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Weekend Recap

What We Learned: Clear No. 1

by Luke Carlton
Updated On: October 4, 2018, 4:04 pm ET

Every Monday at noon, Luke Carlton will post an easily digestible recap of the weekend’s top news and what it means moving forward.


1. Alabama dismantled the Leonard Fournette hype train.


All the talk before the game was about Leonard Fournette. A small part of the talk was about Alabama’s front seven. There was barely any talk about Derrick Henry.


You can bet your bottom dollar that Nick Saban knew this, and let his players know this.


Alabama turned a front seven into a front 11, with all players making extra effort to shut down the FBS rushing leader. And it worked.


Fournette rushed for 31 yards on 19 carries, 162 yards less than his season average. If you take away Fournette’s longest run of the day, he would have finished with 13 yards on 18 carries.

Alabama forced Brandon Harris to throw the ball, something they did not want to do, and let Derrick Henry carry the ball 38 times, which is something they did want to do.


Alabama is back to forcing their will onto opposing teams and are just about hitting their stride towards a possible SEC Championship game against Florida.

2. Clemson now has a clear path to the #1 seed.

As we mentioned last week, the last time Clemson had beaten both Georgia Tech and Florida State in the same year it was 2008. After Dalvin Cook’s long touchdown to start out the game, you had a gut feeling Clemson would have to wait another year to beat the streak.


Even going into the fourth quarter with the game tied at 13, it was getting close to squeaky bum time for fans in Death Valley before Wayne Gallman burst up the middle, bounced off tackles and fell into the end zone.


Clemson are now rightly #1 in the AP Poll and, most importantly, in the eyes of the College Football Playoff committee. Clemson rounds out the season with two easy games against Wake Forest and in-state rival South Carolina, before facing North Carolina in the ACC Championship Game, should the Tar Heels win out.


3. Here comes the Navy.


While we’ve all been discussing Memphis, Houston and Temple emerging from the AAC, Navy had been building up a strong case themselves.

Sitting at 7-1, with their one loss coming in South Bend to Notre Dame, Navy are undefeated in conference play and can throw a real spanner in the works of a Houston – Temple championship game.

Navy sits in an odd position. With their yearly game against Army coming on the December 12th, the committee will have to delay their final ranking and bowl assignments until after the game, should Navy be in a positional to challenge for the Group of 5 spot.

The Midshipmen must first take care of SMU this week, followed by a trip down to undefeated Houston in a match to potentially decide the AAC West title.


And while Keenan Reynolds hasn’t broken the All-time rushing touchdown record, bet your mortgage it happens this week at home to an SMU team that is 123rd in rushing defense.

4. An Oklahoma State-ment.

Not many took the undefeated Cowboys seriously. They were “the other undefeated team” in the Big 12 behind TCU and Baylor.

Oklahoma was being taken more seriously than Oklahoma State, and they lost to Texas!

Mike Gundy’s team came out with the biggest statement of the weekend, trouncing TCU throughout the entire game. Mason Rudolph’s five touchdowns and the Cowboys dominant defense took over the game.


Oklahoma State will get a boost in the polls, but they will also get a boost in respect. They are a team that must now be taken seriously, which is silly considering they are still the same undefeated team as they were last week.

The schedule isn’t kind, but could be worse, for to the Cowboys. It is also entirely possibly they run the table and find themselves in the playoff. The Big 12 is too strong to leave out an undefeated champion. A trip to Iowa State next week is on the cards before two back-to-back games to decide the Big 12.

At home to Baylor on November 21st and at home to Oklahoma on November 28th are the two biggest games of the year for Oklahoma State, but they’re both at home in front of a rowdy Stillwater crowd.

Don’t be shocked if you see the Cowboys in the committee’s top five tonight.

5. Cardale Jones decided the Ohio State starting quarterback conundrum.


Cardale Jones did enough to get the Buckeyes the win on Saturday.

He turned the ball over once, but generally took care of the ball. He added yards on the ground and was efficient enough in the passing game to take some weight off of Ezekiel Elliott.

But it lacked the explosive nature J.T. Barrett brings to the table. It lacked that certain special something you get with Barrett.

Cardale Jones is still a good quarterback and can still get the job done for Ohio State, but with games coming up against Michigan State and Michigan, it might take something more than what Jones can bring to the table for the Buckeyes to run the table.

Barrett brings that something special. It’s hard to describe, but the Ohio State offense just looks like it functions better under the Barrett, who returns from suspension this week.

Cardale has been given his chances and, to his credit, he is still undefeated as a starter. But it’s time to let J.T. Barrett take the wheel and drive the Buckeyes to a Big Ten title game against the mighty Iowa Hawkeyes (yes, they’re still undefeated).

6. Notre Dame is injured, but you wouldn’t know it.

Notre Dame is winning games with their third choice spring game quarterback and third choice running back.

Following the injury to former receiver C.J. Prosise, true freshman Josh Adams stepped up to the plate and delivered against Pitt.

It doesn’t matter who you put in, Brian Kelly has recruited phenomenally in a plug-in-and-play style approach. But what really helps the offense is Will Fuller.

Any other year, Will Fuller would be the talk of every pundit in the country regarding who is the best receiver in the country.

