Georgia Tech capped off their regular season with a upset win win in Raleigh over NC State courtesy of a James Banks and 1 dunk with 1.4 left. By doing so, it leapfrogged Georgia Tech from 12th place to 10th place in the ACC standings. However, two teams that can determine who Georgia Tech plays in the ACC Tourney are Miami and Boston College who sit at 5-12 and in 11th and 12th in the standings. Miami travels to Blacksburg to take on the 15th ranked Virginia Tech Hokies and Boston College hosts NC State on Saturday.
Georgia Tech holds the head to head tie breaker with Boston College but do not own it with Miami. It is already guaranteed that Georgia Tech will play on Tuesday but they do not who they will play or what seed they will be. Here are the seeding scenarios for Georgia Tech and potential opening round opponents.
*Wake Forest(Plays @ FSU Saturday) owns tie breaker with Notre Dame*
Standings heading into Saturday
Miami Wins and Boston College Loses. Wake Forest Wins and Pitt Beats Notre Dame
10 vs 15: Miami(10) vs Notre Dame(15)
11 vs 14: Georgia Tech(11) vs Pittsburgh(14)
12 vs 13: Boston College(12) vs Wake Forest(13)
Boston College Wins and Miami Loses. Wake Forest Loses and ND Beats Pitt.
Miami and Boston College Lose. Wake Forest Loses and ND Beats Pitt
10 vs 15: Georgia Tech(10) vs Pittsburgh(15)
11 vs 14: Boston College(11) vs Notre Dame(14)
12 vs 13: Miami(12) vs Wake Forest(13)
Miami and Boston College Win. Wake Forest Loses and Pitt Beats ND.
Things get a little tricky here. GT, Miami, and Boston College would each be tied at 6-12 and each team would also be 1-1 head to head with each other. It would then go to which team beat the higher team in the final rankings. In this case, Boston College would own a win over a would be ranked FSU team and Miami would have just beaten a ranked Virginia Tech team. FSU, since they just beat Virginia Tech last night, would be the higher ranked win This is UNOFFICIAL but it should look like this.
10 vs 15: Boston College(10) vs Notre Dame(15)
11 vs 14: Miami(11) vs Pittsburgh(14)
12 vs 13: Georgia Tech(12) vs Wake Forest(13)
The last scenario is obviously the worst scenario for Georgia Tech but it is also the most unlikely. Georgia Tech will either be the 10 or 11 seed in all likelihood and will face either Pittsburgh or Notre Dame, two teams that they beat in the regular season(1-1 vs Notre Dame).
Georgia Tech put themselves in a favorable spot with the big win in Raleigh, but we will wait and see what happens on Saturday to see how this all works out.
Josh Heath, who had the most assists on the team last year, has graduated and Moore will be expected to take over that role. As a freshman, Moore played 18 minutes a game and averaged 2.4 assists per game. He didn’t put up great statistics and had plenty of freshman mistakes. In the game against Faulkner, Moore played 21 minutes and scored 5 points, had 3 assists, and 3 rebounds. Only had 1 turnover which is evidence of maturity. While watching it, Moore seemed to miss some opportunities to make an assist. He looked a little too focused on dribbling and didn’t move his eyes and survey the floor to find the open pass. Thankfully it didn’t cause many problems. Justin Moore has big shoes to fill as Heath averaged about 5 assists per game. Moore will be starting this season unless something Pastner sees in practice and in the beginning games influences his choice to change starting PG.
6’2” 203 Lbs
2016-17 Stats Per Game
Games Started: 5
FG %: 44.6%
3P %: 32.5%
FT %: 56.7%
Tadric was the sixth man last season, putting up 12 points a night. He wasn’t the best shooter in the world but could get to the hoop with ease. He had a great drive motion and pulled off quite a few fake passes to get to the basket. Jackson has steadily improved from 3-point land during his college career (17.8% as a freshman, 27.7% as a sophomore, 32.5% as a junior).Expect Jackson, in his (most likely) 25 games to keep his scoring the same but increase his other statistics.
Minutes: 28 (Airing on the low side because Pastner usually plays a lot of young players)
Turnovers: 2.5 (Turnover prone player)
6’4” 203 Lbs
2016-17 Stats Per Game
Games Started: 37
FG %: 45.3%
3P %: 38.4%
FT %: 74.7%
Josh Okogie came out of high school as a three star prospect. He exceeded the expectations of everyone besides his high school coaches. He averaged 16.1 ppg and 5.4 rpg and his outstanding freshman season earned him an invite from Coach K to the U-19 U.S. team for the FIBA World Cup. Okogie was part of the team that took home the bronze and excelled against Angola when he dropped 17 points and 10 rebounds. He’s also the only player returning to Georgia Tech who shot better than 33% from deep. Okogie also led the ACC in free throws. He was a great driver and drew plenty of fouls and had a 74.7% FT %. He was also 10th in the ACC in points produced (Assists and points)His only shortcoming last year was his assists numbers. His season high was only 5 assists and he had 12 games where he only registered 1 assist and 9 where he had no assists. Okogie to be the main player in the backcourt and the team this season.
