Last Updated 5:37 PM, September 21, 2023

Week 3 roundup: Colorado classic, UF stunner and more

The most successful walk-ons in recent college football history
1:54
3:10 pm, September 15, 2023
12:34 pm, September 17, 2023

🌙 Saturday night recap: Looking back at all the action from yesterday's final window of football

Week 3 saved much of its madness for the late-night window, with a top-15 upset, Texas and Colorado's struggles against Group of Five opponents and one of the sport's fiercest rivalries all pushing up against the stroke of midnight. 

For all the early risers in the college football world, here's a look at the biggest storylines you might've missed from Saturday night:

Colorado, Coach Prime escape in double overtime, remain perfect

Colorado’s typically dynamic offense wallowed in a penalty-ridden and, as coach Deion Sanders put it midweek, “personal” first-half affair against in-state rivals Colorado State. 

Despite benefiting from a whopping 128 CSU penalty yards, Colorado’s offense was limited to just seven points and a sold-out Folsom Field celebrated its first College Gameday this century in stunned silence trailing 21-14. 

CSU twice looked set to extend its advantage from the Colorado red zone, thwarted by a Shilo Sanders forced fumble and a blocked field goal respectively. The Rams would briefly extend their lead to two scores — Brayden Fowler-Necosi’s third passing score was sandwiched by a pair of Buffs field goals — and a perfectly-executed pooch punt pinned Colorado inside its own two-yard line. 

Trailing by eight with just two minutes to drive the entire field, early Heisman candidate Shedeur Sanders executed a near perfect drive. The former FCS phenom was 5/6 through the air for 106 yards, — for the bemused mathematicians out there, CU committed a pair of false starts — the final 45 of which came on a touchdown connection with Jimmy Horn Jr. just thirty seconds before the final whistle. 

Colorado would convert the subsequent two-point conversion, sending the game into overtime, and emerge with a decisive stand in double OT to remain perfect on the year.  

Gators shut down No. 11 Tennessee for first SEC ranked win since 2019

It was like gazing into a cathartic mirror for frustrated Florida fans Saturday, as No. 11 Tennessee struggled with Floridian pitfalls Saturday in a thorough 29-16 defeat in Gainesville. 

A return to sea level seemed to heal the sputtering offense Florida trotted out against Utah in Week 1, opening the game with a seven-minute drive to the fringes of Tennesee's redzone. But as kicker Adam Mihalek's 41-yard effort was blocked and Tennessee surged in front 7-0, looking for its first win at the Swamp in two decades, Florida's offense opted for a more direct approach on its second try — running back Trevor Etienne caught just a glimpse of the distant orange-end zone and refused to be denied, bowling over Volunteer DB's en route to a game-changing 62-yard touchdown. 

Poor tackling and penalties, of which the Gators committed nine against the Utes in Week 1, continued to swing unfamiliarly in UF's favor. On a short pass from QB Graham Mertz, Montrell Johnson shedded a hapless Vol defender, pushing UT near a dozen missed tackles in the first half, and scored on his second TD of the game to give the Gators a resounding 26-7 lead at half. 

The Gators largely chewed clock and relied on their defense for a pair of crucial fourth-down stops, allowing just a consolation Joe Milton touchdown in the final minutes to ice a thorough, SEC-opening win.

South Alabama routs Oklahoma State for second Power 5 win in program history

South Alabama has enjoyed a meteoric rise since playing its first ever football game just over 14 years ago against Hargrove Military Academy, continuing its ascent Saturday with the most impressive result in program history, battering Oklahoma State 33-7 Saturday

USA surged to a stunning but fully deserved 23-0 halftime lead in Stillwater, employing a balanced offensive attack — the Jaguars out-gained OSU at half 232-70 behind an almost even division of passing and rushing yards — and limited the rotation Cowboy quarterbacks to a collective 7/17 performance. 

Carter Bradley, meanwhile, capped off his stellar half off football under center with his finest moment of the stanza, finding a streaking Caulin Lacy down the right sideline for a 57-yard touchdown grab that extended the Jaguar lead to four scores. 

Oklahoma State would finally find its way into the endzone, as Jaden Nixon plunged in on 4th and goal, but scant hopes of a Cowboy comeback were promptly stamped out by ten USA points in just two minutes. 

No. 4 Texas avoids upset, pulls away late from Wyoming

Mired in a 10-10 deadlock against Wyoming entering the fourth quarter, quarterback Quinn Ewers gathered his No. 4 Texas team and implored his teammates to make a difference in the final period of play. 

So as Longhorn wide receiver Xavier Worthy caught a screen pass along the line of scrimmage and turned upfield he internalized his quarterback's message, shedding a tackle, sprinting along the right sideline and making a final defender miss to restore Texas' lead. 

