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2011 Who's Hot ... Bama, Clemson, Illini
USC WR Robert Woods
USC WR Robert Woods
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Oct 2, 2011


The players and teams that rocked in Week Five of the college football season.

2011 Who's Hot & Not

Week 5
 

 By Richard Cirminiello | 2010 Hot & Nots
- Who's Hot & Not  Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4

- 2011 Who's Not ... Week 5

Who’s Hot ...

10. Western Michigan WR Jordan White

White, along with QB Alex Carder, was one of the stars of the Broncos’ 38-31 upset of Connecticut in East Hartford. The senior has been fairly anonymous to everyone except the NFL scouts who love his next-level potential. For the fourth time in five games, he caught at least a dozen balls, turning Saturday’s 12 receptions into 173 yards and two touchdowns. Because it was shortened by weather, stats from the opener with Michigan won’t be counted by the NCAA, but the Wolverines secondary can attest to the big day White had in Ann Arbor.

9. Louisiana QB Blaine Gautier

In his first full season as a starter, Gautier has been a revelation in Lafayette, leading the Ragin’ Cajuns to their first three-game winning streak in three years. A multi-dimensional quarterback, he’s ably used his arm and his legs to defeat Nicholls State, Florida International and Florida Atlantic. The junior, who hasn’t thrown a pick since the opening weekend, coolly led his team to the game-winning field goal Saturday night in the final two minutes of regulation.

8. Washington

Don’t look now, but the Huskies are 2-0 in Pac-12 play following back-to-back wins over Cal and Utah. Saturday night’s 31-14 blowout of the Utes in Rice-Eccles Stadium might force observers to tweak the outlook of Steve Sarkisian’s team in its first year without Jake Locker under center. The young defense and special teams forced five turnovers, and the backfield of QB Keith Price and RB Chris Polk continued to deliver impressive numbers.

7. USC WR Robert Woods

It’s been a long time since a second-year wide receiver has been as completely unstoppable as Woods has been since arriving in 2010. One of the key parts of QB Matt Barkley’s school-record 468-yard day in the win over Arizona, the sophomore caught 14 balls for 255 yards and two scores. Woods has warranted so much attention from opposing corners that it’s hastened the development of rookie WR Marqise Lee, who’s caught a touchdown pass in each of the last three games.

6. Illinois (In Three-Point Games)

For the third consecutive week, the Illini survived in a thriller decided by three points. Saturday’s 38-35 win over in-state rival Northwestern was by far the most exciting of the nail-biting trio. Illinois rallied behind the heroics of versatile QB Nathan Scheelhaase and record-setting WR A.J. Jenkins to battle back from a 28-10 third-quarter deficit and remain among the ranks of the unbeaten.

5. Kansas State Head Coach Bill Snyder

The sequel may not wind up as dramatic as the original, but Snyder’s second tour of duty in Manhattan is beginning to earn rave reviews across the country. His unbeaten Wildcats have authored signature wins in consecutive weekends, surprising red-hot Baylor a week after knocking off Miami in South Florida. Saturday’s 36-35 pulsating victory was not flawless, but it was testament to the ability of Snyder’s kids to gut out games behind the play of sparkplug QB Collin Klein and LB Arthur Brown.

4. Defensive Coordinators in Michigan

Wolverines coach Brady Hoke hired Greg Mattison to lead a turnaround on defense in Ann Arbor. So far, so good. After pitching its first shutout since 2007, and keeping Minnesota to 0-of-11 on third down conversions, UM has now held four of its first five opponents to no more than 10 points. A year ago, Greg Robinson’s unit, with many of the same players, pulled off that feat just one time in 13 tries. Over in East Lansing, Pat Narduzzi has done a bang-up job with a Spartans unit that was expected to struggle without its graduated leader, LB Greg Jones. Instead, it’s held four of five opponents to no more than seven points, including Ohio State in Saturday’s 10-7 victory. Michigan State simply abused the Buckeyes line, collecting 13 tackles for loss, three each from William Gholston and Chris Norman, and nine sacks. Just about everyone joined the party, spurring the school’s first win over the Bucks since 1999.

3. Wisconsin QB Russell Wilson

The toast of the town in Madison, Wilson has started to get some well-deserved attention for the Heisman Trophy and other national honors. The sure-handed leader of the Badgers ranks second nationally in passing efficiency to Baylor’s Robert Griffin III in his debut with the program. After leading the charge in Saturday night’s rout of Nebraska, the senior has now thrown 13 touchdown passes, run for two more scores and turned the ball over just one time.

2. Clemson

The Tigers completed an improbable hat trick in Blacksburg this weekend, knocking off Auburn, Florida State and Virginia Tech when they were ranked. The latest victory was the most impressive because it came on the road, Clemson’s first trip of the year, and was spearheaded by the defense. The three points scored by the Hokies were their fewest at Lane Stadium since 1995, and the second lowest since Frank Beamer took over the program almost a quarter-century ago.

1. The Alabama Run Defense

It might be time to start talking about this 2011 ‘Bama defense on a historical scale as it clamps down on opponents like a vice grip. The Tide leads the country against the run, giving up a meager 39 yards a game and 1.5 yards per carry. More impressive is what’s taken place over the last two games versus Arkansas and Florida, which combined for 32 yards on the ground on 48 carries. Those are epic numbers being fueled by a grown-up unit that’s a step faster than everyone it faces.

- 2011 Who's Not ... Week 5