College Football Week 5 Roundup
Greetings, SQ fans. We hope you enjoyed this weekend of college football as much as we did. Also, please welcome our newest contributor, Tyler Endebrock! That being said, let's dig into our Week 5 roundup:
1. Which team had the most impressive win?
Tyler: I gave the other writers some grief last week for talking about the Florida Gators so much in the Week 4 Roundup. This week, however, I am going to eat some crow because the most impressive win was the Gators' 38-10 drubbing over the Ole Miss Rebels. These were the same Rebels that marched into Tuscaloosa and beat Alabama. Once Ole Miss came to The Swamp, they were boat-raced by the Gators.
Will Grier is starting to look like the real deal, the defense is nasty, and the whole team seems to be clicking under new head coach Jim McElwain. The offense looked elite against one of the most hyped-up defenses in the nation, and the team undoubtedly got help from the crowd. Combine all of this and the Gators had one of the more impressive wins of the entire season. If they can keep this pace up, watch for them to win the SEC East, and maybe even make it to the playoff.
Andy: Not only did Alabama completely wallop Georgia between the hedges, they did it in flood conditions. The Tide’s 24-3 lead at halftime was a result of pouring it on very quickly in the first half, combined with an incredible defensive showing. The biggest positive of this performance was seeing QB Jake Coker look like someone who could lead a playoff team, throwing for 190 yards, one TD, and adding a score on the ground. Derrick Henry has proven to be reliable in the backfield, but with Coker playing well, the Crimson Tide will truly be a force to be reckoned with come the playoffs.
Robert: I’m going to split this award between two Big Ten squads: Michigan and Northwestern. The Wolverines blanked the Maryland Terrapins 28-0, giving Michigan its second straight shutout win. And, the Wildcats gave up just 173 total yards to the Minnesota Golden Gophers en route to the team’s first Big Ten shutout victory in 20 years.
Northwestern and its top-ranked defense (7.0 points allowed per game) head to Ann Arbor to take on the Wolverines’ second-ranked defense (7.6 points allowed per contest). The over/under might be zero for this game, and I’m going with the under.
Sean: After being left for dead, Arizona State came out and put up a heck of a performance against UCLA on the road. Mike Bercovici looked like the QB that had shown flashes of brilliance last season, throwing for 273 yards, two touchdowns, and adding a score on the ground. The Sun Devils defense rebounded nicely after giving up 42 points last week to USC, holding UCLA to just 23 points.
They made it difficult for the Bruins to get anything going by shutting down the run game, allowing just 62 rushing yards on 28 carries. A win like this could be exactly what Arizona State needs to get back on track and back into the race for the Pac-12 title.
David: I will go with the Alabama Crimson Tide. After getting upset by Ole Miss for the second straight year, many outsiders began to question whether Alabama could keep up their dominant run. They were underdogs against Georgia (rarely will you ever see ‘Alabama’ and ‘underdogs’ in the same sentence). Big mistake. Never count out a Nick Saban-coached team, ever. Alabama came into Athens, Georgia and clobbered the Bulldogs 38-10, and reminded everyone that they’re still the team to beat in the SEC.
2. Which team had the most disappointing loss?
Tyler: The Nebraska Cornhuskers take this “award” for their loss to the unranked Illinois Fighting Illini. This is the third game this season where the Huskers held their opponent scoreless in the first half, but the “Heart Attack Huskers” nearly gave one of those games away, and ended up actually doing it in this one. Up 13-7 on third and 7 with 55 seconds to go in the fourth quarter, the Nebraska coaches decide to pass the ball instead of run it, while Illinois had no timeouts.
The pass fell incomplete, and because of swirling winds that reached speeds over 30 miles per hour, the coaches decided against a 45-yard field goal. The fourth down call was another pass, which also fell incomplete. Had the coaches ran the ball on third and 7, Illinois would have only had about 10-15 seconds left to march down the field, but instead, they had 51 seconds.
A 50-yard pass and multiple pass interference penalties later, the Fighting Illini scored on a one-yard touchdown pass, and hit the PAT to win. Poor playcalling and awful time management cost the Huskers the win. Husker quarterback Tommy Armstrong threw the ball 31 times, completing only 10 of those passes.
On a violently windy day, where Nebraska successfully averaged 5.5 yards per rush, fans and media pundits everywhere questioned the offensive gameplan of the Husker coaching staff. The decision to pass the ball so often, combined with time mismanagement, drops the Huskers to 2-3 on the season, and gives them the most disappointing loss of Week 5.
