The majority of non-conference play has come to a close, but the final major slate of non-conference matchups brought us a number of shocking upsets. What was supposed to be the quietest week of the season, ended up being a thrilling Saturday of college football. Here are the top five studs and duds from week three.
Stud: Dillon Gabriel
UCF absolutely obliterated Stanford on Saturday thanks to a dominate performance by their starting quarterback. The entire offense was firing on all cylinders, but Gabriel completed 22 of his 30 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns. I do not think anybody is taking UCF as seriously as people have the last two seasons, but they still look like a top 25 team.
Dud: Michigan State Spartans
I was prepared to just list Michigan State’s offense as a dud as I watched Brian Lewerke and the offense once again struggle to move the ball in all capacities, but then the team found a way to outright lose to Arizona State for the second year in a row.
As I mentioned, the Spartans offense looks abysmal and is the primary party responsible for the team’s upset loss, but they aren’t the only ones at fault.
The team’s defense is one of the best in the country, but they for some reason refused to employ a spy on Sun Devils quarterback Jayden Daniels who continued to scramble for big first down runs on his team’s game winning drive.
The Spartans still had a chance to tie the game as time expired and even kicked the game tying field goal before it was called back due to Michigan State having too many men on the field. MSU’s kicker would proceed to shank is second attempt and the Spartans lost 10-7.
Stud: Anthony Gordon
The Washington State Cougars may still be contenders in the Pac 12 North after all. There were many questions regarding whether or not the team could replace quarterback Gardner Minshew (who is now starting for the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars), but Anthony Gordon is off to a very strong start.
He led the team to victory in their thrilling Friday night win over the Houston Cougars. Gordon threw for 440 passing yards and tossed three touchdown passes. Washington State has a brutal schedule ahead, but they’re off to a strong 3-0 start.
Dud: Pat Narduzzi
Every week there is at least one coach who puts together a great game plan, but for some reason completely botches basic situation once the fourth quarter rolls around.
This week that was Pittsburgh Panthers coach Pat Narduzzi. Pitt traveled to face their rival the Penn State Nittany Lions and actually managed to give them a game at Beaver Stadium.
They rattled quarterback Sean Clifford, managed to hold their own against Penn State’s dominate front four, and kept it a close game in the fourth quarter.
With under seven minutes left down seven points, the Panther’s offense had first and goal at Penn State’s one yard line, where they were stuffed on three consecutive plays. Rather than going for it in a situation where you risk not getting the ball back, Narduzzi opted to send his kicker out for a field goal from the one yard line …. he missed. The Panthers would go on to lose 17-10.
Stud: Tua Tagovailoa
It wasn’t a close game and it wasn’t against a very notable opponent, but week 3 was yet another all-star performance from Tua Tagovailoa. The star quarterback for the Alabama Crimson Tide launched 444 passing yards while also throwing five touchdown passes against the South Carolina Gamecocks. He’s looking at another Heisman caliber campaign in what will likely be his final year of college football.
Dud: Maryland’s Offense
Maryland’s offense was the talk of the college football world for the first two weeks of the season, but the Terrapin’s high-powered attack was very quiet in an upset loss against Temple.
After scoring a combined 142 points over the first two weeks of the season, Maryland was only able to score 20 points against the Owls defense. Anthony McFarland was able to turn things on as the game progressed, but quarterback Josh Jackson was never able to figure it out.
The Terrapins had several red zone opportunities in the game’s final six minutes, but came away with zero points after turning it over on downs and botching a fake field goal.
Stud: Michael Pittman
USC might have lost against BYU, but they got an outstanding performance from wide receiver Michael Pittman.
The senior caught nine passes for 95 yards and a pair of touchdowns. He did everything possible to help USC pull out a tight fourth quarter victory, but the team fell just short in overtime.
Dud: Clay Helton
It’s probably a good thing that USC lost because as long as he’s around, the program isn’t going to be able to make the next step. They’ll be doomed to mediocrity even with their strong recruiting classes. A week after upsetting Stanford and being ranked among the AP Top 25, the Trojans suffered an upset loss at the hands of BYU. Things won’t get any prettier for USC as they have Utah, Washington, and Notre Dame up next, with the latter two matchups being on the road.
They also have a total of six remaining ranked teams on their schedule. It could be worse for USC though, at least they aren’t as bad as UCLA.
Stud: Kyle Trask
Kyle Trask’s numbers may not have been all that exciting, but he very well may have saved Florida’s entire season. Starting quarterback Felipe Franks suffered what might be a season ending injury against the Kentucky Wildcats and Trask stepped up to help his team escape with a victory.
With the Gators on the road and trailing 21-10 for most of the second half, Franks sparked a 19 point fourth quarter from Florida’s offense to get the team a 3-0 record.
Dud: Iowa State’s Fourth Quarter Debacle
Iowa State was on the verge of upsetting rival Iowa, but completely fell apart in the fourth quarter. The Cyclones held a 14-6 lead over the Hawkeyes but found themselves trailing 18-17 in the game’s final minutes.
Iowa State was driving into Iowa territory to set up a game winning field goal, but the team kept shooting themselves in the foot with drive killing penalties. The worst of these penalties was an offensive holding penalty that nullified the team’s clutch fourth down conversion.
The Cyclones still by some miracle had the chance to get the ball back one last time thanks to Iowa’s tight end foolishly going out of bounds, but they proceeded to muff the ensuing punt, ending their chances at a comeback.