Texas' defense would summarily rally behind Ewers' words and Worthy's tour de force — after being bullied last time out on a game-tying, 10-minute Cowboy drive, the Longhorns rallied to force two punts and a backbreaking pick six. UT had added another touchdown before defensive back Jerrin Thompson's crib call, putting Texas up 31-10 and dashing Wyoming's spirited upset bid.

West Virginia shuts down Pitt, Jurkovec in rivalry win 

Few have termed the "Backyard Brawl" rejuvenating throughout its fierce, nearly 130 year history, but it was exactly what a troubled West Virginia defense needed, stifling local rivals Pitt 17-6 Saturday in Morgantown. 

West Virginia slotted in as just the 116th best defense in America last season, surrendering nearly 33 points per game and yielding 419 yards of average opposing offense. 2023 opened with a similar story, falling 38-15 against Penn State while forcing just a single punt, but the Mountaineers defense looked rejuvenated by a sold-out and full-voiced crowd. 

Pitt quarterback Phil Jurkovec looked improved early after a difficult outing against Cincinnati, leading the Panthers 67 yards on their opening drive for a chip shot field goal and an early 3-0 lead. West Virginia stiffened thereafter, however, forcing two punts and an interception to give the Mountaineers a 7-6 halftime advantage. 

More handsy defending from the Mountaineers forced another Jurkovec interception out of the locker room, growing the WVU lead to 11. West Virginia would enjoy a benign fourth quarter, limiting the Panthers to just 30 yards and cruising to a massive rivalry win.

4:08 am, September 17, 2023

⌚️ Rams have the time: CSU up by 7 at half against No. 18 Colorado

It's Coach Prime's world tonight but Colorado State surely has the time as they are putting up a fight against the No. 18 Buffaloes. Colorado State's QB Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi is nearing 200 passing yards at the half and the people are talking.

Check this out: Four minutes left into the second quarter and Ram's redshirt freshman QB is taking chances as he connected with Louis Brown for a 15-yard TD pass.

2:20 am, September 17, 2023

💨 In a flash: Xavier Worthy speeds past Wyoming to restore No. 4 Texas' lead

Mired in a deadlock against Wyoming entering the fourth quarter, quarterback Quinn Ewers gathered his No. 4 Texas team and implored his teammates to make a difference in the final period of play. 

So as Longhorn wide receiver Xavier Worthy caught a screen pass along the line of scrimmage and turned upfield he internalized his quarterback's messaging, shedding a tackle, sprinting along the right sideline and making a final defender miss to restore Texas' lead. 17-10 Longhorns early in the fourth quarter

1:36 am, September 17, 2023

🤘Longhorn letdown? No. 4 Texas up just three at half against Wyoming

Texas finally cracked the AP top-5 Sunday after 14 years of mediocrity and agitation in Austin, a distinction the Longhorns have seemed to struggle with through their opening half of football against Wyoming. 

The Cowboys announced their competitive intentions within the first few minutes, as Wyoming back Harrison Waylee found a stretch of green along the right sideline and tightroped his way into the endzone for a 62-yard touchdown score. 

UT managed a response four minutes later, knocking through a field goal to trim the deficit to four before ultimately assuming the lead on a one-yard TD pass early in the second quarter. These were rare bright spots for a sputtering Longhorn offense, however, as Texas was forced into three first-half punts and quarterback Quinn Ewers managed just 57 yards and a sub-50 completion percentage. 

1:02 am, September 17, 2023

🍊Orange you glad: Syracuse up big at half as Shrader shreds Purdue defense

Syracuse's QB Garrett Shrader has been solid enough through the air, nearing 150 passing yards at the halftime break, but it's the senior quarterback's legs that have made the defense look truly silly. 

14 carries totaled more than 100 yards on the ground for Shrader, who duped the entire Purdue defense with a fake handoff at the three-yard line, rolled out right and waltzed into a gaping endzone to give the Orange an early 7-0 lead.

Shrader's next score was all speed, as he stepped up in the pocket and took off down field. The shifty Shrader shimmied past the helpless Purdue safety and barreled into the endzone for another impressive score.

Sharing the love down near the goal line this time, Shrader would hand the ball off to LeQuint Allen for a two-yard score minutes before halftime, restoring Case's two-score advantage. 21-7 Syracuse 

12:45 am, September 17, 2023

🐆 Welcome to the jungle: South Alabama dominant at half vs. Oklahoma St., looking for second-ever Power 5 win

South Alabama has enjoyed a meteoric rise since playing its first ever football game just over 14 years ago against Hargrove Military Academy, and the Jaguars are now 30 minutes away from their most impressive result in program history. 

USA holds a stunning but fully deserved 23-0 lead in Stillwater currently, employing a balanced offensive attack — the Jaguars are out-gaining OSU 232-70 behind an almost even division of passing and rushing yards — and limiting the rotation Cowboy quarterbacks to a collective 7/17 performance. 

