CFB Roundup: Clemson Escapes Disaster, Buckeyes Hold Off Badgers

Ryan Mayer

Every college football weekend is jam packed with games starting on Thursday night and running through the early morning hours of Sunday. You probably didn’t have a chance to watch all the action, nobody does. So, we’re here every Monday to recap some of the highlights (or lowlights) of the weekend.

Heading into Week 7 of the college football season, the playoff race had begun to take shape. The top two teams in the country faced fellow Top 10 foes, while Clemson faced an in-conference test in NC State. The three teams could not have won in more wildly different fashions.

The Crimson Tide Just Keep On Rolling

The Volunteers have fallen behind in almost every game this season. So, it wasn’t necessarily surprising to see them fall behind early against the Tide and go into the half down 21-7. Considering they had been out gained to that point 250-40, things probably could have been worse. But, seeing as the Vols have been a second half team all year, one could be tricked into thinking they’d make it a game in the second half.

Yeah, about that. The Tide blasted the Volunteers for another 28 points, while giving up just three. In total, the Tide racked up 438 yards rushing with two players, Jalen Hurts and Bo Scarborough, combining for 241 yards and four touchdowns… on just 17 carries.

The Tide are always scary coming into the season, but adding a weapon like Jalen Hurts at quarterback makes them even more terrifying. For Butch Jones and company, their gauntlet is over and they limp (many guys literally) into a much needed bye week.

Wolfpack Kicking Issues Allow Clemson To Stay Undefeated

NC State had Deshaun Watson and the Tigers on the ropes for much of the day Saturday. They had the chance to deliver the knockout punch late in the game with a 33-yard field goal from the middle of the field with :02 left on the clock. Kicker Kyle Bambard pushed it to the right, his third miss of the day, sending the game to overtime.

Watson took advantage, hitting Artavis ScottĀ for the touchdown after the Tigers got the ball first. Then the Tigers defense picked off Ryan Finley’s pass in the end zone to end it.

In short, Clemson is lucky to still be undefeated and the offense regressed once again without running back Wayne Gallman, as he left the game with a concussion. Without Gallman, Clemson just couldn’t find a running game and the offense is built off having a dominant run game that leads to play action passes. If Gallman’s going to miss extended time, one of the young backs is going to have to step up for the Tigers to make it back to the playoff.

As for Bambard, well, I’m sure that was a lonely bus ride back to Raleigh.

Buckeyes Outlast Badgers in OT

Wisconsin has now lost two straight games in the Big Ten with a bye week sandwiched in between. Against Michigan the defense held stout, but the offense couldn’t get going. Against the Buckeyes, the offense, in particular the running game, finally got going, but the defense let Ohio State back in the game.

Granted, they held the Buckeyes to just six first half points, but in the second half, the Buckeyes got back on track largely on the legs of JT Barrett. The QB carried 21(!) times for 92 yards and two touchdowns while also completing 17 of his 26 pass attempts for 226 yards and the game-winning touchdown to Noah Brown in overtime. Barrett made some Buckeyes history in the process.

The Buckeyes, despite their youth, continue to find ways to win and it’s looking like another trip to the playoff might be on hand in Columbus.

Three Bowl Eligibility Droughts Close To Ending

Yes, there are probably too many bowl games. All told, there will be 41 bowls played this year, which means 82 of the 128 current Division I teams will be involved in postseason play.

That said, part of the fun is seeing which teams will get back to being bowl eligible for the first time in awhile. This season, there are four schools that we haven’t seen play late December football in a few years, who are very close to doing so this season.

Wake Forest (5-2), Colorado (5-2), and Eastern Michigan (5-2) are all just one win away from the six needed for postseason play while Army (4-2) needs two wins. The last time we saw these respective programs in a bowl game? Wake Forest (2011), Army (2010), Colorado (2007), and Eastern Michigan (1987).

If you’re like me, you enjoy the underdogs in sports and rooting for these teams to earn an invitation to the bowl game is just one more reason to watch college football this season.

Ryan Mayer is an Associate Producer for CBS Local Sports. Ryan lives in NY but comes from Philly and life as a Philly sports fan has made him cynical. Anywhere sports are being discussed, that’s where you’ll find him.

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