Uiagalelei, No. 6 Clemson dominate FCS Bulldogs 49-3

Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images
0 Comments

CLEMSON, S.C. – D.J. Uiagalelei ran for two touchdowns and threw for a third as No. 6 Clemson defeated South Carolina State 49-3 on Saturday, cranking up its offense after a sorry showing in a loss to second-ranked Georgia a week earlier.

Uiagalelei and the Tigers (1-1) had touchdowns on all four of their first-quarter possessions and pulled away for their 36th straight win over teams from the Football Championship Subdivision.

Uiagalelei began the rout with a 4-yard scoring burst. Will Shipley and Kobe Pace added scoring runs before Uiagalelei closed the surge with an 11-yard pass to receiver Justyn Ross. It was Ross’ first touchdown catch since 2019, after he missed last season due to spinal surgery.

Clemson coordinator Tony Elliott said Uiagalelei still has work to do to improve his rhythm with his pass catchers. “As the quarterback continues to do that, the game will slow down,” Elliott said.

South Carolina State (0-2) of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference had little chance of slowing the Tigers.

Clemson outgained the Bulldogs 504-235 and continued a dominant history for the Tigers over their instate rival: Clemson is 5-0 by a combined score of 287-23.

The result was a welcome showing after last week’s struggles against the more powerful Georgia Bulldogs.

Uiagalelei was sacked seven times and often overthrew receivers when he wasn’t getting hit. Clemson’s tailbacks finished with 2 yards rushing in the 10-3 defeat, leading to a week of coaches’ challenges and grinding on the details they messed up in the opener.

The Tigers’ offense certainly looked like it made positive strides, no matter how much of mismatch this game was.

Uiagalelei went 14 of 24 for 171 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also rushed for scores of 4 and 5 yards.

Shipley, a freshman, had a team high 80 yards and touchdown runs of 7 and 13 yards. Pace had 68 yards rushing, including a 1-yard scoring rush.

South Carolina State was shutout in two of the previous four games at Clemson. But the Bulldogs ended the Tigers chance at hold them scoreless for a third time when they recovered a Michael Dukes fumble and drove for a 27-yard field goal from Dyson Roberts right before halftime.

Bulldogs coach Buddy Pough said his team got manhandled early.

“That first quarter was ugly,” he said. “I thought later on, we were able to make some plays and look like we belong.”

Otherwise, Clemson’s defense had another stout showing. While the Tigers didn’t score any touchdowns against Georgia, the Bulldogs’ only TD was off a Uiagalelei interception.

Clemson held South Carolina State to 123 yards and four first downs the first two quarters.

THE TAKEAWAY

South Carolina State: The Bulldogs had a rough trip to Clemson. One of the buses broke down on the highway on the trip over and needing a police escort to arrive at the stadium. At least South Carolina State will leave with $500,000, its guarantee from Clemson for playing this game.

Clemson: The Tigers can spend this week improving from victory instead of grinding after defeat. All their questions on offense won’t be fully answered because Clemson, the six-time defending ACC champions and favorites to make it seven in a row, will be solid favorites in the rest of their games.

UP NEXT

South Carolina State goes to New Mexico State on Saturday.

Clemson starts ACC play at home against Georgia Tech on Saturday.

No. 3 TCU loses 31-28 in OT to K-State in Big 12 title game

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

ARLINGTON, Texas — Ty Zentner kicked a 31-yard field goal in overtime as 13th-ranked Kansas State beat No. 3 TCU 31-28 in the Big 12 championship game Saturday, leaving the Horned Frogs to wait another day to find out if they had already done enough to get into the four-team College Football Playoff.

The Wildcats set up the winning field goal after TCU (12-1) had the opening possession of overtime and Kendre Miller was stopped short on consecutive plays from inside the 1.

Deuce Vaughn ran for 130 yards and a touchdown and Will Howard threw two TDs for the Wildcats (10-3, No. 10 CFP), who six weeks earlier had jumped out to a 28-10 lead early in the second quarter before TCU scored the game’s last 28 points.

That was one of five games the Horned Frogs (12-1, No. 3 CFP) won when trailing after halftime. But they couldn’t do it again with the chance to guarantee being the first Big 12 team other than Oklahoma to make the playoff.

TCU, the first Big 12 team to complete a regular season undefeated since Texas in 2009, could still get into the playoff. While their case was helped when fourth-ranked Southern California (11-2) lost 47-24 to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night, the Frogs now have to wait until the final CFP rankings come out Sunday.

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said before the game that TCU, with first-year coach Sonny Dykes, already deserved to be in the playoff.

“You look at their strength of schedule. You think about how they’ve performed all year long,” Yormark said. “I think regardless, they should be in, for sure.”

No. 4 USC falls to Utah in Pac-12 Championship, damaging playoff hopes

Utah vs. USC
USA Today
0 Comments

LAS VEGAS — No. 12 Utah pounded a limping, bloodied Caleb Williams and roared past No. 4 Southern California 47-24 on Friday night to win the Pac-12 Championship and put USC’s College Football Playoff hopes in doubt.

The loss by the Trojans (11-2) could open the way for Ohio State (11-1) to take their spot in the playoffs. USC is fourth in the CFP rankings, the Buckeyes are one step behind.

Ohio State had to be Utah’s biggest fan. The Buckeyes move up in playoff consideration, with 12-0 Michigan at No. 2 with the Big Ten championship game on Saturday, that would give the Big Ten conference two playoff teams for the first time. It also would extend the Pac-12′s playoff drought — Washington in 2017 is the last team from that conference to make the playoffs.

Utah (10-3) is heading to the Rose Bowl, but the Utes already were going there regardless of the outcome of the title game. They are responsible for USC’s only losses, having edged the Trojans 43-42 on Oct. 15 in Salt Lake City.

The Utes rolled up 533 yards of offense in the rematch, and Cam Rising passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns.

Williams threw for 363 yards and three TDs. He entered the game as the leading Heisman Trophy candidate, but wasn’t the same after getting injured in the first quarter.

The Trojans looked as if they were going to run away with the game, taking a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter behind some stellar play by Williams.

He appeared to hurt his left knee or leg in the first quarter on a 59-yard run in which he took a big hit at the end, and he suffered a bad cut on the pinky finger of his throwing hand. He spent most of the game limping, and wasn’t the same after a sterling first quarter in which the Trojans outgained Utah in total yards 194-70, and Williams had both touchdown passes.

After USC failed to pick up a fourth-and-8 from Utah’s 37-yard line, the Utes scored two touchdowns in the final 3:55 of the first half, and suddenly the game was tied at 17. Instead of a rout, the game was beginning to look like the shootout the Utes won in October.

The game took on that tone at times in the second half, but USC had no answer for how to slow down Utah, which outscored the Trojans 44-7 in overcoming that two-touchdown deficit.

ATTENDANCE RECORD

A announced sellout crowd of 61,195 made this the largest for a neutral-site Pac-12 Championship. It beat the previous record of 58,476 fans. who watched Southern California-Stanford in Santa Clara, California, in 2015.