Week 4 Boomers
FSU RB Dalvin Cook vs. South Florida -- Welcome to the party, Mr. Cook! While Cook’s first three games weren’t disastrous, he entered Saturday’s game against the Bulls still searching for his first 100-yard rushing game of the 2016 season. He found it. Then, he made up for lost time. Cook slashed-and-burned his way through South Florida’s defense to the tune of 267 yards rushing and two scores. He also led the Seminoles with 62 receiving yards. The 267 yards were a career-best for the electric junior back.
North Carolina QB Mitch Trubisky vs. Pittsburgh -- The Panthers held a 33-23 lead entering the fourth quarter. That wouldn’t hold. On UNC’s final drive of the game, they converted three fourth downs before Trubisky hit Bug Howard with just seconds remaining in the game. That gave the Tar Heels the lead. The touchdown pass was Trubisky’s fifth of the game. He finished the contest with 453 passing yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions. Georgia shut him out from the touchdown column in the season-opener. In his three games since, Trubisky has fired off 10 scoring passes.
North Carolina WR Ryan Switzer vs. Pittsburgh -- Trubisky’s favorite target on the afternoon? That would be Switzer. He finished with 16 catches for 208 yards and a touchdown, setting a season-high for both receptions and yardage in the process. Those 16 catches were the second most in the FBS on Saturday, bested only by Louisiana Tech wideout Trent Taylor’s 17. Taylor, by the by, was a boomer in his own right. He torched Middle Tennessee for a 17-210-2 receiving line.
Syracuse WR Amba Etta-Tawo vs. Connecticut -- To say that Etta-Tawo is having the best season of his career in 2016 is like saying that Monday’s presidential debate will be just a little crazy. The Maryland transfer entered this season having caught 30 passes for 438 yards and one touchdown. He has already doubled up on that yardage total during the current campaign. With Saturday’s silly 12-catch, 270-yard, two-touchdown performance against the Huskies now in the books, Etta-Tawo has caught 40 passes for 706 yards and five touchdowns in just four games. If you picked him up on the waiver-wire early in the season, lucky you.
Louisiana Tech QB Ryan Higgins vs. Middle Tennessee -- After serving a one-game suspension in the season-opener, Higgins has quietly posted a strong start to the embryonic season. On Saturday, he completed 36-of-59 passes for 504 yards and three touchdowns. Despite those lofty offensive numbers, Tech still fell to the Blue Raiders by a 38-34 final score. No matter. Higgins has thrown for 300 yards in all three of his games and has thrown at least three touchdown passes in each of them, to boot.
Indiana QB Richard Lagow vs. Wake Forest -- Well, it is debatable with Lagow actually belongs here. He could easy be lumped in as a bust. Except he threw for 496 yards and three touchdowns. Except he also threw five interceptions. All of this strangeness is made even stranger by the fact that entering Saturday’s contest, Lagow had not thrown an interception at all.
Appalachian State RB Jalin Moore vs. Akron -- With the immaculate Marcus Cox sidelined due to a left leg injury, Moore stepped in and stepped up, crushing Akron with 257 rushing yards and two touchdowns on a Derrick Henry-esque 39 carries. Cox remains the man here when healthy, but Moore has fantasy value in his own right. Last season, he rushed for 731 yards (7.4 YPC) and five touchdowns.
Boise State RB Jeremy McNichols vs. Oregon State -- While McNichols had seven games of 100-plus rushing yards last season, he had never rushed for 200 yards entering action against the Beavers on Saturday. Check that one off the bucket list. McNichols rolled Oregon State with 208 yards and three touchdowns rushing, averaging a smooth 7.4 YPC. Boise State has played three games this season. McNichols has scored at least two touchdowns in each one of those.
