Last Word on College Football: Week Four Edition

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BLACKSBURG, VA - SEPTEMBER 22: Wide receiver Travis Fulgham #7 of the Old Dominion Monarchs celebrates his touchdown against the Virginia Tech Hokies in the second half at S. B. Ballard Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Norfolk, Virginia. (Photo by Michael Shroyer/Getty Images)

Another fantastic weekend of college football it was, per usual! This weekend featured, as always, shocking upsets, crazy comebacks and stellar individual performances. Here are the biggest takeaways, along with a look ahead to this week. Oh and stats, because stats are incredible. This is the last word on college football, week four edition.

Historical upset

Well, this was unexpected. Surely Virginia Tech will never want to visit Old Dominion again after what transpired on Saturday. ODU pulled off what is by far the biggest win in school history over the Hokies, 49-35. ODU was 0-3 coming into the game, which included a 42 point loss to Liberty. That is the same Liberty team who lost to Charlotte, who got whipped by UMass. Shockingly, the Monarchs gained 632 yards, which is the most yardage given up by Virginia Tech during Bud Foster’s 24 year tenure as defensive coordinator. ODU also avoided turnovers. Additionally, they only committed two penalties.

More tidbits on this upset include the following. Virginia Tech was a 29 point favorite. Unfortunately, the Hokies have now been on the wrong side of three of the 15 biggest upsets according to point spreads in history. Also, this was ODU quarterback Blake LaRussa’s first start of the season. All he did was throw for 495 yards and account for five touchdowns. What a win for Old Dominion!

Oh, you almost had it…

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Another historical upset almost happened in Norman, OK as Army fell short in overtime to Oklahoma 28-21. Army held the ball for 44:41 of game time, while rushing for 339 yards. The ball control, combined with a couple of key defensive stops, helped get this game into overtime. A missed 33 yard Austin Seibert field goal at the end of regulation certainly helped as well. Two interceptions at inopportune times eventually killed the Army upset bid. One came as Army was driving with a chance to win near the end, while the other occurred in overtime.

Army’s arch-rival Navy also lost a heart breaker 31-30 in overtime to SMU. Navy scored first in the overtime period. SMU scored a TD then made the gutsy decision to go for two to win the game, since they did not feel they could stop Navy’s option attack on a short field. The Mustangs converted the two point conversion, therefore achieving SMU’s first win over Navy since 1998.

Illinois was surprisingly only down 28-24 going into the fourth quarter of their home matchup on Friday with Penn State. The Fighting Illini were playing incredibly tough while running the ball well. Everything then came to a crashing halt as Penn State scored 35 points in the fourth quarter to take the game 63-24. This escalated quickly from an upset alert to blowout in one quarter.

Comeback stories

Frank Solich’s Ohio bunch was feeling great while up 24-7 against 3-0 Cincinnati at the half. Cincy worked their way back into the game using great defense in addition to an efficient offense. Bearcat quarterback Desmond Ridder led the team on a 92 yard drive in the fourth quarter to take the lead, for what turned out to be for good. Following that, the defense got a massive interception at the one yard line with 52 seconds remaining to seal the victory. Cincinnati somehow overcame 14 penalties. Additionally, they possessed the ball for 11 less minutes than Ohio.

Oregon looked dynamic, efficient, and physical all while playing strong defense, which led to a 24-7 halftime lead over Stanford. Then the second half came. Stanford converted a scoop and score in the third quarter which completely changed the momentum of the game. Stanford then scored a second touchdown within three minutes to close the gap to 24-21 heading into the fourth quarter. Oregon looked like they sealed the win with a clutch six minute drive resulting in a touchdown with less than five minutes remaining. That is before JJ Arcega-Whiteside caught a touchdown for Stanford bringing the game back to 31-28 with 3:10 left to go. All the Ducks had to do was take a knee to seal the victory, but they ran instead, which led to a fumble that the Cardinal recovered. Stanford went on to eventually win the game 38-31 in overtime. Tough loss!

Lot’s of offense happening

The highest scoring FBS game featured Toledo defeating Nevada 63-44. Nevada put up 582 yards of offense while Toledo accumulated 460 in the win. The Rockets were aided by a 98 yard Diontae Johnson kick return touchdown as well as a nine yard (yes nine yard) punt return touchdown by Reggie Gilliam.

