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College football Week 4 winners, losers, overreactions: Kicking blunders plague SEC teams, Oklahoma in trouble

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There’s one phrase that makes blood run cold from Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to Provo, Utah: College kickers. On Saturday, the fortunes of four SEC programs were changed in an instant by two college kickers missing critical kicks in painful fashion. 

Arkansas had a manageable 42-yarder to beat Texas A&M for a second straight season. The Razorbacks out-gained the Aggies by more than 80 yards and needed just one swing of the leg to remain ranked in the top 10. Unfortunately, Cam Little’s kick improbably bounced off the top of the upright — a doink unlike any in recent college football memory. 

All Missouri needed was for All-American kicker Harrison Mevis to make a 26-yard field goal. Easy enough, right? Mevis nailed 20 of 22 field goals last season, including three from more than 50 yards. A 26-yarder is child’s play … except not against Auburn on the Plains as Mevis shanked the kick to the right and the matchup went to overtime. The game swung again after Nathaniel Peat fumbled an open touchdown at the goal line, and that was that. The Tigers are still searching for their first Power Five win. 

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Here are more winners, losers and overreactions that highlighted the Week 4 action around the country. 

Winners

Kansas QB Jalon Daniels: Start the Jalon Daniels Heisman campaign. He’s been that ridiculously good through the Jayhawks’ 4-0 start. Daniels completed 83% of his passes for 324 yards, 83 yards rushing and accounted for five touchdowns in an emphatic 35-27 win over previously undefeated Duke. The junior from Lawndale, California, has been the catalyst for a Kansas program that had not won four games in a season in 13 years. He deserves the lion’s share of the on-field credit.

Tennessee: The Vols let things get a little hairy in the last five minutes thanks to some quick Florida touchdowns, but the performance was more dominant than the 38-33 final score. This was a coming-out party for Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker, who threw for 349 yards, rushed for 112 yards and had three touchdowns in a win over Florida. This was just the second Tennessee win over Florida since 2004, and gives the Volunteers a great chance to enter the AP top 10 when the polls come out on Sunday. 

Losers

Miami coach Mario Cristobal: The Hurricanes earned some early credit for beating up cupcakes, but the last two weeks have been a disaster. Miami had 27 first downs against Texas A&M, the most ever in a game without scoring a touchdown. On Saturday, a 45-31 embarrassment against Middle Tennessee sent any Miami hype train off the rails. Once-promising quarterback Tyler Van Dyke was benched after two interceptions, but rushing for fewer than 2 yards per carry and surrendering 500 yards to Middle Tennessee is nothing short of a disaster. Cristobal can’t blame talent in that kind of loss — this is coaching. 

Houston: The Cougars needed to score 10 unanswered points in the final five minutes to survive a challenge from 2-2 Rice. The Owls led for much of the game as the Coogs committed 10 penalties and turned the ball over to give Rice a chance. After the game, Houston coach Dana Holgorsen expressed frustration to the Houston Chronicle. 

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“I’m tired of yelling at them. Tired of motivating them. Tired of all that crap,” Holgorsen said. 

For a team that was thought at one point to be a serious contender for the New Year’s Six, narrowly avoiding a 1-3 start isn’t bringing many warm feelings.

Week 4 Overreactions

Oklahoma isn’t winning the Big 12: The Sooners flew up the polls after dominating an easy schedule featuring Nebraska, Kent State and UTEP. However, Kansas State to open Big 12 play was a rude awakening. The Wildcats scored more points (41) than the Sooners surrendered all season (30) thanks to a five-touchdown performance by Nebraska transfer QB Adrian Martinez. Suddenly, Brent Venables’ task in Norman feels far less turnkey than it did after eviscerating the rival Cornhuskers. Considering the depth the Big 12 showed in nonconference play, there are no easy games remaining. 

Kansas State has a tiebreaker over Oklahoma. Road trips to TCU, Iowa State and Texas Tech could be hairy. Battles with Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma State remain. There’s too many speed bumps for the Sooners to make it to Arlington if this is the Oklahoma we’re getting in 2022.  

Wisconsin isn’t Wisconsin anymore: Between 2004 and 2017, Wisconsin was close to the most consistent program in college football. The Badgers went 141-45 and finished ranked in 13 of the 16 seasons, including five top-five finishes. Losing to No. 3 Ohio State was expected, but a noncompetitive 52-21 decision to fall to 2-2 suddenly brings up some existential questions. 

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The Badgers have finished ranked just once in the last five years under Paul Chryst. After the loss today, the Badgers have no ranked teams left on their schedule. It’s unlikely they can show enough to fight back into the polls. Additionally, Wisconsin has just one Rose Bowl since 2012. At one point, this was a program that could measure success by trips to Pasadena. 

Chryst went 34-7 in his first three seasons. Since 2017, he is 33-18 — a fine record but not one that satisfies the Wisconsin standard. Complicating things is the fact that Wisconsin likely has one of the most attractive coaching candidates in the nation on its staff in defensive coordinator Jim Leonhard. 



