We all love college football for a variety of reasons, one of those being the unpredictability the sport offers week-in and week-out. This week had a perfect blend of blowouts and nail biters to make for an eventful weekend.
The top 5 teams in the AP Poll remained the same for the fourth consecutive week, but this past weekend illuminated the potential of many title contenders from coast to coast.
No. 1 Alabama cruised to a 45-3 win over FBS newcomer Georgia State. It wasn’t much of a contest for the Tide, but it was an efficient performance, nonetheless.
The ball rarely saw the ground when Bama had possession. AJ McCarron set a school record for completion percentage, completing 15-of-16 for 166 yards and four touchdowns. Backup Blake Sims took over the play calling in the second half and continued the efficient day through the air, connecting on 14-of-18 passes for 130 yards and a score.
The Crimson Tide defense was equally effective Saturday, allowing a mere 175 yards of total offense and just three points. In the past three games, Bama’s defense has allowed just three field goals.
No. 2 Oregon got off to a slow start but the contest against Colorado quickly led to a feast of Ralphie burgers for the Ducks, flying to a 57-16 win Saturday afternoon.
The Oregon offense continues to score more than 50 points a game, achieving the mark in each of its first five games for the first time in school history. With star running back De’Anthony Thomas sidelined, sophomore sensation Marcus Mariota put up sickening numbers against the Buffs D, amassing nearly 400 yards of offense and seven TDs.
The man is leading the Heisman race thus far this season and in consistent fashion. Though his completion percentage has declined, Mariota hasn’t thrown an interception all season. Another startling fact: 16 different players have scored points for the Ducks, which shows they have more weapons than most teams around the country.
A few other teams across the nation legitimized their spots in the national title race as well, riding the backs of their respective Heisman candidates.
The prodigious redshirt freshman “Famous” Jameis Winston scorched the Maryland defense for 417 yards and five scores in Florida State’s 63-0 rout of the Terrapins. Winston had an incredible day against a Maryland defense that ranked sixth in the nation heading into the game.
Even more impressive, the defense rebounded; after relinquishing 34 points to Boston College a week ago, FSU shutout Maryland, the first shutout of a Top-25 opponent for the Seminoles in more than 16 years.
Florida State has been knocking on the door for a few weeks and after that performance, they got a well-deserved ranking at No. 6. They will be tested again very soon on Oct. 19th, when they travel to Clemson to take on the No. 3 Tigers.
Tajh Boyd dismantled Syracuse in the Carrier Dome for a 49-14 win over the Orangemen to put Clemson at 5-0 on the year. The senior quarterback completed 20 of his 27 passes attempts for 455 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Both Boyd and Winston have had remarkable starts to their seasons and the winner of their highly-anticipated matchup in October could very well find themselves in the national title conversation with Oregon and Alabama.
A few other top teams found themselves in unfamiliar territory as No. 4 Ohio State, No. 5 Stanford and No. 7 Georgia were all challenged until the final whistle blew.
With eight minutes left in the first quarter, the Buckeyes found themselves trailing for the first time this season, after Kain Colter connected with Trevor Siemian on a nine-yard touchdown pass. But after trailing for much of the game, Ohio State was able to rally from behind to beat the Wildcats 40-30 and extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 18 games.
Braxton Miller struggled at the helm, throwing for just 203 yards, no TDs and three turnovers, but just like every other national contender, the attacks are not one-dimensional. Running back Carlos Hyde ran for a career-high 168 yards and three touchdowns.
Stanford was also given a run for their spot in a battle of undefeated Pac-12 north teams vs Washington. The game came down to the wire but the Cardinal was able to hold off the Huskies for a 31-28 win.
A big part of Stanford’s production came from junior wide receiver Ty Montgomery. Montgomery returned the opening kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown and finished with 290 all-purpose yards and two scores. This is a dangerous team now that knows how to win; since Kevin Hogan took over at quarterback, the Cardinal are 11-0.
Georgia was able to pull off a nerve-wracking 34-31 win in overtime over Tennessee to keep any title hopes alive. The Vols gave it everything they had, but a fumble near the end zone, which resulted in a touchback, set up the Bulldogs for a game-winning 42-yard field goal.
The Dawgs live to fight another day but lose big, as second-string running back Keith Marshall and Justin Scott-Wesley go down with season-ending knee injuries.
The plate appears the same but the race is heating up with each passing week. By this point in the season, most teams are looking for one thing, and that is to stay consistent. This Saturday, we will finally get to see what the Oregon Ducks are all about, as they travel to face No. 16 Washington, a team that proved they could hang with the greats, given their effort against Stanford this past weekend.
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