Same Decision, Different Results
In two of the better games on Saturday, we got to see both sides of not kneeling the ball when ahead late in the fourth quarter. Oregon was ahead of Stanford 24-7 at halftime and were leading 31-28 with 1:35 left in the game. That should’ve been it, but Oregon decided to run the ball on 2nd and 2, and freshman RB CJ Verdell fumbled to give Stanford the ball back. The Cardinal then drove 45 yards in 45 seconds to kick a game-tying field goal, and eventually won in overtime.
While it didn’t work for the Ducks in Eugene, the same decision worked out for the Monarchs in Norfolk; Old Dominion scored the upset of the week by beating Virginia Tech 49-35. With 1:34 left in that game, Old Dominion decided to try a running play on first down at Virginia Tech’s 40-yard line. It worked to perfection as Jeremy Cox took the carry all the way to cement the result. Two underdogs tried almost the same play at the same time of the game, at home, against ranked opposition. We’ll see how the results of those two plays might affect play calling later on in the season.
Mid Rankings Upsets
While the top 10 this week took care of business, although Oklahoma, Stanford, and LSU had to fight for their victories, five teams ranked between #13-23 all lost on Saturday; all of them by double-digits. Even though they were seen as upsets, there was significant upset potential in all of those games (outside of Old Dominion beating Virginia Tech). Two weeks after beating Florida for the first time in 32 years, Kentucky continued their perfect start by beating Mississippi State 28-7, after losing to the Bulldogs 45-7 in Starkville last season.
We knew Texas Tech had a great offense led by freshman QB Alan Bowman, and they showed it by putting up 41 points against Oklahoma State in Stillwater; but it was their defense that led the way by holding the Cowboys to 17 points on the day, including a shutout after halftime.
Texas beat TCU 31-16 for their first win against the Horned Frogs in four years, being outscored 155-33 in those games. Sam Ehlinger looks like he could be the real deal, and receivers Collin Johnson and Lil’Jordan Humphrey provide a threat as well.
Purdue beat 23rd ranked Boston College 30-13 to get to 1-3, but they could just as easily be 4-0, with their other three losses coming by a combined 8 points.
Of the teams that pulled upsets over ranked opponents this week, Kentucky, Texas and Texas Tech are back in the rankings, while Purdue still has some work to do after their start to the season. Mississippi State is the only team still in the rankings following these upsets.
Top Games of Week 5
(7) Stanford at (8) Notre Dame
(12) West Virginia at (25) Texas Tech
(4) Ohio State at (9) Penn State
(20) BYU at (11) Washington
(19) Oregon at (24) California
Syracuse at (3) Clemson
Three Stars of Week 4
1. Blake LaRussa, QB, Old Dominion
30/49, 495 Yds, 5 TD’s (1 Rushing)
LaRussa wasn’t the starter for Old Dominion, but he came in for starter Steven Williams and led the Monarchs to a win over Virginia Tech. Two of his touchdown passes came in the fourth quarter to help put the game away. LaRussa should get the start next week against East Carolina’s 47th ranked passing defense.
2. Benny Snell Jr, RB, Kentucky
25 Att, 165 Yds, 4 TD’s
Snell broke Kentucky’s all-time touchdown record, previously held by Randall Cobb, by scoring four of them during the Wildcats 28-7 win over Mississippi State. Their second win over a ranked team this season, Kentucky jumped up to 17th in the AP poll thanks to the effort from Snell and the offense this season.
3. Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
28 Total Tackles, 0.5 TFL
Although Oklahoma wasn’t able to stop the triple option in their game against Army, Murray and the defense were able to slow them down enough to escape with a 28-21 win in overtime. Murray’s 28 tackles in a game are the most since the NCAA started keeping the stat in 2000.
Jack Abraham, QB, Southern Miss: 25/34, 428 Yds, 4 TD’s, 1 Int
Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama: 22/30, 387 Yds, 5 TD’s (1 Rush)
JJ Taylor, RB, Arizona: 27 Att, 284 Yds, 2 TD’s
Miles Sanders, RB, Penn State: 22 Att, 200 Yds, 3 TD’s
Toa Taua, RB, Nevada: 15 Att, 170 Yds, 3 TD’s
Dillon Mitchell, WR, Oregon: 14 Rec, 239 Yds
Travis Fulgham, WR, Old Dominion: 9 Rec, 188 Yds, TD
Image Credit: Daily Press