Vols, Longhorns find new ways to fall flat on their faces

If misery does love company, at least Arkansas coach Bret Bielema won't be lonely.

On what was supposed to be a rather mundane Saturday in college football, we were once again shown how fleeting glory can be and reminded that the agony of defeat sometimes surpasses the thrill of victory.

Sure, the fourth weekend of the season provided us with another signature moment, when TCU's Aaron Green caught a tipped pass in the end zone with 23 seconds left to beat Texas Tech 55-52 in a victory that might have saved the No. 3 Horned Frogs' College Football Playoff dreams.

We witnessed another jaw-dropping performance by LSU running back Leonard Fournette, who ran for 244 yards with two touchdowns in the No. 8 Tigers' 34-24 win at Syracuse. And maybe we're beginning to see what Jim Harbaugh really means to Michigan, as the Wolverines shut out No. 22 BYU 31-0 at the Big House.

No. 9 UCLA and No. 18 Utah left us wondering if they're not the teams to beat in the Pac-12. The Bruins steamrolled No. 16 Arizona 56-30 on the road, and the Utes embarrassed No. 13 Oregon 62-20 in Eugene. The Ducks, who really miss Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota, lost for the second time and are probably out of playoff consideration only a month into the season.

But the real drama Saturday occurred when Tennessee and Texas came up with entirely new ways to blow football games, and the UTs did it almost simultaneously.

The Volunteers blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter for the second time this season and the second time in as many years against Florida and lost to the Gators 28-27 at the Swamp.

Leading 27-14 with less than five minutes to play, the Volunteers surrendered two touchdowns, the second on freshman quarterback Will Grier's 63-yard pass to freshman receiver Antonio Callaway on a fourth-and-14 play with 1:26 to go.

Tennessee's Aaron Medley missed a 55-yard field goal wide right on the final play of the game. It was the Volunteers' 11th consecutive loss to the Gators, and this one will probably hurt more than any of the others. Last season, UT blew a 9-0 lead in the fourth quarter of a 10-9 loss to the Gators.

"I think, down deep, you just don't lose to Tennessee," first-year Florida coach Jim McElwain said. "And they didn't."


Tennessee coach Butch Jones, whose team squandered a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter of a 31-24 overtime loss to Oklahoma on Sept. 12, will undoubtedly be criticized for his game management against the Gators. After Jalen Hurd put the Vols in front 27-14 with a 10-yard run with 10:19 to play, Jones elected to kick an extra point and not try a two-point conversion, which would have given his team a two-touchdown lead.

"We have a chart that is pretty standard in football, first of all, and maps it all," Jones said. "We just felt like at that stage in the game that we had great confidence in our defense of getting off the football field and allowing them to push the ball down the field, so we felt very comfortable with the decision."

After Callaway's long touchdown put the Gators ahead by a point, the Volunteers got the ball back with 1:16 to go. They ran only five plays and were forced to use their final timeout and try a long field goal at the end because they were penalized for having too many players on the field. If they hadn't used the timeout, a 10-second runoff would have ended the game.

"You just have to keep grinding as a football team and a football program," Jones said. "That's all I can say. Our players work exceptionally hard. I know that doesn't help matters. It stings. But with anything in life, the ability to preserve and show resiliency, you keep grinding, you keep pounding the rock every day, and you keep going."

At least Tennessee fans won't be the only ones lying in bed Sunday morning with covers over the heads, wondering, "Did that really just happen again?"

Texas, which lost to California 45-44 last week after kicker Nick Rose missed an extra point with 1:11 left, found another inexplicable way to lose in a 30-27 loss to Oklahoma State on Saturday. The Longhorns fell to 1-3 for the first time since 1956, the year before legendary coach Darrell Royal arrived in Austin.

Thanks to two defensive touchdowns, the Longhorns were leading the No. 24 Cowboys 27-24 late in the fourth quarter. The Pokes had the ball near midfield, and then Texas was called for penalties on consecutive plays. The second flag -- for defensive holding on a running play -- sent UT coach Charlie Strong over the edge. He was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct, which gave OSU a first down at the Texas 19. Ben Grogan kicked a 41-yard field goal to tie the score at 27 with 1:33 to play.

"We sat there with a three‐point lead and probably shouldn't have got the call I got, but I got upset and got to learn to just control my composure," Strong said.