6’9” 214 Lbs
2016-17 Stats Per Game
Games Started: 3
FG %: 39.3%
3P %: 0%
FT %: 16.7%
The Senegalese post player was making decent progress in his development last season until a wrist injury forced it to end shortly. As a Junior, Gueye only has 28 games under his belt but has not gotten the minutes he needs to fully develop. I don’t believe he will get that this year with talented freshman coming in who will give him a run for his money. Some things Gueye has for him is his 6’9″ height, his good athleticism, and his 7’3″ wingspan
6’10” 241 Lbs
2016-17 Stats Per Game
Games Started: 37
FG %: 51.6%
3P %: 50%
FT %: 73.7%
Lammers, although winning ACC DPOY (should’ve won most improved)has not been in the national scene very much. The 6-10 big man averaged just 3.6 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks as a sophomore, but Lammers took a major step his junior season and averaged 14.2 points, 9.2 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks (2nd in the nation). Jon Rothstein, of Fanrag Sports, rated him as one of the least appreciated players in the nation. Most of the attention that is directed to other players doesn’t come to Lammers because he plays for a lesser team which is partially understandable. Not many fans recognize just how important Ben Lammers was to the success of this team. His durability last year was nothing short of amazing. He played and started 37 games, with an average of 35.4 minutes, and took multiple falls a game. His output is also impressive. For a team not known for their offense and/or rebounding, Lammers was amazing averaging almost a double-double in those two stat categories. He also excelled in many other stat categories as well as on defense. He led the ACC in blocks and was second in the conference with a 91.9 defensive rating last season. I fully Expect Lammers to have another great season and if the Yellow Jackets finish in the top six of the league, Lammers might finally get the recognition he deserves.
The key to Georgia Tech’s bench is four incoming freshmen. While none were highly coveted, each can do things that the starters are either unable to do or struggle at.
247Sports Composite ranking has this point guard at No. 166 in the 2017 class. His claim to fame was recording his high school’s first ever quadruple double. Moore is by no means solidified as the starter at point, so a competition may be underway with Alvarado.
A top-300 freshman coming in, Haywood is a 6’4″ shooting guard with a solid shot. With the issues last season on offense, Haywood’s skill will be badly needed.
Although ranked outside of top-500, the 6’9″ freshman is a stretch forward who can knock down an outside jump shot. Cole’s unique skill set with the team could provide him some spot minutes throughout the season, especially if the starters exhibit foul trouble.
Brandon Alston is a junior who graduated from Lehigh early and will have two seasons to play for Georgia Tech. He missed last season with an injury and averaged 6.7 ppg the year prior. A good athlete to come off the bench for the Yellow Jackets, Alston could see a fair number of minutes.
The biggest player on the team at 6’10” and 240 pounds, the sophomore played few minutes last year. Still, he’s the likely backup to Lammers at the center position.
The freshman, 6’9” 210 forward, was a force in the Faulknergame, scoring 17 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.Expect him to be the best backup Forward/center on this team.
Key non-conference games
Nov. 10 – UCLA (China)
Nov. 28 – Northwestern
Dec. 3 – Tennessee
Dec. 19 – at Georgia
Jan. 6 – Yale
The first important game of the 2017-18 season (also season-opener) will be played in China against UCLA. This is a matchup of opposites, as one of the better offensive teams in the Bruins plays one of the best defensive teams in the Yellow Jackets. UCLA is the more talented team, but their best players are freshmen and three of them just got arrested. Georgia Tech will have the advantage of experience but one of the seniors, Tadric Jackson, won’t play. Still, the GT injuries (Josh Okogie) could negate that advantage.
Last year Georgia Tech had a losing record in the ACC and even if this team is better than last year, that losing record streak will continue. Thats why these non conference games are so important. The problem comes when the non-conference losses add up. That makes those games against the middle-of-the-road SEC teams (Tennessee and Georgia) all the more important. They won’t be considered bad losses, but too many of these will burst the at-large bubble early.
Key Conference games
Dec. 30 – at Notre Dame
Jan. 20 – at North Carolina
Jan. 24 – Florida State
Feb. 8 – at Louisville
Feb. 11 – Duke
Although the ACC is very good this year, It might not be possible to have an easier schedule in the ACC than what Georgia Tech came out with. Three of the top teams, (Duke, North Carolina and Louisville) only play the Yellow Jackets once and they get Duke at home.
