Week 5 Top Teams Thoughts & Notes, Part 2

Posted Sep 30, 2012

The quick thoughts and looks at all the top teams after Week 5, Part 2

Pete Fiutak
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- Week 5 Top Team Notes & Thoughts Part 1  
TCU (4-0)
Last week: Beat SMU 24-16

Notes: The defense has been statistically solid against a bad Kansas offense and an underwhelming Virginia attack, but the offense didn't provide nearly enough pop. Yards aren't always translating into big points. … To be fair, no offense was going to work in the rainy conditions against SMU. However, this was supposed to be the game when the O line took control in bad conditions to grind out the ground game, but the Horned Frogs came up with just 54 yards on the ground. … The 13 penalties were bad, but the two fumbles in the bad conditions weren't that bad compared to SMU's five picks and fumble. … End Devonte Fields had himself a day making a team-leading seven tackles with 2.5 sacks and four tackles for loss. Jason Verrett came up with two interceptions. … Iowa State is up next, but the passing games follow facing Baylor, Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and West Virginia.

Oklahoma (2-1)
Last week: Didn't Play This Week

Notes: All of a sudden, Oklahoma will have to worry about a Texas Tech defense that was miserable for the last few years but has been shockingly brilliant so far. Granted, the Red Raiders haven't exactly dealt with a who's who of top attacks, but they were able to shut down Iowa State to a near dead stop. It's not like the OU offense is humming at the moment. … This is a revenge game after last year's stunning late loss to Seth Doege and a Tech team that didn't do anything after coming up with the upset. The Sooner D should be fine, but the offensive line has to give Landry Jones more time. … OU's biggest problem so far has been turnover margin. The offense hasn't been giving the ball away, but the defense has one lonely picked off pass against Florida A&M. That's it for the takeaways.

Clemson (4-1)
Last week: Beat Boston College 45-31

Notes: This was a nice bounceback effort after the loss to Florida State with the offense rolling and Tajh Boyd being brilliant throwing for 367 yards and three touchdowns. With no Sammy Watkins in the lineup due to a stomach ailment, DeAndre Hopkins stepped up in the void making 11 grabs for 197 yards and a score. … Andre Ellington deserves more national attention. He was held in relative check over the last few games after his breakout 228-yard debut on 25 carries, but he did a nice job against BC with an efficient 132 yards and a score on 25 carries. … The lack of a constant pass rush continued to be a problem. The Tigers came up with two sacks and two picks, but BC's Chase Rettig was able to throw for 341 yards and two scores. The Clemson secondary can be beaten on the midrange throws when the quarterback gets time. The next opponents, Georgia Tech, is occasionally all or nothing on the deep ball and the Tigers have to be ready for the home run shots.

Oregon State (3-0)
Last week: Beat Arizona 38-35

Notes: The Beavers showed they could come through in a slugfest against Wisconsin, and now they know they can get by on the road when pushed with wins over UCLA and now Arizona. The defense isn't getting enough out of its solid corners allowing 403 yards and three scores to Matt Scott, but the bigger concern after two great games against the run was the front seven that allowed 115 yards and two scores to Ka'Deem Carey. … Sean Mannion is starting to grow into a special playmaker. Now he's proving he can get the job done in the clutch throwing for 433 yards and three scores including the game-winner to Connor Hamlett with just over a minute to play. He was in total command. … Holding the ball for close to 37 minutes, OSU was great at controlling the ball and the game. Storm Woods was a perfect complement to Mannion with 161 yards and a score on 29 carries. … The Beavers only turned it over once but committed ten penalties.

Louisville (5-0)
Last week: Beat Southern Miss 21-17

Notes: Blow off any and all problems the Cardinals might have had against a bad Southern Miss team – they game was played in a monsoon. Even in the miserable conditions, Teddy Bridgewater was able to throw a little bit completing 10-of-14 passes with a pick. USM completed 2-of-9 throws. … Field position meant everything and Ryan Johnson helped the cause averaging 45.5 yards on his four kicks putting one inside the 20 and two more into the end zone. … Yes, the conditions were awful, but that's two straight tough games against bad teams. Struggling against FIU last week was more of a concern with Big East play starting next week at Pitt. … The defensive front has to start doing more to get to the quarterback. The Cardinals came up with just their fifth sack in five games while the O line allowed three.

Michigan State (3-2)
Last week: Lost To Ohio State 17-16

Notes: It's this simple: the passing game isn't good enough. Ohio State didn't respect Andrew Maxwell a lick, forced him to throw, and he couldn't. He might have thrown for 269 yards on 42 attempts, but there were way too many misfires and not enough pop to offset a horrible running game. Le'Veon Bell was held to 45 yards and Maxwell couldn't take advantage of the cheating up back seven. … It's not all Maxwell's fault by any stretch – the receivers are having a hard time. Dropped passes are killing the Spartans. … Braxton Miller was a one man gang at times for the buckeyes, but Max Bullough did a decent job of containing him from breaking anything big making 12 tackles with a forced fumble. He was popping. … Where is the pass rush? MSU has just four sacks in five games. … Playing Indiana and Iowa should turn things around, but Michigan might take out the OSU playbook and run Denard Robinson hoping to get the same rushing results.

