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Clemson kicker Greg Huegel injured during practice, out for the season after ACL tear

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If Clemson is to defend their national title this season, they will do so without the services of their reliable kicker.

The school confirmed various reports on Thursday evening that redshirt junior Greg Huegel was injured during the Tigers’ practice on Wednesday night — on the final kick, no less — and tore his ACL. He will have surgery and will not play again in 2017.

While he didn’t get the press of Deshuan Watson or others, Huegel was a key part of the Clemson run the past few seasons after taking over as the starter in 2015. The former walk-on was a Lou Groza Award semifinalist last year and had hit two of his four field goals to start off this season, one of which was a career-long 49 yard kick just last week.

Backup kicker Alex Spence is likely to take over for the Tigers in Huegel’s absence. The redshirt junior has never attempted a field goal in a game but has kicked off and made an extra point for Clemson this season.

Reserve tight end Cole Renfrow, the younger brother of title game star Hunter Renfrow, also tore his ACL in practice and is out the rest of the season as well.

Given the thin margins that College Football Playoff teams have nowadays, the loss of Huegel figures to be a big one for Dabo Swinney and company going forward. Clemson hosts Boston College this week but will face a stiff test on the road at Virginia Tech in an ACC title game rematch to end the month.

Mason Rudolph’s younger brother sees freshman season at Clemson come to an injury end

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Mason Rudolph is looking at the rest of the season as an opportunity to continue pushing his way into the Heisman discussion and his team deeper into the College Football Playoff picture.  His younger brother, on the other hand, is looking at rehab.

Wednesday night, Clemson announced that Logan Rudolph will miss the remainder of the 2017 season because of a shoulder injury.  The defensive end sustained the injury during a Tuesday practice, and will undergo surgery at some point in the future to repair the damage.  Rudolph dealt with a shoulder issue late in his high school career, and it’s believed this is related to that.

A four-star member of the Tigers’ 2017 recruiting class, Rudolph was rated as the No. 23 weakside defensive end in the country and the No. 4 player at any position in the state of South Carolina.  After enrolling early and participating in spring practice, the true freshman played in two games as a backup behind starter Austin Bryant.  In that limited action, he was credited with three tackles and one tackle for loss.

Because of how few games he’s played, Rudolph would be eligible for a medical redshirt.  That would allow the lineman to extend his eligibility out through the 2021 season if he so desires.

Getting back to the famous name-drop in the lede, Rudolph’s older brother, of course, is the starting quarterback for No. 6 Oklahoma State.

Alabama’s national title odds take minor hit as Clemson puts oddsmaker on notice

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After Week 3 of college football has been given time to settle in and reflected upon, Bovada still feels Alabama is the clear favorite to win the national championship this season. But that confidence was shaken a tiny bit after the performance turned in by Clemson at Louisville on Saturday. While Alabama’s national title odds of 2/1 are still heavily in Alabama’s favor, the Tigers crept up a bit this week.

Alabama’s national title odds were listed at 7/4 a week ago and have now been dropped to just 2/1. Clemson improved their title odds from 14/1 to 11/2 following a thorough road win at Louisville for a second straight win against a ranked opponent. Despite being 3-0, USC saw their odds drop slightly from 6/1 to 7/1 over the weekend, while Oklahoma stayed firm with 8/1 odds.

Ohio State saw their odds improve too, going from 8/1 to 17/2 this weekend. Oklahoma State is right behind the Buckeyes with 9/1 odds, followed by Penn State at 12/1 and Michigan at 20/1.

Mississippi State jumped onto the board this week following their blowout of LSU and are now listed with 40/1 odds. Six teams came off the board this week: Colorado, Maryland, Michigan State, Minnesota, South Carolina, and UCLA.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield is currently Bovada’s favorite for the Heisman Trophy with 7/4 odds. Louisville quarterback and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson is tied for second-best odds with USC’s Sam Darnold at 11/2. Penn State running back Saquon Barkley and Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph share the same 9/1 odds as well. Players jumping from off the board include Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins (40/1)m Oregon’s Royce Freeman (25/1) and Justin Herbert (25/1), and Stanford running back Bryce Love (66/1).

(Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley was not dropped from the board as posted in this tweet, but his odds went down)

Clemson moves to No. 2 in latest AP poll, Mississippi State joins at No. 17

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Mississippi State has leapt from the ranks of the unranked all the way to No. 17 in the latest AP poll, released Sunday afternoon.

The Bulldogs walloped then-No. 12 LSU 37-7 in Starkville on Saturday evening, the club’s largest margin of victory in the 111-game history of the series. Additionally, Mississippi State’s road blowout victory over Louisiana Tech became even more impressive when the red-and-blue Bulldogs went on the road and beat defending Conference USA champion Western Kentucky.

Elsewhere, San Diego State, Utah and Oregon made their 2017 debuts in the AP poll, replacing Kansas State, Stanford, Tennessee and UCLA. Clemson’s 47-21 drubbing of Louisville allowed the Tigers to nudge past Oklahoma for the No. 2 spot in the poll and pull within 60 points of the No. 1 ranking.

The full poll:

  1. Alabama — 1,504 total points (45 first-place votes)
  2. Clemson — 1,446 (15)
  3. Oklahoma — 1,432 (1)
  4. Penn State — 1,306
  5. USC — 1,241
  6. Oklahoma State — 1,154
  7. Washington — 1,141
  8. Michigan — 1,081
  9. Wisconsin — 1,031
  10. Ohio State — 1,015
  11. Georgia — 940
  12. Florida State — 922
  13. Virginia Tech — 730
  14. Miami — 606
  15. Auburn — 596
  16. TCU — 553
  17. Mississippi State — 532
  18. Washington State — 419
  19. Louisville — 356
  20. Florida — 308
  21. South Florida — 272
  22. San Diego State — 201
  23. Utah — 194
  24. Oregon — 158
  25. LSU — 153

Alabama remains No. 1 in latest Coaches’ Poll

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The lesser of the two exhibition polls was released early Sunday afternoon, and Alabama held off Clemson for the No. 1 spot. There was some thought the Tigers could pass the Tide after their second consecutive impressive victory, but Alabama generated 59 first-place votes to Clemson’s six.

Elsewhere, Mississippi State was this week’s highest climber, jumping into the poll at No. 19. Their victim, LSU, plummeted from No. 12 to No. 23.

Additionally, Stanford, Kansas State and UCLA dropped out after their respective losses Saturday, and Oregon and San Diego State joined the Bulldogs as 2017 newcomers to the poll.

The full poll:

  1. Alabama — 1,618 total points (59 first-place votes)
  2. Clemson — 1,535 (6)
  3. Oklahoma — 1,505
  4. Penn State — 1,364
  5. USC — 1,348
  6. Washington — 1,277
  7. Oklahoma State — 1,219
  8. Michigan — 1,171
  9. Ohio State — 1,052
  10. Wisconsin — 1,032
  11. Florida State — 985
  12. Georgia — 978
  13. Virginia Tech — 775
  14. Miami — 659
  15. TCU — 602
  16. Auburn — 555
  17. South Florida — 446
  18. Washington State — 441
  19. Mississippi State — 412
  20. Louisville — 382
  21. Utah — 324
  22. Florida — 312
  23. LSU — 243
  24. Oregon — 208
  25. San Diego State — 141