College football 2017: Week 2 heroes

Andrew Kitchener Roar Guru

By , Andrew Kitchener is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger

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    Another week of college football is in the books, and, as usual, there were lots of spectacular performances. Here are just a few teams and individuals who covered themselves in gridiron glory, my Week 2 heroes.

    Oklahoma
    The Sooners went into Columbus – one of the hardest venues there is in college football – and left with an emphatic 31-13 victory over Ohio State. Frankly, they should’ve won by even more.

    It was a true Heisman moment for quarterback Baker Mayfield (26-34 for 387 yards and three touchdowns), who shrugged off some leg issues in the first half to have a sensational game, slicing and dicing his way through a Buckeye secondary that was ripe for the picking after being exploited by Indiana’s Richard Lagow last week.

    Turns out, I was right on the money.

    Defensively, the Sooners were brilliant too, in limiting the influence of duel threat quarterback JT Barrett. The Buckeyes star was just 19-35 for 181 yards and no touchdowns. He didn’t have much impact on the ground either, held to under 100 yards. JK Dobbins, who set a Buckeye freshman record last week against the Hoosiers, was held in check, and returning bell cow Mike Weber didn’t have a prolific night, either.

    It was just about the complete team performance, and a huge triumph for Lincoln Reilly in his first big test as Sooners head coach. If anyone doubted that Reilly was the right man to take over from Big Game Bob Stoops, this game was proof that the Sooners knew who they were putting in charge, and that decision is already paying off.

    Southern California
    Turns out the panicking done by Trojan fans all week (myself included, I must admit) was all for naught. The uneven Week 1 performance over Western Michigan was a distant memory by about three-quarter time in the Coliseum. The Trojans have had trouble with Stanford for years and years, but there was no struggle this time around, Clay Helton’s men winning 42-24.

    Quarterback Sam Darnold (21-26 for 316 yards and four touchdowns) looked like the Heisman candidate we all figured he’d be, and about the only time he looked anything other than poised was on the two interceptions he threw, trying to force a play where there probably wasn’t one to be made. He was ably supported by running back Ronald Jones (two touchdowns and 116 yards rushing), who is on pace for a mammoth season. All told, the Trojans rolled up 623 yards of offence against the Cardinal.

    Pleasingly for those of us who bleed cardinal and gold, the run defence was a thousand times better this week, limiting Stanford’s bullocking back Bryce Love. There was an early, ominous, 75-yard run from Love, and after that, he didn’t do much. The Cardinals, so often fond of running the football down the throat of the opposition at will, were unable to do so.

    Lamar Jackson
    Worryingly for teams on Louisville’s schedule this year, reigning Heisman winner Lamar Jackson might be better in 2017 than he was a year ago. On Saturday in Chapel Hill, he was nothing short of superb. The Cardinals totalled 705 yards of offence in the 47-35 win, and Jackson accounted for 525 of them.

    He threw for 393 yards and three touchdowns, and added 132 yards and another three touchdowns on the ground. A freakish performance against, granted, not the best defence he’s likely to see this year, but Jackson’s fast becoming appointment viewing.

    Clemson’s defence
    Holy smokes, are those Tigers for real, or what? They were at their marauding best on Saturday night in Death Valley in their first real test of the year, sacking Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham eleven times, and registering another 14 tackles for loss.

    Nothing Stidham tried to do worked. He was harassed from the first snap to the last, managing only 78 passing yards in the 14-6 loss. Don’t sleep on the defending national champions.

    Georgia
    There were so many folks wearing red inside Notre Dame Stadium that you’d swear they were playing between the hedges down in Athens. Their team recorded a memorable 20-19 win in a hard-hitting game against the Irish. The one-two running back combination of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel took pressure off freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, and the Bulldogs’ defence was sensational in a brutal contest. Plenty to like about Kirby Smart’s team.

    Washington State
    Down 31-10 in the fourth quarter at home against Boise State and without injured starting quarterback Luke Falk, the Cougars looked done. And then, through a combination of their own good play and some horrendous decisions by the Broncos, they tied the game in regulation and went on to win 47-44 in triple overtime, thanks to a 22-yard pass from Tyler Hillinski to Jamal Morrow.

    Justin Herbert
    Quietly up in the northwest, the Oregon signal-caller is blossoming into a true star. He dispatched Nebraska Saturday afternoon, going 21-25 for 313 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Ducks to a mammoth 409 first-half yards of offence. So far, so good for Herbert and for the Oregon program under Willie Taggart.

    Dante Pettis
    The Washington receiver now has seven punt return touchdowns, more than anyone else in Pac-12 conference history. He’s a good chance to break the NCAA record, just one back of the mark shared by Wes Welker and Antonio Perkins.

    David Blough
    The Purdue quarterback completed 11 of 13 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns – including an epic double reverse flea-flicker that went 62 yards to pay dirt – as the Boilermakers, impressive in defeat last week, enjoyed a 44-21 victory over Ohio. Jeff Brohm has this program headed in the right direction already.

    Maryland
    The Terrapins scored 51 on Texas last week, and backed it up with 63 in a win against Towson this weekend. Freshman quarterback Kasim Hill, pressed into duty after Tyrrell Pigrome tore his ACL last week, had a good start to his career, playing smart football.

    Put your hand up if you expected this start from the Terps.

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