What we learned from Week 5 in the SEC

Here are our top takeaways from Week 5 in the SEC:

1. The Murray, the merrier

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray lit up yet another defense Saturday, but LSU is no ordinary defense. The fifth-year senior completed 20 of 34 passes for 298 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception in a thrilling 44-41 win that just about came down to who had the last possession. More impressively, Murray led a late touchdown drive to put the Bulldogs on top for good, hitting a 25-yard touchdown pass to Justin Scott-Worley with 1:47 remaining for the win. The "can't win the big game" label that Murray was saddled with after a season-opening loss to Clemson can safely be put to bed.

2. Johnny wins again

Johnny Manziel capped the most quiet and un-newsworthy practice week he's had all season with one of his quietest performances of the season. That is, if 320 total yards with no interceptions can be described as quiet. By anyone else's standards, that's a huge game. By Manziel's, maybe not.

3. Knocked down, knocked out

The physical play between LSU and Georgia didn't come without its casualties, and Georgia running back Todd Gurley's injury wasn't the only one. LSU briefly lost one of the top fullbacks in the nation in 270-pound senior J.C. Copeland with an injured knee, but he later returned. If Gurley misses any significant time, the Bulldogs will rely far more heavily on sophomore Keith Marshall, who handled much of the rushing load in the second half against LSU.

4. Time for Clowney to shine

Let's see if we can still keep count of all the reasons/excuses that explain the quiet September that South Carolina star defensive end Jadeveon Clowney had:

  1. Illness before North Carolina game.
  1. Poor physical conditioning before North Carolina game.
  1. North Carolina left tackle James Hurst is All-ACC.
  1. Offenses are running away from him.
  1. Offenses are double-teaming him.
  1. Vandy left tackle Wesley Johnson, an Outland Trophy candidate, is legit.
  1. Right-foot bone spurs that will require postseason surgery.
  1. Flu-like symptoms in the days before UCF game.

Are we missing anything? Not that Clowney is making all these excuses himself, but if Clowney is indeed worthy of being the first pick of the NFL draft, shouldn't the offenses be the ones making excuses?

5. Top prospects in Tuscaloosa

Several NFL scouts were on hand for Alabama's shutout of Ole Miss. Who were they looking at and how did those players fare? Stock up: Alabama linebacker C.J. Mosley, no question. Stock down: Rebels junior receiver Donte Moncrief. He was well-covered by a true freshman for most of the night. Check out highlights of prospects from this game in one, two, three different posts from College Football 24/7.

6. Matthews does it again

Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews racked up more than 100 receiving yards once again Saturday with 115 on eight receptions against UAB. That gives him 40 catches on the season already, and the leaves in Nashville haven't even turned orange yet. His touchdown against the Blazers was the 21st of his career, tying a school record.

7. Shaw's loss is Thompson's gain

South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw's continuous problems with minor injuries may be the last thing the Gamecocks' offense needs, but there is no denying they are serving to prepare one of the SEC's top young quarterbacks with valuable experience.

Barring the unexpected return of Johnny Manziel to Texas A&M next year, Gamecocks sophomore Dylan Thompson may be the best pure passer in the league next season. He didn't look like it in the second quarter Saturday, sailing several throws too high in immediate relief of Shaw. In the second half, Thompson was a bit more effective, but the Gamecocks' defense and rushing attack primarily led the way. After the game, Steve Spurrier announced that Shaw would be sidelined for 2-3 weeks.

8. Sack masters

Saturday's sack masters in the SEC were Florida's Dante Fowler, who had two against Kentucky, and Alabama's Denzel Devall, who also had a pair of sacks against Ole Miss. Both are sophomores that technically play linebacker, but they are used heavily as pass rushers. They were the only two in the league with two or more sacks Saturday.

9. Bright spot on defense

There weren't a lot of defensive highlights in the Georgia-LSU game, to be sure, but one bright spot for the Bulldogs was safety Josh Harvey-Clemons. The sophomore amassed 15 tackles, including 1.5 for a loss -- he made a key TFL on a run by star running back Jeremy Hill. Georgia had seven tackles for loss on the day, and it was uncharacteristic for LSU's offensive line to allow so many. Linebacker Jordan Jenkins recorded his first sack of the year for Georgia, as well.

10. Eye foul

Ole Miss LB C.J. Johnson was struck in the eye by a penalty flag and had to be removed from the game in the second half against Alabama. See that play here. It was eerily similar to the injury suffered by late Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Orlando Brown in 1999.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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