Saturday marked week three in the NCAA football season. And while some teams were still shaking off the cobwebs of the offseason, other teams looked to be in midseason condition as they headed into their weekly battles. In case you missed them, here are some of the top games that played this weekend.
#1 Alabama vs # 6 Texas A&M
Alabama took its number one ranking into College Station looking to face Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel and the rest of the Texas A&M aggies. This game had all the hype of a heavyweight battle in the week leading up to the game and it surely didn’t disappoint. Many focused on this game to see if the sophomore quarterback from Texas A&M could lead his team to a victory over one of the most prolific teams in NCAA football. And while the Aggies came up short in a 49-42 loss, John Manziel justified his case for a possible second Heisman Trophy. This game was a shootout from the beginning and it was apparent that not even Alabama’s gritty defense would be able to stop Manziel. With that in mind, Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron and the rest of the Crimson Tide offense had to keep racking up their own scores to prove that while Manziel may have been the better player on the field, the Crimson Tide were certainly the better team. This game solidified a few substantial points for sports viewers. First, its going to take a lot more than a star quarterback to beat the Crimson Tide as they look for another National Championship. And two, aside from all of his off-field antics, Johnny Football is a legit quarterback who deserves his accolades. Don’t be surprised if these two teams face off again later in the season. After all, a 49-42 shootout is much better than some of the lower score championships that have made up the final game in the last few years.
Tennessee vs #2 Oregon
Oregon is still looking to find itself after the departure of head coach Chip Kelly. But after a 3-0 record and a trouncing of SEC Tennessee, things may be looking okay in Eugene. Sophomore quarterback Marcus Mariota threw for over 400 yards and had four passing touchdowns. As for Tennessee, this is their worst loss since 1910 and it wont get any easier in coming weeks. The Volunteers will face Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama, who are all ranked in the top 25. Even with their 2-0 record before the game, Tennessee was exposed by an Oregon team that just ran up the score as usual. As usual, Oregon will need to continue to win games like this if they plan to be in the conversation in January.
#4 Ohio State vs California
Ohio State went into Saturday’s matchup against Cal with possibly a slight bit of concern. After all, Braxton Miller was injured for the #4 team in the nation and Cal is a reputable team, especially at home. This game started out as a heavy banger in the first quarter as OSU scored 24 and Cal kept up with 14 of their own. But it was OSU that kept up the pressure the entire game for a 52-34 win to keep their record at a polished 3-0. Kenny Guiton, who started for Miller, threw for 4 touchdowns and proved to fans at Ohio State that they are in good hands, no matter what happens to their starting quarterback. California’s freshman quarterback Jared Goff threw for 371 yards, just missing his third straight 400-yard game. Despite the loss, Cal has a lot to look forward to with Goff in the backfield at such a young age. As for Ohio State, they will have a much lesser challenge next week against Florida A&M, so if Miller needs another week to rest, now is the time to do it before things heat up as the season progresses.
#5 Stanford vs Army
The score may not have represented it, but Stanford was cool and collected throughout their 34-20 win over Army on Saturday. Going into halftime, the Cardinal were only up by a touchdown and some may have put them on upset alert while visiting West Point. But it was the consistence of play by Kevin Hogan for the Cardinal as he threw for three touchdowns and led his team to a 2-0 record to start the season. An Army turnover in the third was the true turning point of the game and Stanford never looked back. A close game against the fifth ranked team in the nation may be a sign of potential for Army, who could’ve used this game as one of the biggest upset in school history. Stanford will have another tough challenge next week as they again go on the road to Arizona State. Some will say that they need to look better than they did in their first two wins, but as long as the scoreboard at the end of the game has them in front, the Cardinal see no reason for concern.
#7 Louisville vs Kentucky
Instate rivals Louisville and Kentucky faced off on Saturday as Louisville maintained a strong presence throughout the game. Head coach Charlie Strong wasn’t impressed going into halftime only up 10-3, and it showed as the Cardinals came out and put up 17 before the Wildcats could make a late push with 10 of their own. The final score of 27-13 is enough to continue building on the confidence of Louisville, who will play Florida International next weekend. As for Kentucky, the program is still trying to rebuild and has already fallen to 1-2. Things don’t get much easier next week as the Florida Gators come to town.
#8LSU vs Kent State
Louisiana may have had the easiest matchup of the top 10 teams this weekend. They proved that when they came out and put up 31 in the first half and cruised to a 45-13 win. Zach Mettenberger and Jeremey Hill combined for 5 touchdowns for the Tigers, who improved to 3-0 and will face Auburn next weekend. LSU vs Auburn is always an exciting game and you can expect Auburn to be a better challenge for LSU. But if LSU plays like they did today, they should coast again next weekend and go into their showdown with top ranked Georgia on October 5th as two top-10 teams.
Nevada vs #10 FSU
The final team in the top ten surely put on a show on Saturday. The Seminoles of Florida State trounced Nevada with a 62-7 victory in Tallahassee and made a statement for every team ahead of them in the top-10. What may have been most impressive for FSU was the onslaught of points throughout the game. After a slow 3-point first quarter, they put up 14, 31, and 14 in the second, third and fourth quarters respectively. FSU will get another layup next week against Bethune-Cookman and wont see their first real tough task until October 5th against Clemson. If both teams are still undefeated at that point, it could be one of the most anticipated games of the weekend.
The remainder of top-25 teams that played this weekend went about business as usually, aside from Wisconsin and TCU. #20 lost a nail bitter to unranked Arizona State, 32-30; while Texas Tech upset TCU 20-10 in a game where the Horned Frogs never got it going on offense. Next week will offer a bevy of great games as well, which we’ll report on after the games are complete next week.