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College football Power Rankings after Week 2

College football Power Rankings after Week 2

In what was originally thought to be a dull slate of games, college football’s Week 2 delivered all the drama thanks to the Sun Belt Conference.

Marshall kicked off the conference’s upset-filled Saturday with a 26-21 win over No. 8 Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. The Thundering Herd outplayed the Fighting Irish in every facet of the game and set off a trend for its new league.

After a heartbreaking loss to North Carolina in Week 1, the Sun Belt’s Appalachian State marched in to College Station and handed Jimbo Fisher and the No. 6 Texas A&M Aggies their first loss of the season. The upset by the Mountaineers was so impactful that College GameDay will be heading to their Boone, North Carolina, campus next week.

And while it might not be a top-10 upset like the other two, Georgia Southern took down Nebraska — a 23.5-point favorite — late in the fourth quarter to cap off a tremendous day for the new Sun Belt.

Oh, and Alabama needed a field goal with under a minute to play to get past Texas while other top-10 teams rolled to easy victories this week.

It’s time to see how the Week 2 chaos impacted this week’s Power Rankings.

Quarterback Stetson Bennett wasn’t perfect, but he was close again Saturday as Georgia cruised to its second straight blowout win, this one a 33-0 victory over outmanned FCS foe Samford. As in the 49-3 season-opening rout of Oregon, Bennett’s day was done by the third quarter, as he passed for 300 yards and a touchdown and also rushed for a score. Georgia led 30-0 at the half and emptied the bench in the second half. The Bulldogs have yet to give up a touchdown in their first two games. All in all, coach Kirby Smart wants to see more maturity from his team, particularly in the way it practices. — Chris Low

Up next: at South Carolina (Saturday, noon ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

Despite 15 penalties, a terrible showing from its offensive line and almost no production from its receivers, Alabama held on to beat Texas. But leaning so much on the ability and poise of Bryce Young is a dangerous proposition. If the mental mistakes continue and the line doesn’t get better in a hurry and the receivers can’t create separation, Young and this team might be in for a long season. — Alex Scarborough

Up next: vs. UL Monroe (Saturday, 4 p.m. ET, SEC Network/ESPN app)

Despite playing without preseason All-American Jaxon Smith-Njigba and fellow wideout Julian Fleming, Ohio State’s passing game surged behind Marvin Harrison Jr. (184 receiving yards, three touchdowns) and Emeka Egbuka (118 yards, one touchdown). Quarterback C.J. Stroud looked sharp and Ohio State averaged 19.5 yards per completion, although the offense had four three-and-outs and only ran 54 plays. The Buckeyes’ defense struggled a bit with Arkansas State dynamo Champ Flemings, but didn’t allow a touchdown in the 45-12 win and received a big performance from lineman Mike Hall Jr. (three tackles for loss). Ohio State got a good rotation of defenders into the game, preserving key players for Big Ten play. — Adam Rittenberg

Up next: vs. Toledo (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, FOX)



C.J. Stroud throws for 351-yards and four touchdowns in Ohio State’s 45-12 victory over Arkansas State.

J.J. McCarthy got the start at quarterback as Jim Harbaugh is in the middle of running his quarterback battle for the starting spot. McCarthy started the game 11-of-12 passing for 229 yards and three touchdowns with the lone incompletion as a drop. He didn’t play the entire game, but his performance will give Harbaugh plenty to like as he decides who will be the starter. The defense continued the success it had in the first game, holding Hawaii to 47 total yards in the first half with one sack and two tackles for loss. — Tom Van Haaren

Up next: vs. UConn (Saturday, noon ET, ABC/ESPN app)

They took their sweet time, but Brent Venables’ Sooners eventually moved to 2-0 with an easy win over Kent State. They trailed 3-0 in the final minute of the first half but went on a 33-0 run over 19 minutes to win by 30. The full-game stats hinted at few troubles — Dillon Gabriel threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns, Marvin Mims caught seven balls for 163 yards and linebacker Danny Stutsman made four tackles for loss with a sack — but one assumes Venables will spend quite a bit of time on those first 29 minutes in film study. — Bill Connelly

