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Fournette, No. 13 LSU run over, around and through No. 18 Auburn

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It all started on the game’s very first snap. Leonard Fournette dashed 71 yards on the first play of the game and never slowed down from there, leading the charge as No. 13 LSU drubbed No. 18 Auburn 45-21 in Baton Rouge on Saturday afternoon.

Fournette posted a career high 228 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries, looking like the best running back in football – college or professional – in the process. His 71-yard burst set up a two-yard Brandon Harris dash to give LSU a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter, and his 40 yard dash pushed the Bayou Bengals’ lead to 24-0 with 2:10 to play before halftime. After Auburn pulled within 24-7 to open the third quarter, Fournette responded with a 29-yard touchdown run to push the lead back to 31-7. He charged in from one yard out to give LSU a 38-7 lead with 4:14 to go in the third quarter. The magnetic sophomore was not seen again after that as he limped to the sideline with an apparent knee injury, which isn’t believed to be serious.

Fortunately for LSU, Saturday wasn’t just a three-hour highlight reel for Fournette. The rest of the team clicked around its Heisman candidate. Sophomore quarterback Brandon Harris completed 12-of-17 passes for 74 yards and a touchdown and added eight rushes for 66 yards and two more scores. As a team, LSU ran 48 times for a stunning 411 yards and five touchdowns, while limiting Auburn to 37 rushes for just 160 yards and one touchdown.

Oh, Auburn.

Enjoying their final hours this month (and, quite possibly, this season) as a ranked team, Auburn looked every bit like the team that struggled to beat 0-3 Louisville and miraculously snuck by FCS Jacksonville State. Jeremy Johnson was the turnover-prone quarterback he’s been all season, tossing one interception to LSU safety Jamal Adams (and should have had another) and losing one fumble that set up Fournette’s final touchdown. For the day he completed 11-of-19 throws for 100 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came well after the game had already been decided, plus a 65-yard touchdown run that briefly put his Tigers back in contention to open the third quarter.

Peyton Barber, Auburn’s lone bright spot last week, rushed just seven times for 34 yards.

Auburn was outgained by more than 200 yards. It converted only three of 10 third downs. It lost the turnover battle 2-0. Most importantly, it looked every bit like a team that has a 2012-like slide waiting, considering the lackluster way in which the ballyhooed Tigers started this season. Auburn (2-1, 0-1 SEC) faces a toss-up game against Mississippi State at Jordan-Hare Stadium next week, then gets San Jose State on Oct. 3. Trips to Kentucky (no gimme) and Arkansas (neither) wait after that, and then Gus Malzahn and company embark on a season-ending stretch with four teams currently ranked 17th or higher in its final five games. Sheesh. The Tigers are now 1-5 in their last half-dozen games against Power Five competition.

LSU (2-0, 2-0 SEC) can afford to keep its Terminator of a running back on ice for the next few weeks if it so chooses. The Tigers head to Syracuse next week, then host Eastern Michigan after that. In fact, LSU does not face a currently ranked team until its trip to Alabama on Nov. 2. Fournette should be fully functional by then. Here’s hoping Alabama’s defense is as well.

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.