The College Football Playoff is finally here and the postseason veterans are looking primed to lock up another trip to the title game.
Following a slow start in the first semifinal game on Saturday afternoon, No. 2 Clemson hit halftime holding a 23-3 lead over No. 3 Notre Dame at the Cotton Bowl in a tense battle between the two heavyweights at AT&T Stadium.
The Tigers didn’t really get going until the second quarter but appeared to find their groove once they settled in. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence looked nothing like a true freshman on the big stage, throwing for 264 yards and two touchdowns while also proving to be quite the threat as a runner with 13 yards on the ground and a handful of key first down pick-ups. Fellow true freshman Justyn Ross was also big early on and wound up with 137 yards and two trips to the end zone.
If there was any area of concern it might be that tailback Travis Etienne only had 19 yards rushing but CU will certainly take that with the lead they have in the locker room.
As for Notre Dame, only having three points hid the fact that their offense was able to move the ball for stretches. QB Ian Book threw for 107 yards despite heavy pressure and Dexter Williams was up to 38 total yards after getting involved both rushing and catching the ball. Still, things slowed down considerably for the group after the clock flipped over to the second quarter after a decent debut.
One other storyline to keep an eye on? The Irish defense loosing a number of starters in the first half.
Cornerback Julian Love missed most of the second quarter for unspecified reasons and could be seen in the injury tent and riding the stationary bike on the sideline. That would be a huge blow because his replacement give up the Ross touchdown catch and to make matters worse, safety Alohi Gilman was shaken up for a few plays before returning and giving up a touchdown. Defensive end Julian Okwara missed time as well.
We’ll see if Brian Kelly’s team can get things into gear after the break but at least so far, we’re seen one of the elite teams in the country this season assert control of the Cotton Bowl to put Clemson 30 minutes away from return to the title game.
Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich has announced the removal of wide receiver Melquise Stovall from the program, effective immediately. While no details about the removal from the program were given, Rolovich noted all players are held to certain standards that, apparently, Stovall was unable to meet.
“There are certain expectations required of a football student-athlete here at the University of Hawai’i,” Rolovich said in a released statement. “We hold all of our student-athletes to these standards and expect them to represent our football program to the highest degree. We wish Melquise the best as he moves forward.”
Stovall appeared in five games for Hawaii this season. In those five games, Stovall caught 18 passes for 248 yards and four touchdowns. During his freshman year at Cal, Stovall caught 42 passes for 415 yards and three touchdowns in 2016.
Well, this has to sting for the Miami Hurricanes. N’Kosi Perry, who recently was temporarily named the starting quarterback, suffered a shoulder injury in Miami’s loss over the weekend to Georgia Tech. The injury to Perry, a separated shoulder, was revealed to the media Monday by Miami offensive coordinator Dan Enos during a press conference according to The Miami Herald.
The shoulder injured is Perry’s left shoulder, his non-throwing shoulder. It is currently unknown how this injury may impact Perry’s availability for Miami’s road game this weekend at Pittsburgh.
“That’s up to our doctors and medical team to establish that,” Enos said.
Perry has started the last two games for Miami while starter Jarren Williams works his way back from his own shoulder injury. Williams did enter last weekend’s game in place of the injured Perry, but it is still unknown just when Williams will be ready to return to the starting role. With Perry’s status also now floating up in the air a bit, Miami could have a tough quarterback situation coming up this weekend against the Panthers. Third-string quarterback Tate Martell, who transferred from Ohio State after Justin Fields joined the Buckeyes from Georgia, would be the next in line for the Hurricanes if needed. But head coach Manny Diaz doesn’t seem to be thinking that will be necessary.
“We still have a package for Tate,” Diaz said. “But when I look at what we’re doing offensively now, and I look at our numbers … when Jarren has played and what N’Kosi has done over the last couple weeks have absolutely given us a chance to win all those games. And that’s nothing against Tate, but those guys are playing well.”
Whoever plays quarterback for Miami against the Panthers this week, it looks as though it will be either Perry or Williams.
While the Michigan Wolverines try to regroup and find a way to topple Notre Dame this week after a tough loss at Penn State, safety J’Marick Woods is the early stages of weighing his potential transfer options. Woods has reportedly entered the transfer portal.
As noted by Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic, Woods will be a graduate transfer, which will allow him to be eligible to play for any other FBS program next season. He has one final year of eligibility to use, so wherever he ends up will be for a one-year term.
Woods, a junior, has appeared in four games this season, in which he has recorded four tackles. Woods played in 11 games for Michigan last season and 12 games in 2017. The Alabama native may be better suited to finding a new opportunity as the Wolverines are in solid shape with depth in the secondary, and he was already playing a minimal role in the defense.
By entering the transfer portal, Woods is free to have contact with any other college football program interested in recruiting him to their program. Woods also has the option of pulling his name from the portal to remain at Michigan if he decides to stay put.
The Minnesota Golden Gophers are looking to improve to 8-0 for the first time since winning the national championship in 1941 with an 8-0 record. When Minnesota returns home to face Maryland, a decision on whether or not linebacker Kamal Martin will be made.
Martin injured his right knee in last weekend’s road game at Rutgers, but head coach P.J. Fleck told reporters on Monday there is a chance the injury was not too serious. Fleck said Martin will be a game-time decision after monitoring his progress throughout the week and checking with trainers and medical staff to evaluate his availability.
“I don’t have a specific answer yet,” Fleck said on Monday, according to The Star Tribune. “He’s still got a few more tests. But we got some really good news, and that’s where we’re at.”
It’s possible Minnesota may not need their leading tackler to take care of Maryland at home this week, but having Martin healthy and ready to go for their following game may be essential. Minnesota hosts No. 6 Penn State on Nov. 9. The Gophers will have a bye week after playing Maryland to provide more possible rest for Martin if needed. even if Martin is ruled out for Maryland, it sounds as though Fleck is optimistic Martin will get to play against the Nittany Lions. If things work out, it could be a clash of undefeated Big Ten teams few expected could happen before the start of the season.