Florida State’s Resolve, Mississippi State’s Resilience, and Other Takeaways From Week 4

Week 4 of the college football season didn’t disappoint. Here are the most important takeaways from what transpired on the gridiron:

  • Florida State is still the favorite to win the national championship. While Saturday night’s win wasn’t pretty, it demonstrated the Noles’ ability to overcome adversity.

  • Deshaun Watson will likely be the starting quarterback for Clemson going forward. Sure, the Tigers didn’t beat the Seminoles, but Watson’s ability to elude the rush and keep plays going gives the Clemson offense a completely different dimension.

  • Mississippi State is a contender in the SEC West. Given that the Bulldogs were only 1-14 against top division contenders Alabama, Auburn, and LSU under his leadership, many in the media snickered when head coach Dan Mullen predicted that this year’s team would compete for the SEC West title. However, MSU proved itself last night, rolling up 572 yards of total offense against a usually stout Tiger defense, while limiting the Bayou Bengal ground game to just 89 yards on 36 carries.

  • So much for the nickname, “Fail State.”

  • As for LSU, it’ll be interesting to see what Les Miles does at quarterback. Brandon Harris sparked the offense to two touchdowns drives in the fourth quarter, and was just a tipped ball away from leading the Tigers to a come-from-behind victory. With numbers like that, it’s going to be tough to leave him sitting on the sideline for very long, especially if the ground game struggles in divisional play.

  • The Big Ten proved that it’s not necessarily out of the College Football Playoff picture just yet by going 4-1 against the Power 5 conferences this weekend. That raises the league’s overall record against the Big Boys to 5-11. Although that’s still not ideal, it’s a huge step up from the 1-10 mark it had entering this week’s action.

  • Of those victories, Indiana’s was by the far biggest for the league. By defeating Missouri – which many expect to win the SEC East again this year – on the road, the Hoosiers have emerged as a contender to win the Big Ten East Division.

  • Not bad for a team that many gave up on after last week’s 45-42 loss to Bowling Green.

  • Is Brady Hoke toast? That’s still tough to say. While some experts have suggested that the Wolverines have problems the head coach just won’t fix, it’s also worth noting that the defense has yet to allow an opponent to gain more than 300 yards in a game this year.

About Terry P. Johnson

Terry Johnson is the Associate Editor for The Student Section. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the National Football Foundation.