AP Top 25 Takeaways: Jackson dazzles; Penn St gets revenge
(AP) — The first separation Saturday of the season settled one thing: Lamar Jackson, still awesome.
Four games pitting ranked teams, including a top-five matchup in Columbus, Ohio, had a chance to shake up the early season rankings and make a few long-term playoff statements. But before those main events under the lights, the first Heisman Trophy statement of the season was made.
The Top 25 thoughts, takedowns and takeaways from week two of the college football season:
1. Some folks thought Jackson would have tough time making another run at the Heisman because it would be so difficult the Louisville quarterback to match or even top his incredible numbers from 2016. Through two games, Jackson is averaging 505 total yards and has accounted for eight touchdowns.
2. On Saturday against North Carolina, Jackson ran for three scores and threw three touchdown passes . The Cardinals still don’t protect Jackson as well as they need to and that’ll be a problem next week at home against No. 3 Clemson. But Jackson’s brilliance is undeniable. No one who cast a Heisman vote for him last year should feel any buyer’s remorse.
3. North Carolina linebacker Andre Smith was wrong . There was no stopping Jackson by the Tar Heels . Louisville’s 706 yards were the most by an North Carolina opponent at Kenan Stadium.
4. Pitt tried to play keep-away from No. 4 Penn State and limit opportunities for Saquon Barkley and the Nittany Lions’ explosive offense. The Panthers snapped Penn State’s streak of games with at least 35 points at eight, but never really threatened the Nittany Lions.
5. And Barkley showed that he doesn’t need a lot of touches to do a lot of damage: 18 for 133 yards and two touchdowns. Offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead does a great job of getting Barkley fortuitous matches in the passing game.
6. The Penn State and Pitt staffs did not care for each other. So James Franklin couldn’t help but take a dig at the Panthers after getting revenge for last year’s loss at Pitt.
7. Oregon did not score in the second half — and beat Nebraska 42-35. The Ducks’ defense is better but still not good. That offense, though, with Justin Herbert and Royce Freeman, will likely cause some problems in the Pac-12.
8. Ducks running back Royce Freeman is out to remind folks that he was fairly mentioned in the same category with Leonard Fournette and Dalvin Cook before injuries hit last year.
9. Who had Iowa-Iowa State as the game of the day?
10. No. 8 Michigan needs better play out of quarterback Wilton Speight. The offensive issues certainly weren’t all quarterback-related against Cincinnati , but his limitations combined with inexperience on the line and at receiver means will be a frequent problem for Michigan.
11. However, Michigan defense points allowed: 17. Michigan defense points scored: 21.
12. FAU was the only FBS school from the state of Florida to play Saturday. The rest either canceled their games or, in the case of FIU, moved it outside the state and played Friday. The Owls lost to No. 9 Wisconsin, which was no surprise, but coach Lane Kiffin sounded as if his players would have rather not made this trip .
13. Jackson wasn’t the only ACC quarterback to impress Saturday. Duke’s Daniel Jones had 413 total yards and accounted for four touchdowns in a surprisingly dominant 41-17 victory against Northwestern . In a Coastal Division with lots of QB questions, Jones could be a player that keeps the Blue Devils in the race,
14. Arkansas fans want coach Bret Bielema to be on the hot seat, especially after No. 23 TCU handled the Razorbacks pretty easily . The reality is, with a contract that runs through 2020 and an athletic director who supports him, Bielema is probably safe barring some kind of 2- or 3-win meltdown.
15. TCU might be interesting to watch in the Big 12. Gary Patterson’s defense malfunctioned last year, but it looked like old times for the Frogs against the Hogs.
16. The schedule does TCU no favors, with road games against No. 11 Oklahoma State in a couple weeks and No. 5 Oklahoma down the line, but with Bob Stoops gone, there is no better coach in the Big 12 than Patterson.
17. Another coach with a contract extension through 2020 who is not quite as secure as Bielema is Boston College’s Steve Addazio. The school isn’t rushing to pay off Addazio, but with a new athletic director and plans to start putting money into facilities, patience at BC will not be in high supply. Getting pounded at home by Wake Forest is an ominous sign for the Eagles.
18. Army improved to 2-0 by beating Buffalo . The Black Knights have 17 yards passing on the season.
19. No. 1 Alabama got some work for its five-star backup quarterback Tua Tagovaiola in a blow out of Fresno State . Don’t you dare call it a quarterback competition, though.
20. Tide starter Jalen Hurts went 14 for 18 for 128 yards and a touchdown and ran for 154 yards and two scores. Definitely, not a quarterback competition in Tuscaloosa.
21. Does Texas have a quarterback competition? Freshman Sam Ehlinger started in place of the banged-up Shane Buechele and the Longhorns rolled to a 56-0 victory against San Jose State . Ehlinger brings running ability that Tom Herman likes in his offense. Texas plays at Southern California next week.
22. Early positives signs from East Lansing for a Michigan State rebound after last year’s 3-9 mess. The Spartans have played tough defense in beating two Mid-American Conference teams by a combined 63-24. Michigan State has a week off before playing at Notre Dame on Sept. 24.
23. Remember the positive vibes for Rutgers coming out of its respectable showing against Washington to open the season? The Scarlet Knights lost at home to Eastern Michigan. Still a long way to go for second-year coach Chris Ash.
24. On the other hand, Eastern Michigan continues impressive growth under fourth-year coach Chris Creighton. The school considered shuttering the long struggling program a few years back.
25. Middle Tennessee upset Syracuse, which had to feel good for former Syracuse coach Scott Shafer, who is now MTSU’s defensive coordinator.