Andy: The UCLA bubble has finally popped. The Bruins, led by true freshman phenom Josh Rosen, had a very disappointing night on offense, converting only 3-of-14 on third down, and gaining 342 yards. Rosen threw for 280 yards, two TDs, one INT, and earned a pedestrian 37.5 QBR. The Sun Devils offense showed up when it had to, due to a brilliant showing on defense. The first score of the game was a safety from UCLA’s 13 yard line, and the Sun Devils never surrendered the lead. Moving forward, the Pac-12 will likely be one of the most interesting conferences to follow with a surplus of high-powered teams.
Robert: Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish held Clemson’s star QB Deshaun Watson to just 97 yards passing and outgained the Tigers 437-296, yet fell to the Tigers 24-22. Notre Dame allowed 14 points in the game’s first six minutes thanks to sloppy defense and a 15-yard punt.
In inclement weather, Clemson loaded the box because Notre Dame Coach Brian Kelly consistently tried to run the ball on the early downs, instead of allowing QB DeShone Kizer to air it out. The Tigers benefited from four Irish turnovers. Both teams looked like legitimate playoff contenders, but Notre Dame returned home from Memorial Stadium with nothing but a missed opportunity for a marquee road win.
Sean: What else can go wrong for Texas? Apparently a lot more than what has gone wrong already. A 50-7 loss to TCU pretty much sums up exactly how this season has gone so far the Longhorns. The Texas offense was abysmal yet again, and didn’t even get on the scoreboard until there was 5:14 left in the game.
For a coach who’s supposed to be a defensive whiz, Charlie Strong certainly did not have an answer for TCU. Giving up 604 yards of offense to any team is never a good sign, and Strong better hope for forgiveness or a quick turnaround because his seat is getting pretty hot right about now.
David: The Ole Miss Rebels had high aspirations, especially after beating Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Unfortunately, they ran into a strong and determined Gator team and were destroyed 38-10. Quarterback Chad Kelly was harassed all night as he was sacked four times, lost two fumbles, and threw an interception.
3. Offensive Player of the Week
Tyler: Leonard Fournette continues his ridiculous season, but everyone expected him to put up gaudy numbers against Eastern Michigan’s defense, which ranks last in the nation in rushing. So, instead of giving him Offensive POTW, I’m going to give it to Ez ekiel Elliot. He was there for the Ohio State Buckeyes when they needed him, rushing for a career-high 274 yards on only 23 carries.
He provided the spark that the Buckeyes needed when he pulled off touchdown runs of 55, 65, and 75 yards, after enduring a tough first half against the Indiana Hoosiers. Without Elliot’s electrifying runs, the Buckeyes likely would have lost this game, which makes his performance even more important.
Andy: While Zeke did put on a great show against Indiana, my pick is Fournette. LSU was having some trouble with the unranked Eastern Michigan Eagles, only leading 20-14 at halftime. On the first play of the second half, Fournette broke a 75-yard run to give the Tigers a two score lead.
His average per game is now 216 yards, and he is on pace for 2,376 yards. Sanders’ rushing record of 2,628 yards is within reach, Fournette just needs to turn on the afterburners a little more. LSU’s first game against McNeese State was cancelled due to inclement weather, and having one fewer game could keep Fournette out of the record books.
Robert: For his unique performance, I have to give this award to UNC quarterback Marquise Williams. The Tar Heels’ do-it-all player threw for 134 yards on 13 for 24 passing, rushed for 148 more on 15 carries, and even caught a pass for 37 yards. Williams led UNC in all three categories while scoring three touchdowns (two on the ground, one on his reception), as the Tar Heels shocked a quickly fading Georgia Tech team 38-31.
Sean: Trevone Boykin, for me, really got back to showing why a lot of people were so high on him to win the Heisman this season in his performance against Texas. Boykin threw for 332 yards, recorded a passer efficiency rating of 183.96, and lit up the endzone five times through the air (the second time in three games that he’s done that). If TCU’s defense isn’t able to keep pace, at least Boykin is making sure the offense continues to get into the end zone.
David: I agree with Tyler. Ezekiel Elliot put the Buckeyes on his back with 274 rushing yards and three touchdowns. It was his first 200+ rushing yard performance this season. Indiana was giving Ohio State quite a scare. Unfortunately for them, the Buckeyes have Elliot, and they do not.
