In 2006, Wake Forest began the season 4-0 en route to an improbable bid to the Orange Bowl. A decade later, could it be deja vu all over again?
Unbelievably, the answer to that is, well, yeah. Well, it’s at least technically possible — although glancing at the latest box score that would’ve been the furthest thing from your mind.
In Saturday’s game against Indiana, the Demon Deacons were outgained 611-352 in total offense. Hoosiers quarterback Richard Lagow strafed Wake’s defense for 496 yards and three touchdowns. But then you catch a glimpse of the category that reads “Turnovers.”
The Demon Deacon defense intercepted Lagow a whopping five times. Not only did the defense return one of those for a touchdown, the offense converted another two picks into 10 points.
The final score? Wake 33, Indiana 28.
With the win, Wake improved to 4-0 on the season for the first time since that 2006 campaign mentioned in the lede. Before you go out and bet your house on an ACC Coastal title for the Deacons, however, keep this in mind: Wake still has games left against No. 13 Florida State (10/15), No. 3 Louisville (11/12) and No. 5 Clemson (11/19), with the first two games on the road.
If you’re a Wake fan, though, it’s fun to dream — especially when your team’s six-game losing streak to close out the 2015 season is factored in.
In the eyes of many, Notre Dame defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder was, or at least should be, on the hot seat entering the Duke game. Exiting the Week 4 game, that bandwagon is likely overloaded.
The day started out well enough for the Irish as they held a 14-0 lead midway through the second quarter. However, against a Blue Devils offense that came into the game 94th nationally in scoring (25.3 points per game), the Irish defense had no answers as Duke scored 38 points over the next three and a half quarters to stun the Domers 38-35 in South Bend.
The Irish held a seven-point lead midway through the fourth quarter as well before the defense gave up a 64-yard touchdown pass to knot the score at 35-all. The defense then allowed a back-breaking 10-play drive that resulted in what turned out to be a game-winning field goal with 1:24 remaining.
Notre Dame, which began the season ranked in the Top 10, has now tumbled to 1-3 on the year. In each of those three losses, the Irish have given up at least 36 points.
Whether head coach Brian Kelly pulls the trigger on an in-season move with VanGorder remains to be seen. Based on the early returns, one could hardly blame him if he did.
And then there was one.
Entering Week 4, Nevada and Notre Dame were the lone FBS teams that had yet to register a sack during the first quarter of the 2016 season. Midway through the second quarter of the game against Purdue today, however, Nevada’s Korey Rush sacked David Blough for a four-yard loss.
With Notre Dame not playing until 3:30 ET this afternoon (on NBC), that leaves the Irish standing alone as the only sackless team left at the FBS level.
Ironically enough, Purdue entered today’s game as one of five FBS teams, along with East Carolina, Northern Illinois, Texas State and West Virginia, that had recorded just one sack on the year. And, for those who are curious, Florida came into Week 4 leading the nation in sacks with 16.
No. 2 in that category? The Irish’s opponent this afternoon, the Blue Devils (tied with Ball State).
UPDATED 6:11 p.m. ET: And then there were none.
Early in the third quarter of the game with Duke, Nyles Morgan sacked Blue Devils quarterback Daniel Jones, giving the Irish their first sack of the season 14 quarters after it started.
One of the biggest questions of the first three weeks of the 2016 college football season was “what’s wrong with Dalvin Cook?” As it turns out, the answer was “nothing the USF defense couldn’t cure.”
Entering Florida State’s Week 4 in-state matchup, Cook had rushed for 228 yards. He had yet to crack the 100-yard mark in the first three games, posting a season-high 91 yards in the opener against Ole Miss before seeing those totals drop to 83 against Charleston Southern and 54 in the loss to Louisville last Saturday.
This Saturday, Cook’s statistical fortunes turned in a big way and right away as the running back broke off a 75-yard touchdown run on the Seminoles’ first play from scrimmage. Cook went on to add another 110 yards in the half to finish with a whopping 185 yards through two quarters of play.
Then halfway through the third quarter, Cook had pushed that total to 220 yards.
Not only that, but his two rushing touchdowns in the first half matched the number he had the first three games combined.
After USF tied the score at 14-all — the Bulls scored a touchdown on its first play from scrimmage and two in just over three minutes — Cook’s 13-yard touchdown run jump-started a 31-0 run to end the half and send the Seminoles into the locker room with a comfortable 38-14 lead. As of this posting, FSU leads 45-14 with less than half of the third quarter remaining.
UPDATED 2:59 p.m. ET: Cook finished the game with 244 yards — and one sore shoulder — in just three quarters of work. At the time of his departure, he was also FSU’s leading receiver with four catches for 62 yards.
UPDATED 3:34 p.m. ET: Cook’s day wasn’t finished, as it turned out, as the back returned to the game in the fourth quarter to set a career-high with 267 yards. His previous career high was 266 yards set last year against… USF.
If Marshall is live up to the awe-inspiring hype video released earlier in the week, the Thundering Herd will be forced to do so without the triggerman of their offense.
While there’s nothing yet official from the school, ESPN.com‘s Brett McMurphy is reporting — or tweeting, if you will — that Chase Litton will not play in tonight’s game against Louisville because of a concussion. The quarterback sustained the concussion during last Saturday’s loss to Akron.
Litton is currently ninth in the country with a 181.7 pass efficiency rating. That number is tops amongst Conference USA quarterbacks.
Rumors of an issue with Litton surfaced earlier in the week, speculation that was reflected in the wagering lines.
With Litton apparently sidelined, the Herd will turn to Garet Morrell. A true freshman, Morrell has attempted eight passes the first two games of the season.
At least one bit of good news for Morrell in making his first career start against the third-ranked team in the country is that it will be played in the friendly confines of home in Huntington.