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Recent Comments
On College Football 2021: Week 10 Recap and Week 11 P...
Ken said:
Yeah, sorry one of our teams had to lose. I've come to appreciate Penn State as a classy and sympath...
On College Football 2021: Week 10 Recap and Week 11 P...
Dan* said:
Hey Ken, congratulations on the win yesterday! Some really odd choices by our coaching staff in that...
On College Football 2021: Week 4 Recap and Week 5 Pre...
Dan* said:
Hey Ken, thanks for the write-ups. I'm enjoying them as usual.

I'm not sure what to make of PSU y...
On Big Ten Football 2020: Week 4 Recap and Week 5 Pre...
Dan* said:
Ooof. What a horrible season for both of us so far.

At this point, I've mostly lost interest in thi...
On Big Ten Football 2020: Week 1 Recap
Ken said:
I stand corrected. I looked at the ESPN play-by-play to count IU's timeouts and they must have not i...


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College Football 2021: Week 4 Recap and Week 5 Preview
Tuesday, 2021 September 28 - 4:08 pm
Michigan and Penn State win; NCSU scores a stunning upset.

Michigan 20, Rutgers 13
What a strange game this was. Michigan came out and scored on its first two drives, running the ball with impunity. But then Rutgers made some adjustments and Michigan apparently didnt' realize that was an option. Instead of running screens, end-arounds, and even outside running plays, Michigan continued to plow ahead with inside zone against a stacked box. As a result, Michigan:
  • was scoreless in the second half
  • was outgained on the ground 196-112
  • was outgained in total 352-275
  • ended up with just 2.9 YPC on the ground
It didn't help that Cade McNamara suddenly couldn't seem to hit the broadside of a barn on passing plays. But all in all, I put this one on the coaches. Okay sure, Michigan still came out with a win and there are some nice things to be said about the defense, which had to play a lot of snaps in the second half and stiffened when they needed to. But this is a game Michigan could have, and perhaps should have, lost.

I'm having trouble finding faith in OC Josh Gattis as a play-caller. His schemes are good, but it's becoming an all-too-familiar pattern that the offense runs out of steam once the opposing defense figures out his tendencies. Hopefully the brain trust at Michigan figures this all out and quickly.

Michigan at Wisconsin, 12:00 PM Fox
Thsi game is not the clash of heavyweights that we might have expected. Michigan is coming off a poor performance; meanwhile Wisconsin is 1-2 and Graham Mertz hasn't looked great, with 1 TD versus 6 interceptions on the season.

Wisconsin is better than their scoreboard numbers might suggest, though. They were competitive against both Penn State and Notre Dame. The 41-13 loss last week against a perhaps-not-very-good Notre Dame squad seems lopsided, but Wisconsin actually led 13-10 before their last five possessions went fumble, missed FG, interception, pick six, pick six. Wisconsin had more yards than Notre Dame, but five turnovers and a 1-14 third down conversion rate was a killer.

So it's hard to know what to expect here. Wisconsin is clearly not a championship-caliber team, but neither is Michigan. The rush defense will be the best Michigan has faced. This has all the makings of a low-scoring rock fight and I'm not at all confident about Michigan's chances of pulling this off on the road.

Prediction: Michigan 10, Wisconsin 17.

Penn State 38, Villanova 17
This looks like a comfortable win over a bad team, but you gotta wonder how Penn State ends up with just 80 yards rushing at 2.4 YPC against this kind of a foe. Sure, Clifford lit up the Wildcats for 401 yards and four touchdowns, but some of the big gains came on broken plays, and it's hard to see how this performance would be repeatable against a competent opponent.

The defense was just fine, though. Villanova never threatened, and their two touchdowns came in garbage time against a lot of bench players.

Penn State vs. Indiana, 7:30 PM ABC
This will be a test. Indiana hasn't looked great, to be sure; they were stuffed by Iowa in week 1 and barely got by a not-very-good Western Kentucky team last week. But there's plenty of talent at IU and they've proven to be a troublesome opponent in the past. Coach Tom Allen has done wonders with inferior talent, and this could be a trap game for Penn State if they're caught looking ahead to the showdown against Iowa in week 6.

I think ultimately the Penn State defense will be too much for Indiana to handle, but this one might be uncomfortably close at the half.

Prediction: Penn State 30, Indiana 16.

NC State 27, Clemson 21 (2OT)
It looked for all the world like NCSU didn't want to win this game. They missed three field goals, including what would have been the game-winner as time expired. But Clemson had trouble on offense all day too against a surprisingly feisty NCSU defense, and NCSU pulled out a miraculous touchdown in the second overtime to complete the huge upset.

