Winners and Losers from Week 4 of College Football

Sean Frye@Sean_E_FryeFeatured ColumnistSeptember 21, 2013

Winners and Losers from Week 4 of College Football

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    Tajh Boyd
    Tajh BoydStreeter Lecka/Getty Images

    It was yet another exciting week of college football.

    The Clemson Tigers kicked it off by avoiding a loss to the notoriously dangerous NC State Wolfpack.

    Clemson was just one part of a dominant weekend by the ACC. Meanwhile, other high-profile teams in major conferences around the country showed they may not be as good as advertised this season.

    Of course, there were your usual shenanigans that come with any week in college football.

    With that, check out the winners and losers from Week 4.

Winner: Clemson Tigers Avoid Early-Season Upset

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    Liz Condo-USA TODAY Sports

    Two years ago, Clemson's high hopes died at NC State when the Wolfpack beat the then-No. 7 Tigers 37-13 behind 27 second-quarter points. Then last season, Mike Glennon and the Wolfpack dashed No. 3 Florida State's national title hopes.

    Despite plenty of ominous signs entering the game and a shoddy performance from the Tigers offense as a whole, Clemson shook off NC State on Thursday night with a 26-14 win.

    The Tigers went into the game with their highest rank in 25 years and can almost control their own destiny to a national championship. Avoiding an early-season upset to a mid-level ACC squad like NC State was huge.

    Tajh Boyd threw for 244 yards and three touchdowns in another Heisman-building performance.

Loser: Boise State Losing Its Second Game

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    Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    The Boise State Broncos could've virtually controlled their own destiny to a BCS bowl with a Week 1 win over Washington, their only BCS opponent all season.

    The 38-6 loss to kick off the year dashed those dreams, but the Broncos were still hopeful to finish among the elite in the country.

    However, the Broncos fell in Week 4, losing 41-40 to the Fresno State Bulldogs.

    Now Fresno State is 3-0 this season and in the driver's seat of the Mountain West, while Boise State is reeling and trying to find answers for a season gone awry.

    Next week the Broncos get an 0-3 Southern Miss team, but next month they face BYU in what is sure to be a do-or-die game.

Winner: Fresno State Entering the National Conversation

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    Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    Who would've thought we'd be talking about the Fresno State Bulldogs a third of the way into the season?

    After beating Boise State 41-40 in Week 4, the Bulldogs are undefeated at 3-0 and could conceivably enter the BCS bowl conversation.

    The Bulldogs started off the year with a thrilling 52-51 overtime win over Rutgers, a game where quarterback Derek Carr threw for five touchdowns.

    Overall, the Bulldogs have been one of the nation's most prolific offenses, ranking sixth in passing yards per game and 15th in points per game entering the weekend.

Loser: BYU LB Spencer Hadley

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    Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

    Not only did BYU senior linebacker Spencer Hadley get suspended for violating the Cougars' school honor code, but it was BYU's Week 4 opponent that turned him in.

    Per Dom Cosentino of Deadspin, it was a fan of the Utah Utes that turned in Hadley to BYU administration for partying and drinking in a club, a violation of the now famous BYU honor code:

    Darren Lucy, a self-described "die hard Utah Utes fan," sent an email to Kate Charipar, the University of Utah's assistant AD for compliance, on Monday afternoon. Lucy then followed up by emailing Charipar the photo. Charipar immediately forwarded that photo to Chad Gwilliam, BYU's director of compliance. A day later, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall declared that Hadley would be suspended for five games for violating team rules. A spokeswoman later confirmed the suspension was for violating the honor code. And a source told the Salt Lake Tribune that Hadley's honor-code suspension was because he went clubbing in Vegas.

    Deadspin also published the photo that reportedly got Hadley busted.

Winner: Derek Carr as a Dark-Horse Heisman Candidate

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    Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

    Derek Carr is one of the nation's best quarterbacks. His stellar performance in the Bulldogs' 41-40 win over Boise State, where he threw for 460 yards and four scores, solidifies his status as a Heisman Trophy candidate.

    Through three games, Carr has thrown for 1,121 yards and 12 touchdowns while only tossing one interception.

    More importantly, Carr's Bulldogs are 3-0 and are not only serious contenders for a Mountain West title but also a dark-horse team for a BCS bowl.

