Winners and Losers from Week 5 of College Football

David KenyonFeatured ColumnistOctober 4, 2020

Winners and Losers from Week 5 of College Football

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    Texas Tech couldn't finish off Texas, but TCU pulled off the upset Saturday.
    Texas Tech couldn't finish off Texas, but TCU pulled off the upset Saturday.Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Beloved college football fan, we regret to inform you of important national news: Texas is not back.

    Tom Herman and the Longhorns staved off an upset last Saturday, but they couldn't do the same against TCU in Week 5. That outcome highlighted a fun afternoon of games, which also featured No. 2 Alabama's cruise past 13th-ranked Texas A&M.

    And that simply started a busy day.

    The evening slate included a Top 10 clash between Auburn and Georgia, as well as No. 1 Clemson in action and both LSU and Oklahoma looking to recover from upset losses. One of them, however, dropped a second straight game.

Winner: Zach Wilson, QB, BYU

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    Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

    Friday night, Louisiana Tech scored two touchdowns. BYU quarterback Zach Wilson threw only two incompletions.

    The junior picked apart the Bulldogs, hitting 24 of 26 passes for 325 yards and two scores. Wilson also scampered for 43 yards and a trio of touchdowns in a dominant 45-14 win.

    "I feel like the whole team was in the zone," he told reporters. "I feel like anything we were trying to do tonight, we could do it."

    That's the story of the season for BYU, which is 3-0 and has demolished each of those opponents by 30-plus points. Wilson himself boasts an 83.3 completion percentage with 990 total yards and 11 touchdowns. And with a favorable schedule coming up, the 22nd-ranked Cougars have a great chance to end October 7-0.

Loser: Texas, Which Is Not Back

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    One week after surviving Texas Tech in overtime, Texas trailed TCU late in the game.

    Early in the fourth quarter, the Longhorns scored a go-ahead touchdown. The teams both punted before TCU moved in front on Max Duggan's 26-yard scamper. Although that score put Texas in a 33-29 hole, Keaontay Ingram's 52-yard catch and 16-yard run quickly put the Longhorns on the goal line with four minutes remaining.

    But then, disaster struck.

    On 1st-and-goal, Ingram powered up the middle and extended the ball toward the end zonesomething many coaches preach not to do unless it's a fourth down or last-second play. The lunge backfired; Garret Wallow knocked the ball loose, and George Ellis III recovered the fumble to secure TCU's 33-31 upset win.

    Texas still has a chance to recover, but the Longhorns now have six losses as a Top 25 team to unranked opponents during the Herman era. His proverbial seat is warming quickly.

Winner: Florida's Kyle Connection

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    During the Gators' season-opening 51-35 victory at Ole Miss, tight end Kyle Pitts caught eight passes for 170 yards and four touchdowns. Senior quarterback Kyle Trask amassed career-best totals of 416 yards and six scores in the win too.

    Saturday, they picked up where they left off.

    Trask and Pitts connected four times for 57 yards and two scores, leading third-ranked Florida to a 38-24 triumph over South Carolinaand former UF coach Will Muschamp. Trask wrapped up the contest with 268 passing yards and four touchdowns.

    Florida is entering the toughest part of the schedule, meeting Texas A&M, LSU and Georgia within the next four games. And if the Gators navigate that stretch without a loss, it's safe to assume the Trask-Pitts combination will still be thriving.

Loser: Pitt Being Pitt

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    Is there any program more predictably unpredictable than Pitt? Every season, the Panthers both knock off an excellent team and cannot avoid a considerably large upset loss.

    Last week, they clipped then-No. 24 Louisville. This week, Pat Narduzzi's team was a 14-point favorite over North Carolina State.

    Given that context, you can guess the final result.

    The most painful part is how it happened. With only 23 seconds remaining in regulation, NC State quarterback Devin Leary threw his fourth touchdown of the game. He tossed a perfect back-shoulder pass to Emeka Emezie in the corner of the end zone for a 30-29 win.

    Pitt will remain an upset-capable thorn, especially as quarterback Kenny Pickett continues to develop. After a promising 3-0 start, though, the Panthers are back to a familiar outlook as a mid-tier ACC team.

Winner: Mac Jones, Alabama Offense

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    John Raoux/Associated Press

    Alabama fans are understandably excited about dual-threat freshman Bryce Young's ability to lead the offense in the future, but it's Mac Jones' show in 2020.

    While propelling the Tide to a 52-24 victory over Texas A&M, he threw for 435 yards and four touchdowns. That massive stat line included two scores of 60-plus yards to John Metchie III and an 87-yard touchdown to speedster Jaylen Waddle.

    Star wideout DeVonta Smith added six catches and a touchdown, while Najee Harris scored twice on the ground. Brian Robinson Jr. rushed for a team-best 60 yards as well.

