College Football Corner: The quarterback whisperer

Somebody from the NCAA needs to find out exactly what is in the water of Lake Thunderbird in Norman, Oklahoma.

Once again the most feared passing attack in the nation wears the crimson and cream of the Oklahoma Sooners. And once again it’s a transfer quarterback piloting the attack. OU is getting it done this fall once more with somebody else’s discard.

Baker Mayfield (a former Texas Tech walk-on) won the Heisman two years ago while Kyler Murray (an ex-Texas A&M backup) took home the trophy last fall.

Enter Jalen Hurts, who was a part of Alabama’s College Football Playoff Champion in 2017 and threw for 48 touchdowns during his Crimson Tide career. Hurts is even better at OU: Saturday’s 48-14 win over UCLA saw Hurt throw for 289 yards while running for 150 more.

When Lincoln Riley took over as Oklahoma’s head coach two years ago for a retiring Bob Stoops, many were curious about the direction of a program that had won 10 Big 12 titles in 17 seasons under Stoops.

Riley has delivered with a winner (27-4 overall mark in his two-plus seasons) that’s been fun to watch.

The Sooners show no signs of slowing down, and wouldn’t it be something for Hurts to face his former team in the College Football Playoff?

No. 21 Maryland (2-1) got to 17 hard way: two safeties, two field goals, a touchdown and an extra point. Unfortunately they couldn’t score on eight plays from inside the Temple 10-yard line in the fourth quarter (they also failed to convert on a fourth and goal in the first half) and missed a field goal in a 20-17 loss to the Owls.

Coach Mike Locksley compared the 2-0 start to driving cross-country and “reaching Phoenix without a flat”. Let’s just say the car is going into the shop during the upcoming bye week after multiple issues on the way to Tucson.

  • Terrapin Triumphs: Anthony McFarland rushed for 132 yards and a touchdown. Antoine Brooks notched 13 tackles to pace a defense that held the Owls to 3-14 on third down while tallying three takeaways. After punting issues the first two weeks, the Terps averaged 42.8 yards on nine attempts in week three.
  • Terrapin Troubles: Josh Jackson completed 15 of 38 passes with an interception while posting his worst game rating as a collegian. The Terps converted just 5-21 on third down. The defense that had been stout over the first two weeks failed to register a sack while allowing over 5 yards per carry to Temple’s tailback tandem. A missed field goal and extra point plus a failed fake field goal cost the team crucial points in a one-possession game. Nine penalties for 88 yards didn’t help either.

Next: Friday, Sept. 27 against No. 13 Penn State.

Virginia Tech (2-1, 0-1 ACC) slept in Saturday morning like most college kids, and took a while to wake up in the afternoon against Furman. After trailing 14-3 at the half, the Hokies bounced back to take a quick lead in the third quarter and hold on to beat the Paladins 24-17. Disaster was averted for the second straight week, but the glass in Blacksburg looks decidedly half-empty with the tougher part of the schedule yet to come.

  • Hokie Highlights: Keshawn King rushed for 119 yards while Tre Turner ran for 68 yards and a touchdown while also catching a TD pass. Emmanuel Belmar made seven tackles and paced the pass rush with 1.5 sacks. After a rough first half, the defense held Furman to 59 yards on 20 plays to begin the second-while turning two takeaways into 10 points.
  • Hokie Humblings: Ryan Willis may have completed 17 of 21 passes, but averaged 6 yards per completion against an FCS school. Two more turnovers for the team that has coughed up nine this year, and both led to Furman touchdowns.

Next: Friday, Sept. 27 vs. Duke.

Navy (2-0, 1-0 AAC) wasted little time pulling away from East Carolina, scoring the first four times they had the ball en route to a 42-10 rout of the Pirates.

Coach Ken Niumatalolo said that this was the one of the best games in all phases he’s seen his team play since taking over in Annapolis.

While ECU might not be the best barometer of how good this Mids team will be, so far it definitely appears to be a major upgrade over last year’s edition.

  • Midshipman Medals: Malcolm Perry rushes for 156 yards and four touchdowns, while throwing for 151 yards and two more scores. CJ Williams catches three passes for 117 yards and two scores. Elan Nash notched nine tackles while the defense generated eight three and outs, holding the Pirates to 2-13 on third down.
  • Midshipman Miscues: Outside of the offensive backups gaining 33 yards on 13 plays from scrimmage during mop-up time, there was a fumbled punt in the fourth quarter. The skies don’t get much sunnier in Annapolis.

Next: Thursday, Sept. 26 at Memphis.

No. 25 Virginia (3-0, 2-0 ACC) continues its autumn of possibilities by rallying in the second half to beat Florida State 31-24. The Cavaliers scored the last three times they had the football and needed a last-second stand in the red zone to hold off the Seminoles. Kippy and Buffy will be calling in sick Monday.

  • Cavalier Congrats: Wayne Taulapapa rushes for three touchdowns while Bryce Perkins throws for 295 yards and a TD toss to Joe Reed, who had eight catches for 83 yards on the night. Jordan Mack made 13 tackles and a sack while leading a defense that held the Seminoles to a season-low point total.
  • Cavalier Concerns: Nine penalties, including multiple infractions that kept Florida State’s final drive alive. The running game still needs to find itself after Perkins and Taulapapa combined to average less than three yards per carry. Perkins also threw a pair of interceptions.

Next: Saturday, Sept. 21 at noon against Old Dominion.

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