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Dabo Swinney says he and Kelly Bryant discussed transferring after QB’s benching

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No. 3 Clemson has formally, finally benched senior quarterback Kelly Bryant in favor of true freshman Trevor Lawrence. Football-wise, it’s the smart decision. Lawrence has thrown 60 passes through the Tigers’ first four games to Bryant’s 54, but Lawrence’s six extra passes have gone for 139 more yards and seven more touchdowns. Plus, Lawrence will be around for the next two-to-three seasons; Bryant will not.

But there is a human element to this equation that made this this obvious decision so gut-wrenching for all involved. Like Jalen Hurts at Alabama, Bryant has been the Good Soldier for Clemson. In fact, the Clemson quarterback conundrum is actually more extreme than Alabama’s. Bryant waited two years behind Deshaun Watson, led Clemson to wins in 16 of his 18 starts, including an ACC championship and a College Football Playoff appearance last season, and still lost his job to a younger player.

It’s no accident this decision came when it did. Thanks to the NCAA’s new redshirt rule, players can now compete in up to four games and not lose their entire season. Clemson is at that point this season. Bryant is a senior, meaning the next game he plays for Clemson clinches this as his last season. Or, if Bryant sits the rest of this year, he could transfer anywhere he wants and get to play his senior year again in 2019.

And it appears Clemson will leave that option open for him.

“Certainly if he walked in here today and said, ‘Hey coach, I don’t want to play the rest of the year unless you’ve got to have me,’ well ‘Ok, if that’s what you want to do I’m all for it.’ I love Kelly,” Dabo Swinney told The State. “I would be disappointed in that because we need him. But I wouldn’t judge him for that.”

Clemson quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter broke the news to Bryant on Sunday, and Bryant had a long conversation with Swinney on Monday, after which the head coach gave his quarterback the rest of the day off.

And Swinney confirmed, in so many words, that transferring was part of that long discussion.

“We talked about lots of things. It was a deep, long, emotional conversation,” Swinney said. “It’s something that we needed to talk through and go from there.”

If indeed Bryant sits the rest of this season and transfers, his name will shoot to the top of the quarterback transfer market for 2019.

No. 25 Wazzu up big against No. 12 Oregon heading to halftime

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Gardner Minshew threw an interception on No. 25 Washington State’s first drive of the game against No. 12 Oregon, leading many in the frenzied crowd at Martin Stadium to wonder if the team had Coug’d it before they even could get going. As it turns out, there was nowhere to go but up on a wild day-turned-night on the Palouse.

Wazzu wound up getting back on track in a big way, bouncing back to the tune of a 27-0 lead at halftime and a growing national profile in the process as they look to take control of the Pac-12 North.

Minshew, the mustache-sporting grad transfer behind center, finished the half with 231 yards and three touchdowns on 36 attempts — one of which was a dime to Easop Winston just before the end of the second quarter that officially signaled upset alert. As is typical of Mike Leach’s Air Raid, the ball was spread around quite a bit to the tune of nine different receivers with a catch, including two tailbacks in James Williams and Max Borghi with six apiece.

The Cougars even got the ground game going, with Williams managing to break out of at least six tackles for a 24 yard scamper to the end zone that included him tight rope-walking along the sideline before diving past the pylon.

As a result of all that, Oregon QB Justin Herbert hardly looked like the guy many were touting as the top draft pick in the spring as he failed to develop much consistency on any of the team’s drives and finished just 4-of-11 for 36 yards in the half. Running back CJ Verdell did have 17 yards rushing but it was other wise four straight three-and-outs for the offense to open the game and go into the locker room in search of answers.

This game is far from other when you factor in both #Pac12AfterDark vibes and Leach’s penchant for throwing the ball at all costs so there’s still plenty of intrigue going on in Pullman. After a rough start though, the Cougars have to be feeling good about the direction the team is taking as their Pac-12 rivals suddenly find themselves in a deep hole with quite the fight on their hands.

