All eyes were on Death Valley for a top five showdown between No. 3 Louisville and No. 5 Clemson and the drama was not lacking in a wild first half that saw the Tigers storm back for a 28-10 lead heading into the locker room.
The Cardinals struck first to take the crowd out of the game early thanks to a methodical 11 play, 82 yard drive before tailback Jeremy Smith punched it in at the goal line.
Louisville appeared to be moving the ball toward the end zone again on their ensuing drive but quarterback Lamar Jackson wasn’t ready for a snap. After slipping through the hands of Smith, linebacker Ben Boulware was able to recover the fumble and put Clemson back in business.
Just two plays later, Deshuan Watson made up for an earlier red zone interception by lofting an NFL-caliber throw to Deon Cain along the sidelines to tie the game up.
While momentum seemed to be on the Tigers’ side for the first time since the opening minutes, both teams then decided to play hot potato with the football.
Jackson was intercepted. Clemson fumbled two plays later. Then Louisville gave it right back on a fumble.
Eventually the Tigers had enough and tailback Wayne Gallman busted a big run up the middle for a 24 yard score and the home team’s first lead of the game.
And that was in just over 90 seconds of game action.
The Cardinals eventually mounted a scoring drive in the final few minutes but ended up settling for a field goal with just seconds left on the clock. That was no problem for Watson, who peppered the field with precision passes before finding Artavis Scott 26 seconds later for a touchdown to extend their lead to 18 heading into the locker room.
It should make for a fun second half between two top five teams as an ACC division title, league championship and possible College Football Playoff berth are all on the line.
Suffice to say, Louisiana Tech’s offense will be at less than full strength when it takes the field in Week 12 later on today.
Thursday night, the Tech football program announced that three players, junior wide receiver Adrian Hardy, senior outside linebacker James Jackson and quarterback J’Mar Smith, have been suspended for Friday night’s game against Marshall. Hardy and Smith will also be suspended for next Saturday’s road game against UAB.
Per the school, all three players were slapped with their respective suspensions because of violations of unspecified athletic department policies.
“This matter is being handled internally,” the program said in a statement. “Neither [head football coach Skip] Holtz nor athletic department officials will address this further.”
Smith is in his third season as Tech’s starting quarterback and has thrown for 2,483 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2019. Smith will be replaced in the starting lineup by Aaron Allen, who has thrown nine passes this year and will be making the first start of his collegiate career.
Hardy leads the Bulldogs in receiving yards with 482 and is second in receptions with 39.
Tech is in the midst of an eight-game winning streak that has them sitting atop the West Division of Conference USA at a perfect 5-0. Their only loss came in the season opener against No. 19 Texas.
It appears you can put this particular piece of drama to bed.
In the days after Willie Taggart was fired as Florida State’s head coach, Bob Stoops‘ name was connected to the opening through various levels of speculation. At one point, FSU’s athletic director, David Coburn, publicly stated that the current head coach and general manager of the XFL’s Dallas franchise is a candidate for the job; Stoops subsequently stated that “the rumors/reports of him being a candidate for the Florida State job opening are not accurate.”
Nearly two weeks later, and citing two sources familiar with the search, the Tallahassee Democrat is reporting that “Florida State has been in contact with representatives of former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and does not consider him a candidate for its vacant football coach position.”
With the former Oklahoma coach out of the running — if he was even in the running in the first place — FSU could turn its attention to current FBS head coaches such as Memphis’ Mike Norvell, Penn State’s James Franklin and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell. Interim head coach Odell Haggins is also drawing support from current Seminole football players to take over the job permanently.
Coburn has long maintained that the university is on track to have a replacement in place before the end of November.
Let the sleuthing and/or Internet message-board speculating commence in earnest.
Thursday night on his weekly radio show, Nick Saban revealed that he had suspended one of his Alabama football players for this Saturday’s game against Mississippi State in Starkville. The head coach even gave a specific reason for the suspension — the player didn’t go to class.
What Saban didn’t do? Divulge the name of the player who has been suspended.
Alabama will be looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season last weekend against a Mississippi State squad that the Crimson Tide has beaten the last 11 times they have played, with the Bulldogs’ last win coming in 2007. That, of course, was Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa.
A handful of the greatest Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) players — and an administrator and coach as well — are set to be honored for their collegiate gridiron exploits.
The Black College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday revealed six individuals who will be a part of its Class of 2020. Four of the inductees are former players — Earl “Air” Harvey (North Carolina Central), James Hunter (Grambling State), Robert Mathis (Alabama A&M) and Erik Williams (Central State).
Joe Taylor, a former coach at FAMU, Hampton, Howard and Virginia Union, ex-MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas will be officially inducted next February.
“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we congratulate the Class of 2020,” said BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2011 Inductee Doug Williams. “Everyone that has vote to determine the next class understands how difficult it is to only choose six. The Class of 2020 is a great representation of the talent that has come from Historically Black Colleges & Universities.”
Williams, a third-round pick in the 1991 NFL Draft, spent most of his professional career with the Dallas Cowboys, earning first-team All-Pro honors three times as an offensive tackle as well as being a part of three Super Bowl-winning teams.
The year after setting an FCS record with 20 sacks, Mathis was selected in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. In his 14 seasons with the Colts, Mathis was named to the Pro Bowl five teams and owns a Super Bowl ring as well.