Week 5 in College Football. After last week’s amazing selection of games, this week could be seen as disappointing. It is worth mentioning that a lot of the big teams are on their bye week this week, with many other teams to follow in the next few weeks. But, like every week, the games we got were compelling.Embed from Getty Images
Let’s review Week 5 of College Football in 2023.
Georgia win (just)
The number one-ranked Georgia Bulldogs have, in my eyes, been very lucky to keep their number one spot for this long. While they are unbeaten, in some of their games they have struggled to achieve the win. They also have not played any strong opponents, which makes the somewhat poor performances even worse. But, I don’t decide the ranking, if I did, Texas would be at number one. This week, Georgia faced fellow SEC rival the Auburn Tigers. Could they get a convincing victory, or would they again struggle?
The Tigers would have the opening possession of the game, but would not be able to move the ball up the field. In fact, they would move the ball back one yard overall. Auburn would punt to the Bulldogs, who like their opponents, would also struggle. While they would record positive yardage on the drive, Georgia would not travel far from where they started.
We would soon see our first points of the game from the next drive. Starting from their 7-yard line, the Tigers would literally run up the field. Tigers’ quarterback Payton Thorne would rush for 61 yards from inside their own 10-yard line to move them close to field goal territory. Then, running back Jarquez Hunter would slowly make it down to the Bulldogs’ 9-line yard before the drive stalled. Auburn’s kicker Alex McPherson would then successfully kick a 27-yard field goal to give the Tigers an early lead. Things would soon get a whole lot better for Auburn soon after. Bulldogs’ quarterback Carson Beck’s pass would be intercepted at around the 50-yard line. From there, Auburn would, like they did the first time, drive the ball down the field. At the Bulldogs’ 5-yard line, Hunter would run the ball into the endzone to increase the Tigers’ lead to 10 points.Embed from Getty Images
However, this lead would not last long. Shaking off the interception from his previous drive, Beck and company would move the ball down the field, mostly aided by his running backs. The Bulldogs would reach the Tigers 2-yard line before Daijun Edwards would run the ball into the endzone, reducing Auburn’s lead to 3 points. The 3-point lead would soon before 0 on the next Georgia drive, which would stall at the Tigers 19-yard line. There, the Bulldogs kicker Peyton Woodring would kick the 37-yard field goal to make the scores level again.
Auburn would try before halftime to score again. They would get into the Georgia red zone, before failing a 4th and 1 from the 12-yard line. 2 punts would end the half, meaning that as the teams returned to the locker rooms, the scores would be level at 10-10.
The Bulldogs would open the second half in the worst possible way. On the opening play, Beck would pass to Oscar Delp, who would then fumble the ball. The ball would be recovered by the Auburn defense, giving them a strong field position to score, and score is what they would do. In three plays, the Tigers would again only use running plays to move the ball into the endzone. Robby Ashford would make the endzone from 9 yards out to return the lead to the Tigers. Georgia would need to reply soon, or this game could be over.
The Bulldogs would reply to this score. In a drive starting from the Georgia 2-yard line, Carson Beck and company would slowly move the ball down to the 50-yard line. Then, Beck would throw to Brock Bowers for 29 yards to put them into the Tigers’ red zone. From there, Daijun Edwards would score his second touchdown of the game from a 13-yard line. This again tied the scores up.
The Bulldogs would take the lead for the first time in this game in the fourth quarter. This drive was similar to their previous scoring drive. It also started deep in their own territory and featured a long pass from Beck to Bowers. This drive featured two of them. It was looking like the Bulldogs would find their way into the Auburn red zone when Bowers caught a 15-yard pass. However, there was a penalty against the Bulldogs on the play. This stopped any momentum they had in the drive, and the drive would soon stall at the 20-yard line. A 38-yard Peyton Woodring field goal would be enough however to give the Bulldogs a lead.
