C.J. Prosise powers No. 8 Notre Dame by No. 14 Georgia Tech

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It wasn’t supposed to be so easy. Not with so many key injuries to key players. Not with a young quarterback. Not against a Georgia Tech team that many feel will challenge for the ACC title, if not just the ACC Coastal Division.

But it was. For about 50 minutes at least.

No. 8 Notre Dame (3-0) defeated No. 14 Georgia Tech 30-22 Saturday in South Bend, with the Irish holding off a late surge from the visitors. The win will immediately leave many to validate Notre Dame as a worthy pick for the College Football Playoff, but it may be wiser to hold off on that for now. This Notre Dame team is good, and if Saturday was any indication there is a chance for them to be very good. But injuries have a way of catching up to a team eventually. They did not this time around, and head coach Brian Kelly should be respected for that. Kelly should feel fortunate to have C.J. Prosise running the football.

Prosise rushed for a game-high 198 yards and three touchdowns for the Irish. All three touchdowns came at perfect times for Notre Dame as well, with one late in the first half to give the Irish a 13-7 lead at halftime, and two more in the fourth quarter putting the game well out of reach for a Georgia Tech offense unable to get much going against Notre Dame’s solid defensive effort.

Georgia Tech did get the bulk of their yards on the ground, but the one-dimensional offense could not fool Notre Dame, who showed the kind of speed to keep up as Georgia Tech looked to spread the field on the ground.

Young quarterback DeShone Kizer showed the poise of a junior at times, completing 21 of 30 passes for 231 yards and a touchdown (he was picked off once).

It was not all happy times for Notre Dame though. Drue Tranquill’s injury after celebrating a touchdown led to him being stranded on the sideline sin the second half with the aid of crutches.

Notre Dame will host a feisty UMass squad next week. The Minutemen are an improved program this fall, but Notre Dame should be looking forward to taking a 4-0 record with them when they visit Clemson in a couple of weeks. After that comes rivalry games with Navy and USC in October.

Georgia Tech will look to get back in the win column next week in Durham, North Carolina against ACC Coastal foe Duke. Like Georgia Tech, Duke will be looking to bounce back after a loss. The Blue Devils lost at home earlier in the day to Northwestern.

Alabama and Clemson remain top two national title favorites according to Bovada

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Alabama and Clemson appear to be on a collision course for a third straight meeting in the College Football Playoff national championship, and the Crimson Tide and defending national champion Tigers remain the top two favorites to win the national championship this season, according to the latest updated odds from Bovada.

Alabama’s odds have moved to 19/10 after being 2/1 last week. Right behind Alabama is Clemson at 9/2 a week after having 11/2 odds. Despite having one loss on their record already, the Ohio State Buckeyes remain in the thick of the race as well with the third-best national title odds after four weeks of play. Ohio State is listed at 7/1 by Bovada, staying ahead of USC (15/2) and Oklahoma (8/1) despite a head-to-head loss to the Sooners in Columbus in Week 2.

Penn State comes in at 10/1, followed by Michigan at 12/1. Georgia is on the rise as well with 14/1 odds to stay ahead of Washington (16/1). The biggest drop of the week was by Oklahoma State, who fell from 9/1 to 20/1 after a home loss to TCU. The Horned Frogs jumped up from 75/1 to 33/1 this week.

Bovada also updated their Heisman Trophy odds, with Penn State running back Saquon Barkley moving to the top of the board.

Saquon Barkley ascends to top of Bovada’s Heisman Trophy board

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Coming off a monster performance against Iowa, Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is now the new leader in the clubhouse for the Heisman Trophy, according to Bovada at least.

Bovada’s weekly updated Heisman odds put Barkley atop the Heisman board with 7/4 odds. He moves ahead of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield, USC quarterback Sam Darnold, and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson of Louisville, and separates himself from Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph.

Barkley has rushed for 518 yards with four rushing touchdowns in the first four weeks of the season. That alone would not be worthy of such high Heisman praise, of course, but Barkley has shown how good he is by contributing to the Penn State passing game. Barkley currently leads the Big Ten with 23 receptions and a conference-leading 335 receiving yards. Barkley has also added some yards on special teams returns, although he has not broken loose for a significant kickoff return just yet.

Barkley is not the only running back moving up Bovada’s board, however. Stanford running back Bryce Love went from 66/1 up to 33/1 following a big performance against UCLA. LOve is currently the nation’s leading rusher.

Two players were dropped from the Bovada board this week. Ohio State freshman running back J.K. Dobbins went from having 25/1 odds last week to off the board this week. I’m not entirely sure why Dobbins fell off the map so quickly, but he’ll have a chance to pop back on the board in the coming weeks. LSU running back Derrius Guice also fell off the board this week after having 50/1 odds last week.

Rutgers loses CB Blessuan Austin to season-ending ACL injury

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Rutgers cornerback Blessuan Austin will miss the remainder of the 2017 season after suffering a season-ending ACL injury on the road at Nebraska this past weekend. Rutgers head coach Chris Ash confirmed the unfortunate news for the Scarlet Knights at a press conference Monday morning.

“As most of you know, Blessuan Austin came out of that game,” Ash said, per NJ.com. “It was confirmed yesterday with an MRI that he has a torn ACL and will miss the rest of the season.”

With Austin now gone for the rest of the season just as Big Ten play opened up, Rutgers will bump Damon Hayes into the spot as a starter in the secondary.

“He played in place of Blessuan and did some good things. He has to continue to improve and develop,” Ash explained. “But I really like Damon and excited for him to go out and have this opportunity and be a full-time starter.”

Rutgers is currently ranked fifth in the Big Ten in passing defense with an average of 179.5 passing yards allowed per game, with five touchdowns allowed and five interceptions. Austin, a junior, had recorded one of those interceptions.

Luke Del Rio back in the saddle as Florida’s starting QB

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Before the headlines in Gainesville took a rough turn for the worst off the field, Florida head coach Jim McElwain created some news with addressing the offense. This week, Luke Del Rio will be the starting quarterback for the Gators.

This comes as little surprise for a team that has been struggling on offense for the majority of the season. Despite a miracle finish against Tennessee two weeks ago, Feleipe Franks struggled on the road against Kentucky, forcing McElwain to make a switch to get Del Rio back in the fold on the field. As a result, whether coincidence or not, Del Rio led the Gators to avoid the school’s first loss to Kentucky in over three decades.

First up for Del Rio as the Florida starter will be Vanderbilt, who comes off a drubbing at the hands of Alabama. Before the Crimson Tide came to Nashville, the Commodores were hailed as having one of the top defenses in the SEC outside of Tuscaloosa. This will be no easy task for Del Rio and the Gators against Vanderbilt because they still do not have the kind of offense that can overpower their opponent the way Alabama can.

Florida has a long way to go, but we’ll see if Del Rio can keep any momentum on their side for more than one week.