Winners and losers from Week 3 of the college football season

In Week 3, LSU’s Jayden Daniels and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. put on shows while Alabama quarterbacks Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson were duds. Here are the most notable happenings of college football from Saturday.


Colorado DB Shilo Sanders:  The Buffaloes’ road back to relevancy keeps getting cooler. Defensive back Shilo Sanders did his best impersonation of his father, Deion Sanders, early in the “Rocky Mountain Showdown” by returning a Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi pass 80 yards for a pick six.


Alabama QBs: Not since a “South Park” mascot election has two options been so unappealing as Nick Saban’s pathetic lot at QB. Transfer Tyler Buchner wasn’t very good at Notre Dame and was even worse in Saturday’s uninspiring 17-3 win at USF. He was benched and Ty Simpson relieved him but was only slightly better. The two combined to go 10-of-23 for 107 yards, revealing the Tide to be a pretender.


LSU QB Jayden Daniels and WR Malik Nabers: Saturday’s 41-14 decisive win over Mississippi State is exactly what the folks on the bayou anticipated from the Tigers heading into 2023. Daniels finished the game with a program-best 88.2% completion percentage. He targeted Nabers 13 times, who finished with 13 receptions for 239 yards. The Tigers are averaging 45.7 points and 537 yards per game this season.


Big 12: Are we sure the Big 12 is a “Power Five” conference? On Saturday, the conference suffered three bad losses. Early in the day, Mid-American Conference member Ohio defeated Iowa State 10-7 while fellow MAC program Miami (Ohio) beat Cincinnati 31-24. 

Worst of all was Oklahoma State’s 33-7 loss to South Alabama (Sun Belt). So far, it isn’t looking promising for the conference as it braces for Texas and Oklahoma’s departures to the SEC after the season.


Washington QB Michael Penix Jr.: While Pac-12 quarterbacks Caleb Williams and Shedeur Sanders get most of the attention, Penix Jr. is having himself a year. In Washington’s 41-7 win over Michigan State, Penix Jr. was 27-of-35 for 473 yards and four touchdowns. He’s thrown for at least 400 yards in each of his first three games to remind everyone how deep the Pac-12 is at quarterback.


South Carolina QB Spencer Rattler: Rattler had us going there for a second. The former five-star Oklahoma commit started 16-of-18 (88.9%) for 152 yards as the Gamebooks built a 14-3 halftime lead. The second half was an entirely different story, as Rattler went 6-of-24 (25%) for 104 yards and two interceptions as the Bulldogs scored 21 unanswered points in a 24-14 win. 

Just when it looked like Rattler was going to put it all together, his massive second-half flop showed he’s still the same frustratingly inconsistent quarterback.


Kentucky QB Devin Leary’s Houdini act: Former NC State quarterback Devin Leary performed the best escape act of Week 3 when he avoided two sacks before dumping a pass off to running back Ray Davis, who took the ball 58 yards for a touchdown in a 35-3 win over Akron.


Vanderbilt: Vandy’s heartbreaking 40-37 road loss at UNLV featured a little bit of everything. It had breakdowns in coverage, poor decision-making, bad special teams and a classic Commodores ending.  

After tying the game at 37 with 1:12 remaining, Vanderbilt appeared to have the game sealed after Nick Rinaldi intercepted a poor Jayden Maiava pass. Commodores kicker Jacob Borcila missed his field goal attempt and Maiava connected with Ricky White on a 48-yard pass to set the Rebels in range for the winning field goal.


Nebraska’s Heinrich maneuver: Needing a life-saving measure after an 0-2 start, Cornhuskers head coach Matt Rhule turned to Heinrich Haarberg at quarterback with turnover-prone Jeff Sims injured. The sophomore QB was almost as big of a revelation as Henry Heimlich’s maneuver 49 years ago, going 14-of-24 for 158 yards with two touchdowns and adding 21 carries for 98 yards and another touchdown on the ground in a 35-11 win, the first of the Rhule era, against Northern Illinois.


Tennessee: Not only did Josh Heupel’s group get punked in Gainesville for the 10th straight time in a 29-16 loss, but it also took a cheap shot on Gators quarterback Graham Mertz on the game’s final play to add to an already embarrassing night. 

After Heupel suggested otherwise this offseason, it turns out the SEC is going to have to wait for Texas to join the conference next year for it to have a good UT.


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