College football is five 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 6.
1. Can Ehlinger keep up with Murray?
One of the biggest games of week 6 is the Red River Rivalry. Texas and Oklahoma are both ranked and vying for a Big XII title and possibly more. The annual neutral-site game will show fans how serious both teams are in terms of national contention. The question that will be key for this game is: Can Sam Ehlinger keep up with Kyler Murray?
Murray was benched to start the game against Baylor, but came into the game and accounted for seven touchdowns. The junior quarterback has thrown for 1,460 yards and 17 touchdowns and has rushed for 285 yards and four scores. He has led the Sooners to an average of 48.6 points per game, which ranks eighth in the country. That is hard for anyone to keep up with, especially a Texas team that has struggled to score a lot of points.
While the defense will be tasked with slowing Murray down, Ehlinger will have to help the offense outscore Oklahoma to some extent. That is something that Texas has struggled with to start the season, as they have scored 27.6 points per game, which is tied for 84th in the country. Ehlinger has had a decent season, throwing for 1,185 yards and nine touchdowns, but will need to complete passes downfield to help Texas pull the upset. The sophomore is only averaging 7.1 yards per pass attempt so that will be a challenge, but he has the weapons to attack the deep part of the field.
If Ehlinger can stretch the Oklahoma defense vertically and put up some points, Texas has a shot to win.
2. Can Kentucky travel?
Kentucky has been one of the nice surprises of the young season. The Wildcats are 5-0 and are now ranked 13th in the country after getting wins over Mississippi State, Florida and South Carolina. One of those games, Florida, was on the road, but now the Wildcats will be traveling to one of the toughest environments in college football with a target on their back.
The Wildcats are traveling to College Station to take on Texas A&M in a Saturday night game. The Aggies have two losses on the season, but those losses are to Clemson and Alabama. These teams will have some familiarity that coach Jimbo Fisher can use to his advantage, as Kentucky coach Mark Stoops was on Fisher’s staff at Florida State. Fisher will be looking to quarterback Kellen Mond and running back Trayveon Williams to create offense against a tough Kentucky defense that has allowed just 11 points per game in SEC play.
If Kentucky can deal with the hostile environment and come out with a win, they will be sitting pretty in the SEC East and already be bowl eligible.
3. Clemson’s QB situation
Last week, Kelly Bryant decided that he was going to transfer after losing his starting job to freshman Trevor Lawrence. Clemson played Syracuse in a rough game that saw Lawrence get injured and leave the game with concussion-like symptoms. Redshirt freshman Chase Brice entered the game and led Clemson to victory, but it was far from pretty.
Clemson will monitor Lawrence’s health through the week, but Swinney did say that Lawrence felt good enough to go back in, but that he didn’t want to take any chances with him. If he isn’t able to go Brice will start against Wake Forest this week. The Demon Deacons aren’t the greatest team, but they are 3-2.
It is important to watch the quarterbacks in this game for several reasons. For one, Lawrence didn’t play well before getting injured against the Orange. He was only able to throw for 93 yards before exiting. They are also very thin at the position after Bryant transferred. Several quarterbacks have now transferred in the last year, meaning that if Lawrence and/or Brice get hurt, Clemson is in some real trouble.
4. N’Kosi Perry against FSU
Miami has found a new quarterback. After starting Malik Rosier for last season and the beginning of this year, Mark Richt has decided to give the reins over to N’Kosi Perry. He is completing 66.7% of his passes for 442 yards and seven touchdowns. The verdict on whether this was a good move is still up in the air, as Perry has yet to play in a big game.
That will all change this weekend when the Hurricanes take on their rival Florida State. The Seminoles are 3-2, but are not playing well this season. In rivalry games, that doesn’t usually matter. Florida State also has some players that could give Perry some trouble in defensive end Brian Burns and cornerback Levonta Taylor. Burns has five tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks on the season, while Taylor is a shutdown corner.
If Perry can get a big win over a rival, it could give Miami even more momentum moving forward.
5. Can LSU keep scoring enough?
LSU and Florida are playing in their annual crossover game between the SEC East and West this weekend. It is going to be a slugfest with two great defenses going at it. Can LSU keep scoring enough to win these games in the SEC or will they revert back to offenses of past seasons?
The Tigers are averaging 33.8 points per game, which is average, but way better than the last few years. Quarterback Joe Burrow has been a breath of fresh air for LSU fans and even led the Tigers in both passing and rushing in their last game against Ole Miss. He will be challenged more against Florida this week.
Florida is back in the top 25 at no. 22 after defeating Mississippi State on the road. They will get to play this game at home, which will rev up their defense. Florida’s defense is allowing just 14 points per game which is good enough for ninth in the country. They will force Burrow to make throws to convert on third downs to win the game.
Can Burrow step up again for the Tigers?
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