This lead would not last long for Georgia. On the very next drive, Auburn would quickly make it into the Bulldogs’ territory, mostly aided by a large pass interference penalty on the Bulldogs. As they have done throughout the game, Auburn stuck to the running game for their yards, but we did see some throws by Thorne in this drive. Ultimately, the drive would stall at the Georgia 24-yard line, resulting in a successful 42-yard field goal from McPherson, to tie the scores up again.Embed from Getty Images
Time was running out for the Bulldogs to get the victory. But then, we would then see why the Georgia Bulldogs are one of the best teams in college football. From their 25-yard line, Carson Beck would drive the ball down to the Tigers’ 40-yard line. Then, Beck would pass to Brock Bowers, who would find the endzone for an impressive 40-yard touchdown that would surely secure victory for Georgia.
Auburn would have enough time on the clock to at least make an attempt to find the endzone. They would reach their 49-yard line, needing 9 yards to keep the game going. Payton Thorne would be intercepted on this play, ending any hope that Auburn had to win the game. The Bulldogs would sit on the ball for the remaining time left. This meant that as time ran out, the number one-ranked Georgia Bulldogs had recorded a 27-20 victory over the Auburn Tigers.
I am fully aware that the SEC is the hardest conference to play in, so any victory, no matter how close is good. But, while it was a good victory for the Bulldogs, I still cannot understand why they are number one ranked. The Bulldogs remain unbeaten, while the Tigers slip to 3-2 for the season. Next week, Georgia faces Kentucky, while Auburn faces the other SEC Tigers in LSU.
And, on the subject of the LSU Tigers…
Touchdowns galore in Oxford
Last week, the number 20 ranked Ole Miss Rebels lost to Alabama in a game I described as “not the best game of football”. Regular readers this year may recognize that this is not the first time that I have described the Rebels in a lackluster manner. This week, Eli Mannings’ alma matter faced the number 13 ranked LSU Tigers, who defeated Arkansas last week with the final kick of the game. Will this game be mildly interesting?
The Rebels would have the opening possession of the game and would start strong. From their 25-yard line, Rebels quarterback Jaxson Dart drove the ball down the field and would soon reach deep inside the LSU red zone. Then, on 4th & Goal, Dart would find Quinshon Judkins for the touchdown to give them the lead. Things would get better for Ole Miss a few drives later. The Tigers would be having some success on their drive, making it down to the Ole Miss 25-yard line. But then, LSU Quarterback Jayden Daniels would fumble the ball, which was recovered by the Rebels defense. This mistake would be very costly for the Tigers, as the Rebels would find the endzone in three plays. Ulysses Bentley IV would record a 43-yard rushing touchdown to double the Ole Miss lead.
In reply, the Tigers would strike back. Shaking off his costly fumble from the drive before, Daniels would be more successful on this drive. He would move the LSU offense down to the Ole Miss 20-yard line, before passing to Brian Thomas Jr. for a 20-yard touchdown. This reduced the lead back to 7 points. It didn’t last long, as on the very next drive, Dart would pass to Jordan Watkins for a 63-yard touchdown to return the lead to 14 points.
The scoring would continue on the next drive. The Tigers would run the ball down to the Rebels’ one-yard line, from a drive that included a 55-yard run for Daniels. Logan Diggs would find the yard to score the touchdown. You can guess what happened next. Ole Miss would score again. This time, Dart threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Dayton Wade to keep the scoring frenzy going. LSU would reply again on their next drive, Daniels this time would pass to Brian Thomas Jr for an 11-yard touchdown, his second of the game. That was a streak of 6 consecutive drives with a touchdown. Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. On the next drive, Ole Miss did what they had been doing throughout the game. However, the LSU defense stopped them from advancing, and the drive stalled at the Tigers’ 10-yard lie. Rebels kicker Caden Davis would kick a 28-yard field goal, continuing the scoring streak, but only widening the gap by a small amount. An LSU touchdown would make it a one-possession game.
Surprising nobody, LSU would score on their next drive. Jayden Daniels would throw a 29-yard touchdown pass to Kyren Lacy. After a high-scoring first half, Ole Miss would have a 31-28 lead going into halftime. It was all still to play for.