The teams who come up twice on the schedule include Wake Forest, Clemson, and NC State. These are by no means easy games, but there’s an opportunity for Georgia Tech to pick up more wins. More importantly, the overall losses won’t add up.
There’s one word that will define this season for the Yellow Jackets: shooting. Poor shooting is what prevented Georgia Tech from making the tournament last season. Georgia Tech was 296th in the nation last year in points per game and 212th in Field Goal %. The good news for the team is that they’re above-average or great at most of the other aspects of the game. They also had an entire off-season to address their one glaring weakness.
The defense will be great and the three players responsible for that all come back. Lammers, Jackson, and Okogie will be one of the top trios in the ACC. They may not get the publicity as Duke, but will get the wins nonetheless. The only problem comes with the ensuing suspensions of Josh Okogie and Tadric jackson. Although they will definitely be back for conference play, Okogie and Jackson are vital to this team on offense and defense and can’t miss too many non-conference games if the Yellow Jackets want to make the NCAA tournament.
The top three players are set, but who amongst the role players will step on a consistent basis alongside them? Will any of the freshmen have a surprise first year in a similar way to Okogie? If either of these questions has a positive answer, then the Yellow Jackets will be going to the NCAA Tournament. Georgia Tech last made the NCAA Tournament in 2010 and the program overall hasn’t been nationally relevant since their title game run in 2004. Coach Pastner has started to change that, bringing excitement and even top-100 recruits. If the point guard question hasn’t been solved by next year, then top-100 2018 Michael Devoe may be the answer. There’s solid momentum for Georgia Tech and it would be a shame if a regression comes this year. The overall schedule is easier than others, and the talent is there for a top-six finish in one of the hardest leagues in college basketball. Georgia Tech definitely has the potential to reach the NCAA Tournament if they remain healthy.
Coming off an impressive 38-24 against Wake Forest, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets travel up to Death Valley to take on the Defending National Champs, the Clemson Tigers. The triple option seems to be clicking on all cylinders for Paul Johnson and his crew, but Brent Venables has had the old school coach’s number the few seasons. Clemson’s front seven is arguably the best in the country. However, the Jackets have been battle tested with Miami’s tough, hard-nosed defense, and Wake Forest’s defense which led the nation in tackles for loss coming into the GT game. Again, Clemson’s defense is in a league of their own, but Georgia Tech needs a fast start on both sides of the ball to have a chance.
Paul Johnson said it best, the Jackets defense is going to need to win this game for the Jackets. That was the case the last time Georgia Tech beat Clemson, which was in 2014, when they had two pick six’s (Deshaun Watson was hurt early on in this game). This Tech defense seems up to the task, but they have to limit Clemson’s big plays and slow down their two headed monster at running back.
TaQuon Marshall and Kirvonte Benson have been a two man wrecking crew for the Jackets offensively but Kelly Bryant, Travis Etienne, and Travis Feaster have been jus as good. Kelly Bryant may not be 100% in this game so Clemson may do more designed halfback runs than read options. Back to Marshall, he will have to have a near perfect game making the correct reads. Also, the deep ball will be there through the passing game. Justin Thomas missed a couple last year, and any big play opportunity against this defense have to be taken advantage of.
Heavy storms are in the forecast for tomorrow and it is looking like they will last all day. Just something to keep an eye on as kickoff approaches.
Digging Inside the Depth Chart
Kelley Bryant is listed as the starter at QB, but keep a eye on his hurt ankle, which may affect his mobility.
Brant Mitchell is back in the starting lineup for Georgia Tech. He is the heart and soul of the defense, and you can tell how much he means to this defense during last week’s game.
Corner Marcus Edmond is also back for the Tigers giving the Clemson defense another dynamic player.
Offensive lineman Brad Morgan is back for Georgia Tech. He provides much needed depth on the OLine.
GT’s OLine vs Clemson’s DLine
Georgia Tech’s OLine can not afford to miss assignments or this offense will be going backwards all night.
Numbers Never Lie
Georgia Tech has the second leading rushing attack I the country at 372.8 yards per game. However, Clemson only allows 107.9 rushing yards per a game.
Georgia Tech has just 166 yards combined on the ground the last two seasons against Clemson, including just 71 rushing yards in 2015, the lowest of Paul Johnson’s entire head coaching career.
Clemson allows just 2.9 yards per a rush, while Tech averages 5.78 yards per a rushing attempt.
The home team has won seven of the last eight in this series.
Georgia Tech traveled to Miami this past weekend with an upset on the mind.
To be honest, it seemed like a safe bet too. Miami was coming off an emotional win over FSU, ending their seven game losing streak to the ‘Noles, and Georgia Tech was coming off of a bye. Also, Miami was down their top receiver and leading rusher. That being said, Miami’s defense was still intact and has one of the best front sevens in the ACC. It was set up to be a tough battle, and it did not let the fans down.
