After Five Weeks, Six Teams to Watch & Conference Notes

We’ve completed week five of season and most teams have now played one-third of their schedules with many surprises and disappointments.   Here are six teams This week I am going to focus on six teams that have a shot to make a big post season splash!

GEORGIA TECH 4-0 The Yellow Jackets are undefeated and coming off a big road win at Virginia Tech. Paul Johnson has had to rebuild a team that lost many outstanding players to the NFL and graduation. Finding a replacement for quarterback Vad Lee was his first priority and he has done just that with Justin Thomas. Thomas has emerged as an efficient thrower and leads the team in rushing with 443 yards. The Techsters could go 10-0 before facing Clemson at home and Georgia on the road!  The next two weeks will be tough as they draw Miami and Duke in the next two weeks.

CINCINNATI 2-1  This may sound crazy after the Bearcats were just blasted by in-state bully Ohio State 50-28.  The defense allowed 710 yards to the Buckeyes and that is a concern.  However, the offense was still able to move the ball against the Buckeyes as Quarterback Gunner Kiel made his first road appearance in a tough environment. They travel to Miami (FL) in October for a big non-conference tilt, and they face East Carolina on Thursday, November 13 in a game that could decide the American Athletic Conference crown.

No. 22 EAST CAROLINA 3-1 The Pirates are very good, owning wins over ACC opponents North Carolina and Virginia Tech. Shane Carden is one of the best quarterbacks in the nation, throwing for 1,469 yards and 11 TDs,  while facing three ranked teams.   The November game in Cincinnati in November could be huge.

No. 25 TCU 3-0 The Horned Frogs have a veteran team that has 16 starters back from last year.  They haven’t been tested yet, as they have only played three games and haven’t beaten anybody of consequence. That could change Saturday as they host Oklahoma. Quarterback Trevone Boykin has been nearly flawless throwing for 858 yards and eight scores. This could be Head Coach Gary Patterson’s best team since 2010 when they went 13-0 and won the Rose Bowl.

No. 18 BYU 4-0 The Cougars are led by Taysom Hill, one of the most exciting players in the nation. The dual-threat quarterback has accounted for 13 TDs in four games, and connecting on 66 percent of his passes. The Cougars defense has also been stingy allowing only 18 points per game. I think they have a real shot to finish the season at 12-0 if they stay healthy.

No. 12 MISSISSIPPI STATE 4-0 I doubt the Bulldogs will go 12-0, but they are surely a team to watch! They host Texas A&M and Auburn the next two weeks.  The Bulldogs have used stellar play from quarterback Dak Prescott a big physical defensive front to control the opposition. I expect more of the same the rest of the season.

ACC NOTES

  • Florida State rallied from a 24-7 first-quarter deficit, to beat North Carolina State 56-41. The win gives the Seminoles the nation’s longest unbeaten streak, currently at 20 games.
  • Pittsburgh was stunned at home, falling to Akron 21-10. It was the Panther’s second consecutive loss after starting 3-0.
  • Colorado State shocked Boston College 24-21 dropping the Eagles to 3-2.

BIG 10 NOTES

  • This is the first time Michigan has three losses in a season by the end of September in its 135-year football history, after  Minnesota dismantled Michigan 30-14 last Saturday in Ann Arbor.
  • Nebraska moved to 5-0 with a 45-14 win over Illinois. Ameer Abdullah ran for 208 yards and three scores!  The Cornhuskers are 5-0 for the first time since 2010, and will face Michigan State Saturday.
  • Penn State was knocked from the ranks of the unbeaten, falling to Northwestern 29-6. The 23-point loss to Northwestern is the was the worst Nittany Lions home loss since being blown out 33-7 in 2001 by No.2 Miami.

BIG 12 NOTES

  • Oklahoma State broke into the AP Poll at No. 24 with a 45-35 win over Texas Tech.
  • Kansas fired head coach Charlie Weis after a 23-0 home whitewashing by Texas.

PAC 12 NOTES

  • California and Colorado was the first game in FBS history where both teams threw for 7 TDs and the 14 combined passing touchdowns ties the FBS record. The Bears won the game 59-56, in the double overtime.
  • Arizona State struggled with quarterback Taylor Kelly unable to play, falling to UCLA 62-27. The Bruins forced four turnovers in the game.
  • Washington State scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to hand Utah its first loss.
  • Washington also suffered its first loss of the season, falling to Stanford in Seattle, 20-13.

SEC NOTES

Todd Gurley was the difference in Georgia’s win over Tennessee 35-32, rushing for 208 yards and two touchdowns.

A few Interesting facts from Texas A & M’s 35-28 win over Arkansas in overtime.  Kenny Hill threw for more than 200 yards with 3 TDs in the fourth quarter and overtime.  This was the first time a Bret Bielema-coached team has ever lost when leading by at least 14 points entering the fourth quarter. His teams are 38-1 when leading by at least 14 points after three quarters, including marks of 34-0 at Wisconsin and  4-1 at Arkansas.

Missouri got past South Carolina 21-20, even though Missouri had only 280 yards of total offense on the night, 119 of which came on the final two drives, both touchdowns.  Tigers tailback Russell Hansbrough scored all three Missouri touchdowns.

OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCES

  • Quarterback Jared Goff of California threw for 458 yards and 7 TDs
  • Running Back Anthone Taylor of Buffalo rushed for 222 yards with 3 TDs
  • Receiver Nelson Spruce of Colorado caught 19 passes for 179 yards and three TDs

QUOTES OF THE WEEK

“We thought it was kind of funny that that were scrambling to cover it up so fast,” UCLA receiver Thomas Duarte said as Arizona State officials scrambled to cover up a “UCLA” carved into the pitchfork at midfield at Sun Devil Stadium..  “When something like that happens, you know you’ve got the edge, that they’re letting little things get under their skin.”

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