There are so many games over the course of a college football weekend that some slip through the cracks and others require further examination the next day. Before we turn the page to Week 6, here’s a closer look at some of the most interesting outcomes of Week 5.
UCLA 40, Washington 32
Don’t forget about UCLA in the Pac-12 title race.
Through four weeks, the high-flying USC offense under Lincoln Riley and the resurgence of Washington have gotten a lot of attention with Oregon and Utah also playing in some marquee games.
All the while, UCLA had flown under the radar thanks to a lackluster non-conference schedule. But the Bruins had a chance to make a statement when No. 15 Washington visited the Rose Bowl on Friday night.
And Chip Kelly’s crew was up for the challenge.
Behind an electric performance from senior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson, UCLA emerged with a 40-32 upset that was not as close as the final score may indicate. The Bruins led 26-10 at halftime and extended that lead to 40-16 after three quarters.
Thompson-Robinson was excellent in the win. He threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns while adding 53 yards and a score on the ground, making several highlight-reel plays in the process. Thompson-Robinson had an endless collection of tricks up his sleeve.
Whether it was completely hurdling a defender, stopping on a dime at the goal line to make two Washington players collide, or standing and delivering in the pocket with poise, Thompson-Robinson was the best player on the field. He completely outdueled Washington’s Michael Penix Jr., who had been excellent through UW’s first four games. In this one though, UCLA twice baited him into interceptions as the Huskies were forced to play from behind.
DORIAN THOMPSON-ROBINSON CAUSED THE TWO DEFENDERS TO COLLIDE 😲 pic.twitter.com/AHLc1c9kmw— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 1, 2022
Now 5-0 and ranked No. 18 in the country, UCLA should not be discounted in the Pac-12 race. The combination of Thompson-Robinson and running back Zach Charbonnet in Kelly’s up-tempo offense has the looks of a prolific duo when they perform the way they did on Friday night.
And there’s an opportunity for another high-profile win for the Bruins on Saturday afternoon when they host No. 11 Utah at the Rose Bowl. From there, a bye week follows before what could be a matchup of two top-10 teams when UCLA faces Oregon in Eugene on Oct. 22.
It’s Year 5 for Kelly in Westwood and it’s taken much longer than many expected for him to have the Bruins playing in nationally relevant games. Kelly won big at Oregon before his foray into the NFL, but UCLA won a combined 10 games in his first three seasons. Since then, the Bruins have won 13 of their last 17, including eight straight.
Could a special season be brewing for the Bruins?
- Sam Cooper
Georgia Tech 26, Pitt 21
What on earth happened to Pitt on Saturday night?
The Panthers, ranked No. 24 entering the weekend, were three-touchdown favorites at home over Georgia Tech, a team playing its first game since the firing of head coach Geoff Collins.
It seemed like a great opportunity for Pitt, the defending ACC champions, to start off conference play on a positive note. Instead, Pat Narduzzi’s group laid an egg in a 26-21 loss in front of a sparse home crowd.
A late second-quarter touchdown gave Pitt a 7-6 lead at halftime, but the Panthers wouldn’t score again until the game’s final minutes. Georgia Tech, which had lost nine straight to FBS competition, took advantage of multiple Pitt turnovers in the second half. In the third quarter, the Yellow Jackets connected on two field goals — one after a Pitt fumble and another after a Kedon Slovis interception. That flipped Pitt’s 7-6 lead into a 12-6 deficit.
Early in the fourth, another Pitt fumble set Georgia Tech up for a touchdown that extended the lead to 19-7. With less than four minutes to play, Pitt strung a desperate touchdown drive together to cut the Tech lead to 19-14. However, Pitt then allowed Tech to march right down the field in just 30 seconds and respond with a touchdown of their own, putting Pitt's comeback hopes to rest.
On the whole, it was an embarrassing performance for the Panthers and among the worst losses of Narduzzi’s tenure. The offense in particular had a rough night with the three turnovers and a lousy 2-of-12 performance on third down. There were also 12 penalties. Slovis, the transfer QB from USC brought in to replace first-round pick Kenny Pickett, continued to struggle while the offensive line and receivers underwhelmed against a lackluster Georgia Tech defense.
Pitt’s offense thrived last year with Mark Whipple in place as coordinator. Of course that unit had Pickett and star receiver Jordan Addison (who transferred to USC), but Narduzzi’s decision to part ways with Whipple and bring in Frank Cignetti Jr. from Boston College continues to look like a questionable choice.
Pitt needs to regroup next week at home against a bad Virginia Tech team. After that, the Panthers have a bye before a really tough back half of the schedule that includes four road games.
- Sam Cooper
Coastal Carolina 34, Georgia Southern 30
The Chanticleers could be on the verge of another fantastic season after a comeback win over Georgia Southern on Saturday.
