We noted earlier this evening that Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins was off to a slow start this season, and understandably so. He’d missed three games already due to suspension and illness. But, here the Tigers were seven games into the 2012 season and Watkins, an All-American, was without a receiving touchdown. Yes, Watkins had a pair of scores running and throwing the football, but still no touchdowns in his primary area of expertise.
That changed Thursday night in No. 14 Clemson’s 42-13 win over Wake Forest. Watkins actually matched his season total to date of 202 yards receiving against the Demon Deacons and reeled in his first touchdown of the season — a 61-yard pass from Tajh Boyd. Most of Watkins’ numbers came in the first half, but with a 35-7 halftime lead, the game was secure by that point.
But as great as Watkins was in his 2012 coming out party, you have to talk about how efficiently Boyd played. The junior went 27-of-38 for 428 yards (a school record) and five touchdowns, all of which went to different receivers. The weapons the Tigers have on offense is borderline unfair. Clemson will have a chance to rack up big numbers with those weapons in the next few weeks against Duke, Maryland and North Carolina State (the Wolfpack actually control their own destiny in the ACC Atlantic).
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah