There were a bunch of great games this past weekend, that being said below are my thoughts from a few games that stood out a bit more than most.
Auburn Head Coach Gus Malzahn has to go back to the drawing board, it may be time to expand his offense. They look really stagnant Saturday night against the Clemson defense. It seem like Malzahn was afraid to open up the offense or he didn’t trust his sophomore transfer signal caller Jarrett Stidham, Clemson Defensive Coordinator Brent Venables let the dogs loose on the young quarterback recording 11 sacks.
There was no complexity to the Auburn offense which gave Clemson reason to pin their ears back and attack. As commentator/analysis Todd Blackledge mentioned, that the Auburn offense has to do more than just put two receivers out on patterns and send them on “go” routes. Less than 100 yards passing for a game is never promising for a winning outcome in a football game, especially for a quarterback who can sling the ball coming from a passing team like Baylor.
On the flip side young Kelly Bryant didn’t have any problem using both legs and his arm to help give his Tigers a 14-6 win. Bryant was knocked woozy early on, but was able to come back in the game. He gave his team a 7-6 lead just before halftime with a 3-yard touchdown run. He started the second half with an 8-play 79-yard drive capped by a 27-yard touchdown run. Bryant finished with 181 yards in the air and 59 on the ground with 2 touchdowns.
You can’t say enough about defensive end Austin Bryant who hounded Stidham for much of the game contributing to 4 of the 11 sacks. Bryant’s relentlessness set the tone for the Clemson defense that carried throughout the game to give Gus Malzahnj’s offense fits.
Baker Mayfield was left with a bitter taste in his mouth after Ohio State came to Norman last season and embarrassed the Sooners on their home field 45-24. J.T. Barrett completed 70 percent of his passes for 152 yards with 4 touchdowns in the air. The combination of Mike Weber, Curtis Samuel and Barrett rushed for 291 yards against the Sooner defense. Things definitely do change in a year’s time.
Redemption was on the mind of Oklahoma as they came into the “Horseshoe” in Columbus Saturday night. First year Head Coach Lincoln Riley was on the sideline last year for the debacle in Norman, but as an offensive coordinator then.
After settling to a 3-3 stalemate at the half, the offenses were able to open up in the second half. Adjustments were made and it was going to be a battle of whose offense would outlast the other.
Freshman J.K. Dobbins opened up the scoring in the 2nd half with a 6-yard touchdown run. That would be the last time the Buckeyes would see the end zone. Mayfield was able to counter on the Sooners next drive with a 36-yard touchdown to Dimitri Flowers. And that was the start to Oklahoma scoring touchdowns on 4 of their next 5 possessions to blow the game wide open, and have fans in Columbus wondering about this Urban Meyer offense that appear to be struggling getting points on the scoreboard.
Mayfield was able to light it up in the 2nd half with 3 touchdowns passes finishing with 386 passing yards leading his Sooners to a 31-16 win.
Battles between USC and Stanford are typically a slugfest until a team can land the fatal blow or capitalize off a huge mistake. Saturday’s re-enactment was no different. For a quarter and a half they went back and forth touchdown for touchdown.
USC opened up the scoring with a 4-yard touchdown pass from Sam Darnold to Steven Mitchell in the back of the end zone. Stanford running back Bryce Love didn’t waste much time countering when he scampered 75 yards on the first play of next possession to tie the game at 7. Darnold responded on the next drive, starting the game with 11 straight completions. Ronald Jones scored from one yard out.
Stanford quarterback Keller Chryst wasn’t going to let Darnold have all the fun. He took advantage of the big targets he had in the passing game, marching his team down the field to tie things at 14 with a touchdown strike to Dalton Schultz in the corner of the endzone.
USC was able to break serve when the defense was able to get pressure on Chryst and bottle up Love towards the end of the half. Stanford was only able to get a field goal and Darnold found Deiontay Burnett for two touchdown scores.
Darnold didn’t have the lack-luster game he had previous against Western Michigan where everyone was questioning his performance. He looked more like the Heisman favorite that everyone was expecting: 21 of 26 for 316 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The key to USC’s dominance mainly in the 2nd half was the running game began to wear down the Stanford defense. Typically that’s been the other way around. USC rushed for over 300 yards on 48 carries resulting in two touchdowns.
In the end, USC’s offense both on the ground and through the air was a bit too much for Stanford to handle.