AP Top 25 Takeaways: New low for Nebraska; Vols stung late

Northern Illinois running back Jordan Huff (23) is pushed out of bounds by Nebraska linebacker Mohamed Barry, right, during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

A dark day in Nebraska. Another regrettable moment for Texas A&M. More explaining of what went wrong for Butch Jones.

Before the Heisman winner and the national champion squared off Saturday night with Lamar Jackson and No. 14 Louisville playing host to No. 3 Clemson, the week three theme of the college football season was discontentment.

A forgettable weekend for many, but one that unfortunately for Mike Riley won't soon be forgotten by Big Red Nation.

The Top 25 thoughts, takeaways and takedowns:

1. A new low for Nebraska, beaten at home in Lincoln by Northern Illinois 21-17. Suddenly, the Bo Pelini years don't look so bad, and being a great guy is not going to help Mike Riley much with Cornhuskers fans and at least one vocal former Huskers great .

2. Nebraska might never again be what it once was under Tom Osborne, but losing to a MAC team had never happened before - and never should be acceptable for the Cornhuskers.

3. Yes, Riley did receive a contract extension this week.

4. Another unhappy place right now is College Station, Texas, and Texas A&M beating Louisiana-Lafayette 45-21 won't help all that much.

5. When even the victories come with bad news, it becomes hard to see how any coach keeps his job. That's where things seem to be with Texas A&M and Kevin Sumlin after an Aggies player made an obscene gesture toward fans as he was coming off the field at halftime that will make more headlines than the game.

6. Tennessee-Florida went from excruciating to exhilarating in one play . Mostly, fans were probably just glad to be spared overtime.

7. When talking about coaches who are going to be facing scrutiny this week, add the Vols' Jones to the list.

8. Getting beat on a last-play Hail Mary is one thing. Getting beat on a long last-play touchdown pass where the receiver just runs by the defense - the way the Vols did - is going to take some explaining.

9. Jones' usual dose of clichés and platitudes will only serve to make Volunteers fans angrier.

10. As for No. 23 Florida, there was not a whole lot to like from the Gators' perpetually problematic offense, but avoiding the first 0-2 start for the program in 46 years will make coach Jim McElwain's life a lot easier.

11. Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph in two games against Pitt : 1,037 yards passing. The competition has been meh, but through three games the ninth-ranked Cowboys' offense has been close to unstoppable.

12. Maybe TCU coach Gary Patterson can come up with something to slow Oklahoma State next week when they play in Fort Worth, Texas, next Saturday. The No. 20 Horned Frogs are also 3-0.

13. Remember, the Big 12 has a championship game this season matching its top teams. That prompted the conference to move the Bedlam game between Oklahoma State and No. 2 Oklahoma from the season finale to Nov. 4.

14. At the other end of the Big 12, Kansas' road losing streak reached 42 games with a 42-30 loss at Ohio. The Jayhawks have been outscored 87-57 against two MAC teams, and are again in the running to be the worst team in the Power Five.

15. Baylor might also be in the running. The Bears are 0-3 for the first time since 1998 and now they start playing conference games. The Bears play Kansas on Nov. 4, too.

16. So many good quarterbacks should be available in the coming NFL draft that some team has a chance to get a mid-round steal with Riley Ferguson of Memphis. Ferguson outplayed UCLA's Josh Rosen and the Tigers upset No. 25 UCLA 48-45 .

17. And it's not as if Rosen was bad. He threw a pick-six, but his performance was pretty much the only thing keeping UCLA in the game.

18. Mississippi might want to look up the road to Memphis coach Mike Norvell when it dives deep into its search for a new coach. It's only year two for Norvell, 35, at Memphis, but the Rebels probably should consider it.

19. Five more field goals for Michigan kicker Quinn Nordin as the seventh-ranked Wolverines managed just one offensive touchdown in a 29-13 victory against Air Force . Michigan has one touchdown in 10 red zone trips this season.

20. No. 8 Ohio State had no such problems in its game against a service academy . Everybody in Columbus, Ohio, can relax for a few weeks as the Buckeyes play UNLV and Rutgers next.

21. It is quickly looking as if Purdue had the best the hire of last season in Jeff Brohm.

22. The Boilermakers are 2-1 after crushing Missouri , and considering the way Nebraska and Northwestern have played in the Big Ten West, Purdue fans should be thinking bowl game.

23. The schedule will ease up for BYU, especially toward the end of the season. That might be the only thing that keeps the punchless Cougars from having their first losing season since 2004.

24. Notre Dame ran for 515 yards against Boston College , with Josh Adams and quarterback Brandon Wimbush each going for over 200. The reason why the Irish should be OK this season is because against teams that don't line up the kind of athletes Georgia does on its defense, Notre Dame should have its way up front.

25. Twenty-one NFL teams sent representatives to Laramie, Wyoming, to watch Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen play Oregon, the last Power Five team in the Cowboys' schedule. Even in warmups it is hard not to be impressed by the way the ball effortlessly jumps out of Allen's hand.


Follow Ralph D. Russo at www.Twitter.com/ralphDrussoAP


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