In the FCS ranks, Montana beat Sacramento State 41-34. The best part of that game was the fact each team featured a 200 yard running back. Dalton Sneed for Montana carried the ball 16 times for 206 yards with three touchdowns. Elijah Dotson of Sacramento State had 30 carries for 234 yards along with three touchdowns.

Another high flying game at the FCS level was Western Carolina taking down VMI 52-50. WCU accounted for 553 yards of offense while VMI contributed 547 yards, 491 of which was passing yardage.

If you really like offense, sometimes you have to drop down to D2 or D3. Insert Chowan versus McKendree here. Chowan racked up 709 yards en route to a 55-45 win. McKendree still had 556 yards in the loss.

As we continue the last word on college football for week four, let’s look at the largest margin of victory in college football which was St Norbert beating Grinnell 91-0! That is nuts.

Time to take Kentucky seriously

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Undoubtedly, Kentucky was incredibly impressive in their 28-7 victory over Mississippi State. The defense played great. Benny Snell continued to prove how great of a running back he truly is. By the way, Snell broke Kentucky’s career touchdown record during the game. Most importantly, UK moved to 2-0 in SEC play for the first time since 1977. This team already notched a historic victory over Florida in addition to this Mississippi State win. They have a legitimate chance to finish second to Georgia in the SEC East. Their upcoming game against South Carolina will be an indicator of how things will potentially fall in regards to their divisional placement.

Texas Tech and good defense. Together?

The shockingly good defensive performance of Texas Tech against Oklahoma State was just that, shocking, given recent history. The Red Raiders won this game in convincing fashion, 41-17, and it was because of their defense, oddly enough. The Cowboys gained just 386 yards of total offense, compared to Tech’s 621. Texas Tech forced two turnovers, accumulated seven tackles for loss, two sacks, six pass deflections while tallying five quarterback hurries in this game. Interestingly, this marks the first time Kliff Kingsbury has beaten Oklahoma State as the Red Raiders head coach.

In the words of Joe Namath… Struggling

Quite obviously, Tennessee is really bad at football. Florida crushed the Vols 47-21, while forcing six UT turnovers. Jarrett Guarantano threw two early interceptions which set the Gators up already knocking on the end zone. Florida converted both times which resulted in an early 14-0 lead. The Vols never were able to recover. UF tallied a whopping nine tackles for loss. Moral of the story is, when Tennessee plays somebody good, they get drilled.

Clearly, things are obviously not going so swimmingly well in Lincoln this year. Michigan completely and utterly dominated Nebraska to the tune of 56-10. The Huskers managed just a total of 132 yards in the game, while giving up 491. They also committed 10 penalties. Additionally, they turned the ball over twice. Nebraska had not started 0-3 since 1945 until this season.

Rutgers is apparently the new Kansas. Buffalo slaughtered the Scarlet Knights 42-13 on Saturday. This comes a week after they were crushed by the aforementioned Kansas Jayhawks 55-14. Since scoring 35 against a weak Texas State team, they have put up 3, 14 and 13 points. Not ideal.

Things that don’t make sense

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Colorado State tasted bitter defeat at home to FCS Illinois State by a score of 35-19. The loss drops the Rams to 1-4 on the season. Interestingly enough, that one win came against Arkansas out of the SEC after having to stage a major comeback to win. Go figure that one out.

North Carolina was destroyed 41-19 by East Carolina last time out. Prior to that, East Carolina was defeated by North Carolina A&T. North Carolina A&T just lost this past weekend to win-less Morgan State. So to recap, Morgan State beat North Carolina A&T who beat East Carolina who pummeled North Carolina. Yet, UNC was able to beat Pittsburgh 38-35 this weekend.

Random ruminations

Certainly, one of the most impressive performances this weekend was Purdue handling Boston College with relative ease. Impressively, they were able to contain star running back AJ Dillon to 19 carries for just 59 yards. Additionally, the Boilermakers picked off four Anthony Brown passes en route to a much needed 30-13 victory. Another great sign for Purdue is that quarterback David Blough has played consecutive strong games. In this game in particular, he completed 21 of 28 passes for 296 yards, three touchdowns while tossing no interceptions.

