College football Week 3: Surprising starts, QBs in the spotlight

It’s only Week 3, and already the college football season has been rife with surprises. Can Colorado, 1-11 last season, run its record to 3-0 when the Buffaloes handle Colorado State (10 p.m. ET, ESPN) on Saturday?Colorado isn’t the only early-season surprise, though. No. 21 Duke looks to go to 3-0 when it plays host to Northwestern(3:30 p.m. ET, ACCN ), while No. 3 Florida State takes a trip to Boston College(twelve noon ET, ABC ), No. 4 Texas hosts Wyoming (8 p.m. ET, LHN)and No. 7 Penn State opens Huge Ten play at Illinois(noon ET, Fox). No. 22 Miami kicks off Week 3 when Bethune-Cookman travels to Coral Gables to deal with the unbeaten Hurricanes (7:30 p.m. ET, ACCN). Our reporters preview Week 3 with a look at teams that have surprised, quarterbacks to see, big-picture numbers and some of the week’s finest quotes. Teams that have happily shocked Duke: The Blue Devils won 9 games last season and returned 18 starters, consisting of quarterback Riley Leonard. Yet what Duke did to Clemson in the season opener stunned the entire college football world. Well, other than for one group: the Blue Devils themselves. While the 28-7 success might have appeared surprising– considering the opponent and domination– Duke is not your grandfather’s football group. Second-year coach Mike Elko has actually done an exceptional job of not only changing the culture, belief and mindset in the locker space, however he and his personnel have done great work to impart core principles needed to win at a place like Duke: get the basics right, force turnovers, keep the charges down and highlight the strengths of their players. They likewise happen to have a potential first-round NFL choice in Leonard, who was going to play basketball in college prior to getting an eleventh-hour offer to play quarterback for the Blue Devils. Elko is 11-4 through his first 15 games at Duke, marking the very best 15-game start to a head-coaching stint in school history. With its big win over Clemson, Duke is ranked for the very first time because 2018 and will be greatly favored in its next 2 contests, beginning Saturday against Northwestern. After a trip to UConn, Duke will host Notre Dame on Sept. 30 in another nationwide spotlight game for a program that is beginning to get utilized to them. “If we can have an excellent season, there’s no concern what kind of football program we have,” Leonard informed ESPN. “Coach Elko is in this thing for the long term, so I think Duke football is constructing a name for itself, and we’re going to be around for a very long time.” — Andrea Adelson

Texas: You undoubtedly have to highlight Texas for the easy truth that the Longhorns lastly pulled off the type of win they have actually flirted with for a while. Granted, they now need to preserve that level during their last run through the Big 12, against a bunch of conference opponents that will be taking house run swings at them. However anytime Quinn Ewers and the Longhorns’ defense play like they did Saturday at Alabama, Texas will probably win. Beyond that, both Kansas State and Oklahoma have actually backed up their status as vice favorites, which may or may not be surprising. And even more down the chain of command, Kansas has actually revealed both the offensive expertise we expected and at least a bit of possible defensive push. The Jayhawks are much better knocking groups off schedule, and the pass rush looks exceptional. — Expense Connelly

The play of quarterback Drew Allar and Penn State up until now this season is challenging to overlook. AP Photo/Barry Reeger Penn State: It may be a stretch to state they have actually surprised, since Penn State began the season ranked in the top 10. However for fans who don’t focus nationally or regionally, it probably has been a surprise to see the Nittany Lions playing along with they have through the very first 2 weeks with a brand-new quarterback. Drew Allar has actually been as marketed, throwing for 529 backyards and 4 goals. The offense is balanced with Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen in the backfield. And in spite of losing some NFL skill on defense, Penn State has actually revealed few weak points thus far. Michigan and Ohio State have actually gotten all the attention in the Big 10, however the Lions are going to get more and more at the rate they’re playing. — Tom VanHaaren

Colorado: It’s too easy to state Colorado here, however it’s difficult not to focus on the Buffs after they won their first two games under Deion Sanders and more or less dominated TCU and Nebraska. Things will get tougher for Sanders ‘team quickly enough, but the method the personnel and player turn-around has actually paid instant dividends is remarkable. Shedeur Sanders has actually looked every bit the part of an elite college quarterback, tossing for over 900 yards and six touchdowns in 2 games, while Travis Hunter has actually become an immediate Heisman Prize contender by not just playing both ways however standing out on defense and offense. The Buffs certainly have holes in their roster and weak points to be made use of, however till a group can benefit from those and get rid of the play of Sanders, Hunter & Co., this will be the story of the Pac-12 and the college football world as a whole. — Paolo Uggetti

Ole Miss: The extreme reality for the SEC is that nobody has looked great. Two-time protecting nationwide champ Georgia has actually won 2 blowouts over outmatched opponents, and even then, some fans have grumbled about first-year offending organizer Mike Bobo’s playcalling. Imagine that. Approval here goes to Lane Kiffin and his Ole Miss Rebels, particularly coming off their 37-20 win at No. 24 Tulane. The Rebels routed 17-7 at one point however outscored the Green Wave 27-3 in the second half. Quarterback Jaxson Dart’s durability has actually been a big part of Ole Miss’ 2-0 start. The defense likewise made a couple of big plays, including a fumble return for a goal and an interception return that established the go-ahead basket. — Chris Low

