Week 2 in college football was supposed to be the calm before the coming storm.
After an opening week in which seven Associated Press Top 25 teams fell, Saturday was supposed to be, at least on paper, a lot less dramatic. There wasn't a single matchup of Top 25 teams, but the college football gods once again provided us with plenty to cheer about.
A crowd of 156,990, the largest ever to see a college football game, watched No. 17 Tennessee lap Virginia Tech 45-24 at Bristol Motor Speedway. No. 9 Georgia almost lost to an FCS team for the first time in 76 years, and Central Michigan stunned No. 22 Oklahoma State 30-27 on a Hail Mary-and-lateral that should have never happened.
We were given indisputable evidence as to why classic rivalries such as BYU-Utah and Penn State-Pittsburgh need to be played every season, and why picking a Big 12 team to make the College Football Playoff probably isn't a good bet. And we were reminded why it's unwise to sleep on the Pac-12. Strange things happen in that conference after much of the country has gone to sleep.
Sure, Week 2 probably wasn't as good as the opening act of the 2016 season, but it was pretty entertaining and satisfying -- unless you're Alabama coach Nick Saban or an Oklahoma State fan.
The Cowboys were on the wrong end of one of the worst blown calls in college football history on Saturday. On the final play of the game, Central Michigan wide receiver Corey Willis caught a lateral from Jesse Kroll at OSU's 12-yard line after a Hail Mary and ran into the end zone for an improbable 51-yard touchdown with no time left.
The only problem: The play should have never happened. MAC and Big 12 officials admitted after the game that it should have ended before the Chippewas were awarded an untimed down on the final play.
With four seconds left, Pokes quarterback Mason Rudolph threw an incomplete pass to the left sideline to run out the clock on fourth down. But since no Oklahoma State receivers ran routes on the play, the Cowboys were penalized for intentional grounding. Apparently believing the game couldn't end on an accepted live-ball foul, officials incorrectly gave Central Michigan one more play from its 49-yard line, which resulted in the Hail Mary and lateral.
OSU coach Mike Gundy admitted that he shouldn't have called a passing play on fourth down. A running play would have ended the game.
"Even if the officials handled it incorrectly, it was still a dumb call on my part, regardless," Gundy said.
The Cowboys weren't the only ranked team feeling empty after Week 2. Georgia turned the ball over three times and nearly blew a 12-point lead in the fourth quarter of a 26-24 win over Nicholls State. No. 2 Clemson had trouble putting Troy away at Death Valley. For the second week in a row, the Tigers looked sluggish, this time in a 30-24 victory.
"Everybody wants to see us score 50 points, 60 points and everybody wants it now," said Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who threw for 292 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. "We're not going to do that. First we've got to execute and find our rhythm."
That hasn't been a problem so far for No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Michigan. The Buckeyes blasted Tulsa 48-3 at home, their fourth consecutive game with at least 40 points. The Wolverines beat UCF 51-14 at the Big House, giving them 114 points in their first two games.
No. 1 Alabama didn't have many problems in its 38-10 win over Western Kentucky, but Saban was hardly pleased with his team's effort.
"I don't know that I've ever been this disappointed after winning a game, maybe ever," Saban said.
In the final minute, Saban was so upset that he screamed at offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin for what seemed like an eternity.
"There are no arguments," Saban said afterward. "Those are called ass-chewings."
At least the Crimson Tide won. No. 15 TCU turned a 13-point deficit to Arkansas into a 28-20 lead with 2:05 to play. But the Hogs forced overtime with a touchdown and a two-point conversion and blocked a 28-yard field goal attempt near the end of regulation. They won the game when Austin Allen ran for a 5-yard touchdown in the second overtime of a 41-38 victory.
As for the Pac-12, well, they don't call it #Pac12AfterDark for nothing. Arizona State's Kalen Ballage tied an NCAA record with eight touchdowns in the Sun Devils' 68-55 win over Texas Tech. Washington State and Cal saw late rallies come up short against Boise State and San Diego State, respectively, while Arizona needed to rally to avoid a shocking upset against Grambling State.
On a day when we expected many you-know-what-kickings, we were once again given everything we could have asked for -- and then some.
Playoff teams after Week 2
1. Alabama: Only Nick Saban would be dissatisfied with a 38-10 victory. Freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts threw for 287 yards with two touchdowns on 23-for-36 passing in the win over Western Kentucky, but the Tide averaged only 3.2 yards on 39 rushing attempts and committed 12 penalties.
2. Florida State: The Seminoles cruised to a 52-8 win over FCS foe Charleston Southern; next week, FSU will face off against No. 13 Louisville in an ACC Atlantic showdown. Deondre Francois vs. Lamar Jackson. That's must-see TV.
3. Michigan: The Wolverines walloped UCF 51-14 at home after scoring 63 points in their opening win over Hawaii. Michigan's 114 points in its first two games are the most by a Wolverines team since 1914 and fourth most in school history.
4. Ohio State: OSU's offense didn't get rolling until the second half, after a lightning delay and torrential downpour at The Horseshoe. But its defense had two pick-sixes in the first half of a 48-3 rout of Tulsa. Next up: a trip to No. 14 Oklahoma on Saturday.
Next four in contention
1. Houston: The Cougars had to play without injured quarterback Greg Ward Jr. (shoulder) and endured a marathon lightning delay but eventually shut out FCS foe Lamar 42-0. The Cougars had three players with more than 100 yards rushing, and their defense allowed a school-record 73 yards.