    All of that is because of Carr's play. The Bulldogs are sixth in the nation in passing yards per game, and Carr is completing nearly 69 percent of his passes.

Loser: Fans Being Put on Blast

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    Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

    Fans of college football were put on blast plenty during Week 4.

    Deadspin called out a fan of the Utah Utes that turned in BYU linebacker Spencer Hadley for partying. Hadley was subsequently suspended.

    A woman was also caught on camera yelling and being obnoxious at the Georgia Tech vs. North Carolina game. A GIF of her was put up by Deadspin.

    In today's world of social media and other technology, when will obnoxious and ridiculous fans ever learn their lesson?

Winner: Kenny Guiton and the Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

    The Ohio State Buckeyes clobbered the Florida A&M Rattlers 76-0.

    What was even more impressive, though, was backup quarterback Kenny Guiton's performance. Braxton Miller missed the game due to injury, and Guiton proceeded to break the school record for passing touchdowns in a game with six.

    And he threw them all in the first half.

    This was the third game in a row that Guiton dominated in place of an injured Miller. Guiton has racked up 664 passing yards and 13 scores this season.

    The biggest question is now whether or not Guiton has done enough to earn the job permanently.

Loser: Braxton Miller's Heisman Chances and Job Security

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    Braxton Miller
    Braxton MillerAndrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

    Heisman Trophy hopefuls can't struggle in Week 1 against a bad team and also miss two games due to injury. Braxton Miller unfortunately has had both happen to him already this season.

    Against the Buffalo Bulls in Week 1, Miller struggled to pull his team away as the Buckeyes only won 40-20. Miller threw for just 178 yards and two touchdowns in that game with an interception.

    Since Miller was injured in Week 2, backup Kenny Guiton has dominated in his place.

    It's now conceivable to not only count Miller out of the Heisman race, but to count him out of the starting job in Columbus.

Winner: Wisconsin Taking Out Its Anger on Purdue

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    USA TODAY Sports

    After last week's controversial ending at Arizona State that saw the Badgers lose their first game of the season, Wisconsin jumped all over the Purdue Boilermakers this week, beating them 41-10.

    Both Melvin Gordon and James White had great days on the ground, running for 147 and 145 yards, respectively. Corey Clement added 83 rushing yards as well.

    Purdue gave Notre Dame a run for its money last week, so it was thought that the Boilermakers were in for a barn-burner against the Badgers.

    But the Badgers jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and never looked back. Wisconsin outgained Purdue in total yards 546-180.

    Wisconsin faces Ohio State in the Horseshoe next week, so that is sure to be a huge test for the Badgers.

Loser: Logan Thomas and Virginia Tech

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    Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

    Although the Virginia Tech Hokies beat the Marshall Thundering Herd on Saturday, it was in as ugly a fashion as it gets.

    The Hokies squeaked out a 29-21 win in three overtimes, and it took a late fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Logan Thomas to tie the game at 21 and send it into overtime.

    That touchdown pass was the only one for Thomas, who had a horrible game. He threw for just 181 yards and also had two picks.

    The Hokies came into this season with high hopes, but it appears that Beamer Ball is in for another average season after losing in Week 1 to Alabama and barely beating East Carolina and Marshall.

Winner: The Florida Gators Getting Back on Track

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    After a bye week following a Week 2 loss to Miami, the Florida Gators got back on track with a 31-17 win over the Tennessee Volunteers.

    The Gators racked up 215 yards on the ground, led by running back Mack Brown's 86 yards, while backup quarterback Tyler Murphy had 84.

    Standing at 2-1, the Gators should win their next two games against Kentucky and Arkansas before going to Death Valley to face the LSU Tigers on Oct. 12.

Loser: Quality Football in Florida vs. Tennesee

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    Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    If you're a fan of sound, fundamental football, Florida vs. Tennessee was not the game for you.

    There were nine total turnovers in the game, including six from the Volunteers.

    Timothy Burke of Deadspin published a "lowlight" reel of the first half of the game, which is hard to look at yet hilarious at the same time. 

    Ultimately this game got Florida back on track, but it was still ugly, and both teams need to clean up their acts if they want to be successful this season.

