College Football: 5 Things We Learned in Week 5
This was one of the most exciting weeks of the season thus far, with plenty of big names in action and some exciting games that will have big impacts on the national title hunt. Here is what we learned in Week 5.
Georgia is Right Back in Title Contention
Every year, it seems like a one-loss SEC team is right in the middle of the national title mix at the end of the season. This year, it looks like No. 9 Georgia could fit that mold after winning a 44-41 shootout over No. 6 LSU. Already the school’s career passing leader, Bulldogs quarterback Aaron Murray threw for 298 yards and four touchdowns (the first QB to throw four or more against LSU since 2005) while leading Georgia to a comeback win in the game’s final two minutes. While maybe not as hyped as the Alabama/Texas A&M game earlier in the season, this matchup was every bit as exciting with 13 ties or lead changes. This victory, combined with a win over then-No. 6 South Carolina in Week 2, gives the Bulldogs a strong claim as the nation’s best one-loss team. Throw in a favorable schedule (only one ranked opponent the rest of the regular season) and Georgia could well be heading into the SEC title game with legitimate national championship hopes.
Notre Dame Really Misses Everett Golson
Had it not been for Lennay Kekua, Notre Dame’s suspension of starting quarterback Everett Golson would have been arguably the biggest story of the offseason. In Saturday’s 35-21 loss to No. 14 Oklahoma, we saw exactly how much Golson meant to the Fighting Irish offense. A year ago against the then-No. 8 Sooners, Golson made play after play with his legs to keep drives alive and score the go-ahead touchdown. Without the threat of his mobility on Saturday, the Notre Dame offense was never able to get much going against Oklahoma’s improved defense. Quarterback Tommy Rees was just 9/24 for 104 yards, two scores and three interceptions that led to 21 Oklahoma points. Take away an 80-yard touchdown run by George Atkinson and the Fighting Irish managed just 244 yards of total offense. Having Golson and his scrambling ability in the lineup might not have been enough to pull off a victory, but this loss showed just how one-dimensional the Notre Dame offense is if Tommy Rees struggles.
Braxton Miller is Back
If there were any doubts about whether or not Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller would have any rust after missing two weeks with a knee injury, the junior put those questions to rest quickly, throwing for 198 yards and a career-high four touchdowns in a 31-24 win over No. 23 Wisconsin. He also added 83 yards on the ground. The Buckeyes have now won 17 straight games and, with a healthy Miller and a favorable schedule (after next week’s game at No. 17 Northwestern, no ranked opponents until the season-ending matchup with Michigan), there is little reason to believe that streak won’t continue for some time.
Oklahoma State’s Not-So-Special Teams
For all the talk about the potential offensive shootout between OSU’s Mike Gundy and his former offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen, defense and special teams ultimately decided this game. The Cowboys had a horrific special teams game in the 30-21 loss, with two punts that went 16 and 13 yards respectively and two missed field goals, including a potential game-tying 23-yarder that bounced off the upright in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma State also turned the ball over three times, including a pick-six thrown by quarterback J.W. Walsh in the first quarter. After West Virginia was humiliated 37-0 last week by Maryland, it was certainly a surprise that the Mountaineers could pull off an upset like this. But perhaps the bigger surprise is the way in which it happened.
Even Mother Nature Can’t Stop the Oregon Offense
You don’t often hear about football games being impacted by typhoons, but that’s exactly what happened in Eugene Saturday night. The remnants of Typhoon Pabuk, which originated on the east coast of Japan, brought high winds and a torrential downpour to Oregon just as the game began. But like their namesake mascot, the Ducks seemed to adjust quite nicely to the wet weather, rolling up 41 unanswered points in the game’s first 24 minutes while cruising to an easy victory over Cal. However, the win did not come without some concern for Oregon. Star running back De’Anthony Thomas left the game after injuring his ankle on the opening kickoff. He did not return and was obviously not needed in this laugher. But as of press time, the exact nature of his injury was unknown.