Coastal Carolina trailed by 10 at the start of the fourth quarter and scored three touchdowns over the final 11 minutes of the game to win 34-30. The game-winning score came on a 24-yard run by CJ Beasley with 38 seconds left. Look at how Beasley got into the end zone. It’s awesome and the Myrtle Hurdle is a phenomenal nickname.
A full look at The Myrtle Hurdle as seen on ESPN+#SCTop10 pic.twitter.com/s3NawFfD0B— Chanticleer Sports Network (@CoastalCSN) October 2, 2022
Coastal QB Grayson McCall finished the game 23-of-34 passing for 335 yards and three touchdowns while Jared Brown had five catches for 139 yards and a score. The Chanticleers’ defense held Georgia Southern to two field goals after the Eagles took a 24-14 lead and allowed the offense to complete the comeback.
CCU is 5-0 after the win in its quest for a third-consecutive 11-win season. Coastal burst onto the scene in 2020 with an undefeated 11-0 season and followed that up with an 11-2 campaign and the first bowl win in school history.
Is another 11-win season in the cards in 2022? Coastal has three one-score wins so far this year, including a 31-27 victory over FCS opponent Gardner-Webb. And Georgia Southern is the only FBS team Coastal has played so far that currently sits at over .500. Both Army and Georgia State have just one win and Buffalo has two.
The Sun Belt is also very good this year. While CCU avoids Troy and South Alabama from the West division, it visits Marshall at the end of the month and plays Appalachian State at home on a short week just days later. The season also ends with a trip to Virginia and a road game at undefeated James Madison.
If Coastal makes a run at an undefeated season, the strength of the Sun Belt might make it a contender for the non-Power Five spot in a New Year’s Six bowl game. But there’s a lot of work to be done to get to that point.
- Nick Bromberg
UNLV 31, New Mexico 20
UNLV is one of the most improved teams in college football. The Rebels came back from an early 17-0 deficit to beat New Mexico 31-20 late Friday night.
Previous UNLV teams might have folded after the Lobos went up three possessions just 90 seconds into the second quarter. But UNLV fought back and took the lead on a 3-yard Aidan Robbins run 31 seconds into the fourth quarter.
The Rebels are now 4-1 and 2-0 in the Mountain West through five weeks. That 2-0 mark is huge; UNLV hasn’t won more than two conference games in a season since going 4-4 in 2017. And the four wins the Rebels have in 2022 are twice as many as they got combined in the first two years of Marcus Arroyo’s tenure.
The former Oregon offensive coordinator’s offense is now humming in Las Vegas. UNLV is averaging over 37 points per game and QB Doug Brumfield has been very good. Brumfield is completing over 70% of his passes with eight TDs passes and five scores on the ground. Robbins also has eight rushing touchdowns.
Things get tough for UNLV over the next two weeks. The Rebels get San Jose State (3-1) and Air Force (4-1) before a bye week at the end of October. A split in those games would put UNLV just a win away from the school’s first bowl game since 2013.
- Nick Bromberg
Nebraska 35, Indiana 21: The mediocrity of the Big Ten West means that Nebraska is still in the thick of it. The Huskers improved to 2-3 with the win over Indiana and have an extremely manageable schedule the rest of the way. Michigan is the only ranked team remaining on Nebraska's schedule and Illinois, Minnesota and Wisconsin all visit Lincoln. We're not saying that Nebraska has a strong chance to win the West, but things don't look nearly as bleak as they did a couple weeks ago after that drubbing by Oklahoma.
Maryland 27, Michigan State 13: MSU has now lost three straight after falling 27-13 on the road to Maryland. MSU got torched by Maryland's offense, had a miserable day on special teams and got shut out in the second half. With three top-10 teams remaining on their schedule, MSU very well could miss a bowl game this year. After winning 11 games last year, that'd be a massive step back for Mel Tucker's program.
Rice 28, UAB 24: The Owls moved to 3-2 with a huge home win over the Blazers. Rice trailed 17-7 at halftime before scoring 14 straight points to take the lead in the third quarter. UAB responded with a TD drive of its own to get the lead back, but Dean Connors' 6-yard catch with 9:02 to go was the only points of the fourth quarter and put Rice up for good. Rice could be on its way to a bowl game for the first time since 2014.
UConn 19, Fresno State 14: Fresno State was without star quarterback Jake Haener, but it was still very surprising to look up and see that UConn had beaten the Bulldogs. UConn went on a 94-yard drive and took the lead on a 17-yard Devontae Houston touchdown run with 2:20 to play, giving the program its first win over an FBS program since Oct. 26, 2019. That's a nice moment for the Huskies in Year 1 under Jim Mora.