Week 4 Booms
Old Dominion QB Blake LaRussa -- 495 yards and four touchdowns -- vs. Virginia Tech: In the biggest upset of the week (ODU was 28-point underdogs), redshirt sophomore QB Blake LaRussa led the Old Dominion Monarchs to a 49-35 upset win against No. 13 Virginia Tech. LaRussa completed 30-of-49 passes for 495 yards (10.1 YPA), four touchdowns, and zero interceptions… and he even ran for a touchdown. The quarterback leaned heavily on WRs Travis Fulgham and Jonathan Duhart, who combined for 330 yards and four scores. After the game, the ODU head coach called the victory one of the best moments in school’s history. It’s certainly a game everyone involved will never forget.
Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa -- 387 yards and four touchdowns -- vs. Texas A&M: If you haven’t heard, Tua is good at football. During Saturday’s 45-23 win, Tagovailoa threw for 387 yards (with a cool 12.9 YPA) and four touchdowns without turning over the ball while also adding another score on the ground. Tagovailoa (6’2/218) has the best combination of poise, accuracy, arm strength, and athleticism in all of college football even as a sophomore, and his production matches it. Through four games, the quarterback is averaging 12.9 yards per pass and has a perfect 12:0 TD:INT ratio with 103 yards and two scores on the ground. Alabama will be favorites in every game they are in, and Tagovailoa is the slight favorite to win the Heisman Trophy.
Ole Miss QB Jordan Ta’amu -- 442 yards and two touchdowns -- vs. Kent State: Ta’amu is starting to make himself comfortable on this “Booms” list. After struggling against a loaded Alabama team, Ta’amu answered by throwing for 442 yards (11.6 YPA) with two touchdowns and one interception in the 38-17 win over Kent State. This week’s touchdowns went to Scottie Phillips (38-yarder) and D.K. Metcalf (41-yarder), but A.J. Brown also added seven receptions for 96 yards as well. With perhaps the best set of receivers in the country, Ta’amu has throwing for at least 336 yards in all non-Bama games.
Arizona RB J.J. Taylor -- 284 yards and two touchdowns -- vs. Oregon State: Taylor (5’6/184) finally had his breakout game after back-to-back 54-rushing yard performances. The sophomore back carried the ball a career-high 27 times in the 35-14 victory while averaging an absurd 10.5 yards per carry. To get the party started, Taylor broke off for a 40-yard touchdown run just after kickoff, but followed it up by an even bigger 62-yard score to ice the game in the fourth quarter. Kevin Sumlin’s Wildcats haven’t been nearly as explosive as last year’s team, especially Khalil Tate, so it was a great sign for Taylor to explode and take some pressure off of Tate. Through four games, Taylor has 477 yards (6.7 YPC) and three touchdowns.
Penn State RB Miles Sanders -- 200 yards and three touchdowns -- vs. Illinois: Sanders (5’11/207) will make you miss and will also run right by you. On Saturday, he did both all day long against an outmatched Illinois defense. In the third quarter, Sanders had his longest run of the day for a 48-yard touchdown, but he also scored from 14 and two yards out earlier in the game. The fourth quarter is when Penn State really took off however. The Nittany Lions scored 35 points in the final quarter and actually went on a 42-0 run after Illinois took a third quarter 24-21 lead sparked by Sanders’ 48-yard TD. Through four games, the junior back has 495 rushing yards (7.0 YPC) and seven touchdowns.
Kentucky RB Benny Snell -- 165 yards and four touchdowns -- vs. Miss. State: Choo Choooooooo! All aboard the Benny Snell hype train!!! In the 28-7 win over Mississippi State, Snell rushed 26 times for 165 yards and not one, not two, not three, but four touchdowns. Saturday’s 6.6 YPC was uber impressive given Mississippi State had only given up 85 yards per game and 2.5 yards per carry heading into this week! The junior back has a chance to break some Kentucky rushing records this year, but more importantly, the Wildcats are making some real noise in the SEC. Through four games, Snell has 540 yards (6.2 YPC) and seven touchdowns. Kentucky’s single-season rushing record is held by Moe Williams when he ran for 1,600 yards in 1995.
