College Football 2023: Week Two Review

College Football: Texas Longhorns VS Alabama Crimson Tide

Last week saw the return of College Football, and we got some upsets. Mostly from Duke defeating Clemson, and the collapse of TCU. What happened this week?

Texas vs. Alabama: Game of the Year?

Where else should we start but with what many describe as one of the season’s best college football games? The number 11 ranked Texas Longhorns faced the number 3 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa. These two teams met last year, with Bama winning the game with a field goal.

The Longhorns want revenge, and a win here would not only put them into contention for a CFP spot in November but will show all of us they can defeat the leading players in the SEC. So, who would win this mouth-watering clash between two loved/hated teams? 

The Longhorns would have the opening possession of the game, but would quickly punt the ball away after stalling around the 50-yard line. However, this punt was very long, forcing the Crimson Tide to start the drive at their 3-yard line. Bama Quarterback Jalen Milroe mostly used running back Jase McClellan to move the ball to their 40-yard line.

Then, the success stopped, as on their next play, Alabama was intercepted in their own territory. This gave Texas a strong field position to put some points on the board. The Longhorns nearly gave possession back to Alabama on their opening play of this drive, as running back Adonai Mitchell fumbled the ball. Luckily for Texas, they recovered the ball.

Longhorns Quarterback Quinn Ewers then drove the ball down to the 5-yard line, where the drive would stall. A 22-yard field goal from kicker Bert Auburn gave Texas the early lead, but it could have been a lot more. 

The Crimson Tide replied to The Longhorns’ field goal with a field goal of their own. For the second time in the game, the combination of Milroe and McClellan drove the ball down the field to the edge of the Texas red zone. The drive would stall at the 24-yard line, resulting in a 42-yard field goal from Will Reichard to tie things up again. 

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The tie would not last long. On their next drive, the Longhorns would quickly move into Alabama territory, mostly aided by a pass inference penalty on the Bama defense.

Ewers would then throw a very deep pass that would fall into the hands of Xavier Worthy for a 44-yard touchdown, giving the Longhorns the lead. In reply, Alabama could get nothing going on offense. Their next two drives ended in punts.

On the other hand, Texas would increase their lead over the Crimson Tide with another Auburn field goal from 29 yards. Alabama would find some luck just before halftime, with a 30-yard field goal as time ran out. As the teams returned to the locker rooms, the Texas Longhorns had a surprise 13-6 lead over Alabama. Could an upset be on the cards?

The second half began as the first half ended. An Alabama drive stalled, resulting in another Reichard field goal, this time from 51 yards. A period of offensive struggles for both Texas and Alabama followed this. Both teams had drives that went for minus yards, and when the Longhorns did get some form of offense going, the drive would stall before the Alabama red zone, leading to a field goal attempt that Bert Auburn would miss.

Texas would again get a drive going soon after their previous failed attempt. But this would again stall in Alabama territory. To make things even worse for Texas, their 4th down attempt failed, handing over not only possession but also a generous field position to Alabama. Could they do anything with this?

They could. The Crimson Tide would initially struggle to move the ball past the 50-yard line. But then, in a play that was similar to what Quinn Ewers did in the first half, Jalen Milroe would throw a deep pass into the end zone, and into the hands of Jermaine Burton for a 49-yard touchdown to give Alabama the lead of the game for the first time.

They would hold this lead for just over a minute, as on the next play, Texas would find the end zone with Ewers throwing a 7-yard touchdown to Adonai Mitchell, in a drive that was aided by another Alabama pass interference penalty and a 50-yard pass from Ewers to set up the touchdown.

What was Alabama’s reply to this? On the opening play of their next drive, Milroe was intercepted and Texas defender Jerrin Thompson ran the ball back to the 5-yard line. Longhorns running back Jonathon Brooks would easily run the ball into the end zone to increase the Longhorns’ lead.

The Crimson Tide would, however, shake the interception off and score on their next drive. Milroe would throw a 39-yard touchdown to Amari Niblack, and then throw a successful 2-point conversion to make it a one-possession game with a lot of time left on the clock.

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In reply to this, the Longhorns would score again. Quinn Ewers would throw a 39-yard touchdown to Adonai Mitchell to increase the lead to 10 points. Alabama knew that their next drive would be very important. They had to score to stay in the game. In reality, they did not even move the ball. Milroe threw two incomplete passes on 1st and 2nd down and was then sacked on 3rd.

The subsequent punt was the last time Alabama had the ball, as for the next 7 minutes, the Longhorns very slowly moved the ball up the field. As time ran out, the upset was complete. The number 11 ranked Texas Longhorns had defeated the number 3 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide 34-24.

