As week four of the NCAA season is in the books, here is a rundown of some of the top games played this weekend.
The Colorado State Rams went into Tuscaloosa to play top ranked Alabama and gave the Crimson Tide a tough time for the better half of three quarters. Even with former Alabama offensive coordinator Jim McElwain as their new head coach, nobody really expected the Rams to come out of the defending champions home stadium with a win. Nonetheless, the Rams’ defense played incredibly well and was able to keep up with AJ McCarron and the rest of the Tide offense throughout the game. After the game ‘Bamas C.J. Mosely expressed his concern with how the Tide played against the Rams, noting that CSU wasn’t even an SEC team but gave them a tougher time than the expected. For Alabama, they will have to play better in future games as they will play their SEC opener next weekend against Ole Miss. On the other hand, a 1-3 Rams team will return to Fort Collins before taking on UTEP next week. The Rams should look at this game as a tough and solid performance, despite the late scores that ‘Bama had to make the score look more lopsided than it actually was. If Jim McElwain can continue to prepare his Rams like he did this weekend, they should look good in the Mountain West and make another bowl game. As for the Tide, don’t expect them to take it easy on Ole Miss as they look to remind people why they are one of the most dominant teams in the last 5-years.
The college football weekend opened up on Thursday night as #3 ranked Clemson went into Raleigh to take on a battered NC State. In our preview for this weekends games we noted that Clemson should be aware of NC’s prowess and the potential for an upset that Clemson is so used to seeing. Someone must’ve been listening because this game was controlled by the Tigers throughout the game. Clemson was able to put points up consistently throughout the game, leading to a 26-14 final score. The game was a big boost of moral for Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd, who threw for 3 touchdowns in the spotlight on national TV. Clemson will need to remain focused as they head back to North Carolina next weekend, this time to play Wake Forest.
If you want to see a clinic of what can happen with a top ranked team plays a lesser known football squad, go re-watch the game between Ohio State and Florida A&M. As a matter of fact, some fans of the sport would almost say that the 746-0 route that OSU ran up on A&M is a bit disrespectful and surely isn’t helping any of the futures for players on the A&M side. Nonetheless, the main highlight of this game was the record setting performance by quarterback Kenny Guiton. Guiton was starting his third straight game for usual starter, Braxton Miller, and made a case that he should remain the starter for the remainder for the year. Guiton had four touchdowns in the first quarter alone and never looked back as OSU cruised to a victory. The lone bright side of this game was that A&M received a $900,000 payout for the game, the price given to football subdivision members for playing higher ranked BCS teams. Nonetheless, we expect the rest of OSU’s season to be much tougher than the game this weekend, and the quarterback controversy could heat up as Braxton Miller gets prepared to return.
The matchup between Arizona State and Stanford was expected to be much closer than the 42-28 final score turned out to be. Stanford had a bit of trouble last week with Army, while Arizona State was riding high on a win over a ranked Wisconsin team. However as the Sun Devils went into California on Saturday, the Cardinal simply outmatched their PAC-12 opponents and reminded people why they are a top-5 team. Before playing another ranked team, Stanford will have to be sure to keep their winning ways about them as they head to Washington State next weekend. ASU on the other hand will have to wait and see if they will keep their top-25 ranking, as they play an always-tough USC team next week.
One of the more entertaining games of the day took place in Baton Rouge as #6 LSU welcomed Auburn for a showdown between rivals. The game wasn’t particularly close at any point, but the 14-points that Auburn came out in the second half with made things a bit interesting for Tigers fans. The highlight of the game for LSU was the emergence of Jeremy Hill, who rushed for 184-yards and had 3 touchdowns in the victory. LSU has yet to have a week of thus far this season, so they improved to 4-0 and looked primed to head to Georgia next weekend. And despite the loss, Auburn is still at 3-1 and will have a week off to recover and prepare for an Ole Miss team that will be coming off a game with Alabama. These teams are always entertaining to watch when they match up, and Saturday was no different.
It wasn’t a good week for smaller teams in Florida. After Florida A&M’s embarrassing loss to Ohio State, Florida International didn’t fair much better against Louisville. Teddy Bridgewater threw for 4-touchdowns in the 72-0 blowout and the Cardinals improved to 4-0.
Unlike the smaller Florida teams, Florida State didn’t have nearly as much trouble in their own contest on Saturday. The Seminoles faced off against a previously undefeated Bethune-Cook team, that was reminded what it’s like to play against a top-10 team. The final score was 54-6, with an all-around solid effort from FSU.
Although the final score looks a bit lopsided, the 45-21 victory for Georgia certainly wasn’t the way the Bulldogs had imagined their game going against North Texas on Saturday. Sure, a wins a win, but when you’re a top-10 team, you look at the games against lower-tier games to make a statement. Instead, the Georgia defense was exposed in the second half has UNT made it interesting with 14 of their own points to make it a 21-14 game going into half. Although Georgia was able to keep the peddle on the gas for the remainder of the game, their defense will need some work as they get prepared to play LSU next weekend.
Texas A&M, UCLA, Miami, Washington and Baylor also all put up huge scores on Saturday. For Johnny Manziel and #10 A&M, it was a 42-13 victory over SMU in College Station. Manziel had over 100-yards on the ground and accounted for 3 total touchdowns. #13 UCLA flexed its muscles on a winless New Mexico State team with a 59-13 beat down; although the 13 from NMS all came in the final quarter of play and this was truly a one-sided affair throughout. On a scoreboard that read all 7’s, #16 Miami beat Savannah state 77-7. This is a school record for the Hurricanes who improve to 3-0 on the season, while Savannah State falls to 1-3. #17 Washington blanked Idaho State 56-0 and #20 Baylor looked just as impressive in their 70-7 win over Louisiana-Monroe. Other than huge scores, not much else to report on these games.
Michigan fans had a bit of a scare on Saturday night as the #15 ranked Wolverines went to Stores to play UCONN. We mentioned last week that this game could put UM on upset alert and it looked that way until Michigan blanked UCONN in the fourth quarter and put up 14 of their own. Michigan improves to 4-0 on the season, despite two scares in a row against Akron last week and UCONN this week. They have a week off to prepare for Minnesota, so you can expect Brady Hoke to put his team through the ringer with two weeks to prepare.
Despite a 31-17 win for #19 Gators, not all is good in Gainesville after Florida beat Tennessee. After throwing a 52-yard pass to Solomon Patton, Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel went down and motioned to the Gator sideline for help. It proved to be the worst of possible situations, as it was reported shortly thereafter that Driskel had broken his leg and would be out the remainder of the season. Luckily for Gator fans, backup Tyler Murphy was able to come into the game and led UofF to a win over an always-competitive Volunteer team. However after already losing one game on the season to Miami, fans in Gainesville may be concerned with the ability of a quarterback like Murphy to lead the Gators for the remainder of the season. And when your playing in the SEC, there are no easy games off that will allow Murphy to acclimate. He will be expected to learn and learn quickly as Florida heads to Kentucky next weekend. The Gators will hope that they have enough other pieces to get up on the Wildcats and allow Murphy to acclimate himself better to the bright lights of Saturday.
If you’re a fan of huge blowouts, you probably loved this weekend. If not, than you may not have been impressed with a lot of the games played on Saturday. Nonetheless, its fun to see some of the more powerful teams in the BCS have a hard time with lesser-known teams, despite the lopsided wins attained by others. While there are a few games that will start this weekends games on Thursday night, the match-up between #11 Oklahoma State and #12 South Carolina on Friday will be the real game that everyone turns their eyes to this upcoming weekend as we get ready for another exciting week in college football.