Clemson drops 61 on Citadel
By Jeffrey Collins
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — First and foremost for Clemson coach Dabo Swinney, Saturday’s 61-3 win over lower division Citadel counts as a victory.
But it also gave him a chance to rest key starters and see just about every player on his roster on the field as the No. 4 Tigers prepare for their bitter in-state rival, a conference title game and with two wins, another playoff bid.
“It’s all right there. We wanted to start today by playing our best football,” Swinney said.
And Clemson (10-1, No. 2 College Football Playoff) pretty much did, scoring on 10 of its 13 drives and gaining 662 yards. Kelly Bryant was 17-of-22 for 230 yards and three touchdowns and was out of the game before halftime.
Fifteen different players caught a pass and nine Tigers carried the ball at least once.
“It’s great for your morale and chemistry,” said Swinney, who estimated he played at least 90 different people. “There’s no better teacher than getting experience.”
The lower-division Bulldogs were out of this one quickly. After Bryant’s 14-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Chase on the offense’s 26th play, Clemson led 28-0.
Freshman receiver Tee Higgins caught six passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns and fellow freshman Travis Etienne ran eight times for 62 yards and two TDs.
Now it’s on to South Carolina. Clemson has won three straight after losing five in a row, but a loss would not only mean eating its state pride, but also would likely knock them out of the playoffs.
“Growing up in South Carolina, I’ve always looked forward to it,” said junior receiver Hunter Renfrow, who is from Myrtle Beach. “They had our number back when I was in high school.”
Clemson honored its seniors at its last home game. But for a playoff contender, it was quite a low-key celebration. The Tigers have just six seniors on scholarship and only three of them are starters. Two juniors who will graduate were also honored. One of those, defensive lineman Christian Wilkins, lifted his leg high by his foot, a homage to the splits he did in the confetti after last season’s national title.
And Clemson also had another national title game winning reprisal as Renfro, who leads the team with 46 catches, finally caught his first TD since that 2-yard national championship winning reception last January against Alabama
The Citadel (5-6) ran for 155 yards. Jordan Black completed one pass for the Bulldogs for 61 yards to Raleigh Webb in the fourth quarter setting up a 30-yard field goal for the Bulldogs only score. The Citadel also had two interceptions.
“It’s a little bit tough,” Citadel coach Brent Thompson said about ending his season with the fourth-ranked team in the country. “But we love the opportunity of playing in this environment.”
Citadel: The Bulldogs were paid $300,000 for Saturday’s game … Eleven Citadel seniors played the final game of their careers. This year’s class won the Southern Conference and made the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs twice and won 29 games — second only to the 1990-93 class’ 30 victories.
Clemson: The Tigers have now won at least 10 games for seven years in a row. The only longer active streak is Alabama at 10 seasons. Swinney has half of all of Clemson’s 10-win seasons in its 121 years of football … … Swinney’s son Will had a 15-yard catch … Clemson is now 32-0 against FCS teams … Clemson’s 61 points were the most it has scored since a 73- 7 win over FCS South Carolina State in September 2014.
After Bryant’s day was over, Swinney split time between freshmen Zerrick Cooper and Hunter Johnson. Each had a touchdown pass and threw for more than 100 yards.
“I don’t think that’s ever been done before,” co-offensive coordinator Jeff Scott said of having three QBs with at least 100 yards in the air.
Clemson held its Military Appreciation Day quite appropriately against South Carolina’s only military college.
Clemson invited any military veteran to the field at halftime and had them parade around as the Tigers band played the fight songs for each military branch. There was a jet flyover and the school had Lee Greenwood sing “God Bless the U.S.A.”
Citadel: The Bulldogs’ season ended Saturday.
Clemson: The Tigers travel to rival South Carolina next Saturday.
NO. 2 MIAMI RALLIES TO BEAT VIRGINIA FOR 15TH STRAIGHT WIN
MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — Malik Rosier threw three touchdown passes and ran for another score and No. 2 Miami pulled off its biggest comeback in five years, by holding off Virginia 44-28 on Saturday to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 15 games.
Jaquan Johnson had an interception return for a touchdown for Miami (10-0, 7-0 Atlantic Coast Conference, No. 3 CFP), which went on a 30-0 run in the second half to remain unbeaten.
The Hurricanes erased a pair of 14-point deficits, and had lost 15 consecutive games in which they trailed at any point by such a margin. But they got a pair of fourth-down stops in Virginia territory in the fourth quarter, and the Hurricanes finished their first 7-0 home regular season since 1988.
Travis Homer rushed for 96 yards and a touchdown for Miami, which looks to close out a perfect ACC regular-season slate at Pittsburgh on Friday. The Hurricanes already had a spot in the ACC championship game against Clemson on Dec. 2 secured.
