No. 11 Notre Dame skunking Texas at the half

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Some scores are deceiving. This one isn’t. No. 11 Notre Dame leads Texas 17-0 through one half of action in South Bend.

Notre Dame thoroughly dominated the half, owning a 14-3 edge in first downs and a 230-74 yardage edge. The Irish marched 55 yards on eight plays on their second possession of the game, and then drove 95 yards on as many snaps on their next touch. Malik Zaire capped the first drive with a 16-yarder to Will Fuller, and Josh Adams punctuated the next with a 14-yard dash. Justin Yoon added a 38-yard field goal to complete the scoring.

Zaire has completed 11-of-13 passes for 144 yards and a score while adding 16 yards on the ground. C.J. Prosise has rushed nine times for 31 yards, carrying the load for Josh Adams, who left in the first quarter with a knee injury.

Texas did not notch a first down until its second-to-last play in the first quarter, an 11-yard dash by Johnathan GrayTyrone Swoopes completed 1-of-8 (not a misprint) passes for 20 yards and rushed eight times for 26 yards – most of those scrambles while evading multiple Notre Dame defensive linemen. Gray has rushed three times for 18 yards, and Daje Johnson has netted two grabs for 30 yards and one rush for nine. Redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard saw limited action, completing a 10-yard throw to Johnson and taking a vicious sack from Jaylon Smith.

Fittingly, the half ended with two Nick Rose 52-yard field goals erased by Notre Dame timeouts, and the third try sailing wide left as time expired.

Texas will receive to open the second half.

Ex-Wake Forest QB Tyler Cameron on his way to FAU

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The Wake Forest quarterback pool is rather shallow in depth. Tyler Cameron, who was second on the Demon Deacons in passing last season, has left the program and is joining the Florida Atlantic Owls. He does so as a graduate transfer, which seems to be a rather trendy option this offseason. That will make him eligible to play at FAU this season.

“Tyler is intelligent and made use of his athletic ability to earn a degree from Wake Forest in just three years,” FAU coach Charlie Partridge said in a released statement (via Palm Beach Post). “It is that same drive that affords him the opportunity to return home and work toward a post-graduate degree. He will certainly add experience and depth in the quarterback meeting room.”

Cameron actually has two years of eligibility remaining at FAU, thanks to graduating from Wake Forest in just three years. FAU is returning three-year starter Jaquez Johnson, but Cameron will fill out some depth at the position and have time to get adjusted to his new surroundings.

The loss of Cameron also leaves Wake Forest pretty thin at quarterback. At this moment, the official team roster available on the team’s website lists just three quarterbacks; John WolfordKyle Driscoll, and Kendall Hinton. Wolford was Wake Forest’s leading passer last season, as a freshman. Wolford passed for 2,037 yards and 12 touchdowns, but was intercepted 14 times. He is the quarterback Dave Clawson will continue to mold his program around in 2015.

Ex-Wake QB Travis Smith transfers to EMU

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With John Wolford, a true freshman, seemingly entrenched as Wake Forest’s starting quarterback, Travis Smith took his leave of the football program in mid-September.  Three months later, the quarterback officially has a new home.

Friday afternoon, Eastern Michigan announced that Smith is one of eight players, mostly from the JUCO ranks, who have been added to the football program.  Smith is already enrolled in classes at EMU for the winter semester.

The rising sophomore will participate in spring practice and, because of when he left Wake, will be eligible to play immediately in 2015.

Smith, who didn’t see the field during his very brief stint with the Demon Deacons, was a three-star member of Wake’s 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 24 dual-threat quarterback in the country.  Following his senior season in high school, he was named the Gatorade Michigan Player of the Year.

(Photo credit: Wake Forest athletics)

The Fifth Quarter: Week 13 Rewind

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As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

HISTORIC REPEAT
As it turns out, while Samaje Perine made history, the timeframe in which he did it wasn’t historically unprecedented.

In Oklahoma’s win over Kansas, Perine set the FBS single-game rushing record with 427 yards.  That performance broke the record of 408 set a week ago by Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon.  Most assumed Perine’s breaking of a rushing record that was a week old had never happened before; Anthony Thompson would point out what the word “assume” makes out of all involved.

