(Writers Note: Instead of doing a long and drawn out recap of the week in college football, we will publish an article every Tuesday recapping the major events in the college football world. We will go into deeper detail on The Fourth & Long Podcast, airing every Tuesday night. For now the set time for the podcast will be 9:30 Eastern Time, but changes are likely coming in the bright future ahead. Make sure to follow @BrownlojCLE and @4thandlongpod on Twitter for time changes, and updates in the college football world as the week goes on. We apologize for the inconvenience, but hopefully big changes are coming in the future, in a good way. Thanks Again, Sincerely, The Fourth & Long Podcast.)
In a week where the biggest news didn’t happen on the football field, instead it was another positive COVID test. On Thursday evening, Clemson Tiger quarterback, and Heisman front-runner, Trevor Lawrence told his coaches that he had tested positive for COVID-19. Without Lawrence, the Tigers struggled to put away a tough Boston College team at home. However, the bigger news that came on Saturday was during coach Dabo Swinney’s post-game press conference. Swinney sat down, and immediately announced Trevor Lawrence would not play this coming weekend in their highly anticipated match-up with (4) Notre Dame.
We will dive deeper on the podcast about what his means for Clemson this weekend, and college football as a whole. We saw a glimpse of what was to come on Monday when Trevor Lawrence was no longer the favorite for the Heisman Trophy. Alabama quarterback Mac Jones, and Ohio State signal caller Justin Fields surpassed Lawrence as the co-favorites to win the Heisman Trophy. With Lawrence missing such a huge game on Saturday, fans in South Bend, Indiana were dreaming of an upset victory over the Tigers.
Not so fast my friend (Lee Corso Voice)! Clemson still has a suffocating defense that swarms to the ball carrier. On top of the defense, true freshman D.J. Uiagalelei is up for the challenge. Against Boston College, Uiagalelei was 30/41 passing, for 342 yards and two touchdowns, along with one rushing touchdown. Oh and Clemson also has a guy named Travis Etienne who broke the ACC’s all-time rushing record on Saturday. Etienne scampered for sixteen yards on the last play of the third quarter to etch his name in the record books. Still, Uiagalelei is a true freshman, who has never faced a defense like the one Notre Dame will put out on the field on Saturday.
With so much attention focused off the field, it was a wonderful feeling to get the games going at noon on Saturday. Week 9 in college football was a week where we saw upsets, and two teams solidifying themselves as serious National Title contenders. On top of that, Rutgers had maybe the play of the year that didn’t count. The Big 12 played itself out of playoff contention, and right now it’s tough to see any Pac 12 or Big 12 team crack the top four in December. However, crazier things have happened. Let’s hop right into last weekend’s recap, as it was spooky for a couple teams on Halloween night.
Big Game Scoreboard:
Boston College 28 at (1) Clemson 34: Clemson trailed by 18 at one point during this game. However, the Tigers were just too much to handle for the Eagles of Boston College. True freshman quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei didn’t skip a beat, while starting his first game at Clemson. Travis Etienne was an all-purpose machine for the Tigers on Saturday. He rushed the ball 20 times for 84-yards and a score. Etienne also collected seven passes for 140 yards and another touchdown. This coming weekend will be the toughest regular season game the Tigers have played in years. If Uiagalelei can protect the ball and find ways to get Etienne involved, the Tigers should be able to take down the Fighting Irish. However, most of that conversation will happen as the week goes on. Boston College will travel to Syracuse this weekend, and Clemson will take on (4) Notre Dame in South Bend.
Mississippi State 0 at (2) Alabama 41: Alabama’s offense looked like their dominant selves in a shutout win versus Mike Leach and his Bulldogs. Without Jaylen Waddle, Devonta Smith hauled in 11 passes for 203 yards and four touchdowns. Those are numbers that would be good for a quarterback, let alone a wide receiver. Mac Jones continued building his Heisman resume going 24/31 for 291 yards and four touchdowns, all to Devonta Smith. Mississippi State will host Vanderbilt next weekend and Alabama has a bye this weekend, then they travel to Death Valley to take on Ed Orgeron and his LSU Tigers.
