Week 3 saw a number of key match-ups which could shake up the Top 25 rankings this early in the season. A number of ranked teams went down, while other teams improved their resume for the College Football Playoff. Here’s a recap of how the Top 25 performed this week:
#1 Alabama – WEEK 3: W vs #19 Ole Miss 48-43
The Crimson Tide faced their first real test of the season, taking on Ole Miss, who have had their number over the past couple of years. Their opponents raced out to a 24-3 lead, before Alabama pulled a huge comeback, taking the lead 48-30, before almost allowing Ole Miss back in it near the end of the game. This game really asked for a team effort, with injuries to key players ArDarius Stewart (sprained knee), Minkah Fitzpatrick (head), Eddie Jackson (shin) and Reuben Foster (cramp). True freshman QB Jalen Hurts struggled with decision-making, but rallied to finish with 304 total yards (146 rushing, 158 passing). Running back Damien Harris was also a standout, finishing with 144 yards and a TD.
#2 Florida State – WEEK 3: L vs #10 Louisville 20-63
College Gameday’s match-up of the week became a blowout, with the Noles never in it, going down 63-20 to the Louisville Cardinals, led by Heisman candidate Lamar Jackson. The Seminoles, who had their own Heisman favourites in Deondre Francois and Dalvin Cook, struggled to right the ship early in the game. It was similar to their Week 1 match-up against Ole Miss when they went down 28-6 early, before pulling a ferocious comeback. However this time, there would be no comeback. The Seminoles’ offense only accounted for 284 yards, with Francois throwing for 101 yards and Cook limited to 54 rushing yards. It’s tough to see Florida State making the CFP at this point, especially following a crushing defeat to an ACC rival.
#3 Ohio State – WEEK 3: W vs #14 Oklahoma 45-24
The Buckeyes created a new star, with wide receiver Noah Brown catching 4 TDs for 72 yards, including a spectacular catch of the year candidate. JT Barrett built on his Heisman momentum, passing for 152 yards and 4 touchdowns, while also rushing for 74 yards. Ohio State’s defense had been labelled “basic” earlier in the week by Oklahoma’s back-up QB Austin Kendall, and they responded by picking off starting quarterback Baker Mayfield twice. This big win in enemy territory will put OSU in the conversation for best team in the nation.
#4 Michigan – WEEK 3: W vs Colorado 45-28
Michigan were on the ropes against Colorado, before their star player Jabrill Peppers stepped up. Peppers had arguably the best game of his young career, finishing with 9 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 204 all-purpose yards. This included a 54 yard punt return which put Colorado’s upset bid to bed. QB Wilton Speight threw for 229 yards and 1 TD.
#5 Clemson – WEEK 3: W vs South Carolina State 59-0
The Tigers had an easier match-up than the rest of their Top 5 rivals, thrashing South Carolina St 59-0. The scoreline was so one-sided at the half, both sets of coaches agreed to play shorter 12-minute quarters in the 2nd half. Star quarterback Deshaun Watson had limited game time, but still completed 12-15 for 152 yards and 3 TDs. Clemson are bracing for their huge match-up in two weeks against Lamar Jackson and Louisville Cardinals.
#6 Houston – WEEK 3: W vs Cincinnati 40-16
Houston were down 16-12 at the start of the 4th quarter, before exploding in the final period to see them out 40-16 winners, on the back of back-to-back pick sixes from Steven Taylor and Howard Wilson, as well as the play of Heisman candidate Greg Ward Jr. Ward finished with 399 total offensive yards and 3 TDs, despite throwing for 2 interceptions. Houston are right in contention for a playoff spot, but will have to win out with a weaker schedule than the teams ahead of them.
#7 Stanford – WEEK 3: W vs USC 27-10
After a bye in Week 2, Stanford returned to post a 27-10 victory over their Pac-12 rivals. Heisman front-runner Christian McCaffrey was the star once again, finishing with 263 total yards, including 165 on the ground. USC made the biggest mistake of leaving the running back open, with McCaffrey scoring a 56-yarder untouched. Michael Rector put the icing on the cake, also rushing for a 56 yard TD, putting the Trojans out of their misery.