This is the Longhorns’ first road victory against opposition ranked in the top 3 since 1969, and proves to us they can go head-to-head against the big SEC teams. For Alabama, this is embarrassing, and may now struggle to make the top 4 come November.

Next week, the Crimson Tide will hope to redeem themselves with a victory against South Florida, while the Longhorns who will be ranked in the Top 10 next week face Wyoming.

Texas is Back!

Deion’s double wins

One of the main talking points from last week’s action was the amazing performance of the Colorado Buffaloes. Under new head coach Deion Saunders, they went into the house of last season’s national championship runners-up, the TCU Horned Frogs, and defeated them.

They rightfully achieved a ranking in this week’s poll. Now, they had to keep it. The Nebraska Cornhuskers were the visitors to Boulder, Colorado, could they upset the party, or will the Buffaloes double their win total from the previous season?

The game did not start well for the Cornhuskers. Nebraska quarterback Jeff Sims began to drive the ball up the field. But then, the drive stalled at the Buffaloes’ 31-yard line. Normally, this is where I would say, “And then they kicked a field goal”.

This did not happen. On third down, Sims fumbled the ball and it was recovered by the Colorado defense. Fortunately for Nebraska, the Buffaloes could not do anything with this possession, and would soon punt the ball.

Then, the “Festival of Kicking” would turn up in Boulder. For the next 7 drives, the ball would spend more time in the air than in the hands of the players. 7 drives, 6 punts, and a missed field goal from the Cornhuskers. Jeff Sims would soon make another mistake. Deep in his own territory, he would again fumble the ball, which was recovered by the Colorado defense. This would set up a drive that would give us our first score of the game.

The Colorado drive would stall at the Cornhuskers’ 13-yard line, but kicker Jace Feely would score the 31-yard field goal to give the Buffaloes the lead. Things would get even better for Colorado soon after. Jeff Sims would continue his poor afternoon by being intercepted deep in his own territory. It then took Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders one play to score, with Sanders throwing a 30-yard touchdown to Tar’Varish Dawson.

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Colorado would add to their lead just before halftime. Their drive stalled just inside the Cornhuskers red zone, resulting in a 32-yard Feely field goal to give the Buffaloes a 13-0 lead at halftime.

As the second half started, it appeared that Nebraska was the better team. Their defense forced a turnover on downs, and then Jeff Sims ran the ball into the endzone for a 57-yard touchdown. Could  Simms and the Cornhuskers redeem themselves?

Colorado would respond to the Nebraska score with a score of their own. Saunders found Xavier Weaver for the 12-yard touchdown to increase their lead. The lead would be extended soon after. The next Colorado drive took Saunders and company down to the 1-yard line. A certain touchdown score. But, on third and one, Sanders was sacked for 10 yards, and the Buffaloes settled for a 30-yard field goal.

Nebraskas ball security problems would again raise its ugly head. This time, it was not Jeff Sims, but running back Gave Ervin Jr. who fumbled the ball which would be recovered by Colorado.

The Buffaloes would take full advantage of their new possession, driving the ball down the field and Tar’Varish Dawson scoring an 8-yard rushing touchdown. However, the two-point conversion failed. I do not know why they decided to go for two at this point in the game, were they expecting a Nebraska comeback? 

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The Cornhuskers would definitely not be coming back. They turned the ball over again on fourth down, which led to another Colorado touchdown. Nebraska would again the ball over on their next possession.  Colorado would not score a touchdown on this drive, however.

They would take a page out of the Cornhuskers book and fumble the ball. This gave Nebraska possession and as time ran out, quarterback Heinrich Haarberg would score the 4-yard touchdown to give them some pride.

On the subject of Nebraska quarterbacks, the Cornhuskers also have Chubba Purdy, the younger brother of Mr. Irrelevant himself, Brock Purdy. The touchdown was all academic in the end, as the 22-ranked Colorado Buffaloes had defeated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 36-14.

This victory meant a lot for the Buffaloes, so much so that the fans ran onto the field. You do not normally see that when a team has won two games, but that is double the amount they won last year. Colorado and Nebraska also share a rivalry, so the victory is even sweeter.

Let’s hope their good form continues next week, as Colorado faces Colorado State. Nebraska are the worst team in the Big 10 at the moment and will hope to play a least somewhat better when they face Northern Illinois in Lincoln.

Tulane vs. Ole Miss: The game you should have missed

With all the eyes in the College Football world focused on Alabama vs. Texas, the Colorado Buffaloes, and Duke this week, I wouldn’t be surprised if you did not see or hear much about this game unless you were a fan of the teams playing.

