College football Week 5 heroes, zeroes: Kansas trending up, Oklahoma in trouble

As another action-packed weekend of college football settles down on Saturday, let’s take a look at who’s stock is trending up and who’s is going down.

Alabama’s offense. Losing quarterback Bryce Young for most of the day after a shoulder injury, the Tide was able to withstand a strong Arkansas comeback attempt thanks to some dynamic big play ability from his backup, Jalen Milroe, who helped set up a Bama score with a long run. Milroe, combined with Jahmyr Gibbs’ 2 late scores pushed the Tide over 500 yards and accounted for 21 fourth quarter points.

TCU. Very good early returns on the Sonny Dykes tenure after the Frogs piled on 41 first-half points and 668 total yards of offense in a statement rout over Oklahoma. TCU tacked on scores of 73, 67, 62, and 69 yards. Max Duggan passed for 302 yards and 3 TDs while running for over 100 and 2 more scores as the Horned Frogs are 4-0 for the first time in 5 years and have scored at least 38 points in each game. A gift from the Riley family.

Kansas. Get ready for a battle of undefeateds in the Big 12 when Kansas and TCU meet up next weekend. Kansas is 5-0 for the first time since 2009 after a very strong defensive performance against Iowa State with a chance to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2008. Who knew that next week’s big game would be Kansas-TCU and not Bama-A&M?

Illinois. Don’t look now, but this run defense has the power to stop anybody in the Big Ten. It held Wisconsin to two – yes, 2 – rushing yards in a big win over the Badgers, has held 4 straight teams to under 100 yards on the ground, and has surrendered just 351 total ground yards. Illinois is 4-1 for the first time in seven years and throwing haymakers in the wide open Big Ten West.

Ole Miss’ defense. While the Rebels backs and Jaxson Dart get most of the attention, as they should, it was D that helped seal a statement win over No. 7 Kentucky, highlighted by a pair of forced fumbles from UK quarterback Will Levis, including the game-clincher when it appeared the Cats would score. Now the Rebs are a perfect 5-0 with two winnable games to come against Vandy and Auburn with a chance to change some minds in the SEC West.

Oklahoma. Most analysts predicted a close one at TCU, but nobody thought the Sooners would lay down like this. The words “Brent Venables” and “defense” have been synonymous in college football for a decade, but his unit had no response for TCU’s big-play attack. 

OU had allowed 275 yards rushing once in the last 3 years; it’s allowed 2 such games the last 2 weeks, both losses, and now the Sooners look out of the Big 12 chase for good. OU hasn’t started 0-2 in conference in a non-Covid year for the first time since 1998, its last losing season.

Kentucky’s offensive line. Getting lead back Chris Rodriguez on the field again was supposed to help balance this offense out as it faced Ole Miss on the road, but the UK ground game accounted for just 2.9 yards per carry, continuing a string of questionable outings for what used to be known as the Big Blue Wall.

Texas A&M. The Ags haven’t thrown for over 52 yards in the first half of a game this season and you have to wonder how a team this good led by an offensive-minded coach with Jimbo Fisher’s track record can look this bad on offense.

Big Ten West. Congrats to either Ohio State or Michigan when they likely get to the B1G title game and line up against the eventual West champion. No one seems to want the division right now, least of all Wisconsin, the one-time favorite which started 0-2 in conference play. Illinois earned a statement W over the Badgers while Purdue bumped off Minnesota.

Fresno State. It lost to UConn. Enough said. In the process, the 23-point underdog Huskies beat an FBS team for the first time since Oct. 26, 2019.

Louisville. A bad loss on the road to Boston College for the Cardinals and head coach Scott Satterfield, both of whom are now 0-3 in ACC play and look ahead to games against Wake, Pittsburgh, Clemson, NC State, and Kentucky.

Iowa’s offense. The criminal negligence that is the Hawkeye play-calling regimen continued on Saturday against Michigan. After predictably doing nothing most of the day, Iowa appeared in position to get a rare second TD on the day before a masterpiece of confusion on the goal line: running a 1 yard out pattern short of the sticks on 4th and 2. And getting offensive pass interference in the process.

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