The Longhorns took over at their 25-yard line and quickly went three-and-out. On fourth-and-11 at the 24, UT punter Michael Dickson dropped the snap and then shanked a punt out of bounds at the Texas 18.

The Cowboys ran one play before Grogan kicked a 40-yard field goal to hand the Longhorns a second consecutive gut-wrenching defeat.

"Two straight Saturdays, you had it right there in your hands and let it slip away," Strong said. "We have to play better and just learn how to finish. We just can't finish right now."

While Texas' misery was self-inflicted, Texas Tech fans are reeling because of unfortunate luck. With the Red Raiders leading 52-48 in a wild game in Lubbock, Texas, TCU faced fourth-and-goal at the Tech 4. Horned Frogs quarterback Trevone Boykin threw a pass high into the end zone, and receiver Josh Doctson tipped the ball. It landed in Green's hands, and he was able to get his foot down before falling out of bounds.

Just like that, the Horned Frogs had saved themselves.

"If you're going to have a special season, somebody has to make a special play," TCU coach Gary Patterson said.

The Longhorns and Volunteers know that all too well.

Playoff teams after Week 4

1. Ohio State: Cardale Jones played better in a one-quarterback system. He completed 19 of 33 passes for 288 yards with two touchdowns in a 38-12 win over Western Michigan. J.T. Barrett played the final six-and-a-half minutes and threw an interception on his first drive.

2. Michigan State: The Spartans were sluggish in a 30-10 victory over Central Michigan, as they led by only a touchdown in the fourth quarter before breaking it open in the final nine minutes. Worse, they might have lost All-Big Ten offensive tackle Jack Conklin to a knee injury.

3. UCLA: The Bruins turned in perhaps the most impressive Week 4 performance by dismantling No. 16 Arizona in Tucson 56-30. They look like the Pac-12's leading playoff candidates. Running backs Paul Perkins and Soso Jamabo combined for 181 rushing yards and four touchdowns, and freshman quarterback Josh Rosen passed for 284 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

4. TCU: The Horned Frogs barely survived a 55-52 win at Texas Tech. They scored the winning touchdown off a tipped ball in the end zone with 23 seconds to go. TCU's banged-up defense allowed 607 yards of offense, and the Horned Frogs had 750 yards.

Next four in contention

1. Ole Miss: It wasn't until Jaylen Walton's 3-yard touchdown with 2:41 remaining in the fourth quarter that the Rebels could feel safe against Vanderbilt, with a 27-16 lead. Turnovers, penalties and poor red zone execution on the part of Ole Miss kept the Commodores close. The Rebels visit Florida next week.

2. Baylor: The Bears closed the preseason by walloping Rice 70-17 at home. Baylor piled up 793 yards of offense, a good sign heading into next week's Big 12 opener against Texas Tech. Quarterback Seth Russell completed 12 of 16 passes for 277 yards with six touchdowns.

3. Notre Dame: After a slow start against UMass, the Fighting Irish scored 41 straight points to pull away with a 62-27 win at home. Quarterback DeShone Kizer threw for 207 yards with two touchdowns, and two Irish backs ran for more than 130 yards. The Irish get a big test next week at Clemson.

4.Georgia: The Bulldogs didn't look great in the first half against FCS member Southern, but they scored four touchdowns in the third quarter to put away the Jaguars 48-6 at Sanford Stadium. UGA's most difficult test comes next week at home against Alabama.

Heisman candidates

1. Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU: Fournette sure looks like the Heisman front-runner now, after becoming the first LSU player to run for more than 200 yards in consecutive games. He had 244 yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns in a 34-24 win at Syracuse, with 172 yards coming before contact.

2. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia: After a slow start, Chubb finished with 131 yards with three total touchdowns in a 48-6 rout of FCS member Southern. It was Chubb's 12th consecutive game with 100 or more rushing yards, which tied Herschel Walker's UGA record.

3. Trevone Boykin, QB, TCU: Boykin seems to be willing the injury-plagued Horned Frogs along. He completed 34 of 54 passes for 485 yards with four touchdowns and ran for 42 yards in the win at Texas Tech.