Winner: Florida Backup QB Tyler Murphy

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    Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    When Florida Gators starting quarterback Jeff Driskel left the game against Tennessee in the first quarter with an ankle injury, Tyler Murphy had to step in.

    Not only did he provide a spark for his team, but he was the main reason the Gators walked away with the win over the Volunteers.

    Murphy passed for 134 yards and a score on just 14 pass attempts, and he also ran for 84 yards and a touchdown.

    Driskel had struggled this season, throwing for just 477 yards and two touchdowns with three interceptions. Murphy's showing against the Volunteers gives fans optimism that he can pick up the pieces.

Loser: Jeff Driskel's Season-Ending Ankle Injury

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    Jeff Driskel
    Jeff DriskelAl Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Jeff Driskel suffered a season-ending ankle injury in the first quarter against Tennessee, per ESPN:

    The Florida Gators have lost Jeff Driskel for the season as the quarterback will need surgery after injuring his right ankle in the first quarter against Tennessee, coach Will Muschamp said after the game.

    Muschamp said junior Tyler Murphy, who replaced Driskel on the next drive, will now be the starter for the Gators.

    The Gators will have to rely on Murphy, who actually looked impressive against the Volunteers.

    Murphy has two easy games against Kentucky and Arkansas before facing LSU to get integrated as the starting quarterback.

Winner: Notre Dame Spoiling Michigan State's 3-0 Start

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    After losing to the Michigan Wolverines and then barely squeaking by the Purdue Boilermakers in consecutive weeks, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish were on full upset alert going into Saturday's game against the 3-0 Michigan State Spartans. 

    Rather than letting the trend continue, Notre Dame kicked it into high gear and won a tough game 17-13. 

    The Fighting Irish allowed just six second-half points to the Spartans, proving that their defense is still up there with the best units in the country. Notre Dame also didn't turn the ball over once. 

    Both Michigan State and Notre Dame sit at 3-1 on the season now. The Irish face a red-hot Oklahoma team at home next, while the Spartans gets a bye week. 

Loser: Teams That Got Blown Out

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    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    So many teams got blown out in Week 4 that most of the country's ranked teams weren't even worth watching. Here's a breakdown of just some of the massacres that went down: 

    • Ohio State over Florida A&M 76-0
    • Louisville over FIU 72-0
    • Florida State over Bethune-Cookman 54-6
    • Miami (FL) over Savannah State 77-7
    • Washington over Idaho State 56-0
    • Baylor over Louisiana-Monroe 70-7

    It's Week 4, and BCS powerhouses are still playing cupcake opponents. At this point in the season, the excitement over college football simply starting has worn off, and fans want better action on the field. 

    For so many top teams to be playing weak opponents in Week 4 is tough on those faithful college football fans who have waited all year for this season. 

Winner: Louisville's Defense

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    Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

    While most of the focus on the Louisville Cardinals' 72-0 win over the FIU Golden Panthers was about Teddy Bridgewater's four touchdowns, the Cardinals defense had an even better game. 

    Louisville only allowed FIU to gain 30 yards of total offense, a school record. 

    The Cardinals are only giving up 6.75 points per game. Going into Saturday, they ranked fourth in the country in points allowed. 

    Obviously Louisville's offense under Bridgewater deserves high praise. But defense wins championships, and the Cardinals defense is pretty good. 

Loser: Kansas State Sideline Staffer

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    In Kansas State's loss to the Texas Longhorns on Saturday night, a sideline staff member for the Wildcats got hit in the face by a pass from Longhorns quarterback David Ash. 

    That moment was indicative of how the game went overall for the Wildcats. Despite winning the Big 12 last year, Bill Snyder's team has taken a noticeable dip to start the 2013 season. 

    First, the Wildcats lost to North Dakota State in Week 1. Then after two wins against Louisiana-Lafayette and UMass, the Wildcats fell to Texas on the road. 

    After a year that saw K-State head to the Fiesta Bowl, it looks like it will be a long season in Manhattan, Kan. 

Winner: UCLA's Tribute to Fallen Teammate

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    Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

    On the first offensive play from the UCLA Bruins in their dominating 59-13 win over New Mexico State, the team gave a moving tribute to Nick Pasquale, the wide receiver who died two weeks ago in a car accident. 

    The Bruins chose to line up with just 10 men on the field for the team's first offensive play, symbolic of the player who is missing. The play was a run up the middle which gained five yards. 