Sometimes, the second half can change teams. They might have had a poor first half, but the moment they come out of the locker rooms for the second half, they are a new team. This was not one of those moments, and for good reason. LSU would have the opening possession of the second half, and Daniels and company would drive the ball down the field to the Ole Miss one-yard line. Daniels would then score the one-yard touchdown to give the Tigers the lead for the first time in the game.
In reply, the Ole Miss drive was modest. They would reach the Tigers’ 30-yard line before the drive stalled. Davis would kick the 48-yard field goal to make it a one-point game. It was a one-point game for about 5 minutes. Continuing their streak of scoring touchdowns, the Tigers would do it again. Logan Diggs would run for a 12-yard touchdown to make it an 8-point game. Soon after, the Rebels would finally find the endzone in this half. From their 25-yard line, the Rebels would drive up the field, before reaching the Tigers’ 11-yard line. Quinshon Judkins would then run the ball into the endzone for the 11-yard touchdown. The Rebels then decided to go for a two-point conversion in order to tie the game. This attempt failed, and LSU held a 2-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
LSU had the ball again, and something weird happened on this drive. LSU did not score a touchdown. In fact, they punted the ball after 3 plays and actually went backward. This ended a 6 drive streak of LSU scoring a touchdown from play. However, on their next drive, LSU would return to form. Jayden Daniels would throw a 34-yard field goal to Thomas Jr., his third of the game. In reply, Ole Miss would score again. Jaxson Dart would run the ball in for a one-yard touchdown. This meant that with 5 minutes left on the clock, LSU had a 2-point lead.
LSU would have the ball, but could not do anything with it, and punted back the Ole Miss. The only thing that this drive did was take time off the clock. This gave Ole Miss 2 minutes to score and win the game. From their own 12-yard line, Dart and the Rebels drove the ball up the field and reached the Tigers’ red zone. Then, from the LSU 13-yard line, Dart would pass to Tre Harris who found the endzone. The Rebels would also be successful on their 2-point conversion, meaning that the Tigers had to score a touchdown on their final drive to win.
The final drive started well for LSU, with Daniels passing to Chris Hilton Jr. for 42 yards to take them into Ole Miss territory. There, it all started to collapse. While they were aided by the Ole Miss penalty, moving them 15 yards up the field, they could not capitalize on the position, with Daniels throwing many incomplete passes. As time ran out, it became official. The number 20 Ole Miss Rebels had defeated the number 13 ranked LSU Tigers 55-49.
This game was a high-scoring classic. Both teams played well, and dare I say it, Ole Miss was not boring. The Rebels improve to 4-1 on the second, while the Tigers fall to 3-2, their second defeat to ranked opposition this season. Next week, as I mentioned above, LSU faces Auburn in the Battle of the Tigers next week, while Ole Miss face Arkansas.
I guess Duke is still a basketball school
Duke University. Outside of the Ivy League, it is one of the most prestigious universities in the US. In relation to sports, Duke is known for one thing. Basketball. But this year, the Blue Devils seem to be having success with the pigskin. Duke and Football seemed weird, but then remember that the New York Giants quarterback Daniel Jones went to Duke, so that must have had some success before. This week, in front of the national audience, as College Gameday came to Durham, North Carolina, the number 17 ranked Duke Blue Devis faced off against another highly prestigious university, the number 11 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
The Fighting Irish would have the opening possession of the game and would waste no time in scoring. Notre Dame quarterback Sam Hartman would drive the ball down the field. They were lucky to continue their drive at one point, but Jeremiyah Love would run for 34 yards on a 4th down attempt to move them into the red zone. From the Duke 6-yard line, running back Audric Estime would run the ball in for the opening score of the game.Embed from Getty Images
In reply to this, the Duke offense started well, with Blue Devils quarterback Riley Leonard throwing some good passes, and many incompletes. The drive would stall at the Notre Dame 20-yard line, giving Duke kicker Todd Pelino a 38-yard field goal. He would miss. Things would soon get worse for Duke. On their 14-yard line, Leonard’s pass was intercepted by the Notre Dame defense. This gave them a very strong field position to double their lead. Fortunately for Duke, their defense was strong, as they forced Notre Dame backward. However, they were still in field goal position, and Fighting Irish kicker Spencer Shrader would be successful in the 35-yard field goal attempt. We would then have the“Festival of Kicking” making an appearance in Durham. For the rest of the half, every drive would end in a kick. We had 4 punts, and two missed field goals, one for each team. This meant that after a poor first half, the Fighting Irish would have a 10-0 lead.