4. Ezekiel Elliott, RB, Ohio State: Elliott ran for 124 yards with one touchdown against Western Michigan for his fourth consecutive 100-yard game to start the season. He's averaging 5.4 yards per carry.

Tweets of the night

1. Special teams commiseration.

2. Whitt Face.

3. Shaq called it.

4. Sorry, Hoosiers, fans

Best moments

1. Former New York Yankees captain Derek Jeter might have been Michigan's good luck charm. Wolverines coach Jim Harbaugh presented Jeter with a Michigan jersey before his team's 31-0 victory over BYU.

2. An Army wide receiver named Edgar Allan Poe -- yes, that's his actual name -- caught a 10-yard touchdown in the Black Knights' 58-36 win at Eastern Michigan.

3. Who said punters aren't athletic? Syracuse's Riley Dixon hurdled a defender for a first down on a fake punt and then nearly decked an LSU player during the celebration.

4. Boston College quarterback Troy Flutie -- nephew of you-know-who -- threw a touchdown pass in his first career start and led the Eagles to a 17-14 win over Northern Illinois.

Best plays

1. Michigan's De'Veon Smith looked stuffed for a short gain, but then he broke through the line of scrimmage and went through a BYU defender for a 60-yard touchdown run in the Wolverines' 31-0 shutout of the Cougars.

2. Not to be outdone, Michigan receiver Amara Darboh, who became a U.S. citizen on Thursday, made a spectacular, one-handed catch reminiscent of Odell Beckham Jr.'s catch last season.

3. It wasn't exactly how the coach drew it up, but South Carolina's Pharoh Cooper turned a busted trick play into a 29-yard touchdown with some nifty moves in the Gamecocks' 31-14 win over UCF.

4. Bowling Green's Travis Greene broke a couple of tackles and scored on a 12-yard run with nine seconds left to beat Purdue 35-28 on the road.

Worst plays

1. With Texas and Oklahoma State tied at 27 with 42 seconds to play, Longhorns punter Michael Dickson let the snap go through his hands. His punt for a 6-yard loss set up Oklahoma State's winning field goal.

2. Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Randolph literally dropped the ball, and Texas defensive tackle Hassan Ridgeway scooped it up and returned it 34 yards for a score.

3. It was really hard to tell exactly where Alabama quarterback Jake Coker was throwing the ball on his first interception in the Tide's 34-0 win over Louisiana-Monroe.

4. NBA Hall of Famer Karl Malone was caught using what looked like a flip phone during LSU's game at Syracuse. The phone looked so old, we're not even sure it's safe to say he was texting. Malone's son K.J. plays on LSU's offensive line.

Quotes of the night

1. "Instead of kind of being the hunted so much, it kind of equals out when you get into conference play because we're all playing for those glass trophies that I've got sitting in my office." -- Baylor coach Art Briles

2. "It's up there. I don't know if it's Sugar Bowl-caliber or one of two of the other ones, but it's a great road win for our team. They really controlled the game from start to finish." -- Utah coach Kyle Whittingham on his team's big win at Oregon

3. "We played much better on offensive line [and] controlled the line of scrimmage. The receivers had a very good day. Offensively, it's close." -- Ohio State coach Urban Meyer

4. "I just told him it was an honor to meet him. He's one of the legends. He told me I did a great job, and he was going to continue to pray for my success. I looked him up and Jim Brown up. They were the greats. Syracuse started Running Back U." -- Fournette on meeting legendary running back Floyd Little

Stats that matter

1. 25: Years since Indiana started a season with a 4-0 record. The Hoosiers defeated Wake Forest 31-24 on Saturday and moved to 4-0 for the first time since 1990.

2. 31: Kansas lost its 31st consecutive road game 27-14 at Rutgers, which gives the Jayhawks the longest road losing streak since the FBS/FCS split in 1978. Kansas State (1985-91) and Akron (2008-13) lost 30 straight road games.

3. 31: Michigan's 31-0 shutout of No. 22 BYU was its second-largest defeat of a ranked team in school history. The Wolverines shut out No. 8 Minnesota 34-0 in 1954.

4. 73: Career rushing touchdowns for Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who had three in the Midshipmen's 28-18 victory at Connecticut. Reynolds tied former Miami, Ohio, running back Travis Prentice for second most in FBS history and is only four shy of former Wisconsin tailback Montee Ball's record of 77.