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Kelly Bryant, stifling defense leads No. 3 Clemson to 14-6 win over No. 13 Auburn

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Everybody wondered if Clemson would miss Deshuan Watson at quarterback and all those leaders on defense while they defended their national title. It’s only Week 2 of the season but it appears nobody is wondering about that anymore.

Kelly Bryant quieted the critics and helped win the battle of the Tigers on Saturday night as No. 3 Clemson held on to a 14-6 win in Death Valley over No. 13 Auburn in a game that was as physical as they come between two of the better defenses in the country.

Bryant was knocked out briefly in the second quarter after taking a big hit but later returned on fire, leading the Tigers to the game’s first touchdown on a three yard keeper. He added another on the ground from 27 yards out early in the third quarter to provide the final margin and finished the night with 249 of the team’s 283 yards.

As impressive as he was in the face of a constant pass rush though, his teammates on the defensive side of the ball looked even better. All told, Brent Venables‘ unit recorded 11 — count ’em, 11 — sacks on the night and held the Tigers from the SEC to just 117 yards. Whether you were a defensive end or a linebacker coming off a blitz, it was certainly quite the party in the backfield against an offensive line that was expected to be quite solid this year.

Those struggles up front were one reason why Auburn failed to get much of anything after the first quarter. Kamryn Pettway rushed for 74 yards on 22 carries and each one of them was hard-fought. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham was on the run all night long but still had a few moments and finished with 79 yards passing to barely even out the 42 he lost in sack yardage.

These two played a close, defensive battle last year that Clemson managed to sneak out with a win on their way to a national title. Could history repeat itself? Based on the way Bryant and his team played on Saturday night at home, the answer is pointing more and more to yes.

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.