Skip to main content

FootballScoop's Sunday Superlatives: Week 2

Arguably the biggest regular-season win in program history earns Oregon our top honor this week.

One of the frequent, correct critiques of the way college football is covered is that too much focus is placed upon the race for the national championship. One hundred thirty teams compete in FBS with 130 goals for their respective seasons, and only a handful involve the Playoff.

As such, each week we'll crown our National Champion of the week, coordinators of the week, and hand out awards to that week's standouts.

National Champion of the Week: Oregon

As if there could be any other choice. 

Do something that hasn't been done in 30 years and you're going to win accolades, especially when that thing is as difficult as beating an AP Top 5 team in their own house. No. 13 Oregon's 35-28 defeat of No. 3 Ohio State was the Pac-12's first such win since Stanford beat No. 1 Notre Dame in 1990. It was also Oregon's first win over Ohio State in 10 tries, and Ryan Day's first regular season loss in his 24th regular season game.

Offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead gets the game ball here. He was a step ahead of his counterpart Kerry Coombs all afternoon, repeatedly beating Ohio State's defense with the same counter run for multiple touchdowns.

The Ducks opened the scoring with a 10-play, 99-yard touchdown drive, converting a 3rd-and-11 for 20 yards and scoring three plays later. Oregon's next touchdown came on a 14-yard toss to CJ Verdell on 4th-and-1. 

"It was a game-changer," Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal said of the coast-to-coast march.

Verdell rushed 20 times for 161 yards and two touchdowns, including a 77-yard burst that put Oregon up 21-7 early in the third quarter. Anthony Brown hit 17 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns -- to eleven different receivers.

On defense, Oregon withstood Ohio State's passing attack -- considering how good the Buckeye receivers are "withstood" is the best verb one can hope for... they threw for 484 yards with three wideouts going over 100 yards -- by playing timely defense. Ohio State was 2-of-5 on fourth down, all three stops coming in Duck territory, the last of the bunch at the 8-yard line. 

Ohio State had the ball with a chance to tie twice in the fourth quarter. The first time ended in a 4-and-out, the second in an interception, the game's only turnover. And Oregon did it all without college football's best pass rusher in Kayvon Thibodeaux.

"It's hard to express in words the magnitude of coming out here down a couple guys due to injuries and just playing gritty, gutsy football," Cristobal said. 

Oregon should rocket into the Top 5 -- they'll be in mine -- and, for the first time since the Obama Administration -- the Pac-12 is a serious fixture in the national championship conversation. 

Time will tell if Oregon lifts the trophy in January, but they are the undisputed national champions of Week 2.

Offensive Coordinator of the Week: Kendal Briles, Arkansas

I have no idea if he watched the game or not, but somewhere in Illinois Bret Bielema was feeling hot when Arkansas's 40-21 demolition of No. 21 Texas went final.

Facing a defense utterly powerless to stop them, the Hogs were in position to add another touchdown to their tally after backup quarterback Malik Hornsby scampered 29 yards to create a 1st-and-goal with under a minute to play. Rather than score, Arkansas did something Bielema once called "borderline erotic." They took a knee.

If Briles and the Arkansas staff could've drawn up their final numbers when game-planning on Monday, I'm not sure they'd have been bold enough to dream up what the Hogs actually accomplished, especially on the ground. Forty-seven carries for 333 yards and four touchdowns. That's the most Arkansas has run for since Nov. 19, 2016, 50 games ago, and the most Texas has allowed since Oct. 29, 2016. The 'Horns arrived in Fayetteville thinking they were stout against the run after limiting Louisiana to 76 yards on 2.62 a carry; they left ranked 111th nationally in rush defense.

A bent Texas defense was totally broken by the end of the game. Look at this drive, and the score afterward.

Screen Shot 2021-09-12 at 8.58.30 AM

That success on the ground allowed KJ Jefferson to throw it when Arkansas wanted to, not when it had to. He went 14-of-19 for 138 yards with an interception. That pick set up Texas's first touchdown, but he also made the play of the game with his arm the very next series. With the Arkansas led sliced to 16-7 early in the second half and faced with a 2nd-and-11 at his own 18, Jefferson nailed Tyson Morris on a go ball for 45 yards. Arkansas scored four plays later and Texas was never closer than nine points again.

The one blemish on the Hogs' night was settling for four field goals, three of them inside the 10, but you can overcome some red zone inefficiency when you never punt. The Hogs punted twice -- on their first two series and then never again.

Defensive Coordinator of the Week: Phil Parker, Iowa

It's time we put some respect on Phil Parker's name.

No. 10 Iowa's 8-game winning streak has been fueled by a defense that's allowed 13.25 points over that span and takes the ball away more than an only child at his first playdate. 

The Hawkeyes have snared six interceptions in two games, including three on Saturday. They gave up an above-average 17 points in their 27-17 destruction of No. 9 Iowa State, but produced seven of their own after Cyclones running back Breece Hall coughed up the football at his own six and Jack Campbell dove the loose pigskin into the end zone.

That basically shut the door on Iowa's sixth straight CyHawk win, putting the visitors up 21-10 midway through the third quarter. 

Iowa State scored one touchdown when it mattered. Brock Purdy's Heisman candidacy met a black and gold death, hitting 13-of-27 passes for just 138 yards with three interceptions while Hall mustered only 69 yards on 16 attempts. The Cyclones went 3-of-12 on third down.

Consider this: As bad as Iowa State's offense was, Iowa's was worse. The Hawkeyes gained 173 yards and 11 first downs, yet by 10 (it was 27-10 until an ISU score with three minutes left) despite being outgained by 166 yards. 

The Super 16. This week's FWAA-NFF Super 16 ballot.

1. Alabama
2. Georgia
3. Oregon
4. Oklahoma
5. Iowa
6. Texas A&M
7. Clemson
8. Cincinnati
9. Penn State
10. Notre Dame
11. Florida
12. Ohio State
13. UCLA
14. Virginia Tech
15. Coastal Carolina
16. Ole Miss