Georgia Tech jumped out to an early 14-3 lead and seemed to have all the momentum. TaQuon Marshall, who was the ACC’s leading rusher coming into the game, was completely bottle up in this, he finished with just eighteen yards on the ground. However, it was a TaQuon Marshall did have a Houdini like touchdown pass. It seemed like Tech was going to be in good shape going into the half, up 14-6, but another two minute defense collapse allowed Miami to march down the field and score a touchdown to end the half.
To start the second half, Georgia Tech recovered a “surprise” onside kick and took it to the house. At the moment, this seemed to give the Jackets the momentum right back. Yet, after the teams exchanged field goals to end the third, Miami had the ball for a crucial drive and a monsoon like storm came. This spelled disaster for an option team, especially one that lost its starting B-Back, Kirvonte Benson, earlier in the game. Georgia Tech missed three first downs because of the weather, which made the poor field conditions even worse as well. Tech had two players slip in the mud like field on a third down play that cost them a first down. One was a pass to Qua Searcy who slipped coming off of his route, and was wide open.
The game came down to the Tech defense and, lets just say the play calling wasn’t the best, but the execution on defense wasn’t the best either. The Hurricanes ran six straight bubble screens to get inside the Georgia Tech forty. A penalty pushed the Canes back to the fifty and, well, everyone knows what happens next. A 4th and 10 play which resulted in just utter pain for the Tech players, coaches, and fans.
Georgia Tech is much better than their 3-2(2-1) record shows. They gave Tennessee and Butch Jones a going away present, and the Canes had to pull out a horseshoe in the end. That being said, the Jackets can’t have a redo, they have to just move on. To me, this team knows they are better than their record and are eager to prove it. It all beings on Saturday, under the lights at Bobby Dodd stadium against a surprising 4-2(1-2) Wake Forest team who will have their starting QB and RB back. It will be a stiff test yet again for Georgia Tech, but they bounce back like the 2014 and 2016 teams did, or let this spiral like the 2015 team did? Just my guess, but I think this team is just too good to let it spiral, I expect an even more fired up and mad Tech team for the remainder of the season.
Lost in all the action, Walk-on Red Shirt Sophomore kicker Shawn Davis seemed to have suffered a knee injury while attempting to make a tackle on a kickoff. You have to feel for the kid because he worked his butt off to win the job, and has turned in some good performances since that Tennessee game, and was gaining some much needed confidence. I hope everything is alright with him and pray for a quick recovery! His backup is Brenton King, a true Freshman from Mill Creek High School. He is 2-2 on FGs this season including a 32 yarder on less than ideal field conditions against Miami.
Georgia Tech will be visting the Miami Hurricanes in what looks like a crucial matchup between the two teams.
Heading into the matchup the Yellow Jackets of Georgia Tech are 3-1 and on the verge of cracking the rankings at 26th. Meanwhile the Hurricanes come into the matchup at 4-0 and ranked 11th in the top 25. Georgia Tech will be coming off their bye week giving them time to prepare for Richt who has had much success against Paul Johnson and the Yellow Jackets. The Hurricanes are coming off a huge victory against FSU where they won by a score of 24-20 when they scored a touchdown with six seconds left in the game.
Miami looks to keep up their success even though they will be without their starting Running Back Mark Walton for the season with a right ankle injury. Miami has had a ton of success against the Yellow Jackets in the past few years. If Miami’s offense comes out strong we could see a high scoring matchup between the two teams.
Georgia Tech is coming off the bye week where Coach Paul Johnson has said the big emphasis they’ve wanted to focus on is red zone offense, special teams, and taking care of the football. With Taquon Marshall and KirVonte Benson showing they can run this offense as good as any pair can i wouldn’t be surprised to see near 400 yards rushing from this team this week if they can get into the Hurricanes backfield.
In the midst of talks of more hurricanes and assessing damage done by Hurricane Irma, week 3 of college football continued on.
The in-state and ACC rivalry between #17 Miami at #11 Florida State would be postponed, while Florida International would not travel to Indiana and Central Florida would not host Georgia Tech. All other games would go according to schedule however.
On Friday, Illinois would take on #22 South Florida. USF would strike first in a game that highlighted senior quarterback Quinton Flowers. However, the Fighting Illini would block the extra point and return it for 2 points, making for a score 6-2. Flowers dominated the game, completing 15 of his 27 passes for 280 yards and 4 touchdowns. He was also the top rusher of the game with 106 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries. USF had a lot of high points, and would not let Illinois to get into an offensive rhythm. USF will play host again to Temple next Thursday night.
