Who stepped up and who fell down in Week 4 of the college football season? Read on.Here's the best and the worst of NCAA Football in a very interesting week.
HeroesWisconsin: Not so much for their 41-10 victory against Purdue (which featured 388 rushing yards), but for the memorably heart-warming moment at the end of the first quarter, when the school had a hand in reuniting student Bella Lund with her mother, Captain J.R. Lund of the US Army Reserves. A homecoming that neither mother nor daughter will soon forget, and giant props to Wisconsin for making it happen. A good day all around for the Badgers. Kenny Guiton: Starting his second straight game, the Ohio State backup QB, accounted for six touchdowns - all in the first half – as the Buckeyes wrapped up a weak non-conference schedule ahead of their Big Ten opener against Wisconsin next week. No word on whether regular QB Braxton Miller will be back for that, but there shouldn’t be too much concern if he isn’t because Guiton is a proven performer now. He’ll be fine if Miller can’t go. Baylor’s offense: Yet again, the Bears scored sixty points and showed off their dynamite attack in a 70-7 beating of Louisiana-Monroe – which featured two interception returns. The Bears are scoring in all phases of the game. Even more impressive: all their points were scored before the end of the third quarter. QB Bryce Petty threw for 351 yards and four scores, and RB Lache Seastrunk carried the football 10 times for 156 yards and a touchdown. Baylor are the first team since 1930 to open a season with at least 60 points in three consecutive games. Good luck stopping these guys, Big XII defenses. College GameDay: Inspired idea to take the travelling ESPN circus to Fargo, North Dakota, home of FCS power North Dakota State – remember, they beat Kansas State in Week One – where the fans turned out in force, and with incredible enthusiasm. I think that’s the nosiest GameDay crowd we’ve seen in years. Lee Corso’s headgear pick with a baby bison, christened Corso, was the icing on the cake. Iowa: The Hawkeyes whacked Western Michigan 59-9 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City on Saturday, but it wasn’t just their offense who scored. Not even close; this was an all-around team effort. Special teams contributed two back-to-back punt returns (83 and 63 yards) for touchdowns and B.J Lowery took two passes back to the house. Almost forgotten in the win was Hawkeye QB Jake Ruddock who went 10-for-15 for 134 yards and two scores. Tyler Murphy: Florida’s backup quarterback was pressed into service following the season-ending injury to starter Jeff Driskell, and helped preserve the Gators’ win against their bitter rivals, the Tennessee Volunteers. Off the bench, Murphy was 8-for-14 for 134 yards and a score, and will probably be the UF starter going forward.
Urban Meyer: The Ohio State coach, up 55-0 on a hopelessly-overmatched Florida A&M, went for it on fourth down. First down, then, two plays later, yet another touchdown, to further embarrass the poor kids from the Floridian school who never should’ve been on the field at Ohio Stadium, were it not for their school’s need to line their coffers. Urban, please, punt or take a knee and turn the ball over on downs. Don’t make it worse for the kids on the other sideline. That’s rubbing salt into the wounds, and it isn’t fair. Looking forward to the Buckeyes actually playing a good team.
Michigan: For a second week in a row it was desperation stations for the Wolverines. Last week they nearly lost to Akron, and this week UConn had a 21-7 lead just after the commencement of the second half, and it was only thanks to RB Fitzgerald Toussaint – and a back-breaking turnover by the Huskies – that allowed Michigan to squeak past with a 24-21 win. Brendon Gibbons kicked a 21-yard field goal for the win with less than five minutes to play, but it was an ugly, ugly game. The Wolverines got very lucky, again. If they play like this in the Big Ten, they’ll be in for a woeful season.
Notre Dame vs. Michigan State: The Spartans and the Fighting Irish fought a dour, uninteresting struggle at Notre Dame Stadium. Michigan State lost for the third straight year to the Irish, thanks to a failed trick play and some horrible penalties – holding and pass interference – that extended Notre Dame drives. Still not sold on Tommy Rees as an Irish starting quarterback. He may well be shown up against better opposition, like, say, Oklahoma next week.
West Virginia: The Mountaineers were held to 175 total yards and just six first downs in a 37-0 drubbing at the hands of Maryland. The Terps forced six WVU turnovers, and the way this season has gone for Dana Holgorsen’s crew – with barely a sighting of the high-flying offense that the Mountaineers had last year with QB Geno Smith at the controls – there might be a Texas-like unrest beginning in Morgantown one of these weeks.
Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs became the first FBS school to lose to Kansas since the Jayhawks beat Northern Illinois on September 20, 2011 – a streak of 22 losses. Making it an even tougher pill to swallow, the loss for La Tech came on a last-second field goal from 52 yards out, and the Bulldogs, under Skip Holtz, fall to 1-3.