As the old adage goes, if you improve as a football team during the course of a season, your biggest strides will be made between Weeks 1 and 2.
And big strides were, indeed, made. Looking at you, Barry Odom.
Teams we thought were dead in the water a week ago sprung back to life. And those we applauded after the opening week underwent bit of a reality check. Others just kept rolling.
Let’s do a recap of Week 2, shall we?
What We Learned
Maryland May Very Well Be Undefeated Heading into November
The Terrapins put up 79 on Howard last week. Yesterday, they hung 63 on No. 21 Syracuse in an unexpected 43-point blowout, setting a school record for most points scored against a ranked opponent.
Through two weeks, Maryland and head coach Mike Locksley, who last season was the offensive coordinator at Alabama, have perhaps been the young season’s most impressive team— and they’ve done it with a balance that belies scoring 142 points in two games. The Terrapins have rushed for more than 700 yards, including 354 against Syracuse, lessening the burden on junior QB Josh Jackson, a transfer from Virginia Tech, who has thrown for seven touchdowns.
If the Terrapins can get by Penn State in a Friday night home game on September 27, watch out. They’ll then play a four-game stretch in which they won’t face a defense that finished last season ranked in the Top 50. Take advantage of that, and there’s a decent chance they could be 8-0 when they host Michigan to start November.
Quite the feat for a program picked by the media to finish sixth in the Big Ten’s East Division.
What We’d Still Like to Now
How Many More Chances Inside the Five Does Texas Need?
Down 3-0 midway through the first quarter, Texas drove 67 yards down to the LSU eight. After a 6-yard run by QB Sam Ehlinger, the ‘Horns had the ball at the two but turned the ball over on downs after RB Keaontay Ingram — with no LSU defender within five yards —dropped a for-sure touchdown pass.
Worry not, though. After a Joe Burrow pick — his only mistake in a 471-yard performance — put Ehlinger and the Texas offense right back on the doorstep, redemption seemed inevitable— until it wasn’t. The next four plays – all runs – netted one yard, ending in Ehlinger getting stuffed for a loss of two by a surging LSU defensive unit just shy of the goal line.
Eight plays inside the 10. Six inside the five. No points.
To Texas’ credit, they did force a punt on LSU’s next possession and then promptly take a 7-3 lead on Ehlinger’s 55-yard TD strike to Brennan Eagles. But the lead evaporated quickly.
After Burrow— who threw for more than 300 yards in a game only twice last season— gave the Tigers momentum heading into the locker room with a 21-yard score to Justin Jefferson, the two teams exchanged haymakers during a final 30 minutes that were as entertaining as you’ll find.
Ultimately, though, Texas fell seven points short in the 45-38 loss, and today you’ll be hard-pressed to find anyone on the Texas staff who’s not at least secretly lamenting that eight-play sequence near the goal line.
What We’d Like to Forget
The Last 72 Hours, At Least As They Pertain to Antonio Brown.
I’m going to stray away from college football for a bit, but I think it’s justified. And I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that the Pro Bowl receiver’s antics over the last few days— the coverage of which has only intensified as they’ve grown bolder— are embarrassing.
Frostbitten feet? Probably an innocent mistake. I don’t even take much issue with him wanting to continue to use his old helmet, but rules are rules. But threatening your general manager? Disrespecting your teammates with a feigned apology? Publicly chiding your employer and then demanding they fire you … from the safety of social media?
No matter whose side you take, I think we can all agree that the whole charade had grown tiresome.
And how did Brown react to the news that he’d been released by the Raiders Saturday morning?
And naturally, just as all of today’s emblazoned self-righteousness is rewarded, Brown got signed by the league’s best team.
Antonio Brown woke up today in Oakland, in a feud with the Raiders that ended in his release.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) September 7, 2019
He will end his day as a Patriot, getting ready to watch his new team square off Sunday night vs his former Steelers' team.
It took the NFL 100 seasons to produce a story like this.
And I personally hope we never see one like it again.