Weekly College Football Recap and Preview
By: Tycen Gray
Week 4 Recap
Wow, what an intense week of football. Dominant performances and surprising upsets highlighted the weekend, and as the weather gets cooler, football season grows more and more upon us. Let’s look at the pandemonium that occurred over the course of the past few days.
Tua Tagovailoa is otherworldly in the pocket. In #1 Alabama’s first ranked contest against #22 Texas A&M, Tua controlled the entirety of the game, collecting 387 yards and four touchdowns through the air. The Crimson Tide defense was able to minimize Aggies’ quarterback Kellen Mond all night, as they only allowed 196 yards to be thrown on them, picking off two passes. The showcase of stardom powered Bama to a comfortable 45-23 win at home.
#5 Oklahoma received quite the scare when the Knights of Army walked into Gaylord Memorial Stadium Saturday night. The Black Knights methodically used their flexbone triple-option offense to chew clock, control the game, and keep the ball out of Kyler Murray and the explosive Sooner offense’s hands. Murray was held to 15 passing attempts and executed 11 of those for 165 yards. A missed field goal from Oklahoma kicker Austin Seibert at the end of regulation continued to game into overtime, where CeeDee Lamb caught a touchdown toss from Murray to put the Sooners up 28-21. Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins Jr. threw an interception on fourth down to ice the cake for the contest, as Oklahoma grinds out a victory on their turf.
The game of the day certainly did not disappoint as it featured an exhilarating finish. #7 Stanford paid #20 Oregon a visit in Eugene, Oregon. The Ducks of Oregon jumped out to a 24-7 advantage at halftime, and it seemed as if all was lost for the Stanford Cardinal. A fumble returned for an 80-yard touchdown with 2:43 left in the third quarter ignited the Cardinal, as they proceeded to put the pressure on Oregon. They cut the Ducks lead down to 31-28, and junior kicker Jet Toner nailed a 32-yard field goal for the Cardinal at the end of regulation to send the game into overtime. KJ Costello found the 6’7” Colby Parkinson to deliver a high grab and open OT with a touchdown. As the Ducks took the field, they converted one first down, but junior quarterback Justin Herbert threw a pass right into the hands of defender Alameen Murphy to cut the contest short. Stanford escapes Autzen Stadium with a 38-31 victory as they continue to prove their worth.
The most surprising game of the night happened in Norfolk, Virginia, when 2-0 #13 Virginia Tech traveled on the road to match up with the 0-3 Old Dominion Monarchs. The Hokies did not stay faithful to their “Beamer Ball” ways, as the Monarchs totally ran and threw all over the Tech defense. Monarch junior field general Blake LaRussa exploded for 495 yards and four touchdowns with his arm, and Jeremy Cox ran for 130 yards and two touchdowns. Virginia Tech held a 28-21 lead going into the fourth quarter, but an injury sustained by Hokie quarterback Josh Jackson doomed V-Tech, as their defense became a revolving door for touchdowns. Old Dominion entered the end zone four times in the last quarter, while Virginia Tech’s one score. Old Dominion ended up shocking the college football world with an incredible Cinderella victory over the Hokies, 42-35. Do not fret though, more upsets are to come.
#14 Mississippi State rolled into the University of Kentucky’s campus to face off against a steaming hot Kentucky Wildcats squad. Neither quarterback in the game made a huge impact, as they combined for just 236 yards and no passing touchdowns. However, Wildcat running back Benny Snell Jr. stole the show and possibly making a Heisman case for himself. Snell carried the ball 25 times and tallied 165 yards while collecting all four Kentucky touchdowns. Snell led a victorious UK team to a 28-7 win, and the Cats skyrocketed to #17 in the Week 5 Associated Press poll.
#15 Oklahoma State had just come off a prime-time Top 25 win over Boise State and were looking to make mincemeat of the porous Texas Tech offense in O-State’s own Boone-Pickens Stadium. Contrastingly, the Red Raiders of Texas Tech stepped up on all facets of the game to fire on all cylinders the entire night. As always, the Raiders will amass a ridiculous amount of passing yards, it’s been that way for a while now and freshman signal caller Alan Bowman tossed for 397 yards Saturday, but the running and defensive game is something the nation rarely gets enough of from Tech. The Cowboys’ explosive offense was held to just 17 points throughout the entirety of the game, despite a valiant 111 yards on 12 carries from Justice Hill. Texas Tech senior back Demarcus Felton rushed 14 times and sprinting for 130 yards and two scores. The Red Raiders grab a dominant 41-17 win and sneak into the #25 spot in this week’s AP Poll.
