception should they face Florida State in the ACC title game.

The Seminoles host Clemson next week, but with an FSU win Clemson will be a two-loss team three weeks into the season.

No. 11 Notre Dame visits Tallahassee on Oct. 18, but it is entirely possible that the Fighting Irish will be the last ranked team that FSU faces this season, including the ACC title game.

November opponents Florida and Miami could climb into the rankings by the time they take on FSU, but that’s not a given.

An undefeated Florida State team would certainly qualify for the College Football Playoff, but should the Seminoles slip up, would they still be picked over, say, a one-loss SEC, Big 12 or Pac-12 team? We don’t know, but it’ll be an interesting quandary.

FSU’s best path to the College Football Playoff? Just win, baby. Anything less could lead to serious trouble come December.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Miami (OH) vs. Michigan: Game Grades, Analysis for the Wolverines

Michigan didn't bring its A-game Saturday, but it had enough to down Miami (Ohio), the Mid-American Conference's winningest program, 34-10, at The Big House in Ann Arbor. 

Derrick Green had 22 carries for a team-high 137 yards and two touchdowns. Five others saw action, contributing to a team average of 6.1 yards on 45 attempts. Considering last week's implosion versus Notre Dame, the running game's offering this week was a vast improvement. 

Devin Gardner continues to be consistently inconsistent. He couldn't get much going in the first half, but he maintained enough composure to complete 13 of 20 attempts for 184 yards, two scores and an interception. 

With Devin Funchess, the No. 1 receiver, on the sideline, Amara Darboh led Team 135 with six catches for 88 yards and a touchdown. However, the Wolverines wideouts weren't as crisp as they should be, especially against a "lesser" opponent. 

Jake Butt chipped in with three catches for 59 yards and a touchdown, the most action he's had all season. 

Grades are determined by various factors, such as total production, frequency and opportunity. 

Official box score on NCAA.com

Pass Offense

This is a problem. A big problem. Michigan has the weapons at the receiver positions, but it lacks a starting quarterback who can deliver the ball on a regular basis. Gardner was lucky that he didn't throw three picks Saturday. He wasn't very effective, to say the least. 

The Wolverines managed just 184 passing yards. Given the competition, that total is worthy of a D+. With Doug Nussmeier's reputation and ability to push quarterbacks, Saturday's total production was a definite disappointment. 

 

Pass Defense

Jourdan Lewis rebounded from a rough Week 2 with an interception. The Wolverines, as a whole, defended the big play well. Miami quarterback Andrew Hendrix never really appeared comfortable. 

The pass D gets a C+. 

 

Run Offense

Again, stats can be misleading, so don't get up in arms about Green's 137 yards. He was good but not great. There is room for improvement, but the fact that the sophomore eventually got his wheels going was a great sign for the Wolverines, who have rushed for more than 100 yards through each game. 

 

Run Defense

The Red Hawks didn't run often, and that's because Michigan wouldn't let them. Greg Mattison's defense surrendered just 33 yards on the ground, an average of 1.4 per carry. Mattison's run D gets an A-. 

 

Special Teams

There weren't any missed field goals, but a lack of communication between Justice Hayes and Wyatt Shallman in the third quarter led to a turnover. 

 

Coaching

Overall, a win probably warrants at least a B. But it was Miami, and the Wolverines looked flat for most of the game. There were occasional spurts, but Team 135's coaching staff hasn't been able to get everyone on the same page at the same time. 

Hoke and his crew gets a C. 

 

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Rice vs. Texas A&M: Live Score and Highlights

Texas A&M Aggies vs. Rice Owls, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN 2

At 2-0 and having scored 125 points, the Texas A&M Aggies under new signal-caller Kenny "Trill" Hill are looking to stay hot against the 0-1 Rice Owls. 

The Aggies have racked up their wins over South Carolina and Lamar, while Rice fell at Notre Dame to start its season. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Bret Bielema's Arkansas Offense Finally Ready for SEC Play

You don't take an offense that likes to spread things out and chuck the ball around and turn it into one that slows things down, pounds the rock and maintains possession and expect it to be ready to compete in the SEC.

