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College football week 4 recap: The Boiler bubble bursts

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Penn State and Iowa play blackjack, and IU wins in a rout.

NCAA Football: Georgia Southern at Indiana Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

How Indiana fared

Indiana 52, Georgia Southern 17

FINALLY.

This is the blowout against a bad team that I’ve been waiting for. For the past few seasons, Kevin Wilson’s Hoosiers were notorious for slow starts against non-conference teams that clearly weren’t as good (see: FIU to open the season last year), or would just let them hang around long enough until the game turned into a shootout (see: Southern Illinois in the 2015 opener).

None of that happened Saturday. Indiana jumped out to a 31-0 lead against Georgia Southern and never looked back. True freshman RB Morgan Ellison had a star-making performance, gaining 185 yards and scoring 2 TDs on the ground. In addition, Richard Lagow did a good job protecting the ball, J-Shun Harris scored yet again on a punt return, and the defense forced 5 fumbles, recovering three of them. Georgia Southern is mired in a bad season (they lost to FCS New Hampshire recently), but this was the type of performance the Hoosiers needed to have, especially after a week off.

Around the B1G

Penn State 21, Iowa 19

On the shortlist for my favorite game of the year. Over the past few seasons, Iowa has played three amazing, drama-filled games where the action builds to a crescendo during the first 55 minutes, then ends with a crazy, intense finish. The first of this trilogy was the 2015 Big Ten title game, where Iowa lost to Michigan State, the second was a win over Michigan, and the third was on Saturday night, when Iowa forced Penn State to play by Iowa’s rules in a raucous Kinnick Stadium.

By the end, the Nittany Lions and Hawkeyes were locked in a high-stakes game of blackjack. Down 15-13, Iowa drew a 6 when Akrum Wadley raced into the end zone with a minute and 40 seconds to go, making it 19-15 after a missed conversion. This forced Penn State to hit on 15, as Trace McSorley found Juwan Johnson in the end zone on the final play, and the Nittany Lions drew a 6 to get to 21 and win the game.

The real story of this game was Saquon Barkley - who had 211 rushing yards for PSU and became a true Heisman contender. We’ll have more on him this week as Indiana preps for Penn State.

Michigan 28, Purdue 10

We at crimsonquarry dot com heard the Purdue hype all week. It was impossible to avoid. Praise for Jeff Brohm’s offense was all over the place, and after the first half on Saturday, when Purdue led 10-7, the hype was feeling real in Ross-Ade. The Michigan quietly took control. The Wolverines outgained Purdue 423-189 in total yards, had 24 first downs to Purdue’s 8, and dominated possession by almost a 2-to-1 margin - and this was all with backup QB John O’Korn playing most of the game after Wilton Speight’s injury. The Wolverines offense is a work in progress, but that defense should be able to keep them in every game.

As for Purdue, welp:

Notre Dame 38, Michigan State 18

After Gus Johnson got to call USC-Texas last weekend, this game was a waste of his talents. Down 38-10, Michigan State went for 2 after their last touchdown very late in the game, which really makes no sense. Anyway, Notre Dame looks better than 4-8 this year, whereas Sparty might struggle to get to six wins. Could a second straight Spittoon victory be in the cards for IU?

Nebraska 27, Rutger 17
UCF 38, Maryland 10

While the Huskers struggled to put away Rutger at home after a tumultuous week behind the scenes, UCF, coached by former Husker QB Scott Frost, destroyed Maryland by 28 points in College Park. After a dominating performance by UCF, Nebraska - who is still trying to chase the success they had back in the 1990s - could be the subject of many rumors about Frost coming back to coach in Lincoln next year.

Ohio State 54, UNLV 21

My friend was in Columbus this weekend and told me that Ohio State sells hats that just say “THE” on them. That’s honestly almost as terrible as MAGA hats.

Elsewhere in College Football

Alabama 59, Vanderbilt 0

Like Purdue, Vandy fell victim to their own hype this week. This game was in Nashville, for the record. Alabama, in case you forgot, is still very good.

