College football is four weeks into what is shaping up to be a great season. Now that more is known about all teams involved, fans can know what to watch for in the coming weeks. This list will narrow it down to five things to watch for in week 5.
1. Can Notre Dame’s defense stop K.J. Costello?
One of the best games of the weekend will happen Saturday with Stanford traveling to Notre Dame. This is a matchup of two top 10 teams that have College Football Playoff aspirations. The key to the game is surprisingly not in the hands of Bryce Love.
The Cardinal were able to score 38 points thanks to K.J. Costello at quarterback and some help from turnovers. Teams have been selling out to stop Love and Costello has had to beat teams with his arm. Against Stanford in week 4, Costello threw for 327 yards and three touchdowns. If he can have a similar game against the Irish, the Cardinal will leave South Bend with a victory.
Notre Dame’s defense will have to try to bottle up Love, while at the same time slow down the hot-handed Costello. That isn’t easy. Luckily for the Irish, they have some players capable of stepping up on defense. One player specifically who will have a large task is Julian Love, the star corner. He will have to help the Irish keep Stanford wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside out of the end zone. Arcega-Whiteside has seven touchdown catches this season, which is ranked second in the country.
If the Notre Dame defense can get pressure on Costello and force him into mistakes they will win.
2. Can Ohio State’s defensive line stop Penn State?
The other big matchup of the weekend will be Ohio State at Penn State. The winner will be the favorite to represent the Big Ten in the College Football Playoff. With a lot riding on this game, the key will be the Ohio State defensive line’s ability to slow down Penn State’s high-scoring offense.
Penn State has the best offense in the country at 55 points per game. Quarterback Trace McSorley has helped lead the offense with his dual-threat abilities. Through the first four games, he has 763 passing yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions. He has tagged on 235 rushing yards and six scores on the ground. He is joined by running back Miles Sanders, who has rushed for 495 yards and five touchdowns. The duo will be extremely hard to stop.
The strength of Ohio State is in its defensive line. Unfortunately, the line won’t be 100% as Nick Bosa is still out with a leg injury. They have the talent to still make plays and will need to against Penn State’s playmakers. Defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones had a touchdown against TCU and will need to step up in Bosa’s absence yet again. If the defensive front can make Penn State beat them through the air, they should win the game.
3. Will Jake Browning beat BYU?
Washington has lost a game, but still hold great chances of making the College Football Playoff. This week they will square off with a solid, ranked BYU team. The Cougars scored an upset win over Wisconsin in week 3 and will be looking for another one.
When BYU played Wisconsin, they were the most physical team. They allowed Badger star running back Jonathan Taylor to rush for 117 yards. The key to the game though was, Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook who couldn’t complete a lot of key passes. The BYU defense will have to play even better against Washington, as Jake Browning is fully capable of making those type of throws.
Browning has 966 yards and seven touchdowns on the year. The senior quarterback is one of the best in Washington’s history after leading them to victories in a lot of key games. This includes leading them to the College Football Playoff two seasons ago. For the Huskies to score another good win with him at the helm, he’ll have to convert on third downs and keep the defense guessing. That should be fully in the capabilities of Browning.
4. How many points can Texas Tech and West Virginia score?
There will not be much defense in the Texas Tech and West Virginia game, but the offenses should have a lot of fun. With two teams that have made their way throwing the football, the game might be one of the highest scoring matchups of the season.
Texas Tech enters this game as the fifth-best offense in the country with 52 points per game. They are coming off of an upset win over Oklahoma State who was ranked 15th. They are first in passing yards per game behind the arm of Alan Bowman, who will be dueling with one of the best quarterbacks in the country.
West Virginia quarterback Will Grier is a Heisman Trophy contender and has helped the Mountaineers average 373.3 passing yards per game, the third most in the country. He will be looking to connect with David Sills V, who had 18 receiving touchdowns last year. Grier will be looking to build up his stats for many postseason awards and help his Mountaineers get a solid win in Big 12 play.
5. Can Duke win the ACC Coastal?
The ACC Coastal is a mess right now after Old Dominion upset Virginia Tech. This may not be an indictment on the Hokies whole season, but they certainly look vulnerable now. They’ll need to play much better to win the ACC Coastal and they play a tough Duke team this weekend.
Duke is 4-0 and has looked like a formidable team that should be ranked soon. If they can win against Virginia Tech this week, they have a surprisingly good chance of winning the Coastal division. Miami has won three games since week 1, but don’t look like they are a great team. N’Kosi Perry is a nice find at quarterback for the Hurricanes moving forward. Virginia, Pittsburgh, North Carolina and Georgia Tech all haven’t looked great this season either. If Duke wins Saturday it may come down to their matchup with Miami to decide the division.
Make sure to check out our college football page for more updates and rankings.