This is a digital version of Until Saturday. Sign up here to receive it daily in your inbox.
After cutting off his mullet and dropping 20 pounds in the offseason, Quinn Ewers went mostly unrecognized in public. It’s probably safe to say you’d recognize him now.
Here’s what happened in college football Saturday.
Texas Takes Tuscaloosa
Tide shaky in loss to Longhorns
No. 11 Texas beat No. 3 Alabama 34-24 in Saturday’s prime-time thriller. The Tide were shaky early on and didn’t score a touchdown until the third quarter. Jalen Milroe didn’t look as comfortable as he did in Week 1 and threw two interceptions. But Alabama is still Alabama. You didn’t rule out the Tide until the very end when the Longhorns scored 14 points within 15 seconds to take a 27-16 lead in the fourth quarter to nearly seal the win.
Here’s what the win means by the numbers:
- Ewers, who completed 24 of 38 pass attempts for 349 yards and three TDs, became the first non-SEC quarterback to have 250-plus pass yards and two TDs at Alabama since Nick Saban took over in 2007.
- Alabama suffered its first loss by double digits at home since 2004. This also snapped Bama’s 21-game home winning streak and was Saban’s worst college home loss since 2003.
- The Longhorns grabbed their first road win against an AP top-three team since 1969. And it’s about time we take this Texas team seriously, our Ari Wasserman writes.
Dare we say … Texas is back? Read on as Sam Khan Jr., our Texpert, tells us more.
Ewers’ Time Has Arrived
Khan: QB is the star Texas needs
Remember when Ewers’ most talked-about trait was his hairstyle?
His mullet is long gone, and so is any doubt about whether he is a big-time player. Six months ago, everyone was rubbernecking Texas’ quarterback room after the arrival of No. 1 recruit Arch Manning, even though Ewers was a returning starter and more vital to the Longhorns’ 2023 success.
Texas coach Steve Sarkisian squashed any uncertainty after spring practice, solidifying Ewers as the starter, showing confidence in the former five-star recruit. On Saturday night against Alabama, Ewers showed just how significant his potential is. He had his best game to date, throwing for 349 yards and three touchdowns. He was accurate on deep balls. He took care of the football. And whenever Texas needed a big offensive play, he delivered.
And he showed maturity. ESPN reporter Holly Rowe after the game gave him a chance to utter the phrase: “Texas is back,” but he didn’t bite. “We still have a lot of games to win,” Ewers said. “We’re still going to roll, though.”
Highlights Around The Country
Miami shines, Colorado rolls
- Colorado didn’t crack under the pressure of being the story in college football this past week. In his first game at Folsom Field, Coach Prime led his team to a 36-14 win over longtime rival Nebraska. The Huskers still can’t avoid misfortune — a reality the program needs to confront, Mitch Sherman writes — while the Buffs are riding high. They even have Peggy dancing.
- Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz became the 27th coach in FBS history with 200 career wins on Saturday. Even sweeter, he reached the milestone against rival Iowa State. (Drive to 325 update: The Hawks have scored 44 points, and they need to average 25.6 points per game the rest of the season to hit the magic Brian Ferentz number.)
- Miami picked up its first win against an SEC opponent in a decade and first over a ranked opponent in two years with a 48-33 upset of No. 23 Texas A&M. Hurricanes QB Tyler Van Dyke threw five touchdowns — the first in Miami history to do so against a Top-25 team — and had seven 20-plus-yard completions. Mario Cristobal’s first win against a ranked opponent at Miami sent a loud message to fans and recruits, Manny Navarro says. As for the Aggies, the loss won’t define their season, Khan writes, but how they respond to it will.
The play of the day is …
Most chaotic play: After recovering a loose ball from a failed trick play, Colorado Mesa offensive lineman Cooper Mumford threw a 10-yard touchdown pass.
Best kick: Caden Davis sealed Ole Miss’ 37-20 win against Tulane with a 56-yard field goal with less than two minutes remaining. Davis’ previous career-long FG was 40 yards.
Free football of the day: North Carolina missed a 39-yard walk-off field goal attempt to give us overtime in Chapel Hill. The No. 17 Tar Heels escaped with a 40-34 win against Appalachian State thanks to more heroics from Drake Maye.
Weirdest penalty: A flag was thrown during USC-Stanford because music was playing while the teams were lining up.
Uniform winners: You just can’t beat the classics. Texas-Bama looked clean. So did SMU.
Uniform losers: Wake Forest-Vanderbilt was a rough watch. Black and gold overload.
Play of the day: Ewers threw two TD passes of 35-plus yards, but it was this 44-yard throw to Xavier Worthy that first turned heads to the probability of Texas pulling this off.
Max Olson has more superlatives here.
Stewart Mandel’s Final Thoughts from Week 2.
Florida State is No. 4 in Nicole Auerbach’s top 10 after handing Southern Miss a 66-13 loss. But which team took the Seminoles’ place at No. 3? Read more here.
Fans stormed the field after Washington State defeated Wisconsin 31-22 in Pullman. “We belong in the Power 5,” Wazzu coach Jake Dickert said, alluding to the Pac-12’s implosion and the Cougars’ remaining unknown status for next season.
Sam Hartman, who was 0-2 at NC State as Wake Forest’s starting QB, got revenge on Saturday. Notre Dame beat the Wolfpack 45-24, and it seems about time to reassess Notre Dame’s ceiling, Pete Sampson writes.
James Madison rallied from a fourth-quarter deficit to beat Virginia 36-35 to make another FBS statement. The Athletic has more on the Dukes, and other final scores around the country, in our instant takeaways.
(Top photo of Quinn Ewers: Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)