I always get excited about the upcoming week of college football games, but the Week 4 schedule for FBS college football teams offered little to get excited about. The Week 4 schedule offered only one match-up of ranked teams facing each other and had little else to get excited about with the match-ups on paper. And, the week delivered about as much excitement as it promised – that is, very little – relatively. Perhaps this was just an anomaly created by schedules that are put in place years in advance. Perhaps this is one more reason to ensure strength of schedule is one of the criteria considered to select playoff teams in future years. Or, perhaps this is just the calm before the storm.
Every year seems to have at least one ho-hum week. In 2013 it was week 4; let’s hope it is the only one we get. And, yet, we still have an award to grant to one of the few teams that provided something to get excited about. So, let’s take a look at what happened in Week 4.
WEEK 4 RECAP
Of the 59 FBS games on the Week 4 schedule, only 21 games were won by teams that trailed at one point or another in the game. Thirty-eight teams won their games without ever trailing – and, in most of those games, it was never even close.
This week did include the oddity of a high scoring game in which the winning team won by only 3 points, yet never trailed in the game. That game resulted in Pittsburgh’s very first win in their new conference, the ACC, as they outlasted Duke 58 – 55 on Tom Savage’s 6 TD passes.
Week 4 did include 6 games in which the winning team had to overcome double-digit deficits. Those games included:
Oregon State’s 34 – 30 victory over San Diego State, coming back from 13 points down;
Georgia Tech’s 13 point come-from-behind victory over North Carolina, 28 – 20;
Michigan’s second week in a row, come-from-behind victory, avoiding a huge upset, beating Connecticut 24 – 21 after trailing by 14;
Old Dominion’s exciting (see, there was some excitement in week 4) 59 – 58 victory over the Citidal coming back from 14 down;
Rutger’s huge win over the SEC’s Arkansas Razorbacks 28 – 24 after trailing by 17;
And, this week’s Safe Harbor Consulting College Football Crisis Management Award winners, Northern Illinois coming back from a 20 point deficit to defeat Eastern Illinois, 43 – 39.
The Eastern Illinois Panthers came into Huskie Stadium in Dekalb, IL looking for their third win in a row over an in-state rival after besting Illinois State and Southern Illinois the previous two Saturdays. The Northern Illinois Huskies were happy to finally host a home game after starting the season with two wins on the road. One team was going to get their first loss of the season – and the other would win the Safe Harbor Consulting College Football Crisis Management Award for Week 4.
The Panthers received the opening kickoff and methodically went on a 9 play, 75 yard drive ending with a Jimmy Garoppolo 14 yard touchdown pass to Erik Lora. The Panthers then failed on their two-point conversion to lead the game early, 6 – 0.
The Panthers then surprised Northern Illinois with an on-side kick that they quickly recovered and were back in business on the Huskie’s 43 yard line. This time, the drive was all of 1 play, a Garoppolo to Adam Drake 43 yard bomb. And, before the Huskies had even run their first offensive play of the day, Eastern Illinois was on top 13 – 0.
The Huskies didn’t do anything with their first possession and punted the ball right back to the hungry Panthers who lined up to start their third drive of the game from their own 35. Nine plays later they were back into the end zone on the third touchdown pass of the 1st quarter – this one a 13 yard pass from Garoppolo to Keiondre Gober. And, with 7:29 still left in the 1st quarter, the Huskies, who had run all of 3 plays for a total of 3 yards, were trailing 20 – 0. The good news, of course, there was still over 3½ quarters of football left to be played and the Huskies were getting mad.
Northern Illinois started on their journey back into the game with an 8 play, 60 yard drive that ended on a 5 yard Cameron Stingily touchdown run. The Huskies tried their own two-point conversion and came up short.
It looked like Eastern Illinois was going to get those points right back as they drove the ball down the field, but their drive was thwarted when Garoppolo’s pass was picked off by Marlon Moore at the Northern Illinois 16. Following a penalty on the interception return, the Huskies lined up at their own 4 yard line to start their next drive.
On 1st and 10 from their own 4, Jordan Lynch connected with Da’Ron Brown for 51 yards and, just like that, the Huskies were into Panther territory. And, on the same drive, two plays into the 2nd quarter, the Huskies were back in the end zone on another Stingily 5 yard run. The Huskies were now back to within a touchdown at 20 – 13.
