Week 5 of the college football season had major early playoff implications and it didn't disappoint. Highlighted by No. 4 Ohio State's trip to No. 9 Penn State and No. 7 Stanford-No. 8 Notre Dame, four top-10 teams played in marquee games with a lot on the line.
But those weren't the only notable finishes from Saturday. No. 3 Clemson needed backup quarterback Chase Brice to come off the bench for a heroic performance against Syracuse. No. 12 West Virginia was tested on the road against No. 25 Texas Tech. Just about every favorite this week, it seemed, needed to find some way to survive and advance.
With those games in mind, along with so much more, here's everything you need to get caught up on a busy Saturday around college football.
Notre Dame: The move to Ian Book at quarterback looks even better now that Notre Dame beat Stanford 38-17 with Book accounting for four touchdown passes. The ceiling is so much higher with him playing. And, sure, a win against a fellow top-10 team can . If you want to look ahead, Notre Dame will likely be heavily favored in every remaining game while facing one or two ranked teams, max. This was the hardest game on the schedule and it was a solid win. But sometimes it's nice to simply enjoy things for what they are. With Book slinging the ball around, the Fighting Irish are a lot of fun to watch and the defense makes this a dominant team. If they play like they did Saturday, the playoff stuff will take care of itself.
Clemson running backs: Quarterback Chase Brice gets the lore coming in for the injured Trevor Lawrence in Clemson's edgy come-from-behind Travis Etienne, Adam Choice and Tavien Feaster. Together, they had 305 yards rushing and three touchdowns with Etienne getting two bills and all three scores. The point is when you're down to your Week 1 third-string quarterback -- even if you have confidence in him -- it helps to be able to run the ball.. And he deserves it after a big-time first-down throw on a fourth-and-6 in the fourth quarter. The real heroes, though, would be Clemson's running backs
Florida: The Gators got a 13-6 win for first-year coach Dan Mullen in his first trip back to Starkville to take on his old team, No. 23 Mississippi State. That's big in and of itself and puts Florida at 4-1 with two huge games coming up in the next month (vs. LSU on Oct. 6 and vs. Georgia on Oct. 27). However, Florida's defense also did a great job corralling Mississippi State's offense and quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. The Bulldogs had just 73 yards of offense in the second half and zero points. Fitzgerald was limited to 3.8 yards per passing attempt and 1.6 yards per rush.
Oregon: It's not easy coming back from a gut-punching loss like the one Oregon suffered against Stanford in Week 4. To go on the road against a ranked divisional opponent like Cal and win 42-24 mostly without a hiccup is a big deal. This was a hangover spot for the Ducks, who probably should be undefeated, but they responded. That's good, because college football is a fickle sport. One week BYU is upsetting Wisconsin and the next it's getting housed by Washington. Teams play well then they don't. These are still college players, which means their reliability is unpredictable to say the least.
Penn State coach James Franklin: Oh, boy. Franklin is going to hear about his fourth-and-5 call in the Nittany Lions' heartbreaking Miles Sanders for two-yard loss. The feedback on said play has, to put it one way, not been great. Penn State had two chances up big to put this one away and that stings, but when it needed to make its best call, it didn't, either. There's an explanation, , but this was truly as baffling as it was anticlimactic.. With the game on the line -- and after multiple timeouts -- Penn State went with an inside handoff to running back
Stanford running back Bryce Love: This is shaping up to be a tough season for Love, who left Stanford's loss to Notre Dame with what looks to be yet another ankle injury. Love had 73 yards rushing and a score before he left the game -- not bad, but he still has yet to break loose with a monster game. And if he's battling injuries this season, he may not. Look, it's hard to repeat as a Heisman Trophy finalist or winner. There are so many aspects that go into a season like that, including health. Defenses are keying on him and he can't stay on the field. It's unfortunate, but it happens even to the best of 'em.