The experiment began for Bret Bielema and the Arkansas Razorbacks in 2013 and as expected, the results weren't pretty. After opening last season with three straight victories, Arkansas lost its final nine games and eclipsed the 30-point mark just once, in a defeat to Texas A&M.

Fast-forward to the present day and Bielema's philosophy is starting to produce results. After a season-opening 45-21 loss at Auburn, the Razorbacks beat Nicholls State, 73-7, and followed it up with a 49-28 victory over Texas Tech on Saturday.

Against the Colonels, starting quarterback Brandon Allen had just 117 yards passing, but the rushing attack, led by the two-headed monster of Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams, put up 495 yards. That would be impressive against a pile of sofa cushions let alone an actual football team.

Allen didn't need to do much more in the win over Kliff Kingsbury's Red Raiders either, throwing for just 61 yards. Collins and Williams, however, combined to rush for 357 yards and six scores on 49 carries.

No one will mistake the Red Raiders' defense for the one Alabama brings to the table, but being able to pile up big yards on the road against a power five opponent is impressive in itself. And when going up against teams with more talent, the Razorbacks will need to find a similar rhythm to stay close and pull off the upset.

Doing this on the road against Texas Tech is one thing, and following it up with the same type of effort effort on Sept. 20 against Northern Illinois will be another. But following the tilt with the Huskies will be a three-game stretch at home that could become a defining period in Bielema's tenure.

Texas A&M, Alabama and Georgia all come calling in the span of four weeks. One win should make fans happy, but two or three would make a major national statement.

With the offensive shift in college football toward a more up-tempo style that disregards time of possession and spreads things out both through the air and on the ground, it seemed crazy to think that Bielema could take a team without a wealth of talent and turn it into a contender in the best conference in college football using a physical, run-first brand of offense.

But that's exactly what's happening here, and it's time to give credit where it's due.

Given the talent in the trenches throughout the conference, being able to pass the ball is a must, and Allen will likely have to develop into a threat at some point, even if he doesn't transform into Ryan Mallett overnight. He probably isn't the next Russell Wilson, either, but he can learn a thing or two about how the former Badger ran Bielema's offense at Wisconsin.

In Wilson's only season as a Badger, he threw for over 3,100 yards and had 33 passing touchdowns. The biggest thing Allen can learn from, however, is Wilson's efficiency. He had just four interceptions and completed nearly 73 percent of his passes, and it's that ability to limit mistakes that could be huge when opposing defenses start stacking the box and forcing someone other than a running back to beat them.

But with those two backs averaging over six yards per carry behind an experienced offensive line, the Razorbacks finally appear ready for the grueling SEC slate that lies ahead.

The question now becomes, is the offense ready to simply compete, or can it score enough points to knock off a conference heavyweight or two? What happens in a close game late in the fourth quarter? Will Bielema's offense be able to throw the ball or can the rushing attack remain effective with the clock winding down?

Those questions have yet to be answered, but fans should be more confident in this group than they've been in quite some time because the offense finally looks capable of scoring points against some of the best programs in the country.

It wasn't that long ago that Arkansas didn't seem capable of doing that against anybody. In fact, you have to go back a long, long time to find the program's last win vs. an FBS program.

In order to keep piling up those wins, the defense will have to do its part, too. Stopping Auburn isn't easy, but you can't allow 45 points as the Razorbacks did in Week 1 and expect to win. Neither side of the ball playing well is what leads to seasons like 2013.

With the offense rolling, it should give the defense confidence and make the whole team better.

In today's world, you're either a contender in your conference or your not. Arkansas still falls into the latter category, but with a strong rushing game and a real identity for the first time in several years, the Razorbacks will likely play a major role in the SEC race, even if they aren't in the hunt themselves.

That's all due to an offense that is much improved from 2013. The scary part? If this is Bielema's program in year two, how good will things be in year three or four?

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Georgia's Todd Gurley Head-Butts South Carolina's Bryson Allen-Williams

The referees might have not seen it, but you can bet that someone will be talking to Georgia Bulldogs running back Todd Gurley after this boneheaded play.

