Here is the countdown of the top five upsets of Week 3 where some familiar faces from just the last two weeks show up. Upset rankings are based on the point spread (per Covers.com) and I use the Sagarin Predictor spread to break ties.
Mississippi 43, Alabama 37
Spread: Alabama -6.5
Coming into this game Mississippi was averaging 74.5 points per game so I guess it begs the question, what is wrong with their offense now? Maybe it’s time they moved on from Hugh Freeze as coach.
Mississippi certainly proved they have a potent offense regardless of opponent as they averaged a healthy 6.7 yards per play against the Tide. Now 66 yards and 6 points of that offense was assisted on one of the craziest and luckiest plays you will ever see. I’m just going to link the YouTube clip of it as trying to describe Chad Kelly’s touchdown pass to Quincy Adeboyejo is infinitely more boring. For a good portion of the night it appeared this game would turn into the most lopsided loss during the Nick Saban era of Alabama football before they made two separate comeback attempts in the second half to make things interesting. So while Mississippi did not achieve that they did win a road game against Alabama for only the the second time ever and the first time they’ve ever beaten them in back-to-back seasons.
Texas Tech 35, Arkansas 24
Spread: Arkansas -9.5
When we’re this early in the season there were inevitably some re-evaluation of expectations. Mississippi for one can start thinking about a playoff run and while Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema might need to update his resume. Arkansas appeared in this article just last week and like I said about Wyoming then the good news is if they appear in this article again this year it will probably be on the winning side. Congratulations Arkansas, you are in the same company with Wyoming. As for the game itself Texas Tech never trailed in this one as they moved the ball without much resistance from the Arkansas defense, averaging 8.4 yards per play. Tech quarterback Pat Mahomes is probably going to be getting some more national attention before this season is over. In this game only 4 of his 30 passes didn’t land in the hands of a player, although two of them did end up in the wrong hands on interceptions.
Stanford 41, USC 31
Spread: USC -9.5
Stanford becomes our first upsetee (not a word) to become an upseter (also not a word) this season after they had appeared in the Week 1 Top 5 upsets list. As it turns out that Northwestern loss might not look so bad but it was hard to imagine that the Stanford offense was capable of such of a performance given how they started the season as it took them 85 minutes of gameplay just to score their first touchdown. Their coach David Shaw has rightfully been criticized for his conservative ways but it’s games like this that there can be a method to his old school offensive madness. One of things he prides himself on is controlling the clock and Stanford succeeded in this, especially in the second half where their offense controlled the ball from more than 21 minutes that included a drive where they only had to march 46 yards for a touchdown but managed to drain seven minutes from the clock. Quarterback Kevin Hogan was good as he’s ever been completing 18 of 23 passes for 279 yards and 2 TD for a QBR of 97.7 while playing a the majority of the game on a bad ankle.
South Alabama 34, San Diego State 27 (OT)
Spread: San Diego State -17.5
I haven’t done the research but I feel fairly confident in assuming that this past Saturday was the first time South Alabama, in their young 6+ year history as a football program, that they were the lone school from Alabama to win on a Saturday. Two plays near the end of the first half and the beginning of the second half changed the complexion of this game. San Diego State seemed to be cruising along with a 17-3 lead when with 19 seconds left in the half USA quarterback Cody Clements connected with Josh Magee on a 46 yard touchdown. Then on the second play of second half, running back Xavier Johnson broke free for 74 of his 142 yards rushing and the tying touchdown. The teams would exchange leads and eventually USA would hit a tying field goal in the closing seconds of regulation to force overtime where they would prevail, snapping a nine game home winning streak for SDSU. Although they scored 27 points it was a struggle for SDSU’s offense. Two of their touchdowns were on short fields thanks to long punt returns by Lloyd Mills and on the night they averaged only 4.7 yards per play a week after averaging 4.3 yards against Cal. On their lone overtime possession they lost 4 yards on 4 plays.
Furman 16, UCF 15
Spread: UCF -24.5
Remember what I said about Arkansas? Well in the case of UCF forget not being on the losing side of a big upset again this year, will they actually win a game period? This is a dramatic fall for what has been a consistently strong program under George O’Leary who will be retiring as a coach and assuming the full-time duties of athletic director after this season. The main culprit as been a stomach turning offense that has scored only 34 points in three games and last week lost starting quarterback Justin Holman for up to a month wit a fractured finger on his throwing hand. In this game they had to turn to two freshmen quarterbacks, Bo Schneider and Tyler Harris who combined for a less scintillating 14 of 28 passes for 98 yards and 3 interceptions. After a safety, UCF lead 12-0 in the 2nd quarter but their offense managed only one drive that gained more than 16 yards the rest of the game. Furman was only projected to finish 5th out of 8 teams in the SoCon Conference media poll and this was their first win over an FBS team since 1999.