Carter Bradley, meanwhile, capped off his stellar half off football with his finest moment yet, finding a streaking Caulin Lacy down the sideline for a 57-yard touchdown grab and extending the Jaguar lead to four scores. 

12:33 am, September 17, 2023

🕺 Makin' em miss: Johnson turns another missed tackle into TD, Gators lead 26-7 at half

Houdini must be among the raucous 90,000 fans packed into the Swamp Saturday evening, as the Gator ball-carriers have made Tennessee tacklers look silly through 30 minutes of football. 

Florida quarterback Graham Mertz turned toward Montrell Johnson on the swing pass and the former All-Sun Belt star pushed the Vols near a dozen missed tackles, easily dispatching of his defender with a stiff arm and surging past the pylon for six. 

Florida scored a touchdown on its final four drives of the first half, transforming an early 7-0 deficit into an assured 26-7 lead heading into the locker room.

12:04 am, September 17, 2023

💪 Weight room: Etienne bounces off defenders for 62-yard TD, Florida up big on No. 11 Tennessee early

Florida running back Trevor Etienne caught just a glimpse of the orange-and-blue "Gators" printed on the distant end zone and refused to be denied, bowling over Volunteer DB's en route to a game-changing 62-yard touchdown. 

The Gators remained behind by just one following a blocked PAT attempt, but a return to sea level seems to have healed the sputtering offense Florida trotted out against Utah in Week 1. Florida averaged 68 yards on its opening three drives, the latter of which ended with a four-yard touchdown rush from Montrell Johnson to give UF its first lead of the evening — a failed two-point conversion kept the tally at 12-7. 

After a lengthy interception return, quarterback Graham Mertz converted a short field into six with a one-yard touchdown run. 19-7 Florida as The Swamp looks poised to claim another marquee victim early. 

11:13 pm, September 16, 2023

🏠 Heading for the home stretch: Recapping the biggest headlines ahead of Saturday's final games

No. 10 Alabama ekes past South Florida as QB concerns continue.

The third time might not be the charm, at least in the demanding eyes of Alabama coach Nick Saban, but third-string quarterback Ty Simpson did just enough to see the Tide through an unexpected dogfight with the Bulls. 

A checkered start from Jalen Milroe under center against Texas in week 2 saw the sophomore gunslinger benched for Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner, but mew blood only worsened Bama's offensive woes, as in five possessions the Tide were forced into five punts and limited to just 78 yards overall.

Saban rolled out his third-string QB Ty Simpson after being a gifted a short field and the freshman has led Alabama to all 10 points Saturday as the Tide lead by just a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. 

No. 1 Georgia pulls away from South Carolina in second half

Throughout Georgia's FBS-best 19-game win streak, the Bulldogs have limped out to a number of unsettling starts before flexing their muscles in the second half. However, UGA has rarely faced such a precarious deficit in the Kirby Smart era, as a quick-fire South Carolina drive sent the Gamecocks into the locker room leading by 11.

 After an anemic first half amounting to just three points, UGA quarterback Carson Beck and his boys looked reborn out of the locker room, completing a pair of surgical drives that totaled fewer than four minutes a piece to take an early second half lead. A dominant Spencer Rattler was bottled up by Georgia's resurgent defense, as the Gamecocks failed to score in the second half and tossed a pair of interceptions to cripple their comeback effort.

Cash Jones would scamper in for a 13-yard score early in the fourth quarter and Bulldogs maintained their 10-point advantage through the final nine minutes.  

No. 20 North Carolina routs Minnesota, improves to 3-0

It turns out there is an answer to the unstoppable force versus immovable object conundrum, as long as Drake Maye is involved. The Heisman finalist and North Carolina quarterback shredded the vaunted Minnesota passing defense, currently ranked fourth in the country per expected yards allowed, totaling more than 400 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Carolina's 31-13 win Saturday. 

Maye opened up the Minnesota secondary on UNC's very first drive, looking well beyond the chains on 3rd and 12 to connect with Nate McCollum for a 46-yard touchdown connection. Another bomb from Maye, this time a 55-yard bomb to Kamari Morales in the waking moments of the second quarter, allowed the Heels to double its lead shortly thereafter. 

The Gophers would narrow the deficit to a single possession early in the third quarter, but a prompt 10-0 response from UNC buried Minnesota late in the fourth quarter. 

 

10:34 pm, September 16, 2023

☘️ Lucky and good: Washington scores on tipped ball to extend lead

Michael Penix Jr.'s elite accuracy is even guiding tipped passes toward Husky receivers! The early heisman candidate has been nearly perfect in his stiffest test of the early season, completing 17/21 passes thus far at Spartan Stadium for over 300 yards in the first half alone. 

