Amidst all the close matchups and upset wins over the last few weeks, one thing has remained consistent. Ohio State’s offense is bullying teams.
The Buckeyes have an unbelievable conveyor belt of elite wide receivers, which is full credit to the recruiting staff and those that develop the players once they’re on campus. But those receivers would be nowhere near as productive without the dominant play of CJ Stroud.
On Saturday Stroud pushed Ohio State past Iowa in a scrappy game which saw turnovers galore. The Hawkeyes defense is strong, and that showed as they managed to shut down the Buckeyes running game. However, if teams commit to stopping TreVeyon Henderson and co then there’s a strong chance that Stroud will have plenty of favourable matchups through the air. With touchdown grabs for Julia Fleming, Marvin Harrison Jr & Emeka Egbuka, that was very much the case – and the Buckeyes were able to limit Jaxson Smith-Njigba thanks to their dominance.
Still, this wasn’t a vintage display by any means. Stroud threw an interception and fumbled, Henderson managed just 38 yards and there wasn’t quite the tempo that the Buckeyes’ fans are used to seeing. But this is exactly why they’re a winner. When you’re not playing at 100% but still beating a 3-3 team by 44 points, you’ve got an excellent shot at a National Championship.
In a crucial game for Clemson, Dabo Swinney needed his highly touted QB to step up to the plate and dominate Syracuse’s defense. Sadly, as we’ve come to expect from DJ Uiagalelei, that didn’t happen.
If Uiagalelei isn’t playing well, the Tigers can often rely on their elite defense to carry them through a game. But for long periods at the start of Saturday’s game Garret Schrader was able to move the ball as he needed to. That certainly changed after half-time, with the Orange held scoreless, but there was only one reason that Clemson were still in the game at that point. That was sophomore running back, Will Shipley.
Time and again this season, Shipley has lifted Clemson’s offense with his hard running style and key third down conversions. Through five games in 2022, Shipley has carried the ball 123 times for 739 yards and ten touchdowns. Saturday’s performance was his best of the year, as his 172 yards and two scores proved vital in a 27-21 win.
The mark of a good team is having someone step up when others aren’t at their best. With Shipley supporting an average QB, he’ll be needed more often than not this year.
Texas A&M taking a beating seems to be a pretty regular thing this season. With Saturday’s loss, the Aggies have now dropped four games in 2022, a remarkable thing for a team that was boasting of a historic recruiting class during the Summer.
But the Aggies’ loss wasn’t all about them this weekend. South Carolina look like a dangerous team at present. With Spencer Rattler and the helm and Marshawn Lloyd tearing things up in the backfield, they’ve got a chance to make a splash in every game.
The standout player on Saturday however, was on defense for the Gamecocks. Darius Rush had a humongous game, with a 59 yard interception, a pass defensed and six solo tackles. The senior defensive back is having a strong year as he looks to be drafted in 2023.
With a win against the Aggies, South Carolina moved to 5-2 on the season. A remarkable feat considering the state the programme was in when Shane Beamer took over a year and a half ago.
With Jeff Sims knocked out of the game for Georgia Tech on Friday night, it was Zach Gibson’s time to shine as the Yellow Jackets looked to come from behind against the Virginia Cavaliers.
Gibson had a significant amount of experience as the starter for Tech in 2021, so he was no deer in the headlines when he ran out onto the field. Sure, he may not have been fully prepared to play, especially given the way Sims has played at times this season.
However, with the final play of the game, Gibson had the chance to make a play. Stepping out of the pocket to buy time, with the Yellow Jackets down seven points, everyone expected him to haul the ball down field. Instead, the Alpharetta native jogged out of play to end the game.
Miami have been a regular in this slot over the course of the season. What promised to be a bright season has fallen away into a poor first year for Head Coach, Mario Cristobal.
On Saturday, the Hurricanes were on the end of a drubbing from Duke. Before the season that would have been unthinkable, with Tyler Van Dyke and others drawing rave reviews from not only the CFB community, but everyone associated with the NFL draft.
With Duke QB, Riley Leonard, rushing for three touchdowns and the wider offense putting up 200 yards on the ground, there wasn’t much that Miami could do to slow them down. But it was the offensive line that struggled the most, as Duke tallied six sacks and seven tackles for a loss.
It’s blindingly obvious that there are holes all over the Hurricanes’ roster, but the one silver lining for Miami’s fans is that Cristobal is an expert at attracting talent. They’ll need to recruit some record breaking classes to turn things around in South Florida, could it all be a bit too much for the former Oregon Head Coach?
If you’ve not seen the viral tweets about Weber State’s record breaking four safeties in their loss to Montana State, then do watch the below clip. Grant Sands is probably having a rough weekend after achieving viral fame, so the video can speak for itself.
By Andy Moore – @ajmoore21