The most exciting moments in college football are when underdogs unexpectedly put up a fight against a more talented opponent. The difference in talent between two given college teams can be so vast that when lower-ranked teams put up a good fight against their more highly-ranked brethren, it can seem like a victory. Several ranked teams were feeling the heat this past Saturday, as No. 12 West Virginia had to be bailed out by a clutch interception to close out No. 25 Texas Tech, No. 3 Clemson lost their quarterback to a concussion and just barely escaped Syracuse, and No. 4 Ohio State needed a furious fourth quarter comeback to hold off No. 9 Penn State. Below are the prospects that stood out during week 5.
QB Ryan Finley (NC State)
One of the most accurate quarterbacks in college football, Finley spread the ball around to eight different receivers in the game against Virginia. Efficient and methodical, Finley attacked the Cavalier defense with an array of short and intermediate timing throws. Most notable was the trust Finley seems to put in his receivers, as several of his throws were into tight coverage, but the receivers always managed to out-compete the defender.
DE Zach Allen (Boston College)
Boston College survived a scare against Temple because the Owls could not avoid Allen. Temple’s game plan was full of quick passes and runs up the middle, clearly hoping to limit Allen’s pass rush opportunities. Unfortunately for the Owls, Allen could not be denied for long and managed to finish with 8 tackles, 2 sacks, 4 tackles-for-loss as well as a forced fumble. The big defensive end relies on his strength at the point of attack, but his speed around the edge is surprisingly quick.
CB Keith Washington (West Virginia)
Texas Tech wasn’t afraid to attack Washington and, in the first quarter, that strategy paid off thanks to a perfect touchdown throw from quarterback Alan Bowman. However, Washington made Tech pay in the fourth quarter with a game-sealing pick-six. In a Tampa-2 look, the junior dropped into a short zone, read the quarterback, got into the passing lane and scampered fifty yards into the end zone.
WR Olamide Zaccheaus (Virginia)
Although Virginia ultimately came up short against NC State, one of the positives from the game was the play of Zaccheaus. The speedy 5’8”, 190-pound senior is used in a variety of ways by the Cavaliers, and led the team in receiving and rushing with 139 yards in the air and 39 yards on the ground. Although officially listed as a running back, what was most impressive was Zaccheaus’ ability to completely fool cornerbacks with his route-running, which has improved by leaps and bounds.
OG Bunchy Stallings (Kentucky)
Benny Snell and the Kentucky Wildcats running game have been on a tear the last few games, and that’s mostly thanks to Stalling’s work in the interior. Against South Carolina, the senior paved the way for a rushing attack that finished with 195 yards on the ground. In pass protection, Stallings tended to give up ground but usually managed to recover and re-anchor. He’ll be one to watch as the season progresses.
DT Jerry Tillery (Notre Dame)
Number 99 had himself a day against Stanford. It was a complete game for the senior, who seemed to be getting pressure on quarterback AJ Costello just about every time he dropped back to pass. Tillery demonstrated some elite-level speed and hand-usage, finishing with 4 sacks, 4 tackles-for-loss and fourth quarter forced fumble. Tillery, defensive tackle, now leads the nation in sacks with seven.