Kurt Benkert completed 28 of 37 passes for 384 yards and four touchdowns for Virginia (6-5, 3-4).
NO. 1 ALABAMA 56, MERCER 0
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Jalen Hurts passed for 180 yards and three touchdowns in a little more than a quarter and Alabama beat FCS team Mercer.
The Crimson Tide (11-0, 7-0 SEC, No. 1 CFP) raced to a 35-0 halftime lead in what amounted to a tuneup for the team’s biggest game. Now, Alabama heads to No. 6 Auburn with the winner of the Iron Bowl facing No. 7 Georgia in the Southeastern Conference championship game in Atlanta.
The Bears (5-6) also lost to Auburn 24-10 early in the season, when the Tigers committed five turnovers.
Hurts led Alabama to touchdowns on each of his four possessions, completing all seven of his attempts and running for 30 yards. He hit a wide-open Calvin Ridley for a 66-yard touchdown, giving Ridley 103 yards on three catches before the half.
It was an FBS record 73rd consecutive win against unranked teams.
NO. 3 OKLAHOMA 41, KANSAS 3
LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield threw for 257 yards and three touchdowns after getting dissed by the Kansas captains before kickoff.
Mayfield had tried shaking hands with Daniel Wise, Dorance Armstrong Jr. and Joe Dineen Jr. after the coin toss, but they stared stoically back at him. Mayfield quickly pulled his hand away, clapped a couple of times and set about burnishing his Heisman Trophy candidacy.
He threw TD passes to Rodney Anderson and Marquise Brown in the first half, then founded Mark Andrews late in the third quarter, which prompted more insults between Mayfield and the Jayhawks.
At one point, Mayfield lewdly grabbed his crotch while cursing across the field, and another time he yelled to fans behind his bench: “You have one win! Go cheer on basketball!”
The histrionics added at least some interest to a game that figured to be a blowout. The Sooners (10-1, 7-1) are fourth in the College Football Playoff ranking and clinched a spot in the revived Big 12 title game, while the Jayhawks (1-10, 0-8) have yet to beat a Football Bowl Subdivision foe.
Mayfield got most of the fourth quarter off as the defensive-minded Sooners won their 17th straight road game and 15th in a row in the Big 12, setting a league record. It was also their 12th consecutive win over the Jayhawks, their longest winning streak against any opponent.
NO. 4 CLEMSON 61, CITADEL 3
CLEMSON, S.C. (AP) — Kelly Bryant threw for 230 yards and three touchdowns and was out of the game before halftime for Clemson against the lower-division opponent.
After Bryant’s 14-yard touchdown pass to T.J. Chase on the offense’s 26th play, Clemson (10-1, No. 2 College Football Playoff) led 28-0. Bryant completed 17 of 22 passes.
Freshman receiver Tee Higgins caught six passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns and fellow freshman Travis Etienne ran eight times for 62 yards and two TDs as Clemson scored on nine of its first 10 possessions. The Tigers finished with 662 yards, their third game over 600 yards this season.
The Citadel (5-6) ran for 155 yards.
NO. 5 WISCONSIN 24, NO. 19 MICHIGAN 10
MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Alex Hornibrook threw a 24-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Taylor in third quarter to break open a defensive slugfest, and Kendric Pryor scored on an end-around to help Wisconsin remain undefeated.
The Badgers (11-0, 8-0 Big Ten, No. 5 CFP) padded their playoff resume by winning a grinding, physical matchup against the Wolverines (8-3, 5-3, No. 24 CFP).
Hornibrook finished 9 of 19 for 143 yards, but bounced back from an interception early in the third quarter with some of his best throws of the season. He connected with Taylor through a tight window in the end zone for a 14-10 lead with 3:31 left in the third quarter.
NO. 6 AUBURN 42, LOUISIANA-MONROE 14
AUBURN, Ala. (AP) — Darius Slayton caught a 50-yard touchdown pass late in the first half and Auburn pulled away to set up next week’s visit from No. 1 Alabama.
Kam Martin scored two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, in the third quarter. Nick Ruffin scored on a 45-yard interception return in the fourth. Despite a sluggish first half, Auburn’s final production was still impressive: 317 yards rushing and 552 total yards.
Auburn (9-2, No. 6 CFP) can earn a spot in the Southeastern Conference championship game by beating Alabama next week. ULM dropped to 4-6.
NO. 7 GEORGIA 42, KENTUCKY 13
ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Nick Chubb and Sony Michel led a dominant running game and Georgia bounced back from its first loss of the season.
