It wasn’t the most exciting week of college football, but here are my week four Midweek Musings:
Old Dominion 49, #13 Virginia Tech 35
In what turned into a battle of backup quarterbacks, Old Dominion picked up possibly the biggest victory in school history. While the Hokies led 28-21 going into the fourth quarter, Old Dominion outscored the Hokies 28-7 in the final fifteen minutes. The Monarchs’ Blake LaRussa threw for 495 yards and four touchdowns after entering the game on Old Dominion’s second possession.
And the news continues to get worse for the Hokies. On Sunday, ESPN reported that leading pass rusher Trevon Hill has been dismissed from the program. Twenty-four hours later, head coach Justin Fuente announced that quarterback Josh Jackson has a broken fibula and will be out indefinitely. He’ll have surgery on Tuesday. Fuente says there’s a slight chance Jackson could return late in the season.
Up next for Virginia Tech is Duke (also missing their quarterback), followed by Notre Dame. I’ll be interested to see how the Hokies rebound from this loss.
Kentucky 28, #14 Mississippi State 7
When your quarterback completes just eight of 14 pass attempts for 71 yards, with no touchdowns and an interception, you won’t win many games. But that’s exactly what the Wildcats did, thanks in large part to Benny Snell. The junior carried the ball 25 times for 165 yards and all four Kentucky scores. By now, teams are certainly designing their gameplan around stopping this guy- they just can’t do it.
And it’s not just the offense that’s clicking in Lexington. The Bulldogs were expected to have a good offense this year, run by senior QB Nick Fitzgerald, and Kentucky shut them down. Fitzgerald threw for 145 yards and completed half of his passes; like Terry Wilson, he had an interception and no touchdowns. (Fitzgerald did run the ball in for the Bulldogs’ lone score). The big difference, though, was the run defense for the Wildcats. Mississippi State rushed for just 56 yards, 20 of them by Fitzgerald.
Up next for Kentucky is a visit from South Carolina. Can the Gamecocks’ 75th-ranked run defense slow Snell? While they allowed 271 rushing yards to Georgia in Week Two, Vanderbilt managed only 92 yards on the ground against the Gamecocks this weekend. For more, you can read this article from our David Knight about the Gamecocks’ run game.
It doesn’t get any easier for Mississippi State. After a home matchup against Florida this weekend, they travel to face Auburn and LSU back-to-back.
Texas Tech 41, #15 Oklahoma State 14
Patrick Mahomes is busy elsewhere these days, but the Tech offense seems to be doing okay in his absence. Alan Bowman, who replaced injured McLane Carter in week one, threw for nearly 400 yards with two scores and two picks against the Cowboys. Leading rusher Demarcus Felton averaged 9.3 yards per carry and found the end zone twice. Ta’Zhawn Henry and SaRodorick Thompson each had over ten carries as well. Nine different players had at least one reception. Their next two games, against West Virginia and TCU, bear watching. The Cowboys will have a good chance to get back on track next week as they travel to face Kansas.
Purdue 30, #23 Boston College 13
I didn’t have a strong feeling about who would win this game- I’ve only seen highlights of both teams so far this season. But, I thought it would be much closer than this. However, when your quarterback completes under 50% of his passes, for under 100 yards, you aren’t going to win many games. When he throws one touchdown and four picks, and your stud running back has just 59 yards, you’re probably going to get your doors blown off, and that’s exactly what happened in West Lafayette. Purdue started 0-3, but their three losses were by a combined eight points. I know it’s cliche, but the Boilermakers could easily have been 2-1, if not 3-0.
They could also have lost this game if not for the play of quarterback David Blough. The senior threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns, completing 75% of his passes. It’s a good thing the passing attack was so successful because the Eagles stopped the run well. Leading rusher D.J. Knox carried the ball 20 times for just 51 yards and a score. ESPN.com lists Blough as having rushed 9 times for negative-27 yards. It’s not often you see a quarterback struggle to run the ball and also have time in the pocket to have the passing numbers Blough put up in this game.
The Boilermakers should be able to keep the momentum going, with a trip to hapless Nebraska next on the slate. Boston College will face Temple, which has lost to Villanova and Buffalo and beaten Tulsa and Maryland. I have no idea what to expect from that matchup.
My most intriguing early game in week five is #12 West Virginia at #25 Texas Tech (Saturday at noon, ESPN2). Virginia Tech @ #22 Duke (Saturday at 7:00, ESPN2) should be good too. Finally, there are two can’t-miss games at 7:30 PM. #4 Ohio State at #9 Penn State on ABC, and #7 Stanford at #8 Notre Dame on NBC.
Those are my week four Midweek Musings. Enjoy week five everybody, and don’t forget to look for Midweek Musings next Wednesday!