After the play was over, Gurley walked up to South Carolina's Bryson Allen-Williams and head-butted him. The refs missed Gurley's act, but they did see Jordan Diggs retaliate and gave him a flag for doing so.

[Vine, h/t Sports Grid]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Georgia Safety Quincy Mauger Destroys South Carolina WR Nick Jones

The Georgia Bulldogs trailed the South Carolina Gamecocks 24-13 at halftime due to some defensive miscues, but this was one of their more impressive plays from the first half on that side of the ball.

After South Carolina wide receiver Nick Jones caught a pass down the sideline, Georgia safety Quincy Mauger laid him out with this huge hit.

Here's another angle of the play:

[Vine, h/t Twitter

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Tennessee vs. Oklahoma: Live Score and Highlights

Oklahoma 13, Tennessee 0 — Early 2nd quarter

Game action is now underway between Tennessee (2-0) and No. 4 Oklahoma (2-0). ABC is televising the matchup nationally from Norman.

We are watching the game, providing live analysis as the action unfolds:

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Todd Gurley vs. South Carolina: Stats, Highlights, Twitter Reaction

Georgia dropped a thriller against South Carolina Saturday, but that didn't stop Todd Gurley from looking every bit like a player who's going to be in the Heisman conversation all season long. 

In the 38-35 defeat, he finished with 20 carries for 131 yards and a touchdown, improving his numbers against a team he has struggled against in his career, per ESPN Stats & Info:

The Bulldogs' stud running back, who battled tight muscles and a crowded box, didn't exactly put up Gurley-esque numbers in the first half, entering the locker room with 44 yards on eight totes. Still, nearly every time he touched the ball, viewers such as ESPN's Kevin Weidl, were left in awe of his talent:

Even Arizona Cardinals safety Tyrann Mathieu was impressed: 

Dangerous weather delayed kickoff by nearly two hours, but Gurley showed few ill-effects from having to sit around, taking his first two carries for 17 yards on the way to a Georgia field goal. On the next drive, he went for 13 yards up the gut. And on his next touch, he exploded through the hole and accelerated away from everyone for a 54-yard touchdown. 

While the score was called back on holding, it was still yet another example of his jaw-dropping ability. Bleacher Report's Adam Kramer and Rotoworld's Josh Norris put it simply:

The second half was full of more "wow" plays. 

On one, he took a sweet to the left and galloped down the left sideline, shedding tackles and picking up 40 spectacular yards to set up a short TD run. On a 3-and-16 later in the game, he once again went left, but when he ran into a brick wall of defenders, cut it back to the middle of the field and carried defenders across the first-down line. 

Sports Illustrated's Andy Staples put it best:

When the junior steps onto the field, it usually sparks an interesting debate about his draft stock. His electrifying blend of size, speed, power and downhill running style have most in agreement that he will be a future star on Sundays. But teams have become hesitant about spending an early pick on a running back. 

As Bleacher Report's Cian Fahey argued, though, Gurley is worth it:

It's obviously going to depend on draft order, team need and other circumstances that we can't forecast right now. But Gurley is a dangerous playmaker, and if he continues to stay healthy, it's difficult to imagine him falling out of the first round. 

NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah offered an intriguing comparison while Fahey painted a tantalizing picture:

Of course, no matter where he is eventually taken or what kind of player he becomes, Gurley will make college defensive coordinators across the country relieved not to see him on the field anymore. 

That's looking far down the line, though. For now, Gurley will continue to make life miserable for SEC defenses as he emphatically states his case as the best ball-carrier in the nation. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

ECU vs. Virginia Tech: How Hokies' Upset Loss Will Shake Up Week 4 Rankings

Virginia Tech surged up the AP Poll's rankings to No. 17 in the nation after its decisive 35-21 Week 2 victory over Ohio State. That didn't last very long, however, as the East Carolina Pirates rolled into Lane Stadium to defeat the Hokies 28-21 on Saturday.