#8 Washington -WEEK 3: W vs Portland State 41-3
Washington have quietly made their way into the Top 10 and could be a dark horse for the College Football Playoff. QB Jake Browning threw for 4 TDs and 163 yards in a blowout victory. After a string of non-conference games, the Huskies face their first real tests over the next few weeks, with games against Arizona, Stanford and Oregon.
#9 Wisconsin – WEEK 3: W vs Georgia State 23-17
The Badgers were another team who had the fortune of having an easier match-up. However, they managed to survive a scare against a win-less Georgia State side. Redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook saved the day, relieving for starter Bart Houston and leading Wisconsin on three scoring drives. Hornibrook threw for 122 yards and 1 TD. It’ll be interesting to see what the QB situation will be ahead of next week’s Big Ten opener against Michigan State.
#10 Louisville – WEEK 3: W vs #2 Florida State 63-20
Louisville and Heisman front-runner Lamar Jackson introduced themselves to the college football world with a resounding 63-20 defeat of Florida State. Jackson continued his hot start to the season, finishing with 5 total touchdowns for 216 passing yards and 146 rushing yards. The quarterback now has 18 TDs through the first 3 games of the season and was even praised on Twitter by Michael Vick, who Jackson is often compared to. However, it wasn’t only the offense who played well, with the Cards’ defense and special teams looking strong in the win. They now have their signature victory, which looks good for their CFP resume, but they still face a number of tough tests the rest of the way, including a match-up with Deshaun Watson and #5 Clemson in two weeks at Death Valley.
#11 Texas – WEEK 3: L vs California 43-50
The Longhorns suffered their first loss this season on the road in a high scoring affair. There was controversy at the finish, with Cal running back Vic Enwere dropping the ball before he crossed the line to prevent a game-clinching touchdown. However, after Texas player Dylan Haines picked up the ball following the drop, the referees gave Cal the ball back after it was ruled the ball “wasn’t immediately picked up”. This was a disappointing loss for Texas, who in Week 1 upset Notre Dame and looked to be on their way up under Charlie Strong. Shane Beuchele threw for 196 yards and 1 TD, while D’Onta Freeman ran for 157 yards and 2 TDs.
#12 Michigan State – WEEK 3: W vs #18 Notre Dame 36-28
After an underwhelming first two weeks, critics weren’t sure what to make of this year’s Michigan State. The Spartans then made an impression on them with a strong win on the road against Notre Dame. They scored 36 straight points, including 2 TDs for running back Gerald Holmes, who finished with 100 yards. QB Tyler O’Connor threw for 241 yards and 2 TDs on a night where his offensive line won the battle in the trenches. The Spartans had to hang on late in the game as the Irish almost fought their way back. This win is a huge confident boost heading into Big Ten action against Wisconsin next week.
#13 Iowa – WEEK 3: L vs North Dakota State 21-23
Add Iowa to the list of FBS teams who haven’t learnt from facing FCS champs North Dakota St. QB CJ Beathard finished with 152 yards 3 TDs and 1 INT in a difficult loss which didn’t help Iowa’s chances for the CFP. In what was supposed to be a tune-up game, Iowa schedulers made the mistake of organising a game against North Dakota St, which leaves them reeling ahead of Big Ten conference play beginning next week.
#14 Oklahoma – WEEK 3: L vs #3 Ohio State 24-45
Last year’s College Football Playoff contender is struggling at 1-2 this season following another loss to a ranked side. The Sooners were doomed from the start, when kicker Austin Seibert hit the upright on a 27-yard field goal attempt on the opening drive. Baker Mayfield threw for 226 yards and 2 TDs, as well as being picked off twice by a fired-up Ohio State defense. Oklahoma probably should’ve had a TD disallowed as Joe Mixon dropped the ball before crossing the line on a 97 yard punt return TD. No 2-loss team has ever made the CFP and it’ll be difficult for Oklahoma to make it at this point.
#15 Tennessee – WEEK 3: W vs Ohio 28-19
Tennessee continue a shaky start to the season with an underwhelming win over Ohio. Josh Dobbs finished with 203 yards and 2 TDs, while also throwing 1 INT. But the biggest takeaway was the loss of star cornerback Cameron Sutton, who suffered an ankle injury and is expected to miss an extended amount of time. Will this loss hurt a depleted defense ahead of their SEC opener against Florida next week?