Leading 14-0 early in the second quarter, a rare mistake from the lefty gunslinger met the outstretch hands of a Michigan State linebacker. The ensuing tip, often primed for interceptions, fell fortunately into the arms of Ja'Lynn Polk, who took full advantage of his opportunity by shedding a tackle and diving into the endzone for six. 

Penix would tack on another passing TD minutes later, extending Washington's lead to 28-0 before halftime.  

9:55 pm, September 16, 2023

🚩 Crimson crisis: 'Bama-USF tied at half as Tide unimpressive at quarterback

A shoreside get-right game for Alabama after a disappointing defeat against Texas has turned into a dogfight, as the Tide just entered the locker room deadlocked at three. A checkered start from Jalen Milroe under center against the Longhorns in week 2 saw the sophomore gunslinger benched for Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner.

New blood only worsened Bama's offensive woes, as in five possessions the Tide were forced into five punts and limited to just 78 yards overall. Gifted a short field via a USF fumble deep in Bulls territory, Alabama coach Nick Saban rolled out his third-string QB Ty Simpson, but the freshman was limited to an incompletion and a sack as the Tide settled for a field goal. 

Questions swirl Saban's camp, facing an uncomfortable deadlock against USF and a full-blown quarterback controversy. 

9:38 pm, September 16, 2023

🐾 Dawgs pounce: Georgia quickly retakes lead after 11-point halftime deficit

South Carolina looked ready to replicate their Sanford Stadium magic from 2019, stifling Carson Beck and the Georgia offense to take a 14-3 lead into the locker room. 

Beck's boys look reborn in the second half, sparking a pair of scoring drives of less than four minutes. Dillon Bell surged into the endzone after Beck surgically navigated a short field as Georgia takes their first lead of the game. 17-14 Georgia

8:49 pm, September 16, 2023

🕕 Mid-day recap: A look around Week 3's biggest storylines

Game-winning field goals, interception mania and Group of Five upsets have defined a thrilling afternoon of Week 3 football.

Here's a quick rundown of everything you need to know so far through five hours of Saturday football.

Top-ranked Georgia trails by two scores at half

South Carolina is no stranger to stunners at Sanford Stadium, and the Gamecocks seem to be working their magic once again through 30 minutes of football. No. 1 Georgia entered Saturday with the longest active winning streak in FBS football at 19 but fell behind inside six minutes Saturday. 

Spencer Rattler, who was limited to just 112 yards in his first crack at the Bulldogs last season, has looked much improved Saturday, completing an impressive 16/18 of his passes for 152 yards and broke the early deadlock with a 17-yard touchdown pass. An incisive, half-ending drive for South Carolina took just five plays, including a 35-yard connection with Xavier Leguette, and ended with a two-yard TD score to give the Gamecocks a 14-3 lead. 

Mizzou's Harrison Nevis drills 61-yard field goal to walk-off No. 15 K-State

After a 34-yard score from Mizzou's Luther Burden III, who excelled from the receiver position with over 100 yards, was answered by a K-State field goal, the Tigers used the final seconds of Saturday's see-sawing affair to mount a heroic drive into the expansive range of place kicker Harrison Mevis. MU's narrow window of opportunity appeared to evaporate, however, after a thoughtless delay of game penalty drove them back another five yards. 

Coach Eli Drinkwitz used the ensuing confusing to ruminate a now 61-yard field goal try and ultimately entrusted his sure-legged kicker. The senior fired his try end-over-end through the uprights, leading a sold-out Memorial Stadium to pour onto the field in celebration as the Tigers picked up their first ranked win in nearly three years. 

Wisconsin, Penn State defenses combine for 11 turnovers, pull away late

Upset-inclined fans around America began to shift their attention toward Penn State and Wisconsin, with both programs entering the third-quarter in tight affairs against Illinois and Georgia Southern. 

However, each team's leaned on their high-powered defenses — the Badgers and Nits would snag five and four interceptions respectively along with a fumble a piece — as Wisconsin scored 21-straight points to top GSU 35-14 while Drew Allar came on late to power Penn State past Illinois 30-13.

6:30 pm, September 16, 2023

Pick 5️⃣: Wisconsin sets modern program record with fifth interception

A quick glance at the numbers would have you believe Georgia State is well on its way to a monumental upset at Camp Randall — the Eagles have outgained UW by more than 100 yards for four more first downs. 

However, the Georgia Southern passing attack has found a familiar pitfall: the eager arms of Wisconsin's DBs. GSU quarterback Davis Brin has now tossed his fifth interception, misfiring his end zone pass toward diving Wisconsin safety Hunter Wahlor Saturday for the second time Saturday. 

Wisconsin once again turned defense into offense, with Wisconsin's famous offensive line opening up GSU's downtrodden front seven through a dominant 80-yard drive. Running back Braelon Allen managed to waltz through a gaping hole and into the end zone, doubling Wisconsin's lead. 28-14 Badgers heading into the fourth quarter.