#1 ranked Alabama would give up a season high 23 points in a win on Saturday afternoon over Colorado State, 41-23. Colorado State proved their offensive prowess, scoring 3 touchdowns on a defense that had only given up 2 combined touchdowns and a field goal in their last 2 games. Head coach Nick Saban went into this game wanting to see more out of his defense, which kept CSU from scoring in the first half to give their squad a 17-0 lead after a 27 yard run from sophomore quarterback Jalen Hurts, and a 78 yard pass from Hurts to junior receiver Calvin Ridley. Hurts would control this game, In the second quarter, Alabama’s defense would allow Colorado State to score a field goal and a touchdown, making the score 17-10. The end of the second quarter as well as the 3rd quarter and beginning of the 4th would belong to Alabama’s offense, scoring 3 touchdowns and a field goal. Colorado State would strike last on a field goal and two touchdowns of their own. The Tide will still have many defensive questions to answer as they gave up 391 yards, which is uncharacteristically high for their stout defense. Alabama will take on SEC opponent Vanderbilt in Rocky Top, and Colorado State will take their bye week before traveling to the tropical island of Oahu to play Hawaii.
Tulane came to play #2 Oklahoma, and faced what any team would expect from the second best team in the nation. Senior quarterback Baker Mayfield had another amazing game, furthering his case for the Heisman Trophy. Mayfield threw for 331 yards and 4 touchdowns, going 17 for 27. This is Mayfield’s 3rd straight game this season in which he threw for over 300 yards and has not thrown an interception. Although Tulsa scored the first touchdown, Mayfield struck back to tie the game at 7 with an 82 yard bomb to freshman receiver CeeDee Lamb, who would also catch their next touchdown and again tie the game at 14. The game would become entirely Oklahoma’s to dominate after a pick 6 from sophomore corner Parnell Motley would open the flood gates for 5 more Sooner touchdowns. The Sooners will open their own conference play next Saturday against 0-3 Baylor for the Big 12.
#14 Louisville and Lamar Jackson would not have an answer for quarterback Kelly Bryant and #3 Clemson. Although both Jackson and Kelly would throw for over 300 yards, Clemson’s run game would be entirely too much for Louisville to handle. While not one single rusher would hit the 100 yard mark for the Tigers, 3 would rush for touchdowns, including Bryant running for 2 of his own. Bryant would play the role we expected to see out of Jackson, completely owning the tempo of the game. The game would be tied at 7 at the end of the first quarter, but Clemson would own the second and third quarters. Lamar Jackson would pass for 2 touchdowns in the fourth quarter, but it would be much too late for the Cardinals. Clemson’s offense would be almost unstoppable, accruing 613 total yards in an offense many thought would need to rebuild after losing quarterback Deshaun Watson among many others. Bryant is proving himself more than capable of taking the reins of this offense as they will go up to Massachusetts to play ACC opponent Boston College, and Louisville will look to rebuild their confidence at home against Kent State.
#4 Southern California was not expecting the dog fight they got when Texas arrived in Los Angeles. Texas was looking for a signature win, but neither team would score in the first quarter nor most of the second. USC would score off a 15 yard pass from sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold to junior receiver Deontay Burnette with 2:40 left in the quarter. Texas would not have an offensive answer for the score, but a 38 yard pick-6 by safety Deshon Elliot would tie the game for them. USC would strike again 2 plays later on a 56 yard pass from Darnold to Ronald Jones II as the first half expired to lead the game 14-7. Texas would score the only points in the third quarter on a field goal. The fourth quarter would be almost scoreless, but Texas would drive down the field and score a touchdown with less than a minute left on a 17 yard pass from freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger to senior receiver Armanti Foreman to give the Longhorns the lead, 17-14. With the game seemingly in hand, USC would answer the call and drive down the field theirselves with only 45 seconds on the game clock for a game-tying field goal, and we were off to overtime. USC took no time to strike first, with Darnold passing to Burnett on the first play to lead 24-17. Texas would retaliate, with Ehlinger slinging a 3 yard pass to freshman tight end Cade Brewer to tie. In the second overtime, Ehlinger would not be so lucky, and lose the ball after a 4 yard run to be recovered by USC, who then scored a field goal to end the game. The struggle for the Longhorns continues on, but their defense can’t be blamed, completely stepping up after the first game against Maryland. Their true freshman almost completed what would have been the biggest upset of the weekend, but small miscues early in the game were hard to come back from. They will have the weekend off to work and make a huge decision between Ehlinger or sophomore quarterback Shane Buechele if he can return healthy. USC will hit the road to play California, two undefeated teams with a long history.
#5 Penn State would absolutely demolish Georgia State, 56-0 in front of over 100 thousand fans. Senior quarterback Trace McSorley would be responsible for 5 touchdowns, 4 passing and 1 rushing, on the afternoon that would see 8 of them in total, all from Penn State. McSorley would be an almost perfect 18 for 23 with 309 yards before relinquishing his duties for the afternoon. Georgia State would generate 320 yards of total offense, but turnovers and inability to get into the red zone would prevent them from scoring. Georgia State will travel to Charlotte, and Penn State will open Big Ten play at Iowa.