    UCLA has played remarkably well since Pasquale's passing, mounting a comeback to beat Nebraska in Lincoln last week and then taking down New Mexico State on Saturday. 

    The Bruins get next week off but face Utah on Oct. 3. 

Winner: Texas Longhorns Defense Under Greg Robinson

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    Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

    After being one of the worst defenses in the entire country to start the year, the Texas Longhorns defense looked like a completely different animal against the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday night. 

    Going into the game, the Longhorns ranked 121st out of 123 FBS teams in rush defense. 

    But against Bill Snyder's Wildcats, the Longhorns allowed just 115 yards on the ground to one of the country's most notorious rushing teams. 

    That turnaround on defense propelled the Longhorns to 2-2 on the year and gave Mack Brown and Greg Robinson a new sense of purpose. 

    Both the Wildcats and the Longhorns have next week off. 

Loser: Michigan’s Hangover After Beating Notre Dame

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    Jim Rogash/Getty Images

    In Week 3, the Michigan Wolverines barely beat Akron in a game that seemed like a hangover from their Week 2 win over Notre Dame.

    That spilled over to Week 4 against the UConn Huskies as Michigan barely won 24-21. The Huskies actually led the Wolverines 21-7 early in the third quarter, but 17 unanswered points by Michigan ended up being just enough to earn the win. 

    Quarterback Devin Gardner looked particularly bad on Saturday, passing for just 111 yards and two interceptions. 

    Nevertheless, undefeated is undefeated, and the Wolverines are 4-0. 

    Perhaps the best news for Michigan next week is that they don't play. The Wolverines have a bye week before facing Minnesota at home.

Winner: No Hangover Effect from Alabama

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    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    The Colorado State Rams hung around perhaps a bit too long against the No. 1-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide, but Nick Saban's bunch showed no real signs of slowing down on Saturday after beating Texas A&M last week. 

    After leading 17-6 through three quarters, the Crimson Tide buried the Rams in the fourth quarter with two touchdown passes, one from AJ McCarron and one from Blake Sims. 

    McCarron finished the game 20-of-26 with 258 yards, a touchdown and a pick. 

    The first three quarters of this game may have been ugly on the scoreboard from an Alabama fan's perspective, but the Crimson Tide controlled the pace of the game and were never in any real danger of losing.

    Alabama faces a bigger test next week when they play the Ole Miss Rebels at home. 

Winner: Stanford Cardinal Easily Handling Arizona State

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    Bob Stanton-USA TODAY Sports

    Fresh off a controversial win over the Wisconsin Badgers, the Arizona State Sun Devils were looking to pull off a huge upset over the Stanford Cardinal this weekend.

    But the Cardinal had none of it on Saturday, ousting the Sun Devils with a 42-28 win. While Stanford racked up 391 yards of total offense behind two touchdown passes from quarterback Kevin Hogan, its defense had two interceptions on the night as well.

    Stanford actually took a 29-0 lead but allowed Arizona State to come back with 21 straight points in the fourth quarter. A late field goal sealed the deal.

    The Cardinal get Washington State next week.

Winner: LSU's Jeremy Hill's Massive Performance Against Auburn

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    LSU Tigers running back Jeremy Hill had a coming-out party against Auburn on Saturday, rushing for 183 yards and three touchdowns as LSU beat the Auburn Tigers 35-21 in a battle of unbeaten teams. 

    Hill's night included a 49-yard touchdown run for the game's first score. 

    LSU took a 21-0 lead that ultimately put the game away. 

    Next week is a huge one for LSU as it faces Georgia on the road. Hill will surely look to out-duel Todd Gurley, Georgia's superstar running back, in that game. 

Winner: Baylor Bears Continue Hot Streak

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    Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    After Baylor's first two drives against Louisiana-Monroe, quarterback Bryce Petty had thrown for 155 yards and two touchdowns. When it was all said and done, the Bears came out on top 70-7. 

    The Bears are now legitimate contenders for a Big 12 title, especially with the league being so wide open this year. 

    Petty finished with 351 yards passing and four scores, while running back Lache Seastrunk had 156 yards and one touchdown on the ground. 

    Now 3-0, Baylor starts Big 12 play next week against West Virginia at home. 


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