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Sports

College Football Playoff Stock-Down Report: LSU & the ACC

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College Football Playoff Stock-Down Report: LSU & the ACC

2014-09-22 15:11:16

-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: LSU averaged just 2.5 yards per carry against MSU. (Image Source: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Here’s the college football playoff stock down report following Week 4:

Stock Down ---> ---> ---> LSU:

What in the world of edible grass happened in Baton Rouge on Saturday night? Mississippi State scored on the opening drive, then they went 98 yards on five plays to make it 14-0 by the end of the first quarter and led 17-3 at the half. A lead they would extend to 31-10 on the strength of two 75 yard-plus drives in the first six minutes of the second half. If not for a 25-yard fumble return for a score by LSU in between those drives, it could have been 31-3. The Bulldogs had five drives, five, of at least 73 yards on Saturday night on their way to 570 total yards (compared to 430 by LSU).

The Bayou Bengals made it close at the end behind backup quarterback Brandon Harris who found wide out Malachi Dupre for scores from 30 and 31 yards out in the final two minutes. LSU even got the ball back in the end with a chance to win, a game they had no business winning.

It wasn’t just that the Tigers lost for the first time at home, at night, against an unranked opponent under HC Les Miles. It wasn’t that LSU lost for the first time in Baton Rouge to Mississippi State since 1991. It was how they lost. Those 570 yards allowed were the most ever allowed by a Les Miles coached LSU team.

The Tigers were pushed around and MSU looked like the faster team. It’s not often you say this about LSU, but the other team just looked more physically gifted. Maybe this was Mississippi State’s coming out party. Maybe they’re a top-10 team and we just don’t know it yet. Maybe. But it says here that if LSU doesn’t play better than they did on Saturday night, we could be talking about a four or five loss season.

Stock Down ---> ---> ---> ACC:

We have been railing on the Big Ten all season and rightfully so, but in Week 4 it was the ACC that looked like the weak link in the power five.

For starters the ACC lost three head-to-head matchups against the Big Ten, two at home. Maryland handled Syracuse 34-20 and Iowa upset Pittsburgh 24-20. Then at night we saw Nebraska move the ball up and down the field against a Miami team that struggled to keep their composure in a 41-31 loss.

The Orange made too many mistakes on offense, so many that despite outgaining the Terps by 220 yards (589 to 369) they lost by two TDs (could have been three, as ‘Cuse scored with 48 seconds remaining). We’re taking turnovers (2-0), including a game-changing pick six deep in Maryland territory (88-yard return), and costly penalties that more than once took points off the board. Syracuse isn’t talented enough to make those types of mistakes and still win.

Pittsburgh dominated the first half, running the ball right down Iowa’s throat and quarterback Chad Voytik was making plays when he had to. Statistically, they seemed to do everything right: outgained Iowa by 124 yards, better on third downs (6/13 to 4/11), more first downs (24-17). The biggest difference was Iowa was a little more efficient with their drives. The Hawkeyes had drives of more than five plays just four times, but they scored on all four of those drives, including three TDs. Once Iowa’s run D picked it up in the second half, Pittsburgh couldn’t find the end zone. Voytik made some big throws early, when the running game was clicking, however when he has to be the one to win the game, he can’t.

In Lincoln, the Cornhuskers looked like an SEC team when they had the ball. Nebraska’s offense was more physical and faster than Miami’s defense. Trying to come back from a 10-point deficit in the third quarter the ‘Canes were trailing 24-21 and moving into Nebraska territory when Duke Johnson coughed it up leading to a 57-yard fumble return for a TD. That was too much to overcome. Ultimately it might not have mattered, because I’m not sure Miami’s defense was going to come up with a big stop anyway.

Outside of the ACC-Big Ten challenge we saw the ACC lose to two of the better schools outside the Power 5. A week after upsetting Virginia Tech, spoiling the Hokies upset of Ohio State, East Carolina continued to pilage the ACC by crushing North Carolina 70-41. The Tar Heels gave up 780 yards!

In Provo, the Virginia Cavaliers had BYU on upset alert but couldn’t hold on, blowing leads of 7-0, 10-3, 13-10 and 16-13 at the half. Like Pitt and ‘Cuse, the Cavs dominated the yardage battle (519 to 332) but lost where it counts, on the scoreboard. Giving up a 99-yard KR TD after cutting the lead to 34-26 midway through the fourth quarter was especially back breaking.

College Football Links:

Stock-Up Report: Florida State & BYU Pull Out Key Wins, Big Ten Bounces Back

 Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: danmogollon@gmail.com.

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