After Eastern Illinois punted on their next possession, Jordan Lynch’s long bomb on 1st down was picked off by Jourdan Wickliffe at the Panther’s 6 yard line. A few plays later, Eastern Illinois turned the ball back over to the Huskies on the Panther’s 39 yard line. Jordan Lynch then ran for 32 yards before tossing a 3 yard touchdown pass to Luke Eakes, tying the game up at 20 – 20.
The two teams then took a break from the scoring frenzy and exchanged a few punts before Northern Illinois’ Mathew Sims hit an 18 yard field goal with time running out in the first half to give the Huskies a 23 – 20 point lead – overcoming the early 20 point deficit.
The Huskies were the first team to score in the 3rd quarter on a Keith Harris Jr 9 yard TD run. After falling quickly behind by 20 points, the Huskies had managed to put 30 straight points of their own on the board. But, the Panthers weren’t dead yet and there was still a lot of football yet to be played.
On Eastern Illinois’ next possession, Jimmy Garoppolo threw touchdown pass number 4 to Erik Lora from 33 yards out. Following another failed two-point conversion attempt, the Panthers were back to within 4, 30 – 26.
Mathew Sims put the Huskies back up by 7 on a 33 yard field goal. Eastern Illinois would then end the 3rd quarter on a long drive in an attempt to tie the game back up. On the 1st play of the 4th quarter, the Panthers successfully completed their game tying drive with Garoppolo’s 5th TD pass of the day, this one to Adam Drake from 15 yards out and the game was tied 33 – 33.
Northern Illinois would respond with another Mathew Sims field goal, this one good from 37 yards out, and the Huskies were back on top 36 – 33. But, Jimmy Garoppolo’s day was not yet over. TD pass number 6, to Erik Lora from 10 yards out, put the Panthers back on top – but the missed extra point – the third failed conversion for the Panthers on the day, left the score 39 – 36.
The Huskies had overcome a 20 point deficit early in the game, but then gave up a 10 point lead of their own. Now, they were on the wrong side of the scoreboard once again with just under 10:00 left to play – no worries.
Aided by a Cameron Stingily 46 yard run, the Huskies scored another go-ahead touchdown on a Keith Harris Jr 8 yard run and were back on top 43 – 39.
After forcing Eastern Illinois to punt the ball with just over 5:00 left in the game, the Huskies were able to run the clock all the way down to all zeros to secure the Week 4 Safe Harbor Consulting College Football Crisis Management Award.
SAFE HARBOR CONSULTING
Businesses, just like college football teams, can experience huge deficits from business interruption events in which they must rally from behind to stay in the game. In the area of Crisis Management, game day is the arrival of the tornado; the coming floods; the day the hurricane strikes; a fire; a regional pandemic; technology failures; or any of a variety of risks and threats that can interrupt your business processes and/or the technologies that support them. And, just like college football teams, your ability to overcome these deficits is directly related to the time and effort you put into planning your strategies and practicing your emergency response, business continuity and disaster recovery plays.
Safe Harbor Consulting has assisted companies and organizations, large and small, in preparing and exercising their crisis management and business continuity playbooks. To learn more about how Safe Harbor Consulting can help you prepare for your greatest comeback, please visit our website at www.safeharborconsulting.biz; visit us on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Safe-Harbor-Consulting/204353729604053; or, call us at (253) 509-0233.
Congratulations to the Northern Illinois Huskies for overcoming adversity and rallying back from the largest deficit faced by a winning team during Week 4 of the 2013 college football season. The Week 5 schedule looks a little more promising than Week 4 – we can hardly wait.
Week 4 – Honorable Mention
Rutgers coming from 17 behind to beat Arkansas 28 – 24
Week 3 – Winner (To read the Week 3 article, click here.)
UNLV coming from 21 behind to beat Central Michigan 31 – 21
Week 2 – Winner (To read the Week 2 article, click here.)
SMU coming from 17 behind to beat Montana State 31 – 30
Week 1 – Winners (To read the Week 1 article, click here.)
North Dakota State coming from 14 behind to beat Kansas State 24 -21
Troy coming from 14 behind to beat UAB 34 – 31