Top Team Notes & Thoughts
Week 4 - Part One
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Week 4 Top Team Notes & Thoughts
Last week: Beat Florida Atlantic 40-7
Notes: The Tide blew past a vastly inferior team by doing everything right early starting out with an 85-yard Kenny Bell touchdown. AJ McCarron finished with three touchdown passes … The defense didn’t allow a thing giving up just six first downs and 75 of the 110 yards on a garbage time drive in the final minutes. FAU didn’t go anywhere. … While the coaching staff won’t be happy with too many drives finishing with field goals, the kickers were terrific. Cade Foster nailed shots from 52 and 46 yards, and Jeremy Shelley connected from 26 and 30. … No team in college football is close to being as dialed in as the Tide right now. They’re going for true perfection.
Last week: Beat Auburn 12-10
Notes: The defense bailed out a bad day from the offense. The ground game rumbled for 182 yards and a score, but it couldn’t take control of the game and failed to work late. … Zach Mettenberger was hardly sharp completing 15-of-27 passes for 169 yards. … The defense camped out in the Auburn backfield and came up with the stops needed in the slugfest giving up just 2-of-12 third down conversions. … With two fumbles, nine penalties and a missed 34-yard field goal, this was hardly the sharpest of performances. With Florida coming up in two weeks, the Tigers need to use the scrimmage against Towson to get the passing game in more of a rhythm.
Last week: Beat Arizona 49-0
Notes: Don’t let the final score fool you; Oregon struggled before the floodgates opened. However, how good are the Ducks to not play their best yet still beat an unbeaten team 49-0? … The defense bent, but didn’t break with four takeaways the key with a few coming on deep drives. Linebacker Michael Clay was terrific with 13 tackles, a sack and forced fumble and two tackles for loss. … De’Anthony Thomas might not have gotten loose, but the running game was decent finishing with 228 yards averaging 2.3 yards per carry. … Again, considering it wasn’t a great game, to win by 49 with Washington State coming up next is intimidating.
Florida State (4-0)
Last week: Beat Clemson 49-37
Notes: Past Florida State teams would’ve folded in a game like this. Clemson was hitting home runs getting up 28-14, and then the Seminole defense stepped its intensity up and the offense found its groove. … Dustin Hopkins is one of the nation’s most talented kickers, but he missed his two field goal attempts from 44 and 37 yards out. … EJ Manuel will soon be a legitimate Heisman candidate after completing 27-of-35 passes for 380 yards and two scores, and he ran for 102 yards on 12 carries. … The 11 penalties weren’t that big a problem, but with two fumbles there were too many mistakes. The offense made up for them. .. Free safety Terrence Brooks was terrific leading the team with 12 tackles and helping to keep Sammy Watkins in check in the second half. Clemson focused on stopping left end Bjoern Werner up front, and right end Cornelius Carradine picked up the slack with seven tackles with two sacks.
Last week: Beat Vanderbilt 48-3
Notes: That’s what you’re supposed to do against a bad team. Georgia might not have a superior offensive front, but it blasted away on the Commodores with the O rumbling for 302 rushing yards. … The seven penalties were a wee bit much, but with 567 yards of total offense and a stellar performance by a defense that didn’t allow Vandy to ever get comfortable, there’s no reason to think there will be a letdown against Tennessee. The defense is playing too well now that the pieces are coming back from suspension. … Jarvis Jones was terrific after missing last week, making seven tackles with a sack and three tackles for loss. … Todd Gurley continues to be a star in the making with 130 rushing yards and two scores on just 16 carries.
Last week: Lost to Kansas State 24-19
Notes: This wasn’t an aberration; the offensive line just isn’t very good. The Sooners were beaten up cranking out just 88 yards on the ground while getting powered over for 213 yards. … The Sooner coaches had two weeks to prepare for the KSU ground game and it still didn’t have any answers. … Landry Jones was fine late, and he moved the offense throwing for 298 yards, but he wasn’t consistent. … Tony Jefferson had to make way too many tackles with 14 stops and a tackle for loss. The defensive line didn’t register a sack with Jamarkus McFarland coming up with the lone tackle for loss from the front. … The secondary has to get ready for a different game against Texas Tech, but the team can’t be looking ahead to Texas. Now there’s no margin for error considering the first few weeks have been rocky.
South Carolina (3-0)
Last week: Beat Missouri 31-10
Notes: The big question coming into the game was whether or not the Missouri precision passing game would work on the road against a great SEC defense. It was fine, completing 18-of-26 passes for 146 yards and a score, but Connor Shaw and the Gamecocks took things to another level. Shaw completed 20 straight passes on a 20-of-21 day for 249 yards and two scores while running for 41 more. … Marcus Lattimore wasn’t bottled up, but he still seems like he’s missing that extra step. Even so, he ran for 85 yards and two scores and caught seven passes for 60 more. Even at 75% he’s still one of the best layers in college football. … Focus, focus, focus. The Gamecocks can’t let down against Kentucky on the road with Georgia, LSU and Florida up next.
