Week 2 Booms
LSU QB Joe Burrow -- 471 yards passing, four touchdowns -- vs. Texas: It'll be difficult to find a more impressive performance this year than Burrow's on Saturday night against the Longhorns. Not only was it impressive from a statistical viewpoint, it also came against a Top 10 team, on the road, at night. Burrow dropped dime after dime, and it's hard to state how much he's improved over the course of a year after transferring in from Ohio State last offseason. Give credit to the wideouts -- one in particular that we'll talk about later -- but Burrow was absolutely money in this game, and it's time to take LSU serious as a title contender, if you didn't already.
USC QB Kedon Slovis -- 377 yards passing, three touchdowns -- vs. Stanford: J.T. who? This was the Battle Of The Backups on Saturday with J.T. Daniels and K.J. Costello both out, and Slovis -- who did not inspire much confidence in relief of Daniels against Fresno State -- was outstanding in the 45-20 win on Saturday night. The Stanford defense made things pretty easy for him, if we're being honest, but you still gotta make the throws, and the freshman did just that. If Slovis plays like this going forward, this is going to be a much better year for the Trojans than we anticipated.
Oklahoma QB Jalen Hurts -- 258 yards passing, three touchdowns -- vs. South Dakota: I'll level with you; one of the reasons that Hurts gets this "boom" spot is because I didn't get a chance to write about him after his ridiculous performance against Houston lon Sunday. He was pretty darn good in this one, too, albeit in a shorter stint and against significantly worse competition. We seem to forget that Hurts was far from a terrible quarterback when he was at Alabama, he just wasn't Tua Tagovailoa (who was also great -- again -- on Saturday). His ability to move in this offense, however, with talented wideouts, is going to keep him in the Heisman race, me thinks.
South Carolina QB Ryan Hilinski -- 282 yards, two touchdowns -- vs. Charleston Southern: This was fun to see, and it got awful dusty in this household watching Hilinski play well while honoring his late brother on Saturday. It was easy to see why the freshman signal-caller was so heavily recruited, and easy to see why the Gamecocks turned to him with the injury to Jake Bentley. He did throw one pick -- and this performance came against a team that got housed by Furman the previous week -- but Hilinski showed impressive zip on his passes, and South Carolina appears to have their long-term answer at quarterback.
Florida State RB Cam Akers -- 193 yards rushing, two touchdowns -- vs. Louisiana-Monroe: I am not Willie Taggart, but if I was, I would owe Akers a great deal. Without Akers, Florida State doesn't beat ULM 45-44 in overtime, and I'm not so sure Taggart would still have a job if that was the case. Not only did he have two rushing scores, he also picked up a receiving touchdown in the close victory over the Warhawks. Akers can really play, and if Florida State has any chance at all of competing in the ACC, they are going him to have games like this, and better. He's certainly capable of doing so.
Appalachian State RB Darrynton Evans -- 234 yards rushing, three touchdowns -- vs. Charlotte: This was a very entertaining football game that saw the Mountaineers come up with a 56-41 win, and one of the reasons it was entertaining was because Evans was able to consistently find holes and make big plays against a (albeit not so good) 49ers' defense. Evans showed big-play potential when Jalin Moore went down, and he was able to pick up 1,187 yards despite not being a full-time starter until later in the year. It appears he's on his way to having an even bigger year in 2019.
Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins -- 141 yards rushing, two touchdowns -- vs. Cincinnati: It's kinda weird calling an Ohio State running back "underrated," but I feel like Dobbins, well, is. He was excellent against a Cincinnati Bearcats defense that was a key reason that Cincinnati was able to win 11 games last year and easily beat UCLA this week, and he showed off his wheels on a 60-yard touchdown.
The Buckeyes are going to have Master Teague III and Demario McCall get carries in this offense -- in a large part because Ohio State is going to be up by a lot of points against most of the teams they play -- but Dobbins is the best of the bench, and he probably deserves more respect than he's received.
Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy -- 103 yards receiving, three touchdowns -- vs. New Mexico State: I mentioned last week that I expected Jeudy to make this list a lot in 2019. He's two-for-two. This could have been an even bigger game if there was any doubt about the outcome, but New Mexico State is not quite as good at Alabama. He's up to four touchdown receptions on the year, and he looks like a legit candidate to be a top five selection in the 2020 NFL Draft. We like him quite a bit around here.
Purdue WR Rondale Moore -- 220 yards receiving, touchdown -- vs. Vanderbilt: A week after Purdue was upset by Nevada, the Boilermakers were in need of a victory, and Moore -- along with Elijah Sindelar -- made sure it happened. The best freshman in college football last year has backed up that strong year with an outstanding start to the 2019 season, as he already owns 24 catches and 344 yards with a pair of scores. Simply put, there are only a few players better at getting open, and that few -- if that -- who are better once the ball is inside his hands. The NFL future is a bit up for debate, but there is zero denying that Rondale Moore is one of the best players in college football at the wide receiver position.
LSU WR Justin Jefferson -- 163 yards receiving, three touchdowns -- vs. Texas: We could really mention the whole wideout core for the Tigers, and let's give a shoutout to Ja'Marr Chase and Terrace Marshall Jr. who both went over a hundred yards in the shootout with the Longhorns. Jefferson was the best, however, and he made the biggest play of the game on a 61-yard touchdown with just over two minutes left to give the Tigers a 45-31 lead. Burrow deserves a ton of credit for his improvement and for getting the ball to his playmakers, but Jefferson -- along with Marshall and Chase -- give him some awful good targets to throw to.
Week 2 Busts
Texas A&M QB Kellen Mond -- 242 yards passing, touchdown, interception -- vs. Clemson: These aren't atrocious numbers, but they don't really illustrate how much Mond struggled in the 24-10 loss to Clemson; a score line that doesn't really illustrate how little chance Texas A&M had of winning this game. Mond completed 24-of-42 passes in this one, but many were of the short-yardage variety, and much of the yardage -- and the touchdown -- came with the game well out of reach. We've seen Mond play well at times, but against better competition, he just hasn't stepped up. This was another chance to do so, and he didn't receive a passing grade.
Washington passing game -- 162 yards, interception, a large number of drops -- vs. Cal: This game had a pretty terrific ending, but it took an awful long time to get there; partially because there was nearly a three-hour rain delay that caused it to restart at 1:30 EST in the morning on Sunday, and partially because the first 50-plus minutes of the game weren't very good in large part because of that weather. Enough about that, let's talk about Jacob Eason ahd the Huskies' passing game, because it was atrocious. The week before, it looked great against Eastern Washington, but this was not Eastern Washington. Eason was often late with his throws and flat-out missed on others, and when he was accurate, the Washington wideouts -- including the usually reliable Aaron Fuller -- couldn't catch the football. Washington was a sleeper playoff pick by some. They sure didn't look like it during this debacle.
Army -- deciding to pass -- vs. Michigan: Oh, what could have been. At least if you're a fan of Army/upsets. Michigan was able to pull out a 24-21 overtime win over the Black Knights, but if not for a couple of very questionable playcalls, it easily could have gone the other way. First, with Army ahead 14-7, the triple-option offense decided to have Kelvin Hopkins throw in the red zone, and the pass was intercepted. The Black Knights could have kept running the football and taken a two-score lead, but, they didn't. Then, on 3rd-and-11 in overtime, Hopkins went back to pass and fumbled the football away, giving the Wolverines the victory. While I certainly understand wanting to throw there to pick up the first down; why not run a quarterback draw in that situation? Or run the football to either get closer for the field goal or make it a manageable fourth down? Army is going to win a lot of games this year, but they are going to kick themselves for not sticking with what was working. They should have won in Ann Arbor on Saturday.