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Curci: Week 4 College Football Preview

(credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

(credit: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

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By Joe Curci

Week 3 Recap: Quick Hits:

Biggest winner: Utah — After leading BYU 24-7 in the 4th quarter the Utes held off a furious late push from BYU.

The Cougars rallied to within a field goal before pandemonium ensued. With 26 seconds to go in regulation BYU quarterback Riley Nelson hit Cody Hoffman for 46 yards to the Utes 34 yard-line. With 11 seconds left on the clock, Nelson threw an incomplete pass on 2nd down leaving just 1 second left on the clock. The crowd however had thought the game had ended and stormed the field in celebration. The field was cleared and BYU kicker Justin Sorenson attempted a 51-yard field goal. The kick was blocked and the Ute faithful charged onto the field again in celebration.

Not so fast!

The kick was recovered by BYU and the play was still ongoing while the Utah fans were running on to the field. A flag was thrown and BYU took a shot at a much more realistic 36-yard field goal. The kick hit the left upright and the Utah fans were finally able to celebrate at mid-field after knocking off the then ranked #25 BYU Cougars.

Biggest loser: Virginia Tech — The Hokies traveled to Pittsburgh last Saturday to take on a University of Pittsburgh team that lost their home opener to Youngstown State 31-17, and followed that loss with another in Week 2 at Cincinnati. The Hokies, who were ranked #13 in the land, allowed their future ACC conference foe to accumulate 537 yards of total offense including 254 yards on the ground. Rushel Shell had 23 carries for 157 yards & Ray Graham ran for two touchdowns and added a third on one of his 2 receptions from Panther Senior QB Tino Sinseri. This was a major step backwards for Virginia Tech and a loud entrance into the ACC for Pitt.

Here’s a look ahead to this weekends biggest matchups:

#18 Michigan @ #11 Notre Dame 7:30 p.m.

This is a prime-time matchup that features one of the greatest rivalries in sports. The Wolverines who got off to a shaky start against the defending national champions head to South Bend to take on the Irish. Michigan has taken the last 3 meetings between the two teams all by a 4-point margin. Last year’s 35-31 thriller is definitely one that Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly would like to have back.  Denard Robinson threw the game winning touchdown in front of a record 114,804 fans in Ann Arbor with 2 seconds left on the clock capping off a 28 point 4th quarter and shocking the Irish who led 24-7 in the third quarter.

This year will certainly be different.

The Irish have had a “defense first” mentality, holding Michigan State to a mere three points in East Lansing last week. They sacked Quarterback Andrew Maxwell 4 times bringing their season sack total to 11. Notre Dame has been able to slow down their opponents running game and have only turned the ball over twice this season. Led by quarterback Everett Golson and a stingy defense, the Irish should be able to hold off a talented Michigan team and stop the Wolverines’ streak at 3. Pick: Notre Dame 27-19

#15 Kansas State @ #6 Oklahoma 7:50 p.m.

After a week off, the Sooners will look to repeat their 41-point slashing at Kansas State last season. Landry Jones tore apart the KSU secondary throwing for over 500 yards and 5 touchdowns. This will be a tall order for the #15 ranked Wildcats, because despite a sluggish start in their opener against UTEP, the Sooners lead by Jones should be able to have their way again. In their romp over Florida A&M, Oklahoma was able to rush for over 350 yards & scored 8 rushing touchdowns.  Sooner running back Damien Williams accounted for 4 TDs on his own on 10 carries for 156 yards. If Landry Jones can get his offense to establish the run early Kansas State will have no chance in this one.  This one will be over in Norman early. Pick: Oklahoma 45-21

 

#10 Clemson @ #4 Florida State 8:00 p.m.

This is the fist major test for Florida State and head coach Jimbo Fisher, as the Seminoles look to avenge their 35-30 loss to Clemson a year ago. Both teams enter the game at 3-0. The Tigers lead their season off in a big way by beating Auburn 26-19 in the Georgia Dome. Taijh Boyd was able to manage the game late and Andre Ellington was in full out “beast mode” rushing for 231 yards on 26 carries. Boyd will have to be even better as the Seminoles and defensive coordinator Mike Stoops will look to slow down Ellington and the Clemson offense. The Seminole defense in three games has a allowed a mere 3 points coming off back-to-back shut out wins including last weeks 52-0 romp over Wake Forest. Running back Chris Thompson had his best game of the young season rushing for 197 yards on only 9 carries and scoring twice. If Florida State can force Clemson to beat them through the air, and avoid making mistakes of their own, it could end up being a long day for Taijh Boyd. Pick: Florida State 28-17

 

Other Notable Picks:

Oregon State @ #19 UCLA

Oregon State held Wisconsin to just a touchdown in their 10-7 win two weeks ago, but UCLA has looked impressive under 1st year head coach Jim Mora. The Bruins will squeak out a nail-biter 21-20.

#2 LSU @ Auburn

Auburn has been a disappointment so far this season and despite losing Tyrann Mathieu, LSU has looked great yet again.  Expect Auburn to keep it close for a quarter or two but LSU will pull away late in the game 35-17.

#22 Arizona @ #3 Oregon

It has been a great start to the season for both of these Pac-12 schools. Arizona got a huge home win against Oklahoma State and has been able to put the ball in the end zone very efficiently. This will be the first true test of the season for high powered Oregon who own a 4 game winning streak in the series. Expect Arizona to play them tough but give Oregon the advantage in this shootout 51-35.

Follow Joey Baboots on Twitter @JoeyBaboots

What’s your lock of the week? Be heard in the comments below!