What a fun week we had for the last Saturday of September in college football.
In the noon slate, No. 4 Clemson barely got past No. 21 Wake Forest, needing double overtime to win 51-45. Meanwhile, Kansas moved to 4-0 by beating Duke at home.
In the 3:30 slot, No. 25 Miami fell 45-31 to C-USA’s Middle Tennessee State at home, giving the ‘Canes their second consecutive loss of the season. No. 11 Tennessee took care of division rival No. 20 Florida and won 38-33. Appalachian State’s magical run was stopped, as James Madison scored 29 unanswered points to win 32-28.
No. 22 Texas fell on the road to Texas Tech in overtime. Longhorns running back Bijan Robinson fumbled on the opening possession of overtime, which allowed the Red Raiders to kick a game-winning field goal to win 37-34.
Let’s run through the winners and losers from Week 4 of college football so far.
No, this is not a college basketball article you’re reading.
How great is this for schools that are traditionally basketball powerhouses? It seemed unlikely at the start of the season, but through four weeks, both Kansas and Syracuse are perfect.
Syracuse maintained its unblemished record on Friday night with a 22-20 win over Virginia. With the victory, the Orange are now 3-0 at home.
‘Cuse still has some tough games remaining on its schedule, including road games vs. Clemson, Pitt, Wake Forest and Boston College, but they look like a much more improved squad from the team that finished 5-7 last season.
The biggest reason for the improvement looks to be on offense, as head coach Dino Babers hired Robert Anae from Virginia as the Orange’s offensive coordinator. Quarterback Garrett Shrader is thriving in the new system, completing 66.4 percent of his passes for 986 yards and eight touchdowns with just one interception.
And how about Kansas? In front of the Jayhawks’ first sellout crowd since Nov. 2019, Kansas beat Duke 35-27. With the victory, the Jayhawks are now 4-0 for the first time since 2009.
As long as quarterback Jalon Daniels keeps playing like he has been, Kansas should keep winning. Against the Blue Devils defense on Saturday, he threw for 324 yards and four touchdowns. He rushed for another 83 yards and a score, too.
Both of these teams were far from favorites to win their respective conferences. And while the good times will likely come to an end, both programs have plenty of opportunities to show that their starts have not been a fluke.
Aside from games against Clemson, Pitt and Wake Forest, Syracuse will have a chance to beat NC State and Notre Dame. Kansas has Oklahoma, Baylor, Oklahoma State and Texas remaining. Don’t be surprised if one of those teams goes down to these basketball schools.
As long as Tennessee’s offense keeps playing like it has, the Vols look like the only team that could threaten Georgia in the SEC East. During No. 11 Tennessee’s 38-33 win over the No. 20 Florida Gators, the Vols’ offense looked virtually unstoppable. Florida managed to stay in this one late though, and even recovered an onside kick in the game’s final seconds to attempt a Hail Mary.
Tennessee finished with 576 yards of offense, including 349 yards and two touchdowns from quarterback Hendon Hooker. Hooker added another 112 yards and a touchdown on the ground, too. Receiver Bru McCoy led the Vols’ receiving corps with 102 yards and a touchdown. Tennessee was 6-of-9 on third down and averaged 12.5 yards per pass.
What’s even more impressive is that Tennessee only had 25:04 of ball possession and still put up 38 points. The longest drive of the day? A 10-play, 87-yard scoring series that took 4:39 off the clock to put the Vols up 38-21 with 7:55 left in the game.
Tennessee will play at LSU after a bye on Oct. 8, followed by a home game against Alabama a week later. The biggest remaining games on Tennessee’s schedule appear to be at home vs. No. 8 Kentucky on Oct. 29 followed by a road trip to Athens to face Georgia the week after.
Through four weeks (including Week 0), the Vols are fourth nationally in scoring offense, averaging 52 points per game. If Tennessee can put up similar numbers like it has been all season, it’s hard not to pick the Vols to give Georgia a run for its money in the East.
Well, it looks like Oklahoma won’t be making it into the playoff in Brent Venables’ first season in Lincoln. That’s because on Saturday night, the Sooners went into Kansas State and got upset by the WIldcats, a team that had lost to Southern Miss the week prior.
