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Week Five - Rising to the top

Scott Haynes, College Football Senior Editor

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Week five was an interesting one, as some of the truly gifted players and dominant teams distanced themselves from the pack, and SEC, Big 12 and Pac-10 dominance was further established. Punishing ground games took center stage, and the jockeying for position atop the national polls is starting to heat up.

SEC-OND TO NONE: It was a showdown between the last two national champions, as both Alabama and Florida brought extended regular-season win streaks into the contest. However, the game failed to live up to the hype, at least for the Gators, who were outplayed by the Crimson Tide in a 31-6 rout. Sure, this game took place in Tuscaloosa, but Florida had no answer for Alabama's ground attack, which churned out 170 yards, behind the play of Trent Richardson (63 yards, on 6.3 yards per carry) and Heisman winner Mark Ingram (47 yards and two TDs). The Tide jumped out to a 24-0 lead before Florida finally got on the board with a field goal at the end of the first half. It was simply a matter of holding on after that.

Can anyone at this point dethrone the defending national champions? South Carolina gets its shot this week in Columbia, and Auburn will get a crack at its rival in the regular-season finale, but the Tide are rolling right now and look to be head and shoulders above the competition heading into the second half of the season.
Florida had no answer for Alabama's ground attack.


BACK ON TRACK: With Michigan's Denard Robinson at less than 100-percent heading into Saturday due to a knee injury, there were certainly doubts regarding his effectiveness in the Big Ten opener at Indiana. Well, a less-than-full-strength Robinson is still scary, as the talented sophomore continued his run towards the Heisman Trophy, passing for 277 yards and three TDs and rushing for 217 and two more scores against the Hoosiers. The Wolverines needed all of it, as they prevailed by just seven points in a shootout. Following yet another superhuman effort, Robinson leads the nation in rushing at 181.0 ypg, while ranking fourth nationally in pass efficiency (179.97 rating), having completed 70 percent of his passes, for 1,008 yards, with seven TDs and just one INT. Less than halfway through the season, Robinson has already eclipsed 1,000 yards passing and is closing in on 1,000 rushing (905).

LEAP-FROG: Boise State took care of both its biggest hurdles this season, knocking off Virginia Tech and Oregon State. However, the Broncos' WAC slate isn't exactly chock-full of powerhouses and how long the team would hold on to its number three ranking as a result was in question. That question was answered with the new poll, as Oregon jumped over BSU in the poll thanks to yet another offensive eruption against a very good Stanford team this week. Staying at number four in the rankings won't be easy either. TCU is sitting at fifth, followed by Big 12 powerhouses Oklahoma and Nebraska. Both the Sooners and Cornhuskers have tough matchups in-conference the rest of the way, along with perhaps a meeting for the Big 12 title. Despite perhaps another perfect regular season, BSU will need a lot of help to play for a national title at this point.

PLAYERS OF THE WEEK: Heisman front-runner Denard Robinson once again was unstoppable, passing for 277 yards and three TDs, while rushing for 217 yards and an additional two scores in Michigan's win over Indiana. Oregon's Darron Thomas (238 yards, four passing TDs, 117 yards rushing, one TD against Stanford) was outstanding as well.

Other gunslingers with impressive numbers included Hawaii's Bryant Moniz (532 yards, four TDs against Louisiana Tech), Indiana's Ben Chappell (480 yards, three TDs against Michigan), Baylor's Robert Griffin (380 yards, three TDs against Kansas), Texas Tech's Taylor Potts (377 yards, five TDs against Iowa State), Washington's Jake Locker (310 yards passing, one TD, 111 yards rushing against USC), Idaho's Nathan Enderle (380 yards, three TDs against Western Michigan), SMU's Kyle Padron (371 yards, three TDs against Rice), Stanford's Andrew Luck (341 yards, three TDs against Oregon) and Louisville's Adam Froman (308 yards, three TDs against Arkansas State).

Pittsburgh's Ray Graham, Oregon's LaMichael James and Temple's Matt Brown headline the group of talented tailbacks this past weekend. Graham rushed for 277 yards and three TDs against FIU. James rumbled for 257 yards and three TDs against Stanford, while Brown rushed for 226 yards and four TDs against Army. USC's Allen Bradford (223 yards, two TDs against Washington), Nevada's Vai Taua (188 yards, three rushing and TDs, one receiving TD against UNLV) and UCLA's talented tandem of Johnathan Franklin (216 yards, one TD against Washington State) and Derrick Coleman (185 yards, three TDs against WSU) were impressive as well.

Other tailbacks of note include UConn's Jordan Todman (190 yards, two TDs against Vanderbilt), Virginia Tech's Darren Evans (160 yards, two TDs against NC State), Louisville's Bilal Powell (157 yards, one rushing and one receiving TD against Arkansas State), Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers (145 yards, two TDs against Arizona State), Colorado's Rodney Stewart (149 yards, one TD against Georgia) and Clemson's Andre Ellington (107 yards, three TDs against Miami- Florida),

Miami's Leonard Hankerson continued his All-American campaign, catching seven balls for 147 yards and three TDs against Clemson to highlight the receiver play last week.

Others putting up monster games include Hawaii's dangerous duo of Kealoha Pilares (217 yards, two TDs against Louisiana Tech) and Greg Salas (197 yards, two TDs), Indiana's Tandon Doss (15 catches, for 221 yards against Michigan), UNLV's Phillip Payne (170 yards against Nevada), Baylor's Josh Gordon (161 yards, two TDs against Kansas), SMU's duo of Cole Beasley (158 yards against Rice) and Aldrick Robinson (148 yards, two TDs against Rice), Texas-El Paso's Kris Adams (141 yards, two TDs against New Mexico), Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon (127 yards, one TD against Texas A&M), Temple's Michael Campbell (124 yards, two TDs against Army) and Texas Tech's Lyle Leong (125 yards, three TDs against Iowa State),

SNEAK PEEK: Four top-25 matchups are on the docket this week, with 17th-ranked Michigan State traveling to Ann Arbor to battle 18th-ranked Michigan, top- ranked Alabama making a trip to Columbia to take on 19th-ranked South Carolina, as 12th-ranked LSU heads to Gainesville to battle 14th-ranked Florida and 23rd- ranked Florida State travels south to take on rival and 13th-ranked Miami- Florida.

Other intriguing games on the week six schedule include 11th-ranked Arkansas at Texas A&M, Oregon State at ninth-ranked Arizona, Colorado at 24th-ranked Missouri, USC at 16th-ranked Stanford and eighth-ranked Auburn at Kentucky.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Scott Haynes at shaynes@sportsnetwork.com.

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