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#Nuggets: The magic of App State, a great day out West, and the rise of the basketball schools

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NUGGETS

Only college football can give us a team like App State. Losing a game in which it scored 40 points in a quarter has somehow become the fourth most interesting thing to happen to App State in its first three weeks.

After dropping a 63-61 home game against North Carolina, the Mountaineers beat No. 6 Texas A&M, hosted College GameDay, then pulled off a miracle of all miracles. 

Consider that App State turned the ball over on downs at Troy's 2-yard line, trailing 28-24. The stand occurred in the same end zone App failed to convert the two 2-point tries against North Carolina, indicating some sort of curse over the home team that would surely never be broken.  

App State forced a 4th-and-2, and Troy head coach opted to take a safety. Running five seconds off the clock and the ensuing free kick gave App the ball at its own 47 with 13 seconds and no timeouts. Taking the safety brought a potential game-winning field goal into play, but that became a moot point when Chase Brice's first, second and third down passes fell incomplete. That left one option. A hope and a prayer. 

The volleyball tap was planned. Head Mountaineer Shawn Clark said after the game they call it "Boise." "If you watch the tape, the most important thing was Kaedin Robinson blocking for (Christian Horn) just like we practice it," he said. "Practice execution is game day reality, and our kids took that to heart."

That practice execution has turned Appalachian State into the most entertaining team in college football through the first quarter of the season -- three games that hit an 11 out of 10 on the entertainment scale. 

Next up: James Madison, at home. The Dukes had better be prepared for things to get weird in Boone, because now they seemingly always do.

Tales of Texas A&M's imminent demise were exaggerated, but I'm not sure the Aggies feel significantly different today than they did yesterday. Exchanging Haynes King for Max Johnson at quarterback did not eliminate A&M's offensive problems. 

Johnson went 10-of-20 for 140 yards, but avoided critical mistakes. A&M ran the ball for 124 yards on just 3.9 a pop, and on the night it generated 260 total yards and one touchdown drive longer than 28 yards... but a touchdown drive of any kind was more than Miami could say. 

The Hurricanes registered 128 more yards and 11 more first downs than the Aggies, but gifted them a touchdown with a muffed punt at its own 28 and failed to recover a muffed A&M punt at the Aggies' 7-yard line. Those two bounces of the ball proved to be the difference in No. 24 Texas A&M's 17-9 survival of No. 13 Miami. 

Miami let a winnable game slip away, while A&M got a win, period, which is the important thing, but now begins a stretch of four straight games away from Kyle Field. 

It was a great day in the Pacific Northwest. I wrote ahead of time that it wasn't fair to judge Oregon off the result of the Georgia game. New coaching staff, led by a first-time head coach, transfer quarterback, playing the defending champs in a de facto road game, two thousand miles from home -- it was like opening a new brunch spot on Easter Sunday. But I wrote that expecting a 41-20 final or something like that. It's hard to forget a 49-3 score that could've been 69-3.

That game behind them, Saturday's dates with No. 12 BYU and No. 11 Michigan State were the true debuts of Dan Lanning's Oregon and Kalen DeBoer's Washington... and they both looked pretty darn good.

No. 25 Oregon's first six drives went touchdown, field goal, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown, touchdown in an eventual 41-20 win over BYU, and in their 39-28 win, the only one of Washington's first six drives that didn't find the end zone ended at the Michigan State's 1-yard line. 

On the day, Washington's Michael Penix, Jr., went 24-of-40 for 397 yards and four touchdowns, while Bo Nix was 13-of-18 for 222 yards with five total touchdowns. 

Washington came into the game ranked third in the nation at 571 yards a game, and backed those numbers up 503 yards against a Mel Tucker defense, marking the first time the Huskies hit the 500-yard mark against a Power 5 opponent since 2018. 

It was the first time the Pac-12 beat multiple top-15 non-conference opponents on the same day since New Year's Day 2001. 

And here's the best part: both games happened before network audiences before midnight on the East Coast. Washington beat Michigan State in the ABC Saturday Night Football window, while Oregon's win over BYU aired in the mid-afternoon slot on Fox.

Is it enough to launch either school to the Playoff? Of course not. But both schools, and the Pac-12, needed a day like Saturday. 

And the state schools are off to fantastic starts, too.

It was also a really good day for Georgia. Oregon's BYU win made No. 1 Georgia look even better than they already did. Something else that made Georgia look better: going on the road to dismantle South Carolina. 

Against a team that put 30 on No. 10 Arkansas a week ago, Georgia did not allow a point until the final minute in a game it scored 48 points and racked up 547 yards on 65 plays. They're the No. 1 team until someone beats them. 

It's the Year (or at least the Month) of the Basketball School. When Mark Stoops barked back at John Calipari for having the nerve to publicly refer to Kentucky as a basketball school, it unlocked a mystical force that turned every basketball school into a football powerhouse. That's probably not true, but nearly every traditional basketball power is off to a great start to the football season:

-- Kentucky is 3-0 and ranked in the AP Top 10.
-- Duke is 3-0.
-- North Carolina is 3-0.
-- Indiana is 3-0.
-- UCLA is 3-0.
-- Syracuse is 3-0.
-- Maryland is 3-0.
-- Last but not least, Kansas is 3-0. 

