Snap Judgments from the Week 4 early slate. For more coverage, check out our midday Snaps, late Snaps and complete Top 25 review. Also check out our coverage of Florida State-Clemson, Kansas State-Oklahoma and Notre Dame-Michigan.
• Central Michigan 32, Iowa 31: College football’s governing trickster gods are cruel and capricious, and let us never, ever forget it. The same afternoon that saw an Iowa running back deliver a standout performance without suffering the latest in a staggering series of tailback injuries also saw the Hawkeyes defeated by a directional Michigan team –and not a particularly well-regarded directional Michigan team.
Running back Mark Weisman’s 27-carry, 217-yard, three-touchdown outing was overshadowed by the triumph of a Chippewas squad that’s seen little in the way of glory since the departure of quarterback Dan LeFevour. Weisman nearly doubled up Central Michigan’s entire team rushing-wise, but Chippewas quarterback Ryan Radcliff made up for it with an aerial attack that covered 283 yards and two touchdowns.
Radcliff wasn’t the highest-scoring Chippewa, though. That would be kicker David Harman, who made up for weeks of special-teams shame directed at kickers nationwide by hitting a career-long 47-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to clinch the win. And how did Harman find himself in position to hit the game-winner? The final 45 seconds of the game saw the Chippewas fail on a two-point conversion; fail to recover an on-side kick, then recover the on-side after a delay-of-game penalty gave them a second shot; continue to advance on a 15-yard Iowa personal foul penalty; and score nine total points to pull the upset. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 16 Ohio State 29, UAB 15: The first score in Columbus in Week 4 was a blocked punt return for a touchdown. This would speak well to Urban Meyer coaching special teams himself, except that Nick Adams, the stalwart returner, plays for UAB. This indignity was followed by a 47-yard field goal by Blazers kicker Ty Long, who went on to hit a 54-yarder to extend the lead to 12-7 following Ohio State’s first touchdown. Long hit a final field goal from 33 yards in the fourth quarter to wrap UAB’s scoring for the afternoon. The Buckeyes didn’t have the lead, against UAB, at home, until 2:41 remained in the second quarter and quarterback Braxton Miller skittered 12 yards into the end zone. The Blazers still ended up outgaining the Buckeyes through four quarters, 403-347.
If not for what happened to Iowa, this would be the surprise shame of the early games. Please direct all chocolate-and-peanut-butter candy shipments to Kirk Ferentz, who could maybe use a comforting snack right about now. [RECAP | BOX]
• Wisconsin 37, UTEP 26: For the record, we weren’t exactly joking when we suggested Friday that Camp Randall would be an ideal spot for a Big Ten upset. What may have seemed like a shocking early lead for the Miners can be explained away by Wisconsin not being overburdened with football playing ability this season and UTEP making something of a hobby of this kind of game. Ever want to freeze a moment in time for the education of all around you? UTEP scoring first on Wisconsin, IN Wisconsin, on a 39-yard Nick Lamaison pass to Michael Edwards, only to have the ensuing extra point attempt blocked and returned for a score by Konrad Zagzebski was the most UTEP of all possible happenings.
UTEP kicker Steven Valadez played his part in the Week 4 kicker redemption tour by hitting field goals of 43 and 45 yards. Those kicks combined with a Xay Williams touchdown got the Miners to within four of the Badgers at the start of the fourth quarter. It took two rushing scores within the span of a minute for Wisconsin to put the game out of reach.
Compounding the Badgers’ woes: having to gain those points without Monteé Ball, who exited the game early after a blow to the head. In his stead, Melvin Gordon and James White combined for 23 carries that netted 178 yards and three touchdowns. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 8 West Virginia 31, Maryland 21: West Virginia safety Darwin Cook, perhaps best known for tumbling over the Orange Bowl mascot following a 99-yard fumble return last January, set up the Mountaineers’ first score of the afternoon by knocking out a loose ball that was promptly regained and returned for a score by Doug Rigg. From there the Mountaineers never trailed, though Maryland did tie the game at 14-14 early in the second quarter. The Terps actually outgained WVU, 367-363, thanks mostly to Perry Hills’ 20-of-29, 299-yard, three-score performance. Geno Smith finished 30-of-43 for 338 yards and three touchdown passes to Maryland native Tavon Austin. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 17 TCU 27, Virginia 7: Without the services of Waymon James, the Horned Frogs relied on Matthew Tucker and Trevone Boykin for ground gains. The pair combined for 103 yards on 18 carries. Boykin also threw TCU’s final touchdown pass, a 17-yarder to LaDarius Brown. TCU now owns the longest win streak in the FBS, at 11 games. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 14 Florida 38, Kentucky 0: Trey Burton’s mother says Florida’s just “saving him for LSU.” Trey Burton’s coach says Trey Burton has back spasms. That burning question settled, Florida didn’t suffer too much without his presence. The Gators scored three touchdowns in the second quarter after managing just a field foal in the first; from there the scoreboard went into cruise control. Kentucky’s Morgan Newton completed 7-of-21 attempts for 48 yards and three interceptions; backup quarterback Jalen Whitlow added one completion on six attempts for 12 yards in the fourth quarter. [RECAP | BOX]
• Western Michigan 30, UConn 24: Big day for directional Michigans! It’s Directional Michiganmas! WMU hopped in front on a 44-yard Andrew Haldeman field goal less than a minute-and-a-half into the game and never trailed. [RECAP | BOX]