Clemson falls to No. 25 in AP poll, snapping top-10 streak

Ken Ruinard
0 Comments

Clemson tumbled to No. 25 in The Associated Press college football poll on Sunday, snapping its streak of 97 straight weeks in the top 10.

The Tigers (2-2) lost for the second time this season Saturday – falling in double overtime to North Carolina State – and dropped 16 spots from No. 9 in the AP Top 25, which is presented by Regions Bank.

Clemson’s top-10 streak was tied with Alabama for the longest current run in college football and second-longest in the history of the AP poll, behind Miami’s 137 from 1985-93.

The Crimson Tide remained No. 1 with 58 first-place votes out of 62. No. 2 Georgia received the remaining four first-place votes. Oregon stayed No. 3. Penn State moved up two spots to No. 4, Iowa held at No. 5 and Oklahoma slipped two spots to No. 6.

Cincinnati moved up a spot to No. 7 and Arkansas jumped eight spots to No. 8 after beating Texas A&M. The Razorbacks have their best ranking since they were No. 8 early in the 2012 season.

That season, Arkansas lost its second game of the season to Louisiana-Monroe and was never ranked again. The Razorbacks had finished fifth the season before under Bobby Petrino.

No. 9 Notre Dame and Florida rounded out the top 10.

POLL POINTS

Clemson did manage to extend its streak of weeks ranked to 107, the third-longest active streak behind Alabama (218) and Ohio State (150).

The Buckeyes’ streak does not include polls in which they were ineligible during the 2020 season because the Big Ten was not planning to play due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Alabama’s current streak of poll appearances is second all time to Nebraska’s 348 from 1981-2002.

IN

After six ranked teams lost this weekend, four to unranked opponents, four new teams entered the rankings of the first time this season.

– No. 19 Oklahoma State improved to 4-0 by beating Kansas State. The Cowboys finished last season ranked.

– No. 21 Baylor is 4-0 after upsetting Iowa State at home and is ranked for the first time since the final 2019 poll.

– No. 23 North Carolina State (3-1) snapped an eight-game losing streak against Clemson to move into the ranking. The Wolfpack was ranked briefly at No. 23 last season.

– No. 24 Wake Forest is 4-0 for the first time since 2019, when the Demon Deacons were ranked for a total of five weeks with a peak of No. 19. That’s the only season Wake has been ranked since 2008.

OUT

Two teams that started the season in the top 10 are now unranked.

– Iowa State started No. 7, its best ranking in school history after finishing ninth in 2020, but now sits at 2-2 and unranked.

– North Carolina was No. 10 to start the season, but fell out after being routed by Georgia Tech to fall to 2-2.

– Wisconsin began the season No. 12 but after losing to Penn State and Notre Dame to fall to 1-2 is unranked.

– Kansas State spent one week in the rankings and dropped out.

CONFERENCE CALL

The Southeastern Conference has four teams in the top 10 and five of 12 in the top 12, including Mississippi at No. 12.

The Atlantic Coast Conference, meanwhile, has no teams in the top 20 for the first time since the final poll of the 2011 season. The last time there were no top-20 ACC teams this early in the season was was Sept. 16, 1986, before Miami and Florida State were members and before the poll expanded from 20 to 25.

SEC – 7 (Nos. 1, 2, 8, 10, 12, 15, 22).

Big Ten – 5 (Nos. 4, 5, 11, 14, 17).

ACC – 3 (Nos. 23, 24, 25).

Big 12 – 3 (Nos. 6, 19, 21).

Pac-12 – 2 (Nos. 3, 20).

American – 1 (No. 7).

Sun Belt – 1 (No. 16).

Mountain West – 1 (No. 18).

Independents – 2 (Nos. 8, 13).

RANKED vs. RANKED

No. 12 Mississippi at No. 1 Alabama. First ranked matchup between the Rebels and Tide since 2017.

No. 8 Arkansas at No. 2 Georgia. Razorbacks’ resurgence has been one of the stories of the first month of the season.

No. 7 Cincinnati at No. 9 Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish obliged the Bearcats, who need Notre Dame to be as good a possible if they have any shot to sneak into the playoff.

No. 21 Baylor at No 19 Oklahoma State. Might be a short stay in the rankings for one of the Big 12 rivals.

No. 2 Michigan beats Purdue 43-22 for Big Ten crown

Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

INDIANAPOLIS – Donovan Edwards ran for 185 yards and a score, J.J. McCarthy threw three touchdown passes and No. 2 Michigan beat Purdue 43-22 on Saturday night for its second straight Big Ten title and a likely No. 2 playoff seed.

College football’s winningest program has the first 13-win season in school history. Two more victories would give the Wolverines (13-0, No. 2 CFP) their first national championship since 1997.

And with injured star Blake Corum sidelined by a season-ending left knee injury, Edwards stole the show for the second straight week.

After shredding rival Ohio State for 216 yards and two scores last week, Edwards broke open this game with a 60-yard on the first play of the second half to set up one score. He added a 27-yard TD sprint on Michigan’s next series to make it 28-13.

Purdue (8-5) never recovered from Michigan’s quick, seven-play onslaught after it trailed 14-13 at halftime.

But quarterback Aidan O'Connell and receiver Charlie Jones helped the Boilermakers make it interesting for a while.

O’Connell was 32 of 47 with 366 yards and two interceptions after missing some practice time early this week to mourn the death of his oldest brother. Jones, who lost to Michigan in last year’s game while playing for Iowa, had 13 receptions for 162 yards.

It just wasn’t enough.