The Jayhawks went to Houston and dropped 48 points on the Cougars in an 18-point victory, which also happens to be a season low in points for KU thus far. Kansas entered Saturday ranked fifth nationally at 8.08 yards a play, then rolled up 438 yards on 66 snaps. 

Next up for Lance Leipold and his fearsome offense: a 3-0 opponent that surrenders just 14.3 points a game, setting up an irresistible force/immovable object battle in a clash of unbeatens. They play Duke. 


FRIES

Seen and Heard

Seen 

An outstanding gesture by Sonny Cumbie and Louisiana Tech. Clemson defensive lineman Bryan Bresee's 15-year-old sister died of brain cancer this week.

After an (approximate) 15-hour weather delay, the Iowa-Nevada game restarted at nearly 1 a.m.

Heard 

Do your self a favor and soak in the radio call of App's hail mary.

The Super 16. Here's this week's NFF-FWAA Super 16 poll.

1. Georgia
2. Alabama
3. Ohio State
4. Michigan
5. USC
6. Oklahoma State
7. Oklahoma
8. Clemson
9. Arkansas
10. Kentucky
11. Oregon
12. Penn State
13. NC State
14. Washington
15. Ole Miss
16. Florida

Odds and Ends

a. Hat tip to Charlotte. After a horrendous start that had many rankings place them No. 131 of 131, Charlotte went to Atlanta and as 19-point underdogs and beat Georgia State, 42-41. 

b. It hasn't come against the best competition, but Minnesota has been downright dominant so far this season. The Gophers entered Saturday first in the nation in total offense (582 yards per game) and total defense (142.5), admittedly against New Mexico State and Western Illinois. On Saturday they pummeled Colorado 49-7, out-gaining the Buffs 500-226.

c. Speaking of dominant, two strong, strong showings by No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 22 Penn State in winning 49-14 at Nebraska and 41-12 at Auburn. Penn State gets Central Michigan, Northwestern and an off week before visiting No. 4 Michigan on Oct. 15, while OU gets Kansas State and a trip to TCU before No. 21 Texas.

d. Nebraska has already turned the page to next season, while Auburn has now lost six straight games to FBS teams other than San Jose State.

e. Moral victories are dangerous territory when you're 4-19, but the 31-28 loss at No. 18 Florida was USF's best performance under Jeff Scott. The Bulls out-gained the Gators by 73 yards and had the ball in Florida's red zone in the final minute until a bad snap and a miss handled deep snap resulted in a missed field goal in a 31-28 loss. The Bulls conclude one of the nation's most difficult non-conference schedules next week (USF opened with BYU, a 50-21 loss) at Louisville before opening AAC play. I'd buy Scott's team as a 6-win outfit right now.

f. Texas followed last week's "moral victory" of a 20-19 loss to No. 1 Alabama with an actual victory that is much more impressive than it appears to the naked eye. UTSA took a 17-7 second quarter lead with a touchdown, an onside kick and a trick play touchdown, and then the Longhorns scored 34 of the game's final 37 points. As recently as last November, previous Texas teams would've found a way to lose that game. 

g. On that subject, Florida State was down to its backup quarterback on Friday night, trailed twice in the fourth quarter, and won anyway. Tate Rodemaker was 6-of-10 for 109 yards with two touchdowns, finding Johnny Wilson for the 2-yard game winner. The 'Noles have a star in Wilson, a 6-foot-7 receiver who hauled in seven balls for 149 yards and two scores.

h. The nation's longest winning streak is dead. Rice snapped Louisiana's 15-game winning streak with a 33-21 victory in Houston. The Owls out-gained the Cajuns 449-175. 

i. It wasn't the nation's longest winning streak, but the nation's oldest winning streak is now over, too. North Dakota State won six straight against FBS teams from 2010 to '16, until FBS teams stopped playing them. Arizona stepped in the ring with the Bison and lived to tell the tale, hitting a 22-yard touchdown pass with just under five minutes to play to pull out a 31-28 win. 

j. With Louisiana's streak gone, the nation's new longest streak belongs to Clemson at nine games. 

k. Eastern Michigan knocked off Arizona State 30-21, and the social team came prepared.

l. We knew Bobby Petrino would ride into Fayetteville ready to play, but no one had Missouri State leading the No. 10 team in the country 17-0 and 27-17 before eventually giving out in a 38-27 loss. The Bears gained 409 yards on the day. 

m. A really nice defensive performance from Matt House at LSU. The Tigers limited Mississippi State to 289 yards (214 passing) in a 31-16 win. Mike Leach attempted four fourth downs, converting one. After converting a 4th-and-1 at his own 22 on the ground, Leach tried and failed three more times, including once from his own 29.  

n. Speaking of defense, No. 20 Ole Miss has allowed 13 points in three games. The Rebels' 42-0 defeat of Georgia Tech was its first shut out of a Power 5 opponent since the 2008 Egg Bowl. Ole Miss has held consecutive opponents to seven points or fewer for the first time since that same '08 season.

o. Syracuse and Purdue combined for 19 points in their first three quarters, and 42 in their final frame. Purdue scored a touchdown with 51 seconds left to take a 29-25 lead, but Syracuse scored with seven to play to take a 32-29 win.


DESSERT

You've made it this far, so here's a photo of a dog at a college football game. After (approximately) 15 hours of delay, the Iowa-Nevada game re-started around 1 a.m. local time.

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