The Pirates quickly got out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead after quarterback Shane Carden hit three different receivers for touchdowns within the game's first 13 minutes. This was more than concerning since Virginia Tech allowed only one touchdown during J.T. Barrett's dismal showing just one week prior.

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports sarcastically tweeted how the Buckeyes must have been feeling at this point:

The Hokies did get back into the game, scoring three touchdowns while stifling the previously hot East Carolina offense to even the game at 21 with just 1:20 remaining in the fourth quarter. However, the defense allowed Carden and Co. to fly right back down the field, as Carden capped off a three-play, 65-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown scamper with just 16 seconds left in the game.

Virginia Tech produced only 389 yards of offense while Carden outgained the Hokies on his own, passing for 427 yards and three touchdowns. ESPN Stats & Info noted just how the quarterback's performance ranks in the history of Virginia Tech's defense:

This loss won't reflect well on the Hokies, and we can expect the rankings to shift in a big way heading into Week 4 of the 2014 college football season.

East Carolina was defeated by a score of 33-23 by South Carolina in Week 2. While the No. 24 Gamecocks have a difficult matchup against No. 6 Georgia on Saturday, anything but a blowout loss could propel them back up the rankings, passing Virginia Tech in the process.

To make matters worse for the Hokies, No. 25 BYU already defeated Houston on Thursday, No. 20 Missouri had a nice showing against UCF and No. 22 Ohio State rebounded in a big way over Kent State. We could speculate that inactive teams like No. 18 Wisconsin, No. 19 Kansas State and No. 23 Clemson could move up as well following Virginia Tech's loss to an unranked opponent.

With at least seven teams poised to leapfrog the Hokies, perhaps this is what we'll be saying by next week, according to NFL Network's Albert Breer:

The only factors that appear to be in Virginia Tech's favor are the inactivity of North Carolina—the Tar Heels were ranked 27th in AP Poll points heading into Week 3—and the loss by No. 21 Louisville to Virginia. North Carolina may not have enough momentum to enter the Top 25, and Louisville should fall back out after its loss.

If the Hokies do maintain their standing in the Top 25, it will be close. Expect to see plenty of movement when the Week 4 rankings are released, as Virginia Tech drops down to No. 25 and possibly off the list altogether.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Kentucky vs. Florida: Live Score and Highlights

Midway Through the 2nd Quarter

The Gators and Wildcats have both played physical defense so far, leading to a scoreless tie as we are almost halfway through the second quarter.

The Gators have moved the ball well on the ground, but you have to give credit to Kentucky for coming out with a physical and inspired effort.

 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

What Ohio State Fans Should Make of Virginia Tech's Loss to ECU

Fresh off of a 35-21 defeat at the hands of Virginia Tech, Urban Meyer described Ohio State's 66-0 thrashing of Kent State on Saturday as "just what the doctor ordered." But even after taking their medicine, the Buckeyes were admittedly still dealing with symptoms stemming from their first loss of the season.

"You still have a sick feeling in your stomach about last week," Meyer said.

If that's true, then Ohio State's nausea likely only increased upon learning that its tormentors a week ago had just finished suffering an embarrassing loss of their own. After catapulting back into national relevance, the Hokies followed up their big win in Columbus with a 28-21 home loss to East Carolina on Saturday, in a game that saw Virginia Tech fall behind the Pirates, 21-0, in the first quarter.

Transitive property may not relate to football, but any argument the Buckeyes had that their lone loss of the season thus far wasn't that bad likely just went out the window. The Hokies may be talented, but Saturday showed that they're still a flawed team—and yet they remain just one week removed from outplaying Ohio State on its own home turf.

That shouldn't sit well with the Buckeyes, who did everything that they could to put last weekend's loss in their rearview mirror. Quarterback J.T. Barrett tied a school record with six touchdown passes while spearheading an offensive attack that accumulated 628 yards, as the Ohio State defense held the overmatched Golden Flashes to 126 yards on the day.

And yet there the Buckeyes were in postgame interviews, still being asked about Virginia Tech and what the Hokies' loss on Saturday means for Ohio State. At least one Buckeye admitted to keeping an eye on Virginia Tech, before offering perspective on what the Hokies' loss this week means to the Buckeyes.

