Florida State showed it could win without its star quarterback as Jameis Winston served a suspension last week against Clemson. The Seminoles showed in Saturday's 56-41 over North Carolina State that they can also be beaten with Winston. Whatever the culprit, something is definitely missing from this year's edition of Florida State football, and the formula that won a national championship a year ago is looking short on an ingredient or two.
The Seminoles coughed up more than 500 yards of offense to the Wolfpack, and FSU's second-half comeback included a couple of Winston interceptions.
The bottom line? The FSU team that has sputtered through three of its four wins this season just isn't as good as the one that blew out 12 of 14 opponents last year. As such, if a second straight national title is in the Seminoles' future, Winston can't afford to just play as well as he did last season.
After four games, it's clear he'll have to play even better.
Here are 16 more things you need to know from Week 5 action in college football:
- There are no gimmes in college football's toughest division. If Texas A&M's 35-28 overtime win over Arkansas taught us anything, it's that there isn't an easy win to be had anywhere in the SEC West this season. The Razorbacks are supposed to be the division's doormat, and they played more than well enough to upset the Aggies, rushing for 286 yards (including 132 from sophomore Alex Collins). On a neutral field, the Razorbacks showed a level of improvement that their win two weeks ago over a defenseless Texas Tech team did not. Arkansas remains winless in SEC play since Bret Bielema took over as head coach before the 2013 season. But the end of that skid is clearly soon to be at hand.
- USC's pass defense is for real. The Trojans might have taken some lumps in their last outing (a loss at Boston College) but their pass defense remains a strength of the team. Even after facing prolific Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion on Saturday, USC still has not given up a passing touchdown this season. Given the number of quality offenses remaining on the schedule, that's good news for the team's Pac-12 South hopes.
- The Tennessee defense smelled like Swiss cheese. And Todd Gurley found the holes in it. His career-high performance Saturday wasn't needed to affirm that he's the class of the college game at his position, but it was needed to affirm that the Volunteers have an awfully long way to go on that side of the ball.
- Bill Snyder's wardrobe is in the news. Given the success he's had at Kansas State, the man has earned the right to wear anything he wants on the sideline -- a hoodie, blue jeans, pajamas, whatever -- but apparently, the Big 12 doesn't think so. Snyder typically wears purple windbreakers that have logos of past bowl games on them, some several years old. But Snyder received a note from the league office this week respectfully asking that he retire some of the outdated ones. The reason? The Big 12 no longer has contracts with some of those bowl games, and others have changed names. That includes the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, now called the Cactus Bowl, which Snyder wore on his jacket during last week's nationally televised game against Auburn.
- Melvin Gordon's tale of two halves wrote another chapter. The star Wisconsin running back amassed 181 yards on a career-high 32 carries in a 27-10 win over South Florida. But it took him a half to really get going -- he ran for 130 of those 181 in the second half. It's not the first time Gordon's presence has been felt much more in one half than another.
- Michigan State can run the ball with anyone. How else do you score 56 points with a starting quarterback who throws for just 126 yards? The Spartans blew past Wyoming, 56-14, with 338 rushing yards, led by Jeremy Langford's 16 carries for 137 yards.
- Rain finally falls in Kentucky. After a 17-game SEC losing streak in Lexington, the Wildcats knocked off a league opponent for the first time since 2011 in beating Vanderbilt, 17-7. And Bud Dupree ended his season-long sack drought, too.
- Speaking of droughts ... Yale snapped an awfully bad streak as well Saturday, becoming the first Ivy League team to beat an FBS program since 1986 with its win over Army. That was so long ago, the FBS wasn't even called the FBS. College football's top shelf was known as Division I-A back when Penn knocked off Navy.
- Numbers can lie. Neither Tennessee linebacker A.J. Johnson nor Georgia linebacker Ramik Wilson -- two seniors with tons of experience and 2015 NFL Draft hopes -- played well Saturday in Georgia's 35-32 win. Johnson was credited with 17 tackles, but that's a deceiving total. Too many of them were made too far downfield to prevent Georgia from piling up 25 first downs and almost 300 rushing yards. Wilson (nine tackles) caught his share of blocks, as well, but did come up with a sack that resulted in a 14-yard loss.
- Behold, the Lockett Rocket. Kansas State star receiver Tyler Lockett piled up 246 all-purpose yards -- 84 receiving and 162 in the return game -- to lead a 58-28 win over UTEP. The highlight: a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown.
- A change of scenery can make all the difference. Colorado State running back Dee Hart couldn't break into the lineup as a backup at Alabama, but upon transferring to play for the Rams, he's been splendid. Saturday he helped spark a 24-21 upset of Boston College with 207 all-purpose yards, including 117 on the ground. The Rams, under third-year coach and Hart's former offensive coordinator at Alabama, Jim McElwain, are 3-1.
- The balloon finally burst in Happy Valley. And in a big way. Northwestern handed Penn State its first loss of the season, 26-6, as Nittany Lions sophomore quarterback Christian Hackenberg was held without a touchdown pass and threw an interception. The reminder for PSU fans: It takes more than a quarterback -- and NCAA relief measures -- to overcome NCAA sanctions.
- If the balloon popped in Happy Valley, it's not even inflated in Ann Arbor. Minnesota beat Michigan, 30-14, to put Wolverines coach Brady Hoke's stamp on the worst September in school history. Hoke's seat is now the hottest in college football. And now, he's catching heat for more than just the loss.
- Dotting the "I," and threading the needle in Columbus. Cincinnati quarterback Gunner Kiel and Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett combined for the following stat line Saturday: 47-of-68 for 682 yards, eight touchdowns and no interceptions. However, the home Buckeyes outrushed the Bearcats, 380-70, and that was the difference.
- "Hot hand" doesn't adequately describe it. Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson completed 25 consecutive passes Saturday in a win over Syracuse, just one shy of an FBS record. He went without an incompletion from the second quarter until the fourth, but credit the Fighting Irish receivers, as well. They weren't all easy catches.
- Is anyone going to stop Ameer Abdullah? The Nebraska running back posted his third 200-yard game in five weeks Saturday, piling up 208 on just 22 carries in a rout of Illinois. He makes things a lot easier for coach Bo Pelini. And defenses appear to be, in turn, making it easy for Abdullah. Next week comes the most stern test for Abdullah on the schedule: at Michigan State.