I have no idea what “clever” name ESPN came up with for last weekend but here are some thoughts on the games. Overall I’d saw the games were better than “Road Test Weekend” but maybe that’s just me.
BYU 24, UCF 17
This was nearly a must-win for BYU after getting obliterated by Utah last week and narrowly losing to Texas the week before. The Cougs still seem to be struggling on offense — especially quarterback Jake Heaps — but the defense is solid and should give them a chance in most games until the offense gets going (if it ever does). Fortunately for Bronco Mendenhall and the coaching staff, their schedule gets a little easier with games against Utah State, San Jose State, Oregon State and Idaho State before making a trip to TCU. We’ll see how the Cougars progress over the next few weeks.
#22 Michigan 28, San Diego State 7
So much for my upset pick on this one – clearly the Aztec defense wasn’t ready for Denard Robinson. The Michigan quarterback ran 21 times for 200 yards and three touchdowns and completed 8/17 passes for 93 yards and 2 interceptions. San Diego State running back Ronnie Hillman carried 21 times for 109 yards but fumbled twice and quarterback Ryan Lindley threw for 253 yards, one touchdown and also fumbled once. I thought Hillman would be more effective against the Wolverines defense but perhaps they’re actually getting better. I’ll be interested to see how Robinson performs against a defense that can stop the run and forces him to beat them with his arm.
#7 Oklahoma State 30, #8 Texas A&M 29
Despite recommending my readers to watch this game, I actually didn’t get to see it myself. The Aggies lead 20-3 at halftime but the Cowboys scored 27 consecutive points in the second half to steal the win. Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden threw for 438 yards (school record) and two touchdowns while Justin Blackmon, Josh Cooper and Hubert Anyiam combined for 32 catches, 336 yards and 1 touchdown. The Cowboys did get a some help from A&M who turned the ball over four times (3 interceptions & 1 fumble).
#21 Clemson 35, #11 Florida State 30
I didn’t get to watch all of this game but I can tell you the Seminole defense didn’t play nearly as well as they needed to in order to win. Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and freshman wide receiver Sammy Watkins lit-up the FSU defense with Boyd throwing for 344 yards, 3 touchdowns and 1 interceptions while the freshman wideout caught 8 passes for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns. I don’t know if the defense was tired and/or banged up after last week’s battle with Oklahoma or what, but they didn’t look very sharp on Saturday. Clint Trickett played well in-place of injured quarterback EJ Manuel and the Seminole offense looked pretty good — the running game still sucks — but the defense didn’t do nearly enough to help them win.
#2 LSU 47, #16 West Virginia 21
West Virginia cut LSU’s lead to 21-27 late in the third quarter when Morris Claiborne returned the kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown extending the lead to 31-21 and the Tigers never looked back. After convincingly beating Oregon at a neutral site, Mississippi State on the road and now the Mountaineers in Morgantown – the Tigers have the most impressive resume in college football and deserve the No. 1 ranking. The defense and special teams have been outstanding and should be enough to keep them in every game this season. That said, the Tigers’ D did give up 533 yards of offense including 463 passing yards but forced four turnovers against the Mountaineers. I can’t wait to see LSU play Florida in two weeks and Alabama on November 5th.
#4 Boise State 41, Tulsa 21
Kellen Moore only played two and a half quarters but completed 23/29 passes to nine different receivers for 279 yards and 4 scores. The defense was dominant in the first half allowing just 80 yards and zero points but seemed to ease up in the second half giving up three touchdowns to the Golden Hurricanes. I don’t know what the deal is with the Broncos’ running game – it hasn’t been productive this year and Saturday wasn’t any better rushing 45 times for 131 yards (2.9 yards per carry). The injuries to Billy Winn, Tyron Crawford and Jake Broyles aren’t supposed to be serious. And lastly, I have to give Tyler Shoemaker some credit for catching 5 passes for 105 yards, 2 touchdowns and zero drops (by my count).
Arizona State 43, #23 USC 22
Photo via ocregister.com
I predicted Matt Barkley to be the difference in the game only I expected him to help USC win the game, not ASU. In the first half, the Trojans struggled in the redzone getting three field goals and as a result trailed 21-9 at halftime. Barkley lead two touchdown drives to start the second half to take a 22-21 lead but the Sun Devils took over from there. The ASU defense forced Barkley to fumble in the redzone and the offense drove 82 yards to take 36-22 lead. On USC’s very next offensive play, Barkley threw a pick-6 to Shelly Lyons putting the game out of reach 43-22. This was a huge win for Dennis Erickson and Arizona State who had lost 11 straight games to the Trojans – perhaps they’re a real threat to win the Pac-12 this year.
#10 Oregon 56, Arizona 31
The Wildcats got off to a terrible start falling behind 35-3 and were plagued by poor tackling for much of the first half. They finally scored a touchdown with 1:04 left in the second quarter and then proceeded to recover a surprise onside kick but failed to produce any points before the half. Arizona then cut Oregon’s lead to 35-24 in the third quarter but the Ducks’ ground game was too much to overcome. Oregon rushed for 415 yards with a school record 288 coming from LaMichael James on 21 carries. It’s obvious the Ducks have put the LSU loss behind them winning their last three games and averaging 60.3 points per game.
What did you think about week 4?