No. 5 LSU can’t get anything going, still leads No. 22 Mississippi State

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Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has been responsible for almost all the points scored thus far at Tiger Stadium. Problem for the No. 22 Bulldogs is, most of them have been for the other team.

Fitzgerald’s second pass of the game, on the opening possession of the game, was intercepted by LSU’s Michael Divinity, Jr., who returned it 31 yards to the Mississippi State 3. Nick Brossette punched in a 1-yard score on 3rd-and-goal to put LSU up 7-0 two and a half minutes into the game.

Fitzgerald responded by leading the Bulldogs on a 7-play, 73-yard drive, but his 3rd-and-goal run from the 2 was stuffed and Mississippi State settled for a 19-yard Jace Christmann field goal.

LSU’s next seven possessions went three-and-out, with one exception: a 4-play drive that ended in a Joe Burrow interception inside the Mississippi State end zone, which Cameron Dantzler mistakenly brought out, only to step out at his own 1.

LSU’s first seven drives, including the 3-yard touchdown march, covered 22 yards over 15 plays. Their final possession was more successful, a 13-play, 62-yard drive that ended in a 25-yard Cole Tracy field goal as time expired, sending the No. 5 Tigers to the locker room with a 10-3 lead.

Fitzgerald dominated the ball for the Bulldogs. His legs have been effective, carrying 15 times for 102 yards, but his arm has not. He’s completed 3-of-9 passes for 14 yards with two interceptions.

LSU will receive to open the second half.

UCF started game at East Carolina without McKenzie Milton

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UCF starting quarterback McKenzie Milton did not start Saturday night’s road game at East Carolina, but the reason why is anybody’s guess at this point.

Milton did have a banged-up ankle after last week’s win at Memphis, but Milton has been shown on the sideline with his helmet, seemingly ready to go in at any moment. As of this point, with East Carolina and the Knights 3-3 in the second quarter, UCF head coach Josh Heupel has not sent in one of the top players in the AAC.

Darriel Mack Jr. started the game at quarterback for UCF, and he has looked shaky at times. He completed five of his first 10 passes for 26 yards and had trouble making a handoff on one play.

We’ll see if Milton gets a chance to come on the field and lead UCF to a win, which would be UCF’s 20th straight win. Maybe Heupel is trying to get a win without putting his MVP in harm’s way?

Nebraska finally wins first game under Scott Frost with blowout of Minnesota

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Well, it took a while, but Scott Frost has his first win as head coach of Nebraska. The Huskers (1-6, 1-4 Big Ten) picked up their long-awaited first win of the season in a 53-28 victory over Minnesota (3-4, 0-4 Big Ten) on Saturday.

Nebraska jumped out to a 28-0 lead on the Gophers in the first half, but a late touchdown by Minnesota at the end of the first half and two scores in the third quarter brought about some concern form the Husker faithful as the lead was trimmed to 28-22.  Fortunately for Nebraska, that was as close as Minnesota would get as the Huskers went on a 25-6 run to close out the game.

Freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez completed 25 of 29 passes for 276 yards and three touchdowns and he rushed for 125 yards and another touchdown for his finest start yet at Nebraska. Devine Ozigbo (152 yards, 2 TD) and Maurice Washington (109 yards, 1 TD) also had big days on the ground in the win as Nebraska rolled up 382 rushing yards as a team.

After the game, it was time to celebrate the win that took longer than expected to celebrate in the Frost Era in Lincoln.

After the game, Frost was awarded the game ball in honor of his first win with the program.

Nebraska was the last program form a power conference to record a win this season. UCLA picked up their first win last week.

Nebraska will now be in great shape to make it two straight wins for Frost as the Huskers will host Bethune-Cookman next week in Lincoln. The game against the FCS program was thrown together as a way to makeup a game against Akron wiped out due to inclement weather in Week 1.

Minnesota, one of two teams without a win in Big Ten play (Rutgers), will look for their first win in the conference next week when they host Indiana. Indiana comes to town after losing a close game to Penn State.