Although Oklahoma was a 13.5-point favorite heading into this one, K-State looked in control of this game throughout. The Wildcats took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, and scored another 10 points to lead 24-17 at halftime.
Late in the game, Oklahoma tried to complete a comeback. The Sooners scored a touchdown to make it a 34-27 game with 4:36 left. All Oklahoma’s defense needed was a stop on defense to get the ball back.
But K-State quarterback Adrian Martinez, who transferred this offseason after playing four seasons at Nebraska, had other ideas. Martinez put together a seven-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped off by a Martinez rushing touchdown to take a 41-24 lead. He had a crucial 55-yard run on 3rd and 16, and was downed inside Oklahoma’s five on the drive.
Oklahoma countered with a late touchdown drive to make it a one-score game yet again, and attempted an onside kick which K-State recovered.
Martinez finished with 234 yards passing and two touchdowns, including another 148 yards and four rushing touchdowns on the ground.
The loss for No. 6 Oklahoma is incredibly costly, especially considering that the Sooners have much harder opponents remaining on their schedule. Still remaining for OU includes games against Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State.
Things are not going well for Miami.
Coming off a 17-9 loss on the road to Texas A&M, the ‘Canes looked to rebound at home against Middle Tennessee State.
Although it entered as 25.5-point favorites, per DraftKings Sportsbook, Miami struggled significantly against the Blue Raiders. In fact. MTSU had a 24-10 lead at halftime and ultimately shocked the Hurricanes on the road 45-31.
Miami had some life early in the fourth quarter, as Key’Shawn Smith returned a kickoff 91 yards for a touchdown to make it 38-24. But Middle Tennessee put together a 12-play, 75-yards scoring play to put the game on ice with 8:42 left.
The biggest reason Middle Tennessee won? Defense. The Blue Raiders had three takeaways on the day, including two picks off Tyler Van Dyke, as well as a fumble recovered in the first quarter.
For first-year Miami head coach Mario Cristobal, this could be a long season. It’s a bit surprising, given that Miami was considered a team to compete for an ACC Coastal title. Instead, the Canes are 2-2 and still have to play games against North Carolina, Virginia Tech, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Clemson and Pitt.
Clemson remains undefeated, but Wake Forest gave the Tigers quite the scare Saturday afternoon. The Tigers needed double overtime to hold off the Demon Deacons, winning in a 51-45 shootout. It’s not too surprising that this game was close—Clemson was just a 7.5-point favorite on the road.
But Clemson had a whopping 10 penalties for 120 yards on the day, which helped keep Wake in this game. Looking at the rest of Clemson’s schedule, this might not be the last time the Tigers get close to losing.
Next week, Clemson plays No. 12 NC State, followed by back-to-back road trips against Boston College and Florida State before playing Syracuse on Oct. 22. Clemson gets a bye before going on the road to play Notre Dame on Nov. 5, then finish the year at home against Louisville, Miami and South Carolina.
The good news is that Clemson can probably drop a game and still handily win the ACC to make it into the playoff. But Wake’s performance Saturday proved that Clemson might not be as unbeatable as some thought at the start of the season.
Some good news for Clemson fans? Tigers QB DJ Uiagalelei had a big day, finishing with 371 yards and five touchdowns.
We had ourselves a good game in Jerry World between Arkansas and Texas A&M. Although the No. 10 Razorbacks led 14-0 in the first quarter, the No. 23 Aggies found themselves back in this one thanks to an unbelievable scoop-n-score returned for a touchdown.
Arkansas was knocking on the door on TAMU’s 3-yard line, looking like it would score another touchdown. Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson tried to extend the ball over the pile but fumbled the ball.
Aggies defender Tyreek Chappell recovered it and began returning it the other way. As he was about to get tackled, he somehow had the presence of mind to hand it off to Demani Richardson, who took it to the house for the score. Take a look at how wild this play was:
The wildest play of the college football season <a href="https://t.co/JmxIBKfg39">pic.twitter.com/JmxIBKfg39</a>
The Aggies’ two-point conversion failed, so Arkansas still led 14-13. Still, it completely shifted the dynamic of the game.
