Potential Trap Games: Week 5
Last week, conference play started for a majority of teams across the nation and Week 4 provided scares for many of the nation’s top teams.
No. 3 Oklahoma went on the road against a struggling Baylor program and trailed 31-28, but the Sooners managed to pull of the narrow victory 49-41.
No. 4 Penn State went on the road to a hostile environment in Kinnick Stadium, where the Iowa Hawkeyes were looking for a repeat performance of last year’s victory over Michigan. Penn State relied on 358 all-purpose yards from Saquon Barkley and a spectacular pass from Trace McSorley to Juwan Johnson as time expired to give Penn State the 21-19 victory over Iowa.
No. 5 USC, who has already had their fair share of scares this season against Western Michigan and Texas, struggled on the road against California. The game was tied at 13 at halftime, but USC used six turnovers, and outscored the Golden Bears 17-7 in the fourth quarter to remain unbeaten this season.
Last week all the top ranked teams survived, but as conference play continues, more highly ranked teams will be faced with trap games that could potentially spoil a trip to the college football playoff and Week 5 of the season has no shortage of these games.
No. 14 Miami at Duke, Friday, 7:00 p.m.
The 2-0 Hurricanes will travel to Wallace Wade Stadium to take on the 4-0 Duke Blue Devils on Friday night. Duke comes into this game with wins against Northwestern and last week on the road against rival North Carolina.
Miami comes into the game ranked No. 14 in the country, but their only games this season have been against Bethune-Cookman and Toledo. The Hurricanes offensive is averaging 47 points and 571 yards per game, but this game will be the first test for their offense against a Duke defense that has only allowed an average of 262 yards per game this season and ranks second in the nation in rushing defense.
Since this game is on the road, under the lights Friday night, against a much-improved Duke team, anything is possible.
No. 7 Georgia at Tennessee, 3:30 p.m.
Georgia has looked impressive so far this season, with wins over Notre Dame and last week’s domination over Mississippi State, 31-3. Georgia is heading on the road, with their true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, for the first time since the Notre Dame game. Fromm has looked very impressive so far this season, but being a true freshman quarterback on the road brings its challenges.
Georgia also faces the challenge of this week being a hangover week. Last week Georgia showed that they could potentially be one of the top teams in the country when they dismantled Mississippi State. They held Nick Fitzgerald to only 83 passing yards. Fromm also looked impressive, going 9-12 with 201 yards and two touchdowns.
Tennessee this season has already won a thriller against Georgia Tech and lost to Florida on a 63-yard hail mary, which proves that Tennessee has big game experience this year. Look for them to make this game a close game at home.
No. 15 Oklahoma State at Texas Tech, 8:00 p.m.
Oklahoma State will be looking to bounce back this week following their loss at home to TCU. It will not be an easy bounce back game for the Cowboys though, as they are traveling to Lubbock to take on Texas Tech in a night game.
Oklahoma State won the last two meetings, in which the teams scored a combined 212 points. One thing is for certain: There will be plenty of offense in this matchup.
Oklahoma State’s offense will be tough to stop but Texas Tech is second in the nation in turnover margin, and the Cowboys turned the ball over four times against TCU. Texas Tech also has a potent offense this season, as last week they put up 521 yards on the road against Houston.
Historically when these two teams get together, it is a high scoring affair and this year should be no different. Oklahoma State is looking to bounce back from their loss against TCU and keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive, while Texas Tech is looking to play spoiler and improve to 4-0 on the season.
Vanderbilt at No. 21 Florida, 12:00 p.m.
This Florida team has not played very well this season, and could very easily be 0-3, but instead they are 2-1 heading into this home matchup against 3-1 Vanderbilt.
Vanderbilt started this season off strong, with a 3-0 record including a win over Kansas State, but then last week they were embarrassed at home against Alabama, 59-0. Other than the Alabama game this season, the Vanderbilt defense has been impressive, and they are facing struggling Florida offense.
Florida also has an impressive defense, including one of the best secondaries in the country. This defense has been able to rise to the occasion and keep Florida in games, when their offense was unable to produce points. Vanderbilt is expected to struggle to score points.
Florida announced earlier this week that redshirt junior quarterback Luke Del Rio will start this game against Vanderbilt. This move comes after the struggles that Florida’s offense has faced this season. Del Rio was put in at quarterback in the second half of Florida’s 28-27 comeback victory over Kentucky.
Both teams will be looking forward to this game, as it offers a chance for them to restart. For Florida, this will be their first game with Del Rio as the starting quarterback and a chance to see if he is the spark this Florida offense needs. For Vanderbilt, it is a chance to make the country forget their embarrassing loss to Alabama and to beat Florida for only the second time in the last 27 seasons.
Ben Ferree is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.