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College Football Week 4 Review
By Jonathan Hull

Illness has made it an issue for me to write today, so please pardon this abbreviated review of Week 4 of the college football season. Here's my top 10 performances for the week as well as my first take on the top 25 teams in the country.

Week 4's Top 10 Performances

10. Bryant Moniz, QB, Hawaii
Passing, 30-40-0 424 yards, 7 TDs; Rushing, 5-50
OK, so he played against UC Davis, but seven TDs in a single game is overly impressive. Had he done it against a strong opponent, I'd have no choice to move him higher on this list. As it is, I have to get him on here. A QB can't throw for that many yards and not be worth mentioning. Moniz is also Hawaii's leading rusher this season, which is more alarming than anything for the Warriors, considering he only has 145 rushing yards.

9. Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma
Receiving, 13-154, 3 TDs
Broyles is often overlooked when considering the best receivers in the nation with all the attention paid to South Carolina's Alshon Jeffery and Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon, but he belongs in the conversation. With Kenny Stills and Trey Franks both missing from OU's receiving corps, Broyles had to step up in a big way to help the Sooners overcome a 14-3 deficit to Missouri and eventually beat the Tigers 38-28. If you haven't seen Broyles' first TD reception, find a video of it and watch it. It's one of the best catches of the year. Broyles is currently second in the nation in receptions per game and sixth in receiving yards per game.

8. Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska
Rushing, 15-170, 2 TDs
Many consider Taylor Martinez the MVP of the Nebraska offense, when in fact Burkhead is just as important if not more so. Burkhead averaged 11.3 yards per carry in a 38-14 win against Wyoming. The Cornhuskers now prepare for their first Big Ten game against Wisconsin and Burkhead could certainly be the difference. The most incredible part of his performance this season is that he's only be tackled behind the line of scrimmage twice. When Burkhead has the ball, the Huskers are getting positive yardage.

7. LaMichael James, RB, Oregon
Rushing, 23-288, 2 TDs
James topped the 200-yard mark for a second straight week, but doing it in a 56-31 victory against Pac-12 opponent Arizona is more impressive than his 204-yard performance against Missouri State a week ago. James averaged 12.5 yards per carry as he shredded the Wildcats. He's now second in the nation in rushing yards per game.

6. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan
Rushing, 21-200, 3 TDs; Passing, 8-17-2 93 yards
James is second in the nation in rushing behind only Robinson whose first 200-yard rushing performance of the season keyed the Wolverines past San Diego State. Robinson continues to struggle throwing the football, which might hamper him once conference play starts. Robinson remains the nation's most electrifying runner in the meantime.

5. Cameron Marshall, RB, Arizona State
Rushing, 25-141, 3 TDs
Marshall was the key offensive piece in Arizona State's Pac-12 victory against USC on Saturday. It's the first time since 1999 since the Sun Devils have beaten the Trojans. Among Marshall's TD runs was a 70-yard jaunt for the game's first score on Arizona State's opening drive of the first quarter.

4. Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
Rushing, 17-126; Receiving, 3-85, 1 TD
While his numbers aren't as impressive as the other backs on this list, Richardson's ability to figure into both the run and passing games bring his this high. His lone score in a 38-14 win against Arkansas came on a 61-yard hookup with A.J. McCarron in the third quarter. It's Richardson's versatility that make him a Heisman contender as well as an attractive NFL prospect.

3. Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina
4 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 sacks, 1 TD
JaDaveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina
4 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks
South Carolina has the best defensive line in the country and it was on full display against Vanderbilt. The Commodores were held to 77 total yards of offense, including a mere four rushing yards. The Gamecocks accounted for 11 tackles for loss, including six sacks. Ingram scored his third TD of the year, recovering a fumble in the end zone. Clowney came into this season with a lot of hype after ESPN named him the next big thing in college football. Typically, once ESPN names anyone the next big thing, they stumble and can't live up to expectations. Clowney appears to be ready for the spotlight, though. He's already got four sacks in his freshman season and is a constant disruption in opponent backfields.

