As awful as Week 4 was, Week 5 was just as good. There was plenty of action on the field, and the big matchups actually lived up to the hype, for the most part. It wasn’t just the on-field stuff that provided drama, either, as a couple of coaches’ hot seats finally reached their boiling points.
Week 5 in Review
Coaches on the Hot Seat
Week 5 certainly provided plenty of fireworks, and not just on the field. The axe fell for the first time this season as embattled coaches Lane Kiffin and Paul Pasqualoni were both fired following humiliating losses.
Kiffin’s seat had been growing hotter week-by-week, and this past weekend’s 62-41 blowout loss to Arizona State–a team USC had beaten in 12 of the past 13 meetings–was the last straw. USC’s defense had been the strength of the team this season, but the Sun Devils piled up 612 total yards. The decision was made during the game and announced afterwards. Assistant coach Ed Orgeron will be the interim head coach.
UConn fired coach Paul Pasqualoni after the Huskies were thrashed 41-12 at the hands of Buffalo. Under Pasqualoni, UConn was just 10-18, including an 0-4 start to this season. The Huskies blew a second-half lead to Michigan, but the low point was a 33-18 to FCS squad Towson to start the season. Offensive coordinator T.J. Weist will coach the team for the remainder of the season.
Top 25 Thrillers
As for the on-field action, it did not disappoint. South Carolina battled back to hold off a pesky UCF squad despite losing starting quarterback Connor Shaw, as the Gamecocks rallied from a 10-0 deficit to win 28-25. Florida State’s Jameis Winston threw for 330 yards and 4 touchdowns as the Seminoles avoided an upset against a determined Boston College team, winning by a score of 48-34.
Ohio State survived its first test of the season, prevailing 31-24 over Wisconsin behind a stellar outing from Braxton Miller. The junior quarterback returned from injury and threw 4 touchdowns to lead the Buckeyes while OSU’s defense held the Badgers’ vaunted rushing attack to just 104 yards.
Another OSU was not so fortunate. Oklahoma State entered the weekend undefeated and ranked #11, but the Cowboys were upset by West Virginia 30-21. The Mountaineers have struggled this season and were coming off a 37-0 shutout loss at the hands of Maryland, but WVU’s much-maligned defense managed to stagnate Oklahoma State’s potent offense.
The highlight of the week, though, definitely occurred down south in the SEC. While the Alabama-Ole Miss game fizzled out–the Crimson Tide returned to form and shut out the Rebels 25-0–the showdown between Georgia and LSU lived up to the billing and then some.
The two titans traded blows until Georgia took the lead for good with just under two minutes left and hung on for a wild 44-41 victory. Senior quarterback Aaron Murray was outstanding, completing 20-of-34 passes for 298 yards and 4 touchdowns with an interception. He also tacked on a rushing touchdown.
LSU’s Zach Mettenberger–who started his career at Georgia before transferring–was just as good, going 23-for-37 for 372 yards with 3 touchdowns and no interceptions. Unfortunately for Tigers fan, he was unable to rally LSU one last time.
The win was Georgia’s second against a top ten opponent in three tries already this season.
Looking Ahead to Week 6
The best news about this upcoming weekend is that we’ll have some triple-option academy football. The shutdown of the federal government had put the service academies’ games this weekend in jeopardy, but the Department of Defense announced that Navy-Air Force and Army-Boston College will be played. Now if the government could just play nice and agree on a budget.
There are some interesting, under-the-radar games this weekend. Undefeated Oklahoma has looked good this year and is coming off a 35-21 victory over Notre Dame. The Sooners are hosting a TCU squad that is scuffling a bit but still boasts a tough defense the likes of which Oklahoma hasn’t seen yet this year. Elsewhere in the Big 12, high-flying Baylor has lit up every defense it has faced thus far, but the Bears will be going up against a West Virginia unit that held limited Oklahoma State’s potent offense to just 21 points.
Down in the ACC, #8 Florida State takes on undefeated and #25 Maryland, definitely one of the surprise teams of 2013. The Seminoles had a much more difficult time than anyone expected against Boston College while the Terrapins are coming off a 37-0 shutout of West Virginia in their previous game. Another ACC game to keep an eye on is Georgia Tech against Miami. The Hurricanes are undefeated but will face a stern test against Georgia Tech’s vaunted triple-option offense.
Up north, College Gameday will be heading to Evanston, Illinois for the Big Ten showdown between 5-0 Ohio State and 4-0 Northwestern. It’s the biggest game for the Wildcats in years, and they’ll be facing an Ohio State squad coming off a big win against Wisconsin. Will the Buckeyes experience a bit of a letdown? OSU will also be without starting safety Christian Bryant after he broke his ankle in the latter moments of last week’s win over the Badgers. On the flip side, running back Venric Mack returns for the Wildcats after missing most of the season with an injury. The senior ran for nearly 1,400 yards last year and is a weapon returning kicks.
Finally, the spotlight this week belongs out west in the Pac-12. The undercard is Arizona State taking on Notre Dame in Arlington, Texas. Notre Dame isn’t as strong as it was last year, but this is still a big game for an Arizona State team looking to take that next step and gain some national recognition. The Sun Devils, particularly quarterback Taylor Kelly, have been rolling and just hung 62 points on USC and got Lane Kiffin fired. Can they keep up the momentum against one of college football’s most storied programs? Will the Irish be able to slow down Kelly & Co. while putting up points of their own? USC was done in by turnovers, and that’s an ominous sign for turnover-prone Irish quarterback Tommy Reese.
The main event for the weekend is a battle of unbeaten, top-15 teams when #5 Stanford hosts #15 Washington. The Huskies handed the Cardinal its first loss last year and are arguably the nation’s most improved and impressive team thus far. Running back Bishop Sankey is the nation’s leading rusher, quarterback Keith Price has regained his form after struggling last season, and Washington’s defense is allowing just 3.8 yards per play, best in the Pac-12.
Stanford has Kevin Hogan, however. The junior didn’t take over the starting job until late last season, so he didn’t factor in the game a year ago. Since Hogan took over the job, Stanford has yet to lose a game. Hogan is 9-0 as a starting quarterback. To make matters worse for the Huskies, Stanford has won 11-straight games at home and is 9-1 in home games against ranked opponents since 2009. Plus, Stanford has a stingy, tenacious defense of its own. This one should be fun.
Photo via Daniel Shirey / USA TODAY Sports