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College Football Week 3 Quick Outs: Top Teams Dominate, Penn State(ment), Kansas Rising

James Franklin's Nittany Lions' rout of Auburn on the road was one of the more impressive showings on Saturday.
James Franklin

College football didn't disappoint on Saturday. Although the top teams in Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State and Michigan rolled to easy wins, the slate delivered with big moments thanks to Washington's win over Michigan State, LSU's comeback against Mississippi State, and Texas A&M's rebound victory versus Miami. 

Did you miss anything from Week 3? Here's everything to know, highlighted by the top takeaways, big plays, and under-the-radar tidbits you may have missed:

The Top Teams Rolled in Week 3

It’s still early in the 2022 season (and subject to change with more data), but Georgia, Alabama, Ohio State and Michigan are the consensus top four teams by most after Week 3. The top four simply dominated on Saturday. Alabama crushed ULM 63-7, Ohio State recorded more than 700 yards of offense to beat Toledo 77-21, Michigan beat UConn 59-0, and Georgia crushed South Carolina 48-7 in Columbia. The top four won by a combined score of 247-35 on Saturday.

Penn State Dominated Auburn

A game considered a toss-up by the sportsbooks wasn’t close. Penn State entered SEC territory and recorded a dominant 41-12 victory over Auburn. Although the Tigers had nearly as many yards (477 to 415), the Nittany Lions were more explosive (7.7 to 5.6) and took advantage of their trips in the red zone (five-for-five). The offensive line and ground game entered 2022 as a concern for Penn State, but both groups appear to be rounding into form. Running back Nick Singleton continued his breakout freshman campaign with 124 yards and two scores on 10 carries, and the line did not allow a sack against a solid Auburn front. The Nittany Lions also won the battle in the trenches on the other side of the ball, as the Tigers managed only 3.3 yards per carry and quarterbacks T.J. Finley and Robby Ashford were sacked six times. Auburn also lost four turnovers and converted just five of 15 third-down attempts. With Central Michigan and Northwestern up next, Penn State should be 5-0 going into its showdown at Michigan on Oct. 15. Although the Tigers were a slight underdog, a 29-point defeat only adds to the pressure on coach Bryan Harsin. His fate is likely sealed, but the timetable for a change could be speeding up after a poor performance.

Kansas on the Rise

The Jayhawks are no longer the laughingstock of college football. Instead, Kansas is 3-0 for the first time since 2009 and knocking on the door of the Top 25 after a 48-30 win at Houston. The hire of Lance Leipold has brought dramatic improvement to Lawrence, and the Jayhawks suddenly seem to have a path to bowl eligibility with winnable games against Duke, Iowa State, TCU and Texas Tech remaining. Quarterback Jalon Daniels accounted for five touchdowns and guided the offense to an average of 6.6 yards per play against the Cougars. For the season, Kansas ranks ninth among FBS teams in yards per play (7.6).

Read and React

A (Mostly) Good Day for the Pac-12
Not everything went right, but Week 3 still produced plenty of positive developments for the Pac-12. Washington is one of the nation’s most improved teams under new coach Kalen DeBoer and that progress was evident in a 39-28 win over Michigan State. A revitalized Huskies’ offense averaged 6.6 yards per play behind quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (397 yards and four scores), and the defense held the Spartans in check on the ground (42 yards) and just 5.1 yards per snap. Oregon’s first impression in 2022 was a 46-point loss to Georgia, as Saturday’s action showed, it’s too early to count out the Ducks in the Pac-12 title race. Coach Dan Lanning’s squad dominated BYU 41-20 thanks to five touchdowns from quarterback Bo Nix. Elsewhere in the Pac-12, USC kept rolling with a 45-17 win over Fresno State, Arizona beat North Dakota State (31-28), and UCLA avoided an upset loss to South Alabama.

On the bad news front, Colorado continued to look lifeless with a 49-7 loss at Minnesota, and Arizona State lost 30-21 to Eastern Michigan. The Sun Devils' loss cost head coach Herm Edwards his job (fired Sunday), and it wouldn't surprise if the Buffaloes made a change before or shortly after this season is over either.

Related: Coaching Candidates to Replace Herm Edwards at Arizona State

Texas A&M Rebounded…But Concerns Remain
A quarterback change and a dominant effort on defense were just enough for Texas A&M to beat Miami 17-9 on Saturday night. Max Johnson replaced Haynes King under center and connected on 10 of 20 throws for 140 yards and a score. Also, the ground game showed a little life, running for 124 yards on 32 attempts. The Aggies suffocated Miami’s offense all night, allowing only 392 yards over 77 plays with covering more than 29 yards. The defense also made stops when it mattered by holding the ‘Canes to five field-goal attempts.

Appalachian State Delivers Another Miracle on the Mountain
The best play (and moment) of the weekend came courtesy of Appalachian State. The Mountaineers seemed destined to suffer a letdown loss to Troy, but quarterback Chase Brice had other ideas: 

Quick Outs

*LSU’s offense once again came alive in the second half to give coach Brian Kelly his first SEC victory with a 31-16 win over Mississippi State. After giving up 184 yards and 13 points in the first two quarters, the Tigers allowed just 105 and posted 271 of their own (along with 24 points) in the final 30 minutes.