Week 4 Busts
Georgia QB Jacob Eason vs. Ole Miss -- Eason impressed late in last Saturday’s win over Missouri, finishing with 308 passing yards and three touchdown tosses. The kid done nice work, but one week later, the Rebs taught the freshman a few new tricks. Ole Miss limited Eason to just 137 yards through the air and picked him off once as they stomped to a 45-14 victory. This was a much-needed game for Ole Miss, as they were sitting at 1-2 following losses to Florida State and Alabama (understandable on both fronts).
Penn State RB Saquon Barkley vs. Michigan -- The Nittany Lions fell by a 49-10 final score and even that felt closer than the game itself. The Wolverines jumped out to a 28-0 lead by halftime and Penn State would not score a touchdown until the fourth quarter. Barkley received 15 carries and rushed for 59 yards. This was his first game without a rushing touchdown. After opening the season with 105 yards in the opener against Kent State, Barkley’s rushing totals have dropped game-by-game: 105, 85, 68, 59.
Michigan State RB L.J. Scott vs. Wisconsin -- Sparty’s offense did not exist on Saturday. That is barely hyperbole. Mark Dantonio’s crew scored via a pair of first-half field goals. Thus ends the offensive story of the day. Scott could share a tale of woe or two with the just-mentioned Saquon Barkley. The two finished Saturday’s action with almost identical statistical lines. In Scott’s case, 61 rushing yards on 14 carries.
Boise State QB Brett Rypien vs. Oregon State -- Rypien entered the 2016 season with a nice, low-simmering hype, just sort of bubbling on a blue stove, but that has yet to translate into on-field results through three games. Against Oregon State on Saturday, he threw for 215 yards and a touchdown. Which is fine. Boise State didn’t need him to carry the weight (Jeremy McNichols managed that well enough). Fantasy owners aren’t in such a good place with the sophomore, though. Rypien has thrown just four touchdowns this season and two of those came in the opener against Louisiana-Lafayette.
North Carolina RB Elijah Hood vs. Pittsburgh -- Hood was coming off a season-best 106 yards rushing against James Madison last weekend. Squaring off with the Panthers on Saturday, though, UNC abandoned the run almost entirely. The Tar Heels attempted just 22 rushes on the evening. That is including QB Mitch Trubisky’s nine runs, which went for -13 yards. Hood saw 11 carries and spun them into 25 yards, with a long run of seven yards.
Syracuse WR Steve Ishmael vs. Connecticut -- Ishmael’s lost season continues. While Amba Etta-Tawo has flourished in Dino Baber’s hyper-spread, such has not been the case for Ishmael. On Saturday, he managed four catches for 40 yards. It was the third game in four in which he has failed to surpass 50 yards receiving. The lone outlier came against Louisville two weeks ago, but even in that one, he managed just four catches for 65 yards. Ishmael has yet to catch a touchdown this season.
UCLA QB Josh Rosen vs. Stanford -- If the aforementioned Brett Rypien entered the season with a low-simmering hype, Rosen entered it with a hype that was rolling and boiling like a hot tub. A potential No. 1 overall pick in a year, Rosen’s season has been as underwhelming as any in the collegiate landscape through the first month of the season. Stanford limited him to just 248 yards passing and one touchdown. He also fumbled on the final drive (it was returned for a score), eliminating any chance of a miracle comeback. The Chosen One has thrown for more than one touchdown in just one of four games this season.
Baylor WR K.D. Cannon vs. Oklahoma State -- Cannon serves as this week’s shining example of “Sports are really really weird.” After destroying Rice to the tune of 9-213-2 last Friday, Cannon stepped off a statistical cliff against the Cowboys on Saturday, catching just three passes for 18 yards. Ismael Zamora logged a 8-175-2 receiving line to lead the Bears in his first game back from a three-game suspension. While he gives Seth Russell another target, Cannon remains the No. 1 wideout down in Waco. At least part of Cannon's quiet game was due to the fact that he was forced out of action in the third quarter with a groin injjury. Fantasy owners should keep an eye on that over the course of the practice week.