College Football: Week 4 Recap
Week 4 wasn’t filled with the most intriguing matchups, nor were there any big upsets. Quite a few highly ranked teams blew out their opponents, but it doesn’t necessarily mean there weren’t a few close calls.
What ended up being the biggest game of the week occurred Friday night between Mountain West Conference contenders Boise State and Fresno State. The Broncos were looking to keep themselves in BCS bowl contention, but couldn’t quite get the job done. They lost 41-40 against a talented Fresno State led by quarterback Derek Carr, who threw for an impressive 460 yards and four touchdowns.
The Bulldogs are now in ranked in the Top 25 and have defeated two quality opponents in Rutgers and Boise State. They could be the mid-major team that crashes the BCS party.
Once again, two weeks later after their big matchup, Notre Dame and Michigan barely held on to defeat their opponents. At least the Fighting Irish were playing a Michigan State squad that had the top defense in the country, Michigan struggled offensively and almost lost to a UConn team that in Week 1 lost to FCS opponent Towson 33-18. Luckily, Brady Hoke’s squad scored 17 unanswered points to win 24-21.
The Florida Gators came away with their ninth straight win over Tennessee, but lost quarterback Jeff Driskel for the rest of the season with an ankle injury. Georgia struggled at home against North Texas until pulling away at the end of the third quarter to win 45-21.
Auburn and LSU played in a torrential downpour in Death Valley. Auburn proved they are a better team under new head coach Gus Malzahn already, but LSU showcased how dangerous they could potentially be this season.
The biggest win on Saturday had to be for Mack Brown and his Texas Longhorns. Two blowout losses to BYU and Ole Miss in a row made for a rough few weeks in Austin. A 31-21 win over Kansas State gives them a 1-0 record in Big 12 play and a chance at making a BCS bowl game.
Baylor, Louisville, Miami (FL) and Ohio State all put up 70 points or more on their opponents. The game was so bad between Miami (FL) and Savannah State that they decided to play a 12 minute fourth quarter.
Remember FCS Savannah State has been blown out by multiple FBS teams. Since 2012, the Tigers have been outscored 282-10. On the bright side, they’re getting good money out of it.
With all of that said, here are my pick results and my weekly final thought:
Picks and Results from Top 10 Games
Overall Record: 29-11
Week 4 Record: 6-4
Note: Team in Bold indicates author’s pick.
Prediction: Boise State 34, Fresno State 28
Result: Fresno State 41, Boise State 40
Boise State had to have this one if they were going to make a run at their third BCS bowl game since 2007. The Broncos were down 34-19 in the last minute of the third quarter, but came back to score 21 unanswered points to take a 40-34 lead with 7:04 remaining in the fourth quarter. Fresno State eventually came down and scored though, to put the game at 41-40. The Boise State offense led by Joe Southwick couldn’t answer on its final drive and were hit with their second loss of the season.
Prediction: Florida 28, Tennessee 17
Result: Florida 31, Tennessee 17
This SEC rivalry game ended up being what most imagined it would be. It was low-scoring with not a lot of offense. The Gators may have won, but they lost starting quarterback Jeff Driskel for the season after a pick-six in the beginning of the first quarter. Junior Tyler Murphy came in relief of Driskel and passed for 134 yards and one touchdown. The Vols had another rough week and ran for a grand total of 66 yards against the talented Gator defense. This was Tennessee’s ninth consecutive loss to Florida.
Prediction: Notre Dame 30, Michigan State 16
Result: Notre Dame 17, Michigan State 13
Can’t say anyone was surprised about this outcome. It was a low-scoring game again between these two rivals. Notre Dame had to rely heavily on its passing game because the running game was shutdown by the Michigan State defense, which is the best overall defense in the country. The Spartans, as usual though, couldn’t do much offensively. The Irish locked up the game at the beginning of the fourth quarter when Cam McDaniel ran for a seven-yard touchdown to put the game at 17-10. It was Notre Dame’s third consecutive win over Michigan State.
Prediction: Stanford 38, Arizona State 31
Result: Stanford 42, Arizona State 28
Todd Graham was looking to get his Sun Devils on the map and in the mix as a Pac-12 title contender. Apparently his team's luck ran out quickly in Palo Alto after their controversial win over Wisconsin on Sept. 14. From the start, the Stanford offense was all over the Arizona State defense. They also took advantage of any Arizona State special teams mistake as well. At the end of the second quarter, the Cardinal already led 29-0. By the time the Sun Devils were able to score in the second half, the game was already out of reach.
