Dawgs’ bite leaves last­ing im­pres­sion

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Matt Murschel

1Ge­or­gia is a le­git­i­mate play­off con­tender. As state­ments go, this one was im­pres­sive as Jake Fromm passed for a touch­down and tail­back D’An­dre Swift ran for an­other score as the Bull­dogs out­lasted Notre Dame in a show­down with Col­lege Foot­ball Play­off semi­fi­nal im­pli­ca­tions on the line.

2If there is such a thing as a qual­ity loss, Notre Dame suf­fered it. Brian Kelly and the Ir­ish put up a fight dur­ing a 23-17 loss to Ge­or­gia and it could still pay off for the team this sea­son. The play­off se­lec­tion com­mit­tee has shown in the past qual­ity losses can some­times out­weigh av­er­age wins.

3Don’t look now, but Auburn is 4-0. The Tigers are off to their best start since 2014 thanks, in part, to the play of true fresh­man quar­ter­back Bo Nix, who helped lead the team to wins over ranked foes in Ore­gon and Texas A&M. With a re­main­ing sched­ule that is the tough­est in the SEC, Auburn could be the wild card in league-ti­tle race if it can sur­vive up­com­ing games against Florida, LSU, Ge­or­gia and Alabama.

4Wis­con­sin is the sec­ond-best team in the Big Ten. The Badgers fea­ture a suf­fo­cat­ing de­fense, outscor­ing teams 145-14, in­clud­ing a 35-14 win over Michi­gan on Satur­day. Badgers run­ning back Jonathan Tay­lor leads the Big Ten in rush­ing yards per game (147) and rush­ing touch­downs (7) af­ter run­ning over the Wolver­ines for 203 yards and two touch­downs.

5Michi­gan back to search­ing for an­swers. Michi­gan fell to 1-9 vs. top 10 teams un­der Jim Har­baugh af­ter the Wolver­ines were man­han­dled by Wis­con­sin. Of­fen­sive in­ep­ti­tude cou­pled with care­less­ness with the foot­ball have hurt the Wolver­ines’ Big Ten ti­tle hopes.

6Ore­gon and Cal stand out in Pac-12. It was an­other dif­fi­cult week­end for the Pac-12, which saw three ranked teams fal­ter, in­clud­ing pre­vi­ously un­de­feated Utah, Wash­ing­ton State and Ari­zona State. While Cal re­mains the only un­de­feated team in the league, Ore­gon has a strong enough re­main­ing sched­ule to make a bet­ter case for a spot in the play­off semi­fi­nals.

7‘Pitt Spe­cial’ sets UCF back in play­off hunt. It took a Pitts­burgh re­verse pass to the quar­ter­back in the end zone dur­ing the fi­nal minute to hand UCF its first reg­u­lar-sea­son loss since Novem­ber 2016. The Knights find them­selves in the un­fa­mil­iar spot of play­ing catch up in the race for a spot in a New Year’s Six Ac­cess Bowl af­ter drop­ping be­hind un­de­feated Boise State in the top-25 polls re­leased Sun­day.

8Tua Tago­v­ailoa, Joe Bur­row mak­ing Heis­man cases. For the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive week, Tago­v­ailoa threw five touch­down passes in an easy romp by Alabama while Bur­row threw for six TDs in LSU’s rout of Van­der­bilt. The quar­ter­backs have thrown 17 touch­downs apiece this sea­son, set­ting the ta­ble for a spec­tac­u­lar show­down when their teams meet in Novem­ber.

9Wash­ing­ton State and UCLA played the num­bers game. Per­haps the most en­ter­tain­ing game of the week­end saw UCLA rally from a 32-point sec­ond-half deficit to top­ple Wash­ing­ton State 67-63. The teams com­bined for more than 1,300 yards and the Bru­ins pre­vailed de­spite al­low­ing Cougars quar­ter­back An­thony Gordon to throw a school-record nine touch­downs dur­ing the loss.

10Florida State sur­vives de­spite it­self. The Semi­noles once again jumped out to a dou­ble-digit half­time lead, this time against Louisville, only to see it dis­si­pate in the sec­ond half. But Wil­lie Tag­gart’s team man­aged to make the plays when it counted Satur­day and held on to win de­spite los­ing sev­eral key con­trib­u­tors to in­jury, in­clud­ing start­ing quar­ter­back James Black­man.


Bo Nix has led Auburn to wins over ranked foes Ore­gon and Texas A&M.

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