The Clemson Tigers had a much-needed bye week this past Saturday. The players and coaches were provided a chance to recharge batteries and hopefully find some answers on the offensive side of the ball as the 4-2 Tigers head to Coral Gables for a clash with the Miami Hurricanes.
Week One - Duke Blue Devils (5-1, 24-3 Win Over NC State)
Star quarterback Riley Leonard is out for at least a few weeks with a high-ankle sprain so the Blue Devils relied on defense and the running game and suffocated the North Carolina State Wolfpack for a 24-3 victory. Backup QB Henry Belin IV completed only four passes but two of his completions were touchdowns. Jordan Waters added 123 yards rushing and Duke held the Wolfpack to only 4.4 yards per play. Duke now takes on the fourth-ranked Florida State Seminoles.
Week Two - Charleston Southern (3-3, 24-10 Win Over Lindenwood)
The Buccaneers improved to 3-3 on the 2023 campaign with a 24-10 victory over the Lindenwood Lions. They now travel to UT-Martin to play the 5-1 Skyhawks.
Week Three - Florida Atlantic (3-3, 56-14 Win Over South Florida)
The Owls made the short trip to South Florida and completely obliterated the USF Bulls. Florida Atlantic improved to 3-3 with the 56-14 victory. Daniel Richardson was 31-38 for 382 yards with three touchdowns and FAU outgained South Florida 594-399. Florida Atlantic now hosts UTSA before a trio of games they will be heavily favored in. An 8-4 record is still very much in play for Tom Herman’s team.
Week Four - Florida State Seminoles (6-0, 41-3 Win Over Syracuse)
Florida State is now 6-0 after manhandling the Syracuse Orange by a score of 41-3. The Seminoles led 17-3 at half and then hit the gas in the second half to pull away. Jordan Travis was 23-37 for 284 yards with a touchdown while Lawrance Toafili added 93 yards on the ground with a touchdown. FSU outgained Syracuse 537 to 261 and held the Orange to just 4.1 yards per play in the blowout win in Tallahassee. FSU now hosts 5-1 Duke on Saturday night. The Blue Devils will be without Riley Leonard. After that contest, the Noles have Wake Forest, Pittsburgh, Miami, North Alabama and Florida. A 12-0 regular season looks very possible.
Week Five - Syracuse Orange (4-3, 3-41 Loss to Florida State)
Syracuse has now lost three straight games after getting curb-stomped by the Florida State Seminoles. Garrett Shrader has not been a rushing force since the huge hit he took from Justin Mascoll early in the game against Clemson and he was only 9-21 throwing the ball on Saturday. The Orange have a much-needed bye week and a chance to regroup before travelling to Virginia Tech on October 26 to play the Hokies. They will then finish with Boston College and Pitt at home, a trip to Georgia Tech and a home game against Wake Forest. They should be able to find two wins and go bowling.
Week Six - Wake Forest Demon Deacons (3-3, 13-30 Loss at Virginia Tech)
The Demon Deacons fell to 3-3 with a disappointing 13-30 defeat in Blacksburg. Mitch Griffis was only 8-17 for 61 yards before giving way to Michael Kern at quarterback. Kern was better, completing 14 of 22 passes for 166 yards but the running game was non-existent for the Demon Deacons and their three turnovers did them in. Virginia Tech outgained WF 462-259 and Wake only gained 3.7 yards per play. This is the worst offensive team Dave Clawson has had in his tenure in Winston-Salem.
Week Seven - Miami Hurricanes (4-2, 41-31 Loss at North Carolina)
For the second straight week, the Miami Hurricanes shot themselves in the foot and lost. Miami went toe-to-toe with a very good North Carolina squad in Chapel Hill but fell 41-31 thanks to four turnovers. The teams were tied in time of possession, there was only a 28-yard gap in yardage, both squads ran 76 plays in the game but Tyler Van Dyke threw two interceptions and the Hurricanes lost two fumbles as they were outscored 21-0 in the third quarter to squander a halftime lead. Jacolby George and Xavier Restrepo are a handful at wide receiver and the Clemson defense will need to be ready for this explosive offense but Miami’s self-inflicted wounds have them at 4-2 instead of 6-0.
Week Eight - North Carolina State (4-3, 3-24 Loss to Duke)
After an encouraging offensive showing a week ago, the Wolfpack did not have much success against a staunch Duke defense. North Carolina State fell 24-3 despite holding Duke to just 107 passing yards as the Blue Devils played without Riley Leonard. North Carolina State’s MJ Morris got the nod at quarterback again and was 24-40 for 193 yards with an interception. Morris also led the Wolfpack in rushing with 38 yards as the NC State offense sputtered to just 4.4 yards per play. North Carolina State now gets two full weeks to prepare for Clemson in Raleigh on October 28.
Week Nine - Notre Dame (6-2, 48-20 Win Over USC)
The Notre Dame Fighting Irish showcased a very strong defense and overwhelmed the USC Trojans in South Bend on Saturday night. Turnovers and defensive stops gave the Irish short fields and the offense repeatedly took advantage. Notre Dame had scoring drives of: 12, 46, 50, 68 and nine yards plus a special teams touchdown and a defensive touchdown. The passing game continues to be quite pedestrian but this was complementary football played to perfection for Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish get a well-deserved bye week before hosting Pittsburgh. They’ll likely come to Clemson sitting at 7-2.
Week Ten - Georgia Tech (3-3, BYE WEEK)
The Yellow Jackets were off this past weekend. They will host Boston College on October 21 and they get North Carolina on October 28.
Week Eleven - North Carolina (6-0, 41-31 Win Over Miami)
The North Carolina Tar Heels now have five double-digit wins over “Power Five” opponents. They are the only team in the country with that distinction. Drake Maye threw for 273 yards with four touchdowns and Devontez Walker made a massive impact on the game with three touchdowns and 132 yards receiving. Omarion Hampton continues to impress, rushing for 197 yards with a score. The Tar Heels trailed at halftime but outscored the Hurricanes 21-0 in the third quarter take the lead and pull away. The defense was not perfect but they did force four turnovers by the Hurricanes. North Carolina hosts Virginia before playing Georgia Tech and Campbell. They take on Duke, Clemson and North Carolina State to finish the season.
Week Twelve - South Carolina (2-4, 41-39 Loss to Florida)
The Gamecocks are now 2-4 after another high-scoring loss. They led 37-27 with under ten minutes remaining before Graham Mertz threw a pair of touchdown passes and then Florida took an intentional safety as time expired. Spencer Rattler was 23-30 with four touchdowns and the game was nearly even in yards but it was two Gamecocks turnovers and an inability to stop the Gators late that proved decisive. South Carolina’s bowl hopes are hanging in limbo with a remaining schedule that doesn’t provide four easy wins. They play at 6-1 Missouri this coming weekend before traveling to Texas A&M.