Week 3 college football winners and losers: Penn State, Oregon get huge wins

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With two road wins against Power Five competition through three weeks, No. 23 Penn State has taken care of business in September and set a course for nine or more wins during the regular season.

Saturday’s 41-12 win at Auburn even included beauty points. To start with, winning by 29 points against an SEC opponent even as downtrodden as the Tigers speaks for itself.

Add in an offense that gained 477 yards, averaged 6.3 yards per carry and 10.1 yards per pass attempt. Two freshmen running backs with extreme potential, Nicholas Singleton and Kaytron Allen, combined for 176 yards and four touchdowns — one, Singleton’s 54-yard score in the fourth quarter, put a dent in the concept of SEC speed.

Defensively, PSU forced four turnovers, hassled Auburn quarterback T.J. Finley and held the Tigers’ running game to just 119 yards on 36 carries.

Penn State running back Keyvone Lee (24) finds a opening during the second quarter against Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

More so than the narrow season-opening win at Purdue, the victory validates the Nittany Lions’ place in the USA TODAY Sports AFCA Coaches Poll and hints at the increasing possibility that PSU could land in the New Year’s Six.

To get into one of these major bowl games, the Nittany Lions have to avoid stumbling against the third and fourth tiers of the Big Ten — Northwestern, Indiana, Maryland, Rutgers — and earn a split in the four games that will determine whether they earn any sort of national respect: Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio State and Michigan State.

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