In a slate peppered with exciting matchups, Week 5 of the college football season provided fans across the country with a flurry of jaw-dropping performances.
Much like Week 4, we saw a handful of lesser-known players from unheralded programs deliver remarkable stat lines to put themselves on the map
Football fans were also treated to a bunch of underclassmen coming through with performances no one saw coming. Of course, this week also featured a few star quarterbacks strengthening their Heisman Trophy campaigns.
Let’s take a look at the 15 most jaw-dropping performances in college football Week 5.
Joe Jackson, defensive end, Miami Hurricanes
A year after Miami’s turnover chain took the nation by storm, we’ve heard much less about it this year. Jackson made sure that changed with a monster performance against North Carolina.
The junior dominated and helped bring out the turnover chain on three separate occasions. It all started in the second quarter with a 42-yard interception returned for a score.
Of course, Jackson’s night didn’t end there. He forced two fumbles, deflected a pass and recorded a sack on the night. After Jackson’s phenomenal outing, Miami might have to let Jackson carry the chain for the entire week.
Jaylen Waddle, wide receiver, Alabama Crimson Tide
In a game where the Crimson Tide rolled once again, Nick Saban should be even happier with the breakthrough performance from his freshman receiver.
Waddle kicked off his eye-opening game with a thrilling 63-yard punt return touchdown. He then displayed even more play-making ability as he turned three receptions into 138 receiving yards and two touchdowns.
While he may not become a go-to weapon in Alabama’s offense, his performance shows the immense depth this team has. Even Alabama’s secondary players can absolutely wreck opponents. This team is just unstoppable.
Travis Etienne, running back, Clemson Tigers
Days after Kelly Bryant announced he would transfer, Clemson’s collective heart dropped when starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence left Saturday’s game with a head injury. The Tigers trailed Syracuse and with a third-string quarterback now leading Clemson’s offense, hope seemed lost.
Fortunately for Clemson, Etienne put the team on his back and carried them to a comeback victory.
Etienne became the focus offensively and came through for his teammates. The sophomore became an unstoppable force as he racked up three rushing touchdowns and 203 rushing yards on the day. His most important score came in the final minute, a go-ahead touchdown to seal the victory and keep Clemson’s undefeated season going.
Ryquell Armstead, running back, Temple Owls
In a game where everyone expected AJ Dillon to steal the show, the superior performance actually came from Armstead.
The senior made his presence felt early with an explosive 75-yard touchdown run in the first quarter to set the tone. Big runs and touchdowns became the norm for Armstead as he finished with 171 rushing yards and four trips to the end zone.
While the Owls fell short in this game, their senior running back picked up his fourth consecutive game with 100-plus rushing yards and set career-best marks in the process.
Andy Isabella, wide receiver, Massachusetts Minutemen
For the second consecutive week, a member of the Minutemen delivers a jaw-dropping performance. In a contest where Massachusetts needed to keep scoring, Isabella delivered a performance worthy of a win.
The senior quickly became a go-to target as he routinely embarrassed any defender thrown at him. Isabella racked up 198 receiving yards on the day with 12 receptions, three of which went for 30-plus yard touchdowns.
Coming off a 1,000-yard, 10-touchdown season in 2017, Isabella got his 2018 season back on track in Week 5. Now he is on pace for another monster season with the Minutemen.
Nathan Rourke, quarterback, Ohio Bobcats
Following a rocky start to the season, Rourke found his footing on Saturday with a jaw-dropping performance against UMass.
The dual-threat quarterback ripped the heart out of the Minutemen in nearly every way possible. Rourke completed 23-of-32 passes for 270 passing yards with three touchdowns and season-high 167.4 quarterback rating.
Rourke did even more damage in this game on the ground. He finished as Ohio’s leading rusher with 189 rushing yards on only 16 carries and took one trip into the end zone as a runner. He fell just short of a 200/200 game, but the Bobcats will gladly take his numbers, and the victory.
Greg Dortch, wide receiver, Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Sometimes it only takes a half for a player to deliver a monster performance. Then after a dominant first half, they sprinkle more numbers on top in the second half to make it a ridiculous line.
That proved to be the case for Dortch on Saturday, who he turned Rice’s secondary into dust with 134 receiving yards and three touchdowns in two quarters. Wake Forest kept its foot on the gas early in the second half as Dortch racked up another touchdown and finished with 163 receiving yards before his day finally ended.
The sophomore is quickly becoming a game-changing force in Wake Forest’s offense and is on pace to blow past his 722-yard, nine-touchdown marks as a freshman.
Darrell Taylor, outside linebacker, Tennessee Volunteers
While Saturday’s loss to the Georgia Bulldogs provided plenty of embarrassing moments, Taylor can at least hold his head high for his contributions to the team.