Bill Snyder and the benefit of the doubt: Technically, Kansas State covered in a 19-14 loss to No. 18 Texas, so congrats if you took Bill Snyder and the points. History usually says to do just that. However, K-State needed those two touchdowns because this was a 19-0 game at the half. That's how bad things are in Manhattan, where the Longhorns got their first win since 2002. Snyder has earned the benefit of the doubt after years of overachieving at what was once the worst Division-I program in college football. You wouldn't be alone in believing Snyder is going to turn this thing around. But after five weeks, it's getting to the point where there's little left to believe in. The Wildcats are brutal, particularly offensively, and it's not a sure thing that even Snyder can fix this.
Louisville: Neither Louisville nor Florida State is good, but the Cardinals dropped one against the Seminoles 28-24. Up 24-21 with a fresh set of downs and under two minutes remaining, Louisville opted to to pass instead of trying to run some clock -- and it was immediately picked off. Five plays later, Florida State hit the go-ahead score. The Cardinals are at the bottom of the ACC Atlantic at 0-2 and they're likely not going to be favored in more than a couple of games for the remainder of the season. It's stunning to think this program has fallen off so quickly post-Lamar Jackson, but coach Bobby Petrino's stock is tumbling fast.
Best of the rest
Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray: Murray didn't start against Baylor , so technically we can say the Sooners' backup quarterback accounted for seven touchdowns and 477 yards in a 66-33 win. That ties Baker Mayfield for a single-game record at OU. Pretty good day for the second-stringer.
Alabama and the spread: The Crimson Tide were a comical 49-point favorite against Louisiana and the line even went up to 50 on Saturday morning. The top-ranked Tide covered the spread by halftime, but lost it in a 56-14 rout. No joke, Alabama has been at least a three-touchdown favorite in every game and would be a double-digit favorite . But since every game is basically over after the first quarter or two, who even wants to bet on Alabama anymore?
Washington quarterback Jake Browning: There wasn't much excitement in Washington's 35-7 win over BYU, but it was a big game all the same. Browning became the school's all-time leading passer during the first half of the game, breaking Cody Pickett's school record of 10,220 yards. Browning came into the game needing 150 yards to catch Pickett and finished with 277 yards.
Virginia Tech quarterback Ryan Willis: The junior tossed for three touchdowns in his first start since the ankle injury to Hokies' first-stringer Josh Jackson. Virginia Tech beat Duke in Durham 31-14.
Being perfect even in imperfection: Georgia kicker Rodrigo Blankenship kicked -- and made -- arguably the oddest extra-point you'll see this season in a 38-12 win vs. Tennessee. As "imperfect" as it was, it kept Blankenship perfect in extra points for his career. Per Seth Emerson of The Athletic, this was Blankenship's 114th straight made extra point. He is now within five of tying the school record.
The dichotomy of Scott Frost: There are almost no words to describe how vastly different Frost's time at Nebraska is compared to his time at UCF. Frost took over a winless Knights program a couple of years ago, but turned them into an instant winner. The task will take a little longer in Lincoln.
The two sides of Scott Frost:— Bryan Fischer (@BryanDFischer) September 29, 2018
— UCF will extend the nation’s longest win streak to 17
— Nebraska set to lose eight in a row for the first time ever
Lubbock lore lacking: That No. 25 Texas Tech came back from a 35-10 halftime deficit to give No. 12 West Virginia a scare shows Lubbock weirdness is still a thing. However, the Red Raiders fell short 42-34, meaning they haven't won a Big 12 home game in -- wait for it -- two years. Thankfully for Tech, Kansas comes back to Lubbock in mid-October.
Hawaii: Week 5 had a bit of a survive-and-advance theme to it and Hawaii knows that as well as any team. The Rainbow Warriors needed five -- count 'em, five -- overtimes to outlast winless San Jose State 44-41. Conference road games are tough for everyone, folks.
USC-Arizona: If you stayed up late enough to witness this game, you'd know it was it a beautiful disaster -- a burning match in a box of fireworks type of thing. USC had a 24-0 lead in the third quarter and, through a series of maddening penalties and generally poor decision-making, squandered that lead by allowing three straight Arizona touchdowns. But then, to add some Vegas drama, Arizona missed the extra point that would have made it 24-21 with 1:40 to play. The line closed at USC -3.5. God have mercy.