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.
Clemson’s building spree around campus for the football program isn’t slowing down anytime soon thanks to the Tigers winning two of the last three national titles.
The school’s Board of Trustees on Friday approved a massive $68.7 million renovation of Frank Howard Field at Clemson Memorial Stadium — better known as Death Valley — and a further $7 million devoted to expanding the already impressive football operations building.
“We haven’t had a major redo of the west end since 2006 so it’s time to pay some attention to that side [after] we redid the suites on the north side and created the south club on the south side,” Athletic Director Dan Radakovich told WNCT.
The stadium renovations are pretty typical of schools nowadays as it will add premium seating (i.e. suites), a new video board and upgraded LED lighting that peers like Georgia and Alabama have used to rave reviews in recent years.
New locker rooms at the stadium are also set to be the first thing accomplished in the project, which officials hope will be completely wrapped up prior to the 2021 season.
Given everything the school is doing for the program lately, ‘If you win it, they will build it’ might just be the unofficial motto at Clemson nowadays. Sure seems more accurate in 2019 than ‘BYOG.’
The state of North Carolina opening up beer and alcohol sales at sporting events has had a big impact on the flagship university’s bottom line so far this year.
According to WTVD ABC 11, UNC sold over 43,000 “units” of alcohol (beer/wine/hard seltzers) in the Tar Heels’ first three home games of the year. The end result to all those purchases? The team took in over $1 million in concessions in games against Miami, Appalachian State and Clemson, with all three contests selling more alcohol than soda (and nearly as much booze as water).
The school confirmed a number of figures, including roughly $325,000 in concession sales for the home opener against the Hurricanes and $393,000 against the in-state rival Mountaineers. The defending national champions’ visit on Sept. 28 was the high point however, with $416,000 worth of goods sold and some 15,737 units of alcohol bought.
WRAL reports that all three games exceeded the previous record amount UNC took in from concessions, set back in November 2016 against local rival N.C. State.
Kenan Stadium will host three more home games in 2019 against Duke, Virginia and FCS Mercer. Safe to say all three can already get counted as wins for the bottom line regardless of the result on the field for Mack Brown’s team.
If No. 18 Baylor is going to continue their remarkable pursuit of a Big 12 title in 2019, they’re going to have to do it without their best defensive player.
A school official confirmed to the Dallas Morning News on Sunday that senior linebacker Clay Johnston will miss the rest of the season after injuring his knee in the Bears’ double overtime victory over Texas Tech on Saturday.
The news is a huge blow to Matt Rhule’s defense, which was tops in the Big 12 in a number of statistical categories and the No. 17 scoring defense nationally. Johnston was all over the field against the Red Raiders, racking up 10 tackles (1.5 TFL) and an interception to help edge their conference rivals and remain undefeated.
For the season, which will sadly be Johnston’s last as a senior, he had 58 tackles, 2.5 sacks and that lone pick from Saturday. Freshman Matt Jones is listed as the next man up on the depth chart though given his youth and inexperience, it’s possible the Bears coaching staff will shift over a more veteran option to man the middle of the defense going forward.
Baylor doesn’t ease into the second half of the schedule either as they’ll hit the road to face a dangerous Oklahoma State offense in their first game without Johnston on Saturday.
Tide, Tigers and, oh my, some more Tigers. There was a new No. 2 team in the country thanks to the action in Week 7 and it’s not the defending champions either.
LSU assumed the spot behind No. 1 Alabama in the latest AP Poll — supplanting new No. 3 Clemson — after their big win over Florida on Saturday night in Baton Rouge. Ed Orgeron’s crew even picked up an extra first place vote in the process to give them 12 to Dabo Swinney’s 11 (the Tide had 30, No. 4 Ohio State had nine).
No. 5 Oklahoma, No. 6 Wisconsin, No. 7 Penn State and No. 8 Notre Dame all moved up in the poll while the No. 9 Gators and a tumbling Georgia rounded out the top 10.
Interestingly, Utah is the new No. 13 team after leapfrogging No. 14 Boise State. The Utes are a spot behind conference rival Oregon, who will take on new No. 25 Washington in Seattle this upcoming Saturday.
No. 20 Minnesota, No. 22 Missouri and No. 24 Appalachian State were also ranked for the first time this season — replacing Virginia, Wake Forest and Memphis.
The full AP Top 25 heading into Week 8:
- Ohio State
- Penn State
- Notre Dame
- Boise State
- Arizona State
- Appalachian State