The Blue Devils would open the second half and would struggle on offense. They had a quick 3-and-out drive, punting quickly. However, Notre Dame fumbled the return, but this was recovered by another member of the Fighting Irish. After this fumble, Sam Hartman and company would slowly drive up the field, until they reached the Duke 27-yard line, where the drive stalled. Shrader would successfully kick a 45-yard field goal to increase their lead to 13 points.
We then finally saw the Duke offense wake up. From their own 25-yard line, the Blue Devils would run the ball down the field. I say run because all of the pass attempts from Riley Leonard were incomplete. Duke would end up at the Notre Dame one-yard line, and from there Jordan Waters would run the ball in for the touchdown. After a few drives that ended in punts, Duke found the endzone again. Riley Leonard had a complete pass on this drive for 26-yard yards to Jordan Moore and would run for 33 yards on the very next play. The drive would end up at the Fighting Irish’s 3-yard line. From there, Moore would run the ball in for another touchdown to give the Blue Devils their first lead in the game in the fourth quarter. Could they hold on?Embed from Getty Images
The Notre Dame drive would start at their 5-yard line, with 2:35 left on the clock. Sam Hartman would struggle to move the ball up the field, and the penalties against them did not help. Luckily for the Fighting Irish, they had a strong running game, and Hartman would run for 17 yards on a 4th and 16 attempt to keep the game alive. This would put them on the Due 30-yard line needing a touchdown with 30 seconds left on the clock. Hartman handed the ball off to running back Audric Estime, who would run the ball in for a 30-yard potentially game-winning touchdown for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish then went for and successfully did the 2 point conversion, meaning that Duke needed to score a touchdown and a two-point conversion in 30 seconds to win the game.
The Blue Devils drive started on their 25-yard line, and Leonard would pass to Sahmir Hagans for 5 yards on the first down. It was now or ever for Duke. A Hail Mary would be needed to defeat the Catholics of Notre Dame. On 2nd down, Leonard was sacked and fumbled the ball. This was recovered by the Notre Dame offense. This means that the number 11 ranked Notre Dame Fighting Irish had defeated the number 17 ranked Duke Blue Devils 21-14.
Coming into this season, no one would have considered Notre Dame vs. Duke to be a big game that deserved a national spotlight. Then Duke started playing extremely well, defeating Clemson on the opening day, and remaining unbeaten until now. Maybe Notre Dame are just too strong for them, considering Duke could easily beat other ACC teams. With this win, Notre Dame improves to 5-1 for the season, while Duke falls to 4-1. Next week, the Fighting Irish face Lousiville, while the Blue Devils are on a bye week.
What Happened to the Other Ranked Teams?
#2 Michigan @ Nebraska
The number 2 ranked Michigan Wolverines continued their schedule of games against easy teams with a matchup with the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Unfortunately for Nebraska, it is not the 90’s. They were outplayed by the Wolverines, who would end up winning the game 45-7.
#24 Kansas @ #3 Texas
The number 3 ranked Texas Longhorns are in my eyes the best team in college football. Why they are not number one ranked in the country is beyond me. This week they faced the number 24-ranked Kansas Jayhawks. If this was a basketball game, it might have been close. But, on the football field, these teams are miles apart. Longhorns quarterback Quinn Ewers would score a 30-yard rushing touchdown to open the scoring as the Longhorns never looked like losing in their 40-14 victory. Red River next weekend.
