College Football: Studs and Duds from Week 4
Every week, college football players do something unexpected. Some shine, others flop. Either way, they are making the news.
This slideshow will look at great players who played great, as well as usually great players who played poorly, from Week 4 of the 2012 college football season.
I bring you the studs and duds from Week 4.
Rankings appear as follows: No. in AP poll/No. in USA TODAY poll. Rankings updated through Sept. 23, 2012.
Stud Quarterback: Connor Shaw (No. 6/6 South Carolina)
Week 4 Result: 31-10 W vs. Missouri
Week 4 Stats: 20-for-21 passing, 95.2 completion percentage, 249 yards, 2 touchdowns, 226.3 rating; 12 carries, 41 yards, 3.4 yards per carry
Connor Shaw was nearly perfect in South Carolina’s Week 4 win against Missouri, with only one incompletion against the conference opponent.
The dual-threat quarterback managed the game effortlessly. Whether it meant handing the ball to Marcus Lattimore, finding the open receiver or taking the ball himself, Shaw made all the right decisions in Week 4.
Shaw might not have put up gaudy yardage or touchdown numbers, but as a quarterback who completed 20 of 21 passes, those other figures should not matter.
Dud Quarterback: Matt Scott (No. 31/36 Arizona)
Week 4 Result: 0-49 L at No. 2/2 Oregon
Week 4 Stats: 22-for-44 passing, 50.0 completion percentage, 210 yards, 3 interceptions, 76.5 rating; 5 carries, 9 yards, 1.8 yards per carry
At Oregon, the defense is usually the commercial break between the show the Ducks orchestrate on offense. In Week 4, the roles were reversed.
Matt Scott was unable to lead the Wildcats to a single point in their loss to Oregon while running a Rich Rodriguez offense. Arizona also gained a gloomy 4.0 yards per play.
The Ducks allowed the Wildcats five trips inside the red zone, but stopped them every drive.
Should Scott and Arizona be concerned, or is Oregon simply the best college football team not named Alabama? I think a little bit of both.
Stud Running Back: Stefphon Johnson (Nevada)
Week 4 Result: 69-24 W at Hawai’i
Week 4 Stats: 31 carries, 170 yards, 5.5 yards per carry, 6 touchdowns; 3 receptions, 76 yards, 25.3 yards per reception, 1 touchdown; 246 yards from scrimmage, 7 touchdowns
Stefphon Jefferson could be the best offensive player from a non-BCS conference team this season.
Jefferson leads all FBS players through Week 4 in carries (122), rushing yards (699), rushing touchdowns (11), plays from scrimmage (131), yards from scrimmage (788), touchdowns from scrimmage (12), touchdowns (12) and points (72).
I made Jefferson the stud at running back in Week 4 because of his seven touchdowns, six of which came on the ground.
Hawai’i has indeed struggled this season, but Jefferson is for real. Nevada already defeated California on the road in Week 1, and it lost to South Florida at home by one point in Week 2.
If you have not heard of Jefferson until now, you will be hearing about him a lot more as the season progresses.
Dud Running Back: De'Anthony Thomas (No. 2/2 Oregon)
Week 4 Result: 49-0 W vs. No. 31/36 Arizona
Week 4 Stats: 12 carries, 48 yards, 4.0 yards per carry; 2 receptions, 11 yards, 5.5 yards per reception; 1 punt return, 38 yards, 38.0 yards per return; 97 all-purpose yards
Oregon scored 49 points on Arizona, which was ranked No. 22/21 at the time. Thomas scored zero of those points. To add to the disappointment, the game was on national television.
Elite players can have unproductive games one in a while, but Thomas picked the wrong contest to drop his Heisman stock. The Ducks have yet to play USC, Stanford, or Oregon State—three teams ranked in the Top 20 of the Week 5 AP poll.
Stud Wide Receiver: Cobi Hamilton (Arkansas)
Week 4 Result: 26-35 L vs. No. 23/25 Rutgers
Week 4 Stats: 10 receptions, 303 yards, 30.3 yards per reception, 3 touchdowns
Hamilton was responsible for over 72 percent of Arkansas’ receiving yards. The Tyler Wilson-to-Hamilton combination was explosive, but they could not hook up enough to defeat Rutgers in Week 4.
In today’s pass-heavy offenses, it might not be as impressive, but I remember when 300 passing yards in a game was something to marvel, let alone 300 receiving yards for one player.
Dud Wide Receiver: Ryan Swope (No. 35/32 Texas A&M)
Week 4 Result: 70-14 W vs. South Carolina State (FCS)
Week 4 Stats: 2 receptions, 9 yards, 4.5 yards per reception; 1 carry, -2 yards, -2.0 yards per carry; 7 yards from scrimmage
Ryan Swope has disappointed this season for Texas A&M.
Texas A&M scored 70 points on FCS opponent South Carolina State, but Swope was hardly part of the action.
If the Aggies want to be competitive in the SEC, they will need their big-time players to play their best. In the passing game, that starts with Swope, who only has 95 receiving yards on 12 catches this season.
Stud Tight End: Ryan Otten (NR/No. 43 San Jose State)
Week 4 Result: 38-34 W at San Diego State
Week 4 Stats: 5 receptions, 84 yards, 16.8 yards per reception, 1 touchdown
Ryan Otten helped San Jose State win a back-and-forth game against San Diego State in Week 4. Otten was the biggest weapon in the passing game between both teams.
According to CBS Sports’ latest prospect rankings for the 2013 NFL Draft, Otten is on the fence between a seventh-round pick and an undrafted free agent. If Otten puts up numbers like he did against San Diego State more often, look for his name to get called on the final day of the 2013 NFL Draft next April.
