Hess: College football Week 2 shows promise as player depth develops (column)
September 9, 2018
Although the second week of the college football season didn't have as many marquee games as Week 1, it didn't fail to disappoint.
Steven Montez is the most underrated quarterback in the nation. His weaknesses are covered up by Laviska Shenault Jr.'s emergence as a big-time playmaker.
Shenault Jr. leads the country in yards receiving per game. His 194 yards per game have been incredible, but he has also shown his ability on the ground and as the wildcat quarterback.
The Buffs were getting beat at the line of scrimmage all day against the Cornhuskers, but Montez and Shenault Jr.'s 40-yard touchdown made the difference in the game. Colorado was lucky to leave Lincoln, Nebraska, with a win, but the Huskers gave the game away with turnovers and penalties.
The Buffs are an exciting team to watch and they should start the season 5-0. The real question though, is if they are better than a 6-6 team. Even if they start 5-0, they have a brutal back end of the schedule.
However, Montez and Shenault Jr. should be able to keep the Buffs in every game. If co-offensive coordinators Klayton Adams and Darren Chiaverini can put Montez in the right situation, the junior could emerge as the best quarterback in the PAC-12.
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No team made a bigger improvement from last week to this week and Colorado State. The Rams defense still allowed almost 300 yards rushing, but in the fourth quarter they only allowed 16 yards total.
A win over any SEC opponent is something to be proud of. The offense got back on track behind transfers K.J. Carta-Samuels and Preston Williams against Arkansas. Regardless of the emergence of Shenault Jr., Williams has shown he is the best receiver in the state of Colorado.
Speaking of quarterbacks, Oklahoma's Kyler Murray and Alabama's Tua Tagovailoa have shown they are the best quarterbacks in the country. Sure it hasn't been against tough competition, Oklahoma vs. Florida Atlantic and UCLA and Alabama vs. Louisville and Arkansas State, but both are the epitome of true dual-threat quarterbacks.
Except Tua has earned the job with his arm. The Hawaiian Heisman hopeful is the best quarterback Nick Saban has ever had at Alabama. The Crimson Tide have been a dynasty for 10 years with game managers calling signals, so who is going to stop Bama now that they have one of the best quarterbacks in the country leading the charge?
Oklahoma may be better than last year. That's hard to do after replacing Heisman-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield. Behind millionaire Kyler Murray's arm, six different Sooners scored touchdowns against the Bruins on Saturday, Sept. 8.
Big games at Texas Christian and West Virginia could win the Heisman for Murray this season.
Murray would join Tim Tebow as a Heisman winner in minor league baseball when he enters the Oakland Athletic's farm team next year.
Clemson, the likeliest team to make the playoffs, passed a huge test on the road against Texas A&M on Saturday, winning with a little help from the refs. Clemson's toughest tests before the ACC championship will be against Georgia Tech and Florida State. Which is saying a lot considering the Yellow Jackets lost to USF on Saturday in an entertaining back-and-forth game. It would be surprising to not see Clemson in the final four.
It's never too early to see who is leading the Heisman Trophy race. Tagovailoa and Murray are certainly candidates and look to be favorites to make it to New York, however Wisconsin's running back Jonathan Taylor is in the lead after Week 2. The sophomore has five touchdowns and close to 400 yards after just two games. Wisconsin will use Taylor as its bell cow all year and he could easily reach 2,000 yards rushing this season.
The problem is that of the last 17 2,000 yard rushers in college, only Derrick Henry won the Heisman. Taylor will need to lead the Wolverines to the playoffs to have a chance. Stanford's Bryce Love rushed for 2,000 yards last year and as long as he stays healthy this year he should make a return to New York. Houston's Ed Oliver has emerged as the dark horse for the trophy, but it is hard to be invited to the Heisman ceremony let alone win it as a defensive tackle. But the likely first overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft deserves consideration for the way he single handedly changed Houston's program. Houston blew by Arizona ,45-18, on Saturday and Oliver was a big part of that.
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