*Texas lost to Alabama last week but gained goodwill because of the one-point loss. And with a tough UTSA team coming to Austin, a letdown by the Longhorns was certainly a concern. However, Texas took care of business, beating the Roadrunners 41-20 behind 298 rushing yards and a couple of timely plays on defense. Quarterback Quinn Ewers was sidelined (as expected) due to injury, but Hudson Card (15 of 23 for 161 yards) did an admirable job as the starter.

*The scene seemed to be set for a high-scoring affair when Purdue met Syracuse on Saturday. However, going into the fourth quarter, the fireworks were limited with the Orange holding a 10-9 lead. But the final 15 minutes provided its share of fireworks (and penalties), as the teams combined for 42 points and some clutch plays by both quarterbacks. This throw by Syracuse quarterback Garrett Shrader was the difference: 

*Despite losing starting quarterback Jordan Travis and standout defensive end Jared Verse, Florida State rallied for a 35-31 victory over Louisville on Friday night. The Seminoles are now 3-0 for the first time since 2015, but the long-term health of Travis and Verse is critical if coach Mike Norvell’s team wants to make noise in the ACC.

*Nebraska’s debut under interim coach Mickey Joseph started fast with a 7-0 lead, but things quickly deteriorated from there. Oklahoma went on a 49-7 run, led by 312 rushing yards and a solid performance (16 of 27 for 230 yards) from quarterback Dillon Gabriel. The Sooners are 3-0 after winning 49-14 in Lincoln. Nebraska defensive coordinator Erik Chinander was fired on Sunday. Bill Busch was promoted to the interim role.

*Kansas State was stunned 17-10 by Tulane. The Wildcats were a trendy sleeper pick to win the Big 12, but the passing game has been stuck in neutral (150 yards or less) in all three games. The Green Wave used a gutsy decision by coach Willie Fritz to seal the victory. With the ball on their 24-yard line and just over two minutes remaining, Fritz went for it on fourth-and-1, using a sneak by quarterback Michael Pratt to get the first down and earn the upset victory. 

*Northwestern lost 31-24 to Southern Illinois. That’s the seventh win by an FCS team over an FBS squad in 22.

*A missed field goal with less than 30 seconds left preserved a 31-28 victory for Florida over USF. The Gators gave up too much on the ground (286 yards), and quarterback Anthony Richardson was held without a touchdown pass and tossed two picks. First-year coach Billy Napier has several things to iron out before the Week 4 showdown at Tennessee.

*Injuries sidelined both Kedon Slovis and Nick Patti for Pitt for its road trek to Western Michigan. However, third-stringer Nate Yarnell completed nine passes for 179 yards, and the defense limited the Broncos to 180 yards in a 34-13 win.

*NC State’s defense held Texas Tech to 353 yards to win 27-14. However, the Wolfpack need better play on offense after managing only 4.4 yards per play and 270 yards. Three of NC State’s scoring drives started in Red Raiders’ territory, and in two games against FBS opponents this year, coach Dave Doeren’s team is averaging only 4.9 yards per play.

*Bobby Petrino’s return to Fayetteville was more eventful than Arkansas fans expected. Missouri State led 17-0 in the first half and 27-17 in the third quarter, but the Razorbacks rallied for a 38-27 victory. Quarterback KJ Jefferson threw for 385 yards, while running back Rocket Sanders ran for 167 yards to help lead the comeback.

*Arizona has already exceeded its win total (two) from 2021 (one). The Wildcats won a hard-fought 31-28 matchup against FCS power North Dakota State on Saturday night.

*Under-the-radar upset: Charlotte 42-41 over Georgia State.

*Kentucky earned its first shutout since the 2009 season with a 31-0 victory over Youngstown State. The offensive line and ground game (just 2.2 yards per carry in 2022) remain a concern.

*Marcus Freeman finally has his first win as the head coach of Notre Dame. The offense remains a work in progress, but the ground game churned out 147 yards, and quarterback Drew Pyne threw for 150 yards and two scores in a 24-17 win over California. Most importantly, the Fighting Irish stepped up (296 yards) and allowed no points in the fourth quarter.

Coordinator Tommy Rees had this colorful exchange with Pyne after a slow start by the offense:

Of course, it wasn’t easy for Notre Dame. As the play below shows, this one was close to going to overtime thanks to some last-second near-heroics by California:

Top 10 Teams After Week 3

1. Georgia (3-0)
2. Alabama (3-0)
3. Ohio State (3-0)
4. Michigan (3-0)
5. Clemson (3-0)
6. USC (3-0)
7. Arkansas (3-0)
8. Oklahoma (3-0)
9. Kentucky (3-0)
10. Tennessee (3-0)

Read the rest of Athlon’s Top 25 here

College Football Playoff Projections (After Week 3)

1. Georgia vs. No. 4 Michigan (Peach)
2. Alabama vs. No. 3 Ohio State (Fiesta)

Five Games to Look Forward to in Week 4

1. Florida at Tennessee
2. Clemson at Wake Forest
3. USC at Oregon State
4. Arkansas vs. Texas A&M (Arlington)
5. Wisconsin at Ohio State