Across the Country – Week 5

Alabama Football

**Note: This was a print-only story**

No. 14 Oklahoma at No. 22 Notre Dame (Notre Dame Stadium – Notre Dame, Ind., 2:30 p.m. CT, NBC)

Despite winning their first three games to start the season, Oklahoma has done it with question marks at a position that is usually never an issue for them – quarterback. Week 1 starter Trevor Knight, a redshirt freshman, was benched in favor of junior Blake Bell, who passed for 413 yards and four touchdowns in a 51-20 win against Tulsa in the team’s last game two weeks ago. Meanwhile, Notre Dame senior quarterback Tommy Rees has been hot and cold for the Fighting Irish this season, playing in place of Everett Golson, who was suspended for the fall semester by the school. Which Reees shows up against Oklahoma’s underrated defense will decide this game. The Irish defeated the Sooners, 30-13, in Norman last season.

No. 10 Texas A&M at Arkansas (Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium – Fayetteville, Ark., 6 p.m. CT, ESPNU)

Love him or hate him, last season’s Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel hasn’t missed a beat in 2013. The sophomore quarterback has improved as a pocket passer and again ranks near the top in several major passing categories through four games this season. Though Arkansas is 3-1 this season under first-year head coach Bret Bielema – a drastic improvement from last season’s disastrous 4-8 finish – they have yet to play an SEC opponent until now in 2013. The Razorbacks currently rank second in the SEC in total defense and 18th nationally, but few teams in the country, if any, have shown they can slow down the Aggie offense led by Manziel.

No. 23 Wisconsin at No. 4 Ohio State (Ohio Stadium – Columbus, Ohio, 7 p.m. CT, ABC)

Ohio State is off to a 4-0 start in 2013, but only the first of those wins can be credited to preseason Heisman Trophy candidate Braxton Miller, who has missed almost all of the past three games with an MCL sprain. Senior Kenny Guiton has filled in admirably at quarterback, but Miller is expected to make the start against Wisconsin. He and the rest of the Buckeyes will have their hands full – the Badgers are ranked sixth nationally in total defense and 12th in total offense.

No. 20 Florida at Kentucky (Commonwealth Stadium – Lexington, Ky., 6 p.m. CT, ESPNU)

Florida will be without quarterback Jeff Driskel, after the veteran signal caller was lost for the season with a broken tibia in last week’s game against Tennessee. In replace of Driskel will be redshirt junior Tyler Murphy, who performed well in relief of Driksel a week ago, throwing a 52-yard touchdown pass, running for another and committing zero turnovers in a 31-17 win. With the No. 2-ranked defense in the country behind him, Murphy shouldn’t be asked to do too much in his first career start against a rebuilding Kentucky team.

No. 6 LSU at No. 9 Georgia (Sanford Stadium – Athens, Ga., 2:30 p.m. CT, CBS)

Both teams will be fighting to stay alive in the national title picture in this high-profile SEC showdown. LSU has exceeded many pundits’ preseason expectations in its 4-0 start, while Georgia already has one loss on the season. The Bulldogs will put up points with one of the best quarterback/running back duos in the country in Aaron Murray and Todd Gurley, but the defense will have its work cut out for them against a surprisingly balanced and efficient LSU offense headlined by quarterback Zach Mettenberger and running back Jeremy Hill.

Arizona at No. 16 Washington (Husky Stadium – Seattle, Wash., 6 p.m. CT, FOX)

It’s still early in the season, but both Arizona and Washington are looking like potential sleepers in the Pac-12. Through three games, both teams matchup evenly across the board, each ranking in the top 10 nationally in rushing yards per game and points allowed average, and top 20 in scoring offense. The Huskies, though, hold a significant advantage in the passing game, averaging 325 yards per game to Arizona’s 109. Wildcats quarterback B.J. Denker will need to alleviate some pressure off of running backs Ka’Deem Carey and Daniel Jenkins to prevent them from being one-dimensional against a tough Washington defense.

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