Monday, September 18, 2017

Green's takeaways from Week 3

                                            Photo Credit: John Russell/Vanderbilt Athletics

What another exciting weekend of college football with hail mary finishes and high scoring affairs across the country.

Here are my takeaways from Week 3 of the college football season.

1) A prayer answered in Gainesville:

Going into the week, no one knew if the game between No. 23 Tennessee and No. 24 Florida would be played in Gainesville due to Hurricane Irma hitting most of Florida. The game would remain at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and Saturday’s contest was dominated by the defenses in the first three quarters.

In the blink of an eye, the fourth quarter became a flurry of scoring for both offenses as the game appeared to be going to overtime at 20-20. On the final play of regulation, Florida quarterback Felipe Franks rolled out and heaved the ball 63 yards down the field and found an open Tyrie Cleveland for the game-winning touchdown reception. Tennessee coach Butch Jones will receive scrutiny all week for not sending more defenders towards the goal line and also does not help in terms of job security as the season progresses.

2) American rising— Memphis and South Florida making early cases for a New Year’s Six invitation:

Memphis and South Florida made their claims this weekend to be the top contenders to be the Group of Five representative in the New Year’s Six as they picked up wins against Power Five schools.

Memphis moved to 2-0 with an impressive 48-45 win over No. 25 UCLA as quarterback Riley Ferguson looked in prime form throwing for 398 yards and six touchdowns, while No. 22 South Florida handled Illinois, 47-23 behind another sensational effort from quarterback Quentin Flowers.

Flowers passed Marlon Mack for the most rushing touchdowns in school history with 32 and finished with a game-high 106 yards on 25 carries.

Maybe commissioner Mike Aresco's vision of the American Athletic Conference becoming a power league is not as far fetched as we thought.

3) Texas/USC reignite an old flame from past glory:

For those who love nostalgia, Texas and No. 4 USC delivered as they met for the first time since the legendary 2006 Rose Bowl. USC held off Texas in double overtime for a 27-24 win to move to 3-0 as California looms on the road on Saturday.

The first three quarters were dominated by the defenses until quarterback Sam Ehlinger led Texas 91 yards down the field to take a 17-14 lead late in regulation and looked like it would come from behind on USC, like in the ’06 matchup when Vince Young scored the game-winning TD in the game’s final minute. However, USC countered with a drive into the red zone as Chase McGrath drained a 31-yard field goal to force overtime.

The Longhorns appeared to be on their way to a touchdown until Ehlinger fumbled at the goal line and recovered by Trojans cornerback Ajene Harris and took advantage as McGrath delivered the game-winning FG from 43 yards out to survive and advance.

4) Not your father’s Vanderbilt Commodores:

In a game where points came at a premium, coach Derrick Mason picked up his biggest win at Vanderbilt in a 14-7 win over No. 18 Kansas State from the Big 12 to move to 3-0 overall.

Vanderbilt's defense proved to be its best offense as it came up with several fourth quarter stops to keep Kansas State at bay. Despite the win, there is not a lot of time to celebrate as the grind gets tougher as top-ranked Alabama comes to Nashville on Saturday.