2013 Who's Hot & Not
Who's Not ... Week 5
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Summa Cum Laude
The Rebels are heading into the break with their first three-game winning streak since 2003. Heck, the Rebels haven’t won more than two games in a season since 2009, taking steps in the early going to boost the sagging job security of Bobby Hauck. UNLV is thriving behind the offensive trio of QB Caleb Herring, RB Tim Cornett and WR Devante Davis.
Offensive Coordinator of the Week: Mike Norvell, Arizona State
Clancy Pendergast’s USC defense was virtually untouchable through the first month of the season, allowing just 44 points in four games. The Sun Devils topped that total in four quarters, hanging 62 points and 612 yards on the Trojans. ASU authored a slew of explosive plays, while keeping one of the nation’s best pass rushing units from posting a single sack.
Defensive Coordinator of the Week: Bud Foster, Virginia Tech
It’s time to start labeling the Hokies as the stingiest defense in America. If they’re not No. 1, they’re certainly in the top 3, an SEC-caliber unit that’s getting better with each passing week. Foster’s unit took the sting out of Georgia Tech on Thursday, holding the Yellow Jackets’ prolific ground game to only 129 yards. Beware, ACC. Tech gets even tougher to navigate once next-level CB Antone Exum returns from his knee injury.
The BYU D
The Cougars are the Hokies of the West. Despite not being at full-strength, the D is helping overcome an iffy offense led by a downhill running quarterback, with issues as a passer. Sound familiar, Tech fans? BYU has only allowed 50 points in four games, keeping Middle Tennessee off the scoreboard over the final three quarters of Friday night’s 37-10 cakewalk.
Stockpile more shares in … Iowa
Yeah, the schedule is about to get a whole lot tougher, but the Hawkeyes have quietly stabilized behind the D and the blue-collar running of Mark Weisman. Iowa won its fourth straight game, walking out of Minnesota with Floyd of Rosedale. Now at 4-1, with a little tailwind, head coach Kirk Ferentz and his kids can finally exhale for a change.
Bucking for a promotion: Washington defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox
It’s just a matter of time before the 36-year-old Wilcox lands his first head coaching gig. He’s done a terrific job so far with a Husky defense that’s been the unspoken key to the program’s resurgence this fall. In four games, U-Dub is allowing a mere 13 points per game.
Can I be your agent … Sean Mannion?
Mannion, who's starting job wasn't assured until just before the opener, has bloomed into one of the most prolific passers in the FBS. After torching rusty Colorado for an Oregon State-record six scoring strikes and 414 yards, he now leads the nation with 21 touchdown passes. At this pace, the junior is going to challenge for All-Pac-12 honors and possibly early entry into the 2014 NFL Draft.
The unbeaten Huskies became the first program in MAC history to knock off two Big Ten teams in the regular season of the same year. Nearly a month after toppling a pretty good Iowa team, Northern Illinois got four total touchdowns from QB Jordan Lynch in a 55-24 rout of Purdue. Might NIU be crafting a BCS-worthy resume for a second straight year?
West Virginia S Darwin Cook
Cook was the Mountaineers' defensive hero in Saturday's shocking upset of ranked Oklahoma State. The senior had eight tackles, including an outstanding game-sealing stop of RB Jeremy Smith at the goal line. Cook also had a pick in the waning moments, and has been an all-around stalwart for a West Virginia D that’s quietly turned the corner in 2013.
He’s how young?! Georgia DE Leonard Floyd
Floyd is growing up in a hurry in Athens. The rookie is quickly becoming the Dawgs' most disruptive speed rusher, getting off the snap and into the backfield in a flash. In Saturday's win over LSU, he had eight tackles, two stops for loss, a sack and a timely pressure to help seal the deal. Once Floyd adds weight and sharpens his technique, he promises to be one of the SEC's scariest edge guys.
Start designing the Fathead of … South Carolina RB Mike Davis.
Georgia's Todd Gurley and LSU's Jeremy Hill have generated more pub lately, but Davis absolutely belongs in the discussion regarding the premier backs in the SEC, if not the entire country. He put the Gamecocks on his broad shoulders Saturday in Orlando, using 26 carries for 167 yards and three touchdowns to erase a 10-0 UCF lead at halftime.
Start designing another Fathead of … Wisconsin LB Chris Borland.
Is there a more underrated defensive player in America than Borland? Unassuming until kickoff, No. 44 plays like a quicker throwback version of former Buckeye great Chris Spielman. He leads the Badgers with 46 tackles, including 16 in Saturday night’s loss to Ohio State. At one point, Borland stood up 240-pound RB Carlos Hyde at the goal line, encapsulating the linebacker’s toughness in a single play.
Team of the Week: Alabama
Go ahead and keep trying to poke holes in the Tide. It’ll just keep finding new ways to remain in the national championship driver’s seat. Ole Miss did a lot of chattering leading up to this week’s showdown in Tuscaloosa. The Rebels left Bryant-Denny Stadium with their first shutout loss in 15 years.
Georgia QB Aaron Murray
RIP, doubts about Murray's ability to thrive against highly ranked teams. The senior added another chapter to his legacy on Saturday, leading the Dawgs to a rousing win over LSU by accounting for five touchdowns, including the game-winner. That's two wins over top 10 opponents in the last three games for Murray. He was especially important on a day when workhorse RB Todd Gurley was lost to an ankle injury.
Who's Not ... Week 5