Saturday was a (very) stressful game, but a win is a win and the Deacs are 3-0. I think Liberty might be a little better than people expected this season, especially on the defensive side of the ball. While Wake found themselves in a fight up until the final seconds, how did the rest of the teams on the schedule perform in Week 3?
Opponent Combined Record in Week 3: 8-2
Opponent Combined Overall Record: 26-8
Clemson 48—Louisiana Tech 20
The Tigers move to 3-0 with another easy win. DJ Uiagalelei threw for 221 yards and 2 touchdowns while Will Shipley ran the ball 12 times for 139 yards and 2 touchdowns as the Tigers pulled away in the 3rd quarter after leading just 13-6 at halftime. It’s really hard to say right now if Clemson is actually the 5th best team in the nation—with a schedule of Georgia Tech, Furman, and La Tech, Clemson hasn’t even been close to being tested yet. Plus, the Tigers have struggled on offensive for a fair amount in all three games. We will find out next week if they are the real deal.
Florida State 35—Louisville 31
This was a really impressive win for Florida State. The Noles were on the road and trailing at halftime after starting QB Jordan Travis went down with a leg injury. Backup Tate Rodemaker threw 2 touchdown passes to lead the comeback and get the Noles to 3-0. Arizona State transfer Johnny Wilson caught 7 passes for 149 yards and 2 touchdowns for FSU and is starting to look like he could be a real issue for defenses in the ACC—being a 6-7 WR is kind of a cheat code. On the other side, the Cardinals shot themselves in the foot yet again with 11 penalties and 3 turnovers. At this point, Satterfield could be on some razor thin ice just 3 weeks into the season.
Army 49—Villanova 10
Last week I jokingly said that Army might be turning into a passing team. They apparently didn’t like that, because this week the Black Knights attempted 1 single pass in their win over Villanova, and they didn’t even complete it. Army ran the ball 55 times for 472 yards (8.6 yards per carry) and 6 touchdowns to destroy the Wildcats. While that's impressive, Villanova is an FCS team, so don’t overreact too much to the results.
Boston College 38—Maine 17
The Eagles finally got into the win column after dropping their first 2 games of the season. Not much to take away from this one as it is an FCS opponent. Even against an FCS defense, the Boston College run game kind of struggled, managing just 111 yards on 33 carries. It looks like the Eagles are going to be completely reliant on Jurkovec and Flowers to score points this season.
NC State 27—Texas Tech 14
The NC State defense did basically all of the work in this game, forcing 4 turnovers and holding the Red Raiders to just 2.1 yards per carry on the ground. The Wolfpack offense did not look very good—Leary completed 15 of his 23 passes for 121 yards and the Pack only managed 111 yards rushing on 37 attempts. You won’t see many Power 5 games where the winning team only has 270 yards of total offense, but sometimes the best offense is a good defense. Not really, but NC State gets the win to move to 3-0.
Syracuse 32—Purdue 29
What a weird game this was. Syracuse entered the 4th quarter leading by a score of 10-9 before the two teams exploded for 42 points in the final 15 minutes. Purdue scored with 51 seconds left to take a 29-25 lead but got 2 unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and had to kick off from their own 10-yard line. That gave the Orange great field position and allowed Garret Shrader to find Oronde Gadsen II in the endzone for a 25-yard touchdown with 7 seconds remaining to win the game. The Orange were outgained 306 to 485 yards and allowed Purdue to convert on 10 of their 17 3rd down attempts, so I honestly am not even sure how they pulled this one off. Nonetheless, the Orange are 3-0.
Duke 49—NC A&T 20
Another game against an FCS opponent, so nothing to see here. Last week I said we would have to wait and see if Duke’s win over Northwestern actually meant anything...well the Wildcats lost to FCS SIU 31-24 at home this weekend, so it probably doesn’t. Let’s see what they do against an undefeated Kansas team this week.
Vanderbilt 38—NIU 28
Vandy made a switch at QB, deciding the start freshman AJ Swann over Mike Wright. You may remember that Swann came in at the end of the Wake game and threw for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns—it was pretty obvious that the offense was more effective with him in the game. In his first start, Swann threw for 255 yards and 4 touchdowns and our win over the Commodores is looking like a solid victory as Vandy is 3-1.
Typically, week 4 is when the buy games and the cupcake opponents are off the schedule and conference play really kicks it into gear. Currently 5 of the 7 teams in the Atlantic Division are undefeated, while BC and Louisville are both 1-2. The Wake schedule seems like it could be shaping up to be pretty tough.
Clemson is up next.