#16 Georgia – WEEK 3: W vs Missouri 28-27
Down by six on the road in the 4th quarter? That’s no problem for true freshman Jacob Eason as he threw a clutch game-winning touchdown on 4th and 10 to help the Bulldogs survive against Missouri. Eason finished with 308 passing yards and 3 TDs, with wideout Isaiah McKenzie catching 10 passes for 122 yards and 2 TDs, including the game-winning TD catch. Star tailback Nick Chubb was only held to 63 yards in this match-up. With this gutsy performance, Eason has clearly won the quarterback battle at Georgia.
#17 Texas A&M – WEEK 3: W vs Auburn 29-16
A&M had a tough SEC game against the Tigers, but prevailed behind the efficiency of quarterback Trevor Knight. Knight threw for 247 yards and 1 TD, while running back Trayveon Williams ran for 127 yards, including an 89-yarder to clinch the victory. The score could’ve been bigger, as Auburn’s red-zone defense led to the Aggies settling for 5 field goals during the game.
#18 Notre Dame – WEEK 3: L vs #12 Michigan State 28-36
The Fighting Irish’s fourth quarter comeback was too little, too late, as inefficiencies on offense kept them on the back foot throughout the game. Deshone Kizer threw for 344 yards and 2 TDs, along with 1 INT in the loss. Notre Dame’s CFP hopes seem to be over, following a loss to Texas earlier in the season.
#19 Ole Miss – WEEK 3: L vs #1 Alabama 43-48
Ole Miss raced out to a 24-3 lead over the #1 team in the nation, but like their Week 1 loss to Florida State, they faltered and let the lead slip. The Rebels are the first team in a decade to lose two 20-point leads during a season, which is not a good look for coach Hugh Freeze. Despite the loss, Chad Kelly took advantage of a weakened Alabama secondary, throwing for 421 yards and 3 TDs, while Evan Engram caught 9 passes for 138 yards and a score.
#20 LSU – WEEK 3: W vs Mississippi State 23-20
Leonard Fournette ran for 147 yards and 2 TDs, while quarterback Danny Etling threw for 215 yards and a score. The Tigers had a 17 point lead at one point, until the Bulldogs clawed their way back and had a chance to win. But linebacker Arden Key made the game-clinching sack to help LSU survive.
#21 Baylor – WEEK 3: W vs Rice 38-10
Baylor had a strong victory over Rice, after a bye in the second week. Quarterback Seth Russell finsihed with 337 yards and 3 TDs, while also throwing a pick and rushing for 38 yards. Running back JaMycal Hasty ran for 105 yards and a score, while wide receiver KD Cannon finished with 213 receiving yards and 2 scores.
#22 Oregon – WEEK 3: L vs Nebraska 32-35
The Ducks will look back at all the missed opportunities with this loss. More specifically, the fact they attempted a 2-point conversion after all 5 of their touchdowns and only converted one.
#23 Florida – WEEK 3: W vs North Texas 32-0
Florida’s demolition came at a cost, with starting quarterback Luke Del Rio suffering a left leg injury. His status for next week’s SEC opener against #15 Tennessee is up in the air, but it would be a huge loss for the Gators if he is ruled out. The Gator defense had one of their best defensive games in program history, only allowing 53 yards of offense, but next week they face the rushing trio of Dobbs, Hurd and Kamara who can punish any defense with their legs. The best way for Florida to win will be to keep the game a low-scoring affair.
#24 Arkansas – WEEK 3: W vs Texas State 42-3
After last week’s victory over previously-ranked TCU, the Razorbacks had a tune-up game against Texas State before next week’s SEC opener against Texas A&M. Last week’s hero Austin Allen threw for 241 yards and 2 TDs, while tailback Rawleigh Williams III ran for 121 yards and 2 scores.
#25 Miami – WEEK 3: W vs Appalachian State 45-10
Coach Mark Richt has transformed the program into playing with more confidence, physicality and organisation, something that was absent in the Al Golden era. This was evident in this win against App St, a team #15 Tennessee struggled to defeat in Week 1. Brad Kaaya continued his strong start to the year, throwing for 368 yards and 3 TDs. Running back Mark Walton ran for 130 yards and 2 scores, while wideout Ahmmon Richards caught 4 passes for 142 yards.