But with Corey Coleman, Josh Doctson, JuJu Smith-Schuster and Laquon Treadwell dominating major conferences, Fuller’s 44 receptions for 900 yards and 13 touchdowns have slipped under the radar.

Notre Dame continues to battle through the adversity of injuries and continues to show why they are a serious playoff contender and enough of a reason to leave out two power 5 conference champions.

7. #TeamChaos just won’t go away


It’s happening every week now. Incredible plays that would most likely go down in history for their ridiculous nature are just being clumped together in the year of the chaotic endings.

This week, it was the SEC’s turn to step up the plate. But it wasn’t just one play this time.

After conceding game-tying touchdown with just 53 seconds left, the Rebels of Ole Miss went for the win.

Swag Kelly hit Markell Pack for a 17 yard gain to put the Rebels at their own 47.

A few plays later, the rebels went for it at the Arkansas 49 yard line on 4th and six. They did not convert. Arkansas had the ball back with nine seconds left.

Brandon Allen hit Dominique Reed for 21 yards, down to the Ole Miss 30. The chains moved and Allen spiked it with three second to go. The Razorbacks are in a position to win.

But #TeamChaos rears its head again. Tony Bridges leaps up to get his hands on the ball. Kick blocked.

Overtime.

Swag Kelly takes care of business for the Rebels who score on their first possession. Extra point is good.

Arkansas takes over. A big sack from Marquis Haynes (remember the name) and the ball pops out. Brandon Allen gets back on it, but the Razorbacks face 3rd and 25.

We won’t try to even describe what happened on 4th and 25, but if you ever wanted to know what #TeamChaos looked like, that was it.

But the insane play swung the momentum back to the Razorbacks. A Drew Morgan touchdown puts Arkansas within a point of tying. Also, we’ll give a quick shout out to Drew Morgan for playing with not one, not two, but FOUR bicep bands on one arm.

Arkansas goes for two, obviously. Because after playing one 4OT game this season, you’re sick to death of overtime.

Marquis Haynes (remember him?) comes around the corner for his second sack of the drive. The only problem was the big chunk of Brandon Allen’s facemask he clutched onto during the play. Half the distance to the goal, replay the down.

Brandon Allen fakes a Jet Sweep and the backside of the offensive line pulls to escort the senior quarterback into the end zone. #TeamChaos pulls off its fourth straight wacky finish of the week.

And don’t even get us started on Washington State’s 5th down play.
 

8. The Heisman race just got blown wide open.


While it wasn’t his entire fault, Leonard Fournette’s 31-yard showing is enough to put a serious dent in his Heisman Trophy hopes.

Fellow frontrunner Trevone Boykin’s four-interception performance against Oklahoma State put him in a similar situation.

The two horses in the race stumbled at the latest fence, and the race has now been blown wide open.

After Boykin and Fournette, there were a lot of questions surrounding other candidates.

Would Corey Coleman get a look in as a receiver?

Did the slow start to the season from Christian McCaffrey and Derrick Henry put them too far behind the pack?

Has Deshaun Watson’s numbers been good enough to merit contention?

Why hasn’t Ezekiel Elliott or Royce Freeman been given any consideration?

These are questions we’re glad we don’t have to answer, because a once clear Heisman race has now become cloudy and anybody’s to take.

9. Nebraska finally wins one late.


Credit to the Nebraska team who didn’t let their heads down. Five of the Cornhuskers six losses have been by one score or less. It’s easy to trap yourself into that mental mindset of “oh no, here we go again.”

As we now know, the ruling on the field was correct and referees were saved from one less embarrassing decision that cost a team a football game.

A second half that included nine drives resulted in seven touchdowns, one interception and a single punt. The seven touchdowns drives averaged just under nine plays per drive.

However, it was the shortest and last drive that mattered the most.

Tommy Armstrong started at his own nine-yard line with 55 seconds left. In four plays, Nebraska had taken the lead and removed a monkey off their back in front of a raucous Nebraska crowd.

At 4-6, Nebraska can still get a bowl berth, if they can beat Rutgers and undefeated Iowa in their last two games.  At 8-1, Michigan State can still get to the Big Ten title game, if they win out. The small obstacle standing in their way of this is an undefeated Ohio State in two weeks time.

10. The longest losing streak in college football rolls on.


To being the season, ESPN College GameDay host Rece Davis put a question to former host Chris Fowler testing his football knowledge.

The question was something along the lines of “Which team across college football currently has the longest losing streak?”

Fowler didn’t know. The answer was the Pennsylvania State Athletic conference’s very own Cheyney Wolves.

As we all know, the PSAC regular season finishes this weekend and it’s about time we checked in on Coach Chris Roulhac and the Wolves.

The Wolves finished the season 0-10, with their final game against Slippery Rock abandoned due to The Rock’s involvement in the PSAC title game.

Cheyney’s impressive streak is still alive, sitting at 42 games, with their last win coming over Lincoln University in the opening game of the 2012 season.

The Wolves were outscored by an average of 40 points each game in a their third consecutive winless season.


Luke Carlton
Luke Carlton is a NFL Draft writer for Rotoworld. He can also be found on Twitter.