The #6 Washington Huskies would dominate Fresno State, and much like Penn State, would have no problem finding the end zone. Senior receiver Dante Pettis would be the star of the game, being responsible for 4 touchdowns. He would catch 2 short passes from junior quarterback Jake Browning, a 73-yarder from Browning as well, return his 8th punt for a touchdown for 77 yards, and even add a 36 yard pass to his stats. Washington surrendered most of Fresno State’s points late in the game, but looked overall solid in the victory. The Huskies will go to Colorado late Saturday night looking to keep their record perfect.
#7 Michigan had another difficult week as they hosted Air Force. Michigan’s two lone touchdowns occurred in the second half of a game plagued by field goals. Air Force would tie Michigan twice, but never be successful in taking the lead against the Wolverines. Michigan will look to improve to 4-0 as they travel to Purdue. #8 Ohio State would not struggle with Army in a decisive 38-7 victory. Senior quarterback JT Barrett had a better game against the Black Knights, throwing 25 completions on 33 attempts for 270 yards and 2 touchdowns and adding a rushing TD, but freshman running back JK Dobbins continues to hold the spotlight. He rushed for 172 yards and 2 touchdowns, including a 52-yard run. Ohio State plays UNLV at home next.
#9 Oklahoma State and #10 Wisconsin would also make light work of their opponents, Pittsburgh and BYU respectively. OSU’s quarterback Mason Randolph would be responsible for 5 touchdowns, as they would beat Pitt 56-21, while Alex Hornibrook would throw for 4 touchdowns for Wisconsin to beat BYU 40-6. OSU will take on undefeated Big 12 opponent #16 TCU, and Wisconsin will have the weekend off.
#12 LSU faced a mountain they were not prepared for as they traveled to Mississippi State and lost, 37-7. Junior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald led the Bulldogs for 180 passing yards and 2 touchdowns as well as 2 rushing touchdowns, as their defense kept LSU’s stellar run game quiet. Mississippi State would outgain LSU in total yardage, 465 to 270, undoubtably a season low for the Tigers. Their 7 points are also a season low, and in fact they haven’t scored so few points since they played Alabama in 2016. Mississippi State’s defense has proven themselves a force to be reckoned with, and they will hope to do the same at Georgia next week. LSU will take on Syracuse at home.
#14 Auburn had a bit of a struggle against Mercer, overcoming 5 turnovers to win 24-10. While junior running back Kamryn Pettway ran for 128 yards and 3 touchdowns and sophomore quarterback Jarrett Stidham would complete a whooping 32 of his 37 passes for 364 yards, ball security was a predominant issue throughout the game. Both would be accountable for a takeaway by the Mercer defense, but their offensive effort was enough to put the game away for the Tigers. They will face Missouri and open their SEC play.
#16 Virginia Tech would destroy East Carolina 64-17, #20 TCU would allow SMU to score 36 but win 56-36, and #21 Washington State would also beat Oregon State 52-23. Everyone else ranked between 18 to 25 would have a much tougher time with their opponents. #18 Kansas State would lose to Vanderbilt 14-7 in a back and forth battle. Junior quarterback Kyle Shurmur would have the first and last laugh as he would throw for the opening and game winning touchdowns for Vandy in their first win over a ranked, non-conference opponent since 1946. #19 Stanford would also fall to San Diego State 20-17 after a bizarre darkness delay would give SDSU just enough time to draw up a game winning drive. Also losing was #23 Tennessee on a wild hail Mary-esque throw by Florida quarterback Feleipe Franks as time expired and the Gators won 26-20. The play seemed like some of the ones we’ve been seeing out of Tennessee to pull the astonishing upsets they’ve been doing over the past few years, but they were on the receiving end this time. #25 UCLA also lost in a gut-wrenching, back and forth affair against a strong Memphis team. Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson was responsible for 6 touchdowns, which made up for all but one of their scores, the last being a pick-6 by freshman linebacker Tim Hart. Josh Rosen would throw for 463 yards and 2 touchdowns, but would also throw 2 interceptions.
#13 Georgia would steamroll over Samford in a Bulldog battle. True freshman Jake Fromm would come out strong, throwing for 165 yards and 3 touchdowns on just 8 completions, but once again it was UGA’s running game that kept the pressure off the freshman. Senior running back Nick Chubb would rush for 131 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns of his own. Junior receiver Terry Godwin would have a spectacular game of his own, catching 2 touchdown passes from Fromm, with one being a 51 yard reception and giving Fromm the bulk of his yardage. Sophomore Mecole Hardman would catch Fromm’s first touchdown pass, but the highlight of the game was truly on Chubb and freshman running back Deandre Swift, who rushed for 54 yards and a touchdown as well. Sophomores Brian Herrien and Elijah Holyfield would also see 9 and 8 touches, respectively, for a combined 99 yards. As a whole, the running backs averaged 5.3 yards a carry, churning out yardage in the way that has become signature for UGA. Fromm will need to be careful as the Dawgs will host Mississippi State, the freshman coughed up the ball twice. The Bulldogs of Mississippi State will not be as forgiving as those of Samford, but if the running game can be as consistent, and add senior Sony Michel back in the lineup, the game should be one of the best of the week.
