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In a week where most of the top five teams came out and handled their competition, there was yet another struggle for the team at the pinnacle. After back-to-back flat performances by the defending champs, is it time to move them down? Find out now on our weekly top 10.
1.) Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0) defeated #20 Arkansas Razorbacks 49-26
Quarterback Bryce Young’s AC Joint sprain in his throwing shoulder is the developing story to watch for now. The injury which occurred in the first half really tested this Alabama team. A terrible third quarter, including multiple special teams blunders, allowed the Razorbacks to cut the lead to just three points. That was as close as they would get though as the Tide showed the resolve of a championship caliber football team.
Running back Jahmyr Gibbs went off in the absence of his quarterback, running for 206 yards and two scores. Backup quarterback Jalen Milroe was just as effective on the ground, including a 77-yard scamper on third down that changed the trajectory of this game. This was by far their best performance of the season, especially with the way the defense closed this game out.
Next Week: Home vs. Texas A&M Aggies
2.) Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0) defeated Rutgers Scarlet Knights 49-10
In a game where quarterback C.J. Stroud was good but not nearly as great as the last few weeks, the Buckeyes leaned on the run game. In the absence of TreVeyon Henderson, running back Miyan Williams had a career day that was also record-setting. His 189 yards and five touchdowns (TDs) kept the Buckeye offense on schedule all day long.
The defense held Rutgers to only 187 yards, with all 10 of the points they gave up being the result of turnovers. Just another game where the Buckeyes took care of business, despite the early muffed punt to hand Rutgers their first score.
Next Week: Away vs. Michigan State Spartans
3.) Georgia Bulldogs (5-0) defeated Missouri Tigers 26-22
After a let down last week against Kent State, the Bulldogs didn’t show signs of life early in this game either. In a cat vs. dog showdown, the Tigers were quick to make the first move jumping on the sleeping Bulldogs. Even though they climbed out to a 13-0 lead half way through the second quarter, this game just always had the feel that Georgia would turn it around.
The Tigers did do a great job in neutralizing tight end Brock Bowers, which forced quarterback Stetson Bennett to find other targets. A nice 312-yard performance carried the run game that surprisingly struggled in Columbia. The Bulldogs who looked like an impenetrable fortress the first few weeks have looked out of sorts the last two weeks. They have to turn it around to even think of a repeat.
Next Week: Home vs. Auburn Tigers
4.) Michigan Wolverines (5-0) defeated Iowa Hawkeyes 27-14
The Wolverines started off the game with a bang, going right down the field to score on their opening drive. After that powerful start, they slowed down a little bit, not finding the end zone again until the second half. That was to be expected as the Iowa defense is formidable, though their offense is lackluster.
Getting running back Donovan Edwards back was huge, showcasing his receiving abilities with a receiving score in his return. Blake Corum was slowed down but still effective on his way to 133 yards and the clinching score. This team has to continue to run the ball well as quarterback J.J. McCarthy has his growing pains and isn’t really pushing the ball downfield just yet.
Next Week: Away vs. Indiana Hoosiers
5.) Clemson Tigers (5-0) defeated #10 North Carolina State Wolfpack 30-20
The Tigers increased their home win streak to an astounding 37 wins in an all-around team effort. Quarterback DJ Uiagalelei was lights out, seeing the field and delivering the ball into tight windows. He also was great at complimenting running back Will Shipley on the ground, taking off when needed and piling up 73 yards and two TDs.
The defense played inspired, forcing two turnovers and only surrendering 279 yards. Overall, it was a great revenge game for the Tigers, taking out the Wolfpack after suffering the loss last season.
Next Week: Away vs. Boston College Eagles
6.) USC Trojans (5-0) defeated Arizona State Sun Devils 42-25
The Sun Devils went toe-to-toe with the Trojans for the first half but couldn’t last the entire 60 minutes. Quarterback Caleb Williams played out of his mind, making impressive throws while under pressure all night. His ability to improvise and break down the defense allowed his receivers to find unoccupied areas of the field and burn them.
The halftime adjustments made by the Trojan defense were fantastic. They only gave up a total of four yards on the first three possessions after the break. Most notable here is the rise of true freshman corner, Domani Jackson, as he is starting to play as advertised being the No. 2 corner in last year’s class. The more this defense improves, the better the chances are of going to the playoffs, but slow starts like Saturday can’t always happen.
Next Week: Home vs. Washington State Cougars
7.) Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-0) defeated #16 Baylor Bears 36-25
Quarterback Spencer Sanders was pinpoint, throwing the fade, jump ball and even sidearm rips to the sidelines. He also was crafty in open space, breaking tackles and out running defenders. His offense didn’t need to be great as the defense and special teams were solid.
The defense secured a safety and only allowed a field goal on the first possession in the first 30 minutes. On the ensuing kickoff to open the second half, Jaden Nixon housed it to give the Cowboys a 23-3 advantage. The Bears did have a 22-point third quarter but the defense did enough in the first half to secure this victory, despite the comeback attempt.
Next Week: Home vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders
8.) Tennessee Volunteers (4-0) IDLE
Next Week: Away vs. LSU Tigers
9.) Ole Miss Rebels (5-0) defeated #7 Kentucky Wildcats 22-19
Head coach Lane Kiffin has the Rebels right in the thick of it after five games played. Anyone who looked at their schedule could have predicted the flawless start but it doesn’t take away from them doing their job. The defense has actually been better than expected, especially in how they played up to Kentucky on Saturday.
On offense, quarterback Jaxson Dart is progressing nicely, having the occasional bad throw. The key to this offense lies within the run game, coming in at #5 nationally with 261.8 rush yards per game. They’ll continue to do so over the next few weeks with plenty of opportunities against teams that haven’t stopped the run all season.
Next Week: Away vs. Vanderbilt Commodores
10.) Penn State Nittany Lions (5-0) defeated Northwestern Wildcats 17-7
The Nittany Lions have just been quietly navigating themselves up the rankings. Many thought quarterback Sean Clifford would have been benched by now but he’s done enough to guide this team to an unblemished start. A strong run game will help any quarterback though, and that’s what the Nittany Lions have.
You can’t take anything out of the slop fest they played on Saturday in a downpour, as the teams combined for eight turnovers. You can take that the defense was incredible, stuffing the Wildcats on 4th & goal to keep the two possession lead. Anyways, this team has two weeks of hard preparation in order to get ready for their showdown in Ann Arbor against #4 Michigan.
Next Week: BYE