The Panthers are preparing yet again for another game they can't afford to lose. Jason (Scott Porter) still finds it difficult to adjust to life at home, and the feelings he still has for Lyla (Minka Kelly) don't make it any easier. Meanwhile, at what couldn't seem like a better time, Matt's (Zach Gilford) dad comes home from Iraq, but the homecoming is not what Matt expected. To make situations even more complicated, UT has taken an interest in Coach Taylor, whose popularity continues to grow, and Smash becomes more and more dependent on unnatural substances to keep ...
Matt's dad decides to stay home instead of returning to Iraq, while Jason's parents level a lawsuit against the coach for negligence. Smash tries to get closer to a girl, but he keeps getting in the way, himself. The whole town awaits another game involving two other schools, with the results determining the Panthers' post-season hopes.
When Smash's mother finds his needle, she puts the coach in an uncomfortable position and Tammy gets a new job offer, which makes the coach even more uncomfortable. Matts father gets recalled to duty and Jason ponders his decision about his relationship with Lila and Tyra tries to help her mom get over her last woman-beating boyfriend.
When an assistant coach is quoted in the media with racial intentions, he draws a line between the team, right at playoff time. Julie and Tyra are forced to join the powderpuff game as a result for skipping class, and Julie's dad is a bit elated when she's picked for quarterback by Matt. Tyra, meanwhile, has a hard time dealing with her mother's growing relationship with Buddy Garrity, and starts taking it out on his daughter, Lila. Jason gets an invite to join the local rugby team.
Julie is confronted by her parents regarding her growing relationship with Tyra. Matt tries his hardest to get back in Julie's good graces. Meanwhile, the post-season is in jeopardy as Coach Taylor remains divided over firing his offensive coordinator or standing by his friend, which is the key to one quarter of the team taking a stand by sitting out of the next game.
When his wife throws him out of the house, Buddy Garrity turns to Coach Taylor and Lila turns to Jason. Julie turns to her mother when an accident happens involving Tyra's mother, even though she knows she's not supposed to be hanging out with Tyra. And Waverly's father turns to Smash when he fears that she has taken a personal change without consulting her father.
With TMU trying to recruit Coach Taylor, Julie insists that she will not be moved away from Matt and Dillon. The quad rugby recruiters in Austin deliver some bad news to Jason. Riggins becomes friends with a single mother and her son.
Matt takes it upon himself to try to curb Smash's enthusiasm for the upcoming season. Tim turns to Lila when he spots his brother leaving his neighbor's house. Jason turns his attention on Mexico in an effort to walk again. Buddy turns to Coach Taylor to convince him to return as coach of the Panthers.
Eric quits his college coaching job to return home to his family and the Panthers, but the latter doesn't look very promising when the old coach fights his termination after only two games. Tim accompanies Jason to Mexico where a questionable medical procedure gives Jason hopes of walking again. After making an appearance in the Lord's name in a boys' home, Lila takes it upon herself to show a recently-release inmate the light. Landry's father is called into work after the body that he and Tyra disposed of is discovered.
Upon returning to the Panthers, Coach Taylor finds himself trying to mend broken fences between his quarterback and his halfback and attempts to find a little intimate time with his wife. Tim recruits Lila in trying to talk Jason out of the risky surgery he has scheduled in Mexico, while Landry's father tries to put up a fence between his son and Tyra.
Upon returning to Dillon, Tim finds his team locker empty, while Coach Taylor deals with Jason and offering him a coaching job, while, at the same time, dealing with his own job not paying as nearly much as what he was getting the previous year. Lila's friend from the boys' school shows up with her father in hopes of a tryout with the Panthers and Landry's father nears the truth about his role in a death.
The coach's wife enlists the aid of Tyra and Lila to secure entertainment for the annual Pantherama event, while the coach enlists the aid of Buddy, who found a hot new football player for him, but the new prospective star has a family that's run out on him, and Tami won't let him play football until that scenario is amended. Julie enlists the aid of journalism in an effort to help her get over the loss of Matt. Smash doesn't want help from anybody, while he turns his back on the possibility of a great education, opting out, instead for a chance at more recognition ...
Tami manages to alienate her husband and her daughter. Smash manages to alienate a prospective teammate while on a college visit. Matt manages to alienate the young lady who cares for his grandmother and the girl from school who was sweet on him. After alienating the team, Tim still finds himself trying to get back on the team, which, embarrassingly, lost their last game. Landry agrees to meet the brother of the man he killed for Tyra, who originally agreed to meet the man who wanted to make amends for his brother
Landry gives into his better judgment and confesses about what he did while trying to save Tyra. Santiago feels the pressure about the upcoming football game, while pressure mounts between Julie and her mother surrounding the christening of the new baby in the family. Tim feels the pressure of his new roommate, while Jason does his best in getting back into the dating world.