There is one phrase that will chill your blood from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Provo, Utah: “College smokers.” On Saturday, the fortunes of four SEC programs changed in an instant as two college kickers painfully missed critical hits.
Arkansas had a managed 42-yarder to beat Texas A&M for the second straight season. The Razorbacks outscored the Aggies by over 80 yards and it only took them one kick to stay in the top ten. Unfortunately, Cam Little’s punch bounced off the top of the post in an incredible way – a punch unlike any recent college. football memory.
All Missouri needed was All-American kicker Harrison Mavis to hit a 26-yard field goal. Easy enough, right? Mavis hit 20 of 22 field goals last season, including three from over 50 yards. A 26-yard throw is child’s play…but not against Auburn in the Plains when Mavis hit a right and the match went into overtime. The game rocked again after Nathaniel Peet fumbled for an open touchdown at the goal line, and that was it. The Tigers are still looking for their first Power Five win.
Here are more winners, losers, and overreactions that highlighted Week 4 action across the country.
Kansas QB Milestone Daniels: Start the Jalon Daniels Heisman campaign. He was incredibly good during the Jayhawks’ 4-0 start. Daniels completed 83% of his passes for 324 yards, 83 rushing yards and scored five touchdowns in an emphatic 35–27 win over the previously undefeated Duke. The Lawndale, California junior was the catalyst for a Kansas program that had not won four games in a season in 13 years. He deserves the lion’s share of merit on the field.
Tennessee: In the final five minutes, the Vols allowed themselves a bit of a fuss with a few quick touchdowns in Florida, but the game was more dominant than the final score of 38-33. It was the weekend party for Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker, who threw for 349 yards, rushed for 112 yards, and threw for three touchdowns in the victory over Florida. It was only Tennessee’s second victory over Florida since 2004, and it gives the Volunteers a great shot at the AP Top 10 when the polls are released on Sunday.
Miami Coach Mario Cristobal: The Hurricanes deserve credit for beating the cupcakes, but the past two weeks have been a disaster. Miami had 27 first downs against Texas A&M, the most in a game without a touchdown. On Saturday, a 45-31 embarrassment against Middle Tennessee derailed any Miami promotional train. Once-promising quarterback Tyler Van Dyke was benched after two interceptions, but rushing less than 2 yards per throw and losing 500 yards to Middle Tennessee is nothing short of a disaster. Cristobal can’t blame talent for such losses – it’s coaching.
Houston: The Cougars needed 10 unanswered points in the final five minutes to withstand Rice’s 2-2 challenge. The Owls were in the lead for much of the game as the Cougs took 10 penalties and flipped the ball to give Rice a chance. After the game, Houston coach Dana Holgorsen expressed her disappointment with the coach. Houston Chronicle.
“I’m tired of yelling at them. Tired of motivating them. Tired of all this shit,” Holgorsen said.
For a team that was once considered a serious contender for getting into the New Year’s six, almost before the start, 1-3 does not cause any special warm feelings.
Week 4: Overreactions
Oklahoma not winning the Big 12: The Sooners climbed up in the polls after dominating the lightweight chart with Nebraska, Kent State and UTEP. However, Kansas State to open the Big 12 game has been a rough awakening. The Wildcats have scored more points (41) than the Sooners have given up all season (30) thanks to five touchdowns from Nebraska transfer quarterback Adrian Martinez. Suddenly, Brent Venables’ task at the Norman seems a lot less difficult than it was after gutting rival cornmen. Given the depth that the Big 12 has shown outside the conferences, there are no easy games left.
Kansas State has a tiebreaker over Oklahoma. Road trips to TCU, Iowa, and TX can be frustrating. The battles with Texas, Baylor and the state of Oklahoma continue. Too many speed bumps for the Sooners to get to Arlington if that’s the Oklahoma we get in 2022.
Wisconsin is no longer Wisconsin: Between 2004 and 2017, Wisconsin came close to having the most consistent program in college football. The Badgers went 141–45 and finished 13 of 16 seasons, including five top-five finishes. A No. 3 loss to Ohio State was expected, but the out-of-competition 52-21 decision to drop to 2-2 suddenly raises some existential questions.
The Badgers have only finished once in the rankings in the last five years under Paul Christ. After today’s defeat, not a single ranked team remained on the Badgers’ schedule. It is unlikely that they will be able to show enough to fend off the vote. Additionally, as of 2012, Wisconsin has only had one Rose Bowl. At one point it was a program whose success could be measured by trips to Pasadena.
Krist went 34-7 in his first three seasons. He’s 33-18 since 2017, a good record, but not one that’s up to Wisconsin’s standard. Complicating matters is the fact that the state of Wisconsin probably has one of the most attractive coaching candidates in the country, defense coordinator Jim Leonhard.