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College Football 2022: Week 5 Recap and Week 6 Preview
Monday, 2022 October 3 - 6:04 pm
Michigan wins its first road test; Penn State overcomes a sloppy game to eke out a victory; NC State loses to Clemson.

Michigan 27, Iowa 14
Michigan scored on its opening possession, but the rest of the first half was a bit of a log. True to predictions, Iowa's defense was easily the best Michigan faced all year, and Michigan's receivers had a bit of trouble getting separation. Fortunately, the running game continued to look dominant. Blake Corum rushed 29 times for 133 yards and chewed up eons off the clock. And JJ McCarthy is proving to be a good game manager when the situation demands it.

The Iowa offense was about as bad as advertised, as well. Iowa couldn't run the ball at all (66 yards by the backs and -31 in sacks), so Michigan's defense could tee off against Spencer Petras. We're seeing some signs of a functional pass rush from the defensive ends, which is promising. Petras couldn't do much until a couple of late face-saving drives; he had half of his 246 passing yards in the fourth quarter when the game was already largely out of reach.

There's still room for improvement for Michigan, though. Petras had some open receivers, and Michigan was a bit fortunate that his accuracy wasn't better. Against the likes of CJ Stokes, those holes will get ruthlessly exploited. I saw a bit of hesitancy by the linebackers in particular; even when they diagnosed the play, they were slow to react to it. We're still hoping that the eventual return of Nikhai Hill-Green proves to be an upgrade.

Still... a road win against Iowa? I'll take it. Michigan improves to 5-0 and is still ranked #4 in the country.

Michigan at Indiana, 12:00 PM Fox
Indiana is 3-2 with wins over Illinois, Idaho, and Western Kentucky; their losses are to Cincinnati and Nebraska. As usual, this is an unpredictable team, with talent enough to move the ball but without the defense to back it up.

Quarterback Connor Bazelak has eight touchdowns on the year but has also thrown five picks; he's also been sacked twelve times. Both of the top running backs are transfers: Auburn transfer Shaun Shivers and UNC transfer Josh Henderson are both averaging a respectable 4.4 YPC. The offensive line looks pretty good in run blocking, though their pass protection leaves something to be desired.

Indiana's real problems are on defense, where they are giving up 423 YPG (107th in the country). Despite some talent in the secondary, their deficiencies on the defensive line are causing problems. The front four doesn't generate much pressure, and the Hoosiers rely on blitzes to get sacks. This leaves them vulnerable to big plays, and other offenses have taken advantage. Look for Michigan to hit a few home runs here.

Prediction: Michigan 38, Indiana 17.

Penn State 17, Northwestern 7
I don't know how you turn the ball over five times and still win the game... I guess the answer is by playing Northwestern. In a wet, sloppy game, Penn State relied mostly on the defense to get itself out of trouble. James Franklin was visibly furious at the running backs for their frequent fumbles.

Fortunately, Northwestern scored exactly zero points off the Penn State turnovers. The Northwestern offense was mostly inept against the Penn State defense, and turned the ball over three times itself. So... good enough, I guess. Take the win and move on. Penn State now has a bye and will undoubtedly work on ball security drills before their big test against Michigan.

NC State 20, Clemson 30
NC State made a game of it for a while. Devin Leary was making plays and throwing completions into tight windows, and the defense was coming up with some critical stops to hold Clemson to field goals instead of touchdowns. But NC State was hurt by its lack of a running game; the Wolfpack managed a measly 34 yards on the day. It's frustrating because you can see how close NC State is to being a top team. There's just a lack of talent at a few key positions; the offensive line in particular is missing a couple of pieces, and the wide receivers are having trouble getting open.

So, that probably ends NC State's playoff dreams, and State now needs a lot of help to get to the ACC championship game as well. But with FSU, Syracuse, Wake Forest, and UNC still left on the schedule, State might find it hard to win out.

NC State vs Florida State, 8:00 PM ACCN
Another night game against a marquee opponent. 4-1 Florida State comes to town, and although they're not the caliber of team that FSU has had in the past, they beat a good LSU team earlier in the year and were competitive in their loss to Wake Forest. Talent-wise, FSU is probably fairly close to NC State; think NCSU with a functional running game but a worse defense. They've got a good quarterback in Jordan Travis, who has a 66% completion percentage and a 8-1 TD-to-int ratio on the year.

It'll be important for NC State to scheme its way to some openings for the running backs and receivers, so that Devin Leary doesn't have to carry the offensive load by himself. Do that, and the home crowd should help NC State win the day.

Prediction: NC State 34, Florida State 24.

Notable Results
#1 Georgia trailed almost the entire game against Missouri, but ground out a 26-22 win. #2 Alabama crushed #20 Arkansas 49-26. #7 Kentucky lost to #14 Ole Miss. #9 Oklahoma State is looking like the top team in the Big 12; they beat #16 Baylor 36-25. #17 Texas A&M was upset by Mississippi State 42-21. #18 Oklahoma was upset by TCU 55-24. Lots of chaos down there in Texas and Oklahoma. #22 Wake Forest beat #23 Florida State 31-21. Georgia Tech upset #24 Pitt 26-21. LSU beat Auburn 21-17.

Purdue surprised #21 Minnesota, winning 20-10. Illinois crushed Wisconsin 34-10, leading to the firing of Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst. Maryland dominated Michigan State 27-13. I dare say Michigan State is downright bad this year, but of course they'll find a way to play their best game against Michigan. Nebraska somehow found a way to win; they beat Indiana 35-21.

Games to Watch on TV
Not too many headline matches this week. #4 Michigan is at Indiana at noon on Fox. #8 Tennessee plays at #25 LSU on ESPN. #17 TCU is at #19 Kansas on FS1. Texas is at Oklahoma on ABC; this game seemed a lot more important at the beginning of the year.

At 3:30 PM, Auburn is at #2 Georgia on CBS. #11 Utah is at #18 UCLA on Fox. Wisconsin plays at Northwestern on BTN. At 4:00, #3 Ohio State is at Michigan State on ABC. That should be a blowout.

At 7:30 PM, #16 BYU is at Notre Dame on NBC. I'm gonna go ahead and call that the Game of the Week... even though Notre Dame is unranked, they're still a 3.5 point favorite in the game. Iowa is at Illinois on BTN.

At 8:00 PM, #14 NC State plays Florida State on ACCN. Texas A&M is at #1 Alabama on CBS.
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