College football Week 2 takeaways — Ohio State’s struggling defense, Florida’s QB battle and more

Week 2 of the 2021 faculty soccer season is within the books. Two top-10 groups misplaced. Two different top-10 groups wanted fourth-quarter rallies to keep away from upsets.

However on the finish of the day, here’s what our reporters take away from the weekend’s motion.

The Ohio State protection misses Jeff Hafley

The Buckeyes’ protection hasn’t been the identical since Hafley moved on to Boston College after the 2019 season. Final fall, Ohio State usually appeared extraordinary (expertise sensible) and unimaginative (scheme sensible). This 12 months’s unit is likely to be worse in each areas. Ohio State on Saturday had no solutions for Oregon operating again CJ Verdell, a bullying Geese offensive line and artistic playcalls from Joe Moorhead.

Regardless of wonderful recruiting, the Buckeyes lack many superstars on protection. They’re additionally seemingly content material to play a vanilla scheme. Kerry Coombs is a superb recruiter and a terrific vitality man, however he lacked coordinator expertise when he was elevated to the function. The transfer felt a little bit lazy on the time, given Ohio State’s assets and enchantment for confirmed playcallers. The protection is actually not on trajectory. — Adam Rittenberg

A QB battle in Gainesville?

Emory Jones waited three years to be Florida‘s starter, and at instances he has performed OK, particularly operating the soccer. However when it comes to passing, he has been inconsistent with two interceptions in every of the previous two video games.

Then there’s the freshman, Anthony Richardson, who hasn’t been requested to do almost as a lot when it comes to operating the offense however nonetheless retains making large performs. He did it in opposition to FAU within the season opener, dashing for 160 yards and a landing on seven carries. And he did it this previous weekend in opposition to USF, throwing touchdowns on every of his first two move makes an attempt, adopted by an 80-yard landing run within the fourth quarter.

Coach Dan Mullen mentioned Richardson “doesn’t always do the right thing, but he does special things,” which explains why he continues to face by Jones publicly. Regardless, there’s going to be an attention-grabbing dynamic shifting ahead, each when it comes to the division of labor and what opposing defenses need to do to organize for each gamers. If something, it provides Nick Saban and No. 1 Alabama loads to think about heading into Saturday. — Alex Scarborough

Not fairly Hog Heaven, however getting there

Recruiting is the lifeblood of any good faculty soccer program. That is a given. However in taking up an Arkansas program that had misplaced 19 straight SEC video games, as Sam Pittman did getting into the 2020 season, and dealing with the challenges of COVID-19, the quickest means to enhance the Razorbacks was to develop gamers, encompass himself with high quality coaches and create an environment of belief.

Pittman will get a powerful A in all three areas, and the 40-21 beatdown of Texas on Saturday is maybe the very best proof but that Arkansas is as improved as any program in America from the place Pittman discovered it. And the very best information for Hogs followers is that he is a terrific recruiter, and the expertise stage is barely going to get higher over the subsequent few years. The Hogs must be 3-0 going into their showdown with Texas A&M on Sept. 25 in AT&T Stadium. The final time they began a season 3-0 was 2016. — Chris Low

The Massive 12 remains to be Oklahoma or bust

Iowa State had an opportunity to earn a win that will impress the choice committee by means of November, however could not get it finished in opposition to rival Iowa. Once more. Arkansas hammered Texas, taking the shine off of Steve Sarkisian’s September. The Sooners took care of enterprise after which some in a 76-0 drubbing of Western Carolina.

With two Heisman hopefuls within the lineup, expectations had been excessive for Iowa State to problem the Sooners this fall for the Massive 12 title — and it nonetheless can — however not with 4 turnovers. Iowa State did not look the a part of a top-10 workforce, not to mention able to contend for something larger than the Massive 12. In the meantime, ESPN’s FPI provides Oklahoma not less than an 80% likelihood to win every of its remaining video games. — Heather Dinich

The Pac-12 is so unhealthy it is good

The league’s greatest drawback within the Faculty Soccer Playoff period hasn’t been a scarcity of potential. It has been an excessive amount of parity. Whereas the opposite Energy 5 leagues have been dominated by juggernauts like Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma, the Pac-12 has had a handful of fine groups, however no nice ones. Look across the league by means of two weeks in 2021, nevertheless, and the league is usually a scorching mess.

USC received drubbed by a nasty Stanford workforce. Washington is 0-2, together with a loss to FCS Montana. Utah misplaced the Holy Conflict for the primary time since 2009. In nonconference play, the Pac-12 is an embarrassing 10-11 general. However none of that issues as a result of UCLA beat LSU and Oregon beat Ohio State, and for the primary time in a very long time, the Pac-12 enters Week 3 with a few real playoff contenders.

Add in Arizona State, and there is a shot the league can lastly take pleasure in a season with sufficient disastrous groups on the backside that the few good groups on the high can feast on imbalanced competitors all the best way to the playoff. — David Hale

Florida State should not shock us anymore

Florida State misplaced to an FCS opponent for the primary time at school historical past on Saturday evening, when Jacksonville State quarterback Zerrick Cooper delivered a shocking 59-yard game-winning landing move on the ultimate play of the sport. However watching the Seminoles lose like that ought to not be a shock to anybody. As a result of right here is the unhappy, sincere fact about Florida State proper now: It is a dropping program.



Zerrick Cooper connects with Damond Philyaw-Johnson for a 59-yard landing on the sport’s last play to provide Jacksonville State a 20-17 win vs. Florida State.

