Week 6 of the college football season didn’t shake up the BCS title picture on Oct. 5. But it came close in some areas, as the Georgia Bulldogs, Ohio State Buckeyes and Stanford Cardinal were all challenged. However, the Bulldogs weren’t supposed to break a sweat against the Tennessee Volunteers, and yet their 34-31 overtime win was even tougher than their triumphs over the South Carolina Gamecocks and LSU Tigers.
Georgia finally needed a breather after its daunting September, but mediocre Tennessee wouldn’t give it one. In fact, the Volunteers erased an early 17-3 deficit to take a 31-24 lead with under three minutes left. Yet with the season on the line, Aaron Murray marched the Bulldogs down the field, finally connecting on the tying touchdown with 13 seconds left in regulation.
Overtime started out well for the Volunteers, as Pig Howard rushed into the end zone and seemed to touch the pylon with the football. But replay showed that Howard lost control of the ball a second early, causing a touchback and giving the Bulldogs possession. They couldn’t move the ball on three plays, yet Marshall Morgan connected on a 42-yard field goal anyway.
If the Bulldogs could be challenged this much by a team outside of the top 10, perhaps their gauntlet is finally destined to catch up with them. Injuries to running backs Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, along with wide receivers Michael Bennett and Justin Scott-Wesley, have left Georgia almost too shorthanded if not for Murray.
But the Bulldogs are still standing, just like the BCS contenders who were supposed to get scares this week and passed anyway — while others didn’t need to sweat as much. Here is a full list of the biggest games from Oct. 5, whether they were thrillers or blowouts. Yet in each case, the status quo held on top anyway.
Bulldogs escape again
No. 6 Georgia Bulldogs 34, Tennessee Volunteers 31 (overtime)
The Bulldogs have now survived scares from the Volunteers and North Texas Mean Green, while outlasting the Gamecocks and LSU Tigers and falling to the Clemson Tigers. Will there ever be an uneventful Saturday for Georgia again?
No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes 40, No. 16 Northwestern Wildcats 30
The Buckeyes got their first test of the season, and one of the stiffest Urban Meyer has ever faced with Ohio State. But both the team and coach stayed perfect, as Carlos Hyde rushed for the go-ahead touchdown with under six minutes, then a defensive stop held up under review and a touchdown on a botched lateral helped the Buckeyes inflate their victory.
No. 5 Stanford Cardinal 31, No. 15 Washington Huskies 28
The Cardinal avenged their only loss of 2012, thanks to Ty Montgomery’s 290 all-purpose yards and 99-yard opening kickoff return. Washington trailed throughout although it never went away, yet Stanford finally put it away to stay on Oregon’s heels.
Irish bounce back
Notre Dame Fighting Irish 37, No. 22 Arizona State Sun Devils 34
The Irish need to be perfect to have any hopes for a BCS at-large bid. They took a big step by holding off the Sun Devils in Arlington, as a go-ahead field goal and an interception return for a touchdown lifted the Irish in the final minutes.
No. 13 South Carolina Gamecocks 35, Kentucky Wildcats 28
Connor Shaw returned to quarterback the Gamecocks, yet Jadeveon Clowney sat out by choice and frustrated coach Steve Spurrier in the process. What’s more, the Gamecocks nearly gave up a 21-0 lead, so it was a mixed day all around.
No. 8 Florida State Seminoles 63, No. 25 Maryland Terrapins 0
This was supposed to be Jameis Winston’s first real test, but it didn’t take long for him and the Seminoles to pass. In fact, it tied for the biggest blowout of a top 25 team in the BCS era, even if the Terrapins were at No. 25 and were clearly exposed by Winston’s 393 yards and five touchdowns.
No. 2 Oregon Ducks 57, Colorado Buffaloes 14
The second biggest display by a Heisman Trophy level quarterback in Week 6 belonged to Oregon’s Marcus Mariota. Seven total touchdowns from Mariota in 2 1/2 quarters lifted the Ducks to their latest blowout, as they scored all their points with 22 minutes to spare.