And there lies week 3. So far the upsets and close calls this week were some of my favorites, hoping my team (maybe yours) isn’t on the end of one next week.
Week 2 in the college football world saw plenty of offensive explosions from some top ranked teams as Hurricane Irma threatened the southern part of the country.
#10 Florida State, #16 Miami, #21 South Florida, #22 Florida, and UCF would all cancel games in preparation for the evacuations that the state of Florida took as precautionary measures.
Friday night action saw #11 Oklahoma State play unranked South Alabama, who came into the spotlight last year after their wins over Mississippi State, 21-20, and then ranked #19 San Diego State 42-24. The Jaguars would not be so successful against the Oklahoma State Cowboys, led by senior quarterback Mason Rudolph. Rudolph would accrue 335 passing yards with 3 touchdowns, 2 of which would go to senior receiver Marcell Ateman. The Cowboys will play at Pittsburgh next weekend.
#1 ranked Alabama played Fresno State as their home opener. As expected, the Tide rolled all over the Bulldogs, 41-10. Quarterback Jalen Hurts went 14 for 18 passing with 128 yards and 1 touchdown, while rushing for 154 yards and adding 2 rushing touchdowns as well. Freshman running back for the Tide Najee Harris was the second best rusher, with 70 yards on 13 carries. Saban called out the defense, however, saying he believed they weren’t completely prepared for some of the things they saw in the past two games despite giving up only 17 points between them. Prepare to see a heavier focus on defensive stops as they play a high-powered offense in Colorado State.
Saquon Barkley had a tremendous game for #4 Penn State as they battled in-state rival Pittsburgh. The junior running back would score a touchdown on the ground as well as in the air as Penn State would beat Pitt 33-14. Another in-state rival between #14 Stanford and #6 USC would showcase USC sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold, who would complete 21 out of 26 passes for a tremendous 316 yards and 4 touchdowns, with 2 going to both Deontay Burnette and Steven Mitchell Jr. Junior running back for the Trojans Ronald Jones II would rush for 2 touchdowns of his own with 116 yards on 23 touches. His counterpart, freshman Stephen Carr would rush for 119 yards on just 11 touches. While Stanford running back Bryce Love would rush for 160 yards and a touchdown, and their defense would intercept Darnold twice, the Cardinal truly had no offensive answer to match the Trojans. Stanford will travel to San Diego State, while USC will prepare to face Texas at home.
Another game between two top ranked teams would feature #3 Clemson hosting #13 Auburn in a strong defensive battle between the two squads. Both defenses would hold stout, while Clemson would never surrender a touchdown to Auburn. Clemson would be down 6-0 in the second quarter, but their defense would step up, led by junior defensive end Austin Bryant, a Georgia native, and not allow another score from Auburn again. Bryant would account for 4 of the 11 sacks on Auburn’s quarterback Jarrett Stidham. From there, junior quarterback Kelly Bryant would take over, who would finish the game with 181 passing yards, 59 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns. Auburn’s offense only finished with 117 yards overall, with 13 of those being on the ground. Auburn’s offensive line has to find ways to protect Stidham as they take on Mercer next Saturday, and Clemson’s defense will have to stay on top of their game as they play the electrifying Lamar Jackson and the #17 Louisville Cardinals.
In a primetime game featuring two potential Heisman candidates, the #5 Oklahoma Sooners would upset the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes at home. Baker Mayfield is the heart and soul of the Sooner offense, and would step up and show his leadership as he passed for 386 yards and 3 touchdowns. The receiving corps would account for over 80% of Oklahoma’s offensive production of 490 yards, where as Ohio State would struggle to make their offensive production count. JT Barrett would complete 19 out of 35 passes for 183 yards, and their offense would generate 350 yards, and JK Dobbins would again shine light for the Buckeyes with 72 yards and a touchdown, but extending drives would prove to be a problem for Ohio State. Barrett would not make the big plays their offense needed, and the Buckeyes would lose 31-16 to a team that could prove to be a national title contender. Both teams will play at home next weekend, with Oklahoma hosting Tulane and Ohio State hosting Army.