Dud Tight End: Chris Gragg (Arkansas)
Week 4 Result: 26-35 L vs. No. 23/25 Rutgers
Week 4 Stats: 2 receptions, 8 yards, 4.0 yards per reception
Chris Gregg left Arkansas’ Week 4 loss against Rutgers in the first quarter due to a leg injury. This surely affected Gragg’s numbers, but outside of Cobi Hamilton, the Razorbacks offense was ineffective.
Arkansas lost most of its receiving core from 2011, and Gragg was supposed to become one of Tyler Wilson’s top targets to replace the production in 2012. If Gragg is injured for any significant amount of time, Arkansas’ season could be in more trouble.
The Razorbacks struggled running the ball on Rutgers as well. Knile Davis gained just 17 rushing yards on 10 carries. As a tight end, Gragg’s performance—or lack thereof, considering his injury—as a run-blocker should take some of the blame.
Stud Defensive Lineman: Morgan Breslin (No. 13/13 Southern California)
Week 4 Result: 27-9 W vs. California
Week 4 Stats: 6 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks
Stanford has been USC’s kryptonite lately, and in Week 4, Morgan Breslin showed why the rest of the opponents on the Trojans’ schedule in 2012 should fear them.
Breslin was a one-man wrecking crew in USC’s win against California, as half of his tackles were sacks.
The Trojans defense held the Golden Bears to 77 rushing yards on 36 carries (2.1 yards per carry), so Breslin was equally dangerous in rush defense and pass defense.
Dud Defensive Lineman: Barkevious Mingo (No. 3/3 Louisiana State)
Week 4 Result: 12-10 W at Auburn
Week 4 Stats: 1 tackle
Barkevious Mingo could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. In Week 4 for LSU against Auburn, Mingo was not dominant enough to warrant that selection.
LSU won the battle of the Tigers by two points, despite holding Auburn to 183 total yards. The defense generated four sacks and two interceptions, and was also a constant force in the backfield. Mingo, though, barely made the stat sheet.
Indeed defensive players can largely impact a game without backing up their play with huge numbers, but I expected Mingo to have more than one single tackle.
CBS Sports still lists Mingo as the No. 1 overall prospect eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft (as of Sept. 25), but continuously failing to make a big impact in big games could drop his stock.
Stud Linebacker: Manti Te'o (No. 10/11 Notre Dame)
Week 4 Result: 13-6 W vs. No. 28/28 Michigan
Week 4 Stats: 8 tackles, 1.0 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 28 yards, 14.0 average, 2 passes defended
Manti Te’o, in Notre Dame’s Week 4 win against Michigan, showed why he is arguably the best inside linebacker in college football.
Te’o could have gone in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, but he decided to stick around South Bend for another year and bring Notre Dame back to college football royalty. Thanks to Te’o, the Fighting Irish look the part.
Te’o and the Notre Dame defense held Michigan to two field goals all game. The Irish also collected three sacks and five interceptions.
If Notre Dame can keep the luck of the Irish going all season, look for Te’o’s name to appear on many First Team All-American lists.
Dud Linebacker: Nico Johnson (No. 1/1 Alabama)
Week 4 Result: 40-7 W vs. Florida Atlantic
Week 4 Stats: 1 tackle
Alabama’s defense is arguably the best in college football. A defense this strong plays as a unit, where no one player stands above the rest.
With that said, I expected Nico Johnson to do more than just get one tackle in the Crimson Tide’s Week 4 win against Florida Atlantic.
Johnson is the No. 3 overall inside linebacker prospect eligible for the 2013 NFL Draft, according to CBS Sports (as of Sept. 25). One tackle against a far overmatched opponent in Florida Atlantic will not help Johnson’s draft stock.
Alabama held Florida Atlantic to 110 total yards. The Owls called 32 running plays, which should have helped Johnson pick up some tackles. No luck.
Johnson should remember, though, that a bad game on Alabama’s defense would be an excellent game just about anywhere else in college football.
Stud Defensive Back: Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (No. 2/2 Oregon)
Week 4 Result: 49-0 W vs. No. 31/36 Arizona
Week 4 Stats: 1 tackle, 2 interceptions, 54 yards, 27.0 average, 1 interception return touchdown, 5 passes defended
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu was the star of an Oregon pass defense that held Arizona to zero points in Week 4. The Ducks also held the Wildcats scoreless in five red zone attempts.
Ekpre-Olomu brought some major shutdown cornerback skills to Autzen Stadium, which helped raise Oregon to the No. 2 ranking in both polls.
Dud Defensive Back: Johnny Adams (No. 20/18 Michigan State)
Week 4 Result: 23-7 W vs. Eastern Michigan
Week 4 Stats: 1 tackle, 1 pass defended
Johnny Adams’s 2013 NFL Draft stock has dropped considerably through Week 4. Adams—who began 2012 on the Bednarik Award Watch List—is now no better than a fourth-round pick, according to CBS Sports’ prospect rankings (as of Sept. 25).
Michigan State played excellent defense in its Week 4 win against Eastern Michigan, but Adams was less-than-impressive.
The Spartans had no answer for Eastern Michigan’s Garrett Hoskins, who had eight receptions for 102 yards in the game. As one of college football’s best shutdown cornerbacks, Adams should have been more dominant against an overmatched opponent.
Michigan State held Eastern Michigan to 46 rushing yards on 29 carries (1.6 yards per carry). With one tackle all game, Adams was not a factor in the run game.
Adams will need to be dominant in both run defense and pass defense if he wants to jump back into the first two rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft.
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