Clemson Football

3rd & 1: The Top 3

The 2017 Iron Bowl brought a shake up to the CFB Playoff Rankings, including a new team claiming the number one spot. While another climbs four places ahead of the SEC Championship.

No. 1 Clemson – The Clemson Tigers dominated yet again on the road in a 34-10 victory over South Carolina. The, then No. 4, team went halfway through the first quarter before scoring, but did so in a telling fashion.

Ryan Carter intercepted and returned for 12-yards to put Clemson on the board. Tavien Feaster added another seven points to the board early in the second, while Hunter Renfrow had a pair of touchdowns, including a 61-yard pass from quarterback Kelly Bryant.

The feature was the third time in Renfrow’s college football career that he collected multiple touchdowns within a single game.

No. 2 Auburn – The annual match-up versus Alabama brought a surprise to many fans of the 16-time National Championship team. Auburn University dominated the Crimson Tide and brought down the No. 1 team for the second time within 2 weeks.

The momentum and tone of the game was established early on when Nate Craig-Myers reached the end zone. Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy answered it in the second quarter from a 36-yard pass, the best scoring-drive play in the game from the Crimson Tide.

Alabama kept Auburn from scoring a touchdown in the second, but they still added points with a 33-yard field goal kick from Daniel Carlson.

After Alabama started the second half with a touchdown from Bo Scarbrough, the rest of the game belonged to the Tigers.

Carlson completed a 44-yard field goal, while Kerryon Johnson and Jarrett Stidham earned a 1-yard run and 16-yard run, respectively.

No. 3 Oklahoma – The Sooners played West Virginia with home advantage, but that didn’t stop the Mountaineers from putting up a fight to the finish.

It took Oklahoma just two plays before they reached the end zone and put them on the scoreboard. West Virginia settled for a 28-yard field goal before Baker Mayfield passed for 8-yards to CeeDee Lamb.

West Virginia reached the end zone in the second quarter, but it was Oklahoma that had the advantage at the half – with touchdowns coming from Rodney Anderson and Mark Andrews. A field goal sent Oklahoma into half time with a 35-point advantage.

The third quarter brought the two teams exchanging touchdowns. West Virginia started early with a 15-yard run by Kennedy McKoy. It took Oklahoma six plays to answer, ending with an 18-yard pass to Grant Calcaterra.

McKoy grabbed his second touchdown of the afternoon to make it 24-59, but the Sooners extended their lead with a 46-yard pass to Myles Tease from Kyler Murray.

West Virginia scored the lone touchdown in the fourth quarter, but it was not enough to gain momentum at the Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.


3rd & 1: This Week’s Top 3

This week’s Top 3 features two teams who continue their dominance, while another upsets a big name team in their home territory.

No. 1 Alabama – If there were any questions or concerns about Alabama they were answered Saturday night in a 66-3 victory over Ole Miss.

The Crimson Tide appeared to make a statement of sorts, one that may have included that two straight wins by the Rebels in 2015 and 2016 didn’t bother them.

Alabama scored 21 points within the first quarter for the second week in a row, starting with Northport, Alabama native Bo Scarbrough in a 6-yard run. The play of the game came shortly after when Levi Wallace intercepted for 35 yards, the defense’s first touchdown of the season.

Jalen Hurts, who ran 10 yards for his own touchdown in the second quarter, completed 12 for 19 for 197 yards. Hurts also went 101 in rushing yards.

No. 2 Clemson – King of the ACC? It appears to be that way after the Clemson Tigers defeated Virginia Tech 31-17, a victory appears closer than what it actually was.

Clemson started strong when quarterback Kelly Bryant threw 60 yards to Tavien Feaster, and only allowed the Hokies a field goal in the first half.

The Tigers did an excellent job at taking care of the ball all while forcing Virginia Tech to turnover the ball three times.

Linebacker Dorian O’Daniel went 22 yards with an interception return, recovered a Hokie fumble, and had 10 tackles.

No. 3 Oklahoma – The Sooners didn’t play in Week 5, but return for a Big 12 match-up against Iowa State on Saturday, October 7th.