Michigan showed no signs of a hangover after last week’s rout over the Buckeyes, taking a 7-0 lead on its opening possession with a 25-yard TD pass from J.J. McCarthy to Colston Loveland.

Purdue answered with Devin Mockobee’s 1-yard scoring run to tie the score then took the lead on Mitchell Fineran’s 33-yard field goal.

Michigan answered by taking advantage of an offside call on fourth-and-6 by going for the first down, picking it up and eventually converting the drive into a 7-yard TD pass from McCarthy to Luke Schoonmaker. They never trailed again.

Edwards big run set up Kalel Mullings‘ 1-yard TD plunge before Edwards celebrated his own scoring run.

All Purdue could muster was three more field goals.

McCarthy was 11 of 17 with 161 yards and one interception.

Corum posted a message on Twitter on Saturday morning to say his knee surgery went well.

THE TAKEAWAY

Purdue: The Boilermakers’ magical season ended with a solid showing in the championship game where they played better than most expected. Still, they won the Big Ten’s wild, wild West, both trophy games and should be bound for a warm-weather bowl game.

Michigan: Yes, the Wolverines may have already locked up a top-two seed thanks to losses by Southern Cal and TCU. Michigan now has back-to-back conference crowns for the first time since 2003-04 though the hard part remains – ending its national title drought.

DIALING UP TRICKERY

Brohm played one season in the now defunct XFL and has acknowledged that experience helped him understand how to inject personality and creativity into play calling. It was on full display Saturday.

A surprise end around set up Purdue’s first score, a fake punt helped keep its second scoring drive alive and then Mockobee sprinted 25 yards on a fake flea-flicker in the third quarter.

UP NEXT

Purdue: Will find out its bowl game, destination and opponent Sunday.

Michigan: Waiting to see where its headed and who it will face in the national semifinals.

Klubnik, No. 10 Clemson rout No. 24 UNC 39-10 for ACC title

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
0 Comments

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Backup quarterback Cade Klubnik completed 20 of 24 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score and No. 10 Clemson reclaimed the Atlantic Coast Conference championship with a 39-10 victory over No. 24 North Carolina on Saturday night.

Cornerback Nate Wiggins broke up two passes in the end zone, blocked a field goal and returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown to help the Tigers win their seventh ACC title in eight seasons.

Clemson (11-2, No. 9 CFP) won six straight ACC championships from 2015 to 2020 before failing to reach the title game last season. But coach Dabo Swinney‘s Tigers rebounded in a big way, going 9-0 against ACC foes this season to reach the Orange Bowl.

They have Klubnik to thank for that.

With Clemson down 7-0, Swinney benched two-year starter D.J. Uiagalelei after the Tigers failed to pick up a first down on their first two possessions, Swinney turned to Klubnik, a 5-star recruit from Austin, Texas. He responded by leading the Tigers to four straight scores and a 24-10 lead at halftime.

Clemson stretched it to 39-10 heading into the fourth quarter.

It wasn’t the first time Swinney has turned to Klubnik.

He benched Uiagalelei in the second half against Syracuse and Klubnik responded by leading the Tigers to a come-from-behind 27-21 victory. Swinney also turned to Klubnik against Notre Dame, although the results were the opposite with the freshman throwing a Pick 6 in a 35-14 loss.

Swinney has never been shy about replacing veteran QBs with less experienced players. He did it in 2014, sitting Cole Stoudt for Deshaun Watson, and again in 2018 replacing Kelly Bryant with Trevor Lawrence.

ACC player of the year Drake Maye was limited to 268 yards passing and turned the ball over three times for North Carolina (9-4, No. 23 CFP), which was seeking its first ACC championship since 1980 when Lawrence Taylor was wreaking havoc on quarterbacks.

Maye got things started on the right foot for the Tar Heels, capping an 11-play, 78-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run for a 7-0 lead on UNC’s first possession.

But the Tar Heels repeatedly sputtered on offense inside the red zone after that, the biggest blow coming when Maye misfired near the goal line and Wiggins – who had struggled in Clemson’s 51-45 win over Wake Forest – returned his pass for a touchdown to give Clemson a 32-10 lead with 5:05 left in the third quarter.

Klubnik provided an immediate spark for Clemson.

He led the Tigers on a nine-play, 71-yard drive, culminating in a 1-yard TD pass to Davis Allen. After Maye’s fumble, Klubnik caught a 19-yard pass from Phil Mafah to set up Mafah’s 4-yard touchdown run – Clemson’s second TD in a span of 40 seconds.

Klubnik then showed off his arm strength with a 68-yard pass to fellow freshman Cole Turner to set up his own 1-yard TD run for a 21-7 lead.

END OF AN ERA

This is the final year the ACC will feature its two division winners playing for a championship. In future years, all ACC teams will be lumped together and the two teams with the best records will advance to the title game.

THE TAKEAWAY

North Carolina: Maye garnered plenty of Heisman Trophy talk during the season, but the Tar Heels offense has stalled resulting in a three-game losing streak. But as long as Maye doesn’t transfer – and there are no indications he will given his family history at North Carolina – the Tar Heels have a good chance to get back to the ACC title game next season.

Clemson: The Tigers have set a high bar by winning national championships, so as much as they will enjoy getting back atop the ACC mountain there will be plenty of talk over whether Swinney cost his team a chance at a spot in the College Football Playoff by not turning to Klubnik at quarterback earlier in the season. It seems Uiagalelei might be a logical transfer portal candidate.

UP NEXT

Clemson will play in the Orange Bowl, while North Carolina awaits a bowl bid.