The Texas Longhorns may be the biggest conundrum in college football right now. After getting upset by Maryland in Week 1, the Longhorns upset USC and came in like a buzzsaw against #16 TCU at home. Texas controlled possession and the game, with the offense and defense helping each other out, to put together a complete football game. Sam Ehlinger totaled 255 yards in the air and two touchdowns, and the ‘Horns defense contained the dynamic Horned Frogs offense, allowing 372 yards, but getting off the field when the job needed to be done. The Longhorns won 31-16, and find themselves at #18 this week. It seems that the everlasting question will be: Is Texas back?
We wrap up the weekend with the undefeated #23 Boston College visiting West Lafayette, Indiana and the 0-3 Purdue Boilermakers. There was no question that Purdue could put up some points, but their defense has been much less than stellar in the young season. The ship was righted Saturday, as the Boilermakers defense intercepted Boston College sophomore quarterback Anthony Brown four times, and kept AJ Dillon to a meek 59 yards. Purdue gunslinger David Blough had 296 yards and put the ball in the end zone three times to upset the Eagles big time with a 30-13 victory.
Week 5 Predictions
*Running Record: 11-2*
Thursday Game: North Carolina @ #16 Miami (FL) (7:00 PM CT; ESPN)
The North Carolina Tar Heels have a little sun shining on their season as they are 1-0 in conference after squeaking by Pittsburgh at home. Miami is still in the picture after a tough defeat at the hands of LSU to kick off the campaign. The Hurricanes have tallied 3 straight victories since then, and they are still white-hot on offense. North Carolina lacks the defensive presence and star power to heavily contest the Canes, and it will show Thursday night.
Prediction: Miami (FL) 48, North Carolina 16
Friday Event: UCLA @ Colorado (8:00 PM CT; FS1)
There is quite a disparity of teams playing Friday night. UCLA walks into Boulder with a 0-3 record, those losses at the hands of Cincinnati, Oklahoma, Fresno State. Colorado features a 3-0 record with wins over Colorado State, Nebraska, and FCS New Hampshire. However, you should never count a Chip Kelly-geared offense out, and UCLA has the California talent to put up a fight against the Buffaloes. The Buffaloes showcase too much balance on the offensive end and an extremely solid defense to go along with it. Colorado will finally crack the rankings in Week 6.
Prediction: Colorado 31, UCLA 21
Early Saturday Matchup: #12 West Virginia @ #25 Texas Tech (11:00 AM CT; ESPN2)
If you like points, wake up and smell the offense Saturday morning. Two ranked conference foes who know how to break a scoreboard will go toe to toe in Lubbock. West Virginia sports a high-caliber senior quarterback in Will Grier, and previously mentioned young stud Alan Bowman will be slinging for the Texas Tech Red Raiders. The difference will be defense, and the Mountaineers have improved vastly on that side of the ball since last year. They will be able to slow the Texas Tech attack enough and allow Grier and the offense wiggle room for error.
Prediction: West Virginia 52, Texas Tech 41
Saturday Afternoon Contest: Florida State @ Louisville (2:30 PM CT; ESPN2)
ESPN2 is sporting a contest between a couple 2-2 ACC teams that had much higher expectations coming into the season. However, a win for either one of these teams could supply a little spark to their season, and they have the potential to do so. Deondre Francois of Florida State has been a hot topic in the college football stratosphere for a couple years now, and young running back Cam Akers bring explosion to the backfield as well. Jawon Pass (a fitting name for a quarterback) is still trying to throw his way out of Lamar Jackson’s shadow, as he has found his struggles over the season. While Louisville probably has the edge on the defensive side of the ball, Florida has too much firepower to spill this game.
Prediction: Florida State 24, Louisville 20
Game of the Day: #4 Ohio State @ #9 Penn State (6:30 PM CT; ABC)
Another game that could feature a lot of points, it features much more talent between two college football blue-bloods. Dwayne Haskins and Trace McSorley are phenoms at the quarterback position and will excite 107,000 people at Beaver Stadium. This contest will simply come down to who can get stops on defense when it comes down the stretch. Without Nick Bosa, Ohio State’s push rush could lack for an extended period of time, the strong point of their defense. Penn State will be able to get points when they need it.
Prediction: Penn State 38, Ohio State 35
Late Night Action: #19 Oregon @ #24 California (9:30 PM CT; FS1)
California is coming out of a few years of mediocrity, and Oregon is coming off a heartbreaking overtime loss to Stanford. California does have a quality win over BYU, but there is no denying that they are running into an angry buzz saw in Oregon, even if the Golden Bears are at home. Ducks quarterback Justin Herbert will have a huge night in the air in a statement game.
Prediction: Oregon 44, California 26