Even though Week 3 wasn't initially expected to feature many headline-grabbing matchups, college football enthusiasts were in for a delightful surprise. This past weekend turned out to be anything but sleepy, as several heavily favored teams found themselves in thrilling and unexpected battles. It's a vivid reminder that in the world of college football, every game has the potential to deliver heart-pounding moments and jaw-dropping upsets. Let's dive into the unexpected excitement of Week 3! Here are my Top 5 Games of Week 3:
Game #5: Florida Upsets No. 11 Tennessee in SEC Showdown
Final Score: Florida 29 - Tennesee 16
In a stunning display of dominance, the Florida Gators pulled off a major upset by defeating the 11th-ranked Tennessee Volunteers 29-16 at home in the swamp on Saturday night. This victory marked the Gators' remarkable 10th consecutive home win in the series, giving head coach Billy Napier a much needed signature victory over the the rival Vols.
Florida's Running Back Trevor Etienne stole the show, delivering an outstanding performance, rushing for 172 yards on 23 carries, a feat that helped the Gators maintain control of the ball for over 37 minutes. This was a monumental win, particularly for Billy Napier and the Gators, as it signified the team perhaps finding its identity under Napier's leadership. It's for this reason that this game has made it to my top 5, standing out not for its closeness in score, but for its profound impact on the Gators' season trajectory.
For the Volunteers, this loss on the road was undoubtedly a setback. It also served as sweet revenge for the Gators, who sought to bounce back from last season's painful 38-33 defeat in Knoxville. With this showdown victory, Florida showcased their potential as a force to be reckoned with in the 2023 SEC East race.
Game #4: Boston College Almost Shocks #3 Florida State on Red Bandana Day
Final Score: Florida State 31 - Boston College 29
In what was expected to be an easy victory for the #3 ranked team in the country, it was anything but for Florida State, as they barely hung on against Boston College on the road. Florida State, a strong contender to win the ACC and break through as a college football playoff contender, was a massive 25-point favorite heading into Saturday's game in Chestnut Hill. However, Boston College had an extra layer of motivation as they were playing the annual "Red Bandana Game," in honor of former student Welles Crowther, who saved as many as 18 lives during the Sept. 11 attacks.
Boston College always seems to elevate their performance on this emotional day, and this year was no different. They nearly shocked #3 Florida State but ultimately fell short, with a final score of 31-29. The Seminoles started slowly, allowing BC to take a 10-3 lead before FSU found their rhythm and scored 28 unanswered points, taking a 31-10 lead with about 11 minutes left in the 3rd quarter.
The Eagles, who may have found a star, surged back behind quarterback Thomas Castellanos, who upstaged Heisman contender Jordan Travis. Castellanos threw for 305 yards and a touchdown, while adding 95 yards rushing and another touchdown on the ground. The Eagles outgained Florida State by 457 to 340 in total yards and held the Seminoles to only 1-9 on third-down conversions while forcing two turnovers.
Despite the impressive comeback, costly penalties hindered Boston College's chances at an upset. As the most penalized team in college football, they committed 18 penalties for 131 yards, including a crucial facemask penalty on a 3rd and 7 stop with one minute left in the game. This gave Florida State the first down they needed to run out the clock and escape with a 31-29 win. With the narrow win, Florida State can now turn its attention to Clemson, as they will face the Tigers next week in what promises to be an epic showdown in the ACC.
Game #3: Vanderbilt Commodores vs. UNLV Rebels - A Wild Game out West
Final Score: UNLV 40 - Vanderbilt 37
In what was a rollercoaster of a game, the face-off between the Vanderbilt Commodores and the UNLV Rebels takes the third spot on my top 5 games of the week. The game was a spectacle of offensive prowess, with over 800 yards of total offense being recorded, including an impressive 420 by Vanderbilt. However, as my previous analyses have shown, being held to under 100 yards rushing and losing the turnover battle is often a recipe for an upset - and that's precisely what unfolded in this exhilarating contest. Despite racking up over 420 yards in offense, the Commodores turned the ball over 4 times and only secured 89 yards on the ground.
UNLV, once trailing 17-0 in the first half, came storming back to take a 30-17 lead in the third quarter. Vanderbilt responded, tying the game at 30 in a wild fourth quarter that saw 6 different scoring drives. The final 2:30 minutes were a wild ride as both teams traded touchdowns, leveling the score at 37-37. But it was UNLV and their kicker, Jose Pizano, who had the final say. Pizano nailed a 36-yard field goal with just 5 seconds left on the clock, securing a thrilling victory for the Rebels.
Game #2: Colorado Buffaloes' Double OT Victory Over Rival Colorado State
Final Score: Colorado 43 - Colorado State 35
In a thrilling game that kept fans on the edge of their seats, the Colorado Buffaloes defeated their rival, Colorado State, in double overtime. This contest, which saw the Buffs enter as a 24-point favorite, came down to the wire and ended in a dramatic finish. Trailing 28-17 in the fourth quarter, Colorado mounted an impressive comeback, scoring 18 unanswered points to take a 35-28 lead over the Rams. However, the resilient Rams managed to tie the game at 35 with an eight-yard touchdown pass, sending the game into overtime.
The second overtime period was marked by a pivotal moment. Shedeur Sanders connected with Michael Harrison on an 18-yard touchdown pass and followed it up with a successful two-point conversion. This gave Coach Prime and the Buffaloes a 43-35 lead. Colorado State showed promise and seemed poised to pull off an upset. However, four turnovers proved too costly to overcome. The Buffaloes sealed the victory with their third interception of the day in double overtime, maintaining their perfect record for the season at 3-0.
This game was a testament to the Buffaloes' resilience and determination, making it a worthy contender for the #2 spot on my list of top games of the week.
Game #1: Mizzou Triumphs Over Kansas State With a Dramatic Walk-off Field Goal
Final Score: Missouri 30 - Kansas State 27
The top game of the week was an electrifying encounter between the Missouri Tigers and the #15 ranked Kansas State Wildcats. The game unfolded in Columbia, Missouri, where Mizzou kicker Harrison Mevis will forever be remembered, as he drilled a 61-yard walk-off field goal as time expired, handing the Tigers a thrilling 30-27 victory.
As anticipated, this was a tightly contested matchup that saw a combined total of 838 yards of offense. Missouri's quarterback Brady Cook was on fire, throwing for 356 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions. His favorite target, Luther Burden III, was equally impressive, hauling in seven catches for 114 yards and two scores. Cook also added a score on the ground, contributing to the Tigers' spectacular home victory over the reigning Big 12 champs.
While both offenses dazzled in a back-and-forth contest, it was Mizzou's kicker who stole the show. Not only did Mevis connect on three out of four field goals, but he also hit the improbable 61-yarder as time expired to give the Tigers the win. This extraordinary feat has catapulted this game to the #1 spot on my list of top games of the week.
These five games from Week 3 of college football showcased the heart-pounding excitement and unpredictability that make the sport so beloved by fans. Whether it's a stunning upset, a thrilling comeback, or a dramatic walk-off, college football never fails to deliver unforgettable moments on the gridiron.
Thank you for joining me in recapping the top 5 games of college football in Week 3. I hope these thrilling matchups left you as exhilarated as they left me. Remember, college football always has the power to surprise and inspire, and this week was no exception.
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