Each Monday during the college football season, NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah identifies five things that are chugging along smoothly and right on track and five things that are off the rails.
1. Murray's flawless performance: Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray didn't have a poor game in the opener against Clemson, but he did miss a few key throws, tossed an interception and also lost a fumble. He was much better on Saturday as the Bulldogs knocked off South Carolina. He completed 17 of 23 passes for 309 yards and four touchdowns. He consistently made quick decisions and delivered the ball accurately. He made big plays while under duress in the pocket, and he flashed the ability to escape and make plays on the move.
Things we learned
From Aaron Murray finally winning a big game to a statement win for "The U," here are the things we learned from the second weekend of college football play. More ...
2. Big-play Thomas: Running back De'Anthony Thomas had another outstanding game on Saturday for Oregon, collecting 124 rushing yards on only 11 carries. His initial burst is easy to spot on television, and he is able to find another gear when he gets out into the open field. He's added some muscle in the offseason and I was very impressed by the way he's finishing his runs. I would like to see him used more in the passing game (1 catch for 28 yards) because he is an excellent route runner with reliable hands.
3. Return of Gaffney: Tyler Gaffney returned to the Stanford football team after focusing on baseball and sitting out the 2012 campaign. The powerful running back looked sharp in his 2013 debut, rushing for 104 yards on 20 carries. He has excellent size (6-foot-1, 221 pounds), and he's very tough to bring down when he gets into the open field. He is poised to have a big senior season behind a very physical Cardinal offensive line.
4. Undersized Michigan wideout comes up big: Jeremy Gallon put on a show in the Wolverines' 41-30 victory over the Fighting Irish. He caught eight passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns. He is undersized (5-foot-8, 187 pounds), but he explodes out of his breaks and his ability to adjust to the ball is outstanding. He set the tone for the game with his 61-yard touchdown catch midway through the first quarter. On that play, he spun off two tacklers and won the foot race to the end zone. Notre Dame's talented defensive front played well in this game, but the Irish secondary didn't have an answer for Gallon.
5. Perryman leads vastly improved Miami defense: Linebacker Denzel Perryman made plays all over the field to help lead the Hurricanes' upset of Florida. He finished the game with 13 tackles, one forced fumble and a quarterback hurry. He showed excellent instincts in coverage, and he made plays running from sideline to sideline against the run. He has led the Hurricanes in tackles in both of their games this season. He's on track to have a monster junior campaign.
1. USC offense painful to watch: What happened to the Trojans' offense? Lane Kiffin has played two different quarterbacks and both of them (Cody Kessler, Max Wittek) have looked completely rattled. The Trojans have arguably the country's top wide receiving duo in Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor, but the QBs can't get them the ball down the field. They also boast a talented pair of tight ends in Randall Telfer and Xavier Grimble, yet they are an afterthought in the game plan. As a result of their offensive ineptitude, the Trojans suffered an embarrassing 10-7 defeat to Washington State. Kiffin named Kessler his starting quarterback on Monday.
2. Driskel miscues: Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel had a rough day against Miami. The junior signal-caller was picked off twice in the red zone and also lost a fumble deep in his own territory. Florida's offense outgained Miami, 413 yards to 212, but it was unable to recover from Driskel's mistakes.
3. Braxton Miller injured: Miller was crunched by two San Diego State defenders and forced to leave the game with a knee injury. I love the explosiveness Miller brings to the running game but he needs to do a better job of protecting himself down the field. The Buckeyes didn't need him in this contest, but they can't afford to play without him once the competition improves. This offense has plenty of playmakers on the outside and it might be wise to limit Miller's running load.
4. Texas defensive futility: There has always been a stigma amongst some NFL evaluators when it comes to drafting defensive players from the University of Texas. Saturday's performance likely won't change their minds. Against BYU, the Longhorns gave up 679 total yards and a ridiculous 550 rushing yards. BYU quarterback Taysom Hill tallied 259 rushing yards. His performance is likely the reason Texas now has a new defensive coordinator.
5. Louisville's schedule: During the fall, NFL scouts only have time to study tape on three or four games of the school they're visiting each day. This forces them to prioritize their tape-watching schedule by the talent of the opposing team. That is going to be tough when they roll through Louisville this fall. The Cardinals opened the season against two overmatched foes, Ohio University in the opener and Eastern Kentucky on Saturday. They do play an SEC opponent this week (Kentucky), but the rest of the way they don't square off against a single team currently ranked in the top-25 poll.