The scoreline says one thing, but sometimes the result says another. Digging into Week 3’s notable results, we here at SI are determined to find the answer to the question: Which team does the final score say more about?
Colorado 43, Colorado State 35 (2OT) says more about: Colorado State
You would be forgiven if you see everything involving Colorado through the lens of the in-your-face Buffs, but this result is more about what CSU didn’t do more than even CU’s heroics at the end. Rams head coach Jay Norvell went on a radio show midweek and said the now infamous quote “I sat down with ESPN today, and I don’t care if they hear it in Boulder, I told them, ‘I took my hat off, and I took my glasses off,’” Norvell said. “‘When I talk to grown-ups, I take my hat and my glasses off.’ That’s what my mother taught me.” he was referencing Sanders’ habit of wearing sunglasses pretty much all the time.”
There’s no problem with trash talk because wars of words make all games more fun, but the specific tact of casting Sanders as disrespectful and someone with bad manners who wasn’t raised right was a curious one because of how the game played out. If teams are extensions of their coaches, you would think Norvell’s team was the blue collar, disciplined, working class team but they were heavily penalized in the game to the tune of 16 flags totaling nearly 200 yards.
They played conservatively on the final drive sitting back and allowing the Buffs to march 98 yards to tie the game up despite a clear advantage in the red zone, somewhat surprisingly not going for two and for the win in overtime when they had the chance and instead opting for double overtime in which they lost. In many ways the Rams did much of the work to set themselves up for the upset but failed to pay it off. Norvell can say he was playing four-dimensional chess and sending a message to his team, but it wasn’t all the way received.
Florida State 31, BC 29 says more about: BC
It was fitting that the game effectively ended with a facemask penalty on Boston College on a third-down stop. The Eagles had returned a fumble for a touchdown earlier in the fourth quarter to claw their way back against the Noles, but over and over again on the day Boston College shot itself in the foot with backbreaking penalties. We’re talking a school record 18 penalties, 10 of which came in the first half alone. Only three teams in the country that had played two games entered this week with more penalties called on them than the Eagles, and the sloppy play has marred the start to a crucial season.
Consider how this year has gone for the Eagles at the quarter pole:
- An overtime loss to Northern Illinois that took a heroic effort from QB Thomas Castellanos to even get the game into overtime.
- A one-possession win against FCS Holy Cross that thanks to a lightning delay that, killed Crussader momentum when they got the ball back with a chance to drive and win the game
- Today’s flag-filled farce.
The Eagles need to focus on playing a clean game before we can discuss winning against a P5 opponent.
LSU 41, Mississippi State 14 says more about: Mississippi State
It’s clear that the bulldogs are in significant transition. Gone is the air raid of the late great Mike Leach in favor of something akin to a more complementary setup of defense and the run game. But it was the defense that faltered hard on this day getting dominated up front by LSU and the backend got absolutely torched by Malik Nabers and LSU’s receivers. The identity of the program is changing, and it’s gonna take a little bit to take hold.
Wisconsin 35, Georgia Southern 14 says more about: Wisconsin
Nevermind that Georgia Southern had six turnovers in this game, but what many Wisconsin fans feared in their bellies was happening in the first half: the slipping of the identity that built the foundation of the program. After beating their heads against a proverbial wall throwing the ball to significant frustration, the Badgers finally got the run game going with Braelon Allen and Chez Mellusi, then ran play-action passes off of that to underneath receivers. The Eagles weren’t scoring, and eventually they broke down. It proves that Wisconsin’s way of doing business still works when it’s committed to it.
Alabama 17, USF 3 says more about: Alabama
The Tide still have deep quarterback issues, and it’s not just because the combination of Tyler Buchner and Ty Simpson played poorly. Flying under the radar is why they both played at all and Jalen Milroe didn’t. Coming out of halftime, Nick Saban told ESPN that Milroe practiced the worst of all three quarterbacks during the week. That is a troubling sign for Alabama, which was bailed out by its run game eventually but likely could have actually used Milroe’s legs in a lot of spots when the offensive line was overwhelmed by a USF team that did not fear Bama’s wideouts at all, to the tune of sending heavy and exotic pressures. The Tide are still a team looking for answers on offense, clearly.
Texas 31, Wyoming 10 says more about: Texas
Lesser Texas teams lose this game in a clear letdown spot. Wyoming was very much in it, tied at 10 in the fourth quarter. Eventually the Horns got Xavier Worthy loose on a screen pass and forced a turnover they returned for a TD to break the game open. The final score doesn’t really reflect the result, but it does prove that Texas has plenty of fight in them even when things aren’t going well.
Florida 29, Tennessee 13 says more about: Tennessee
You wanna talk about an absolute execution clinic of a game script, look no further than the Swamp on Saturday night. The Gators got up with an offensive blueprint and Tennessee was never able to force them to abandon it either by their own execution on offense to spawn a significant comeback or on defense to stop a Florida team that had no designs on passing the ball much. And that is a commentary on what Tennessee isn’t this year.
The Vols dictated the game when they were at their best. You were in a track meet against them whether you liked it or not, and few teams were able to assert themselves against them in the regular season besides the national champions and a South Carolina team that had everything break right. Joe Milton is not Hendon Hooker. The deep balls are sexy, but Hooker’s production showed how much this offense does have to hit those low percentage deep balls at a high percentage because of Milton’s struggles on intermediate balls and throws on the move were clear on Saturday night, as was the need for center Cooper Mays to steady the ship as procedural penalties went a long way to dooming Tennessee as well.
South Alabama 33, Oklahoma State 7 says more about: Oklahoma State
That scoreline isn’t a typo. South Alabama is a talented Group of 5 outfit with an aggressive defense, but to be four touchdowns better than Oklahoma State speaks to deficiencies with the Pokes, namely at quarterback. They played three in this game. OSU prided itself on offensive innovation throughout Mike Gundy’s run as head coach. In some respects they still are, but not in a good way.
TCU 36, Houston 13 says more about: Houston
Out of all of the Big 12’s four newcomers, the Cougars looking the worst in the early going is a pretty big surprise. The Cougars did not score an offensive touchdown and notched a 19% success rate with 2.9 yards per play on first down dooming many series before they even began. Houston went 4-for-19 on third and fourth down against a TCU defense that may not be as bad as they looked in Week 1 but certainly isn’t the unit they were last year. It’s up to that staff to figure out a way to rebound because Sam Houston will come pay a visit next week and the Bearkats will be upset-minded with a strong defense of their own.
Missouri 30, Kansas State 27 says more about: Missouri
Nevermind the bananas ending to the game where Harrison Mevis hit a 61-yard field goal to win the game, but take in the fact that the Tigers may have the best receiving group in the conference. Their production went five deep in this game but Luther Burden, the highly touted recruit, showed just why he earned all the praise as a prep player two years ago.
Who needs to get into third down situations when you’re as good as Missouri was on first down in this game. Missouri’s offensive efficiency was otherworldly Saturday afternoon, gaining 330 yards on first downs throughout the game. It scored two touchdowns on first downs, and made nine first down conversions on first down. It was a clinic on staying ahead of the chains, and the Tigers may be dangerous if they can play like this in SEC play.