    Before Tua Tagovailoa, Alabama had become a dynasty based on elite defense and sufficient offense. This scoring attack, though, is once again incredibly explosive. And because of this Jones-led unit, the Tide are clear SEC favorites.

Loser: Florida State, Again

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    FSU coach Mike Norvell
    FSU coach Mike NorvellPhil Sears/Associated Press

    There's a fine line separating "piling on" and reasonable criticism, but Florida State keeps testing it.

    Following an upset loss to Georgia Tech and a 52-10 thumping at the hands of rival Miami last week, the Seminoles fell behind FCS school Jacksonville State 14-0 in the first quarter. New starting quarterback Tate Rodemaker threw a pick-six and found himself benched after four scoreless drives.

    One setback after another.

    Fortunately for FSU, backup Jordan Travis entered and changed the game positively. He accounted for 258 yards and two scores, and the 'Noles ultimately put up 531 yards in a 41-24 victory.

    At least they're in the win column. But it's difficult to feel good about FSU's situation.

    The program's road back to relevance is understood as a multiyear process. But with Notre Dame, North Carolina, Louisville, Pitt and Clemson still waiting on the 2020 schedule, the results might get a whole lot worse for Mike Norvell and the 'Noles.

Winner: Stetson Bennett in Georgia's Big Victory

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    Brynn Anderson/Associated Press

    Most predictions had Wake Forest transfer Jamie Newman as Georgia's starter in 2020 until he opted out of the season. When he made that decision, attention shifted to USC transfer JT Daniels. When he wasn't medically cleared in his comeback attempt from a torn ACL, the Dawgs named D'Wan Mathis the starter. When he struggled in the opener, Stetson Bennett stepped in.

    And he's not giving up the QB1 label. Not now, at least.

    Bennett played an outstanding game in the 27-6 triumph over Auburn, completing 17 of 28 passes for 240 yards and a touchdown with zero turnovers. Georgia leaned on its rushing attack, yet he looked comfortable and confident all night.

    This is the SEC, though; the pressure is just beginning to mount. Over the next two weeks, Georgia hosts Tennessee and travels to Alabama. The praise Bennett has earned can quickly turn to criticism if he plays poorly in either one.

    Still, it's a major accomplishment for the one-time walk-on to ascend from the fourth option to the starter.

Loser: Mississippi State's Encore Performance

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    Thomas Graning/Associated Press

    Welcome to the Mike Leach Experience, SEC fans!

    Last weekend, Mississippi State stunned the college football world and took down sixth-ranked LSU. Saturday evening, the Bulldogs turned around and lost 21-14 to Arkansas—a program that failed to win a conference game in 2019.

    K.J. Costello tossed three interceptions, including one pick-six and another just outside the red zone. Late in the fourth quarter, Jaden Walley's fumbled punt basically sealed the loss.

    Similar to Narduzzi and Pitt, Leach has a history of pulling off eye-popping wins and enduring head-shaking losses. It only took two games for that to happen in Starkville.

    Impressive efficiency, really.

Winner: Iowa State Ends the Streak

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    Charlie Neibergall/Associated Press

    Heading into Saturday night, Oklahoma boasted a 76-6-2 all-time record against Iowa State. Plus, the Cyclones hadn't won a home game against the Sooners since 1960.

    Finally, that 24-game, 60-year streak is over.

    Breece Hall scampered for 139 yards and two touchdowns, highlighted by the game-winning score late in the fourth quarter. With just over a minute remaining, Isheem Young iced the 37-30 upset with an interception of Spencer Rattler in the end zone.

    According to Jason Starrett of The Athletic, the Cyclones are 7-11 against Top 25 teams in Matt Campbell's tenure. That may not sound especially impressive until you consider Iowa State was 7-77 under the previous three coaches.

    For good reason, lots of internet ink will be spilled over Oklahoma's disastrous 1-2 start. But on this night, Iowa State deserves the spotlight.

Loser: UCF's Best-Case Scenario

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    When heavily favored UCF closed the first quarter up 16-2, nobody blinked an eye. By the time Tulsa capped a startling 34-26 victory, literally anyone watching a live college football game had their screen on this matchup.

    Along with that first-quarter deficit, Tulsa trailed 23-5 late in the second quarter. However, senior quarterback Zach Smith threw a touchdown right before halftime to trim the gap.

    Tulsa recovered a fumble on the second-half kickoff, and the takeaway sparked a dominant 30 minutes from the Golden Hurricane. They outscored UCF 22-3 after the break to stun 11th-ranked UCF for the second straight year.

    UCF can still rebound to win the AAC, but any dreams of the College Football Playoff are gone.