The junior linebacker proved to be the only player making any difference against the No. 2-ranked Georgia Bulldogs. Taylor did all he could in this game by causing frequent problems for Georgia’s offensive line with three sacks and two forced fumbles.
It may not be much for Tennessee to hang its hat on, but at least it can walk away from this game knowing it has a playmaker on defense who can step up against elite competition.
McKenzie Milton, quarterback, Central Florida Knights
As UCF’s unbeaten stretch rolls on, its star quarterback continues to strengthen his case to be a Heisman Trophy candidate.
While it wasn’t one of Milton’s most efficient starts through the air — he completed just 18-of-34 attempts — he still racked up 328 passing yards and four touchdowns without an interception. Meanwhile, his legs remain a dangerous weapon as he demonstrated with 51 rushing yards and two scores.
The junior quarterback has now recorded 12 total touchdowns in his past two games, quickly doing all he can to make up some ground to join the race for the Heisman. While he still remains behind the leaders, UCF’s schedule will give him plenty of chances to rack up jaw-dropping numbers and even more wins.
Jon Wassink, quarterback, Western Michigan Broncos
In a matchup that came down to the wire, Wassink made every play when his team needed it the most and propelled the Broncos to a victory.
The junior couldn’t be stopped through the air as he routinely found holes in Miami-Ohio’s secondary. Wassink completed 27-of-42 pass attempts for 439 passing yards and an even more incredible five touchdown passes.
Finally, late in the game, the RedHawks committed themselves to not letting Wassink beat them through the air. Instead, he ran it in from the two-yard line for the go-ahead touchdown and the Broncos sneaked away with a 40-39 victory behind his six total scores.
Jayden Reed, wide receiver, Western Michigan Broncos
On a day when his quarterback made all the big plays, Reed stood out as Wassink’s go-to target on Saturday.
A three-star recruit out of high school, the freshman gave Western Michigan a five-star performance in Week 5. Reed hauled in seven targets and the day and finished with an unbelievable 19.6 yards per catch with four touchdowns.
After a quiet two-game stretch following his collegiate debut, Reed is back on the radar as an exciting underclassman to watch in the years to come. In an offense that can put up great numbers, Reed is on pace for nine-plus touchdowns and 800-plus yards as a freshman.
Kyler Murray, quarterback, Oklahoma Sooners
Talk about an insane performance by a “backup” quarterback. Murray, who was benched to start the game for being late to practice, came in after the first series and simply ruined Baylor’s hopes and dreams.
Murray made the Bears defense look like it belonged in high school throughout the day. Big plays became routine as he racked up 432 passing yards on only 17 completions, six of which went for passing touchdowns. Just when Baylor started to gain some momentum with points on the board, Oklahoma’s star would answer back with more points.
Baylor couldn’t stop him on the ground either. Murray toyed with this defense throughout the game, using his mobility to rack up 45 rushing yards and an additional touchdown for his seventh total score of the game. In Murray’s last season as a football player, the junior may go out on top with a Heisman Trophy.
Antonio Gandy-Golden, wide receiver, Liberty Flames
It takes a truly stunning performance for a Flames player to make this list, but Gandy-Golden provided just that in Week 5.
The junior ate New Mexico’s secondary alive for a whopping 245 receiving yards on only 11 receptions for a jaw-dropping 22.3 yards per catch. Gandy-Golden entered Saturday with 137 receiving yards to his collegiate name, then he nearly doubled it in a single evening. New Mexico State is next up on the schedule, so Gandy-Golden could be in the nightmares of New Mexico residents for a long time
Riley Neal, quarterback, Ball State Cardinals
Sometimes quarterbacks kill you with efficiency. Neal turned Kent State into powdered dust with big plays in Saturday’s blowout win.
The redshirt junior completed 30-of-50 pass attempts with four touchdown passes and 402 passing yards. He demonstrated clear chemistry with wide receiver Riley Miller, who caught 11 balls for 208 receiving yards, but much of his damage on the scoreboard came from spreading the ball around.
If a 402-yard, four touchdown performance through the air wasn’t enough, Neal finished with a team-high 61 rushing yards and ran it for a score as well. Now Ball State can prepare for Northern Illinois, which provides Neal with another chance to excel.
Trace McSorley, quarterback, Penn State Nittany Lions
It’s one thing to drop a Heisman-caliber performance against the Ohio State Buckeyes, it’s another to nearly overcome incompetent coaching in a heartbreaking loss.
McSorley did everything possible to knock off the No. 4-ranked Buckeyes on Saturday. The senior picked up 286 passing yards and two touchdowns against Ohio State’s secondary, an accomplishment on its own.
Even more impressive, McSorley also carried the ball 25 times and racked up a jaw-dropping 175 rushing yards. He helped push the Nittany Lions out to a two-score lead late in the game then had a shot at a game-winning drive, only for James Franklin to take it all away.
McSorley may have fallen short of a win, but he deserves a lot more attention after this performance on the national stage.