By Des Norris
Week five threw up three - that's right, three - encounters between Top 10-ranked teams.
Stanford 6-44 Washington
The Huskies made a statement on home turf against Stanford Cardinal with a domineering performance.
The purple-clad faithful watched on as their team outgained the opponents 225-83 in the opening half hour and took a 23-0 lead into the halftime break thanks in big part to the telepathic-like understanding between QB Jake Browning and his receivers, John Ross, Dante Pettis and Aaron Fuller.
Louisville 36-42 Clemson
The eagerly anticipated showdown in South Carolina had been billed as ‘Separation Saturday’ and anyone switching in late to catch Marcus Edmond’s timely fourth-down tackle of James Quick on the three-yard line might well have labeled the Tigers’ cornerback as the differentiating factor between No. 5 and No. 3 ranked rosters.
In truth though it was Clemson’s overall defensive game that brought the Cardinals’ perfect start to the season to an end with Heisman hopeful Lamar Jackson being brought down to earth both figuratively and literally (four sacks) in a scoreless first quarter.
Jackson’s counterpart, Deshaun Watson, came into his own in the second quarter, as the home team stormed to a 28-10 half-time lead. The Tigers’ QB threw five touchdown passes and finished the day with 306 yards passed and 91 rushed to his name.
That’s not to say Jackson was anywhere near anonymous though. Just as the result appeared out of Louisville’s reach, the dual-threat Sophomore kicked into gear and managed to pull the visitors ahead on the scoreboard (36-28) with just under eight minutes remaining on the clock.
Fears that the weekend’s marquee encounter would fail to live up to the hype were further put to rest with a thrilling final fourth-quarter flurry. Before the aforementioned Edmond tackle, Clemson rallied with a drive that culminated with a 31-yard Jordan Leggett catch in the end zone.
Wisconsin 7-14 Michigan
Wisconsin's rise and rise showed no slowing down on Saturday. Pitted against another defensively assured team, the Wolverines capitalized on their scoring chances when they presented themselves, with Khalid Hill breaking the deadlock in the second quarter after crossing the line for a one-yard touchdown.
The Badgers leveled matters in the third quarter after Hornibrook and Dare Ogunbowale linked up but Peight and Darboh made sure the scoreboard parity didn't last long, with the former picking out the latter to swing the tie back in the Jim Harbaugh-led program's favor near the end.