Up next: at Nebraska (Saturday, noon ET, FOX)

It remains to be seen how good (or bad) Stanford‘s defense is, but for the most part, Southern California’s offensive performance on The Farm indicates the Trojans can be among the best offenses in college football. USC signal-caller Caleb Williams completed 20 of 27 passes for 341 yards and four touchdowns. USC was held out of the end zone in the second half, but the contest’s outcome was never in doubt. The trajectory of this season was always going to be dictated by how well USC played on defense, and against Stanford, that unit was mixed. It was generally easy to move the ball on (Stanford had 441 yards of total offense) but forced four turnovers for a consecutive game. — Kyle Bonagura

Up next: vs. Fresno State (Saturday, 10:30 p.m. ET, FOX)

Hangover? No way. Arkansas followed up on last week’s big win over Cincinnati by jumping all over South Carolina, building a 21-3 lead in the second quarter and cruising 44-30. The Gamecocks briefly cut the Razorbacks’ lead to five in the third quarter, but two touchdowns in three minutes put the game away. Raheim Sanders rushed for 156 yards and a touchdown, KJ Jefferson was a remarkably controlled 18-for-21 for 162 yards and a score, and Hog defenders sacked Spencer Rattler six times. — Connelly

Up next: vs. Missouri State (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, SEC Network/ESPN app)

Well, the quarterback controversy figures to last at least one more week. DJ Uiagalelei completed 21 of 27 throws for 231 yards — his second-most since the start of last season — while backup Cade Klubnik was just 1-of-4 in the Tigers’ 35-12 win over Furman. It’s hard to say how many of Week 1’s concerns were answered, given the FCS opponent, but at least through the first half, the Tigers offense looked sharp enough to offer some encouragement moving forward. — David M. Hale

Up next: vs. Louisiana Tech (Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

It might not have been the prettiest performance, but the Wildcats toughed out a 26-16 win over Florida to get coach Mark Stoops his 61st career victory, passing Paul “Bear” Bryant as the winningest coach in school history. The defense shut down Anthony Richardson, forcing him to throw two interceptions — including a pick-six — and limiting him to just 4 yards rushing. Kentucky has now won two in a row over the Gators for the first time since 1976 and 1977. — Adelson

Up next: vs. Youngstown State (Saturday, noon ET, SEC Network/ESPN app)



No. 20 Kentucky goes on the road to knock off No. 12 Florida, 26-16, making Mark Stoops with winningest coach in school history.

The Hurricanes overcame a slow start to beat Southern Miss 30-7 but it was not as polished as coach Mario Cristobal wanted to see. The offensive line struggled early before making some key halftime adjustments to get the running game going. Miami rushed for 173 yards, but only averaged 3.5 yards per carry. Tyler Van Dyke played an efficient game, but the Hurricanes have not been able to push the ball downfield consistently with explosive passing plays. — Andrea Adelson

Up next: at Texas A&M (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

The Cougars nearly fell victim to a brutal college kicker moment after Jake Oldroyd missed consecutive attempts that would have beaten Baylor in regulation and in overtime. But thanks to some effective playcalling in overtime by Kalani Sitake and a gritty stop by the defense, they were able to pull off the 26-20 upset over their future Big 12 rival. It took the Cougars nearly four quarters to notch a run over 10 yards, and they finished with only 83 rushing yards as compared to Baylor’s 152. Ultimately, it didn’t matter, as the defense was able to hold Baylor under 300 total yards of offense and seal the deal in overtime. BYU is now 2-0 with plenty of tough matchups ahead but also plenty of intrigue as a dark horse contender the rest of the season should it continue to win. — Paolo Uggetti

Up next: at Oregon (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, FOX)

A week after giving up 546 yards to Central Michigan, the Cowboys rebounded, holding Arizona State to 354 yards and allowing the Sun Devils to convert just 2 of 13 third-down attempts. Oklahoma State junior Dominic Richardson carried the load at running back with 27 attempts, finishing with 131 yards (for his third career 100-yard game) while adding five catches for 44 yards. Spencer Sanders, meanwhile, threw for 268 yards and two touchdowns to one interception. As a result, the Cowboys could move into the top 10 of the AP poll this week. — Wilson

