Who's Hot & Not ... Week 4
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10. Northern Illinois RB Chad Spann
One of the nation’s best running backs you’ve never seen in action, Spann provided the spark in the 34-23 upset of Minnesota, rushing for 223 yards and two scores on only 15 carries. A week earlier, the Huskies had Illinois on the ropes, but couldn’t apply the knockout punch.
9. Indiana QB Ben Chappell
One of the Big Ten’s well-kept secrets tucked away in Bloomington, Chappell continues to impress NFL scouts. Leading the Hoosiers to a 3-0 start, he’s thrown nine touchdown passes without a pick, making particularly good use of freshman TE Ted , who’s hauled in four of the scoring tosses.
8. The Toledo D
It’s time to start paying more attention to a no-name Rocket defense that’s provided the boost for a three-game winning streak, including Saturday’s upset of Purdue. During the streak, Toledo has picked off eight passes and recovered five fumbles. Co-coordinators Mike Ward and Paul Nichols are doing a terrific job with this group of players.
7. Denard’s caddies
If Michigan wunderkind Denard Robinson went down, could the offense stay on the tracks? At least against Bowling Green, it not only survived, but thrived. Tate Forcier and Devin Gardner combined to go 19-of-22 and account for three touchdowns in a 65-point eruption. Still, it’s good to know that Robinson could have played if it was necessary.
6. Stanford RB/FB Owen Marecic
A symbol of the success the Cardinal is having, the two-way Marecic scored on back-to-back plays in the Notre Dame rout, scoring on a one-yard plunge before picking off a pass and taking it back 20 yards. It was the first time in four years that a player had scored on offense and defense in the same game.
5. The Virginia Tech D
How would the fare against the big, bad Boston College offensive line? Actually, not too bad. Tech got back to even behind this unit, shutting out the Eagles and tormenting their front wall behind three tackles for loss each from LB Bruce Taylor and ends Steven Friday and James Gayle. It’s early, but the Hokies might be right back in the ACC title hunt.
4. NC State QB Russell Wilson
If this keeps up, someone might want to at least get Wilson directions to New York City. The catalyst of an improbable 4-0 start by the Pack, he’s thrown 11 touchdown passes to just a single pick. In Saturday’s upset at Georgia Tech, he was otherworldly, accounting for 384 yards and four touchdowns.
3. The UCLA D
Over the last two weekends, the Bruins have suffocated Houston and Texas, holding them to just 25 combined points to pick up a pair of season-changing victories. Linebackers and safeties Sean Westgate, Akeem Ayers, Patrick Larimore, and Rahim Moore, in particular, have been flying all over the field, preventing big plays and sealing off the red zone.
2. Alabama RB Mark Ingram
The way Ingram has run the last two weeks, backs around the country will be asking for the knee surgery he had earlier in the month as an elective procedure. A week after needing just nine carries to slap 151 yards and two scores on Duke in his return, he went for 157 yards and two more touchdowns in the comeback win over Arkansas. After missing two games, the Heisman repeat is back in play. >
1. Florida jack-of-all-trades Trey Burton
Without much advance warning, a star was born in Gainesville Saturday night. Where were the Gators hiding this rookie when the offense was coughing and wheezing early on? Doing his best Percy impression, Burton completed a 42-yard pass, had five carries for 40 yards and five scores out of the shotgun formation, and caught five balls for 37 yards and another score. A quarterback on the depth chart, his six touchdowns broke a school record set by none other than Tim Tebow.
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Who's Hot & Not ... Week 4
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10. Rutgers QB Tom Savage
Any regression is usually a team effort, but Savage has been the primary culprit in his own sophomore slump. After playing miserably against depleted North Carolina, he’s now completing a little more than 50% of his passes and has thrown just one touchdown pass. If Greg Schiano had a better option, he’d be compelled to consider it at this point.
9. Boston College quarterbacks
Does Matt Ryan have any sisters? It couldn’t be much worse than what the Eagles are getting at the position right now. Even with a schedule that’s included games with Weber State and Kent State, Boston College has thrown as many picks as touchdowns. Dave Shinskie was so feeble in the shutout loss to Virginia Tech, it could be time to give the ball young Mike Marscovetra.
Yup, even in getting a W. Saturday’s survival at home against lowly UAB had to be the program’s ugliest win in recent memory. Whipped in every category except the final score, the Vols were outgained by the Blazers, 544-287. Lane Kiffin’s decision to bolt from Knoxville makes even more sense now that we’ve gotten a month to watch the team he left.
Look at the bright side, Gopher fans. Your 1-3 start means that AD Joel Maturi can get a head start on his search for a new coach. There doesn’t appear to be a scenario where Tim Brewster can survive after his team fell to 1-3 with a loss to Northern Illinois. Minnesota has now dropped three straight at home, beginning with an inexcusable loss to South Dakota.
6. LSU QB Jordan Jefferson
This is getting ridiculous. The entire Tiger offense is laboring, but it all begins with the junior, who looks completely uncomfortable at the position. As hard as it is to imagine, the LSU passing game has now gone 212 minutes without a touchdown pass and ranks 113th nationally in passing efficiency.
Didn’t you used to be the heavy favorite to win the Big East? Beyond the 1-2 start has been the Panthers’ execution, which was at a high school level on Thursday night against Miami. Pitt was dominated, 31-3, managing just 232 yards and a Dan Hutchins three-pointer in the fourth quarter.
4. Notre Dame
Okay, so no one expected an overnight transformation when Brian Kelly arrived, but a little progress would have been nice. The Irish is getting worse as the month comes to an end, losing to Stanford, 37-14. Save for LB Manti Te’o, who’s playing on a different level than the rest of his teammates, there’s not a lot that can be counted on these days in South Bend.
3. Georgia head coach Mark Richt
These are difficult times, indeed, for Richt, the coach of a team that’s lost three straight SEC games and has had an inordinate number of players arrested this year. He’s done a remarkable job in Athens, but this is shaping up as one of those seasons that could test an athletic director’s loyalty.
2. The Big East
Right now, the Big East has as many ranked members as the Sun Belt…zero. An entire month of futility was underscored by the league’s effort in Week 4. It went 3-4, losing all of its marquee match ups with Miami, North Carolina, LSU, and Oklahoma. For the season, the Big East is 1-11 versus teams with a pulse, with the lone win coming against Maryland. Commissioner John Marinatto ought to wear a ski mask when he picks up this year’s BCS payout.
In the state where everything is done big, the ‘Horns were the colossal flop of Week 4, losing 34-12 . While it’s not as if there weren’t clues in the first three weeks, who saw this coming? Against UCLA? Not only was the offense a wreck, but the defense, the one constant, was gashed for 264 yards and three scores on the ground. Gone are any hopes for a repeat appearance in the national title game. Without major improvements, the Big 12 will be off limits as well. r />
Who's Hot ... Week Four