West Virginia (3-0)
Last week: Beat Maryland 31-21
Notes: For all the Geno Smith Heisman hype, and with Tavon Austin catching 13 passes for 179 yards and three scores, it’s easy to overlook a miserable day from the Mountaineer defensive line. WVU only gained 25 yards and Smith was popped way too often. … The defensive pressure was terrific with five sacks – including two from Josh Francis – while the three takeaways helped. However, to beat Texas in two weeks after the Baylor game, and with Kansas State coming up at the beginning of November, the O line has to be better than it was against the Terps. It has been good so far at not allowing sacks giving up just one going into this week, but more pressure will be coming soon.
Last week: Didn’t Play This Week
Notes: The Cardinal got a week off to bask in the win over USC and prepare for a trip to Washington. Considering how physical the team was against the Trojans, the rest might not be coming at a bad time. … The Cardinal lead the nation in run defense allowing just 41.3 yards per game. The offense might not be up to its normal snuff, especially the passing game, but the lines are playing at a high level and the defense has been great at getting into the backfield – Stanford is third in the nation in tackles for loss.
Last week: Lost to Florida State 49-37
Notes: The offense that was fantastic on its way to a 28-14 lead couldn’t keep up the pace. Florida State turned on its defense and the Tiger skill stars couldn’t find any room to move. … Sammy Watkins, who destroyed FSU last year, led the team with six catches, but he was bottled up for 24 yards. His best play came on a 52-yard scoring pass to Andre Ellington, who ran 14 times for 55 yards and a score to go with four catches for 87 yards and a touchdown. … The defensive front seven couldn’t bother E.J. Manuel. The FSU quarterback was able to take off way too easily and got too much time to operate on key pass plays in the second half. … It’s now going to take a miracle to get back to the ACC title game, but the team can’t let down. After next week’s game at Boston College the Tigers have to deal with Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech at home.
Notre Dame (4-0)
Last week: Beat Michigan 13-6
Notes: There’s nothing pretty about what the Irish are doing at the moment, but 4-0 is 4-0. The defense is playing at a high level, bottling up Denard Robinson and forcing six takeaways. Robinson ran for 90 yards, but most of his decent plays came late. … Tommy Rees completed 8-of-11 passes for 115 yards, and Everett Golson completed 3-of-8 passes for 30 yards with two picks. Rees also barreled in for a score. … Is any linebacker in the country playing better right now than Manti Te’o? The Irish star made eight tackles with a tackles for loss and two picks. … At some point, the offense has to get better. However, the Irish can beat Miami, Stanford and BYU over the next three weeks if the defense continues to be this good at getting into the backfield.
Last week: Off This Week
Notes: The Longhorns got the week off after destroying Ole Miss. Next up is the Big 12 opener at Oklahoma State in what should be a shootout. … Unlike the past few years, the offense is working. David Ash is making the quarterback situation a positive rather than a liability that has to be hidden. Texas was fourth in the nation in passing efficiency before Week 4 began. … The punting game has also been stellar, ranking first in the nation after Week 3. There hasn’t been much of a need for Alex King, but he has been terrific so far on his five kicks.
Last week: Beat Cal 27-9
Notes: Call this the answer to all the problems of last week against Stanford. The offensive line made up for disaster by pounding away for Curtis McNeal (115 yards on ten carries) and Silas Redd (21 carries for 158 yards and a score). … Matt Barkley was okay, completing 22-of-34 passes for 192 yards and two scores, but he threw two picks. He’s not playing at a No. 1 overall draft pick level, but he doesn’t have to if the running game is this effective. … Defensive end Morgan Breslin seemed to single-handedly destroy the Cal offense with six tackles and three sacks. … USC isn’t national title-good at the moment, but it just has to keep winning up until the Oregon game in early November. A road trip to Utah is next.
Last week: Beat Kentucky 38-0
Notes: Let the hype begin. Now Florida gets two weeks to prepare for the home showdown against LSU. … For what the Gators do, there might not be a team in America other than Alabama that’s playing better right now. The defense shut down a statistically productive Kentucky offense allowing just 219 yards and coming up with stop after stop. UK quarterback Morgan Newton – who came into the game leading the SEC in passing – completed just 7-of-21 throws for 48 yards with three picks. … Jeff Driskel threw a pick, but he completed 18-of-27 passes for 203 yards and a touchdown with a pick. He also ran for 35 yards and a score. … The defense didn’t do much of anything in the backfield. It didn’t have to. It had Newton the Wildcat attack confused all game long.
Kansas State (4-0)
Last week: Beat Oklahoma 24-19
Notes: It’s okay to believe the Wildcats are for real. They blew away a Miami team that came back to beat Georgia Tech, and now there’s this. Oklahoma had two weeks to prepare for the ground game, but John Hubert still rumbled for 130 yards and a touchdown on 23 carries and Collin Klein did his part with 79 yards and a score. … The difference between this year and last season’s blowout to the Sooners? Klein is a more confident passer. He only completed 13-of-21 passes for 149 yards, but he was effective. … Kansas State continues to be Kansas State. It won the time of possession battle, holding on to the ball for 34:47, and was +3 in turnover margin and committed just three penalties. OU was never able to find a rhythm. … With relative layups against Kansas and Iowa State up next, KSU should be 6-0 before going to West Virginia.
Week 4 Top Team Notes & Thoughts