USC squeaked by Washington State 39-36. The Trojans clearly still have work to do, but this was a nice step forward for freshman quarterback JT Daniels. He threw for 241 yards and three touchdowns with no picks while displaying better decision making. Additionally, he spread the ball around to seven different receivers on his 17 completions. He did fumble twice, but USC was able to recover both.

It has been said before in previous week’s last word on college football editions. However, it is worth repeating. Clemson’s offense clearly comes alive and is more in sync with Trevor Lawrence playing quarterback as opposed to Kelly Bryant. He was 13 of 18 for 176 yards and four touchdowns, while Bryant went six of 10 for 56 yards. The message here is that Clemson should stick with Lawrence as their main quarterback.

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Apparently Ian Book is the guy at quarterback for Notre Dame after all. Book started the game at Wake Forest and completed 25 of 34 passes for 325 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing for three. The Irish simply dominated Wake 56-27. Brandon Wimbush appears to be finished for now as he did not get a snap while freshman Phil Jurkovec got in late.

Texas has now picked up two massively important wins in a row. First it was over USC last week. This time, they defeated TCU 31-16 in Austin. Sam Ehlinger is continuing to learn how to play efficiently and has discovered that it is a good idea to throw to Collin Johnson. Todd Orlando’s defense seems to be settling in as the season progresses. Based on the last two games, things seem to have a way of collapsing quickly and suddenly for TCU. The Texas victory snaps a four game losing streak to the Horned Frogs. Guess sticking TCU’s band in the nosebleeds did not backfire.

Alex Hornibrook’s on again, off again play continued against Iowa. This time he was on, completing 17 of 22 passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns, including the game winner with 57 seconds left. Wisconsin won the game 28-17 and while doing so, likely clinched the Big Ten West, barring something crazy happening.

Georgia’s offense took a while to get going against Missouri. They eventually did, however what spurred them to the 43-29 victory was their ability to generate non offensive touchdowns. Similar to how Alabama has found success in recent years, you can see Georgia beginning to consistently manufacture touchdowns in multiple ways. For example, the Bulldogs got a 64 yard fumble return touchdown courtesy of Tyson Campbell. Then they also got a blocked punt touchdown, thanks to Eric Stokes in the first half.

Looking ahead to next week

There are several big games this upcoming week to look at one the last word on college football, week four edition. Let’s examine five of the most important games.

Ohio State at Penn State:

Both Ohio State and Penn State enter this contest at 4-0, which means the stakes are huge in the Big Ten East. Clearly, this is the game that will tell us where the new defensive pieces for Penn State truly are. Additionally, this is the first true road game for the Buckeyes.

Stanford at Notre Dame:

Stanford is coming off an incredible comeback win in Eugene last week while Notre Dame is coming off of a dominating performance at Wake Forest. The Cardinal will have to attack Notre Dame’s defense with their passing game by using JJ Arcega-Whiteside and their tight ends. Conversely, Ian Book and the Notre Dame offense will need to use a balanced approach against the Stanford defense.

South Carolina at Kentucky:

Kentucky is already 2-0 in SEC play with victories over Florida and Mississippi State. South Carolina is 1-1 after losing to Georgia and defeating Vanderbilt this past week. That means, South Carolina is in a precarious position of needing to win in order to stay in the race.

Virginia Tech at Duke:

Duke is off to a 4-0 start while Virginia Tech was just on the wrong side of a historic upset at the hands of Old Dominion. However, the Hokies already have an ACC win under their belt this year. Quite clearly, this is an ultra important game in the ACC Coastal division.

West Virginia at Texas Tech:

Given the fact that Texas Tech performed so well at Oklahoma State, this game has become hugely important in the Big 12 race. The winner remains in position to give Oklahoma and Texas a run for the top. Not to mention, this should simply be a highly entertaining ballgame.

Other important games include: Florida at Mississippi State, Oregon at California, USC at Arizona, Syracuse at Clemson, Pittsburgh at Central Florida, BYU at Washington

Stats

We continue the last word on college football with a look at the best stats from FBS action.

Quarterbacks

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Blake LaRussa – Old Dominion – 30 of 49 for 495 yards 4 TD’s, 1 rushing TD

McKenzie Milton – Central Florida – 21 of 32 for 306 yards 3 TD’s, 13 carries 81 yards 3 TD’s

Tua Tagovailoa – Alabama – 22 of 30 for 387 yards 4 TD’s, 1 rushing TD

Dwayne Haskins – Ohio State – 21 of 24 for 304 yards 5 TD’s

K.J Costello – Stanford – 19 of 26 for 327 yards 3 TD’s

Ian Book – Notre Dame – 25 of 34 for 325 yards 2 TD’s, 10 carries 43 yards 3 TD’s

Will Grier – West Virginia – 25 of 35 for 356 yards 5 TD’s, 2 interceptions

Jordan Ta’amu – Ole Miss – 28 of 38 for 442 yards 2 TD’s

Mitchell Guadagni – Toledo – 15 of 24 for 211 yards 4 TD’s, 15 carries 131 yards 2 TD’s

Eric Dungey – Syracuse – 21 of 27 for 286 yards 2 TD’s, 16 carries 77 yards 3 TD’s

Jack Abraham – Southern Miss – 25 of 34 for 428 yards 4 TD’s

Kaleb Barker – Troy – 23 of 28 for 273 yards 2 TD’s, 15 carries 50 yards 2 TD’s

Evan Orth – South Alabama – 24 of 32 for 360 yards 3 TD’s

Rushers

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Miles Sanders – Penn State – 22 carries 200 yards 3 TD’s

Devin Singletary – Florida Atlantic – 25 carries 131 yards 3 TD’s

Clyde Edwards-Helaire – LSU – 20 carries 136 yards 2 TD’s, 2 kick returns 41 yards

Jeremy Cox – Old Dominion – 20 carries 130 yards 2 TD’s, 4 catches 25 yards

Steven Peoples – Virginia Tech – 20 carries 156 yards 2 TD’s

Benny Snell – Kentucky – 25 carries 165 yards 4 TD’s

Demarcus Felton – Texas Tech – 12 carries 121 yards 2 TD’s

Karan Higdon – Michigan – 12 carries 136 yards 1 TD

Ty Johnson – Maryland – 11 carries 123 yards 1 TD

Anthony McFarland – Maryland – 6 carries 112 yards 2 TD’s

Michael Warren II – Cincinnati – 23 carries 124 yards 2 TD’s

Toa Taua – Nevada – 15 carries 170 yards 3 TD’s

Braeden West – SMU – 26 carries 145 yards, 6 catches 40 yards

Marquis Young – UMass – 12 carries 74 yards 2 TD’s, 2 catches 18 yards, 2 kick returns 113 yards 1 TD

Brittain Brown – Duke – 13 carries 118 yards 1 TD, 1 catch 44 yards 1 TD, 2 kick returns 36 yards

J.J Taylor – Arizona – 27 carries 284 yards 2 TD’s, 1 kick return 21 yards

Loren Easly – North Texas – 27 carries 177 yards 2 TD’s, 2 catches 11 yards

Jordan Cronkrite – South Florida – 15 carries 129 yards 1 TD, 3 catches 13 yards

Darrell Henderson – Memphis – 22 carries 188 yards 2 TD’s, 2 catches 34 yards, 2 kick returns 27 yards

Receivers

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Easop Winston – Washington State – 6 catches 143 yards 2 TD’s

Parris Campbell – Ohio State – 8 catches 147 yards 2 TD’s

Adrian Hardy – Louisiana Tech – 10 catches 181 yards 2 TD’s

JJ Arcega-Whiteside – Stanford – 4 catches 84 yards 2 TD’s

Dillon Mitchell – Oregon – 14 catches 239 yards

Marcus Simms – West Virginia – 5 catches 136 yards 1 TD

David Sills V – West Virginia – 10 catches 73 yards 3 TD’s

Travis Fulgham – Old Dominion – 9 catches 188 yards 1 TD

Jonathan Durhart – Old Dominion – 9 catches 142 yards 3 TD’s

Damon Hazelton – Virginia Tech – 5 catches 154 yards 1 TD

Collin Johnson – Texas – 7 catches 124 yards 1 TD

CJ Worton – Florida International – 5 catches 123 yards 2 TD’s

Rondale Moore – Purdue – 8 catches 110 yards 2 TD’s, 2 kick returns 22 yards, 2 punt returns 25 yards

Whop Philyor – Indiana – 13 catches 148 yards 1 TD

Diontae Johnson – Toledo – 4 catches 67 yards 1 TD, 2 kick returns 125 yards 1 TD

Sean Riley – Syracuse – 6 catches 120 yards 1 TD

Kelvin Harmon – NC State – 6 catches 150 yards

Jamarius Way – South Alabama – 10 catches 185 yards 1 TD

Defense

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Bobby Roundtree – Illinois – 12 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection

Jacob Phillips – LSU – 13 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 pass deflection, 1 quarterback hurry

Devin White – LSU – 11 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 3 pass deflections, 1 fumble recovery

Pat Jasinksi – Central Florida – 8 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 quarterback hurry, 1 interception

Cameron Smith – Southern Cal – 15 tackles, 2 tackles for loss

Maxx Crosby – Eastern Michigan – 8 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks

Isaiah Buggs – Alabama – 7 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 2 quarterback hurries

Raekwon Davis – Alabama – 4 tackles, 4 quarterback hurries

D’Andre Walker – Georgia – 4 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 pass deflection, 1 quarterback hurry

Eric Stokes – Georgia – 4 tackles, 3 pass deflections, 1 blocked punt return TD

Khalil Hodge – Buffalo – 15 tackles, 1 tackle for loss

Kenneth Murray – Oklahoma – 28 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss

Curtis Bolton – Oklahoma – 23 tackles, 1 tackle for loss

Jordan Fox – Stanford – 9 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 quarterback hurry

Bobby Okereke – Stanford – 8 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack

Julian Okwara – Notre Dame – 5 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 quarterback hurry

Dre Greenlaw – Arkansas – 8 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 quarterback hurry

Marlon Davidson – Auburn – 5 tackles, 4 quarterback hurries

Alton Robinson – Syracuse – 5 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 quarterback hurry

Ben Burr-Kirven – Washington – 20 tackles, 0.5 tackles for loss, 1 fumble recovery

Greg Eisworth – Iowa State – 9 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 3 pass deflections

JaQuan Bailey – Iowa State – 7 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 1 pass deflection

Oshane Ximines – Old Dominion – 7 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 quarterback hurry

Josh Allen – Kentucky – 6 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection, 1 quarterback hurry

Saquan Hampton – Rutgers – 3 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 4 pass deflections

Caden Sterns – Texas – 5 tackles, 2 interceptions

Junior McMullen – Miami (Ohio) – 10 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection, 1 quarterback hurry, 1 fumble recovery

Dicaprio Bootle – Nebraska – 4 tackles, 5 pass deflections

Joe Jackson – Miami (FL) – 4 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, 3 quarterback hurries

Markus Bailey – Purdue – 10 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection

Antonio Jones-Davis – Northern Illinois – 9 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 pass deflection, 1 fumble recovery

Markel Winters – Ole Miss – 4 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3 sacks, 1 quarterback hurry

Tino Ellis – Maryland – 5 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 5 pass deflections

Tre Watson – Maryland – 11 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 sack, 1 interception return TD

Cole Holcomb – North Carolina – 12 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 1 pass deflection, 1 quarterback hurry

Tomon Fox – North Carolina – 7 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 quarterback hurries

Charles Snowden – Virginia – 8 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 pass deflections, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception

Drake Spears – Western Michigan – 9 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks

Malik Fountain – Central Michigan – 10 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception

Mike Danna – Central Michigan – 7 tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, 1 quarterback hurry

Bryton Barr – UMass – 21 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack

Joe Dineen – Kansas – 13 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, 2 quarterback hurries

Colin Schooler – Arizona – 10 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 1 sack, 2 quarterback hurries

Javon Kinlaw – South Carolina – 5 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 1 pass deflection, 2 quarterback hurries

Josiah Tauaefa – UTSA – 9 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks

Justin Clifton – Arkansas State – 12 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass deflection

Germaine Pratt – NC State – 11 tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 pass deflection, 2 quarterback hurries

Javahn Fergurson – New Mexico State – 17 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks

Mike Hampton – South Florida – 4 tackles, 4 pass deflections

Last Word

With the last word on college football, week four edition, you have learned the key takeaways, marveled at the best stats and have gotten prepared for the biggest games of this coming week.

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