Most other teams throughout the top 25 routed their unranked opponents. #7 Washington played Montana at home, where Jake Browning would throw for 259 yards and 2 touchdowns, with 22 completions on 26 attempts, although he would throw 1 interception. 5 rushers on the Washington offense would rush for a touchdown a piece, and senior tight end Will Dissly would catch 2 from Browning in a lopsided 63-7 victory. Washington next faces Fresno State at home.
#8 Michigan hosted Cincinnati, and although they won 36-14, they did not exactly fire on all cylinders. The Wolverines were only up 17-14 in the third quarter, then finally scored 19 straight points, including a safety and a pick 6 from Lavert Hill. There were many mistakes the Wolverines must fix, but they will play Air Force next weekend.
#9 Wisconsin rolled over Florida Atlantic, 31-14. Freshman running back Jonathan Taylor ran for an astounding 223 yards and 3 touchdowns, and sophomore quarterback Alex Hornibrook threw for 201 yards and a touchdown. #12 LSU also demolished Chattanooga, 45-10. Junior running back Derrius Guice and senior running back Darrel Williams were responsible for 2 touchdowns a piece, while senior reciever D.J. Chark had 3 catches for 103 yards as well as a 65 yard punt return for a touchdown.
An offensive showdown between #17 Louisville at North Carolina turned into the Lamar Jackson show. The junior Heisman winner passed for 393 yards and 3 touchdowns, and also rushed for 132 yards with 3 more rushing touchdowns. While North Carolina’s quarterbacks Chazz Surratt and LSU transfer Brandon Harris threw for 384 yards together, it was not enough for the high powered Cardinals offense. UNC will try to get back on track against Old Dominion, while Louisville will be tested against a tremendous Clemson defense.
#18 Virginia Tech hosted Delaware and shut them out 27-0, while #19 Kansas State trampled Charlotte 55-7. #20 Washington State overcame a 31-10 deficit to take Boise State to triple overtime, and win 47-44 in an incredible thriller. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Hilinski completed 25 passes on 33 attempts for 340 yards and 3 touchdowns. The game was plagued with mistakes, each team coughing the ball up several times on both fumbles and interceptions. Ball security will definitely be a subject of discussion for both teams as Boise State has a short week of preparation for New Mexico on Thursday, and Washington State plays Oregon State at home.
In one of the most anticipated matchups of the week, #15 Georgia travelled to South Bend to play #24 Notre Dame for the first time since the 1980 National Championship. Notre Dame Stadium was filled with red and black, as Georgia fans from the country travelled well to support true freshman Jake Fromm in his first career start. Although Fromm coughed up the ball twice, he threw for 141 yards and a one-handed touchdown caught by the sensational junior receiver Terry Godwin. Notre Dame’s defense held UGA’s running back unit to only 185 yards, but surrendered a touchdown to senior Sony Michel to give UGA a 17-16 lead late in the third. The low scoring affair would feature mostly field goals, with Notre Dame kicking one in the 4th to lead 19-17, and sophomore kicker Rodrigo Blankenship, who became a scholarship player earlier in the week, kicking a 30 yard field goal to allow UGA to reclaim the lead 20-19 with 3:39, and would ultimately be the game winner. The Dawgs defense would hold stout, forcing a punt of Notre Dame’s next possession, then senior linebacker Davin Bellamy would sack Notre Dame junior quarterback Brandon Wimbush, force a fumble that would be recovered by his counterpart, senior linebacker Lorenzo Carter, and end the game. Ultimately, the defense from UGA proved to stand the test of time, coming up big when they were needed the most. The offense will have a bit more to work on, as Fromm will continue to be the starter for the Dawgs as they take on Sanford next week. Notre Dame will go to Boston College next weekend and look to get back into the top 25.
Jacksonville State came to Atlanta to play Georgia Tech. JSU came adequately prepared for Tech’s run game. Although they would give up 210 yards, they would not surrender many big rushes to the Yellow Jackets who rushed for over 500 yards last week in a double overtime loss to Tennessee. The Jackets would still find ways to get into the endzone, with TaQuon Marshall passing for 3 touchdowns in a game where he only threw the ball 7 times, and made 5 completions for 112 yards. Marshall would also rush for a touchdown himself. Freshman running back Jerry Howard would emerge as Tech’s leading rusher with 82 yards on 6 touches and a touchdown. Georgia Tech would cough up the ball 3 times, with Marshall fumbling it twice. Tech also will have questions to answer as ball security and special teams play were a bit of an issue. However, the Jackets will have the weekend off, as Hurricane Irma would force UCF to cancel their Saturday matchup.
Overall for week 3, #3 Clemson – #14 Louisville should be the game to watch, although Texas – #4 USC should be interesting as well. Texas coach Tom Herman is 6-0 against top 25 ranked teams, and 3-0 against top 10s. #12 LSU playing at Mississippi State should also be an interesting matchup as both teams begin SEC play, and have shown very stingy defenses and efficient offenses thus far.