2. Brandon Weeden, QB, Oklahoma State
Passing, 47-60-0 438 yards, 2 TDs
In the first half, it appeared Texas A&M QB Ryan Tannehill was destined to top this list, but adjustments were made, Tannehill threw under duress the entire second half and ended up throwing three interceptions that allowed the Cowboys to come back from a 20-3 deficity for a 30-29 victory. Weeden was stellar in the second half and keyed the Oklahoma State offense. He should have a third TD on his stat sheet, too, had top WR Justin Blackmon not fumbled a sure score through the end zone. The Cowboys took a huge step toward the top of the Big 12 and it could be that only in-state rival Oklahoma could keep the Cowboys from contending for a conferent title and perhaps a BCS Championship bid.

1. Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
Passing, 29-33-0 338 yards, 5 TDs; Rushing, 6-51, 1 TD
Forget Andrew Luck, Kellen Moore, Landry Jones and Russell Wilson, Griffin has been the best QB in the nation. He's thrown less incompletions (12) than TDs (13) with no interceptions through three games. I don't care what kind of competition he's facing, that's remarkable. TCU being counted among Griffin's early victims makes the performance even more heroic. Is heroic the right "H" word to use to describe the Baylor QB? Maybe Heisman suits him better.

Top 25 Notes

  • As you can see, I'm on the LSU bandwagon, which is strange to say after how heavily I criticized them last season and continually kept them closer to the bottom of the Top 25 than the top. I can't argue with the Tigers early success. No team in the country has been tested the way they have with Oregon, Mississippi State and West Virginia among the Tigers' four wins. Their defense is playing phenomenally and Jarrett Lee isn't making any mistakes at QB. For LSU, that's a formula for success.
  • As always, there are teams I favor more than the official pollsters, including Wisconsin. I think the Badgers are a viable national champion candidate with QB Russell Wilson bringing another dimension to the Badgers that hasn't been seen before. Always a run-first offense, Wisconsin now has the passing game to complement a strong ground game. I also like Baylor, West Virginia and Arizona State a bit more than the voters do as well.
  • I'm also lower on some teams. I don't like Florida as much as the pollsters and am waiting to see the Gators better tested. I feel the same way about Nebraska. I worry about Taylor Martinez' continued inability to pass the ball effectively, plus the Black Shirts defense hasn't been nearly as strong this season.
  • Iowa State is the lone team in my Top 25 not ranked by either major poll. Paul Rhoads is one of the best coaches in the nation and he's proven that since he's taken over the Iowa State program. Rhoads gets a lot out of marginal talent. The Cyclones are about to get some major tests, though, with matchups against Texas, Baylor, Missouri and Texas A&M lingering over the next four weeks. There might not be a team in the country with a tougher road during that span.
Rk Team Record AP USAT
1 LSU 4-0 1 2
2 Oklahoma 3-0 2 1
3 Alabama 4-0 3 2
4 Wisconsin 4-0 7 7
5 Boise State 3-0 4 5
6 Oklahoma State 4-0 5 6
7 Stanford 3-0 6 4
8 Oregon 3-1 9 11
9 South Carolina 4-0 10 9
10 Texas A&M 2-1 14 13
11 Virginia Tech 4-0 11 10
12 Nebraska 4-0 8 8
13 Baylor 3-0 15 16
14 Clemson 4-0 13 15
15 South Florida 4-0 16 14
16 Florida 4-0 12 12
17 Texas 3-0 17 17
18 Michigan 4-0 19 19
19 West Virginia 3-1 22 23
20 Arizona State 3-1 25 NR
21 TCU 3-1 20 20
22 Illinois 4-0 24 22
23 Arkansas 3-1 18 18
24 Florida State 2-2 23 24
25 Iowa State 3-0 NR NR

 

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