NCAAF 

Gators get Vols again in “The Swamp” (Week 3 Breakdown)

Clemson vs Louisville

In a “Black Out” crowd in Papa John’s Stadium there was hopes of revenge in the minds of the Louisville faithful and 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson was looking to avenge last years ending against division foe Clemson.  There may have been some new faces on the field for the Tigers, but it was the same old results.  The Tigers were able to neutralize Jackson for most of the game.  It didn’t help Louisville that he couldn’t get on the same page with his receivers, which Clemson exposed their lack of familiarity with one another.  Jackson may have finished with over 300 yards passing, but it was a struggle to get there.

On the other side first year starter Kelly Bryant had no trouble connecting with his receivers.  The junior quarterback had the Cardinals feel like they were seeing #4 (Deshawn Watson) in the backfield.  Bryant threw for 316 yards on 69 percent passing for 1 touchdown, and he ran for 2 more.  The young man didn’t feel the pressure of being under the lights in his first true road game.

The Clemson defense may have new faces in the forefront but they still are giving the same results with Brent Venables calling the defense.  Harassing Jackson all over the field the Cardinals were only able to get one score in the first 3 quarters.  After Jackson found Charles Standberry to respond to answer a Clemson early score; the Tigers went on a 26-0 run until Jackson found Jaylen Smith in the 4th.  But the defense of the Cardinals had no answers for Kelly Bryant and the Clemson offense.

The teams traded scores throughout the 4th, but you can say that the will of the Cardinals defense was broken when the Tigers went on an 11 play 66 yard drive to extend the lead to 33-7.  The tackling became abysmal.

Tennessee vs Florida

The Vols got a feeling of déjà vu in the “The Swamp” in Gainesville Saturday evening.  The vision of Antonio Callaway sprinting down the sideline with a minute and a half to play to capture the lead was heartbreaking then, and was not hoping to occur again.  Sorry…it did.

With both teams playing to somewhat of a standstill only allowing field goals on the board.  You had to give the defenses all the credit in the world for putting the offenses in their places.  Neither team could really get anything going on offense in the first half.  Special teams and field position was the key to establishing any kind of momentum coming out for the 2nd half.

In the 3rd quarter it was much of the same, but the Vols look to ride the back of their junior running back John Kelly, who led the team in both rushing and receiving yards; 141 yards on the ground with a touchdown and 96 receiving.  With receiver Jauan Jennings out due to injury the emerging hero in last year’s win over the Gators, quarterback Quinten Dormady relied heavily on Kelly.

It became pretty evident that the Florida fans were getting irritable with the lack of production that the offense was showing.  Florida freshman quarterback Feleipe Franks once again struggling to get the ball in the end zone.  This time Head Coach Jim McElwain was not quick to pull him out of the game; this time it worked out for him in the end.

Once again the Florida defense had to get the ball rolling with the scoring.  Deep in their own end the Dormady threw a high pass that deflected threw his receivers hands right into the hand of Florida corner C.J. Henderson, who was able to take it back for a touchdown (his 2nd pick-six this season).  You could kind of sense that the defense would have to be the one to make the play in order for either team to win.  And there it was.

That seem to wake up the offenses a little.  On Florida’s next offensive possession they fumbled when Malik Davis went 73 yards before he was stripped of the ball at the Tennessee 1 yard line through the back of the end zone for a touchback for the Vols.  That gave them a little confidence to go down and score; a touchdown run by Kelly of 34 yards.

Has the game was winding down the teams swapped touchdowns; Franks to Brandon Powell and the other side Dormady found his tight end Ethan Wolf.  But the Vols broke serve when they intercepted Franks which resulted in a game tying field goal with 50 seconds left, and most were thinking…overtime.

RememBer the déjà vu feeling I mentioned at the beginning…well here we go.   At their own 37 yard line Franks was able to allude pressure and scramble a bit to the right; air mailed the ball 66 yards in the air to find Tyrie Cleveland had got behind the safety for a touchdown catch as the game clock expires to give the Gators and their crown a reason to celebrate with a 26-20 win.

Surprises and Upsets

How many could say that they saw the Longhorns giving the Trojans a battle similar to the last time teams met in the 2006 Rose Bowl; arguably the best college football game of all-time?  Not this guy.  Especially how inconsistent the Longhorns have been this year.  The loss to Maryland at home was unexpected, but they bounced back against San Jose State.

At the beginning of the year, the front-runner for the Heisman Sam Darnold has been inconsistent in his own way and it showed against Western Michigan bounced back against Stanford; he didn’t look like that front-runner on Saturday.

A few breaks for the Trojans awarded them to outlast the Longhorns in the Coliseum in overtime.

The cowbells were ringing loud and proud in Starkville Saturday night.  And they had every reason to do so has the Mississippi State Bulldogs ran amuck on the No. 12 LSU Tigers 37-7.  Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was the star of the show accounting for all the touchdowns scored (2 in the air and 2 on the ground).

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen may have had some video game numbers against Memphis but his magic had definitely ran out.  Rosen had 463 passing with 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions; one of them costed the Bruins 7 points has Tim Hart of Memphis returned the Pick-six 60 yards.  His counterpart Riley Ferguson out dueled him throwing 6 touchdown passes to 1 interception.

The Bruins had a chance to tie the game at the end, but he Tigers defense was able to hold them off, and not even allow UCLA to get into field goal range.

The shock of the night goes to the Aztecs of San Diego State defeating the Stanford Cardinal 20-17.  This may put Head Coach David Shaw on the hot seat in Palo Alto.  It’s bad enough that they fell apart against USC last week, but the offense which use to be ball controlled running and dependent on a big strong offensive line is not there.  Offense appears to be one dimensional without a lot of variety of looks.  This has to be a growing concern for Stanford fans in the Bay area.

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