4. Defensive Player of the Week
Tyler: Here’s another answer where it is hard not to pick a Florida Gator (yes, I was awarded my degree from UF, but I do not consider myself a Gator fan. I promise there is no bias from me here.) Antonio Morrison played lights-out for the Gators against Ole Miss. The senior linebacker posted 16 tackles (five solo), with 3.5 tackles for loss, including half a sack.
When the third-ranked team in the nation comes into your stadium and you play a vital role in holding them to only 10 points, it is very difficult for anyone to not realize how well you played. And that is precisely what Morrison did.
Andy: The nod has to go to Antonio Morrison. Anytime a player has 16 tackles against a Top 25 offense, you know they had a truly special performance. Florida’s walloping of Ole Miss is a major topic this week because of how strong they looked on offense, but holding the Rebels to 10 points is just as big of an accomplishment, and Morrison was a major part of that.
Robert: Michigan middle linebacker Desmond Morgan had nine tackles (five solo) and an interception in the Wolverines’ dominating win over Maryland. Morgan, a fifth-year senior who was granted eligibility due to medical hardship after missing the team’s final 11 games in 2014, has been instrumental in limiting Michigan’s opponents to just 184 total yards of offense per game. Morgan spearheads this mighty Michigan defense that ranks in the top five nationally in nearly every defensive category.
Sean: I’m just going to give this to the Florida Gators defense overall. Ole Miss could not get anything going down in the Swamp, and Chad Kelly found himself on the ground way too many times. The Gators registered 11 tackles for loss (four sacks), five pass breakups, four QB hurries, and two forced fumbles.
Antonio Morrison led the charge with 16 tackles and Vernon Hargreaves III notched another interception. People expected a defensive shootout in this game, but Florida’s defense delivered and only gave up 10 points. By far, this is one of the best defensive performances from any team all season.
David: Antonio Morrison was everywhere for the Gators. His 16 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and half a sack paved the way for a dominant defensive performance against the Ole Miss Rebels. Before the season even began, Morrison had doubts because of an injury that he had suffered. With this performance, he has erased all doubts.
5. Freshman of the Week
Tyler: I tried to find someone else who was more impressive than Will Grier, but I could not, so I have to give yet another award to the Gators. The kid played with the flu against the No. 3 team in the nation, but it did not faze him one bit as he finished 24 for 29 with 271 yards and four touchdowns.
All four touchdowns came in the first half, where he posted a 206.8 quarterback rating. The “landshark” defense of the Ole Miss Rebels failed to show up, and Will Grier exploited them for the best game of his young career. You have to go all the way back to Chris Leak in 2005 to find a Gator quarterback that threw for four touchdowns in one half. I swear, I would not be giving all these Gators awards if they had not played a top-five team.
However, I think I set myself up for this by giving grief to the writers for last week. As I said in my award for most impressive win, I am eating crow for my comments about Gator bias. This team is legitimate, and they are led by one of the best freshman quarterbacks in the country.
Andy: While Grier went off and had an insane statsheet, I’m going to give this award to Minkah Fitzpatrick. The true freshman DB had a blocked punt recovered for a touchdown, to put Alabama up 17-3 in the first half against Georgia. The play was an integral part of the Tide’s roll over the Bulldogs.
Robert: TCU’s Kavontae Turpin had just six catches on Saturday against Texas, but they went for 138 yards and four touchdowns. The speedy Turpin - who is just 5 foot 9 and 155 pounds - clearly cannot be defended in man coverage by linebackers, which will be an issue for all of TCU’s opponents. The Horned Frogs just have too many offensive weapons, and Turpin will be a tough cover for every defense the team faces.
Sean: You have to give this one to Grier. The first-year QB used the momentum he built in the comeback win against Tennessee and poured it into the game against Ole Miss. If he truly was suffering from flu-like symptoms, I’m sure Gator fans wouldn’t mind him being sick for every game if he can perform like that.
He showed excellent command of the offense, and threw for over 270 yards for a second straight game. We saw that he could be accurate in his first game against New Mexico State, but he’d been a bit sloppy until this past week, completing 82.8% of his passes. The Gators have something special with Grier, and if he can continue to improve, he could get some hardware at the end of the season.
David: Will Grier, despite having the flu, not only started, he completely picked the Ole Miss defense apart. He had 271 passing yards, completed 83% of his passes, and threw four touchdowns in the first half (becoming the first Gator quarterback to accomplish that since Chris Leak in 2005). He built off of his
clutch fourth-quarter performance against Tennessee to have the game of his life. For the first time since the Tebow years, Florida might finally have a quarterback.