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Beyond the Fort: Week 4

A loaded Saturday slate delivered! Big games produced some serious winners and losers.

Ohio State v Notre Dame Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

One of the best Saturdays in decades is in the books. The day was filled with drama, great football, and emotion. We learned a lot about some contenders this week. Let’s get into it.

Notre Dame, we need to talk.

With 2:30 left to play, Notre Dame had the ball and a 4-point lead. It was 2nd and 15, and Ohio State was down to their last time out. The Irish had the Buckeyes dead to rights. A run on 2nd down would mean Ohio State burned its final timeout. Another run on 3rd down would run the clock down to about 1:50, and the Irish could punt and flip the field, giving Ohio State 80 yards and no timeouts to go win the game. Instead, the Irish tried to set up a screen, and they threw an incomplete pass, allowing the Buckeyes to hold on to their final timeout. With 1:36 to play, the Irish took a delay of game penalty on 4th down while they had 2 timeouts left. Ohio State got the ball back on their own 35-yard line with 1:27 left to play and a timeout in their pocket. The Buckeyes moved the ball down the field and found themselves in a 3rd and 19 on the Notre Dame 22-yard line. Kyle McCord connected with Emeka Egbuka on a 21-yard pass, giving Ohio State a 1st and goal on the 1-yard line. The Buckeyes spiked the ball, knowing they’d have 2 plays to try and win the game. Notre Dame called a timeout after Ohio State showed their formation, and then this happened...

The Irish had 11 men on the field when they called timeout. Then they came out of the timeout and only had 10 on the field. Kyle McCord threw an incomplete pass, and on the final play of the game Notre Dame STILL ONLY HAD 10! In all my years around the game of football, I have never seen anything like this. I am not calling for anyone’s job, but this is absolutely unacceptable. Notre Dame has more people on staff than they could possibly need. Marcus Freeman makes millions of dollars, and his coordinators are probably paid 7 figures as well. The fact that nobody on the Notre Dame staff caught the error for the last 2 plays of the biggest game South Bend has seen in years is truly astounding. I am by no means a Notre Dame fan, and I’ve rooted against the Irish more times than I can count, but this makes me sick for their fan base.

Florida State finds a way.

When Florida State traveled to Clemson, South Carolina this weekend everyone knew it was going to be tough to win. The Tigers had won 25 straight ACC conference games. The Seminoles hadn’t beaten Clemson since 2014 and after the Tigers' opening-week loss to Duke, everyone knew this game was a make-or-break game for Clemson.

This game was an absolute battle. The Tigers jumped out to a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter and looked like they might cruise to a big victory. But credit is due to coach Mike Norvell because he refocused his team after going into the half down 17-14. A missed field goal late in the game from Clemson resulted in overtime, and the Noles were able to score, and then keep the Tigers out of the endzone. Florida State is in the drivers seat for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

What is it going to take for Iowa to fire Brian Ferentz?

In college football’s greatest case of nepotism, the Iowa Hawkeyes are somehow finding ways to make it even worse. Prior to the season, Brian Ferentz was told that the Iowa offense must average at least 25 points per game this year, or he would not return as the offensive coordinator. For those who are unaware, this whole saga started last year when Iowa ranked 129th (251 yards per game) in the country in total offense and 122nd in scoring offense (17.7 points per game). Iowa managed an 8-5 record despite this last year, and many argue that the Hawkeyes would've been a 10-win team last year with an offense that was just mediocre.

The Hawkeyes got off to a 3-0 start this season. Game 1 against Utah State - the Hawkeyes offense put up 24 points and 284 yards of offense. Game 2 against Iowa State - 235 yards and 20 points. Game 3 against Western Michigan - 41 points and 387 yards. Last night the Iowa Hawkeyes lost to Penn State 31-0. The offense had 78 yards of offense. I’ll leave it at that.

Great games in the PAC-12.

The PAC-12 had 3 separate games between ranked opponents on Saturday. Two of them were fantastic games. The other was an absolute beat down that many of us saw coming.

We’ll start with the most talked about game. Colorado went to Eugene this weekend to take on Oregon. The Ducks proceeded to absolutely dominate Colorado, going on to win 42-6. The Buffs were held to just 199 yards of offense, while giving up over 500. Colorado’s problems up front were finally exposed, and I don’t expect their matchup with USC this week to be much different.

UCLA and Utah played the game that I expected Oklahoma State and Iowa State to play. The slugfest ended with a 14-7 victory for Utah. The Utes move to 4-0 on the season even without quarterback Cam Rising who is still recovering from a torn ACL in the Rose Bowl last year. UCLA’s freshman quarterback Dante Moore threw a pick six on the first play of the game that turned out to be the difference maker. Neither team had over 250 yards in this game, and they’ve both added to an already intriguing PAC-12 conference.

The final PAC-12 ranked matchup was for the “PAC-2” title. Washington State and Oregon State played in one of the better games of the day with the Cougars coming out on top 38-35. Cam Ward inserted himself into the conversation of best quarterbacks in the best quarterback conference in the country with an incredible performance. He finished the day 28/34 for 404 yards with 4 touchdowns. DJ Uiagalelei struggled, showing why many Clemson fans were glad he left. The Cougars head into their bye week at 4-0. and then they travel to UCLA.

Kiffin still can’t get it done.

Ole Miss traveled to Tuscaloosa this weekend in what many thought was their best shot to snag a win against the Tide in the Lane Kiffin era. Both teams struggled to finish drives in this low scoring affair, and Alabama came out on top with a 24-10 win. Alabama’s offense still looked suspect, but Tommy Rees at least got Jalen Milroe involved in the run game with some designed runs. With LSU’s shaky win over Arkansas, the SEC west is definitely an open race.

Quick Hitters

#1 Georgia beat UAB 49-21 as they continue to sleepwalk through their season.

#2 Michigan beat Rutgers 31-7.

#3 Texas went to Waco and smacked Baylor 38-6.

#5 USC pulled away from Arizona State late in a 42-28 win.

#8 Washington continued to look unstoppable in their 59-32 win over Cal.

#12 LSU survived an upset bid from Arkansas 34-31.

#16 Oklahoma beat Cincinnati 20-6.

#17 North Carolina beat Pitt 41-24.

#18 Duke beat UConn 41-7.

#20 Miami beat Temple 41-7.

#23 Tennessee beat UTSA 45-14.

#25 Florida beat Charlotte 22-7.

Coach Perry’s Power Rankings: Week 4

Some movement this week. Florida State reclaims the top spot after a big win on the road. Ohio State jumps to #2 after their win at Notre Dame. Finally, Washington State is a newcomer to the top 10, and Notre Dame drops out.

  1. Florida State
  2. Ohio State
  3. Texas
  4. Penn State
  5. Washington
  6. Oregon
  7. Georgia
  8. Michigan
  9. USC
  10. Washington State

Week 5 Games to Watch

Friday, September 29

#10 Utah at #19 Oregon State

Louisville at NC State

Saturday September 30

Morning Slate

#8 USC at Colorado

Texas A&M vs Arkansas

Clemson at Syracuse

#22 Florida at Kentucky

Afternoon Slate

#1 Georgia at Auburn

#24 Kansas at #3 Texas

#13 LSU at #20 Ole Miss

Prime Time

#11 Notre Dame at #17 Duke

South Carolina at Tennessee

West Virginia at TCU