College Football Week 4 Review: National Title Race Narrows, PAC-12 Shockers, Shoelace is Human, Free Fallin’
National Title Race Narrows
Florida State got after Clemson on Saturday. The 49-37 win over the Clemson Tigers pretty much sealed a trip to the conference championship game as the representative of the Coastal Division. Florida State took over the game down 28-14 rattled off 35 points to Clemson’s 3. The Seminoles showed that they could play a full game and not fall apart when down by more than a couple scores. They have solidified their spot as a top team in the country and barring any unseen pitfall in the future they will at least have a good argument as to why they should go play for the national title.
Alabama continues to roll on when the other national title contender in their division, LSU, stalls. The LSU Tigers beat Auburn 12-10 in Auburn. Auburn almost lost to Louisiana-Monroe a week ago. Quarterback Zach Mettenberger struggled, throwing 15/27 for only 169 yards. Alabama has been absolutely dominant in every game they’ve played so far this year. It is reasonably safe to assume that the Tide will win their division and play for the national title.
Oregon is the last of the power three. Arizona, a team ranked #22 in the nation with the second best offense in the country, was held scoreless in Autzen. The Wildcats benefited from three turnovers that created short fields but couldn’t score. Most impressively, Oregon’s defense left Arizona 0-6 in the red zone. The Wildcats were inside the 20 six different times and couldn’t put points on the board. The Wildcats went 6/17 on third down and failed to convert four times on fourth down. What this game demonstrates most is that Oregon’s defense is probably as good as its offense. Teams won’t throw to Terrence Mitchell’s side of the field and Ifo Ekpre-Olomu had two interceptions, one returned for a touchdown, and plenty of pass breakups on an island.
Denard “Shoelace” Robinson Has an Off Day
Notre Dame continues to plow through their schedule. They’ve defeated Michigan State, Michigan, and a good Purdue team. Most importantly, the Fighting Irish defeated the ghosts of losing seasons past with their bottling of Denard Robinson. Shoelace only ran for 90 yards on 26 carries and threw 4 picks. Tommy Rees even came in to the game early to replace Everett Golson who struggled early, throwing 3/8 and two interceptions.
The biggest change between this season and seasons past is that Notre Dame has a turnover margin that is near the top in college football. Last year, they were near the bottom. There is also a better fit on both sides of the ball, with the defense being the standout unit in their last two games.
The Big Ten is Free! Free fallin’!
Michigan lost to Notre Dame this week and Michigan State lost last week to the Irish. Wisconsin struggled to beat UTEP 37-26 and Ohio State pulled away late from University of Alabama-Birmingham. The Central Michigan Chippewas beat Iowa in the final seconds and Illinois got blown out by Louisiana Tech. Minnesota is 4-0 for the first time in the history of mankind (exaggeration) and Northwestern continues to be the only bright spot against BCS opponents. I’m sure commissioner Jim Delaney can’t wait for conference play to heat up so that no one will see how bad the conference is relative to others.
Beavers Continue to Amaze – PAC-12 Look-In
UCLA and Oregon State met in the Rose Bowl, a game the Beavers won 27-20. UCLA was off a thrashing off Houston, just a week after a surprising Nebraska. Oregon State has completed a total reversal of last season where they couldn’t stop anyone. This week they stopped one of the best rushing attacks in the nation, holding them to only 72 yards on the ground. The Beaver resurgence is baffling to anybody who has watched them the last two years. It is completely unexplainable.
On a down note, the Washington State Cougars lost to Colorado. After leading 31-17 the Cougars ended up losing 35-34. Colorado has been the worst team in college football this whole season with losses to Colorado State, Sacramento State, and a blowout loss at the hands of Fresno State.
USC bounced back with a key win over Cal winning 27-9. Although the Trojans gave plenty of opportunities for Cal to make it close, the Bears couldn’t put it together to score touchdowns. Arizona State trounced Utah at home and are the biggest competitors to USC in the South division.
Oklahoma continues to be average after losing 24-19 at home against Kansas State. They are in the same rank as Florida State the last ten years and Miami four years ago, just too much credit for a team that is still living off glory from the previous decade, or two decades in Notre Dame’s case.
Taylor Heinicke of Old Dominion threw 79 passes and broke the NCAA Division 1 passing record with 730 yards through the air. He also threw for 5 touchdowns in a 23-point comeback starting in the third quarter.
Oregon State coach Mike Riley bought 200 double doubles with fries from In-N-Out for his players after the win over UCLA.
— Mike Riley (@Coach_Riley) September 23, 2012
FYI ordered 200 double doubles w/ fries.It was a deal we made with players, you win you get In-n-Out. #GoBeavs
— Mike Riley (@Coach_Riley) September 23, 2012
Players of the Week
Connor Shaw went 20/21 passing for 249 yards and two touchdowns. After being best known for diving on his shoulder 234 times in the game against Vanderbilt, Shaw proved his toughness and durability in this game. His first pass was incomplete and then he didn’t miss the rest of the night.
EJ Manuel went beast mode against Clemson. He threw 27/35, 380 yards, and 2 touchdowns to go with 102 yards rushing on 12 carries. He showed poise and brouth Florida State back in the third quarter.
Le’Veon Bell continues to impress week in and week out. This time he surpassed his personal record for most rushing yards in a game with 253 yards and a touchdown. With so many pass heavy offenses I have to recognize a player who is on the field every play when teams know he’s going to get the ball.
Highlight of the Week