Prediction: LSU 34, Auburn 21
Result: LSU 35, LSU 21
LSU showed off their talent on Saturday night. Senior quarterback Zach Mettenberger threw for 229 yards and one touchdown. Running back Jeremy Hill was easily the best player, as he rushed for 183 yards and three touchdowns. Auburn made mistakes, but they looked much improved. If LSU goes into Georgia next week and gets a win, there is a very good chance they head to Alabama on Nov. 9 undefeated.
Prediction: Georgia Tech 42, North Carolina 28
Result: Georgia Tech 28, North Carolina 20
It was a bit surprising to not see a shootout in this ACC Coastal Division showdown. North Carolina led early with a 20-7 lead in the second quarter in what was a downpour in Atlanta. Georgia Tech outscored the Tar Heels 14-0 in the second half and pulled out a close victory. Yellow Jacket running back Robert Godhigh had nine carries for 100 yards. The offense put up a total of 428 yards on the Tar Heel defense.
Prediction: Wisconsin 45, Purdue 23
Result: Wisconsin 41, Purdue 10
Wisconsin had no problem bouncing back after a tough loss at Arizona State just a week ago, as the Badger offense put up 546 total yards. Explosive running backs Melvin Gordon and James White could not be stopped by the Boilermaker defense. Gordon had 16 carries for 147 yards and three touchdowns. White also had 16 carries, but rushed for 145 yards and one touchdown. It’s the type of game Gary Andersen’s team needed before heading to “The Shoe” for a Leaders Division showdown with Ohio State.
Prediction: Arkansas 27, Rutgers 24
Result: Rutgers 28, Arkansas 24
What a game this turned out to be. Arkansas was up 24-7 late in the third quarter, but Rutgers came roaring back by scoring 21 unanswered points to knock off the Razorbacks for a second straight year. The Scarlet Knight defense held running backs Alex Collins and Jonathan Williams to a combined 88 yards and no touchdowns. Rutgers quarterback Gary Nova had a solid game by passing for 346 yards and three touchdowns.
Prediction: Kansas State 28, Texas 24
Result: Texas 31, Kansas State 21
Texas got a much needed win over Kansas State. Not only does it calm things down in Austin for head coach Mack Brown, but they are undefeated in conference play and finally snapped a five game losing streak to the Wildcats.
Case McCoy finished the game under center because David Ash suffered a head injury again in the first half. Running back Johnathan Gray had an impressive game by rushing for 141 yards and two touchdowns.
Kansas State on the other hand, showed the nation they are not the same without Collin Klein under center. A costly fumble late in the fourth quarter on Texas’s four-yard line by quarterback Jake Waters hurt their chances of another win over the Longhorns.
Prediction: BYU 38, Utah 35
Result: Utah 20, BYU 13
It was surprising to not see as much scoring in this heated rivalry. BYU had its chance to end a three game losing streak to Utah, but couldn’t get things going offensively when they needed it most late in the fourth quarter. This will be the last Holy War matchup until the two play each other in 2016.
It was the week of backup quarterbacks. The backup that stands out the most is clearly Ohio State senior quarterback Kenny Guiton, though.
In two starts, while starter Braxton Miller sat out with a knee injury, Guiton has passed for 491 yards, 10 touchdowns and only one interception. He passed for a school-record six touchdowns this past weekend against FCS opponent Florida A&M.
It would be a surprise if he replaced Miller as the starter, but it wouldn’t be a big surprise if Miller somehow managed to get injured again and Guiton were asked to step in and start in a few Big Ten games.
Miller has had problems staying healthy while at Ohio State.
Murphy, as mentioned earlier, will replace Jeff Driskel for the remainder of the season. Armstrong and Kellogg looked solid against South Dakota State this past weekend as they received playing time due to starter Taylor Martinez being out with a turf toe injury.
Martinez has not looked like himself so far this season and should be looking over his shoulder to make sure he doesn't get replaced.
To end final thought, one can’t help but notice how well LSU running back Jeremy Hill played against Auburn.
Hill was held out of LSU’s first game of the season for his arrest in late April. Since returning for the Tiger’s last three games, he has had 42 carries for 350 yards and six touchdowns. His performance against Auburn, where he rushed for 183 yards and three touchdowns proved how dangerous he is in the backfield and what he does for the offense.