Number 20 ranked Ole Miss Rebels went to New Orleans to face the Number 24 Tulane Green Wave. In my article last week, I said that Tulane is one of, if not the, best group of 5 teams in the country. So, how would they fair against Ole Miss, a middle power in the SEC?

The Rebels would have the opening possession of the game and would take full advantage of it. In three plays, Rebels’ Quarterback Jaxson Dart would move the ball from their own 24-yard line into the endzone, in a drive that culminated in a 31-yard touchdown pass to Tre Harris.

In reply, Tulane tried a different approach. Green Wave quarterback Kai Horton very slowly moved the ball up the field. Slowly if you ignore the 57-yard throw to put them into the redzone. But they reached the red zone, and they required a third down on every set. Tulane would soon find the end zone after a 2-yard by Makhi Hughes to tie the scores up.

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There was then a period in the game where both teams’ offenses would struggle to function. Tulane would score a field goal to give them the lead, but this was aided by an extremely poor kick by Ole Miss which gave the Green Waves excellent field position.

Tulane would finally find some offensive power before the end of the first half, as Kai Horton found Jha’Quan Jackson for a 41-yard field goal to strengthen their lead. Ole Miss would also find some offense, but this would stall on the Green Waves 20-yard line, resulting in a 37-yard field goal. There would be no more scores before halftime, so Tulane went into the locker rooms with a 17-10 lead over Ole Miss.

The second half brought us more of the same. Offense struggles from both teams. Tulane did try to get something going, but they turned the ball over on downs as soon as they reached Ole Miss territory. The Rebels took full advantage of this.

Dart and company would drive the ball down to Tulane’s 9-yard line, where Quinshon Judkins would run the ball into the endzone for the touchdown to tie the scores up again. Dart was not as successful on his next drive as he was intercepted by the Tulane defense.

However, in the grand scheme of things, this interception would not mean anything, as Kai Horton would be intercepted very quickly after, handing possession back to Ole Miss. With a very good field position, the Rebels could easily score another touchdown. Except, Dart was sacked on the 5-yard line, resulting in a 27-yard field goal from Caden Davis to give the Rebels the lead.

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Tulane would again turn the ball over on downs in their next drive. Ole Miss would do what they could not on their previous drive and score a touchdown. Dart threw the 21-yard pass to Michael Trigg to widen the lead.

Tulane would finally put some points on the board in the second half via a 26-yard field goal, which Ole Miss would immediately match. Then, with around 90 seconds to go, Tulane fumbled the ball, which was recovered by Ole Miss, who ran the ball in for the touchdown. This would be the final score of the game, a game in which Ole Miss would easily win 37-20.

This game was not the best in my eyes. I think it is safe to say that Tulane will not be a ranked team in next week’s poll. On the subject of next week, the now 2-0 Ole Miss Rebels will play Georgia Tech, while Tulane will travel to Southern Mississippi

What happened to the other ranked teams this week?

Ball State @ #1 Georgia

The number one-ranked Georgia Bulldogs did not score a single point in the first quarter of their matchup with the Ball State Cardinals. The Bulldogs would then record 6 touchdowns and three interceptions in their 45-3 victory.

UNLV @ #2 Michigan

Number two-ranked Michigan Wolverines had their second game without coach Jim Harbaugh this weekend against the UNLV Rebels. Just like last week, Michigan faced no problems. Wolverines’ running back Blake Corum scored 3 touchdowns in their 35-7 victory.

Southern Miss @ #4 Florida State

After their victory over LSU last weekend, the number 4 ranked Florida State Seminoles are in prime position to win the ACC this season. This week they faced the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles and destroyed them. To add further insult to injury for Southern Miss, Florida State was playing their second-string players in their 66-13 win.

Youngstown State @ #5 Ohio State

Number five ranked Ohio State Buckeyes faced the Youngtown State Penguins and completely did not struggle. Buckeyes quarterback Kyle McCord scored three touchdowns in Ohio State’s 35-7 victory.

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Stanford @ #6 LSU

The number 6 ranked USC Trojans are led by Caleb Williams, who many are picking to be this year’s Heisman winner. This week, the Trojans faced the Stanford Cardinals.  Williams would score 3 touchdowns in this game, and USC would put 49 points on the board before halftime. They took their foot off the gas in the second half, but still recorded a 56-10 victory.

Delaware @ #7 Penn State

The number 7 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions continued their good form against the Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens. These Blue Hens were definitely not fightin’ as the Nittany Lions mauled them in a 63-7 victory.

