1 – LSU QB Jayden Daniels & WR Malik Nabors (vs. Mississippi State)
Daniels: 30/34 – 361 yards – 2 touchdowns/15 carries – 64 yards – 2 touchdowns
Nabors: 13 receptions – 239 yards – 2 touchdowns
The Bulldogs simple didn’t have an answer for the combination of Daniels and Nabors on Saturday as LSU rolled to a 41-14 victory in Starkville. Daniels would set an LSU record for completion percentage in a game (minimum 25 pass attempts) and the Tigers took a 24-7 lead into halftime and never looked back, punting the ball to the Bulldogs just twice all game. The inability to cover Nabors was a massive problem for a Bulldogs defense thats produced multiple NFL prospects in the secondary over the past decade, and should cause concern headed into SEC play.
It’s the best either player has looked since becoming starters for the program, and they’ll look to continue this connection at home next Saturday night against Arkansas.
2 – Washington QB Michael Penix Jr (vs. Michigan State)
Stats: 27/35 – 473 yards – 4 touchdowns
The first two time 5 Star player on 2023, Penix had yet another unreal performance, this time on the road against a Michigan State team dealing with off the field issues around head coach Mel Tucker. The Huskies scored touchdowns on five of their seven first half possessions, taking a 35-0 lead into halftime. Penix was ultimately pulled late in the third quarter after taking a 41-0 lead. No quarterback has looked more in control thus far this season as Penix just continues to pulverize defenses.
The Huskies offense leads the nation in passing yards per game thru three weeks of play, and Penix is firmly in top five of Heisman candidates at this point. They’ll take on California at home in Pac-12 After Dark action next Saturday.
3 – South Alabama RB La’Damian Webb (vs. Oklahoma State)
Stats: 18 carries – 151 yards – 2 touchdowns
South Alabama pulled off what is probably the biggest win in the programs history on Saturday when they went into Stillwater and toppled the Cowboys 33-7 behind the effort of a stout defense and their star running back Webb. He’s long been one of the most underrated running backs in the country and finally got a chance to shine in front of a national audience, averaging 8.4 yards per carry in the Saturday night victory.
Webb scored a 17 yard touchdown in the first half immediately after an Oklahoma State interception and the Jaguars took a 23-0 lead into the half, and Webb capitalized late with a 65 yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter that gave the Jaguars a 33-7 lead and sealed the victory for the Sun Belt program.
Webb & South Alabama will round out non-conference play hosting Central Michigan next Saturday.
4 – Missouri WR Luther Burden III (vs. #15 Kansas State)
Stats: 7 receptions – 114 yards – 2 touchdowns
Much was made of Missouri securing the commitment of the five star in-state prospect Burden, and while he had a modest freshman season in 2022, everyone was looking for the breakout in 2023 as he became the number one option in the Tigers passing attack. On Saturday against a tough Kansas State squad, he had the game that firmly put him on the map as one of the best receivers in the SEC.
Burden caught a 47 yard pass on the Tigers first possession that tied things up at 7-7. Burden would score his second touchdown of the game midway through the fourth quarter on a 26 yard reception that put the Tigers up 27-24.
Burden is already halfway to his 2022 receptions and touchdown total and just 48 yards shy of his 2022 yards total, and the Tigers will face Memphis at home next Saturday night.
5 – Fresno State Defense (vs. Arizona State)
Stats: 0 points allowed – 230 yards allowed – 5 interceptions – 3 fumble recoveries
The Fresno State defense pitched a shutout on Saturday night against Arizona State in a 29-0 rout of the Sun Devils, and they did it with one of the best performances we’ll see all year from that side of the ball. In the first half alone, they forced two fumbles on sacks of quarterback Drew Pyne and added two interceptions as well, and on the one drive that Arizona State moved the ball deep into Bulldog territory, they forced a turnover on downs with four stops inside the three yard line.
In the second half, they were equally as dominate forcing a three and out on the Sun Devils first possession and creating another interception on the second. They recovered yet another fumble, this time off running back Tevin White and after a quarterback change to Jacob Conover, they made two more interceptions in the fourth quarter.
The Bulldogs start the season 3-0 after big road wins over Purdue and Arizona State (they made over $2 million for those games) and will host Kent State next Saturday before entering Mountain West play.