In the final home game of their careers, Chubb and Michel went out with a bang on Senior Day between the hedges. Chubb rushed for 151 and two touchdowns, including a 55-yard burst down the sideline to seal the victory early in the fourth quarter. Michel rambled for 87 yards and three scores of his own, most notably a 37-yard TD that sent the Bulldogs into the half with a 21-6 lead.
Georgia (10-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference, No. 7 CFP) returned to form after getting stuffed on the ground in a 40-17 loss to Auburn, a dismal performance that knocked the Bulldogs out of the top spot they held for two weeks in the College Football Playoff standings.
Georgia finished with 381 yards rushing against the Wildcats (7-4, 4-4).
NO. 8 OHIO STATE 52, ILLINOIS 14
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — No. 8 Ohio State scored on its first six possessions — including J.T. Barrett’s 100th career touchdown pass — and the Buckeyes wrapped up the Big Ten East title.
Barrett, playing in his last game at Ohio Stadium, threw for two touchdowns and ran for another score to help the Buckeyes (9-2, 7-1, CFP No. 9) dominate from the opening kick.
Barrett became the Ohio State leader in rushing yards among quarterbacks (3,070), eclipsing Braxton Miller. He holds 35 Big Ten and school records.
Ohio State’s defense limited the Illini (2-9, 0-9) to a season-low 105 yards in handing them a ninth straight loss. They didn’t record a first down until near the end of the first half.
Barrett was 11 for 19 for 141 yards, with backups Dwayne Haskins and Joe Burrow playing most of the second half. Running back Mike Weber picked up 108 yards on 11 carries and scored twice, including on a 43-yard breakaway romp in the first quarter.
NO. 9 NOTRE DAME 24, NAVY 17
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Brandon Wimbush threw for 164 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a score as Notre Dame rallied in the rain and wind to beat Navy.
Wearing throwback uniforms with the name Rockne on the back of every player’s jersey and helmets designed to evoke the leather tops from the era of Knute Rockne, one of the Fighting Irish’s most famous names, Notre Dame (9-2, No. 8 College Football Playoff) kept its slim national championship hopes alive heading into the regular-season finale next Saturday at Stanford.
Wimbush, who threw two interceptions and lost a fumble in Notre Dame’s 41-8 loss at No. 2 Miami two Saturdays ago, connected with Kevin Stepherson twice and added his 14th rushing TD of the year as the Irish scored on three straight possessions late in the longest-running matchup between teams from different regions of the country, dating to 1927.
The Irish outgained the Midshipmen (6-4) 327-318, but Navy outrushed Notre Dame 277-163 and had a huge advantage in time of possession, 42:42 to 17:18.
KANSAS STATE 45, NO. 10 OKLAHOMA STATE 40
STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Byron Pringle caught three touchdown passes and returned a kickoff for another score to help Kansas State stun Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma State nearly erased a 29-point deficit in the second half, but Kansas State (6-5, 4-4 Big 12) held on to become bowl eligible for the eighth consecutive season.
Pringle caught four passes for a career-high 166 yards. His kickoff return for a score covered 89 yards. The junior entered the game with eight career touchdowns, and he had never scored more than two in a game. Freshman Skylar Thompson threw for 204 yards and three touchdowns and ran for 93 yards and a score in his second start for the injured Jesse Ertz.
Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph passed for 425 yards and three touchdowns and ran for another score. James Washington caught eight passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns for the Cowboys (8-3, 5-3, No. 13 CFP).
NO. 11 TCU 27, TEXAS TECH 3
LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — True freshman quarterback Shawn Robinson ran for 84 yards and threw a key second-half touchdown in his first career start to help TCU to stay in contention for a spot in the Big 12 championship game.
Robinson, who won a Texas Class 6A state high school championship last season, filled in for Kenny Hill. The senior didn’t even make the trip to Lubbock because of an unspecified injury.
While Robinson was only 6-of-17 passing for 85 yards, his 12-yard TD to Jalen Reagor came late in the third quarter as the Horned Frogs (9-2, 6-2 Big 12, No. 12 CFP) took a 17-3 lead. The Red Raiders (5-6, 2-6) got their only score on their opening drive of the game.
NO. 13 PENN STATE 56, NEBRASKA 44
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — Saquon Barkley broke Penn State’s career touchdown record with three scores and had 208 of 224 total yards in the first half.
Barkley passed Lydell Mitchell for the record with his 39th touchdown.
Trace McSorley ran for a touchdown and threw for 325 yards on 24-of-36 passing with three touchdown passes for Penn State (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten). Mike Gesicki caught two scoring passes and became Penn State’s career touchdowns leader by a tight end with 13, and DeAndre Thompkins also had a touchdown catch.
