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College Football 2022: Week 3 Recap and Week 4 Preview
Monday, 2022 September 19 - 4:32 pm
Michigan, Penn State, and NC State all win, hooray! Even the Detroit Lions won this weekend.

Michigan 59, UConn 0
Well, it was the blowout we all expected. It was largely over by the second quarter. In the second half, Michigan emptied the bench. Seven different quarterbacks completed a pass in the game. Eleven different players carried the ball. UConn only managed to get 110 yards and two first downs. I dare say UConn was worse than Hawaii, and Hawaii was awful.

It would have been nice to see Cade McNamara get some extended time in this game, but he was injured after just a couple of plays. He does tend to hold the ball too long in the pocket, but really, it does seem like the OL suddenly plays worse when Cade is in the game. Conspiracy theories abound.

Anyway, there's not much we can take from this game. Michigan scored 50+ points in its first three games for the first time in its history, but it was also probably the weakest opponent slate in its history. Frankly I think Michigan's #4 ranking is unwarranted. But still... there's reason for optimism in several areas. The offense has so many different ways to attack with JJ McCarthy in the game; it will be hard for opponents to key on the tailback they way they have in the past.

Michigan vs. Maryland, 12:00 PM Fox
3-0 Maryland will certainly be Michigan's stiffest opponent to date, though Maryland's three wins have come against 0-3 Buffalo (4-8 in the MAC last season), 0-3 Charlotte (5-7 in CUSA last year), and 2-1 SMU (a one-score victory in which they were outgained and committed 15 penalties). The offense is legit, behind prolific passer Taulia Tagovailoa and tailback Roman Hemby. It's very doubtful we'll see a shutdown posted by Michigan; Maryland is easily capable of moving the ball down the field, and I'm particularly concerned that Michigan's secondary might not be able to keep pace with Maryland's prolific receivers, which features Rakim Jarrett, one of the best in the country.

The challenge here for Maryland will be getting their hands on the ball at all, because the defense is not great. Michigan's power running game should feast against the defensive line, until Maryland stacks the box... and when that happens, expect JJ McCarthy to hit something big. I hope Michigan doesn't get too conservative; a low-scoring, high-variance game might be dangerous against this type of opponent.

Prediction: Michigan 42, Maryland 29.

Penn State 41, Auburn 12
This was a really solid performance by Penn State. Nick Singleton continues to be a pleasant surprise in the running game, and blocking by the offensive line seems to be improving. Meanwhile, the defense was dominant. Auburn's physical running game with Tank Bigsby was shut down early, and Auburn QB TJ Finley was not up to the task of leading the team from behind. Auburn wasn't helped by four turnovers, to be sure, but those are largely a credit to the Penn State defense.

Sean Clifford was... adequate? He still had a few accuracy issues, but in general took care of the ball and let the running game and defense carry the load. That should be a recipe for winning most games in the Big Ten, though we'll still need to see more from him to beat the likes of Ohio State.

This win against a decent SEC opponent moves Penn State up eight spots to #14 in the AP poll, which seems about right. A couple of more soft opponents await before a showdown against Michigan on October 15th.

Penn State vs. Central Michigan, 12:00 PM BTN
1-2 CMU is a 26 point underdog in this game, but they played pretty well in their losses to Oklahoma State and South Alabama. QB Daniel Richardson has racked up 889 yards and 7 touchdowns against 2 interceptions (with 406 yards and 4 touchdowns coming against Oklahoma State). But it's worth noting, in CMU's blowout win against Bucknell last week, Richardson was only 15 of 32 passing. So yeah, he might not be the most consistent guy out there.

Meanwhile, the rushing game is pretty bad. It's hard to see the Chippewas being able to do much on the ground, and if the CMU offense turns one-dimensional, I don't see a way they'll be able to win.

For the Penn State offense, this presents another opportunity to get some quality reps in and work out some of the kinks. If Clifford can get a rhythm (and some confidence) and the rushing attack continues to improve, Penn State should come out happy.

Prediction: Penn State 48, CMU 17.

NC State 27, Texas Tech 14
I don't really know what to make of this game. On the one hand, NC State turned in a pretty good performance against a decent team, and got the win. On the other hand, Texas Tech turned the ball over four times and outgained the Wolfpack; NC State only managed to get 270 yards total on the day. It seems like there's something wrong with the passing offense; Devin Leary seems tentative. Meanwhile, the rushing game was only barely adequate; while Jordan Houston and Demie Sumo-Karngbaye ground out some tough yards, State managed less than four yards a carry, even subtracting sacks and TFLs on Leary.

But the defense is finally showing some signs of life. The dangerous TTU passing attack got 299 yards, but it took 43 attempts to get there. Meanwhile, the TTU rushing attack was all but non-existent. NC State had 2 sacks and 10 QB hurries in the game, which was a big reason for TTU's three interceptions.

Is this good enough to beat Clemson? No. But State will get one more tune-up before that, against UConn... who, as we now know, sucks.

NC State vs UConn, 7:30 PM ESPN3
UConn is very, very bad at football. Very, very bad.

Prediction: NC State 49, UConn 9.

Notable Results
App State leads our headlines with a last-second 53-yard Hail Mary to win against Troy, 32-28. #6 Oklahoma crushed Nebraska 49-14. Nebraska had fired coach Scott Frost before the game. Washington beat #11 Michigan State 39-28. Michigan State's rushing attack disappeared in this game, partly because MSU fell behind early, but also partly because they are still struggling to find a replacement for Kenneth Walker. It should be noted, Washington was favored in this game despite being unranked.

#10 Arkansas needed to rally in the fourth quarter to beat Missouri State, 38-27. #25 Oregon beat #12 BYU 41-20, a nice comeback for this Oregon team that got destroyed by Georgia in week 1. #24 Texas A&M beat #13 Miami 17-9. #18 Florida squeaked by South Florida 31-28. #19 Wake Forest barely beat Liberty, 37-36. Liberty tried to win at the end with a 2-point conversion but failed. Iowa managed to put together some offense, beating Nevada 27-0.

Games to Watch on TV
At noon, both Michigan-Maryland and Penn State-CMU are being shown, on Fox and BTN respectively. #5 Clemson plays #21 Wake Forest on ABC. #17 Baylor plays Iowa State on ESPN2.

At 3:30, #20 Florida plays #11 Tennessee on CBS. #22 Texas plays Texas Tech on ESPN. Notre Dame is at North Carolina on ABC. Minnesota is at Michigan State on BTN. Indiana is at Cincinnati on ESPN2. At 4:00, #15 Oregon plays Washington State on Fox.

At 7:00, #10 Arkansas plays #23 Texas A&M on ESPN. Iowa plays at Rutgers on FS1, if you're a glutton for punishment. Your Game of the Week is at 7:30 when Wisconsin plays at #3 Ohio State on ABC. Wisconsin will almost certainly lose, but we'll see if they manage to keep it close and give the rest of us some hope. UConn plays NC State; this is listed as a streaming-only game but it might get picked up on a local channel somewhere.
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