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Georgia laid waste to maybe its biggest SEC East competition, and 9 other teams of the week

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Here were the 10 teams who most impressed in college football’s Week 2.

NCAA Football: Georgia at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Team of the week: Georgia (def. South Carolina, 41-17)

In Thursday’s S&P+ picks post, I posed a question:

Does South Carolina have a legitimate shot at an upset, or are we just talking ourselves into the Gamecocks because everyone else has an even smaller chance at an upset?

On paper, it looked more latter than former. Georgia backed that impression up in Columbia.

NCAA Football: Georgia at South Carolina
Jake Fromm (11) and Elijah Holyfield (13)
Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina did its best to throw some heavy blows. Despite almost immediately falling behind 14-0 because of an interception/fumble return score (Deandre Baker took a pick nearly to the house but let go of the ball early, and Juwan Taylor collected it and scored) and a 17-yard D’Andre Swift touchdown run, the Gamecocks responded well. The score was just 17-10 before Rodrigo Blankenship nailed a field goal at the halftime buzzer. Total first-half yards: SC 191, UGA 183.

Third-quarter yards: UGA 226, SC 75. In the first 12 minutes after halftime, the Dawgs went 75 yards in six plays, 75 yards in six plays, and 86 yards in nine plays to put the game away. Quarterback Jake Fromm went 6-for-6 in this stretch for 115 yards and a 34-yard touchdown strike to Mecole Hardman, who dramatically outplayed SC star Deebo Samuel (seven receptions/rushes for 133 yards vs. seven for 32).

Fromm finished 15-for-18 for 194 yards, a trio of UGA running backs (Elijah Holyfield, Swift, and Brian Herrien) 185 yards in 28 carries, and the defense slowly swallowed up whatever SC attempted to do, allowing Gamecock running backs just 3.4 yards per carry and limiting quarterback Jake Bentley to 5.5 yards per pass attempt (including sacks).

The Cocks scored a garbage-time touchdown to make it a bit more respectable, but in what might have been its biggest test until November (depending on how good LSU turns out to be), Georgia passed with flying colors. Kirby Smart’s Dawgs weathered some shots and removed all suspense in a hostile environment.

We don’t quite know how good South Carolina will turn out to be, but early on, you could say UGA has proved as much as anyone in the “Who’s truly elite (besides Bama)” battle.

Other teams of the week

2. Kentucky (def. Florida, 27-16)

As a Missouri fan, I watched my Tigers suffer a quarter-century-long losing streak to Nebraska before they finally got the monkey off their back with a perfect fourth quarter in 2003. It’s a shame Kentucky didn’t end a three-decades-and-change losing streak to Florida in Lexington, where the home crowd could rejoice together, but like when an NBA team clinches the finals on the road, there’s still plenty of celebrating to do.

When you’ve got a losing streak that long, you almost don’t believe leads are real. They are just time killers until something heart-breaking happens. (And last year, that time killer got pretty creative.) After cutting Kentucky’s lead from 21-10 to 21-16, the Gators got the ball back with 29 seconds and 94 yards to go. This eventual UK loss was going to be the most painful of all, right?

Wrong. Josh Allen sacked and stripped Feleipe Franks, and Davonte Robinson returned the fumble for some exclamation-mark points as the clock expired. Well done, Cats.

3. Stanford (def. USC, 17-3)

The big winner on Saturday wasn’t an actual team — it was the under, which went 34-12-3 against the over in Week 2 action. Conditions were wet and sloppy seemingly everywhere.

There was no wet and no sloppy in Palo Alto on Saturday night, but David Shaw’s Cardinal muddied out a win over USC all the same. They punted eight times, including once from the USC 34, and won by 14 points all the same. They sacked USC’s freshman quarterback, JT Daniels, four times and picked him off twice. They put up two early touchdowns and quietly erased any hope for a comeback. And they staked an early claim to being the Pac-12’s best team behind Washington.

4. EMU (def. Purdue, 20-19)

Eastern Michigan was 0-39 all-time against Big Ten teams before beating Rutgers via last-second field goal last September. They made it two in a row in West Lafayette on Saturday, taking advantage of a foolish defensive penalty on their last drive — the second time in two weeks that Purdue has screwed itself with late penalties — and once again hitting a last-second field goal. Well done, Chris Creighton.

NCAA Football: Eastern Michigan at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

5. Penn State (def. Pitt, 51-6)

Every coach has a petty streak, but no one’s pettiness is as pure as James Franklin’s. His team made a pretty incredible statement, scoring 37 unanswered second-half points to drub an in-state rival on the road, and he still demanded a replay challenge of a fumble in the final minute. That’s just what’s going to happen if he has a reason to dislike you.

This was a beatdown. The PSU offense still hasn’t completely untracked, but thanks to stifling defense and a return score, the Nittany Lions rolled.

6. Arizona State (def. Michigan State, 16-13)

Hey, S&P+ warned you it was possible. A week after Michigan State’s defense threatened to get the Spartans upset by Utah State, the Spartans allowed 424 yards to Herm Edwards’ Sun Devils and only led into the fourth quarter because of a series of missed ASU opportunities.

To the Sun Devils’ credit, they kept plugging away. They cut a 13-3 deficit to 13-6 early in the fourth quarter, then got star receiver N’Keal Harry going with a 27-yard game-tying score with 8:45 left. And then they got the ball back with 4:55 left and pulled a Michigan State, eating up the rest of the clock and setting up the game-winning field goal.

Michigan State v Arizona State
Herm Edwards
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

7. Houston (def. Arizona, 45-18)

The primary story from Houston’s 27-point destruction of Arizona was that first-year UA head coach Kevin Sumlin and coordinator Noel Mazzone have at least temporarily ruined quarterback Khalil Tate.

But don’t let that take away from the fact that Major Applewhite’s Cougars were prepared on Saturday. They gained nearly 200 yards and scored touchdowns on each of their first three possessions and bolted to a jarring 38-0 lead before the Wildcats began to figure some things out.

Since starting slowly against Rice in Week 1, the Cougars’ offense has scored 73 points in its last three halves of football.

8. Colorado State (def. Arkansas, 34-27)

To say the least, the Rams showed some resilience on Saturday. After losing their home opener to Hawaii in a track meet and then getting crushed by Colorado in Denver, Mike Bobo’s team found itself down 27-9 midway through the third quarter against Chad Morris’ Hogs. An 0-3 start was imminent.

But they then scored on four straight possessions and forced three consecutive punts to surge to an unexpected win and wreck Morris’ first road game as UA head coach. The season was beginning to spiral, and CSU rallied.

9. Kansas (def. CMU, 31-7)
10. ECU (def. UNC, 41-19)

Listen, Central Michigan is bad. So, too, is North Carolina, apparently. But Kansas and ECU just beat FBS opponents on the same day for the first time since September 20, 2014 (the last time ECU beat a power conference team by double digits), and KU just won on the road for the first time since beating UTEP on the road in 2009.

Since beating Texas in November 2016, the Jayhawks had lost 12 straight games to FBS opponents by an average score of 45-17. Within that stretch, they lost at home to CMU by 18.

So yeah, any win is a noteworthy one for this duo. Neither victory is likely to save either head coach’s job — David Beaty is now 4-34, and Scottie Montgomery is 7-19, and both have multiple losses to FCS teams. But every fan base deserves to be happy every now and then.

NCAA Football: North Carolina at East Carolina James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports