CFB Wrap-Up: Takeaways from Week 2's biggest games
College Football Wrap-Up recaps the most important developments from the day's action and examines the significance of them moving forward.
Texas is BACK! ... for real this time
"Texas is back" has almost become an ongoing joke as the Longhorns give their fanbase hope early before it all comes crashing down. While it's been said many times over the past decade - with a near-perfect failure rate shortly afterward - the Texas team we saw on Saturday at Alabama is absolutely among the best in the country. The Longhorns didn't just go into Tuscaloosa and win, but they made some history in the process.
Steve Sarkisian's victory is just the third time in 31 tries that one of Nick Saban's former assistants has beaten him. It's Alabama's first non-conference loss at home since 2007 and it's the first double-digit loss by the Crimson Tide in Tuscaloosa in 19 years.
The defense deserves plenty of credit but most of the talk will center around junior quarterback Quinn Ewers' play. The talented passer left last year's narrow Alabama win in Texas because of an injury, but he made up for lost time in a big way on Saturday. He showed off his elite arm early and often, ending with 349 yards and three touchdowns with no picks.
Texas' biggest issue last year was finishing games in the second half, but Ewers and the Longhorns thrived in the clutch against the No. 3 team in the country. Texas outscored Alabama 21-8 in the final 15 minutes and turned a three-point deficit into a 10-point win.
We've all bought into the Texas hype, but Saturday's performance proved that the Longhorns are real threats in the College Football Playoff this year.
Milroe the cause ... and solution to Bama's problems
Jalen Milroe threw two very poor interceptions that almost immediately led to ten points for Texas. He also struggled to pass the ball for the majority of the game and allowed the Longhorns' defense to almost completely shut down the running attack by stacking the box.
Milroe also flashed just how freakish an athlete he is throughout Saturday's game - including two stunning 49- and 39-yard touchdown throws in the second half.
Against the Longhorns, we saw that the sophomore starter is somehow both the cause and the solution for Alabama's offensive issues.
Alabama dipping into the transfer portal after spring practice to nab Tyler Buchner sent alarm bells up across the country. Any team opting to add a quarterback that late clearly isn't pleased with their roster's status quo, but Milroe proved himself in the first week and still won the job out of fall camp. He possesses game-breaking ability with his legs and can throw the ball deep.
It's the rest of the positional play that he struggled with against the Longhorns. A 14-for-27 stat line isn't enough to win against an elite defense. Milroe can break any game open, but it will be on Tommy Rees and the offense coaching staff to ensure he doesn't throw Alabama out of the contest in the process.
Oregon learned how to close
Oregon had a strong three-loss season in Dan Lanning's first year with the program but struggled with fourth-quarter scoring. Oregon ranked 55th in the country last season in that statistic, with the offense only putting up six points total in the fourth quarter of their losses in 2022.
That needed to change in a big way on Saturday if the Ducks hoped to avoid a loss at Texas Tech, with the Red Raiders entering the final frame leading 27-18. It was all Oregon from that point on, with a Bucky Irving touchdown run and a Camden Lewis field goal giving the Pac-12 program a one-point lead as the clock ticked under six minutes. After Texas Tech went ahead by two on a field goal, Bo Nix drove the Ducks the length of the field for a go-ahead field goal with 1:10 to play.
A late pick-6 for the Ducks' defense supplied the final point margin and saw Oregon secure a vital road win in Lubbock. The loss means Texas Tech starts a season 0-2 for the first time since 1990 - keeping Oregon firmly on a collision course for an undefeated Week 4 visit from Colorado, the most talked-about team in college football.
Colorado, Nebraska a tale of 2 coaches
Colorado and Nebraska - old rivals that have played 72 times since 1898 - both reset the football program with groundbreaking coaching hires after years of mediocrity. It's only been two games for each program, but it appears one team is coming and the other is going the wrong way fast.
The two faced off in Boulder on Saturday and, when the dust cleared, Colorado and Deion Sanders hung 36 points on Matt Rhule's Nebraska to the tune of a dominant 22-point victory.
The Buffaloes didn't storm up and down the field like they did last week against TCU, but instead turned in a much more complete performance to pull away in the second half. Shedeur Sanders again supported his case for a Heisman bid, throwing for 393 yards and two scores while also finding the end zone on the ground. Deion's son now has a whopping 903 yards passing on the season with six touchdowns and no interceptions.
Sanders' exemplary play will make headlines, but the most impressive showing of the day may have been the Colorado defense. The Buffaloes allowed 42 points in the opener but cut that back to just 14 against Nebraska - with seven of those coming on the final play of the game. That late touchdown kept Saturday's game from being Colorado's biggest win ever over Nebraska. If that unit can continue that pace, the Buffaloes won't just make a bowl game but could threaten for the Pac-12 title.