#6 Penn State @ Northwestern
I can never think of words to describe the number 6 ranked Penn State Nittany Lions. They are undefeated, with quarterback Drew Allar playing well. Both of those things are still true as they faced the Northwestern Wildcats. Penn State would record a 41-13 victory to stay unbeaten.
#7 Washington @ Arizona
Michel Penix Jr. had another good day at the office as the number 7 ranked Washington Huskies played the Arizona Wildcats. Penix would throw for 363 yards in the Huskies’ 31-24 victory.
#8 USC @ Colorado
Last week, the Colorado Buffaloes fell back to Earth with their humiliating defeat by the Oregon Ducks. This week, they faced an even tougher challenge in the number 8 USC Trojans, led by Caleb Williams. This was a high-scoring game, Buffaloes quarterback Shedur Sanders scored 5 touchdowns. But, Williams would score 6 touchdowns, as the Trojans defeated Colorado 48-41.
#9 Oregon @ Stanford
Last week, the number 9 ranked Oregon Ducks destroyed the Colorado Buffaloes. This week, Bo Nix and company faced the Stanford Cardinals, whose mascot is a bizarre-looking tree. I am mentioning the mascot because this team did not do anything. Oregon would comfortably defeat them 42-6, continuing the Ducks undefeated season.Embed from Getty Images
#10 Utah @ #19 Oregon State
The number 10 ranked Utah Utes faced the number 19 ranked Oregon State Beavers, fresh of their Pac-2 championship game defeat. Coming into this game, Utah was undefeated. They are not now. In a game where not a lot happened, Oregon State would record a 21-7 victory.
#12 Alabama @ Mississippi State
It still feels weird to say this, but this week, the number 12 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide faced the Mississippi State Bulldogs. It felt like watching the Alabama of old, as the Crimson Tide cruised to an easy 40-17 victory. While Bama are 4-1 on the season, and it is early in the season, I do think their chances of reaching the CFP are over, unless they win out and we see the likes of Georgia and Texas lose games.
Iowa State @ #14 Oklahoma
Another undefeated team this season is the number 14-ranked Oklahoma Sooners. This week, in preparation for the Red River Showdown against the Texas Longhorns next week, they faced the Iowa State Cyclones. Iowa State were less of a cyclone, and more of a small patch of low pressure. They were demolished by the Sooners 50-20. Still no sign of General Booty, but imagine the scenes if he comes into play next week.
South Carolina @ #21 Tennessee
The number 21 ranked Tennessee Volunteers are still licking their wounds caused by their embarrassing loss to the Florida Gators two weeks ago. This week they faced the South Carolina Gamecocks. It would be the Vols defense that would help them to a 41-20 victory. There will be tougher tests to come for Tennessee, so I would enjoy the feeling of victory now, I do not know when they will get to feel it again.
#22 Florida @ Kentucky
Coming into this game, the Kentucky Wildcats were favorites to face the number 22-ranked Florida Gators. The Wildcats would dominate the Gators and record a 33-14 victory, to keep their undefeated season alive. They should be ranked next week, and Florida’s brief appearance in the top 25 should be over.Embed from Getty Images
#23 Missouri @ Vanderbilt
The number 23 ranked Missouri Tigers faced the whipping boys of the SEC, the Vanderbilt Commodores this week. This game went as expected. Tigers’ quarterback Brady Cook threw for 4 touchdowns as Missouri would record a 38-21 victory to keep their undefeated season alive.
Nevada @ #25 Fresno State
Making their first appearance in the top 25 this year are the Fresno State Bulldogs, who play in the Mountain West conference. They are unbeaten so far this season and faced the 0-4 Nevada Wolf Pack. Fresno State would unsurprisingly dominate Nevada, defeating them 27-9 in the end. I do think we will be seeing them back in the top 25 next week.
That was week 5 in College Football. Next week, we have the last ever Big-12 edition of the Red River Showdown between Texas and Oklahoma, and we’ll see if the many undefeated teams can stay undefeated.