Let's be clear: this isn't the Clemson of recent years. They probably didn't deserve to be ranked (and still don't). But for NCSU to hang with arguably better athletes and grit its way to a win speaks volumes about the direction of the program. NCSU is now possibly dreaming about a conference championship and a major bowl game, especially with the rest of the conference looking weak (including UNC, which just lost to Georgia Tech).

NC State vs Louisiana Tech, 6:00 PM ESPN+
Why is there a non-conference game at this point in the schedule? I don't know. But here we are anyway. The Bulldogs are a middling Conference USA squad with a porous defense; however, they did better against Mississippi State than the Wolfpack did, losing by just 1 point instead of 14. Does that mean anything? I don't think so. NCSU matches up well against LT and I think this game shouldn't be too much of a problem by the time the second half comes around.

Prediction: NCSU 41, LT 17.

Notable Results
It was a wild weekend. #4 Oklahoma had to come back in the fourth quarter to beat West Virginia, 16-13. #5 Iowa trailed at halftime to a terrible Colorado State team but came back to win 24-14. #16 Arkansas thumped #7 Texas A&M 20-10. Arkansas may be a surprise team to watch in the SEC. #10 Ohio State won easily over Akron 59-7, but their win was marred by an outburst from disgruntled LB K'Vaughan Pope, who is now apparently off the team. Baylor knocked off #14 Iowa State 31-29. #20 Michigan State beat Nebraska 23-20 in overtime despite not getting a first down in the second half. #21 UNC lost to Georgia Tech 45-22. #23 Auburn trailed going into the fourth quarter against Georgia State but managed to win 34-24. #25 Kansas State lost to Oklahoma State 31-20.

Games to Watch on TV
The #14 Michigan vs. Wisconsin game is on at noon on Fox. #8 Arkansas plays at #2 Georgia on ESPN; I'll call that the Game of the Week. #7 Cincinnati plays #9 Notre Dame at 2:30 PM on NBC; this game could show of which of these teams is for real. #12 Ole Miss plays #1 Alabama at 3:30 PM. #11 Ohio State plays at Rutgers at the same time on BTN, which will be of interest only to see how much more OSU wins by than Michigan did.

At 6:00 PM the NCSU game is available on ESPN+. At the same time #10 Florida plays a surprising 4-0 Kentucky on ESPN. At 7:00 PM #21 Baylor plays #19 Oklahoma State. At 7:30 the Indiana vs. #4 Penn State game is on ABC. Western Kentucky also plays at #17 Michigan State on FS1 at the same time; this could be surprisingly close, as the Hilltoppers have shown a lot of firepower despite their 1-2 record. Undefeated Boston College takes on #25 Clemson on the ACC Network. Northwestern plays Nebraska on BTN.

At 9:00 PM, #22 Auburn plays at LSU on ESPN.
Permalink  Comment (1)   Bookmark and Share
Posted by Ken in: sports

Comments

Comment #1 from Dan (Guest)
2021 Oct 1 - 7:43 pm : #
Hey Ken, thanks for the write-ups. I'm enjoying them as usual.

I'm not sure what to make of PSU yet. On one hand, this is the best we've played in aggregate through 4 games in a very long time (probably since 1994). The defense is legit, Sean Clifford is playing great, Jahan Dotson is a star and there are a slew of playmakers to complement him. But on the other hand, there are some very obvious problems. The running game is brutally bad, the place-kicking unit is suspect, and Franklin continues to exhibit poor game management skills (imo).

I guess we will see, but recent experience has conditioned me to be prepared for some big disappointments. I'm still expecting to lose at OSU (probably badly), lose at least one of Iowa/Michigan, and lose at least one more that we shouldn't. Hopefully that's not Indiana tomorrow.

I haven't watched any Michigan games yet, but I might try to catch part of tomorrow's game against Wisconsin. If Gus Johnson is on the Fox crew, you may as well know 2 things up front: 1) Chez Mellusi is the greatest running back in the country, and 2) The jumparound has no rival in college football tradition. Those are things that I learned from Gus in week 1.

Ann, Ben, and I went to the NCSU/Clemson game last week. Crazy finish! We had a great time of course. I'm not sure what to make of NCSU either. Was it great defense, bad execution by the Clemson offense, or some combination of both? I don't know. But at least they gave their fans a night to remember, and they haven't had that for awhile. I will say that I like Devin Leary. I don't think he's ever going to blow us away with his talent, but he makes smart decisions and accurate throws. You can win with that in college.

So, pretty good start to the season for these 3 teams that you cover. Here's hoping the the good times continue. It sure is great having real college football back, and I'm looking forward to reading your recaps throughout the year.

-Dan

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