It was supposed to be not that good of a week. Week 2 action of the 2016 College Football season proved otherwise. There were some upsets, botched calls, and great matchups. Check out five things we learned from college football’s 2016 Week 2 action.
1. The Battle At Bristol
Well, the Battle at Bristol was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it was a spectacle I’ll never forget while watching on TV. From the way Bristol Motor Speedway was transformed to the end of the game, it was breathtaking. The national anthem was one of the best I’ve ever watched, from the crowd creating a patriotic display to the fireworks and flyover, an impressive effort. Seeing the field for the first time on TV, in which one was not sure how they pulled it all off, but it worked masterfully. “Enter Sandman” playing after the Virginia Tech Hokies’ went up 14-0 on the Tennessee Volunteers. Tech fans were outnumbered by a long shot, but for a moment there, Bristol was shaking from the jumping. But with all that, there was still a football game that was played, and the home team Volunteers pulled away with the victory. I hope we see another transformation of a NASCAR arena to a college football stadium in the not too distant future.
2. The zebras owe Oklahoma State a huge apology
In one of the biggest shockers of this young season, Central Michigan Chippewas upset No. 22-ranked Oklahoma State by three points, 30-27. It was tight throughout, but this game will always be remembered for what happened, and for what should not have happened, at the end of the game. The referees incorrectly gave Central Michigan a chance they should not have had. The rules state that live-ball fouls automatically allow for one final play at the end of games. Kudos to the Chippewas for executing when they had that final chance. It just stinks that they got it in the first place, especially for the Cowboys and their fans.
3. Deshaun Watson and Clemson wilting under the spotlight
What in the world is wrong with Clemson, and who stole Watson’s mojo? Two weeks into the 2016 season and the No. 2 team in the nation has barely beaten a couple of opponents that would have been nothing but speed bumps last year. Against Auburn and Troy, the Tigers have won by a combined total of 12 points. Thankfully the team’s defense has held things together because Watson and the offense have been a miserable wreck. And we’d be remiss not to mention the ridiculous decision by receiver Ray-Ray McCloud, who dropped the ball in front of the end zone on a punt return.
Through the first two games, last year’s third-place Heisman finalist has completed just 52.9 percent of his passes, averaged just 6.2 yards per attempt and has thrown four touchdowns compared to three interceptions passing the ball. At this point, it seems the pressure of last year’s success and this year’s high expectations have gotten to Watson.Picked by many as the top Heisman favorite before the season began, his stock is falling like a rock. On a program-wide level, Clemson needs to find some solutions right now. The Tigers are sure to fall in the polls next week after a second straight dismal performance against the unimpressive competition.
4. Penn State and Pitt reunion game needs to be regular again
For the first time in 16 years, Penn State and Pitt played a game against one another, and it was a barn-burner. Pitt won the game, 42-39, holding off a furious comeback bid by the Nittany Lions, who were down by three touchdowns in the second quarter.
This was a game many suspected would tilt heavily for Penn State, but it’s clear these two programs aren’t so far apart on the talent scale, after all. James Conner continues to amaze us with his performance after surviving cancer. He totaled 146 yards and scored twice for the Panthers, who tallied up 341 yards total on the ground.
Not to be outdone, sophomore running back Saquon Barkley finished with 130 total yards and five touchdowns of his own. In the end, Penn State just couldn’t quite pull off the come-from-behind victory. More than 70,000 people filled the stands to watch this storied rivalry play out once more. For decades, these two teams battled annually. Sadly, that is no longer the case. But based on Saturday’s outcome, that’s a shame.
5. Louisville’s Lamar Jackson is a legitimate Heisman contender
For the second week in a row this year and the fourth in a row dating back to 2015, Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson had himself a monster game. The sophomore took the No. 13-ranked Cardinals into the Carrier Dome and they took ownership of the stadium, winning 62-28. Jackson totaled 610 yards, passing for one touchdown and running in four more.
It was a commanding performance, and his hurdling touchdown in the second quarter acts as his first true Heisman moment. Through just two games (six quarters, to be precise), Jackson has totaled 1,015 yards and 13 touchdowns. Despite the fact that Louisville has yet to face a defensively dominant team, these are numbers that cannot be dismissed on that basis.
After all, other top Heisman hopefuls have had the same kind of chance to make a mark like this. None have. Up next for Jackson and the Cardinals is a test that will define the season and could determine his Heisman hopes. Florida State will be coming into town for the first monumental ACC battle of the season.