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For more than a moment, Alabama and Georgia were losing. They both escaped.
Here’s what happened in college football on Saturday.
Billy Napier’s big win
The Vols just can’t win in The Swamp. Florida (2-1, 1-0 SEC) pulled off a 29-16 upset of No. 11 Tennessee (2-1, 0-1), adding another loss to the Vols’ 20-year curse in Gainesville. The highlights:
But that was far from the only surprise on Saturday.
Scores Around The Country
It was chaotic
- Let’s start in Boulder, which had us up until 2:30 a.m. (ET) watching No. 18 Colorado pull out a 43-35 win against Colorado State. The Buffs outscored CSU 29-14 in the second half and the two overtimes for the win. It was chippy from the start, and Colorado State somehow managed to hold the lead for much of the game despite committing 17 penalties for 187 yards. Two-way threat Travis Hunter exited the game early due to injury and was taken to the hospital for further evaluation. Even without his main target, QB Shedeur Sanders bailed out the Buffs and led them to the double-overtime win. Shilo Sanders found his time to shine, too.
- No. 1 Georgia survived a slow first half against South Carolina to win 24-14. The Bulldogs trailed 14-3 at halftime while Spencer Rattler lit up the Bulldogs’ defense. Georgia turned around two quick scores in the second half, but the win was just average. As Seth Emerson writes, the team from the first half has no chance to three-peat.
- There’s officially trouble in Tuscaloosa. No. 10 Alabama was tied 3-3 at halftime on the road against South Florida. Nick Saban started Tyler Buchner at QB over Jalen Milroe, but the Notre Dame transfer didn’t inspire much confidence in a 5-for-14, 34-yard outing. Ty Simpson entered in the second quarter. The Tide stumbled to the eventual 17-3 win. We’ll dive in deeper with Kenny Smith tomorrow.
- Missouri upset No. 15 Kansas State on the heroics of kicker Harrison Mevis. Mevis secured the 30-27 win with a 61-yard field goal as time expired even though the Tigers made it harder on him with an awful delay of game penalty before the kick. The win marks Missouri’s first against a ranked opponent at home since 2013 and the field storm celebrated that.
- No. 3 Florida State was on upset watch early against Boston College. Even after the Seminoles seemingly pulled away, the Eagles bounced back with three unanswered touchdowns to end the game and make it scary. Keon Coleman had a quiet day, and Jordan Travis looked banged up at the end of the first half. FSU escaped 31-29.
So what do we make of all this chaos? Let’s hear from Justin Williams.
What To Make Of Week 3
Williams: No great teams … yet
The big takeaway from Saturday is that there are no great teams in college football this season. Good teams, sure, but no great ones.
Some of that is the narrative talking, but most of it was evident on the field. Of course, the prevailing chatter entering the weekend was about a lackluster slate of games, with no marquee tilts, no ranked matchups. A good opportunity to get outside and do some yard work or hit the pumpkin patch. No. 11 Tennessee at Florida was considered the non-Deion Sanders headliner by default, a diminished Gators program bolstered by its history and brand recognition.
But then the Gators went out and knocked off the Vols. And Missouri, fighting against the struggling SEC narrative, upset No. 15 Kansas State in dramatic fashion. Three Big 12 teams lost to Group of 5 programs. Michigan and Ohio State cruised but in uninspiring fashion. Colorado and Coach Prime had to erase a fourth-quarter deficit to Colorado State for a comeback win in the inaugural Sunglasses Bowl.
So maybe there aren’t any great teams. That can mean there are no bad weekends of college football in our immediate future. TCU reaching the title game last season did nothing to stop Georgia’s inevitable dominance, but this year feels different. It feels like on any given Saturday, the list of Playoff contenders or conference power structures could get thrown into chaos. That is a nice change of pace for a sport with an oligarchy problem. Enjoy the pumpkin patch at your own risk.
The play of the day is …
Kick of the day: Mevis’ 61-yard walk-off field goal to lift Missouri over Kansas State. It was the longest in SEC history.
Uniform losers: Unfortunately, it wasn’t all pretty in Columbia. Exhibit A: Missouri’s jersey patches. I wasn’t the biggest fan of Florida State’s new combo, and the Seminoles probably should put them away after their close call.
Most chaotic play: Kentucky QB Devin Leary escaped two sack attempts to connect with Ray Davis for a 58-yard catch and run TD.
Scoreboard breakers: Portland State beat North American U 91-0. Reminder, the Vikings were the ones Oregon shut down 81-7 in Week 1.
QB of the day: Michael Penix Jr. had 375 passing yards and four touchdowns at halftime in Washington’s 41-7 win against Michigan State. Penix has a 70 percent completion rate, 14 total TDs and 1,476 passing yards when playing against Sparty.
Viral moment: This Iowa cheerleader. No explanation needed.
Play of the day: It has to be this 45-yard TD throw from Shedeur Sanders to Jimmy Horn Jr. to send us to overtime in Boulder.
Max Olson has more superlatives here.
Stewart Mandel’s Final Thoughts from Week 3.
Nicole Auerbach grants Missouri the honorary spot in her weekly top 10.
Ari Wasserman, David Ubben, Max Olson and Chris Vannini discuss what they saw Saturday.
Malik Nabers had a career day in LSU’s 41-14 win against Mississippi State. Our NFL staff checks in on his draft status.
Iowa football has turned into a cheap punchline, Scott Dochterman writes. And it’s all thanks to the Drive for 325. (If you’re counting, the Hawkeyes are at 85 points total after putting up 41 against Western Michigan.)
(Top photo of Trevor Etienne: David Rosenblum / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)