"A lot of people fail to realize that matchups are a big deal in the game of football," OSU linebacker Joshua Perry said. "Whatever happened with them is what happened, but you can't just say that, 'OK, Virginia Tech lost to East Carolina, so Ohio State is whatever they are. We beat such and such, so now we're this.' You just gotta play every week."

And to be fair, Perry has a point.

Who's to say that the Hokies didn't empty their gun with last week's surprise 46 Bear defense against the Buckeyes, or that ECU's Air Raid offense isn't a better counter to it from an X's and O's standpoint? Yes, Virginia Tech just beat Ohio State and then were beat by the Pirates, but that doesn't necessarily mean that ECU would have similar results against the Buckeyes.

And then there's this: While its name may not carry much weight in perception—directional schools rarely do—East Carolina isn't a bad football team. The Pirates went 10-3 a season ago and returned senior quarterback Shane Carden this season, where ECU's lone loss has been a 10-point defeat at the hands of South Carolina.

Not too shabby, even for a team that just joined a Group of Five conference in the American Athletic Conference. Yes, as unlikely as it may seem, the Pirates could theoretically have access to the College Football Playoff, which is really what this is all about anyways.

Because when it comes to those four playoff selections, perception will matter, and the Buckeyes could use all the help in that department that they can get. While the chances of a one-loss Big Ten team making it to the final four were already slim, Ohio State's odds took an additional hit on Saturday, as it will no longer have a chance to point to their loss to Virginia Tech as a quality loss, if there even is such a thing.

And for the Buckeye players, that's just fine. Last week's loss may still sting, but they insist that they remain focused on the remainder of their season and aren't interested in scoreboard-watching with the Hokies—or anybody else.

"For a lot of us, it's behind us. They came in here hungry and aggressive with what they wanted to to do," Barrett said of Virginia Tech. "With them losing, that doesn't have anything to do with us. We're past it now."

 

Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Ohio State Lead Writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes were obtained firsthand. All recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Arkansas Safety Rohan Gaines Obliterates Texas Tech's Reginald Davis

The Arkansas Razorbacks came to play Saturday against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, as they held a 35-28 lead heading into the fourth quarter thanks to plays like this one.

Arkansas safety Rohan Gaines leveled Texas Tech receiver Reginald Davis with a big hit, forcing him to drop the ball.

[Vine]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Georgia Kicker Marshall Morgan Sets SEC Record for Consecutive Field Goals Made

As anyone who has watched a college football game recently knows, finding a reliable college kicker can be a dicey proposition at best.

Georgia and head coach Mark Richt are fortunate not to have that problem. Junior kicker Marshall Morgan is one of college football’s best, most reliable kickers, and he just keeps rolling along.

Saturday, Morgan’s 36-yard field goal against South Carolina was his 19th consecutive made field goal, setting a new SEC record held for 30 years by Tennessee’s FuadReveiz. He added to the mark with a 26-yard field goal in the second quarter, but the streak ended at 20 when Morgan missed a 44-yard try late in the second quarter. 

Morgan has not missed a field goal since missing a 39-yarder last season at Tennessee. And in that game, he kicked a career-long 56-yarder (the longest road field goal in program history) and the game-winning 42-yard field goal in overtime.

A year ago, he made 22 of 24 field-goal tries, setting the SEC record for best field-goal percentage in a season. He also made his last 17 field goals of the season, setting a Georgia program record.

Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley told the Athens Banner-Herald’s Ethan Burch that Morgan is “unique,” saying he’d rather play Call of Duty: Zombies or go to the driving range than focus on his record.

Quarterback Hutson Mason agreed with Conley’s assessment but said Morgan is a valuable piece, per Burch:

It really starts with his preparation over the summer. I know he’s pretty active on Twitter and Instagram, so the whole world knows when he’s kicking. He has been working hard this summer out there and you really don’t notice hard work from a kicker because they’re so weird and so behind the closet.

Morgan can be as strange as he wants. If he keeps making field goals when Georgia needs him, the Bulldogs will be happy to have him around.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Gainesville Police Department Make Fun of Kentucky Football Team on Twitter

The Florida Gators are hosting the Kentucky Wildcats for an SEC matchup on Saturday, and the local police department wasn't afraid to make fun of the opposing team.

Before the game, the Gainesville police department mocked the Kentucky football team after they were late to The Swamp.

This isn't the first time a local police department has talked some smack, as the local departments at Iowa and Iowa State exchanged some tweets back on Tuesday.

[Twitter, h/t College Spun]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Marcus Mariota's Leadership Sets Tone for Oregon, Makes Him Heisman Favorite

Marcus Mariota may have only played a little more than two quarters against Wyoming, but boy did he make them count. 

Mariota led a sleepy Ducks team to a 48-14 rout of the Cowboys, overcoming a seven-point first-quarter deficit.

The Ducks (3-0) were flat in the first quarter, which is perhaps an understatement, and were shut out over the first 15 minutes by Wyoming after getting only one possession and being stopped on the 2-yard line on fourth down.

The Cowboys then drove 98 yards on 11 plays, and the Ducks found themselves trailing and without a score in the first quarter. What should have been a cakewalk victory turned into a bit of a scare for Ducks fans. The last four times Oregon has gone scoreless in the first quarter, it's lost the game. 

Marcus Mariota would have none of that.

Mariota immediately led a touchdown drive in just over a minute to tie up the game early in the second quarter. He capped it off with a beautiful 15-yard touchdown run. 

It was just the beginning for the Heisman favorite, who ended the day going 19-of-23 through the air for 221 yards and two touchdowns. But it was Mariota’s legs that stole the show. Mariota finished the day with five carries for 71 yards and two touchdowns.

After a 30-yard touchdown run from Byron Marshall that gave the Ducks a 13-7 lead, Mariota once again led the Ducks down the field and provided a Heisman-worthy highlight. Mariota, after dancing around in the pocket for what seemed like an eternity, took off down the far sideline toward the end zone. At the goal line he was met by a group of Ducks and Cowboys. Instead of running through the pile, Mariota decided the air was a more appropriate route. 

Air Jordan? Nope, “Air Mariota.”

That 19-yard touchdown put the Ducks up 20-7 and proved to be the winning score. Add it to the highlight reel, send it to the Heisman voters, and take the vote now.

Mariota would go on to throw two touchdowns later in the game, one to freshman Devon Allen, his third in the last two weeks, and another on his last throw of the game, a five-yard connection with former Ducks basketball player Johnathan Loyd.

There’s no denying that the Ducks came out sluggish against Wyoming. "We were a little sluggish in the beginning in every phase”, said head coach Mark Helfrich, according to Jay Allen of Fox Sports Radio 620. Helfrich must be thanking his lucky stars that he has a player like Mariota to lead the team when it's not playing to its potential. 

While the rest of the Ducks were trying to find a cup of coffee to wake up in the first quarter, Mariota was too busy running around and making plays to be concerned with the 11 a.m. start time. His focus was on winning. The rest of the Ducks soon followed.

Mariota sets the tone for the Ducks. He’s the unquestioned leader of the locker room and has no problem going at it alone when his teammates aren't doing their jobs. Mariota showed as much during the second half against Michigan State. He proved again Saturday that the Ducks will follow his lead, and they’ll go as far as he can take them.

The road got a little bit more difficult Saturday, as Oregon’s offensive line took another hit. Starting left tackle Jake Fisher went down in the first quarter with an apparent knee injury.

It’s a good thing that Mariota is Houdini-like in the pocket. He’s going to need to utilize that skill set for the rest of the season.

This is the second straight week that the Ducks have lost a starting tackle. Against Michigan State, the Ducks lost starting right tackle Andre Yruretagoyena to a knee injury, and he is likely out for the season. They will now be starting redshirt junior Matt Pierson at left tackle and true freshman Tyrell Crosby at right tackle for the foreseeable future.

Oregon is going to need the young offensive linemen to step up in the wake of all of the injuries. “We expect those players to come in and play better. If they're in there, they're the No. 1 guy,” said Helfrich, according to Hayden Kim of the Daily Emerald.

