No. 21 Clemson Tigers struggle in first half against hapless Demon Deacons

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If the uniforms were stripped of the two teams playing Thursday night, no one would know which one of them was ranked in the Top 25.

Despite owning college football’s worst offense, the 2-6 Wake Forest Demon Deacons are tied 17-17 with the No. 21 Clemson Tigers at halftime.

Both teams benefited from special teams miscues, but it was the play of Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson that stood out.

Johnson’s interception in the first quarter set up the the Demon Deacons’ initial touchdown. Later in the second quarter, the senior defensive back recovered a muffed punt that led to Wake Forest’s second touchdown of the first half.

This is a program that only averages 14.8 points per game. Statistically, Wake Forest is the worst offense in college football. Yet, they’re tied with a nationally-ranked program.

Despite having a lead, Clemson has to be concerned. It took a late touchdown pass from Clemson quarterback Cole Stoudt to freshman Artavis Scott to clinch the Tigers’ first lead of the contest.

The Demon Deacons only have 79 yards of total offense. But their play-calling has been aggressive on both sides of the ball. It wasn’t until Stoudt found running back Wayne Gallman on a screen pass to counter Wake Forest’s blitzes that Clemson finally found the end zone.

Clemson couldn’t move the ball in the first quarter.

But Stoudt and the offense started to gain their footing in the second half with 129 yards. The Tigers are clearly the more talented team. If the defense continues to rattle Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford, then Wake Forest shouldn’t be able to score another point. Meanwhile, Clemson’s offense looks to be getting on track.

Dave Clawson‘s coaching staff can’t hold back with its play-calling in the second half if they plan to muster the biggest win of their season. It may be an uphill battle, but the Demon Deacons are in position to surprise the Tigers if they make a couple plays late in the game.

Braden White named prestigious 12th Man at Texas A&M

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The 12th Man is a big, big deal at Texas A&M. In fact, it’s pretty much the brand of not just the football program, but the entire athletics department. Case in point, A&M’s athletics department website is 12thman.com.

For the uninitiated, in 1922 the Aggies found themselves short of players in a football game against Center College, the No. 1 team in the country at the time, after multiple players sustained injuries over the course of the game. Down to just 11 players, A&M student E. King Gill volunteered to suit up and stand on the sidelines in case the team needed him. Gill now has a statue outside of Kyle Field, and A&M’s student section is collectively referred to as the 12th Man.

As such, it’s a tremendous honor for an active Aggie player to be awarded the No. 12 and, after fullback Cullen Gillaspia donned the jersey for a record-tying 39 games, it’s time to hand it off to a new player.

On Tuesday, Jimbo Fisher awarded the No. 12 jersey to Braden White, a walk-on linebacker from Florence, Ala.

“I’m honored just to be able to represent this great university and everything about it,” White said. “It’s a true blessing.”

White is a redshirt junior who has checked all the boxes of a player who checks all the 12th Man boxes. He was named Defensive Scout Team MVP during his redshirt year of 2016 and was honored as the Top Conditioned Athlete at the Aggies’ 2018 team banquet. He has appeared in 18 career games, recording 16 career tackles playing primarily as a special teams contributor.

White will wear No. 12 for the first time next when Texas A&M — ranked, ironically, No. 12 in the preseason AP poll — hosts Texas State next Thursday night (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network).

UConn begins building out independent schedules with BC home-and-home

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Until they tell us otherwise, Connecticut is going to try to make it as an FBS independent. This upcoming season will be the Huskies’ final one as a member of the American Athletic Conference, as the Huskies’ Olympic sports will return to the Big East and the football team will go it alone.

This will require lots (and lots and lots) of scheduling work, and quickly. As of now, the Huskies have four games on the schedule for a season that begins 12 months from now.

While it does nothing to help the 2020 slate, UConn began chipping away at the mountain in front of it on Wednesday by announcing a home-and-home with Boston College. The first game will be Oct. 29, 2022 in Storrs, with the return game going down Oct. 28, 2023 in Chestnut Hill.

The two programs have met 14 times previously; BC leads the series 12-0-2. The Eagles took the most recent meeting 39-16 in 2017.

Additionally, BC announced a 2023-28 home-and-home with Army and a Sept. 9, 2023 home game with Holy Cross.

Safety graduate transfers from Penn State to Pitt

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Penn State safety Johnny Petrishen has left State College for Pittsburgh, where he is now a Panther.

Petrishen announced the transfer on Tuesday evening, and Pitt confirmed his addition on Wednesday morning.

Petrishen has two years of eligibility remaining thanks — if you want to use that term — to two medical redshirts.

A Lower Burrell, Pa., native, Petrishen appeared in 17 career games as a Nittany Lion, including all 13 last season. Primarily a special teams player, he posted eight career tackles and one TFL in State College.

NC State transfer Tim Kidd-Glass tweets move to Liberty

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Hugh Freeze may be dealing with what was a significant health issue, but he’s still working his first-year roster at Liberty.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday evening, Tim Kidd-Glass announced that he “would like to thank God for allowing me to have another opportunity to further my football career… at Liberty University.” The announcement comes a couple of weeks after the safety triggered a move from North Carolina State by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database.

As a graduate transfer, Kidd-Glass will be eligible to play for the Flames in 2019.

The past three seasons, the Virginia native played in 33 games for the Wolfpack.  He started nine of those contests, all of which came during the 2017 season.