It was only Week 2, but programs across the nation have experienced some amazing highs and incredible lows. Saturday specifically, saw defining wins, stinging losses and whole lot of…weather delays? Cutting through all that and more, here are the top Week 2 takeaways.
Should we say it?
Week 2 Takeaways #1: Are they? For sure? Is Texas? Back?
If Saturdayʻs win told us anything about the Texas Longhorns in 2023, itʻs that they are not here to mess around anymore. Quinn Ewers looked fantastic, stepping up his performance from a week ago against Rice. A 24/38, 349 yard effort with three touchdowns led the way for the Longhorns to come out of Tuscaloosa with a win.
Possibly the biggest positive from the game, Ewers threw the deep ball well. A wide receivers group of Adonai Mitchell, Xavier Worthy and Jordan Whittington has seemingly made Steve Sarkisian more willing to explore the passing game downfield. While Mitchell and Worthy made a lot of highlight catches, tight end JaʻTavion Sanders got Texas deep into Crimson Tide territory multiple times.
Defensively, the Longhorns sacked Alabama QB Jalen Milroe five times, an impressive number considering Milroeʻs escapability. Texas also got two key interceptions, one early in the game that led to a field goal and the other in the second half stopping an Alabama comeback bid.
Watching the team postgame, you could get a sense that this team might actually be for real. The roster is loaded and Ewers is a whole new dude under center. Texas just might be back.
No margin for error in the SEC
Week 2 Takeaways #2: The best conference in college football has not had a great start to the season. The SEC is 3-6 against non-conference Power 5 opponents. SEC teams were on the losing end of each of the biggest games so far. So what will happen the rest of the way?
https://twitter.com/owen_pxp/status/1700750271209459830?s=20While Georgia should run away with the East division, the West has suffered critical out-of-conference losses early in the season, putting an immense stress on each game in conference play. Starting in Week 4, teams could hit the playoff eliminator with matchups such as Auburn at Texas A&M and Ole Miss at Alabama.
Of course, itʻs not impossible, rather more probable, that the SEC sends more than one team to the College Football Playoff, but we are in store for an amazing few weeks early on that could see seasons end in disaster due to early-season struggles, or seasons be saved by heroic performances.
Start considering Notre Dame
Week 2 Takeaways #3: If Saturdayʻs result did not convince you, than Week 5 will. Notre Dame cruised past NC State in Raleigh, 45-24, to reach a 3-0 record. Sam Hartman, who has struggled against the ferocious Wolf Pack defense is the past, sliced and diced for 286 passing yards and four touchdowns in the winning effort. But we have been talking too much about Hartman and not enough about Audric Estime.
The junior running back had been sharing carries with the rest of a deep roster of backs for the first two games, but got his breakout moment in Week 2. Estime rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries. He gets the pleasure of running behind a fantastic offensive line led by top NFL draft prospect at the tackle position, Joe Alt.
Ohio State is on the schedule in two weeks time, and much of the focus will be on the Buckeyes. However, it might the Irish we need to talk about more.
Can Oregon, Utah be trusted?
Week 2 Takeaways #4: Oregon and Utah, two teams that have been bounced around in the Pac-12 championships discussion, played extremely close games on Saturday, but both came out with wins.
Utah had the lead for 17 seconds against Baylor, a long 17 seconds though. Still playing without QB1 Cam Rising, the Utes got a spark on offense from Nate Johnson who used his dual-threat abilities to engineer a long fourth quarter scoring drive.
The close call in Waco, has made Utah fans weary of a daunting road schedule that includes trips to USC and Washington.
As for Oregon, they also got themselves in a bit of a brawl down in Texas. Former Duck, Tyler Shough (that rhymes by the way), spun three touchdowns through the air and added another on the ground. Shough gained 383 total yards, but the big stat was three interceptions. None hurt more than a pick-six to put away the game in the fourth quarter.
Current Duck, Bo Nix, also led his team in passing and rushing, but avoided the turnovers, saving Oregon from an early-season loss.
The two games showed some flaws with two teams that need to play well week-in and week-out to stay atop a tough Pac-12 conference. Hopefully, Risingʻs return will help Utah score some points and Oregonʻs defense will need to step things up against a hungry Colorado team in Week 4.
Maybe next year, Nebraska
Week 2 Takeaways #5: How sad it is, Nebraska got in their own way again. Back-to-back weeks of winnable games ended in defeat and none feels better than the other. Jeff Sims, plagued by turnovers in his past, still has not found the cure. He coughed up the football three times on Saturday, critically harming Nebraskaʻs chances in a 36-14 loss to Colorado.
It is yet to be decided who gets the start against Northern Illinois next week, but it would be hard to say Sims still has his starting spot secured. Heinrich Haarberg got some action against Colorado, going 2/6 for 13 yards and third-stringer Chubba Purdy also saw the field.
The Huskers have an opportunity to get back to .500 with home games against NIU and Louisiana Tech coming up next. The defense looked good, but if turnovers donʻt get figured out, it might just be another year of the same old Nebraska football.
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