Mississippi State (4-0)
Last week: Didn't Play This Week

Notes: With two weeks off to prepare, MSU needs to come out roaring at Kentucky. The Wildcats gave South Carolina a few problems early on, but then the defense started to collapse. MSU has use a balanced attack and can't stray from the ground game. … The offensive line has been one of the team's biggest strengths. It has been brilliant in pass protection and has done a great job of paving the way for Ladarius Perkins and the backs. … The defense has been phenomenal at taking the ball away with at least three forced turnovers in each of the first four games. … Kentucky is having problems lately with mistakes and is awful in turnover margin.

Nebraska (4-1)
Last week: Beat Wisconsin 30-27

Notes: The Huskers stopped screwing up and the game quickly turned. However, they also got lucky losing just two of the six fumbles. … Wisconsin finished with just 56 rushing yards against a defense that dominated and destroyed the Badger offensive line in the second half. By far this was the team's best effort against run, even if this isn't the same UW team of the past few years. … Taylor Martinez might not have had his best statistical game, but in many ways this was one of his finest hours. He played a smart second half making all the right decisions and running well when he had to. He didn't force anything and he was able to keep the chains moving with the Huskers hanging on to the ball for over ten minutes in the fourth quarter. … Will Compton was all over the field making ten tackles, a sack and three tackles for loss. He also broke up two passes.

Rutgers (4-0)
Last week: Didn't Play This Week

Notes: Beating Arkansas 35-26 two weeks ago doesn't look so special now, but it was still an important moment for team still trying to find its offensive footing. With the Big East season kicking back in, now the Scarlet Knights know they can throw the ball when needed. … The offensive line has been a big strength so far paving the way for a strong start for back Jawan Jamison and giving Gary Nova time to work. … The run defense has been stellar, partly because everyone has tried throwing the ball so far. Against Connecticut, the front seven will be tested and then it'll be right back to shootout mode against Ryan Nassib and the Syracuse passing game.

Boise State (3-1)
Last week: Beat New Mexico 32-29

Notes: This isn't the old Boise State by any stretch. Up 25-7 at halftime and 32-14 in the fourth, the offense went bye-bye and the defense couldn't seem to get off the field. The two fumbles were costly in the late Lobo rally, and the D struggled to make up for errors with big stops. The team continues to play like it's rebuilding. … The old Boise State was always a killer against the run, but this group is being blown off the ball. New Mexico was able to fumble for 330 yards and controlled the game with several different rushing options. … Joe Southwick threw for 311 yards and three scores and D.J. Harper ran for a tough 98 yards, but it was a fight. … Playing a winless Southern Miss team next should help the team's development, it's not playing well enough right now to take anyone for granted. If it struggles this much on the lines in two weeks, Fresno State will win by two scores.

Baylor (3-1)
Last week: Lost To West Virginia 70-63

Notes: On the plus side, Nick Florence was brilliant. The veteran quarterback came into the game leading the nation in total offense, and he didn't disappoint throwing for 581 yards and five scores to go along with a rushing score. … Considering how the Mountaineer secondary was on its heels, the Bears should've been stronger on the ground. Instead they averaged just 2.6 yards per carry and didn't do enough to control the clock and the ball. Jarred Salubi ran 20 times for 75 yards and a score. … In a game with brilliant statistical days, Terrance Williams' performance stood out catching 17 passes for 314 yards and two scores. … The pass rush needed to be stronger after not doing nearly enough to bother Geno Smith. With TCU's Casey Pachall and Texas' David Ash up next, the D has to bring more pressure or suffer more of the same problems.

Northwestern (5-0)
Last week: Beat Indiana 44-29

Notes: No, Northwestern hasn't beaten anyone with a pulse, but it has four wins now over BCS conference teams and is playing well enough to have a reasonable hope of beating Penn State and Minnesota to get to 7-0 before facing Nebraska. … Kain Colter was incredible at everything but throwing the ball catching nine passes for 131 yards and running for 161 yards and four scores on 14 carries. Venric Mark ran for 139 yards and a score as part of 394 Wildcat rushing yards. The O line destroyed the Indiana defensive front. … Linebacker Damien Proby was a rock in the middle coming up with 14 tackles.

UCLA (4-1)
Last week: Beat Colorado 42-14

Notes: It might have only been a win over Colorado, but UCLA came roaring back from its loss to Oregon State. This is what good teams are supposed to do to bad ones. … Brett Hundley spread the ball around with 11 different receivers catching passes. Johnathan Franklin was back on track averaging 7.4 yards per carry with 111 yards on 15 carries. … Outside linebacker Damien Holmes was a monster making seven tackles, three sacks and five tackles for loss. He was camped out in the Buff backfield. … With a wounded and reeling California up next and a struggling Utah to follow, the Bruins have to be focused. If they don't make a slew of mistakes, they should be 6-1 before going to Arizona State.

Texas A&M (3-1)
Last week: Beat Arkansas 58-10

Notes: Arkansas might be a hot mess at the moment, and the secondary might be abysmal, but Johnny Manziel still came up with a phenomenal game throwing for 453 yards and three scores while running 14 times for 104 yards and a touchdown. … Ryan Swope broke out with five catches for 141 yards and a score. The Aggie passing game did whatever it wanted. … The Aggie defense destroyed the Arkansas backfield coming up with nine tackles for loss and bringing constant pressure, even if there weren't any sacks. Toney Hurd was fantastic making 12 tackles and a tackle for loss. … Ole Miss is showing off a little bit of offense and Louisiana Tech is red hot. The next two weeks on the road aren't doing to be easy before dealing with LSU. Five of the next six games are on the road.

  Week 4 Top Team Notes & Thoughts Part 1