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Riding the Fences – Week 5

Photo: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

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Each week HornSports will take a look back at the national scene in college football, so mount up and let’s ride out and check the perimeter.

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While the Longhorns rested and healed during a bye week, the rest of the country played a mostly forgettable Week 5…

Duke and Penn State kicked off weekend action with dominant road wins on Friday night:
– Duke throttled Virginia Tech, 45-10. It was the largest margin of defeat in a conference game in Blacksburg since 1950. To add insult to injury, Duke, ahead by 28 points in the fourth quarter, ran a fake punt.
– PSU blasted Maryland in College Park, 59-0. Under first year coach Mike Locksley, Maryland is doing their best Jekyll & Hyde impersonation – after scoring 142 points (combined) in their first two games, the Terps have combined for only 17 points over their last two games.

In Arlington, Texas A&M and Arkansas delivered an exciting game with the Aggies holding on for a 31-27 win. Despite a rough start to the season, Arkansas played well and added to the futile history of recent matchups against A&M – the Razorbacks have lost to the Aggies by less than a touchdown in five of their last six contests.

After consecutive weeks of offensive ineptitude, Michigan got right against Rutgers to the tune of 52-0. The Scarlet Knights have lost 14 consecutive Big Ten games, and 16 straight against P5 opponents.

Remember when Texas Tech thought they could do better than Kliff Kingsbury? Against Oklahoma the Red Raiders were 1-for-14 on third down in an ugly 55-16 pasting by the Sooners.

Speaking of OU, Jalen Hurts threw for over 300 yards…..in the first half. Hurts has three touchdown passes in every game this season and is riding a streak of having a pass efficiency rating of 245.0 or greater (four games). Since 1996 an FBS quarterback has never had more than two such games in a season.

This week in Ugh-lternate uniforms: Wisconsin’s throwback uniforms had brown pants.

With UNC tied in the third quarter versus Clemson and UVA leading Notre Dame at halftime, the ACC looked poised to capture headlines in Week 5. Neither team held on to win, with Clemson prevailing 21-20 and the Irish using a strong second half in a 35-20 victory.

Clemson’s defensive line played a vital role in the Tigers win. In doing so, Dabo Swinney proved an old football maxim true – A team can never have too many studs up front.

Back in the days of the BCS, fans were forced to be concerned with how their previous and future opponents performed (due to the strength of schedule component in the calculation). On Saturday two of Texas’ opponents, Louisiana Tech and Rice squared off, with the Bulldogs winning in overtime, 23-20.

The Demon Deacons started conference play by beating Boston College, 27-24. With the win, Wake Forest improved to 5-0. The schedule sets up nicely for the run to continue with three straight home games.

At the other end of the spectrum, Temple smacked Georgia Tech, 24-2. At 1-3, the Geoff Collins era is off to a tumultuous start, but Saturday’s game had a silver lining: Collins built the Temple team that beat the Yellow Jackets, signaling the likelihood of better days ahead.

With GameDay in Lincoln and a night game against Ohio State, Saturday felt like an advertisement for the Nebraska football program. The early morning GameDay crowd, the stadium, and the city all looked ready for their day in the sun, but the Huskers’ football team forgot to show up. Nebraska was hammered by Ohio State, 48-7.

Down 20-21 to Clemson, Mack Brown gambled and lost by going for a 2-point conversion at the end of the game. The choice to go for two was understandable, but the play-call was terrible. The Tarheels tried to run wide against a defense that had proven themselves faster and more athletic for 59 minutes.

Arizona State beat Cal, 24-17, leaving no unbeaten team in the Pac 12. The conference’s playoff chances are already all but eliminated. Saturday’s win by ASU means the Pac-12 won’t have an undefeated team in October for the first time since 2011.

SMU 48 – South Florida 21: After winning 15 of his first 17 games (FBS opponents) head coach Charlie Strong’s Bulls have lost nine consecutive games. Things look bleak for South Florida, against SMU the Bulls had nearly had three times more penalty yards than rushing yards (134 to 54).

All Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan did on Saturday is complete 95% of his passes. The Gophers’ signal caller was 21 of 22 passing, throwing for 396 yards and four touchdowns.

Not to be outdone by a Big 10 quarterback, Alabama receiver DeVonta Smith had 11 catches for 274 yards and five touchdowns. After being behind early, the Tide routed Ole Miss, 59-31.

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