Quarterbacks to see in Week 3

New Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman has 10 touchdown passes through 3 games. Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports Sam Hartman, Notre Dame: Hartman became a touchdown-passing king at Wake Forest, setting the ACC career record with 110, so it should not be a shock he already has 10 scoring strikes through three games at Notre Dame– the most ever by a Fighting Irish QB in his first 3 contests. He leads Power 5 quarterbacks with 87 touchdown passes since the start of the 2021 season. Hartman has actually spread the ball around well, targeting 6 different players for touchdown receptions. “We have the ability to go through a progression and not just state, ‘This is the go-to man,'” Irish coach Marcus Freeman stated. “That’s the lovely part about how we’re playing offensively today, is that everyone and anyone on any play has an opportunity to have the ball going their way.” — Adam Rittenberg

Quinn Ewers, Texas: The greatest knock on Ewers given that his arrival at Texas has been his disparity on deep passes, allowing challengers to stack the line versus the Longhorns. According to ESPN Statistics & Details, Ewers did not have a goal in his career on passes tossed more than 20 lawns downfield. On Saturday versus Alabama, Ewers was 3-of-5 for 115 backyards and 2 TDs on deep efforts. Even better, in the 2nd half, he had the most conclusions (5) of 30-plus backyards in a half versus a top-three opponent in the past 20 seasons. That’s a new wrinkle that makes Texas tough to beat. — Dave Wilson

Editor’s Picks

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J.J. McCarthy, Michigan: McCarthy worked this offseason to bulk up, add strength and get back to one hundred percent health, and it has actually paid off thus far. He is completing over 87% of his travel through the first two games and now holds the second- and third-highest conclusion percentages in a single game for Michigan quarterbacks. With all the discuss running back Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards going back to the backfield, McCarthy has actually put the spotlight on himself. He has 558 yards and five goals this season and has actually shown opposing defenses they can’t just stack package to stop the run versus Michigan. McCarthy has done all of this against lower competition, but if he continues to play this well through the Big Ten portion of the schedule, Michigan has a great chance at making it back to the Big 10 national championship for a third year in a row. — VanHaaren

Shedeur Sanders, Colorado: Sanders has been an instant discovery at Colorado, where he is the national leader in passing yards per game (451.5) and averages over 10 backyards per effort (10.2 ). What’s clear is that offensive coordinator Sean Lewis has the utmost confidence in Sanders. He hangs back to pass more than any quarterback in the nation, and it has actually settled with a completion rate (77.5%) that ranks No. 9 nationally. If the Buffaloes can get the run game going, they have the prospective to stay one of the nation’s most explosive offenses. — Kyle Bonagura

Jalen Milroe, Alabama: Coach Nick Saban thought about benching Milroe during last Saturday’s loss to Texas. Then Milroe threw a 49-yard touchdown to take the lead, and Saban reevaluated. But Milroe reversed and threw a gruelling interception. So what offers? If Milroe begins versus South Florida, he’ll be on a short leash. Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner would likely be successive. On Monday, Saban stated of Buchner, “We feel truly good about how he’s continued to enhance and establish and gain self-confidence.” — Low

Big-picture numbers

Riding high out West

The Pac-12 is rolling, with eight teams ranked in this week’s AP Top 25 poll. Two are in the leading 10, with USC at No. 5 and Washington at No. 8. The others to make it: Utah (12 ), Oregon (13 ), Oregon State (16 ), Colorado (18 ), Washington State (23) and UCLA (24 ). According to the Allstate Playoff Predictor, the conference has a 65% opportunity to send a group to the College Football Playoff, fourth among the Power 5 conferences and just ahead of the ACC at 58%.

SEC struggles

SEC teams have actually dropped six nonconference games this season. It lost just seven nonconference contests during the whole 2022 campaign. Overall, it is 1-4 vs. the ACC. However Ole Miss will host Georgia Tech on Saturday and should have the ability to contribute to the SEC win column, with ESPN’s FPI providing the Rebels a 90.2% opportunity to prevail.Back, back, back?

Not to speak prematurely, but Texas, Florida State and Miami all have been impressive. No. 4 Texas’ defense is powering the Longhorns and is ranked No. 1 in ESPN’s defensive FPI. Miami got a solid win over Texas A&M and snuck its method into the AP poll at No. 22. And third-ranked Florida State presently has a 41% opportunity to reach the CFP. We’ll be keeping our eyes on these teams as the weeks go on to see if they are in fact … back.Quotes of the


Dabo Swinney made it clear, in his special way, he’s staying. AP Photo/Jacob Kupferman

Dabo Swinney: The Clemson coach let everybody understand neither he nor the Tigers are done right now after his group’s 66-17 win versus Charleston Southern.

“A lot of y’ all probably want me to be gone now, but we’re still hanging in there. Like a hair in a biscuit. We’re still going.”

Mack Brown: North Carolina’s coach made no apologies for recently’s criticism of the NCAA after transfer pass receiver Devontez Walker was rejected an appeal to play this season.

“I’m not going to excuse standing and trying to do what’s best for our young person and making sure that he comprehends we have actually tired every possibility that we can to assist him. Because if we have not, then we’re not doing our task. None of this was to humiliate any person, to get anybody risks. The only thing we’ve done is take up for our player. And I’m extremely pleased with that. And if I had to do it over again, I ‘d do precisely the very same thing.”

Mike Bloomgren: The Rice coach hadn’t seen a celebration like the one his Owls had in the locker room after a double-overtime upset of crosstown rival Houston because, well …

“It resembled a club I do not go to any longer.”

Tyler Booker: The Alabama offending guard explained his team’s mindset after Saturday’s house loss to Texas, which was about what many would expect.

“The frame of mind of the team, we’re pissed off. Not gon na lie.”

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