Summa Cum Laude
Navy at the Linc
The Midshipmen defeated Temple behind the rushing of QB Keenan Reynolds to run their record at Lincoln Financial Field to 11-0. Navy has owned Army in Philadelphia over the past decade, but the Academy has also knocked off Temple a couple of times during that stretch.
Illinois QB Wes Lunt
The Illini might not reach the .500 mark this season, but it won’t be because of quarterback play. Lunt’s career in Champaign is off to a prolific start, highlighted by seven touchdown passes and 741 passing yards through two games. On Saturday, he outdueled Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty to help get Illinois off to a 2-0 start.
Offensive Coordinator of the Week: Tony Petersen, Louisiana Tech
The Bulldogs arrived in Lafayette as a two-touchdown underdog. They left town with a critical upset win, 48-20, over the Sun Belt Conference favorites. Much of the credit belongs with Petersen’s unit, which tallied a very un-Skip Holtz-like 533 balanced yards. Kenneth Dixon rushed for 184 yards and two scores, while Iowa transfer Cody Sokol was tight through the air.
Defensive Coordinator of the Week: Brian VanGorder, Notre Dame
In the battle of first-year coordinators, VanGorder completely schooled Michigan’s Doug Nussmeier in South Bend Saturday night. The Irish played very fast, intercepting three Devin Gardner passes, and dealing the Wolverines their first shutout since 1984. And VanGorder did it without two projected starters, CB Keivarae Russell and DE Ishaq Williams.
Stockpile more shares in … Virginia Tech’s D
There’s a good chance that Bud Foster’s unit is already in your portfolio. Still, buy more. The Hokies are back on the map after stunning Ohio State, largely because of D that notched seven sacks and picked off three passes. Tech is frenetic at the line of scrimmage, led by DE Dadi Nicolas and LB Deon Clarke, and ranks among the best defensive backfield in America.
Stockpile more shares in … Tennessee
It’s early, yup. But the Vols have to feel pretty good after handling two quality Group of Five opponents, Utah State and Arkansas State in the span of seven days. QB Justin Worley has been sharp so far, and the defense has played well. It’s on to Norman, Okla. for a chance to put Butch Jones’ rebuilding plans into hyperdrive.
Life After Ka’Deem Carey
Sure, Arizona would have loved having Carey for his senior year. But the Wildcat running game has been just fine without the All-American, testament to RichRod’s system. Terris Jones-Grigsby went for 124 yards in the opener, and then watched from the sideline as true freshman Nick Wilson tagged a very UTSA D for 174 yards in Thursday’s win.
Madden Cover Material: Washington LB Shaq Thompson
The Huskies didn’t play a whole lot of defense in their 59-52 win over Eastern Washington. Thompson was the exception, making 14 stops, a sack and a stop for minus yards. And in homage to Myles Jack, the junior linebacker also rushed for 66 yards, including a 57-yard burst to the end zone.
Bucking for a promotion: Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey
Carey has the Huskies off to a solid start, despite no longer having access to do-everything QB Jordan Lynch. Northern Illinois used a strong second half to defeat Northwestern in Evanston over the weekend, staking its claim to being the top team in the state. If Carey can win the MAC without Lynch, bigger programs could come calling.
Can I be your agent … Markus Golden?
Even after losing Michael Sam and Kony Ealy to graduation, Mizzou is just fine in the pass rush. Golden and junior Shane Ray form a bookend that’s going to give opposing tackles nightmares this season. Golden whipped Toledo’s blockers in the Tigers’ rout, using an explosive first step and an uncanny anticipation of the snap count.
Start designing the Fathead of … Pitt RB James Conner
There are good backs. And then there are transformational backs, who can carry a team on their shoulders. Conner is the latter. In just his second year out of high school, the sophomore has opened 2014 with 366 yards and five scores on 49 carries. On Friday, he bludgeoned Boston College for 213 yards in the ACC opener for both schools.
He’s how young?! Baylor WR K.D. Cannon
It has not taken the Bears’ prized rookie to live up to the hype, has it? Cannon took center stage on a night that Baylor’s receiving corps was depleted by injuries, toasting Northwestern State for 223 yards and three touchdowns on six grabs. He now has four scoring grabs and a 35-yard average in his first two games.
He’s how young?! Auburn DT Montravius Adams
The second-year Tiger has an enormous upside as a defensive lineman. San Jose State was forced to witness it firsthand on Saturday. Adams, at 6-4 and 306 pounds, was too strong and too quick for the Spartan blockers, collecting six tackles, three stops for loss and a sack. He’ll be an integral component of an Auburn D that’s retooling.
Football in the Beehive State
BYU destroyed Texas—again. Behind Taysom Hill—again. Utah crushed Fresno State, as Travis Wilson authored a career day through the air. And Utah State rebounded from a rough opener with Tennessee to pick up its first win. It’s a good day to be a football fan in Utah, especially since the Hill-led Cougars could be headed toward a special season.
Team of the Week: Oregon
It wasn’t Stanford, but there certainly were similarities to Oregon’s arch-nemesis. In rallying to beat Michigan State, the Ducks proved they can handle a physical, old-school opponent. The Cardinal, for example. After erasing a nine-point third-quarter deficit, it’s now all there for Oregon, from a playoff spot to Marcus Mariota’s quest to become the school’s first-ever Heisman winner.
Summa Cum Laude