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Week 3 may be short on marquee matchups, but several teams in the spotlight can’t afford an unexpected slip-up before conference play begins.
The Athletic has live coverage of college football Week 3 with Top 25 scores, highlights and analysis
Florida State escaped Boston College with a 31-29 win after nearly blowing a 31-10 second-half lead. Second to the win, quarterback Jordan Travis got hurt on a second-quarter hit, coming up holding his left side. He came out briefly at the end of the first half but returned to start the second half. Travis finished 15-for-24 passing for 212 yards and two touchdowns, along with 38 yards on the ground. He completed a couple of deep passes, but FSU went 1-for-9 on third downs.
The FSU defense was gashed by Boston College, which finished with 457 yards, including 305 through the air and 9.0 yards per pass attempt. The Eagles also converted eight of 19 third downs.
Boston College might have won the game if not for penalties — the Eagles committed 18, the last of which was a facemask on a third-and-7 stop with a minute to play, giving FSU a first down and the ability to run out the clock.
The Seminoles will need Travis to be healthy and the defense to be better when they travel to Clemson next week for an ACC showdown. — Chris Vannini
LSU impressive in SEC opener
LSU, Jayden Daniels are getting right after a slow start to 2023
Malik Nabers is going to get the bulk of the accolades after Saturday’s eruption at Mississippi State, and rightly so. The LSU junior receiver — currently Dane Brugler’s No. 2-ranked wideout for the 2024 NFL Draft — was unstoppable (as is often the case) Saturday with 13 catches for 239 yards and two scores. However, do not sleep on what this day was about — and where the trajectory is headed — for Daniels.
LSU’s quarterback got off to a disappointing start during the Week 1 loss against Florida State. He left that performance in the shower, though, and was businesslike in a blowout over Grambling State (18-of-24, 269, five TDs, zero turnovers) before letting it rip vs. Mississippi State. Daniels showed outstanding patience in the pocket — something we’ve needed to see from him — and routinely got the ball where it needed to be. Daniels finished the game 30-of-34 for 361 and two scores and started the contest with 13 straight completions and hit 23 of his first 24 attempts.
The fight for QB3 in the 2024 draft gets a lot of attention. But spots four through nine are also really up in the air and probably in the eye of the beholder. In this loaded class, Daniels seems to be making moves. Meanwhile, Travis was brilliant in the win over LSU but was all over the place last week vs. Southern Miss, and FSU’s offense was nowhere near as efficient as it should’ve been Saturday at Boston College. How QBs handle big losses, and how they handle big wins, matters. — Nick Baumgardner
Minnesota (2-0) at No. 20 North Carolina (2-0), 3:30 p.m., ESPN
Appalachian State took North Carolina to double overtime, and quarterback Drake Maye has been good but not “Pac-12 QB” good. Styles make fights, and Minnesota should be a riveting sparring partner, having allowed just 16 combined points and grinding it out on the ground with the alliterative-last-name duo of Darius Taylor and Sean Tyler. North Carolina has an advantageous path to the ACC title game with Miami at home, Clemson late and no Florida State on the schedule, but it can’t afford to lose momentum by stubbing its toe against a Big Ten foe.
While a fully loaded Washington offense helmed by quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Michael Penix Jr. is reason enough to tune in, this game also features the Mel Tucker subplot. Michigan State’s head coach was suspended indefinitely this week after sexual harassment allegations against him were brought to light, with defensive backs coach Harlon Barnett taking over as interim coach and former coach Mark Dantonio serving as an associate coach. The Spartans have a top-five defense following wins over Central Michigan and Richmond, but this game has potential for disaster with the black cloud hanging over Michigan State and the sport’s second-ranked offense coming into East Lansing.
No. 11 Tennessee (2-0) at Florida (1-1), 7 p.m., ESPN
I’m not sure how good Tennessee is after letting Austin Peay hang around for a bit, but a runaway win for the Volunteers wouldn’t shock me. On a weekend devoid of any certified bangers, a big-brands SEC rivalry takes the top spot in the marquee.
(Photo of Trey Benson: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)