The Ducks have a ton of room for improvement. They started slow, played soft defensively for parts of the first half and didn’t put on the show most pundits expected them to. As Helfrich said, via Kim, "Got a ton of work to do. Lucky that's in the wake of a victory."

The Ducks lucked into a victory Saturday based on the quality of their opponent. If Oregon plays a first quarter like it did Saturday against a team like UCLA or Stanford, it may not survive.

Thankfully for the Ducks, they have Mariota, a true leader and the Heisman favorite. 

 

Jason Gold is Bleacher Report’s lead Oregon writer. Follow him on twitter @TheSportsGuy33. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Marcus Mariota's Leadership Sets Tone for Oregon, Makes Him Heisman Favorite

Marcus Mariota may have only played a little more than two quarters against Wyoming, but boy did he make them count. Mariota led a sleepy Ducks team to a 48-14 rout of the Cowboys, overcoming a seven-point first-quarter deficit...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Wyoming vs. Oregon: Game Grades, Analysis for the Ducks

Oregon surprisingly trailed Wyoming after one quarter on Saturday, but that deficit didn't last long as the Ducks blew away the visiting Cowboys, 48-14, at Autzen Stadium.

It was another big offensive day for Oregon (3-0), who racked up 556 yards of total offense and scored on six straight possessions after trailing, 7-0. Marcus Mariota scored on a 15-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter, then took the lead a few minutes later and never looked back.

The Ducks allowed 429 yards but also recorded a pair of interceptions, turning each into touchdowns, and registered six sacks.

Final stats from Saturday's game can be found here. Check out our grades and analysis of Oregon's win below.

 

Oregon Ducks Game Analysis

Pass Offense: Marcus Mariota was at his very best on Saturday. Though he didn't put up huge numbers, just throwing for 221 yards, he did that on 19-of-23 passing with two touchdowns. And he spread the ball around, hitting 11 different receivers (along with those hit by backup Jeff Lockie) and tossing TD passes to Devon Allen and former basketball player Johnathan Loyd.

Run Offense: Mariota ran for a pair of scores and 71 yards, but it wasn't just him on the ground. Royce Freeman and Byron Marshall also scored, as did Kani Benoit. As a team, the Ducks rushed for 263 yards on 37 carries. Marshall was the leading gainer with 80 yards, needing only six carries to get that.

Pass Defense: It took a little while, but eventually Oregon managed to break through Wyoming's depleted offensive line and terrorize quarterback Colby Kirkegaard. Kirkegaard threw for 284 yards an two TDs on 19-of-33 passing, but he was intercepted twice and sacked six times. Both picks were by safety Erick Dargan, who was injured early but then came back to star in the secondary.

Run Defense: Take away the sack-loss yardage, and Wyoming ran for 181 yards. That was especially surprising because the Cowboys only ran for 51 yards in their previous game, so it didn't look like Oregon's front seven had practiced having to stop the run much. That's an area that will need improvement as Oregon heads into the Pac-12 schedule.

Special Teams: Kicker Matt Wogan was never asked to try a field goal, and he made six of seven extra-point attempts. He biffed his second try when it looked like his footwork got messed up on the approach to kick. The Ducks only had to punt once, but Ian Wheeler shook off the rust and boomed a 50-yarder, and their punt- and kick-return coverage was mostly solid.

Coaching: Mark Helfrich got a lot of people involved on offense, helping with depth and experience, but his starters didn't need much coaching in terms of being shown how to execute. Don Pellum's defensive calls became more aggressive as the game went on, resulting in better pressure in the pocket, which turned into takeaways and sacks.

 

Follow Brian J. Pedersen on Twitter at @realBJP.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Wyoming vs. Oregon: Game Grades, Analysis for the Ducks

Oregon surprisingly trailed Wyoming after one quarter on Saturday, but that deficit didn't last long as the Ducks blew away the visiting Cowboys, 48-14, at Autzen Stadium...

Read the full article on Bleacher Report...

Pages