Overlook about all of the historical past, custom and nationwide championships. Florida State entered this season off three straight dropping seasons. Willie Taggart was run out of city after lower than two of them, however Mike Norvell went 3-6 final 12 months in Yr 1, and now the Seminoles are at a brand new all-time low on his watch. It’s laborious to win by taking part in dropping soccer — penalties, blown assignments and undisciplined play have turn into an indicator in recent times — and Norvell has not been in a position to repair any of that. Florida State made performs to lose the sport on Saturday evening (myriad drops, over 100 yards in penalties), and the teaching workers known as performs to lose the sport, too. It stays inexplicable that the Seminoles weren’t in a stop protection on the ultimate play, it doesn’t matter what Norvell says.

Now, they head on the street to play a Wake Forest workforce that all the time provides Florida State a problem in Winston-Salem. However past that, Florida State nonetheless has video games left in opposition to Clemson, North Carolina, Miami and Florida. Norvell had no solutions afterward, saying the Seminoles would return to work to repair the errors. However Taggart mentioned all that earlier than him, too. So did Jimbo Fisher in his last season (he left with Florida State at 5-6 in 2017). Till Norvell and his gamers can determine methods to play profitable soccer, nothing goes to vary. — Andrea Adelson

Michigan is 2-0 to begin the season, which matches its complete wins from final season. The Wolverines must be recommended for that, as a result of they already appear like a greater workforce than final 12 months, however how good are they? That is in all probability a two-part query that must be damaged up between the offense and protection to be answered correctly.

The protection has a brand new coordinator in Mike Macdonald, and by all accounts there appears to be extra group. Gamers have mentioned the communication on the sidelines is at an all-time excessive. It is not going Míchigan will subject a top-five protection, however there have already been indicators of enchancment, and having a wholesome Aidan Hutchinson has been a giant increase.

The offense, nevertheless, is likely to be a distinct story. Sure, the workforce put up 47 factors in opposition to Western Michigan and 31 in opposition to Washington, however the stats may inform a distinct story. In opposition to Washington, Michigan had 352 rush yards on 56 makes an attempt, nevertheless it had solely 44 passing yards on 15 throws. It may very well be mentioned that the run recreation was working, so why not keep it up, however the move performs that had been known as had been uncreative, lacked the mandatory blocking downfield and did not yield a lot of something. Which may have labored in opposition to Washington, however will that work in opposition to Wisconsin or Penn State? Working again Blake Corum goes to be a star for Michigan, and the duo of Corum and Hassan Haskins could have success, but when quarterback Cade McNamara cannot stability it out within the passing recreation, Michigan is finally going to run into bother. — Tom VanHaaren

Typically it is high quality to flee with a win

The weeks that look terrifyingly boring on paper like Week 2 did oftentimes find yourself having large upsets and generally even break seasons. Texas A&M struggled with Colorado and misplaced QB Haynes King to a proper leg harm, however was in a position to maintain on for the 10-7 win. Notre Dame was in a position to do the identical, sneaking previous Toledo 32-29 after a late landing.



Texas A&M QB Zach Calzada lobs a move into the top zone to Isaiah Spiller for the go-ahead landing for the Aggies.

Certain, each the Aggies and Irish have issues to work out, and at finest each fan bases are shook going into Week 3. However it might have been worse — simply have a look at Florida State’s surprising loss, or the best way the Hogs ran throughout Texas. — Harry Lyles Jr.

Iowa might crash the occasion

The Hawkeyes landed at No. 5 on this week’s AP ballot after opening the season with a 34-6 win over No. 17 Indiana and drubbing No. 9 Iowa State 27-17 in Ames on Saturday, Iowa’s eighth straight win relationship again to final season. Abruptly, this season has the look of 1 the place Kirk Ferentz’s “mutts,” as linebacker Jack Campbell known as them this weekend, turn into the cussed workforce that is one of many hardest outs within the Massive Ten.

From 2002 to 2004, the Hawkeyes received 31 video games in three seasons, then subsequent broke 10 wins with an 11-2 season in 2009. Ferentz received 12 in 2016 and 10 in 2019. Whereas the Hawkeyes’ offense remains to be a piece in progress, if we’re being well mannered — it had simply 173 yards in Ames, together with 23 complete yards within the second half on 0.8 yards per carry — the protection is among the nation’s finest, choosing off Michael Penix Jr. and Brock Purdy a mixed six instances. ESPN’s FPI has the Hawkeyes favored in each recreation this season, together with in opposition to Penn State on Nov. 9, with solely the Wisconsin recreation in Madison thought of a toss-up on Oct. 30 — and Ferentz shut down the Badgers 28-7 to finish final season. — Dave Wilson

It won’t matter who performs QB for Georgia

Final season, Georgia was by no means a lot of an element within the CFP race due to shortcomings at quarterback. After Wake Forest switch Jamie Newman opted out a couple of month earlier than the beginning of the season and USC switch JT Daniels arrived in Athens nonetheless hobbling with a knee harm, the Bulldogs ended up beginning former walk-on Stetson Bennett. He performed admirably effectively in victories over Arkansas, Auburn and Tennessee, however then the wheels got here off throughout a loss at Alabama. Bennett injured his throwing shoulder, and Daniels was lastly wholesome sufficient to play and completed the 2020 season because the starter.

When Daniels was unavailable this previous week due to an indirect harm, coach Kirby Sensible stunned lots of people when he opted to return to Bennett — and never Carson Beck, whom Sensible declared the workforce’s No. 2 quarterback — however the choice paid off. Bennett accomplished 10 of 12 passes for 288 yards with 5 touchdowns in a 56-7 rout of UAB. So long as Georgia’s protection retains taking part in the best way it has within the first two video games (it hasn’t allowed an offensive landing), it won’t matter who begins underneath middle. — Mark Schlabach | Faculty soccer Week 2 takeaways — Ohio State’s struggling protection, Florida’s QB battle and extra


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