Tulsa @ #8 Washington

Last week, the number 8 ranked Washington Huskies quarterback Michael Penix jr scored 5 touchdowns in an impressive victory. This week, the Huskies faced the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. Answers on a postcard to what a Golden Hurricane is. Whatever it is, Michael Penix Jr. destroyed them, scoring 3 touchdowns in Washington’s 43-10 victory.

Austin peay @ #9 Tennessee

The number 9 ranked Tennessee Volunteers welcomed the Austin Peay Governors to Rocky Top this week. Tennessee somewhat struggled on offense in this game, mostly relying on field goals in their 30-13 victory.

#10 Notre Dame @ NC State

The number 10 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish had not conceded a touchdown going into their matchup with the North Carolina State Wolfpack, for a game that was delayed by bad weather in North Carolina. Fighting Irish quarterback Sam Hartman scored 4 touchdowns, but Notre Dame did concede touchdowns in their 45-24 victory.

#12 Utah @ Baylor

Number 12 ranked Utah Utes were without quarterback Cam Rising again for their game against the Baylor Bears. They struggled, and for the majority of this game were behind. Two touchdowns in the last two minutes gave the Utes a 20-13 victory, but the Bears were the far better team in this game.

#13 Oregon @ Texas Tech

The number 13 ranked Oregon Ducks scored a record 81 points last week. This week, they faced a harder challenge in the Texas Tech Red Raiders, the school that gave us Patrick Mahomes. The Ducks left it very late and relied on a 45-yard pick 6 as time ran out to give them a 38-30 victory. If Texas Tech had better ball security, I think they would have won this game. Expect to see Oregon drop in the rankings.

Grambling @ #14 LSU

After last week’s defeat to Florida State, the number 14 ranked LSU Tigers, like the Clemson Tigers, needed a convincing win. They faced the Grambling Tigers (Couldn’t they think of other animals? What about Leopards or Golden Tigers?). LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels scored 5 touchdowns in their 72-10 victory.

Troy @ #15 Kansas State

The number 15 ranked Kansas State Bearcats faced the Troy Trojans in this matchup. Bearcats quarterback Will Howard scored three touchdowns and ran for 2 more in the Bearcats 42-13 victory.

UC Davis @ #16 Oregon State

Next year, the number 16 ranked Oregon State Beavers may be without a conference. Let’s hope someone gives them a home. You’ll be getting a good team, as the Beavers easily swept past the UC Davis Aggies 55-7. Former Clemson quarterback D.J Uiagalelei scored two touchdowns in this victory.

Appalachian State @ #17 North Carolina

After last week’s primetime victory against South Carolina, the number 17 ranked North Carolina Tar Heels, led by Drake Maye, faced the always tricky Appalachian State Mountaineers. This was a very close game, which went into 2 periods of overtime. Drake Maye would score the 13-yard winning rushing touchdown to give the Tar Heels a 40-34 victory, but this game shows that they may not be as strong as we thought they were.

SMU @ #18 SMU

Next year, this would be a matchup between a Big 12 and a SEC team. The number 18 ranked Oklahoma Sooners faced the SMU Mustangs, in what was a closer game than you would think it would have been. Sooners quarterback Dilion Gabriel scored 4 touchdowns in their 28-11 victory.

#19 Wisconsin @ Washington State

The number 19 ranked Wisconsin Badgers faced the Washington State Cougars, who like Oregon State, currently do not know where they will be playing next year. In a very close game, a one-yard Nakia Watson rushing touchdown gave the Cougars the victory

Layfayette @ #21 Duke

No one expected the number 21-ranked Duke Blue Devils to defeat the Clemson Tigers in the way they did last week. Now, with more eyes on them, they faced the LaFayette Leopards. Duke’s running game was stunning, as they scored 4 touchdowns in their 42-7 victory. Let’s hope their professors allow them to turn their homework in late after this performance.

#23 Texas A&m @ Miami

The number 23 ranked Texas A&M Aggies faced the Miami Hurricanes this weekend, after Miami last weekend won the Confusion Bowl between Miami of Ohio. Hurricanes quarterback Tyler Van Dyke scored 5 touchdowns and both teams combined for nearly 900 yards in a very back-and-forth encounter, which the Hurricanes would win 48-33.

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Charleston Southern @ #25 Clemson

The number 25-ranked Clemson Tigers lost to Duke last weekend and nearly lost their ranked status. They faced the Charleston Southern Buccaneers in a game they had to win convincingly. Luckily for the Tigers, they dominated their opponents in the second half. The first half was tied for a while, and this could affect their ranking chances. Clemson would win the game 66-17.

So, that was week 2 in College Football. Week 3 is the last week of mostly inter-conference games, so the scoring may decrease in the coming week. What will not decrease is the excitement that College Football brings.

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