Up next: vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN+)

Both main cogs of Michigan State’s running attack — sophomore Jalen Berger and fifth-year senior Jarek Broussard — led the way during a 52-0 shutout of Akron on Saturday. Berger ran for 107 yards and three touchdowns while Broussard chipped in with 81 yards and two scores as the offense collectively ran for 260 yards. The Spartans’ defense forced two first-quarter turnovers and turned both fumble recoveries into touchdowns. Sophomore linebacker Cal Haladay came up with a forced fumble and fumble recovery for the Michigan State defense, which recovered four Akron fumbles and recorded five sacks. — Blake Baumgartner

Up next: at Washington (Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

On a compelling day of college football, Tennessee did its best to keep things interesting Saturday in holding on for a 34-27 overtime victory at Pittsburgh. Tennessee looked poised to put the game away several times, especially after knocking out Pitt starting quarterback Kedon Slovis in the first half, but the Vols had a punt blocked, fumbled a punt and lost a fumble on offense. Tennessee’s defense came up big when it had to in the second half, and the Vols’ two best offensive players, quarterback Hendon Hooker and receiver Cedric Tillman, connected in OT for the game-winning 28-yard touchdown pass on a second-and-13 play. — Low

Up next: vs. Akron (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET)



QB Hendon Hooker throws for 325 yards and two touchdowns, the final one a 28-yard heave to Cedric Tillman in overtime, as the Vols edge the Panthers, 34-27.

After an ugly opening performance in a win over ECU in Week 1, NC State rebounded nicely against FCS Charleston Southern. Playing on his birthday, quarterback Devin Leary threw for four TDs and ran for two more in a 55-3 win. Perhaps more notably, running back Demie Sumo-Karngbaye offered more evidence that he needs to be the team’s lead back, rushing for 70 yards on just seven carries. — Hale

Up next: vs. Texas Tech (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN app)

After a deflating opening-week loss to Florida, the Utes took out their frustration on hapless Southern Utah. It didn’t start as well as they would have hoped — the game was tied at 7 after the first quarter — but a 38-point second quarter turned it ugly fast. Dating back to 2004, only eight FBS teams have scored more in a quarter. With the game out of hand, Utah spread it around — 10 different players received at least one carry. — Kyle Bonagura

Up next: vs. San Diego State (Saturday, 10 p.m. ET, ESPN2/ESPN app)

It’s difficult to convert 8 of 14 third-down opportunities, hold possession for over 34 minutes of a game, have zero turnovers and find yourself on the losing end of a game. And yet that’s exactly what happened to Baylor on Saturday night as it traveled to Provo, Utah, and couldn’t get anything going offensively to overcome the upset. The Bears could only muster a paltry 256 total yards in regulation, averaging less than 6 yards per pass and only 3 yards per rush. Over 100 yards in penalties didn’t help and neither did their inability to pass the ball effectively in overtime. Quarterback Blake Shapen‘s overthrow on fourth down of the second overtime was a fitting end to a disastrous result for the Bears. — Uggetti

Up next: vs. Texas State (Saturday, noon ET, FS1)

It was Luke Altmyer‘s turn to start at quarterback for Ole Miss this week, and he led the Rebels to a quick 28-0 lead before injuring his throwing shoulder in the second quarter and leaving the game. The Rebels won easily over Central Arkansas 59-3. The plan all along was to start Altmyer after Jaxson Dart started in the opener. Dart replaced Altmyer on Saturday after he was injured. The Rebels finished with 508 total yards, and the offense had some help in jumping out to an early lead thanks to a defensive touchdown and a blocked punt that set up another touchdown in the first half. — Low

Up next: at Georgia Tech (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN app)

