Clem­son 5-0 but not off to perfect start

The Morning Call - - SPORTS - By Matt Murschel

1 Clem­son may be un­de­feated, but the Tigers are far from perfect. As ex­pected, Clem­son cruised to a 5-0 start but not with­out con­cern for the de­fend­ing na­tional champs. The of­fense is a work in progress as QB Trevor Lawrence has strug­gled and turnovers are a con­cern. The de­fense bailed the Tigers out, stop­ping UNC’s two-point at­tempt to pre­serve a one­point win.

2 Ohio State is one of the most com­plete teams in the na­tion. The Buck­eyes haven’t missed a beat since Ur­ban Meyer’s re­tire­ment, outscor­ing op­po­nents 262-43. While Justin Fields has been im­pres­sive, ac­count­ing for 23 touch­downs, it’s the im­prove­ment on de­fense that has the Buck­eyes think­ing about an­other Big Ten ti­tle and a shot at the College Foot­ball Play­off semifinals.

3 Tua Tago­v­ailoa, Jalen Hurts make early push for Heis­man. It was your typ­i­cal Satur­day for Tago­v­ailoa, who shat­tered sev­eral Alabama records af­ter pass­ing for six TDs and rush­ing for an­other dur­ing a 59-31 win over Mis­sis­sippi. Ok­la­homa QB Jalen Hurts passed for three scores and rushed for an­other dur­ing a 55-16 win over Texas Tech.

4 Wis­con­sin knows how to win ugly. Fresh off its 35-14 win over Michi­gan last week, Wis­con­sin found it­self in a good old-fash­ioned foot­ball brawl with divi­sion foe North­west­ern on Satur­day. The Badgers leaned on their de­fense, which scored two touch­downs, while tail­back Jonathan Tay­lor rushed for 119 yards and a score to seal the win.

5 Auburn could be the team no one in the SEC wants to face. The Tigers made quick work of Mis­sis­sippi State on Satur­day, jump­ing out to a big lead while amass­ing more than 578 yards of of­fense. Tigers true fresh­man QB Bo Nix had a ca­reer-best game, ac­count­ing for 391 yards. Auburn now faces games against SEC pow­ers Florida, LSU, Ge­or­gia and Alabama.

6 Notre Dame gets de­fen­sive dur­ing a bounce-back win The Ir­ish put last week’s loss to Ge­or­gia be­hind them with a dom­i­nant per­for­mance against Vir­ginia. The Ir­ish de­fense ha­rassed Cava­liers QB Bryce Perkins into five turnovers and recorded eight sacks. It’s a good sign for Brian Kelly’s team, which could still make a run at a CFP semi­fi­nal bid.

7 The Pac-12 is good but not great. The Pac-12 had four teams ranked in this week’s As­so­ci­ated Press top-25 poll, with Ore­gon (13), Wash­ing­ton (15), Utah (17) and Ari­zona State (20) rep­re­sent­ing the best hope for a play­off spot. That said, ESPN’s play­off pre­dic­tor gives the Ducks the best chance (7%) among the league con­tenders to qual­ify for a semi­fi­nal spot.

8 Fat, dumb and en­ti­tled is no way to go through life. Wash­ing­ton State coach Mike Leach didn’t mince words when he called some of his play­ers “fat, dumb, happy and en­ti­tled” af­ter the Cougars lost for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive week. Leach has de­vel­oped a rep­u­ta­tion for his thought­ful re­sponses on a va­ri­ety of top­ics, but this type of rant per­son­ally at­tack­ing play­ers isn’t go­ing to go over well.

9 College foot­ball can be a fickle sport. Vir­ginia Tech was lauded af­ter hir­ing Justin Fuente to re­place leg­endary coach Frank Beamer, but fol­low­ing a 10-win sea­son in 2016, the Hok­ies have strug­gled. Vir­ginia Tech’s skid con­tin­ued with a 45-10 loss to Duke Fri­day. Else­where, South Florida won 10 games dur­ing Char­lie Strong’s first sea­son, but the pro­gram is now mired in a nine-game skid against FBS foes.

10 Chris Ash be­comes the first coach­ing hot-seat ca­su­alty. Rut­gers fired Ash a day af­ter the Scar­let Knights were blanked 52-0 by Michi­gan. It was Rut­gers’ 14th con­sec­u­tive con­fer­ence loss and third straight loss this sea­son. Ash fin­ished with an 8-32 over­all record at Rut­gers and 3-26 mark in Big Ten play.

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