College Football: Week 4 Big East Wide Receiver Rankings
Those fans who thought Week 3 was a tragedy for the Big East…well they definitely were even more disappointed by the end of Week 4.
For starters, Rutgers lost a very winnable game against UNC on their home turf.
UNC came into the game with 12 players under NCAA investigation regarding illegal benefits, leaving seven starters riding the bench.
Nevertheless, RU’s offense remained lackluster with the continued struggles of quarterback Tom Savage, and just blew one opportunity after another to seal a win.
Speaking of disappointing losses, Pittsburg got routed by 19 in the nation Miami in a 31-3 domination.
While few gave the Panthers a legitimate shot in this one, many expected them to at least be competitive and show they still had life in this young season.
That basically never happened, and it is easy to argue that their season is in serious jeopardy. This week’s meeting against FIU, a team who gave Rutgers a run for their money, will be a good indicator where the Panthers are truly at.
Cincinnati again came up short in a tight one against number eight in the nation Oklahoma.
Despite a great effort from quarterback Zach Collaros, he threw for 305 yards and 3 touchdowns, the Sooners refused to lose and dropped the Bearcats to 1-3.
With that all being said, let us get to the weekly wide receiver rankings.
Evan Landi, WR, USF
Despite how the stats look, Landi and the Bulls actually did not have a bye during Week 3.
Landi added just 16 yards on two catches for his season totals, although it would hardly be fair to blame the young receiver on this one.
Quarterback BJ Daniels had just 57 yards and an interception against a weak Western Kentucky squad, leaving a lot of questions ahead for USF.
With the way things are going, it would be a stretch for Landi to have even 600 yards and a touchdown or two on the season.
To put that into perspective though, Landi only had five catches for 39 yards in 2009 so the aforementioned totals would be a very substantial improvement.
Jon Baldwin, WR, Pittsburg
Fans and analysts alike agreed that a sound strategy for keeping it close against Miami was having Jon Baldwin outmatch smaller cornerbacks in coverage and stretch the field by catching the deep ball.
Anyone who saw the game knows nothing even close to that happened.
Baldwin was close to invisible in this one, gaining just 26 yards on three catches. However, this was a situation where the blame had to be almost solely on the QB here as opposed to the wide receiver.
Tino Sunseri’s ability was questioned heading into this one, and he simply added fuel to the fire with this performance.
Sunseri went 8 for 15 for 61 yards on the night, very discouraging numbers from a player with a lot of promise. Granted, the competition was fierce, but anytime a quarterback cannot even break 100 yards in a game is a cause for concern.
Pittsburgh has upcoming games against FIU and Notre Dame, and then takes on the Big East from there after. A conference title is already unlikely with a 1-2 start, but it is obvious this team is not going anywhere if Sunseri does not pick it up.
Doug Beaumont, WR, Louisville
Louisville enjoyed their bye during Week 3 and has shown a lot of promise despite a 1-2 record.
While a shot at the conference title is slim to none, a shot at .500 or even 7-5 record and a Bowl birth would not be unheard the way the team is shaping up right now.
Louisville finally has all the pieces of the puzzle in tact after three years of rebuilding; now it is just a matter of getting these young players to click together.
That is already happening, and receiver Doug Beaumont is a big part of that. By building a solid rapport with quarterback Adam Froman, he will receive plenty of targets for the rest of the season and should continue to have solid receiving totals.
Despite the week off, Beaumont still surprisingly boasts better receiving totals than Pittsburgh’s Jon Baldwin.
Michael Smith, WR, UConn
Smith also moves up on the list, after a monster game against Buffalo on the 25th. Smith reeled in four catches for 130 yards and a touchdown in a 45-21 routing by the Huskies.
The benching of quarterback Zach Frazer in favor of Cody Endres provided a huge boost for a UConn offense that was looking mediocre.
Endres finished the day with 139 yards and two scores on 11 attempts, meaning that Smith was his favorite target by an awfully large margin.
Based on this fact, expect Smith’s stock to continue to rise as the season progresses.
Mohamed Sanu, WR, Rutgers
Rutgers had UNC right where they wanted them late in the first half, sporting a healthy 10-0 lead.
Tom Savage then threw into double coverage and got picked off, with a big return to go with it.
UNC had little problem scoring on the short field, making it a 10-7 game. This has been the type of drama Rutgers has had to endure this year due to an anemic offense, particularly due to an incredibly disappointing start for Savage.
Savage has just 370 yards, has completed slightly over half his passes, and has 1 touchdown to 4 interceptions.
Pretty putrid numbers from a player who made the All-American Freshman Team last year.
Nevertheless, the one guy in this Rutgers offense that has still managed to thrive is Mohamed Sanu.
Sanu had 9 catches for 74 yards, as well as 15 rushes for 41 yards and a score, in Week 3.
That gives him 299 yards of total offense and four total touchdowns on the season, matching his TD total from last year.
While it is hard to say where Rutgers is going to finish within the Big East given an awful offense and an amazing defense, the bottom line is that Sanu is a special player that can be expected to find the end zone every game.
Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
The Mountaineers gave it their all against a really tough Louisiana State team, who headed into Week 3 ranked number 15 in the nation.
While WVU came up just short with a final score of 20-14, the Mountaineers lost mostly due to a punt return touchdown by the Tigers and two missed WVU field goals.
Geno Smith also had his worst performance of the season going 14 for 29 for 129 yards, although he still had two touchdowns to one interception, so it certainly could have been a lot worse.
Still, Austin’s numbers suffered because of that fact, mustering only three catches for 33 yards.
Austin still looks like WVU’s number one receiver though, as both him and Jock Sanders have 24 catches and two touchdowns, but Austin has 314 yards to Sanders’ 261.
While it is not unfathomable for Sanders to surpass Austin at some point, Austin has looked like the more dangerous receiver thus far.
This was the first time Sanders outperformed Austin this season and it was not by a very large margin, as he had 5 catches for 47 yards and a score.
Van Chew, WR, Syracuse
Syracuse showed a lot of people that they are the real deal by dishing out a 42-7 thrashing against Colgate in Week 3.
While it is still early in the season, this could be the best Syracuse squad since the Donovan McNabb era in the 90s.
Van Chew had a relatively quiet day with three catches for 68 yards, but these numbers are actually fairly impressive when you consider that QB Ryan Nassib only threw for 169 yards and one score.
Nevertheless, both of these guys are tremendous upper echelon players at their respective positions and will post impressive numbers this season.
Syracuse will have Week 4 off, but they could really light up the scoreboard when they head to South Florida on October 9th.
DJ Woods, WR, Cincinnati
Despite the Bearcats early season struggles, DJ Woods continues to be an elite option at the wide receiver position.
No one in their right mind can blame Cincinnati’s loss to Oklahoma on Woods, as he had seven receptions for 171 yards and a touchdown.
Woods has built great rapport with his QB Zach Collaros and has shown a great ability to gain yards after the catch.
The match up against Oklahoma marked the second week in a row that Woods had a catch of over 60 yards.
Although Woods is greatly lacking in musculature on his 6’1, 178 pound frame, his fantastic speed and hands more than compensate for it.
This is one receiver that does not look to be slowing down anytime soon.
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