Quarterback Sam Hartman returned to the starting lineup after missing the season opener with a blood clot near his collarbone and seamlessly led the Deacs to a convincing road win against an SEC team. Hartman, a fifth-year senior who led Wake Forest to the ACC title game last year, threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions. The school had originally said Hartman would be out indefinitely but didn’t provide any other details. His quick return gave the Deacs an immediate boost against Vanderbilt. It was also an impressive performance by the Wake Forest defense, which held Vandy to 294 total yards. The Commodores entered the game averaging 512 total yards and 52.5 points. — Dinich

Up next: vs. Liberty (Saturday, 5 p.m. ET, ACC Network)

You could say the Gators got the complete opposite performance from quarterback Anthony Richardson in a 26-16 loss to Kentucky than they got a week ago against Utah. As dazzling as he was in the season opener, he wasn’t effective as a passer or a rusher against the Wildcats — throwing two interceptions while running for just 4 yards. Florida gained just 91 yards and was held scoreless in the second half for the first time since 2017 against Michigan. Richardson’s receivers did not help much either, with three drops. — Adelson

Up next: vs. South Florida (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network/ESPN app)

The Longhorns looked like the better team for much of the day against No. 1 Alabama, but in the end, after losing starting quarterback Quinn Ewers, and with backup Hudson Card facing the Alabama defenses with an ailing ankle, the Longhorns couldn’t provide enough firepower to finish off the Tide. There were a few missed opportunities — a couple of deep passes that just missed an open Xavier Worthy — along with some questionable calls, such as an incomplete pass call that could’ve been ruled a safety for intentional grounding. But in the end, Alabama’s Bryce Young pulled off a late drive to put the game away 20-19 and the Longhorns are left realizing they’re closer than most thought coming into the game. — Wilson

Up next: vs. UTSA (Saturday, 7 p.m. ET, Longhorn Network)

No team in college football has had a wilder two weeks than Appalachian State. The Mountaineers scored 40 points in the fourth quarter against North Carolina last week but fell 63-61 after failing on a 2-point conversion attempt. Then, Appalachian State scored 17 points against No. 6 Texas A&M at Kyle Field but found a way to win behind a stifling defense and a ball-control offense. Shawn Clark’s team held Texas A&M to nine first downs, 97 pass yards and 186 total yards while holding the ball for 41:30 to complete one of the biggest victories in team history. — Rittenberg

Up next: vs. Troy (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN+)



No. 6 Texas A&M fights back with a 95-yard kickoff return by Devon Achane but fails to get a lead in the 17-14 loss to Appalachian State.

After beating Duquesne in Week 0 and LSU in Week 1, it was time to regroup. That’s especially true considering how the LSU game went — nearly giving up a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter and surviving thanks to a blocked extra point with no time left. As coach Mike Norvell told ESPN earlier this week, “If you want to show you’re back, go win every game and get better every week and with every practice.” — Scarborough

Up next: vs. Louisville (Friday, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

Have the Nittany Lions found their running game? It’s been lost for … years. Freshman Nick Singleton had 10 carries for 179 yards and two touchdowns, but it was his big-play capability that was most encouraging. Singleton had three carries over 40 yards apiece — more than all Penn State players had combined (two) in the previous two seasons. Yes, it was against Ohio, but the Lions’ defense also was smothering, as the Bobcats only crossed midfield three times. The Penn State needed the complete effort before heading to Auburn. — Dinich

Up next: at Auburn (Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET, CBS)

A stunning loss to Appalachian State merely highlighted many of the same issues that plagued Jimbo Fisher’s team last season when it stumbled to a disappointing 8-4 finish. Namely, Fisher’s offense. Texas A&M quarterback Haynes King passed for 97 yards against an App State team that gave up 63 points to North Carolina team last week. The Aggies managed nine first downs and 186 total yards to the Mountaineers’ 315 yards, including 181 rushing yards as the Mountaineers held the ball for 41:30 compared with A&M’s 18:30. Suddenly, A&M’s schedule, with games against No. 15 Miami and No. 16 Arkansas coming next, looks downright daunting if Fisher can’t find any offensive solutions. — Wilson

Up next: vs. Miami (Saturday, 9 p.m. ET, ESPN/ESPN app)

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