2. Clemson: The Tigers have yet to find their rhythm on offense. They averaged 45 points per game in their first two games in 2015; they're averaging 24.5 in their two games this season. Deshaun Watson posted the lowest QBR (35) in his career in a 30-24 win over Troy.
3. Louisville: The Cardinals steamrolled Syracuse 62-28 on the road Friday night, and now they get to play Florida State at home on Saturday in a game that might go a long way in deciding which team wins the ACC Atlantic.
4. Wisconsin: The Badgers certainly don't look like a fluke. After stunning then-No. 5 LSU 16-14 in its opener, Wisconsin blasted Akron 54-10. The bad news: Star tailback Corey Clement left the game with a leg injury.
1. Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville: In Louisville's victory at Syracuse on Friday night, Jackson set a school and ACC record with 610 yards of total offense. In his past three games, including last season's bowl, he has 1,468 yards of total offense and 17 touchdowns.
2. Deondre Francois, QB, FSU: The redshirt freshman followed up his fabulous debut against Ole Miss on Monday night by completing 25 of 32 passes for 262 yards with three touchdowns and one interception in a rout of FCS foe Charleston Southern.
3. Patrick Mahomes II, QB, Texas Tech: The Red Raiders fell to Arizona State 68-55, with Mahomes passing for 540 yards with five touchdowns and two interceptions. The junior passed for 483 yards and accounted for six touchdowns in limited action in a season-opening win over Stephen F. Austin.
4. DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame: After throwing five touchdowns in a loss to Texas in Week 1, Kizer completed 15 of 18 passes for 156 yards with two touchdowns and one interception in a 39-10 victory over Nevada. He has seven passing touchdowns (and two more running) with one interception in two games.
Nick Saban didn't sugar coat things when asked about the argument he had on the sidelines with Lane Kiffin. pic.twitter.com/NvEXhGDyTZ— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 11, 2016
2. God bless America
The scene from Bristol Motor Speedway. pic.twitter.com/ZuAaXDreCC— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) September 11, 2016
3. Russell Westbrook watched Oklahoma's win from the Sooners' sideline, and QB Baker Mayfield showed his appreciation.
4. A Northwestern fan proposed to his girlfriend after making her believe she was participating in a kicking competition.
1. Even if it shouldn't have counted, Central Michigan's Hail Mary-and-lateral to beat Oklahoma State was incredible.
Watch Central Michigan defeat No. 22 Oklahoma State on the miracle Hail Mary as the clock expired: https://t.co/EmFMrmzQEj— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) September 10, 2016
2. Auburn's Kyle Davis made a slick one-handed catch between two Arkansas State defenders.
3. Arizona State's Kalen Ballage had only 13 carries and two receptions, but it was enough for eight touchdowns. He gets the nod with his record-tying eighth touchdown in the Sun Devils' win over Texas Tech.
1. Clemson's Ray-Ray McCloud started his celebration a little too early after returning a punt 75 yards for an apparent touchdown. He dropped the ball before the goal line, and Troy recovered in the end zone for a touchback.
He DeSean Jacksoned it. https://t.co/N1k75fIBcf— ESPN CollegeFootball (@ESPNCFB) September 10, 2016
4. UConn coach Bob Diaco's clock management isn't as good as his fettuccine alfredo recipe.
Tweets of the night
1. And it's only September.
Harbaugh... is that you? https://t.co/FMHTZUcUdX— Ted Miller (@TedMillerRK) September 10, 2016
2. At least the Cubs are winning.
Every Northwestern fan watching this first half against Illinois State: pic.twitter.com/YXSHAhoj0B— Brian Bennett (@BennettESPN) September 10, 2016
3. He's a famous Spanish painter, Alabama fans./p>
4. That's racin'.
Tennessee has two passing yards. A NASCAR chassis is 5.7 yards long. They have made it out of the trunk— Rodger Sherman (@rodger_sherman) September 11, 2016
Quotes of the night
1. "We came in here and outhit those guys today. There's no doubt about which team was hitting harder." -- UCF coach Scott Frost, after the Knights' 51-14 loss at Michigan.
2. "It just means now I have to do something better so people don't always think of that play when they talk about me." -- Clemson's Ray-Ray McCloud, on his fumble at the goal line after a 75-yard punt return.
3. "We can't change guys out. We've got no free agency. We've got no cuts. So we have to take what we've got, and we've got to get those guys better. They've got to play better." -- Georgia coach Kirby Smart, on his offensive line, which was manhandled in a 26-24 win over FCS foe Nicholls State.
4. "Sometimes when we're down, a lot of people on our team just tend to quit and think it's over, and I don't think it's over until it's actually over." -- Kentucky linebacker Jordan Jones, after the Wildcats' 45-7 loss at Florida.
Stats that matter
1. 20: Years since Army started a season 2-0 before beating Rice 31-14. The Black Knights hadn't won their first two games since 1996, when they won a school-record 10 games. With Navy and Air Force also winning their first two games, the three service academies are each 2-0 for the first time since 1996.
2. 30: Consecutive wins for Florida over Kentucky after a 38-point victory. It's the fourth-longest winning streak in an annual series in FBS history and the current longest streak over one opponent.
3. 40: Career touchdowns for Pitt's James Conner, who scored two touchdowns in Pitt's win over Penn State. He joined Tony Dorsett as the only Pitt players with 40 career total touchdowns.
4. 516: It has been a tale of two halves for TCU quarterback Kenny Hill. In the Horned Frogs' two games, he has passed for 300 yards and one touchdown in the first half of games, and 516 yards and seven touchdowns in the second half (including overtime).