TCU 44, Oklahoma State 31

TCU is proving the value of a good defense in an offense-crazed Big 12. A great victory for them on the road in Stillwater on Saturday.

Florida 28, Kentucky 27

Florida went into Kroger Field (or as the Kentucky locals call it, Krogers Field), went down 27-14, then rallied for two straight touchdowns for its second straight last-minute victory. Kentucky still has not beaten Florida since the mid-1980s. Because of the longtime Gator dominance over them, UK may have to rename its stadium Publix Field.

NC State 27, Florida State 21

The last time NC State beat FSU in 2012, this happened:

After only two games because of hurricane delays and cancellations, Florida State is now 0-2. Their next opponent? 4-0 Wake Forest.

Virginia 42, Boise State 23

The Cavs went into Boise and the blue turf on Friday night and curb-stomped the Broncos, who had developed a reputation as one of the best Group of 5 teams over the past decade. Yes, this is the same Virginia team that IU beat on the road by 17. If UVA keeps it up in ACC play (they don’t exactly have a murderer’s row with Duke, UNC, BC, and Pitt coming up next month), this could turn into a very good win for the Hoosiers.

IS TEXAS BACK?

Presenting the IS TEXAS BACK-O-METER. Each week, we’ll check on college football’s most burning question: IS TEXAS BACK?!?! Here’s this week’s edition (thanks to blog friend Ben Goren for the graphic):

Texas didn’t play last weekend, so this is a holdover from week 3, when the Longhorns lost in double-OT to USC. All eyes will be on whether Texas Is Back on Thursday night, when the Longhorns travel to a potentially dangerous game at Iowa State.

Coaches on the Hottest Seat

Butch Jones, Tennessee

Bret “Bert” Bielema, Arkansas

I got two coaches who I want to discuss this week. First is Butch Jones, whose Tennessee team lost at Florida two weekends ago thanks to a last-second touchdown pass - and this week struggled to defeat winless UMass, 17-13. Jones has pulled Tennessee out of the disastrous Derek Dooley era, but fans can’t be satisfied with how sloppy the Vols look week in and week out, and how Jones keeps resorting to meaningless platitudes in postgame comments.

Meanwhile, Bert has roamed around Arkansas and the SEC West with a ton of bravado over the past few years, and really not much to show for it (he’s 10-23 in SEC play over 4+ seasons). His 50-43 overtime loss to Texas A&M was yet another blown lead for the Razorbacks, who have now lost to the Aggies in overtime 3 of the past 4 years. But Bert’s job should be safe, as he as a $15.4 million buyout right now. Even with all the Walmart money in Northwest Arkansas, the Hogs might not be willing to pony up for that.

Way-Too-Early Playoff Rankings

1. Alabama

2. Clemson

3. Oklahoma

4. Penn State

Oklahoma looked very shaky at time in a 49-41 win over winless Baylor this weekend, but they still got the victory, and are still at the top of the Big 12 pecking order for now. Meanwhile, Penn State gets the nod over USC for now, because of how they survived night game Kinnick Stadium. The Trojans have a great opportunity to jump into the rankings next week though, when they head to a very good Washington State team on a late Friday night kickoff.

Next Week

Indiana at Penn State, 3:30pm, BTN

I’m roadtripping to State College for this one. This will be my second time at Penn State for a game, and hopefully it goes better than two years ago, when Nate Sudfeld and Jordan Howard were both banged up and Penn State won 29-7 in a laugher. The problem is - PSU is a lot better than they were two years ago. Regardless, State College has a fantastic gameday atmosphere, and I’m meeting up with some old IU friends, so it should be a fun weekend.

As for the rest of week 5, Clemson at Virginia Tech is probably your best bet, though Clemson already showed what it could do on the road against a strong mobile quarterback a couple weekends ago at Louisville. USC at Wazzu kicks off at 10:30pm Friday night for some peak #pac12afterdark action, OSU will try to run up the score on Rutger, and Ole Miss-Alabama always seems to get weird, but other than that... man, it’s not a good schedule.