NCAA Football

College Football Week 4 Major Storyline Recap

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An otherwise nameless Saturday was this close to becoming 'Upset Saturday' if not for a fourth quarter comeback by the defending champs. A couple of non-AQ teams came away with wins, but did they earn enough 'style points'? A scare up in Ann Arbor left thousands of fans holding their breath, a couple of SEC opponents slugged it out in the primetime showdown and a Pac-10 squad nearly laid an egg coming off a huge win the week before.

Recapping in 500 words or less, this is what we learned about the season:

  • Jacory Harris threw two picks, but was otherwise efficient Thursday against Pitt. Miami's defense continues to play well, ranking first in tackles for loss, second in sacks and eighth in total defense.
  • TCU and Boise State each came away with wins this weekend, but much of the discussion focused on whether they earned enough 'style points' in the process. TCU tried to do too much in the first half and fell behind 17-14 early in the third quarter before settling down and playing their game, while Oregon State capitalized on Boise State's miscues to stay in the game most of the night. All these teams can do is play their brand of football, avoid a slip-up, hope for losses at the top and maybe the BCS will throw them a bone. If only there was some way to pit these teams against those from other conferences at the end of the year.
  • Denard Robinson played just 15 snaps before suffering a minor knee injury, from which he'll return next week, but was the game's leading rusher with 129 yards and two touchdowns and is still the nation's leading rusher with 688 yards.
  • In this week's Xtra Point Football Game of the Week, I mentioned that one of the keys to the game for Arkansas was protecting any lead they managed. After kicking a field goal late in the first quarter to break a 7-7 tie, the Razorbacks looked like they would do just that, pulling ahead 17-7 at half and 20-7 in the third. The Tide never panicked, never felt defeated and the superbly-coached team took advantage of a couple Ryan Mallett interceptions to grab the win.
  • Stanford's offense has done a fine job of putting points on the board and the defense has let up an average of less than two touchdowns a game. They face Oregon next week in what will be a major showdown for both squads.
  • Texas is going through growing pains with a new man under center and a running game that's been sluggish. The defense, meanwhile, ranks second in the nation. With a loss to UCLA destroying their national title hopes, the Red River Rivalry is a must win in the Big 12.
  • What a couple of weeks it's been for Auburn. They won another hard-fought battle, this time against SEC foe South Carolina. Cam Newton again led the way, passing for 158 yards and two touchdowns and rushing for 176 yards and three touchdowns.
  • Oregon had its hands full with Steven Threet and Arizona State, falling behind 24-14 at one point. The Ducks prevailed, though, picking off Threet four times and forcing seven turnovers overall.
  • It took a touchdown, the only of the game for either team, with just over a minute to go to send Arizona to the 10-9 victory over Cal. The defense has far surpassed expectations, but the offense needs to do better job of living up to theirs.

Alshon Jeffery was a first team Freshman All-American last season and was named a preseason third-team All-SEC selection by Phil Steele, but not a lot of people outside the SEC know who he is. Jeffery walked away with eight receptions for 192 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday night's loss to Auburn and became a New Household Name in the process. It's the third time Jeffery has surpassed 100 yards this season (he recorded 97 yards last week against Furman, the only week thus far that he has failed to eclipse the century mark) and is on his way to another outstanding campaign. Only a sophomore, Jeffery looked like he belonged in the same breath as All-SEC receivers Julio Jones of Alabama and A.J. Green of Georgia last night, albeit in a losing effort. He's now the NCAA leader in receiving yards this season with 498.

Mark Ingram Proved He's Worth the Hype this week, rushing for 157 yards and a couple of touchdowns on 24 carries in his second game back after missing the start of the season with an injury. Ingram finishes every run hard and never shies away from contact when he has the ball in his hands. It's his tough, smart style of running that led him to the Heisman Trophy a season ago and it's the same style of running that's led him right back into the thick of Heisman discussion in just his second game of the season.

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My Heisman ballot if they let me vote:

Check out RandallSimonsSausages.com every Wednesday for a weekly Heisman poll in which the following will serve as my entry into the poll. It's becoming harder and harder to fit just five names on this list with several players continuing to churn out Heisman-caliber performances. The ballot is still offense-heavy, as a defender often requires several games before he grabs national headlines and begins generating Heisman talk. Fair or not, the following are five individuals who have thus far separated themselves from the pack.

1. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan: Robinson makes his way back to the top of the ballot this week after my reactionary response to Michigan's struggles last week knocked him all the way to third. In less than a quarter of play Saturday, Robinson managed to come up with 129 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, was 4/4 passing and remains the nation's leader in rushing yards.
2. Ryan Mallett, QB, Arkansas: Had Mallett pulled off the late game heroics once again against the top-ranked team in the nation, he'd cement himself as the early favorite for the award. Alas, his two interceptions have some wondering what went wrong and whether Mallett is capable of leading a team to the top tiers of college football. He's capable, but throwing interceptions with the game on the line is a good way to fall out of Heisman contention and, worse, knock your team out of SEC title contention.
3. Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State: Moore put up nice numbers against Oregon State, throwing for 288 yards and three touchdowns on 70% passing. He made several good throws and led the Broncos to 37 points to grab the victory.
4. Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama: In only his second game of the season, Ingram has come bursting back onto the Heisman scene, rushing for 151 and 157 yards in back-to-back weeks and finding the end zone twice in each contest. Trent Richardson did an outstanding job of filling in for Ingram when he was out and has been an excellent compliment in the two games since his return, but the 'Bama rushing game is still all about Mark Ingram.
5. Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford: Luck threw his first two picks of the season Saturday against Notre Dame, but both were off tipped passes. He threw for 238 yards and a touchdown in the win, leading the Cardinal to a 4-0 start ahead of next week's showdown with the Oregon Ducks.

Texas A&M and Oklahoma State get things started next week with a Thursday night Big 12 showdown on ESPN (7:30 PM ET), while BYU takes on Utah State Friday night, also on ESPN (8:00 PM ET). On Saturday, Miami's trip to take on Clemson (12:00 PM ET, ESPN2) gets things started with the Red River Rivalry between Texas and Oklahoma the day's marquee matchup (3:30 PM ET, ABC). Wisconsin and Michigan State square off (3:30 PM ET, ABC) while Tennessee and LSU fight it out in an SEC showdown (3:30 PM ET).

Denard Robinson and Michigan begin Big Ten play against Indiana (3:30 PM ET, ESPNU) and Arizona State takes on Oregon State at 6:30 PM ET. Saturday's marquee matchup comes as Florida visits Alabama in a rematch of last year's SEC title match (8:00 PM ET). Stanford and Oregon square off at 8:00 PM ET on ABC, while Penn State and Iowa meet at 8:05 PM ET on ABC. For a nightcap, check out Nevada's visit to UNLV. - Danny Hobrock

Danny is a sports journalist primarily covering college football and professional baseball. His work for Xtra Point Football has garnered national attention and is critically acclaimed. Danny is the former editor of a political and current events website and the editor of our college football content.

 

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