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College Football Recap: Week 2

September 11, 2012

While the first week of games was the week of the near-upset, this past weekend was the week of the actual upset. Four ranked teams – No. 8 Arkansas, No. 13 Wisconsin, No. 16 Nebraska and No. 18 Oklahoma St. – went down hard.

The battle for worst loss was a tie between Arkansas, who lost to a Louisiana-Monroe team that’s won only 19 games – and none of note – the past four years, and Wisconsin, who lost to Oregon St., a team the Badgers beat 35-0 last year.

Arkansas played the second half of its game without stud quarterback Tyler Wilson, who suffered a head injury in the first half. But that’s still no excuse for a team that was ranked eighth in the nation and had somewhat legitimate national title hopes. The Hogs went up 28-7 five minutes into the third quarter and should’ve been able to put away the Warhawks easily from there. But behind ULM QB Kolten Browning’s 481 yards of offense, the ‘Hawks outscored Arkansas 27-3 throughout the rest of regulation and overtime, including a 4th-and-10 23-yard touchdown pass with only 47 seconds left to tie the game and, after a field goal in Arkansas’ first OT possession, a 15-yard TD run by Browning on 4th-and-1 to seal the win.

Arkansas wasn’t able to run out the clock with a three-touchdown lead due to the ineffectiveness of its running game. The Hogs only ran for 96 yards on 26 attempts Saturday, and lead back Knile Davis only averaged 3.8 yards a carry on his 16 totes. Inbetween giving up three touchdowns and the lead, Arkansas only ran the ball five times on five drives, combining for only nine yards. Davis, who was missed last season with a leg injury, ran for 1,322 yards in 2010, and he’ll have to regain that form to help Arkansas recover from this disaster.

Wisconsin traveled to Corvallis to face off against an Oregon St. team that only won three games last year. Instead of acquiring what should’ve been an easy win the Badgers stumbled to a 10-7 loss, going over 58 minutes without scoring. Montee Ball, a Heisman finalist last year, had his second straight dismal performance – this one a 61-yard showing with no TDs. That’s his first game in the last two seasons without a touchdown, and his 4.1 yards per carry was his second-worst of the last two seasons – only better than the 3.8 yards a carry he had a week before.

Most of us were expecting the Wisconsin offense to regress a bit due to the loss of Russell Wilson and several key offensive linemen. But we didn’t see it happening this badly. The Badgers averaged 43 points a game through their first two games last year; that number’s dropped to 16.5 this year. A third straight trip to the Rose Bowl will be a tough task to accomplish, even though the Badgers are in a B1G Leaders division with two teams banned from the postseason. Wisconsin faces at least three more tough run defenses – Ohio St., Michigan St. and Ilinois – and has to make a trip to Nebraska, also.

UCLA QB Brett Hundley runs away from a Nebraska defender Saturday in a 36-30 Bruins win.

What good will Nebraska collected after a quality Week 1 win against Southern Miss the Huskers gave it all right back in a 36-30 shootout loss to UCLA. Nebraska allowed freshman quarterback to throw for 305 yards and four touchdowns. Senior RB Johnathan Franklin put up 217 yards on the ground – his second straight game of 200+ rushing yards. In all, the Huskers allowed 653 yards of offense. After an impressive opening day, Nebraska QB Taylor Martinez only threw for 179 yards, completing only four of 14 passes after halftime.

The Nebraska offense will score plenty of points, even with Martinez’s erratic play. The bigger question is the defense, which obviously has some problems. The Huskers will have to contain Braxton Miller, LeVeon Bell and Denard Robinson, and even someone like Marqueis Gray could give them problems. With Ohio St. banned from the postseason and Wisconsin and Nebraska showing severe signs of weakness early on, it’s clear the B1G only has one true national title hope – Michigan St.

Oklahoma St. came into the season No. 19 in both polls. After beating Savannah St. in a game that taught us absolutely nothing, the Cowboys moved up to 18th in the AP poll and 16th in the USA Today poll once again proving that preseason polls are stupid and dumb and every other derogatory adjective you can think of. After losing the best QB-WR duo in school history and naming a true freshman the starting QB, why should the Cowboys be ranked so high in the preseason and then move up after playing an exhibition?

Well, at least we don’t have to worry about that anymore, because the Cowboys got demolished 59-38 at Arizona. The Cowboys gave up at least 10 points in every quarter, 636 yards of offense and 200 yards rushing. QB Wes Lunt threw for 436 yards and four touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions. Expect more of the same throughout the season with the Cowboys, whose defense is better than what it showed Saturday. But in the battles with TCU, Kansas St., West Virginia and Oklahoma, I’ll take the teams with the more experienced signal callers, receivers and defenses. I don’t see any way Oklahoma St. is ranked in the top 16 at the end of the season.

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