Notables: Ronnie Clark reached the end zone for the first time in his college football career, running 9 yards to score the last of nine touchdowns against Ole Miss.

Troy University defeated LSU in a 24-21 surprise upset in Death Valley.

The Trojans didn’t allow the Tigers any chance to score within the first half, but the LSU managed to score three times in the second half starting with a 7-yard pass to Foster Moreau.

Moreau scored again late in the fourth to put the tigers within a field goal chance to tie up the game and force overtime, but came up short. The loss is LSU’s second of the season.

3rd & 1: This week’s Top 3

This week in college football was one for the books, especially for the No. 1 team in the country – who let their on-field performance speak for itself.

Clemson overcame early problems for a dominating performance of their own, while Oklahoma’s run game reached a season high.

No. 1 Alabama – The Tide didn’t stop rolling Saturday night in Nashville, Tennessee. They went on a smashing shutout and proved that you should never say you want Bama, unless you really mean it.

Alabama’s offense set a program-record with 38 first downs and were 72 yards away from having the best yardage total of all time, while Damien Harris scored more touchdowns in a single game than all of last season -reaching the end zone twice within the first quarter and one in the third.

Freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa went 8 for 10 in 103 yards. The most impressive play for the second-string QB being when he used a spin move to avoid a tackle and connected with DeVonta Smith for a 27-yard touchdown.

The No. 1 team face their first challenge of the season against Ole Miss. Where will they stack up against the Rebels? Will their defense and offense work strongly together? While a shutout victory is unlikely, they should remain undefeated after Saturday night’s game.

No. 2 Clemson – When the offense fails, the defense excels – that’s how the Clemson Tigers defeated Boston College.

It may look like the No. 2 team outplayed the Eagles on paper, but it was the total opposite. For three quarters of the game, Clemson struggled to move the ball. They only scored once in the first half of the game, a 11-yard run by quarterback Kelly Bryant.

Bryant threw two interceptions, but redeemed himself with two touchdowns of his own.

Kendall Joseph and AJ Terrell both had an impressive game. Joseph racked up a dozen sacks, while Terrell was responsible for getting the Tigers a fourth quarter interception.

Clemson head to Virginia to take on No. 12 Virginia Tech. The Tigers main concern heading into this game is putting together a 60-minute effort.

No. 3 Oklahoma – It was a little too close for comfort for Sooners fans against Baylor.

Oklahoma scored three times in the first quarter and only gave up one touchdown to the Bears, but things took a turn for the worse when Baylor had four straight unanswered scoring drives.

Oklahoma regrouped late in the third for a 48-yard touchdown with Jeff Badet, while Trey Sermon, who only saw fourth quarter playing time, was responsible for OU’s last two touchdowns of the game.

The Sooners struggled at stopping Baylor all game and allowed their opponent to score with less than two minutes to go, but it wasn’t enough.

Oklahoma doesn’t face anyone heading into Week 5 and will have home advantage against Iowa State. Playing Sermon throughout 60 minutes could be a vital element heading into Big XII play.

3rd& 1: This Week’s Top 3

It’s week 2 and a new team is at number 2!

This week’s Top 3 features Alabama as the top contender, an upset, and the Tigers defending their territory.

No. 1 Alabama – Running game, running game, running game.

Did I mention running game?

Alabama’s number one aspect against Fresno State was their ability to run the football, despite showing improvement in passing. Alabama is known for their running game, but what will happen when a stronger opponent turns the tables on the Crimson Tide and they are forced to pass?

It may never become an issue, but another issue heading into Week 3 sheds some light on why it needs to be considered: Third downs.

Alabama ranks 118 of 130 FBS teams – a major drop of its 34th ranking a year ago and it’s 43.8 percentile. Alabama is successful in all other plays, improvements here will carry the team when it is severely necessary.

No. 2 Oklahoma  – Oklahoma’s defense carried the Sooners to an outstanding victory and their quarterback to the leading candidate for the Heisman Trophy.

