Oklahoma shines and more in 10 things we learned this college football weekend

Check out the top 10 things we learned during college football opening weekend.

1. Sooners’ big win. Oklahoma traveled to Columbus, Ohio, and stunned Ohio State 31-16 as Baker Mayfield passed for 386 yards and three touchdowns. The Sooners earned a huge statement win in Lincoln Riley’s first year after replacing longtime coach Bob Stoops, who was in the stadium cheering on his former team.

2. Mayfield has a chip on his shoulder. The Sooners quarterback has always played like he had something to prove and that mentality helped him guide OU to 12 consecutive wins and an overall record of 24-4 during his tenure as Oklahoma’s starting quarterback.

3. There’s not enough fairy dust to fix Ohio State’s offensive woes. Urban Meyer retooled the Buckeyes’ offense in the offseason by hiring offensive tactician Kevin Wilson, but quarterback J.T. Barrett continues to underwhelm. He failed to throw a touchdown pass for the third time in the past four games.

4. Don’t count out Clemson. While the offense may still be a work in progress, the stout play of the defense has many believing Clemson isn’t far from finding its way back to the national title game, especially after sacking Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham 11 times Saturday night.

5. It’s back to the drawing board for Auburn’s offense. Many assumed the arrival of Baylor transfer Jarrett Stidham would spark a revival for the Tigers’ offense, but Auburn struggled during Saturday’s loss to Clemson. The consistent struggles on offense suggest perhaps it is the Tigers’ play caller, Gus Malzahn, who needs to change.

6. Andre Smith talked the talk, Lamar Jackson walked the walk. Smith’s bold prediction North Carolina’s defense would stop the Louisville quarterback fell on deaf ears as Jackson, the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, accounted for 525 yards and six touchdowns during a 47-35 win Saturday.

7. The blue in Big Blue this season stands for blue collar. The Wolverines may be 2-0, but it’s not because of an offense that has looked sloppy and turned the ball over four times during two games. The defense, meanwhile, has forced five total turnovers while holding teams to just 200 yards per game.

8. There’s a packed field of Heisman candidates and that’s a beautiful thing. The Heisman isn’t won in the first month of the season, but that hasn’t stopped some outstanding individual performances by players such as Mayfield, Jackson, Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Saquon Barkley.

9. The Irish’s luck has worn off. You can say what you want about how hard Notre Dame fought during its 20-19 loss to Georgia, but the bottom line is that until the Irish can find a way to win these close games against elite opponents, coach Brian Kelly will continue to draw the ire of fans who expect more out of the program.

10. Darnold rebounded in a big way. After failing to find the end zone in the opener against Western Michigan last week, Darnold bounced back in a big way by passing for 316 yards and four touchdowns while leading USC to an impressive 42-24 win over No. 14 Stanford.


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By Matt Murschel

Orlando Sentinel