Out-played and out-coached according to Dabo Swinney, the defending national champions made it happen anyway … barely.
Clemson’s 1-point win over North Carolina on Saturday afternoon in Chapel Hill nearly tossed college football on its head in Week 5, a near colossal upset which would’ve marked the first time this season a Top 5 had suffered a setback.
The Tigers mustered only 14 first downs and were limited in the big-play department until Trevor Lawrence hit Tee Higgins on a 38-yard touchdown throw with 9:54 left that gave Clemson its first lead. The Tar Heels pulled to within a point with 1:17 left on Javonte Williams’ short run, but a decision to try and take the lead on a two-point conversion try came up short.
In another marquee game, defending Big Ten champion Ohio State took full advantage of its opportunity to make a statement to a national audience in their first major test of the season with a convincing knockout of Nebraska. Late in the third quarter, the Buckeyes lead the Huskers at Memorial Stadium, 41-0.
In the only Top 25 matchups of Week 5, Washington held off USC and Notre Dame turned up its defensive intensity in the second half of a home win vs. Virginia.
Here’s our best guess at Sunday’s Week 6 AP Top 25 featuring major changes after Saturday’s results: