Week 4 of the college football season was relatively tame compared to the first three weeks of the season. The country was becoming used to seeing top-25 teams like Michigan State, Ohio State and Auburn fall to lower ranked teams, but last Saturday only two top-25s, No. 11 Florida State and No. 23 USC, lost.
The story of last weekend was in fact the continued brilliance of quarterback Russell Wilson and the Wisconsin Badgers. Behind strong efforts from Wilson and receiver Nick Toon, the Badgers absolutely demolished South Dakota by a final score of 59-10. It was obviously a game that then-No.6 Wisconsin was expected to win, but the dominance on the offensive side of the ball that Wilson continued to orchestrate put his team firmly in the conversation as national title contenders.
In Tempe, AZ, USC saw its three-game unbeaten streak come to an end when host Arizona State pulled off an upset in style, 43-22. The Trojans had no answer for the play of ASU running back Cameron Marshall, who rushed for 141 yards and three touchdowns. The Sun Devils’s win ended an 11-game losing skid to the Trojans, and marks the first clear sign that things in Los Angeles may not be as rosy as they once appeared to be.
Also suffering a surprising loss last week was Florida State, who fell to 2-2 after No. 21 Clemson eked out a close one at home, 35-30. The Tigers improved to 4-0 on the season and 1-0 in the ACC following their impressive win over another top-25 team in Auburn last week. Meanwhile, the Bobby Bowden-led Seminoles can’t catch a break, losing to Clemson in Week 4 immediately after losing to No. 1 Oklahoma in Week 3. With the loss, the Seminoles fall to No. 23 heading into their bye week.
This weekend, all eyes will once again be on Camp Randall Stadium where No. 7 Wisconsin will take on No. 8 Nebraska. There’s a good chance that the Badgers and Cornhuskers will meet up again in Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship later this season, but right now, there is no bigger matchup on tap. The clash between Wisconsin’s ground-and-pound offense led by Wilson and running backs James White, and Montee Ball and the physical Nebraska defense under the command of All-Americans Jared Crick and Lavonte David will be a treat to watch. When the Huskers have the ball though, don’t expect things to settle down – Heisman candidate Taylor Martinez and Rex Burkhead spearhead a Nebraska offense ranked No. 21 in the nation that will try to get by Wisconsin’s No. 3 defense. This should be an exceedingly entertaining matchup.
Though the Big-Ten will be the primary focus of most college football fans this Saturday, the SEC has a marquee matchup of their own. No. 3 Alabama will visit No. 12 Florida to try to improve to 5-0 on the season. The Gators, who are also currently undefeated, will have to face a team that is nearly its mirror image. In all of college football, Florida is fifth in rush defense at 56.5 yards per game and first in the SEC with 259 rush yards per game offensively. The Tide, meanwhile, are third nationally in rush defense at 45.8 yards per game and second in the SEC in rushing at 230.8.
Heading into Week 5 of this college football season, it’s hard to know what to expect, but we do know one thing for sure: there will be plenty of entertaining football on. If the SEC and Big-Ten aren’t for you, be sure to check out Clemson vs. Virginia Tech – another battle of two top-25 teams – or UCLA vs. Stanford – two PAC-12 teams who will continue a growing rivalry this weekend.
Contact Ben Glassman at [email protected]