Orange Bowl

Looking back at Week 5

 
(not rated)

Heather Dinich | ESPN

This was the week of The Replacements.

South Carolina's Connor Shaw went down, and Dylan Thompson stepped up in a narrow 28-25 win over UCF.

The third time was the charm for West Virginia, which turned to third-string quarterback Clint Trickett in the Mountaineers' 30-21 upset of Oklahoma State.

Oklahoma's offense seemed to find its identity in Saturday's 35-21 win at Notre Dame under the direction of backup quarterback Blake Bell, who was making his second career start in place of Trevor Knight.

And Florida backup quarterback Tyler Murphy threw for a touchdown and ran for another in a 24-7 win over Kentucky.

All found a way to deliver the Week 5 win, and at least one of them further built his case for taking over the offense on a permanent basis. Bell threw for 232 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions as the Sooners ended a seven-game losing streak to the Irish. A knee injury to Knight, coupled with his poor performance, opened the door for Bell, and he has taken advantage of it the past two games. The top of the depth chart is now where many had expected it to be this preseason, but Bob Stoops originally chose Knight, a redshirt freshman, over Bell's 13 games of experience last year.

Stoops isn't the only one who's had a change of heart at quarterback.

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen had to go three deep to find his winner. Under Trickett the Mountaineers looked much more respectable on offense than they did a week ago in an embarrassing 37-0 loss to Maryland.

Trickett transferred from Florida State and was third on the depth chart behind Ford Childress, who was injured last week, and Paul Millard, who started the first two games but was benched after a 16-7 loss at Oklahoma.

Trickett was at least an upgrade from last week, as he finished 24-of-50 for 309 yards and a touchdown. He managed the game well and made some key throws under pressure in the fourth quarter. It wasn't flawless, though, as he completed less than 50 percent of his passes and threw two picks.

Most importantly, though, he won.

It didn't come easy for South Carolina, which trailed UCF 10-0 in the first half. Shaw was sidelined for the final three quarters, leaving the game in the hands of Thompson. With standout running back Mike Davis taking the offense on his shoulders, Thompson merely had to manage it. He threw an interception, but once they settled down and began to rely on their running game, the Gamecocks were able to finally pull away from the pesky Knights.

Much like South Carolina had Davis to rely on, Florida had its defense to fall back on as the Gators got used to life without injured quarterback Jeff Driskel. Last week was rough for Florida, which lost both Driskel and top defender Dominique Easley to season-ending injuries, but Murphy threw for 156 yards and a touchdown, and the defense was still smothering.

None of the quarterbacks was perfect, but each was good enough to win, and that was the trend on Saturday.

 

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