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Canada's first-ever World Cup goal, even in blowout loss, sparks hope

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There is hope that Canada’s young group can continue to grow and emerge as a genuine force alongside the United States and Mexico in the CONCACAF region.



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Canada Player Ratings: Davies gets redemption, but World Cup hopes end

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AL RAYYAN, Qatar – The Canadian men’s national team’s first World Cup campaign in 36 years will end this Thursday.

Andrej Kramaric and Marko Livaja wiped out Alphonso Davies’ early opener 67 seconds in, the first Canadian goal at a men’s World Cup, to lift Croatia to a 4-1 win.

With the defeat, Canada will be eliminated at the group stage, regardless of Thursday’s result versus Morocco, to close out Group F action.

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Here are your on-the-whistle player ratings for every Canadian starter.

Ratings are based off a 10-point scale. Anything above a six, the usual average for soccer ratings, is considered solid or better.

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Milan Borjan (goalkeeper): 8/10

Before the second half, Milan Borjan was going to receive a lower rating.

His hesitancy to come off his line and collect passes that ran through was peculiar. It nearly allowed Livaja and Kramaric to latch onto what seemed to be lost causes.

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Then Borjan produced four solid saves, including on Kramaric in the 55th minute, to keep Canada within touching distance until the third goal, reminding us of his heroics during World Cup Qualifying.

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Alistair Johnston (right-back): 7/10

Considering he was isolated most of the night, Alistair Johnston coped well. It’s a tough assignment having to face either Ivan Perisic or Borna Sosa on your own.

Johnston went on to win four of his seven defensive duels. Not bad at all.

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Steven Vitoria (centre-back): 6/10

Vitoria’s decision to push up, which vacated a wide-open lane for Livaja right before halftime, was one of his glaring mistakes on the night.

As usual, Vitoria’s distribution was decent, albeit with a couple of misplaced passes under pressure, but he remained strong in the air.

Kamal Miller (centre-back): 4/10

Four days after his man-of-the-match performance, Kamal Miller did struggle more often against a rapid Croatian attack and midfield.

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Miller’s weaknesses defending on the turn and in the air were exposed on the first and third goals. The mishit clearance for the fourth didn’t help, either.

It’s a shame, too, after what was a tremendous display in transitional moments against Belgium.

Richie Laryea (left-back): 6/10

Sunday wasn’t as eventful for Richie Laryea but he was solid at the back when Canada needed him.

The only wish Canadians would’ve wanted from Laryea was to be more influential in the final third, but Croatia’s defence rendered that task moot.

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Tajon Buchanan (right winger): 7/10

A lively start for Tajon Buchanan was negated by lackadaisical defensive duties. It was clear that Croatia was exploiting the right side with Johnston the only player covering the entire flank.

But there’s no doubt that Buchanan was a live wire when asked to be, as he posed a constant threat in transition and assisted Davies’ opener.

Atiba Hutchinson (midfielder): 5/10

It was apparent that Atiba Hutchinson, on three days’ rest at age 39, was struggling to keep up with the pace of play.

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Croatia’s midfield might have 37-year-old Luka Modric, but they still play incredibly slick and fluid football. Unfortunately, Hutchinson learned that the hard way.

The fact he stayed on the pitch for 73 minutes is quite surprising considering those struggles.

Stephen Eustaquio (midfielder): 9/10

Before he withdrew with a suspected injury, Stephen Eustaquio was terrific yet again.

He didn’t misplace a single pass on 27 attempts, and completed five clearances, a tackle and an interception before he checked out of the game at halftime.

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Depending on the severity of his injury, this could be a major blow for Canada ahead of the Morocco match on Thursday.

Alphonso Davies (left-winger): 8/10

Credit Alphonso Davies. The Bayern Munich superstar scored the first-ever Canadian men’s national team goal at the World Cup after one of the most heartbreaking moments in the squad’s history. That takes incredible mental strength.

He also tried to will his team back into the match after going 2-1 down by taking on Croatia’s defence, often on his own. The final ball didn’t always come off – he completed two of six dribbles and one key pass – but credit Davies for trying.

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Jonathan David (forward): 6/10

David looked timid and hesitant compared to the Belgium match. He was so eager to score in the opener that perhaps he was more selective with his shooting on Sunday.

Cyle Larin (forward): 5/10

After a strong performance against Belgium, Larin was relatively anonymous. He didn’t have a single shot and finished with just 14 touches.

Larin is a forward who needs to be actively involved, so the fact he was so invisible didn’t help unlock his best qualities.

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Croatia's Andrej Kramaric scores goal vs. Canada in 70' | 2022 FIFA World Cup

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Watch Croatia’s Andrej Kramaric scoring a goal against Canada in the 70′ in the 2022 Men’s FIFA World Cup.



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