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Zach Pekale | | October 4, 2020

These 9 things stood out in Week 5 of the college football season

Week 5 AP poll: Breaking down the top changes and storylines

Week 5 of the 2020 college football season on Saturday featured 17 ranked teams, including the first matchup between top-10 teams. No. 4 Georgia pulled away with a 27-6 win over No. 7 Auburn while No. 9 Texas was stunned by TCU. Here are 9 things that stood out from this week's games:

No. 4 Georgia clamps down on No. 7 Auburn in 27-6 win

Georgia's defense has been one of its greatest strengths during head coach Kirby Smart's tenure. Against No. 7 Auburn, that proved true once again. A highly anticipated matchup between top-10 opponents was instead a 27-6 romp by the Bulldogs, a reminder to the Tigers and the SEC that UGA still belongs as a league contender. Georgia smothered Auburn from the start, holding the Tigers without a third-down conversion in the first half while giving up just 216 yards and 15 first downs. The Bulldogs' offense found a rhythm early with quarterback Stetson Bennett making his first career start and running back Zamir White having time and space to create. Bennett looked composed in the pocket and was kept upright by the offensive line, throwing for 240 yards and a touchdown while White paced the ground game with 88 yards and two touchdowns. But make no mistake on where the spotlight was in Athens. This was a dominant effort by the Bulldogs defense to pick up a win over a top-10 team.

Mistakes sink No. 9 Texas in 33-31 loss to TCU

There is far less wiggle room for self-induced error during a shortened season. In some ways, Texas beat itself in Saturday's 33-31 loss to TCU. While the Horned Frogs ran for 226 yards and held the ball for nearly 35 minutes, the No. 9 Longhorns committed double-digit penalties for a second straight week, giving away 92 yards to TCU. Texas running back Keaontay Ingram appeared to break the plane for a go-ahead touchdown on Texas' final drive but that scoring play was overturned. TCU's Garrett Wallow forced the junior to fumble on the next play from inside TCU's 1-yard line and the Horned Frogs then ran out the clock. Quarterback Sam Ehlinger overcame accuracy issues to throw for four touchdowns and give UT a chance. TCU quarterback Max Duggan threw for 231 yards and paced the Horned Frogs' rushing attack with 79 yards and two scores in the upset.

No. 2 Alabama's big plays fuel 52-24 win over No. 13 Texas A&M

Part of what makes Alabama so dangerous is its depth. It's difficult to pinpoint who is going to make an explosive play and which side of the ball those plays are going to come from. In a 52-24 win over No. 13 Texas A&M, it was a lot of both for the No. 2 Crimson Tide. After the Aggies missed a field goal on the game's opening drive, quarterback Mac Jones and wide receiver John Metchie III linked up for a 78-yard touchdown three plays later. Once the Tide went up 21-14 — shaking off an interception from Jones — defensive back Daniel Wright jumped a Kellen Mond pass and returned it for a touchdown that doubled the lead. Texas A&M forced a punt before putting together a strong drive to start the second half. The Aggies were held to a field goal before Jones found Jaylen Waddle for an 87-yard touchdown. Jones finished with 435 yards and four touchdowns while Mechie III hauled in two scores. 

Arkansas stuns No. 16 Mississippi State 21-14 for first SEC win in three years

Maybe Arkansas and the Razorbacks' defense didn't get enough credit last week against Georgia? After all, the Razorbacks did lead a top-5 team at halftime. This time around, the Razorbacks finished the job, stunning No. 16 Mississippi State 21-14. A week after MSU quarterback K.J. Costello threw for an SEC-record 623 yards, Arkansas shut down the Bulldogs' air raid with three interceptions. Defensive back Greg Brooks Jr. returned the first for a touchdown as one of four takeaways by the Razorbacks. Arkansas' win is its first against an SEC opponent since October 2017. Quarterback Feleipe Franks led the offense with 212 yards and two touchdowns.

Quick-strike offense leads No. 3 Florida to 38-24 win over South Carolina

A 13-minute difference in time of possession could be a troubling sign in some college football games. But Florida more than managed with having the ball for just 23:37 of the Gators' 38-24 win over South Carolina. UF's longest touchdown drive — its first of the afternoon — was just over four minutes while the other four all lasted 2:31 or less. Three of those touchdowns came during a 24-0 run by the Gators after South Carolina tied the score at 14 apiece. Quarterback Kyle Trask followed up a six-touchdown season opener with 268 yards and another four passing touchdowns. Trask found Trent Whittemore and Kadarius Toney for scores while linking up twice with tight end Kyle Pitts.

Lawrence, No. 1 Clemson pull away 41-23 from Virginia

Clemson won its rematch of the 2019 ACC Championship Game, beating Virginia 43-21. The Tigers raced ahead 24-3 before Virginia cut it to 27-17. This was the first time this season that quarterback Trevor Lawrence played a complete game. The junior looked sharp in the Tigers' first two wins, though he hadn't played beyond the third quarter yet. Against the Cavaliers, Lawrence threw for 329 and three touchdowns, connecting with eight different players throughout the game. Clemson's margins of victory, at times, have limited running back Travis Etienne. But the senior accumulated 187 scrimmage yards and two total touchdowns in the win.

Brennan settles, No. 20 LSU beats Vanderbilt 41-7

LSU quarterback Myles Brennan's introduction to life as a starter for the defending national champions was less than ideal. The junior had minimal time to get adjusted during a track-meet style shootout loss to Mississippi State. Brennan fared better in his second start — a 41-7 win over Vanderbilt in which he threw for 337 yards and four touchdowns. Running back John Emery established a ground game with 103 yards and a touchdown to complement Brennan. The Tigers defense rebounded against the Commodores, holding Vanderbilt to 3.9 yards per play and a single touchdown after allowing over 600 yards to MSU a week ago.

Breece, Iowa State knock off No. 18 Oklahoma 37-30

Coming into the 2020 college football season, a lot of attention in Ames was on Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy. In a 37-30 win over Oklahoma, the junior signal-caller was steady with 254 passing yards and two total touchdowns. But it was running back Breece Hall that the Sooners had no answer for. The sophomore posted his third-straight 100-yard game, going for 138 yards and two touchdowns as the Cyclones stormed back to score the game's final 14 points. Hall picked up 45 yards on the Cyclones' final drive, including an eight-yard scamper to go ahead for good. The win was Iowa State's first at home over Oklahoma since 1960. On the other hand, the Sooners are 0-2 in Big 12 play for the first time since 1998.

Tulsa's defense hangs on for 34-26 upset of No. 11 UCF

Coming into Saturday, UCF had scored 30 or more points in 39 of its past 41 games. Despite trailing 23-5 at one point, the Golden Hurricane adjusted and locked in defensively to pull off a 34-26 upset of UCF. After Cole Schneider's touchdown for UCF, the Knights crossed midfield on only two drives the rest of the way. Tulsa quarterback Zach Smith sparked the offense with touchdown passes to Josh Johnson and Sam Crawford Jr. right before and after halftime to cut the deficit to four. Smith struck again with his third score, this time putting Tulsa ahead when he found Keylon Stokes from 13 yards out. Smith finished with 273 yards and three touchdowns in the upset.

The loss marked UCF's first at home since Nov. 19, 2016. It was Tulsa then, too.

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