Quarterback DeShaun Watson threw two interceptions and Clemson’s defense was surprisingly lackluster at home as the No. 2 team in the country was locked into a shootout with Pitt in the first half, holding a slim 28-27 lead.
Watson didn’t have bad numbers other than those two turnovers (one of which came in the red zone), heading to the locker room with 321 yards and two touchdowns while spreading the ball around to seven different receivers.
The biggest play of the half might have come just before the end of the first quarter as Clemson went for it on a 4th and goal from the one yard line. Tailback Wayne Gallman dived into the end zone but fumbled the ball, which Pitt returned 99 yards for what appeared to be a two-score lead.
Replay overturned the call however, showing that Gallman did get the ball over the goal line before it hit the ground and the Tigers instead tied the game. They went up on their ensuing drive, going 80 yards down the field as Watson hit Mike Williams from 15 yards.
Pitt didn’t fold though, needing just three plays to find the end zone as tight end Scott Orndoff rumbled 55 yards for the score. Kicker Chris Blewitt well, you know, missed the extra point however to keep the Panthers a point behind but the team converted a 4th-and-goal on the next drive to take the lead.
James Conner had 96 yards rushing while quarterback Nathan Peterman tossed four first half touchdowns.
The Panthers are aiming to become bowl eligible with a win, which would undoubtedly be one of the biggest victories in Pat Narduzzi’s young tenure. Clemson, meanwhile, would clinch a spot in the ACC title game and the Atlantic division if they come out on top.
LSU is all set to learn whether or not they’ll have the services of one of the nation’s best pass rushers for the 2017 season.
That’s according to Tigers defensive coordinator Dave Aranda, who told reporters on Thursday that the coaching staff should learn defensive lineman Arden Key‘s status for the season next week.
“Arden’s been around, so I’ve seen Arden,” Aranda said, according to AL.com. “Arden’s looking good. We get back together next week with a full staff. … I anticipate at that time that we’ll hear about Arden’s direction and where he’s going and whether he’ll be with us or not.
“I’m very hopeful that he will be.”
Key announced back in February that he would be stepping away from the program this spring “for personal reasons.” It’s been vague as to what those reasons really are or if the edge rusher would even return to the field for LSU in 2017, but it appears we’ll know either way fairly soon. Key himself tweeted last month that he would not be sitting out his upcoming junior year — leading to speculation that he would indeed be back in the lineup for the Tigers.
Aranda’s comments also seem to indicate things moving in that direction but LSU fans and the rest of the opponents on the schedule will apparently have to wait another week in order to get confirmation on Key’s status for the upcoming season.
The calendar is just about ready to flip over to June and with that date change comes time to kick off plenty of summer camps for high school recruits around the country.
While all eyes will be on major outings such as USC’s annual Rising Stars Camp or Florida’s Friday Night Lights, there may be a smaller school’s camp that will draw just as much attention. The one in question? Well of course it would be Lane Kiffin’s first summer camp at Florida Atlantic.
While the draw of Kiffin alone is enough to elicit some higher than normal interest, the list of coaches tagging along for the Owls’ June 5th camp is even more eyebrow-raising than that of the hosts. Namely that includes Jim Harbaugh (and the rest of the Michigan staff per the Sun-Sentinel) along with a few familiar faces from the Tennessee staff, among others.
Yes, that’s right, Kiffin’s old employer is all set to buddy up with the ex-Vols coach down in Boca according to a report from FAUOwlAccess.com.
Given recent limits put on satellite camps by the NCAA, it certainly makes plenty of sense for schools like Michigan and Tennessee to send their staffs to work camps at places like FAU given the latter’s close proximity to so many top recruits. Likewise, it’s pretty understandable to see Kiffin bring in some even bigger names to his first summer camp in order to draw attention to the program he took over in the offseason.
Still, it should be more than a little interesting for many fans in the Volunteer State to see a few Tennessee coaches working alongside the man many blame for their program’s slide in recent years. It’s been several years (and coaching stops) since Kiffin left Knoxville so perhaps next month we’ll find out if time really does heal all wounds.
To the surprise of nobody though, FAU hasn’t even played a game under their new head coach and the Owls are already making waves and finding plenty of time in the national spotlight.
Florida may not be able to beat Alabama, so they’ll do their best to make sure they take care of South Alabama in 2020. The Gators and Jaguars added a future non-conference game to the 2020 schedule, with Florida paying South Alabama a reported $1.2 million for the game in Gainesville.
The two schools will meet for the first time on September 19, 2020 at Florida. The game will be played in Week 3, likely following an SEC game on Florida’s schedule. Florida is scheduled to open the season at home against FCS opponent Eastern Washington and has an opening likely to be filled by a conference game in Week 2 of the schedule. Florida now has just one non-conference scheduling vacancy to fill before 2021, with one spot available in 2019 (Florida opens in Orlando against Miami and has Florida State at the end of the year).
As a member of the SEC, Florida is required to play one power conference opponent each season. Obviously, South Alabama doesn’t satisfy that requirement, but the Gators play ACC rival Florida State on an annual basis so the scheduling requirement is fulfilled any time the Seminoles are tacked on the schedule. Florida will open the 2017 season against Michigan as well.
South Alabama has filled up the bulk of their non-conference slots through the 2022 season with a good dose of power conference opponents. South Alabama will play Ole Miss and Oklahoma State this year, Oklahoma State in 2018, and has future games lined up against Nebraska, Tennessee, and UCLA. South Alabama has just one vacancy to fill before the 2023 season, with one spot in 2021 available.
If there are any serious conversations behind closed doors between the ACC and Notre Dame about potential football membership, ACC commissioner John Swofford is not showing his cards. In a radio interview Friday morning, Swofford was asked about the rumor the conference and the Fighting Irish have had discussions, to which Swofford avoided any controversy.
Swofford said the ACC and Notre Dame have not had any such discussions about Notre Dame joining the conference in football to complete its membership in the conference, but he also didn’t slam the door shut on the potential option down the line.
Earlier this month the rumor mill got turning in wild fashion after a radio interview saw FOX Sports broadcaster Tim Brando say “conversations have taken place” about the ACC adding Notre Dame as a full member. That comment alone got the gears working on some exaggerated headlines across the Internet, some going so far as to suggest the Irish were on the verge of joining the ACC and abandoning their football independence once and for all. As I suggested at the time, there is absolutely reason to believe Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick has had at least some degree of conversation with the ACC about the possibility, because a good AD would at least test the water on any and all potential scenarios should the time come the university approaches its football program differently.
The latest edition of the Notre Dame to ACC rumors followed the scheduling announcement from the ACC and Notre Dame for future game sin the ACC schedule rotation with the Irish through 2037.
Swofford did drop an interesting, although completely unsurprising, nugget of information as well when he mentioned the ACC would explore adding a 16th team to the fold if Notre Dame could be added in football. That alone will be enough to keep fans of certain programs interested in the ACC’s future, although they will all have to wait for a while in all likelihood, as no changes would be expected until current media rights deals expire and are up for renewal in the next decade.