Every year, there’s that one week on the schedule that makes football fans sigh out of disappointment. This year, our sorrow fell on the fourth week of the season, as very few games had any relevance nationally.
But, with the negative comes the positive, as the bulk of the non-conference season is out the window and we can dig in to the meat of the college football season.
While we must wait a few more days before we become college football gluttons, let’s see what we learned in Week 4.
Andrews has been sensational for Western Kentucky this season and this past weekend was no exception.
The senior back produced one of his best performances against Morgan State on Saturday, rushing for 213 yards and five touchdowns in a 58-17 victory. This marked the third time in his career that he ran for more than 200 yards in a game.
Andrews has rushed for 100 yards or more in three of his four games this season, with the lone sub-100-yard game coming in the season opener against Kentucky. Andrews rushed for 99 yards against the Wildcats.
Despite the Hilltoppers’ 2-2 record, Andrews has been a shining star, accumulating 545 yards on 65 carries and piling up six touchdowns on the year. The running back out of Western Kentucky is making a name for himself this season and quickly becoming one of the top backs in all of college football.
Maryland is turning things around
They haven’t exactly been eye-popping on the football field in the first four weeks of the season, but the Maryland Terrapins are 4-0 nonetheless.
Maryland hasn’t faced the stiffest competition either, winning games against Florida International, Old Dominion, Connecticut and West Virginia, none of which have a victory over an FBS opponent this season.
So, even though Maryland hasn’t really proven anything yet, head coach Randy Edsall has to be happy about an undefeated start coming off two abysmal seasons in 2011 and 2012.
Maryland has already matched its win total from a season ago. If the Terrapins can gather two more wins and become bowl eligible for the first time since 2010, it will be a huge step in the right direction.
Michigan State’s offensive woes continue
With the exception of a Week 3 win over Youngstown State, Michigan State’s offense has been awful. The lack of production and questionable play-calling was back in action in South Bend on Saturday as the Spartans fell to Notre Dame 17-13.
Michigan State gained just 254 yards of total offense on the Irish last weekend. The defense was able to keep Sparty in the game, only giving up 220 yards to the Irish and surrendering just 17 points.
While Michigan State is certainly a young team that is still figuring things out, there are just some things that can’t happen. Committing a delay of game and a false start penalty on back-to-back plays at the end of the game is something that can’t happen. The quarterback deciding to run on fourth and 20 and picking up only eight yards on your final possession is something that can’t happen.
The Spartans’ defense is good enough to keep Michigan State in a lot of games this year. Just don’t expect many two-minute, game-winning touchdown drives anytime soon.
Brett Bielema has Arkansas headed in the right direction
Yes, Arkansas was on the wrong side of a tough game against Rutgers, but the Razorbacks showed some promise on the road in Saturday’s game.
Head coach Brett Bielema has placed an emphasis on the running game at Arkansas, which is an important characteristic of a winning program in the SEC today. The defense, while shaky at times, currents leads the SEC in sacks.
Arkansas hasn’t faced off against a team worthy of much recognition outside of Rutgers and the Razorbacks will show their true colors when they enter conference play next week against Texas A&M. But with a strong non-conference performance, this team is an upset or two away from being a threat in the SEC in a season or two.
The Big Ten Legends division is wide open
Coming into the season, Michigan was the favorite to take the Legends division and meet Ohio State for the Big Ten Championship in Indianapolis in December. After the Wolverines narrowly escaped scares from Akron and Connecticut in consecutive weeks, the Legends division appears to be up for grabs.
In fact, if we were giving anyone an edge in the Legends division, it would probably go to Northwestern.
The Wildcats have been playing extremely well through the non-conference portion of the schedule. Northwestern wasn’t able to pull away from FCS foe Maine last Saturday, but looking ahead to a primetime matchup with Ohio State in two weeks may have been the root cause of that.
The bottom-line for this division is that Michigan, Northwestern, Nebraska and Michigan State all have a legitimate shot at getting to Indianapolis if the kinks are worked out. It should be an entertaining ride.
Pac-12 games are going to be fun to watch
I know these teams play a lot of late night games, but if you’re ever suffering from insomnia on a Saturday night, I strongly encourage you to watch a Pac-12 game.
The speed, the offense and the depth of the conference has already made for some exciting football on the West Coast.
It’s going to be a lot of fun to see these teams light up the scoreboard early and often when the heart of the conference schedule arrives.