Week 2 winners and losers: Mariota, Cooper show up big
Another week of college football leads to another edition of standouts and underachievers. Here's who did and didn't make the cut.
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Winner: Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama
In Alabama’s decisive shutout win over FAU, Crimson Tide receivers made 26 catches. Cooper had half of those, tying an Alabama record for single-game grabs and amassing 189 yards and a TD.
Getty ImagesScott Cunningham
Loser: Pat Haden, AD, USC
Haden made the wrong kind of news when he was seen on the field arguing with officials, leading some to call for his resignation from the playoff selection committee. That might be a bit harsh, but his actions did detract from what was otherwise an admirably gritty 13-10 win over the Cardinal.
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY SportsKirby Lee
Winner: Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska
The Cornhuskers flirted with disaster Saturday. With 30 seconds left, they were tied at 24 with the FCS’ McNeese State. Luckily for Nebraska, Abdullah -- who had already scored a rushing TD in the game -- made perhaps the play of Week 2 when caught a catch and broke multiple tackles on a 58-yard dash to the end zone. The TD lifted the Huskers to a 31-24 win.
Getty ImagesEric Francis
The Cardinal had an opportunity to notch a solid Pac-12 win over USC on Saturday but made too many ugly mistakes. Stanford fumbled twice, missed two field goals and somehow scored only 10 points despite reaching at least the USC 32-yard line on all nine of its possessions. Those things considered, Stanford's 13-10 loss was ugly.
Winner: Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon
The Heisman hopeful helped lead the Ducks to a second-half offensive explosion vs. Michigan State, recording two of his three TDs in the third quarter. Mariota finished with 318 yards passing as No. 3 Oregon topped the Spartans 46-27 in Eugene.
In the final scheduled game between Michigan and Notre Dame, the Wolverines were shut out 31-0. Coming off a waxing of Rice in Week 1, there was some hope around the offense with new OC Doug Nussmeier. That took a big hit against the Irish, as the Wolverines turned the ball over four times and looked totally inept.
Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY SportsBrian Spurlock
Winner: Seth Russell, QB, Baylor
With Bryce Petty sidelined after injuring his back, the sophomore QB took full advantage of his opportunity under center vs. Northwestern State. Russell threw for more than 400 yards and five touchdowns -- plus ran in another on his own -- in one half. Not bad stuff for a backup.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY SportsJerome Miron
Loser: Ohio State
The Buckeyes probably weren't running the table this season without QB Braxton Miller, but not many thought perfection would end in Week 2 by being upset at home against Virginia Tech. But the Hokies recorded seven sacks and forced three turnovers, and Ohio State did its part to contribute to the Big Ten's Saturday of reckoning.
Andrew Weber-USA TODAY SportsAndrew Weber
The Trojans couldn't get their offense going in Week 2 like they did in the season opener against Fresno State, but it didn't matter. USC's defense repeatedly made huge plays against Stanford -- including a sack-fumble to seal the victory -- and now the Trojans must be considered a serious contender in the Pac-12 title race.
Getty ImagesEzra Shaw
Loser: Big Ten
Speaking of the Big Ten, the whole league was a loser in Week 2. Michigan State missed an opportunity to lift the league by losing at No. 3 Oregon, but it's hard to fault the Spartans for that L. But Ohio State and Michigan and Nebraska (barely beat McNeese State) and Northwestern (lost to NIU after losing to Cal in Week 1) and Iowa (beating Ball State by only four points)? They all contributed to the mess, and now most are already writing the Big Ten out of the playoff picture. In fact, today was the first time Michigan, Michigan State and Ohio State all lost on the same day since Sept. 17, 1988.
For the second straight season, BYU smacked Texas. This time it was 41-7 in Austin, with QB Taysom Hill rushing for three TDs and the Longhorns committing four turnovers while rushing for 2.3 yards per clip. Texas coach Charlie Strong called the loss "embarassing" afterwards, and it left Longhorns fans feeling sick after the memories of last season.
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY SportsBrendan Maloney
After losing 37-7 at home to Temple in Week 1, Vandy followed that up by losing 41-3 to Ole Miss in Week 2. Two weeks, 78-10 for Derek Mason's 'Dores. There's no way the Mason era could have started off worse in Nashville, and it's so bad that some fans are grumbling whether they should already look for a new coach. After two games! That's silly. Mason is a sharp guy and should be given a real chance to prove himself. But there's no question Vanderbilt has been one of the biggest losers of the season through two weeks.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAChristopher Hanewinckel