College football’s very best of September

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A recap of the first month of the season

Brad Curnow | Sports Writer | @jojocornrow

After the first month of the season I would like to take a bit to reflect on a spectacular month of football. BYU won with a Hail Mary multiple times. Auburn snatched victory from the jaws of defeat against Jacksonville State. Ole Miss upset Alabama again. TCU escaped Lubbock, TX with a narrow victory over Texas Tech. And Leonard Fournette has looked like a man among boys running the ball in the SEC. Something I want to do on a monthly basis is look back on the month and give recognition to those who deserve it in the sport.

Best Play

Ole Miss-hap turns into six points

In Week 3 Ole Miss traveled to Tuscaloosa, AL to take on, at the time, second-ranked Alabama. After getting upset in Ole Miss’ house last year, the Crimson Tide had revenge on their minds. Early in the third quarter, the Rebels were in a third and one on their own 34-yard line. The snap to quarterback Chad Kelly was high, hitting off his right hand and shooting straight into the air. He corralled the ball just as Alabama linebacker Reggie Ragland came off the edge, untouched. As he was getting hit, Kelly hurled the ball to his left to wide receiver Laquon Treadwell, who was hit as the ball reached his hands, causing the ball to careen behind him. Receiver Quincy Adeboyejo happened to be in the right place at the right time, snatched the ball out of the air, then sprinted 55 yards to pay dirt giving Ole Miss a two touchdown advantage.

There have been a lot of great plays already this season, but none have had the impact on their conference or the polls as this very one did on the SEC and the AP Top-25. The deflated looks throughout Bryant-Denny Stadium and the Crimson Tide sideline said more about what was to come in the polls the next day than anyone could have predicted. The Tide dropped from second in the polls to No. 12 and their road to the SEC championship now relies on at least two Ole Miss losses.

Best Player

Fournette about it, just give him the Heisman

LSU running back Leonard Fournette has been running up and down the field making defenses look like they are standing still. In the Tigers’ first three games, he has rushed for 631 yards and eight TDs. If you want the math, that’s an average of 206.7 yards per game, correcting for the 11 yards in his first game that was cancelled. Not only has Fournette put up Madden-like numbers, but he’s done it against SEC defenses; the ones that are supposed to be the best in the country. LSU is off to a 3-0 start because quarterback Brandon Harris just has to worry about getting a clean center-quarterback exchange before giving the ball to Fournette. There’s nothing that defenses have been able to do to stop him. ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit says Fournette could be the best college football running back since the Oklahoma Sooners’ Adrian Petersen. I’d say that’s a pretty good compliment.

Best Team

Can you see LA taking the Pac-12?

Although they currently sit at seventh in the current AP Poll, the UCLA Bruins have the best resume in the country and it gets better each week. This team finds ways to win even with their backs against the wall and makes opposing offenses look anemic. Their worst win came by one point against BYU when the Cougars’ defense completely shutdown quarterback Josh Rosen. The Bruins gave the ball to running back Paul Perkins and let him run amuck, which he did for 219 yards. UCLA also went on the road and made Arizona look like a team in the Mountain West Conference. The Wildcats were blowing teams out but were error prone and sloppy against the Bruins. A blowout win against Virginia by UCLA looks better each week as teams continue to struggle to put them away. The Bruins have been the only team to hold the Cavaliers’ offense to under 400 total yards this season. The schedule will continue to test UCLA but they appear to be built for the challenge and had the best first month of the season.