It’s the biggest and most fun weekend of the college football season. It’s Rivalry Week, and here’s what you need to know about every game.
Clemson 56, South Carolina 35
Did South Carolina just expose the Tigers? Travis Etienne ran for 150 yards and two scores, and the Clemson offense scored 14 points in every quarter to stay comfortably ahead, but D gave up 510 yards and five touchdowns to Jake Bentley. The struggles in the secondary won’t matter in the ACC Championship against Pitt, or even – assuming this is right – against Notre Dame. But against Tua Tagovailoa? Or, Kyler Murray or Dwayne Haskins? Now there’s a concern … whatever. Clemson put up 744 yards of total offense, Trevor Lawrence threw for 393, and the team rolled its rival.
Miami 24, Pitt 3
N’Kosi Perry only completed 6-of-24 passes for 52 yards, but the Miami running game rocked with 168 yards and a score. Offense, schmoffense … the Hurricane D came up with six sacks and 14 tackles for loss, stuffing the Pitt run game for just 69 yards. The hope is that Pitt was resting and holding back for Clemson in the ACC Championship, but if not, uh oh.
Kentucky 56, Louisville 10
The Louisville running game was terrific. The passing game didn’t go anywhere – with Malik Cunningham and Sean McCormack combining for 79 passing yards – but Cunningham ran for a team-high 89 yards and the team ran for 226 yards. But the run defense gave up 340 yards. It was a miserable day for the Cardinal team that finished a shocking 2-10, but the new era is coming – Jeff Brohm or not. Step One will be to figure out the lines.
Georgia 45, Georgia Tech 21
Georgia Tech couldn’t get the O going. The ground game was stuffed early on, it finished with just 128 yards and averaged under three yards per carry, and the defense couldn’t stop Jake Fromm from going off. The Yellow Jackets were down 38-7 at halftime – the D was never in it. They’re still going bowling.
Florida 41, Florida State 14
The Noles were fired up and hung around for a half, but the O couldn’t get going in the second half. Now, the 35-year bowl streak is coming to an end after committing three turnovers, holding the ball for just 24 minutes, There was little offense, no running game, and the D couldn’t hold up in the second half. And now … it’s over.
Syracuse 42, Boston College 21
Syracuse is a different team under Eric Dungey. He was able to go, he ripped apart the Eagles for 362 yards and three touchdowns with three rushing scores. The Orange D ramped it back up with a brilliant day against AJ Dillon and the BC ground attack, holding him to 56 yards and the team to just 105 rushing. In the bowl pecking order, watch for the Eagles to fall way, way down, while the Orange will be in the mix for a decent New Year’s Day game.
NC State 34, North Carolina 28 OT
North Carolina just could never, ever, ever catch/come up with a break in a close game. Now the Tar Heel season is over going a miserable 2-9 thanks to Reggie Gallaspy and his 129 yards and five touchdowns, including the game-winner in overtime. NC State might have been just okay this year, but it went 8-3, rocked its rival, and will get one of the ACC’s better bowl games.
Wake Forest 59, Duke 7
Wake Forest wanted to go bowling, and Duke didn’t need this game. That showed from the start with a 21-0 Demon Deacon lead, and the machine never stopped with Cade Carney running 31 times for 223 yards and two scores, and Jamie Newman pitched a gem, completing 18-of-23 passes for 177 yards and four scores. Duke turned it over four times.
Virginia Tech 34, Virginia 31 OT
Virginia Tech came up with a thriller, surviving a wild fourth quarter, getting a field goal in overtime, and recovering a Bryce Perkins fumble to keep the season alive. Now the 25-year bowl streak is still alive, with this game triggering a date with Marshall next to try getting to six wins and eligibility. Perkins was fantastic – throwing for 259 yards and three scores, and running for 112 yards – for the Cavaliers, but the Hokie running game was terrific and the D came through when it had to.