There will be no title threat from Nebraska this year, as the Cornhuskers once again looked absolutely lost on the offensive side of the football. Jeff Sims fumbled twice and threw an interception as part of four of the team's turnovers. The enthusiasm Rhule brought to the program in the offseason has already evaporated as it looks like the same old Nebraska.
Sanders and Rhule went about their respective first seasons in very different fashions - notable when looking at roster construction. Sanders brought in over 45 transfers to join the team immediately while Rhule added 14 players via the portal. Early returns suggest the Coach Prime method is miles ahead of the one made in Lincoln.
Notre Dame's offense is cooking
Outside of the Colorado overhaul, there might not be a more impactful transfer in the country than Sam Hartman at Notre Dame. The prolific Wake Forest passer brought instant credibility to the offense and made the Irish a true threat through the air. Last year's Notre Dame offense ranked 44th in the country at 5.8 yards per play. This year's version is putting up a whopping 7.9 yards per play through three games - good for sixth in the country.
Hartman's latest display came against a very stout NC State defense that held the nation's longest active streak of keeping opponents under 30 points at 16 straight games. The Irish flew over that total in hanging 45 on the Wolfpack, led by Hartman's four touchdown passes. Hartman's ability to stretch the field has also opened up the rushing attack with Audric Estime ripping off 134 yards on the ground on just 14 carries.
Notre Dame's defense has rarely wavered over the past few years, but it's often been tasked with overcoming an offense that struggled to move the ball at times. With Hartman leading that side of the football, the Irish should now be taken as a very real playoff threat. The home date versus Ohio State in two weeks could end up with massive postseason implications.
Marvin Harrison, still good
For almost two full seasons, Marvin Harrison dominated the opposition as the potential top receiver taken in next year's NFL draft. That pedigree made the Ohio State junior's two-catch performance against Indiana in the opening week one of the most puzzling showings on the early slate. Heading into Week 2 against Youngstown State, it was still unclear whether it was a one-off outing or growing pains with new quarterback Kyle McCord.
While the competition certainly wasn't among the nation's best, Harrison immediately reminded us why he's peerless at the receiver position. Two touchdown grabs on the opening two possessions helped him put up a ridiculous seven-catch, 160-yard performance in a blowout win.
The competition gets harder at the end of the month with a visit to Notre Dame and a home date with Maryland, but Harrison showed Saturday that he's ready to dominate once again with his new quarterback.
Tyler Van Dyke reborn
Even Texas A&M would likely tell you that the Tyler Van Dyke on the field Saturday in Miami was not the same player at last year's matchup in Texas. In just his third game with last year's offensive coordinator Josh Gattis, Van Dyke completed just 21-of-41 passes for 217 yards and zero touchdowns in a 17-9 loss to the Aggies. Unfortunately for the Aggies, that was a regular stat line for the 6-foot-4 quarterback in a dismal 2022 campaign. After the Hurricanes hung 48 on Texas A&M, it's safe to say new offensive coordiantor Shannon Dawson officially has orchestrated the rebirth of 'Tyler Van Dyme.'
Van Dyke torched a talented Texas A&M defense for 374 passing yards and a whopping five touchdowns in a 15-point victory for the Hurricanes. Xavier Restrepo, Jacolby George and Colbie Young combined for 17 catches, 295 receiving yards and four touchdowns. Those 48 points are the most Texas A&M has allowed in a game since October 3, 2020.
After Clemson ran the ACC for years, early returns on the 2023 campaign suggest it might be Florida's battle for supremacy between Miami and Florida State.
Iowa wins, Brian Ferentz falls behind in race to 325
If you're keeping score on the Iowa season, the Hawkeyes are now 2-0 on the campaign - but offensive coordinator Brian Ferentz is 0-2 in his quest to keep his job. The most talked about assistant coach in college football is under the ultimatum that Iowa must win seven games on the season and average 25 points per contest in doing so. That would total 325 total points on the season - and Ferentz must do so to keep his job heading into next season.
After falling short with 24 points in the opening-week win over Utah State, the Hawkeyes again struggled to light up the board in a 20-13 victory over rival Iowa State. If you take out the pick-6 provided by the defense - which for some reason still counts for Ferentz in his quest for 325 - the offense totalled just 13 points versus the Cyclones.
Ferentz now sits at 44 total points through two games, just shy of his target with one more non-conference contest on the slate. The Hawkeyes better run it up against Western Michigan next week, as the Broncos allowed 48 points in their only game against a Power 5 opponent this season.