Oregon WR Dillon Mitchell -- 14 receptions and 239 yards -- vs. Stanford: Mitchell (6’2/189) is becoming potential top-five pick Justin Herbert’s favorite target in Eugene. The Duck receiver led the nation in receiving yards and accounted for 69 percent of Herbert’s 346 passing yards. None of Mitchell’s production ended up mattering as Oregon lost a really tough game. Freshman running back C.J. Verdell fumbled the ball with less than a minute remaining with an Oregon three-point lead. There was just enough time for a Stanford game-tying field goal after marching down the field to force overtime. In OT, Herbert couldn’t sneak a couple near touchdown passes in and the Ducks fell short to Stanford 38-31.
Ohio State WR Parris Campbell -- 147 yards and two touchdowns -- vs. Tulane: With so many weapons on Ohio State, Campbell’s production doesn’t match just how explosive and talented he really is. In Saturday’s blowout win over Tulane, Campbell went crazy in the first quarter. On Ohio State’s first drive, Campbell scored a 14-yard touchdown to top off a 91 yard drive, but then added a second touchdown from 37-yards out a couple drives later. Before the second quarter even started, Campbell had five receptions for 111 yards and two scores. That quarter shows you how explosive Campbell really is even though he doesn’t get the touches he deserves with so many mouths to feed up at OSU.
Week 4 Busts
The Tennessee Volunteers Football Team -- six turnovers -- vs. Florida: I wish I had good news to bring, but this game was ugly and it only seemed to get worse as the first half went on. Perhaps the best representation of what happened in Knoxville happened on a near Tennessee touchdown. In the second quarter, Austin Pope caught a pass in the open field where he had just one man to beat for a 55-yard score. When he reached towards the end zone as he was hit, the ball came loose and slowly trickled into the back of the end zone for a Gators touchback. It was one of the most demoralizing fumbles I can remember as it completely took all the energy out of the stadium. When the dust settled, the Volunteers had six turnovers and a 47-21 loss to Florida. But it doesn’t end there. Tennessee has the toughest three-game stretch college football teams could imagine. The Volunteers are set to play Alabama, Georgia, and Auburn next. Those games won’t be fun.
Mississippi St QB Nick Fitzgerald -- 145 yards and zero touchdowns -- vs. Kentucky: Fitzgerald completed just 50 percent of his passes, averaged 4.5 yards per attempts, threw an INT, and only accounted for one score after entering the game averaging 50.0 points. Kentucky’s defense and UK running back Benny Snell, who ran for four touchdowns and 165 yards, certainly came to play and should be considered a legit force in the SEC. Through three games, the redshirt senior has 542 passing yards and four touchdowns with an additional 286 yards and five scores on the ground.
Boston College QB Anthony Brown -- 96 yards and four interceptions -- vs. Purdue: Boston College cracked the top 25 (No. 23) for the first time since 2008, but it lasted just one week after Purdue beat the Eagles 30-13. It was a rough day for Anthony Brown -- it probably was the worst of his career -- who completed just 13-of-27 passes for 96 yards (3.5 YPA) and one touchdown with four interceptions. Even Purdue’s true freshman WR Rondale Moore had more yards (110) and touchdowns (2) than Anthony Brown. It was a disappointing road effort by Brown after he entered the game with a clean 9:0 TD:INT ratio.
Oklahoma State QB Taylor Cornelius -- 258 yards and one interception-- vs. Texas Tech: Cornelius (6’6/232) completed just 47 percent of his passes for 6.7 YPA while throwing one touchdown and interception. That’s really not that bad, but it’s disappointing for No. 15 Oklahoma State to only put up 17 points at home against a Texas Tech defense that has allowed 49 points to Houston and 47 points to Ole Miss. The lack of points certainly wasn’t running back Justice Hill’s fault as he ran for 111 yards (9.25 YPC) and a touchdown, so my scapegoat is redshirt senior Cornelius. After Saturday’s mediocre at best performance, Cornelius has a 59 percent completion percentage, 8.9 yards per attempt, and a 8:4 TD:INT ratio.
Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown -- zero receptions -- vs. Navy: Don’t let this “Busts” list appearance confuse you. Brown is one of the best receivers in the nation and has a future in the NFL… but with that talent, you can’t escape the list when you fail to bring in a single catch. With Army controlling the clock -- Oklahoma only held the ball for 15 minutes before overtime -- Brown didn’t have enough time to get going. Most of the yardage came on Trey Sermon runs and the passing production went to CeeDee Lamb, not Marquise Brown. Even without a reception, Brown is probably happy for Oklahoma to squeak out a win to keep their undefeated season alive. There will be plenty of games for Brown to go off in.