NCAA Football News and Notes: USC Freshman Starts Fast

With the second week of the college football season in the books, it finally feels like the season has arrived and college football is here to stay. Let’s take a look at some of the top headlines of the weekend, including some amazing quarterback performances.

The Kid’s Good

USC was approaching disaster after losing quarterback JT Daniels in its season opener, a game it struggled to close out against Fresno State. But true freshman Kedon Slovis turned into a savior of sorts during the team’s 45-20 win over Stanford Saturday night.

Slovis, making his first career start, completed 28 of his 33 passes for 377 yards, setting a USC record for the most passing yards by a true freshman in his first start. He also threw three touchdowns without an interception, helping the Trojans to erase a 17-3 deficit and win in convincing fashion. By the end of the game, the USC student section was chanting, “We love Slovis!”

Slovis is hardly the most heralded quarterback to enroll at USC, but he beat out a couple of older quarterbacks to earn the backup job behind Daniels. It now appears that the Trojans are his team moving forward. If he can continue to perform the way he did on Saturday, USC could become a contender in the Pac-12.

The Shootout

Those expecting to see a defensive battle in the top-10 showdown between LSU and Texas were sorely disappointed. Both LSU quarterback Joe Burrow and Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger were at the top of their games, creating fireworks in a game the Tigers won 45-38. Despite the loss, Ehlinger became the first Texas quarterback to surpass 400 yards passing in a game since 2011.

Earlier in the week, LSU linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson questioned Ehlinger’s ability to beat the Tigers with his arm after facing him in high school when he was more of a threat with his legs. But Chaisson ate his words afterward, giving Ehlinger plenty of praise.

“I made a comment that the quarterback couldn’t beat us throwing,” said Chaisson. “He proved me wrong today. I never thought Sam was a bad quarterback. I thought he was a better runner than passer, and he showed different today with 400-something yards passing.”

LSU head coach Ed Orgeron echoed that sentiment, calling Ehlinger a “phenomenal player.” But Orgeron also had plenty of nice things to say about his own quarterback. Burrow completed 31 of his 39 passes for 471 yards and four touchdowns. That included a 61-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-17 late in the fourth quarter to put the Tigers up two touchdowns.

“That was awesome,” said Orgeron. “Man, he was fired up. The kid is a baller. He lives for that moment, and I’ll tell you what, those were some tough plays. It was loud out there, and he got it done.”

The loss isn’t the end of the world for Texas. However, the win on the road catapults the Tigers into prime position in the College Football Playoff discussion early in the year. The win will look great on their resume and could allow the Tigers to absorb a loss during their brutal SEC schedule and remain in the CFP discussion. More importantly, they also appear to have a big-time quarterback to lead them.