College football Week 4 recap: Best highlights and takeaways

ByESPN Staff via ESPN logo
Monday, September 26, 2022
ESPN

Week 4 gave us plenty of moments to write home about. From Kansas reaching a 4-0 status (yes, the Jayhawks are in fact the real deal), to one of the most incredible plays of the entire year, we got a little bit of everything that makes college football great.

Wildest play

Watch this play. Then watch it over and over and over again. Not only is it incredible, but it might have saved Texas A&M's season, as the Aggies held on for a 23-21 win over Arkansas.

It's one of the wildest plays not just of the weekend but the entire 2022 season.

Let the Heisman campaigning begin

Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels made no preseason watch lists before the season began. But through four games, he is making everyone sit up and take notice. Daniels has emerged as an efficient, prolific dual-threat quarterback who can do it all -- run, throw, and yes, even kick.

"I was able to punt the ball my freshman year once and I've just been waiting for them to call that play again," Daniels said. "So it felt nice to be able to show that I'm able to do a few more things."

He has already done plenty. Against Duke, Daniels threw for 324 yards and ran for another 83, scoring five times. He scored five times the week before in an upset win over Houston, making him the first quarterback in school history with multiple games scoring five or more touchdowns. The fast start to the season has all led to some early Heisman talk and a little creativity from the Kansas social media team.

After the game, coach Lance Leipold was asked whether Daniels and Heisman should be said in the same sentence. Leipold had to stop himself after starting, "That's not for ..." before changing course and saying, "You know, he's a heck of a player. So yeah, I'm all for it. Who's ever running the campaign? Let's get it going. I don't vote. I just say this: He's done a heck of a job getting a lot of people to take notice and take this program seriously."-- Andrea Adelson

Best upset

Middle Tennessee's 45-31 victory over Miami was consequential in the way that a major upset -- Miami was a 25.5-point favorite -- always is.It became even more so with the way that three different plays or clips ended up going viral.

First, you had an atrocious run play that was most noteworthy for how much worse it could have been.

How there wasn't a fumble, or some sort of desperate heave returned for a touchdown at the end, is beyond me. It seemed that's where things were headed. Either way, this play summarized Miami's general level of synchronicity -- or complete and total lack thereof -- for most of the first three quarters or so as the Canes fell behind by three touchdowns on two occasions.

Then you had the knockout blow, a spectacular 1-2 combination of a fourth-and-goal stop and a 98-yard touchdown pass that put the game out of reach just as Miami looked like it was getting its act together.

Finally, you had the postgame interview, in which a fired-up Rick Stockstill, Middle Tennessee's coach and a proud former Florida State quarterback, said, "I know [in] Tallahassee, I know they're pretty excited about the mighty Blue Raiders kicking the Hurricanes' tail. 'Cause we kicked their tail, I ain't afraid to say it."-- Bill Connelly

Best fan moment of the week

SMU honored late fan Paul Layne before Saturday's rivalry game with TCU, celebrating the life of a devoted supporter who didn't miss a Mustangs game for 50 years.

Layne was a freshman cheerleader at SMU in 1972, and didn't miss a single game until this season -- making 542 straight Mustangs games, even in the bleak post-NCAA Death Penalty years -- and was permitted to watch games in person during the pandemic to keep the streak intact, often taking his place alongside the cardboard cutouts of fans.

Layne missed his first game on Sept. 3, when he was hospitalized with a blood clot. His family and friends wore "I am Paul Layne" shirts in his place in the first two games of the season. Layne died on Sept. 12 at 68.

On Saturday, before first the Mustangs' first home game since his passing, SMU passed out stickers and pins featuring a megaphone that said "542" with Layne's name on them in the press box and honored his family during a pregame ceremony.

SMU coach Rhett Lashley said last week that Layne was one of the first people he met when he was hired at SMU in 2018, and that he will be missed.

"Whether it was [former coach] Sonny [Dykes] or others, there was an outpouring of love and support for his family," SMU coach Rhett Lashlee said. "He will be missed, but boy, he made an impact on everybody he touched."

Lashlee marveled at Layne's dedication.

"It's incredible. Whether it's just a normal illness or a canceled flight, there's all kinds of things that could prevent it. But 542 straight games is remarkable," Lashlee said. "A very familiar face we're going to miss."-- Dave Wilson

A wild day in Texas

As the Lone Star State turns, it was a wild day for the state's Top 25 teams. We'll start out in Lubbock, first-year Texas Tech coach Joey McGuire landed a win over No. 22 Texas as Red Raiders fans stormed the field after a 37-34 overtime win over Texas in what is likely the Longhorns' last visit to Lubbock for the foreseeable future with an SEC departure on the horizon.

It was a short honeymoon for the Longhorns, who felt like they were turning the corner after a close loss to Alabama and then a gritty win over UTSA. The Red Raiders are now 3-1 after wins over No. 25 Houston, No. 22 Texas, and a 27-14 loss on the road at No. 16 NC State. McGuire, known for his energy, was animated after the win.

No. 23 Texas A&M grabbed a victory over No. 10 Arkansas, helped in large part by Demani Richardson ripping the ball from a teammate after a fumble recovery and racing 82 yards to kick-start the Aggies, who had sleepwalked through the first quarter without making a first down and having only 28 total yards before scoring 23 consecutive points. Then, they watched Arkansas line up for a potential game-winning field goal with 1:30 left, before it hit the top of the upright and bounced into the air, falling short of the crossbar.

No. 17 Baylor survived a trip to Iowa State, beating the Cyclones 31-24 to end ISU's streak of 11 straight home wins over Big 12 teams. The Bears' defense held Iowa State to 2.4 yards per carry and picked off two passes by Hunter Dekker. Even the normally stoic Dave Aranda was amped during this one.-- Wilson

Was that score really 98-0?

When Lamar elected to return to the Southland Conference this past summer, after just one year in the Western Athletic Conference, other WAC teams had to scramble to fill holes in the schedule. There are only so many options available for such a thing, so for Family Weekend in Nacogdoches, Stephen F. Austin arranged to play the NAIA's Warner University.

Warner isn't just any NAIA team, however. The Royals rank 89th out of 98 teams in my NAIA SP+ rankings. They had lost to two other NAIA teams by a combined 93-29 and had fallen to Division II power West Florida 52-3 in a game they trailed 45-0 at halftime. This was destined to be a massive blowout.

It was even worse than expected. SFA scored 28 points -- two off of long touchdown passes, two off of fumble returns -- in the game's first six minutes, then added 31 more points before halftime. Four different Lumberjack quarterbacks threw touchdown passes, and after a punt return score made it 85-0 with 6:58 left, Warner immediately threw an interception, and SFA made it 92-0 with 6:32 left. And then Warner fumbled the kickoff. And SFA scored again. They kneeled out a 2-point conversion to stop at 98 points, and Warner stopped self-destructing long enough for the clock to run out. SFA fell seven points short of the FCS single-game scoring record (set by Portland State in 1980), but everyone involved seemed OK with that. -- Connelly

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