After a wild Saturday night, where many top ranked teams were blown out at their own stadium. It is safe to say that so far, the teams that were deemed with high fortunes coming into this season, have witnessed vast turmoil. There may not be a clear-cut favorite right now and seemingly a two-loss team subsequently, is still not out of making the playoffs.
UCLA and Utah send road statements
Most of us knew that if Josh Rosen was given time to develop, and the supporting cast around him performs, then it would be a special year for the Bruins. Already four weeks into the season, and this theory is holding true. Despite a compound of injuries; including a season-ending meniscus tear for dual threat star Myles Jack. UCLA’s offense moved at a fearless pace last night. Rosen completed 19-out-of 28 passing attempts for 284 yards and 3 TDs.
A big reason why UCLA’s offense has succeeded so far is mainly due to a well-balanced attack of run and pass. Not only has Rosen played above his freshman label, but he has received help from a group of elite tail-backs. It took a while for Paul Perkins to get going, but eventually he gained steam late; running or 85 yards and 3 TDs on 24 carriers. Soso Jamabo also contributed by rushing for 96 yards. With respect to the dominance on the ground, Jordan Payton shined down the field as he rumbled past Wildcats defensive backs for 136 receiving yards.
The Bruins have only played one conference game, but currently appear to be the favorite in the Pac 12 South, possibly the entire conference. In years past the Bruins have acquired reputable success through the first two months of the season. But once November hits, two or three losses get in the way from a memorable year. As it stands, Jim Mora might have finally assembled the best team in decades, with a sharp-minded quarterback alongside an assortment of offensive talent. Plus, a defense that is already +10 in turnover margin. Don’t shoot for it yet, because UCLA still needs to get over their annual late-season hiccup to take the conference crown.
Utah still has a lot of kinks to even out, but boy did they sure send a resounding statement in front of a sell-out crowd in Autzen Stadium.
A severe beat down to the Ducks resulted in Oregon’s dynamic offense to sputter. Travis Wilson, who coming in lacked consistency in the pocket picked apart Oregon’s secondary for 227 yards and 4 TDs. The statement win makes a strong case for the Utes to crack the Top 10 in the polls next week. Furthermore, this showcases that Utah needs to be taken seriously within the conference, for as of now can make a run in the Pac 12 South.
The devastating loss for Oregon sends out bad signs for the program moving forward. Not only did the Ducks suffer their first loss in a conference opener since 2005, but shaky QB play reveals just how important Marcus Mariota was to last year’s team. Besides a lethargic offense, Oregon’s defense hasn’t revealed any signs of improving. Going by the numbers, Oregon is ranked 114th out of 127th in total pass defense through Week 4. Opponents have completed 66% of passes for 1,205 yards and 15 TDs. Expectations for the Ducks this year was up-in-the-air. With a completely new secondary and lack of depth at linebacker, rebuild was evident in Eugene. Oregon can still salvage its season as their schedule lightens up during the rest of October before road tests at Stanford and Arizona State and USC could really hit the Ducks hard.
Leonard Fournette continues to raise his Heisman stock
From what was apparent last week in LSU’s dismantling of Auburn was Leonard Fournette’s dominance on the ground. This week with a road game against Syracuse, Fournette became the first LSU running back in program history to run for 200 yards in consecutive games. Through LSU’s first three games, Fournette has accounted for 631 yards and 8 TDs on just 73 carries. All of last year, Fournette ran for 1,034 yards and 10 TDs. In retrospect, it took Fournette nine weeks last year as a freshman to surpass his total rushing yards in 2015.
The numbers speak for themselves, as a team LSU has accumulated 1,247 yards of offense that has resulted in 12 TDs. Fournette is so far responsible for 52% of the Tigers’ total yardage through the air and on the ground. As well as eight of the team’s twelve total offensive touchdowns. The pace that Fournette is on is historic, if he keeps it up he will clear the 1,000 yard mark right after Week 6. The 2,000 yard plateau will be a much tougher task but Fournette only needs 1,369 yards to clear it. With eight games left, he were to have to average at least 171 yards per game to make it possible.
The Heisman trophy rarely is won in September. But it is a month players can make great separation amongst their counterparts. After all there are still two months left to see where Fournette stands. Considering the amount of elite running backs that are highlighted this year; for example Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Ohio State’s Ezekial Elliot. Fournette must have performances like this every week in order to take home the trophy.
Is there a true #1 in the Big XII?
Although TCU escaped Lubbock, Texas with a roller coaster win. The thoughts of them being the conference favorite heading into October is fuzzy. TCU and Baylor are indeed undefeated, but both have glaring flaws that need to be attained to. First off, every week there seems to be another Horned Frog that goes down. Before yesterday, TCU lost three starters on defense for the season, which now raises to four starters with WR Ty Slanina gone for the year. Also, fellow WR Emanuel Porter will miss a good chunk of October.
With a defense that already has a hard time stopping teams, for the rest of the season TCU will have to manage a secondary and linebacker group that will consist of five first-year starters. Offensively the Frogs keep getting buried with set-backs, however Josh Doctson continues to become Trevone Boykin’s most reliable target. In yesterday’s contest, Doctson caught 18 passes for 267 yards and 3 TDs.
Baylor hasn’t been hit hard with injuries, but their defense is in similar waters as TCU. The Bears have shaped up formidably against the run, but against the pass is where they’ve struggled mightily. Despite only allowing 161 passing yards per game, Baylor seems to have a hard time disrupting opposing quarterbacks timing. After Week 4’s game, Baylor’s completion percentage for opposing quarterbacks has risen to 61%. Even though Baylor’s defense is slowly improving. Seth Russell and Corey Coleman features an offense that is continuously firing on all cylinders. This will be put to the test next week as conference play for the Bears begins.
Lastly, Texas Tech might have been on the losing end of a shootout on their home field. Nevertheless, the offensive numbers that the Red Raiders have put up thus far with Patrick Mahomes is trending at a historic pace. For the season, Mahomes has now thrown for 1,421 yards and 11 TDs. Already through four games, Mahomes at QB has been the perfect answer for the Red Raiders and head coach Kliff Kingsbury. After Oklahoma State’s miracle in Austin, it is safe to say that Texas Tech’s image as a conference threat still bodes strong.
Top Performers in Week 4
- QB Hayden Moore (Cincinnati)- 31/53, 557 yards, 4 TDs against Memphis
- QB Trevone Boykin (TCU)- 34/54, 485 yards, 4 TDs against Texas Tech
- QB Brandon Doughty (WKU)- 33/41, 457 yards, 6 TDs against Miami-OH
- RB Tyler Ervin (SJSU)- 42 carries, 300 yards, 3 TDs against Fresno State
- RB Leonard Fournette (LSU)- 26 carries, 244 yards, 2 TDs against Syracuse
- RB Christian McCaffrey (Stanford)- 30 carries, 206 yards against Oregon State
- WR Josh Doctson (TCU)- 18 receptions, 267 yards, 3 TDs against Texas Tech
- WR Ed’Marques Batties (MTSU)- 13 receptions, 175 yards, 2 TDs against Illinois
- WR Christian Kirk (TAMU)- 8 receptions, 173 yards, 2 TDs against Arkansas