Back on Nov. 11, 1989, the Indiana running back’s 377 yards broke the previous mark of 357 yards.  That record was first set by Washington State’s Rueben Mayes in 1984 and tied by Cal State Fullerton’s Mike Pringle on Nov. 4, 1989, exactly one week before Thompson broke it.

Below is how the FBS rushing record has progressed over the past four-plus decades:

347 — Ron Johnson, Michigan, 1968
350 — Eric Allen, Michigan State, 1971
356 — Eddie Lee Ivery, Georgia Tech, 1978
357 — Rueben Mayes, Washington State, 1984
357 — Mike Pringle, Cal State Fullerton, 1989
377 — Anthony Thompson, Indiana, 1989
386 — Marshall Faulk, San Diego State, 1991
396 — Tony Sands, Kansas, 1991
406 — LaDainian Tomlinson, TCU, 1999
408 — Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin, 2014
427 — Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, 2014

Perine was also second to Thompson in something else — percentage increase of the previous record.  Thompson bested the old mark by 5.6 percent;  Perine, meanwhile, topped Gordon’s week-old record by 4.7 percent.

Some would say, though, the most impressive record belongs to Gordon.  The Badger back did his record-setting damage in three quarters of work and on just 25 carries; the only other players on that list with less than 30 carries were Ivery (26) and Allen (29).  Gordon’s 16.2 yards per carry is easily the best mark among the group, with only Ivery (13.7) within three yards.   Perine did average 12.6 ypc, the third-best among that group of 11 players.

At the opposite end of the yards-per-carry spectrum were Thompson and Sands, who averaged 7.25 yards on 52 carries and 6.8 yards on 58 carries, respectively.

Of course, Perine is the only true freshman to break the record… and he did it in three quarters plus two fourth-quarter plays after not starting a game played in the rain… and he is the only player to rush for 200-plus yards in both halves of a game, all of which makes his performance arguably the greatest of all-time regardless of how you attempt to parse out the numbers.

PROJECTING CFP TOP FOUR
Unlike previous weeks, there was no upheaval around the top of the College Football Playoff Top 25 in Week 14.  The highest-ranked team to lose was No. 8 Ole Miss, and, with two losses, it’s unlikely the Rebels were a realistic playoff option to begin with.

(more…)

No. 21 Clemson Tigers struggle in first half against hapless Demon Deacons

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If the uniforms were stripped of the two teams playing Thursday night, no one would know which one of them was ranked in the Top 25.

Despite owning college football’s worst offense, the 2-6 Wake Forest Demon Deacons are tied 17-17 with the No. 21 Clemson Tigers at halftime.

Both teams benefited from special teams miscues, but it was the play of Wake Forest cornerback Kevin Johnson that stood out.

Johnson’s interception in the first quarter set up the the Demon Deacons’ initial touchdown. Later in the second quarter, the senior defensive back recovered a muffed punt that led to Wake Forest’s second touchdown of the first half.

This is a program that only averages 14.8 points per game. Statistically, Wake Forest is the worst offense in college football. Yet, they’re tied with a nationally-ranked program.

Despite having a lead, Clemson has to be concerned. It took a late touchdown pass from Clemson quarterback Cole Stoudt to freshman Artavis Scott to clinch the Tigers’ first lead of the contest.

The Demon Deacons only have 79 yards of total offense. But their play-calling has been aggressive on both sides of the ball. It wasn’t until Stoudt found running back Wayne Gallman on a screen pass to counter Wake Forest’s blitzes that Clemson finally found the end zone.

Clemson couldn’t move the ball in the first quarter.

But Stoudt and the offense started to gain their footing in the second half with 129 yards. The Tigers are clearly the more talented team. If the defense continues to rattle Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford, then Wake Forest shouldn’t be able to score another point. Meanwhile, Clemson’s offense looks to be getting on track.

Dave Clawson‘s coaching staff can’t hold back with its play-calling in the second half if they plan to muster the biggest win of their season. It may be an uphill battle, but the Demon Deacons are in position to surprise the Tigers if they make a couple plays late in the game.