Backup quarterback Tommy Stevens added a touchdown pass to tight end Nick Bowers to help the Nittany Lions go unbeaten at Beaver Stadium for the second straight season.
Nebraska’s Tanner Lee returned from concussion protocol to complete 26 of 41 passes for 399 yards and three touchdowns. Morgan Stanley Jr. had seven passes for 185 yards and a touchdown for Nebraska (4-7, 3-5).
NO. 14 UCF 45, TEMPLE 19
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — McKenzie Milton threw four touchdown passes and ran for a score and Central Florida stayed unbeaten heading into a showdown with rival USF.
The Knights (10-0, 7-0 American Athletic conference, CFP No. 15) turned three Temple turnovers inside the Owls 25 into 17 first-half points, taking a 31-10 lead when Gabriel Davis stretched across the goal line for a 5-yard touchdown reception with 2:36 left in the second quarter.
The AAC East Division will be decided on Black Friday in Orlando, Florida, when No. 23 South Florida (9-1, 6-1) visits UCF. Temple dropped to 5-6 and 3-4.
NO. 17 MISSISSIPPI STATE 28, ARKANSAS 21
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (AP) — Nick Fitzgerald threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Deddrick Thomas with 17 seconds remaining, and No. 17 Mississippi State survived a lackluster performance and four fumbles.
The Bulldogs (8-3, 4-3 Southeastern Conference) won at least eight games in a season for the fourth time in coach Dan Mullen’s nine years.
The Razorbacks (4-7, 1-6) led by a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but Fitzgerald tied it with 4:07 remaining with a 37-yard touchdown pass to Reggie Todd.
Arkansas coach Bret Bielema then went for it on a fourth-and-2 from the Razorbacks 44, and the Bulldogs held. Nine plays later, Thomas scored to give Mississippi State its fifth win in six games against Arkansas.
NO. 18 MEMPHIS 66, SMU 45
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Darrell Henderson rushed for 147 yards, including two long touchdowns, and Riley Ferguson threw for 320 yards and two scores to help Memphis wrap up the American Athletic Conference West Division championship.
Ferguson scored on three runs as Memphis (9-1, 6-1, No. 21 CFP) won its sixth straight and claimed a spot in the conference’s Dec. 2 championship game. Patrick Taylor had 112 yards rushing, while Anthony Miller had 163 yards receiving. Both scored two touchdowns each.
Xavier Jones rushed for 175 yards and two touchdowns for the Mustangs (6-4, 3-4).
NO. 21 LSU 30, TENNESSEE 10
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Derrius Guice and Darrel Williams combined to run for 165 yards and three touchdowns and LSU beat Tennessee in stormy conditions.
Guice ran 24 times for 97 yards and one touchdown to help LSU win for the fifth time in its last six games. Williams rushed for 68 yards and two touchdowns on seven carries.
LSU (8-3, 5-2 SEC, No. 20 College Football Playoff) scored 10 points after recovering two fumbled punt returns by Tennessee’s Marquez Callaway in the red zone. The Tigers also began a touchdown drive after making a fourth-down stop at Tennessee’s 21.
Tennessee (4-7, 0-7) was playing its first game under interim head coach Brady Hoke after the firing of Butch Jones. The Volunteers must beat Vanderbilt next week to avoid their first eight-loss season in school history.
NO. 22 MICHIGAN STATE 17, MARYLAND 7
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — LJ Scott ran for 147 yards and a touchdown to lead Michigan State to a snowy victory over Maryland.
The Spartans (8-3, 6-2 Big Ten, No. 17 CFP) rushed for 271 yards, and that was about the only way they could move the ball in yet another Michigan State game affected by the elements. Quarterback Brian Lewerke was 2 of 14 for 20 yards, and one of his completions was a shovel pass late in the third quarter.
Maryland (4-7, 2-6) wasn’t much better through the air until the fourth quarter. Max Bortenschlager finished 13 of 25 for 121 yards.
TEXAS 28, NO. 24 WEST VIRGINIA 14
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Sam Ehlinger threw two touchdown passes and Texas became bowl eligible under first-year coach Tom Herman with victory over West Virginia.
The Longhorns (6-5, 5-3 Big 12) qualified for a bowl for the first time since 2014, which was former coach Charlie Strong’s first season.
Texas entered the game with 13 touchdown passes all season, and Ehlinger got two in the second quarter. His 50-yard pass to Reggie Hemphill set up Ehlinger’s 4-yard TD toss to Kendall Moore.
The Mountaineers (7-4, 5-3) lost quarterback Will Grier to a broken finger on his throwing hand, He left the game in the first quarter after landing awkwardly as he dove for the end-zone pylon on a run.
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