Week 13 was one that all of Clemson nation had been looking forward to about as much as they did the first week of the season. Trevor Lawrence came back after missing five weeks and the Tigers returned to the field after being off for three weeks themselves. It was also a week that saw some teams take a hit to their playoff chances.
So, let’s take a look back at the weekend.
C.J. Marable ran for 157 yards and three touchdowns as the No. 16 Chanticleers took Texas St to the woodshed on Saturday. Coastal Carolina (9-0, 7-0) wrapped up the Sun Belt Conference East Division title with their 49-14 victory. They had 572 yards of total offense while extending their winning streak to 10 games. Next up is Liberty though, and that will be their biggest challenge to date.
After a three week hiatus due to a bye week and a cancellation the Tigers showed little to no rust and took all of their frustrations out on Pitt in their 52-17 win. It was another game that saw Clemson players setting records and joining former Tiger greats in the record books. One of those was WR Cornell Powell who became one of only three players to ever have back to back 150 yard games. The other two were DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins and Sammy Watkins.
There were plenty of self inflicted wounds as the game imploded for No. 8 Northwestern (5-1) as they lost 29-20 to Michigan St, who came into the game with at 1-3. The Wildcats committed three of their four turnovers in the fourth quarter and they really never seemed truly in control in this one. This, in all likelihood, knocked the Wildcats out of any chance for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
The one thing that the Buckeyes did not want to have happen was an outbreak of Covid-19 but it appears that is exactly what they are dealing with. Their game against Illinois was canceled due to positive Covid-19 tests that also included Ohio St’s head coach Ryan Day. The problem that the Buckeyes run into now is they need both of their last two games to go forward in order for them not to have to worry about whether or not they will have played enough games to qualify for the B1G championship. Add to the problem that they are not assured that they will be cleared to play next weekend as of yet either and their playoff hopes are on life support.
In a game that many felt the Tigers would need to play perfectly for any chance it didn’t take long to realize that it wasn’t going to happen. Alabama entered as the better team and they proved it all four quarters as they downed Auburn 42-13, even without legendary Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban on the sideline. This was the Tigers fifth consecutive loss in Tuscaloosa since their miraculous 2010 victory and the Crimson Tide has won them by an average of 27.6 points per game. Gus Malzahn is also now 3-5 in Iron Bowls since he took over at Auburn.
The Gamecocks lost 45-16 to No. 9 Georgia Saturday night and many there feel that this season can’t be over soon enough. You have to wonder what South Carolina could do since they were missing their only trusted receiver. Or when eight of the Gamecocks 11 starting defenders from the season opener weren’t playing due to either injuries or opt outs. Then they found out that their leading tackler Ernest Jones would be out for the second half due to an injured ankle. This season has been so bad that even many of the South Carolina fans probably wouldn’t mind calling off games so they could just get this season over, hire a new coach, and start trying to restore hope. Because hope springs eternal right?