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Lambert Meadowlands Trophy Week 4: Penn State Last Unbeaten Standing In Northeast

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The Lions move to 4-0 on the year. Pitt, Boston College and Rutgers all claim this week's second spot with 3-1 marks.

Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports

Keeping track of how the 10 programs vying for this year's Lambert-Meadowlands trophy fared last week, and a look ahead to next weekend's action.

Standings

Team Overall Conf Next
1. Penn State Nittany Lions 4-0 1-0 Northwestern
2t. Pittsburgh Panthers 3-1 1-0 Akron
2t. Boston College Eagles 3-1 0-1 Colorado State
2t. Rutgers Scarlet Knights 3-1 0-1 Tulane
5t. Syracuse Orange 2-1 0-0 Notre Dame
5t. Temple Owls 2-1 0-0 @ Connecticut
7. Buffalo Bulls 2-2 0-0 Miami (Ohio)
8. Army Black Knights 1-2 -- @ Yale
9. Connecticut Huskies 1-3 0-1 Temple
10. Massachusetts Minutemen 0-4 0-0 Bowling Green

Week 4 Results

Penn State 48, Massachusetts 7

Iowa 24, Pittsburgh 20
Maryland 34, Syracuse 20
Boston College 40, Maine 10
Rutgers 31, Navy 24
Wake Forest 24, Army 21
Temple 59, Delaware State 0
Buffalo 36, Norfolk State 7
South Florida 17, Connecticut 14

In the only meeting between Lambert Meadowlands eligible teams this week, Penn State rolled UMass, 48-7, sending the Minutemen home with an 0-4 non-conference record but a nice little chunk of change for their efforts. Penn State punted on its first offensive possession but scored on its next EIGHT (two field goals and six touchdowns) in a rout. It was the most points Penn State scored since a 52-3 win over FCS Eastern Illinois on Oct. 10, 2009.

The boys over at Black Shoe Diaries would like to thank UMass for the opportunity to hold an in-season practice four weeks into the year.

The Lions could have just as easily been 1-2 as they were 3-0 heading into today's game with Massachusetts. They probably would absolutely have come into this game under .500 if not for the magic summoned on a weekly basis by Christian Hackenberg and the vastly-improved defensive scheming brought to the program by new coordinator Bob Shoop. Hell, they even struggled with Akron for three quarters.

That's why, even with all the complaining that paying ticket holders dish out every year, a team like UMass is scheduled. I don't mean any disrespect to UMass and, maybe, I shouldn't even give them this distinction after their performances against Colorado and Vanderbilt this year, but games such as this are a scrimmage. They're scheduled so that the team can work on the flaws that have been investigated and established through summer practice and the early non-conference schedule.

And Penn State had a glaring one through three games.

Penn State stays home this week as they host the hapless Northwestern Wildcats in State College, while UMass returns to McGuirk Stadium for the first time since moving up to the FBS level as the Minutemen host Bowling Green on Saturday. Despite starting the season 0-4--against four power conference teams, mind you--UMass apparently thinks it can still win the MAC and go to a bowl game, which, adorbs.

With the victory, Penn State moves to 4-0; the only unbeaten left standing in the Northeast. That's because...Pitt gonna Pitt.

The Panthers blew a 17-7 halftime lead as Iowa rallied for a 24-20 victory over Pitt on Saturday. The Hawkeyes scored 17 second-half points after starting quarterback Jake Rudock was spelled by C.J. Beathard. Though Pitt running back James Conner finished with another 155 yards on the ground, he was held in check for the second half.

For Pitt, the game came down to a series of missed opportunities:

This one was really just about missed opportunities. Pitt couldn't capitalize at the end of the half with a late score, couldn't stop Iowa on numerous 4th and short plays, couldn't stop a backup quarterback chucking the ball all over the field, couldn't get more than one second-half scoring drive. The Panthers just didn't make enough plays and unfortunately, they learned games are about two halves. It's easy to come out of this believing that Pitt is a better team and the box score is an indication of that. But as I said in my Q&A with Black Heart Gold Pants, the better team doesn't always win. In close games, it comes down to making the plays at the right time - Iowa did and Pitt didn't.

With the loss, Pitt falls back into a three-way tie with BC and Rutgers for second in this week's standings (though claims a head-to-head win over BC, obvi). The schedule the rest of the way is far more manageable for Pitt than it is BC -- especially given the Coastal Division tire fire -- but the loss to Iowa may be just what BC needed to jump right back into this thing.

While Syracuse fans were feeling good coming off a 40-3 dismantling of Central Michigan, the Orange faithful came crashing back down to earth in a 34-20 loss to briefly-former-conference-mate-perhaps-even-a-rival Maryland.

Take it away, Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician:

Offensively, you know the numbers that the Orange put up (above), but we're not done being frustrating just yet. Repeatedly stalling out on Maryland's side of the field, the SU offense was -- at times -- sick performance art, or the most tragic comedy you could witness. Any momentum that got them into scoring range was quickly wiped out by penalties, questionable play-calls, a failure to execute, or all three in an effort that gives fans as many people to blame as they could possibly ever want. The following shows you Syracuse's offensive drives in the game. Try not to scream:

Screen_shot_2014-09-20_at_1.36.45_pm_medium_medium

Classic Spaz ball.

In other weekend action: Rutgers took care of business against Navy, winning 31-24. It wasn't all good news for the Scarlet Knights, however, as the team lost star running back Paul James to a torn ACL. He's done for the season.

Wake Forest WON A FOOTBALL GAME against an FBS opponent, edging Army 24-21. Temple pasted a school called Delaware State, 59-0. Buffalo coasted past Norfolk State (not the prison), 36-7.

And Connecticut football is, well, just thankful that UMass is included in this competition.

After a 17-yard run on the first drive, the Huskies didn't get another first down until midway through the third quarter. The offensive line looked awful. They couldn't create space for runners and Whitmer rarely had adequate time to throw. It is becoming exceedingly clear that this offensive line can't hang against solid competition. It's going to be a major problem going forward and unsafe for Chandler Whitmer.

There are going to be bumps in the road when rebuilding, but this was an ugly and painful one. Hopefully the Huskies can turn it around next weekend when they host Temple.

Temple is currently a 4-point road favorite at UConn.

Week 5 Schedule

Temple at Connecticut

Northwestern at Penn State
Akron at Pittsburgh
Colorado State at Boston College
Tulane at Rutgers
Notre Dame at Syracuse
Miami-Ohio at Buffalo
Army at Yale
Bowling Green at Massachusetts

The only matchup this week between eligible Lambert-Meadowlands teams is Temple at Connecticut. I'm sorry, world.

Other games this week: Northwestern at Penn State, Akron at Pitt, Colorado State at Boston College, Tulane at Rutgers, Notre Dame at Syracuse, Miami-Ohio at Buffalo, Army at Yale and Bowling Green at Massachusetts.

Some tricky games on the weekly slate, with BC, Buffalo and Temple favored by a touchdown or less. Penn State, Pitt, Rutgers and Army should take care of business this weekend. Things don't look so good, however, for Syracuse and UMass--both double-digit "home" underdogs vs. Notre Dame and Bowling Green, respectively.