It looked sluggish for a while, but Clemson has found a way to halftime with the lead. Tajh Boyd took a draw for a key fourth down conversion and a couple plays later threw a touchdown pass to Sam Cooper late in the half to put the Tigers on top, 13-7. Clemson has been using their quick offensive style to run about twice as many plays as North Carolina State’s offense, which could become a factor in the second half.
North Carolina State frustrated Boyd early with pressure, hits and forcing some poor throws. After getting Clemson in the end zone it was clear Boyd had calmed down. Will he be so relaxed in the second half?
North Carolina State had some chances to do some damage early on in the game but ultimately could not cash in. But they are playing a tough game on both sides of the football and certainly in this one as it moves to the second half. The Wolfpack have used a number of players to spread the football around on offense, perhaps to keep Clemson guessing while also waiting to see if anyone can take charge on the field.
Clemson will have to tighten up a bit to avoid allowing North Carolina State to make a run in the second half. The talent advantage is there for Clemson, but they may not be able to overcome allowing the home team to hang around late in to this game.
Oregon touched the ball 15 times in its 41-24 win over Colorado on Saturday night. Jeff Lockie played seven of them, including the first. Taylor Alie played eight.
As long as Vernon Adams nurses his broken finger, this appears to be the plan for the Ducks.
“They’d both done enough good things in practice last week to merit playing,” head coach Mark Helfrich told the Oregonian. “We just felt looking at the game plan we could parcel out aspects with each.”
“Of course you want to get into a better rhythm but that’s how it goes,” Lockie said. “We’re just going to play the best we can and as long as we’re winning games, there’s no problem with me.”
Lockie completed 8-of-11 throws for 54 yards with an interception while rushing five times for 18 yards. Alie connected on 4-of-9 throws for 83 yards and a touchdown while adding 22 yards on five carries. Not quite Marcus Mariota numbers from either signal caller.
“It’ll just depend on the game plan,” Helfrich said of Alie and Lockie. “I think those guys they have differences. There are some strengths and weaknesses to different areas of their game and so we’ll think about that going forward of just how the Washington State game plan comes out.”
With Oregon playing Washington and Washington State (combined Pac-12 wins thus far: zero) before a tough closing stretch, Helfrich and company have time to alternate signal callers.
The polls are meaningless. Especially any poll that isn’t the College Football Playoff top 25 and even then, as the TCU learned late last season, even the penultimate ranking is as meaningless as the paper they’re metaphorically written on.
Still, they’re catnip to college football fans and observers. Place them in front of us and we can’t help but gnaw on them.
And with that said, a bit of milestone was reached in Sunday’s Associated Press Top 25, as the SEC was completely shut out of the top five.
That group breaks down as follows:
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
An SEC free top five hasn’t happened in nearly five full years; October 10, 2010 was the last time such a thing occurred. Oddly enough, two of the same five culprits occupied that ranking as well:
- Ohio State
- Boise State
Underscoring the lesson of the first paragraph, eventual national champion Auburn checked in at No. 6. Those Tigers moved up a spot the following week and never looked back.
None of this means anything at all, until it does. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way.