(4) Notre Dame 31 at Georgia Tech 13: It wasn’t necessarily a pretty game, but the Fighting Irish got the job done at Georgia Tech. Ian Book continues to be a great game manager, going 18/26 for 199 yards and a touchdown. The defense was the real star for Notre Dame on Saturday. They held the Yellow Jackets to 238 total yards. They also held Georgia Tech to 88 rushing yards, which is no small feat for a tricky offense like Georgia Tech’s. Georgia Tech will host Pitt this weekend, and Notre Dame will host Clemson, in one of the biggest games of the season.
Texas 41 at (6) Oklahoma State 34: It is shocking how Oklahoma State lost this game on Saturday. As a team they rushed for 130 yards, and had 400 yards passing. They held Texas to 287 total yards. Sam Ehlinger had a mediocre game going 18/34 for 169 yards and three touchdowns. Oklahoma State was only penalized eight times for 70 yards. On the other hand Texas racked up 142 yards in penalties. Unfortunately for Mike Gundy and his Cowboys, their four turnovers made it tough for them to come out on top, while they nearly doubled Texas in total yards. With this loss, the Big 12 may have played their way out of a College Footbal Playoff spot. Anything is possible in the playoff era, but it’s hard to see Oklahoma State finishing the rest of their schedule undefeated. This weekend Texas will host West Virginia. Oklahoma State will travel to Manhattan, Kansas to take on Kansas State.
Western Kentucky 10 at (11) BYU 41: As the weeks go by, there are two certainties every weekend: there will be an upset, and BYU will keep on rolling no matter the opponent. Cougar quarterback Zach Wilson had a down game, for his standards. He was 18-32 for 224 yards and three touchdowns. BYU will face their toughest test of the season this Friday, as they travel to Boise, Idaho to take on the Broncos of Boise State on the blue turf. If BYU can pass this test, it’s possible some people around the country will start to take BYU seriously.
Memphis 10 at (7) Cincinnati 49: Luke Fickell should be a shoo in for college football coach of the year if the Bearcats continue to dominate their opponents. Jerome Ford, running back, had a stellar afternoon, rushing the ball nine times for 116 yards and two touchdowns. If you take a look at the Bearcats schedule, you’ll see it really isn’t as bad as it seems. They beat then 22nd ranked Army by a score of 24-10. However, their biggest win came against then ranked 16th, SMU, in Dallas for that matter. They made quick work of the Mustangs and won 42-13. This weekend Cincinnati will host Houston, and Memphis will host USF.
Michigan State 27 at (13) Michigan 24: If Jim Harbaugh wasn’t on the hot seat to begin the year, he sure the hell is now. Harbaugh and his Wolverines lost at home to in-state rival Michigan State. The Spartans were coming off a loss to Rutgers, who hadn’t won a B1G game in the last 21 tries. Pundits and fans alike need to step on the brakes when it comes to Joe Milton. After the win at Minnesota to open the season, the Wolverines were flying high, and they were flying especially high for Wolverine quarterback Joe Milton. He was more effective on the ground than in the air, as he rushed 12 times for 59 yards. Jim Harbaugh is now 1-6 at home versus rivals, including an 0-5 record versus Ohio State. If the Wolverines can’t pull out a win in the Horseshoe this year, look for Jim Harbaugh to find his way out of that program. The only question is can Michigan find a better hire than Harbaugh? Michigan State travels to 0-2 Iowa this weekend and the Wolverines travel to an all of the sudden scary Indiana Hoosiers team.
Missouri 17 at (10) Florida 41: This game will not be remembered for it’s on the field play, but for the huge brawl that broke out as the teams headed to the locker room at half-time. After a late hit on quarterback Kyle Trask, head coach Dan Mullen chased after the referees, wondering why no penalty was called. On top of all of that, Mullen showed up for his post-game press conference dressed as Darth Vader. Yes, Florida dominated the football game, but Mullen’s behavior cost him $25k because of his actions. With Florida being dragged down by more and more positive COVID tests, Kyle Trask and Kyle Pitts are no longer in the Heisman conversation. This weekend the Tigers have a bye, and will face (5) Georgia on the 14th. Florida on the other hand will take on (5) Georgia, in what is a pivotal game for both teams, if they have any chance at making the Playoff.
Game of the Week: (3) Ohio State 38 at (18) Penn State 25
A couple of months ago, this would have been a top-three match-up, and the biggest game on the B1G’s schedule. However, after losing to Indiana in week one, Penn State was on a mission to salvage their season. One can only dream how cool the backdrop would be if COVID didn’t exist. 100,000 students, dressed in all white for their “white out” game, on Halloween. In all honesty, you have to give credit to Penn State, as their “white out” games are one of the coolest traditions in college football. However, with only family in attendance, this match-up had lost a lot if its luster.
Ohio State led Penn State from the first whistle to the last whistle. Ryan Day and his Buckeyes stormed into Beaver Stadium and took care of business against James Franklin and his Nittany Lions. On their first drive, the Buckeyes scored on three plays, one being a 62 yard reverse to sophomore Garrett Wilson. Two plays later, Buckeyes running back Master Teague III found the end zone. Unfortunately, things didn’t really get better for Penn State.
Buckeye quarterback boosted his Heisman resume by going 28/34 in the air for 318 yards and four touchdowns. The Buckeyes also had a pair of receivers who each eclipsed the century mark through the air. Chris Olave caught seven passes for 120 yards and two touchdowns. Garrett Wilson, who has been included in the Buckeyes more and more this year. He caught 11 passes for 111 yards. On defense, Tommy Togiai was a wrecking ball on the interior. He recorded three sacks in the game.
All in all, Penn State just couldn’t keep up with the Buckeyes lethal offensive attack. If there is a silver lining from this game for Penn State, it is receiver Jahan Dotson. He caught eight passes for 144 yards and three touchdowns. He also made two incredible catches for the Nittany Lions.
What’s next for Penn State and Ohio State? Penn State hosts Maryland, a game which they should win fairly easily. Ohio State and their lethal offensive attack host Rutgers this weekend in a game that the Buckeyes should be heavily favored in. At 0-2, Penn State clearly has some room for improvement, however, they are still a good team. They just ran into the best team in the B1G on Halloween night.
Other Top 25 Scores
- (5) Georgia 14 at Kentucky 3
- Arkansas 31 at (8) Texas A&M 42
- (15) North Carolina 41 at Virginia 44
- (16) Kansas State 10 at West Virginia 37
- (17) Indiana 37 at Rutgers 21
- (20) Coastal Carolina 51 at Georgia State 0
- Navy 37 at (22) SMU 51
- (23) Iowa State 52 at Kansas 22
- (24) Oklahoma 62 at Texas Tech 28
- (25) Boise State 49 at Air Force 30
Top Ten (JB)
- Ohio State
- Notre Dame
- Texas A&M
- Mac Jones, QB, Alabama: 139/177 For 2,196 Yards and 16 Touchdowns
- Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson: 135/191 For 1,833 Yards and 17 Touchdowns
- Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State: 48/55 For 594 Yards and Six Touchdowns
- Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson: 103 Carries for 606 Yards and Nine Touchdowns. 29 Catches For 434 Yards and two touchdowns.
- Najee Harris, RB, Alabama: 124 Carries For 714 Yards and 14 Touchdowns
(Anybody notice a trend in the Heisman Rankings?)
Playoff Picture (JB)
Sugar Bowl: (1) Alabama Vs (4) Notre Dame
Rose Bowl: (2) Ohio State Vs (3) Clemson
National Championship: (1) Alabama Vs (2) Ohio State
Well, that should do it for the Fourth & Long week 9 recap. Every week it looks more like Clemson, Alabama, and Ohio State have distanced themselves from the rest of college football. If Notre Dame can pull out an upset win versus Clemson, they will also join that group. Another looming question is whether a loss to Notre Dame, minus Trevor Lawrence, would halt Clemson’s chances for the playoffs. It will be interesting to see how the committee will judge a loss for Clemson, without starting quarterback Trevor Lawrence. As always we wish the best for any player, coach, or family that is being affected by COVID-19. Make sure to tune in tonight for the eighth episode of The Fourth & Long Podcast. We will be recording a little earlier than usual, so be sure to follow @4thandlongpod, @BrownlojCLE, and @PicuittoJacob for show updates. As always, with week nine in the books, we look towards week ten. With all the craziness in college football this year, one can hope for another exciting weekend in week 10.
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Also a new thing we will do as a podcast, is let people vote for which game should be covered as the Game of the Week. Please reply with suggestions and answers of who you want to be Game of the Week. In week 10 our choices are (9) BYU at (21) Boise State on Friday night. Another possible choice is (1) Clemson at (4) Notre Dame. Our last choice will be (5) Georgia vs (8) Florida. Vote! We would love to hear your feedback!
- (9) BYU at (21) Boise State
2. (1) Clemson at (4) Notre Dame
3. (5) Georgia vs (8) Florida