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Week 5 Winners and Losers: These freshmen backs at Georgia will be fun to watch

Frank Schwab
Dr. Saturday

My God, two freshmen.

Herschel Walker will forever be the greatest freshman running back in Georgia history, but the two kids the Bulldogs have running the ball this year are pretty darn good themselves.

Todd Gurley rushed for 130 yards and three touchdowns against Tennessee, but he might not have been the best freshman running back on his own team this week. Keith Marshall rushed for 165 yards on only 10 carries, and he had two touchdowns.

Gurley has 536 yards and nine touchdowns this season, and Marshall has 429 yards and five touchdowns. Gurley is 6-1, 218 pounds, yet moves like a much smaller back. He showed amazing body control and speed on a 51-yard touchdown run against Tennessee. Marshall is also stoutly built, at 5-11, 216 pounds. In a year or two we might see that rare instance in which the two best backs in college football are on the same team, like when Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams were running at Auburn. The Georgia freshmen might have that kind of upside.

Here are the other winners and losers from Week 5:

Winners

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Northwestern QB Kain Colter is congratulated by teammates (US Presswire)

Northwestern: Maybe there is something to this buzz about the Wildcats being a contender for the Big Ten title. Northwestern had a school record 704 yards against Indiana, and led 27-0 early in the third quarter. Indiana rallied a bit, but Northwestern held on for a 44-29 win that pushed its record to 5-0. The Wildcats are the most impressive team in an unimpressive conference.

Louisiana Tech: How many BCS teams does Louisiana Tech have to beat to get some love in the polls? The Bulldogs defeated Virginia 44-38 on the road to move to 4-0 and notch their second-consecutive win over a team from one of the Big Six conferences. If there's any knock against the Bulldogs, it's that they failed to score 50 points for the first time this season. Louisiana Tech is 4-0 to start the season for the first time since becoming a member of the FBS.

Johnny Manziel: Manziel, a redshirt freshman, is just getting his career started and already he's breaking SEC records. Manziel threw for a school-record 453 yards and three touchdowns in a 58-10 win over Arkansas, the Aggies first SEC win. Manziel also rushed for 104 yards to break the school and SEC records for yards of total offense with 557. This is only his second SEC game, wonder what's he got for an encore?

Duke: A win against Wake Forest isn't going to move the needle at most schools, but Saturday's 34-27 win was a big one for the Blue Devils. The victory was Duke's first over Wake Forest since 1999, and now the Blue Devils sit at 4-1, edging closer to bowl eligibility. Duke has not been to a bowl game since the end of the 1994 season. The Blue Devils have been to only two bowl games since 1960, the year of their last bowl win.

Duke dealt with some adversity at Wake Forest, too. Starting quarterback Sean Renfree was knocked out of the game with a possible elbow injury, but backup Anthony Boone's 4-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter was the difference in the victory.

Towson and Ole Miss: In their own ways, Towson and Ole Miss scored small victories against the impressive defenses of LSU and Alabama. Towson scored 22 points, and while two of the touchdowns came in the fourth quarter with the game long decided, nobody figured Towson would score half that many points. For Ole Miss, it actually led Alabama. A 1-yard run by Jeff Scott in the second quarter gave the Rebels a 7-6 lead. The Crimson Tide had not trailed in regulation since Oct. 22 of last season. Alabama quickly rectified the situation as Christion Jones returned the ensuing kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, but hey, Ole Miss held a lead for 15 seconds!

Losers

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(US Presswire)

Tyler Wilson: Wilson had a choice after last year — leave for the NFL, or come back and have another season as Arkansas' quarterback. As sad as it is to say, Wilson made the wrong choice.

Wilson could have been playing in the NFL as a likely first-round pick. Instead, he's the star player on the most disappointing team in college football. Arkansas lost 58-10 to Texas A&M to fall to 1-4, looking more like a team that has quit on its coach and itself. Perhaps Wilson's draft stock won't be affected by Arkansas' problems, but it can't be getting better. Wilson already suffered a concussion that kept him out of the Alabama game, made the questionable decision to accuse his team of quitting against Alabama in a game he didn't play, and is now playing for a team that will struggle to get bowl eligible. None of that will look good on his resume.

The Tim Beckman Era: Forget about whether Beckman was in the wrong to recruit Penn State players, and whether Illinois deserved the blowout loss it got from Penn State. There has to be some concern about the football program in Champaign. Yes, it's far too early to make any judgments, but the results have been horrible in Beckman's first month as Illini coach. Illinois has already lost 45-14 to Arizona State, 52-24 to Louisiana Tech and 35-7 to Penn State. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase's injury hasn't helped, but the Illini still shouldn't be getting blown out every week.

Michigan State's running game: Remember when Le'Veon Bell had 210 yards in the season opener against Boise State and started getting Heisman buzz? Yeah, it's been a long time since that game and Bell hasn't been able to put up decent numbers against a good team since. When the running game was desperately needed against Ohio State, it was nowhere to be found. Bell had 17 rushes for 45 yards, the Spartans' running game had just 34 total rushing yards and failed to post a rushing first down.

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(AP)

Georgia Tech: If you thought Georgia Tech snatching defeat from the hands of victory against Miami last week was the low point, well, look away. The Yellow Jackets' 49-28 loss to Middle Tennessee State (yes, Middle Tennessee State) was the first loss to a non-BCS school since 1996 and the first time the Yellow Jackets had suffered consecutive home losses since 1988. Is it time to hit the panic button at Georgia Tech? Yes, yes it is.

Wisconsin: For about a quarter-and-a-half, the Badgers looked like their 2010 and 2011 selves. Then, after the good Badgers had taken a 20-3 lead at Nebraska, the 2012 Badgers showed up. Wisconsin couldn't get a push up front, and quarterback Joel Stave went from red hot to ice cold. Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez skipped rocks pretty well, throwing for 182 yards and a pair of scores as Nebraska came all the way back to win 30-27.

Montee Ball, showing that Tyler Wilson isn't the only player who might be regretting the decision to return to college, needed 31 carries to get 95 yards. On a fourth down and 1 late in the game, a handoff exchange to Ball was botched (it didn't look like Ball was going to get the first down anyway), Nebraska recovered the fumble and that was it for Wisconsin.

Graham Watson contributed to this post

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