This might be the wildest play we’ve seen thus far all season. The Aggies scored 10 more points in the second half, and the defense held Arkansas to just one touchdown in the fourth quarter. Texas A&M won 23-21, so this play certainly gave the Aggies a lot of momentum heading into the second half.
What a fourth-quarter collapse from Washington State. In a game that the Cougars led in its entirety through the first 56 minutes, Oregon scored 21 points late in the fourth to win 44-41.
Those three touchdowns came over a period of just two minutes and 49 seconds. Wazzu led 27-15 heading into the final frame, but the Ducks scored a touchdown in the opening seconds of the quarter to make it a 27-22 game. The Cougars scored off a Cameron Ward one-yard touchdown pass with 6:41 left to go up two scores again.
But this is when things got out of hand for Wazzu. Oregon countered first with an 11-play, 75-yard scoring drive to make it 34-29 with 3:50 left. A Wazzu three-and-out gave Oregon the ball back with 2:35 left.
Then, the Ducks needed just five plays to score a touchdown as quarterback Bo Nix found Troy Franklin for a 50-yard score. Nix ran it in for a two-point conversion to take a 37-34 lead.
Washington State had a chance to get a game-tying field goal, getting the ball back with 1:21 left. But on second down, Ward’s pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown to give Oregon a 44-34 lead. Wazzu managed to score a touchdown in the final minute, but it came in vain after the Cougars failed to recover the ensuing onside kick.
This Oregon team has drastically improved from the thrashing it took from Georgia in Week 1. The Ducks upset then-No. 12 BYU 41-20 last week, and to follow that up with a come-from-behind win on the road is big. Nix, who threw for 222 yards and two touchdowns last week against BYU, finished with 428 yards passing and three touchdowns.
Next up, Oregon faces Stanford at home.
Anyone who took the over in Saturday night’s Iowa-Rutgers game that took the over can thank Hawkeyes freshman kicker Drew Stevens.
Iowa took a 17-3 lead at halftime and didn’t really let off the gas for the rest of the game, leading 24-3 at the end of the third. Rutgers scored a touchdown with 11:15 left in the fourth to make it 24-10. This was important because the over/under for this game was set at 34.
Following the Rutgers touchdown, Iowa’s offense drove down to Rutgers’ 33-yard line. Stevens lined up for a 51-yard field goal attempt, which bounced off left upright before going through, giving anyone who bet the over a victory.
Disgusting <a href="https://t.co/V5KkJ3rbcA">pic.twitter.com/V5KkJ3rbcA</a>
Stevens has hit both of his field goal attempts so far, with his latest becoming his new season-long. During last week’s 27-0 win over Nevada, he made a 43-yarder. Congrats, those of you who took the over for Iowa-Rutgers.
What a horrible way to lose a football game if you’re Arkansas. Trailing by 23-21 with 6:30 left, the Razorbacks got the ball back with a chance to take the lead with either a field goal or touchdown.
Quarterback KJ Jefferson and the Arkansas offense drove down to the Texas A&M 24-yard line. With 1:30 remaining, Razorbacks kicker Cam Little lined up for a 42-yard attempt. Amazingly, the kick bounced off of the top of the right upright and was no good.
That was Little’s first and only field goal attempt of the game. Before the miss against the Aggies, Little had made both of his two field goals on the season. Last year, he made 83.3 percent of his field goals.
You never want to put a game’s win or loss on the shoulders of a single player, and we’re not trying to do that here. But this is an incredibly rough way to lose a football game against a rival like Texas A&M.
Folks, Florida State is 4-0 on the season. It sure looks like Mike Norvell, who is in his third season in Tallahassee, has things figured out this year. The ‘Noles went on the road to face Boston College this week, and this one was over in the first quarter.
Florida State jumped out to a 21-0 lead by the time the first quarter was over, and the ‘Noles went to the locker room with a 31-0 lead. FSU’s defense gave up just two touchdowns on the night, one at the end of the third and one in the fourth. FSU won by a final score of 44-14. Through four games, Florida State is averaging 37.5 points per game.
Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis finished with 321 yards passing and a touchdown on the night. ‘Nole running back Trey Benson added 78 yards and two scores, too.
The win moves Florida State to 4-0, and the ‘Noles join just two other 2-0 ACC teams, in Syracuse and Clemson.
The next few games for FSU should show us just how for real this team is, however. Next week, the ‘Noles face a Wake Forest team at home—the Demon Deacons gave Clemson a scare on Saturday, losing in double-overtime. Then FSU plays at NC State before meeting Clemson at home on Oct. 15.
Florida State may not win all of those games, but starting 4-0 is a drastic improvement from the last two seasons. FSU finished below-.500 in both 2020 and last season.
NAIA Warner was part of some history on Saturday, but on the wrong end of it.
Stephen F. Austin defeated the Royals 98-0 on Saturday, with the Lumberjacks setting a WAC record for most points scored in the process.
Amazingly, it was only the third most points scored in school history.
Stephen F. Austin also fell just short of eclipsing some other incredible benchmarks. According to ESPN, the FCS record for points scored in a game by a single team came when Portland State beat Delaware State 105-0 in 1980. The FBS record for points scored was 103, set by Wyoming vs. Northern Colorado in 1949. The 103-0 win by the Cowboys is the largest margin of victory in FBS history.
The Lumberjacks also had four quarterbacks play in the blowout win, combining for 478 yards in the air. Meanwhile, Warner had just 141 yards of offense on the night and had to punt eight times.
Just don’t watch this game film, Warner defensive coordinator.
The #Pac12AfterDark game came down to the wire, as No. 7 USC needed a game-winning drive late to avoid the upset against Oregon State in Corvallis.
The Trojans’ offense, which came into this one averaging 50.7 points per game, struggled throughout. USC trailed 7-3 at halftime and didn’t find the end zone until early in the fourth quarter on a Travis Dye seven-yard rushing touchdown.
It was the defense that kept the Trojans in this game. Oregon State quarterback Chance Nolan threw four interceptions on the night, with zero touchdowns. USC also held Oregon State to just 18 first downs and allowed the Beavers to go 5-of-13 on third down.
USC’s offense came alive when it needed to late. Caleb Willams put together an 11-play, 84-yard touchdown drive. The drive was capped off by a 21-yard touchdown pass to receiver Jordan Addison to go up 17-14 with 1:13 left. USC’s defense sealed the upset victory on Oregon State’s ensuing drive, intercepting Nolan for the fourth time.
The Trojans still have games against Washington State, Utah, Notre Dame and UCLA. Utah is on the road, so we’ll see if the Utes can give USC a scare like Oregon State did.
Still, a win is a win, so USC’s playoff hopes remain intact.
Texas Tech improved to 3-1 on Saturday, and it did so by upsetting No. 22 Texas 37-34 in overtime. The win broke a four-year losing streak for the Red Raiders against Texas, and handed the Longhorns their first loss in Big 12 play.
Although Texas Tech lost 27-14 last week to NC State, credit to Red Raiders’ first-year head Joey McGuire for resetting his team heading into conference play. Speaking of McGuire, the head coach gave a fiery speech after the big win. Listen below to how he talks about Texas getting tired, starting 1-0 in Big 12 play, and how “everything runs through Lubbock.”
"The country's gonna find out. EVERYTHING RUNS THROUGH LUBBOCK."<br><br>This speech from Texas Tech's HC Joey McGuire after their win over No. 22 Texas will have you FIRED UP 😤🗣️<a href="https://t.co/QQFJP8UaiH">pic.twitter.com/QQFJP8UaiH</a>
If this doesn’t get you fired up, I’m not sure what will. It was an impressive come-from-behind victory for Tech. The Red Raiders trailed 24-14 at halftime, and scored 17 unanswered points from late in the third quarter through the fourth to get back in it.
The win for Tech gave the Red Raiders their first win over an AP Top 25 Texas team since 2008. That year, Texas Tech defeated then-No. 1 Texas 39-33 in Lubbock.
Next up for Tech is a road game against Kansas State. It should be a good one, as the Wildcats upset Oklahoma on Saturday.
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