College football’s biggest overreactions after Week 2: Fun Belt, FSU & more

The Big 12 and ACC opened their college football seasons in Week 2, and the weekend produced a few overreactions.

There were debuts, upsets and drama, even if things might have felt a little strange with stadiums mostly empty amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the United States.

We’re still here for the overreactions. Here are some of the biggest storylines that emerged from Week 2:

The Fun Belt rules!

Louisiana and Arkansas State pulled off twin upsets in Week 2 against Big 12 upstarts Iowa State and Kansas State, respectively. Coastal Carolina topped it off with a 28-23 victory against unranked Kansas, which wasn’t as much of an upset.

Louisiana pulled the first big upset of 2020 by knocking off No. 23 Iowa State 31-14 in Ames on Saturday. The Ragin’ Cajuns returned a punt and a kickoff for a touchdown and dominated the second half. SN had that upset on the radar, but wasn’t quite ready to call it. Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy was limited to 16-of-35 passing for 145 yards with an interception.

About a half-hour later, Arkansas State beat Kansas State 35-31 in a thriller, with Jonathan Adams Jr. grabbing eight catches for 98 yards and three touchdowns.

The Big 12 will feel the sting with the middle of its conference taking a beating. Maybe these games swing differently with full stadiums, but that is not an excuse.

Those upsets also will get Louisiana coach Billy Napier and Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson on board for the next go-round of the coaching carousel. It also shows Jamey Chadwell has an improving program with the Chanticleers. For now, the Sun Belt race should be more exciting with those teams competing with Appalachian State.

Oklahoma-Texas is on!

Well, that might be true.

Oklahoma opened its season with a 48-0 blowout of FCS Missouri State. Spencer Rattler looked the part by hitting 14 of 17 passes for 290 yards and four touchdowns in the first half. His debut was comparable to those of Baker Mayfield, Kyler Murray and Jalen Hurts the previous three seasons. Sure, it was Missouri State, but you can’t ignore the restocked arsenal in Norman.

Freshman running back Seth McGowan and receiver Marvin Mims scored long touchdowns in the first half and look to be solid contributors in the same old awesome Lincoln Riley offense.

Rattler’s continued development will be the key to another Big 12 championship run and perhaps College Football Playoff redemption.

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Texas didn’t mess around with UTEP in its opener, rolling to a 59-3 victory. Senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger hit Joshua Moore for a 78-yard touchdown on the game’s first play, and from there the Longhorns poured it on.

Ehlinger had 429 yards and five touchdowns passing in the first half alone. Perhaps more importantly, all that production came with just two rushing attempts.

The Sooners and Longhorns will meet on Oct. 10 in what could be the first of two matchups this season. It would be even better for the Big 12 if both were undefeated in that game. It needs that spotlight.

Clemson won’t lose in the ACC!

It’s hard to picture it; the Tigers look like the same ridiculous machine on both sides of the ball after a 37-13 blowout of Wake Forest in Winston-Salem. Trevor Lawrence and Travis Etienne were on top of their game as the best quarterback-running combo in college football, and the Tigers might actually have more raw talent than their national championship teams. That is scary.

Seriously, who can contend in the ACC? North Carolina was up 10-6 after three quarters before throwing a knockout punch against Syracuse in a 31-6 victory. Notre Dame was sloppy in its ACC debut, a 27-13 home victory over Duke. Louisville could be interesting with its skill-position talent, which flashed in the Cardinals’ 35-21 victory over Western Kentucky.

But Clemson still looks a cut above everybody in the conference, and the teams that really could stack up talent-wise have not yet played.

Don’t sleep on ‘The U’!

The new-look Hurricanes’ offense under coordinator Rhett Lashlee featured a relentless running attack orchestrated by Houston transfer quarterback D’Eriq King.

King completed 16 of 24 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown, but his 12 carries for 83 yards and another score opened up the offense. Cam’Ron Harris added 17 carries for 134 yards and two more touchdowns.

Miami finished with 52 carries for 337 yards in a routine 31-14 victory over UAB. The defense — even without Greg Rousseau — limited the Blazers to 80 rushing yards.

It’s a nice first step for second-year coach Manny Diaz, but we’ll reserve judgment until after this week’s game at Louisville, which is getting the prime-time treatment.

“The U” is at least moving in the right direction.

FSU is a disaster!

It’s too early for that. Mike Norvell did a fantastic job developing skill-position talent at Memphis, but the rebuild in Tallahassee is going to take a lot more work.

The Seminoles lost 16-13 to Georgia Tech in an ugly opener that was delayed twice by weather. It wasn’t the same disaster as Willie Taggart’s opener, a Labor Day loss to Virginia Tech in 2017, but that won’t make Norvell feel any better about the state of the program.

The Seminoles blew a 10-point first-half lead in a brutal second half. Georgia Tech outgained Florida State for the game 438-288. The Seminoles had three turnovers and averaged just 2.6 yards per rushing attempt.

Norvell faces a real challenge in getting this program back to the high standard it set at the start of the College Football Playoff era. The Seminoles have a bye week before Miami, and the schedule does not get easier from there.

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