The Oklahoma defense only allowed the Buckeyes one touchdown scoring drive and three field goals throughout 60 minutes, while Baker Mayfield lead the offense and completed 27 of 35 passes for 386 yards with two touchdowns and a field goal for a 31-16 victory.

Oklahoma made a case for themselves Saturday night and if Mayfield’s stats continue on the rise with a strong defense, we could be looking at a national championship contender.

No. 3 Clemson – It was a tight kept score for Clemson versus the Auburn Tigers at Memorial Stadium, who remain at No. 3 this week. The Clemson Tigers dominated the line of scrimmage and kept their opponent from reaching the end zone successfully.

Clemson struggled early on and appeared to be in trouble when Kelly Bryant went down with an injury. The injury was minor however and he returned for their first scoring drive before halftime.

The Clemson Tigers returned from the half for their second, and final, touchdown when Kelly Bryant ran 27 yards into the end zone – avoiding a tackle as he did. In addition, the defense protected their lead by getting to Auburn’s quarterback with a total of 11 sacks.

Clemson has a lot going for them, and could gain additional momentum with more yards-per-carry and keeping turnovers at a minimum.

3rd & 1: This week’s Top 3

College football is back and that, for one, is worth celebrating. If you are in this week’s Top 3, that’s another. Make no mistake that even teams here have room to improve and there is plenty of time for that.

The Top 3 for this week each kicked off the start of the 2017 season with a win, which isn’t a surprise by any means, but let’s discuss what each team should do to keep it that way heading into week 2.

No. 1 Alabama – The 16-time National Championship winning team came out on top against Florida State University after struggling to maintain field position for majority of the game. It’s easy to say that Alabama has the No. 1 defense in the country, but even the top defense has some improvements to make if they want to add to the dynasty that Coach Nick Saban has created.

While Alabama’s defense is where they expected it to be, it was in large part to special teams. Special teams are an excellent advantage, but someone else needs to be there when they fall. Improvements with blocking would be a big improvement for Alabama heading into the first home game of the season against Fresno State.

No. 2 Ohio State – The start of the 2017 season was a slow one for the Buckeyes, who failed to score until the end of the first half against Indiana. They picked up the pace and retook the lead in the third quarter, scoring four more times throughout the second half.

Ohio State’s J.K. Dobbins had a fantastic college debut, rushing for 181 yards – a new school record previously set 15 years ago by Maurice Clarett.

Ohio State will have their first big test when Oklahoma comes to Columbus. The Buckeyes defeated the Sooners 45-24 a year ago in Oklahoma’s territory. How will they fair in their own? An early scoring drive could carry the No. 2 team to another victory, and the return of Mike Weber could be another key to it.

No. 3 Clemson – The defending National Champions dominated against their first opponent of the season, Kent State. The Tigers scored 21 points within the first quarter and only allowed the unranked team a field goal in the 2nd quarter. They returned after the half to match their 1st quarter effort, ending the day 56-3.

A similar feature could easily carry Clemson to another victory versus the Auburn Tigers, where they won by a touchdown a year ago. Clemson has won the last three match-ups and holds home advantage heading into their next.

Clemson defeat Alabama for National Championship


Photo by: David Rosenblum

Clemson outlasted Alabama for the National Championship in Tampa, Florida. Clemson survived the first half after scoring only one touchdown, and returned to take the game into the final second to determine the championship.

After Wayne Gallman ran 1-yard for a Clemson touchdown that gave them the lead within the fourth quarter, Alabama answered with one of their own. True freshman Jalen Hurts rushed 30-yards for a touchdown that momentarily gave them the advantage.

But the aggression and will of the Clemson offense would not be denied. Clemson took advantage of Alabama’s mistake. On the winning play Deshaun Watson connected with Hunter Renfrow in the endzone for a 2-yard pass.

Swinney went for an onside kick and Clemson recovered for –1 yards at their own 45.

Clemson won by a four-point margin with a score of 35-31, beating Alabama for the first time since 1905 and gaining their first national championship since 1981.