Baylor continues early scoring barrage; more Week 2 midday Snap Judgments
• No. 23 Baylor 70, Buffalo 13: Bow before your pagan points master, because Art Briles does not mess around. The Bears dropped 56 points on the Bulls in the first half on Saturday, and inserted their backup quarterback early in the third quarter. Buffalo seemed shell-shocked from the start.
It wasn’t that the Bulls looked particularly bad; Baylor’s offense was simply that good. The Bears run an efficient up-tempo attack that operates at all three levels: short, intermediate and long yardage. Defenses can’t focus on any one area or they’ll get burned. Briles has exceptional athletes on both sides of the ball, and the coach has gotten players to buy into his system since the departure of Heisman winner Robert Griffin III. The nation is taking notice.
Running back Lache Seastrunk rushed for 150 yards and three touchdowns. Quarterback Bryce Petty went 13-of-16 for 338 yards (that’s 26 yards per completion) and two scores. Wideouts Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley both had more than 100 receiving yards.
Baylor is a sneaky Big 12 contender, and its offense should light up scoreboards all season long. If the defense can hold up its end of the bargain, 2013 has the makings of a special season in Waco.
As for Buffalo, kudos to coach Jeff Quinn’s team for taking on Ohio State and Baylor to start the year. It takes a lot of gumption to sign up for that, and hopefully it will pay Tom Izzo-like dividends by the time MAC play rolls around. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 11 Georgia 41, No. 6 South Carolina 30: This was the marquee game of a lighter-than-normal Saturday slate (although Florida-Miami and Notre Dame-Michigan served as nice Week 2 bookends), and it lived up to its top billing. Dawgs quarterback Aaron Murray was simply spectacular, as was sophomore running back Todd Gurley, whose rare blend of vision, strength and burst has quickly made him one of the best players in the SEC. Murray finished with 309 passing yards and four touchdowns; Gurley rushed for 132 yards and a score.
The Gamecocks didn’t play poorly, but they whiffed on a number of key opportunities: Quarterback Connor Shaw fumbled early in the third quarter, leading to a Georgia field goal; South Carolina couldn’t convert on fourth-and-goal from the Bulldogs’ half-yard line in the fourth. The Gamecocks also missed an extra point and botched a two-point conversation. Coach Steve Spurrier likes to gamble, but his team just couldn’t make his bets pay off.
Georgia needed this game badly — it would have been very difficult for the Bulldogs to make a run at the national championship after an 0-2 start. SI.com’s Stewart Mandel was in Athens and has a full story from the scene. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 2 Oregon 59, Virginia 10: It’s not often that the Ducks travel all the way to Virginia, so that was neat in its own right. Cavaliers fans were rightfully excited, and their team hung around for most of the first half.
It’s just that Oregon’s offense, when it’s humming, may well be proof of the existence of a Great Clockmaker. It functions so perfectly that defenses can do almost nothing to stop it. Things are basically out of their control — all they can do is watch.
All in all, the Hoos have to be pleased with their 1-1 start after playing back-to-back games against BYU and Oregon. And the Ducks are 2-0 with a pair of very nice wins and a tidy 125-13 scoring differential. Quarterback Marcus Mariota deserves every bit of Heisman buzz he’s receiving. Oregon plays Tennessee next, and I don’t think that the Ducks will be as nearly as generous with the football as Western Kentucky was. [RECAP l BOX]
• No. 3 Ohio State 42, San Diego State 7: Don’t go proclaiming the Buckeyes the team-that-can-beat-Alabama yet; the Aztecs did lose to Eastern Illinois by 21 points in Week 1. But even with star quarterback Braxton Miller sidelined by a knee injury, Ohio State had no trouble dispatching San Diego State. Backup quarterback Kenny Guiton looked respectable running the option in the win, passing for 152 yards, rushing for 83 and having a hand in three touchdowns.
The Buckeyes travel next week to Cal, where coach Sonny Dykes’ Bears remain a work in progress. But while Ohio State showed on Saturday that it has plenty of firepower, the matchup in Berkeley becomes a bit more interesting if Miller is again unable to go. [RECAP l BOX]
• Missouri 38, Toledo 23: The Rockets’ offense played looked much better than it did in a 24-6 loss to Florida in Week 1, but the Tigers were able to scrape by nevertheless thanks to some decent special teams play and a pick-six from defensive end Markus Golden. Rockets running back David Fluellen was spectacular in the loss, gaining 213 total yards. [RECAP l BOX]
• Boise State 63, Tennessee-Martin 14: Yes, it was just the Skyhawks, but the Broncos needed to win, and they needed to win easy after last week’s clunker against Washington. It’s still too early to tell what kind of team Boise State actually is, but it was encouraging to see quarterback Joe Southwick, who threw five touchdown passes, connect on more of his throws. The Broncos’ running game gained 220 yards.
Boise faces Air Force and Fresno State next, so Broncos fans will see what their team is made of pretty soon. A 3-1 start likely isn’t what coach Chris Petersen envisioned, but after the abomination that was Week 1, it would be a nice consolation prize. [RECAP l BOX]
• Utah State 52, Air Force 20: The Chuckie Keeton show rolled on this Saturday. The Aggies’ junior quarterback was stellar in a loss to Utah last week, and he was just as good against the Falcons in this one. Keeton threw for 360 yards, rushed for 77 more and had a hand in five total touchdowns as Utah State cruised.
• Maryland 47, Old Dominion 10: Having C.J. Brown healthy at quarterback has turned the Terrapins into a completely different football team. In fact, Brown’s play could keep embattled coach Randy Edsall around for a while and potentially land Maryland in a bowl game this winter. Brown completed 14-of-22 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns, with no interceptions, while receiver Stefon Diggs caught six balls for 149 yards and a score. The Terps already have a feisty defense, and now they are making explosive plays on offense, as well. If they can keep it up, and they’re likely to sneak up on a few ACC opponents this season. [RECAP l BOX]
• Duke 28, Memphis 14: Blue Devils junior backup quarterback Brandon Connette relieved an injured Anthony Boone and completed 14-of-21 passes for 198 yards and two touchdowns. The Tigers hung around until the fourth quarter, but Duke finally pulled away, thanks in part to a great game from wide receiver Jamison Crowder (who, contrary to popular belief, is not a character in Justified). Memphis might have a tough go of it in their first year in the American conference, but they turned in a gutsy showing on Saturday. The Tigers seem to be moving in the right direction under coach Justin Fuente. [RECAP l BOX]