Mandatory Credit: Photo by Michael Woods/AP/Shutterstock (13434585b) Alabama quarterback Bryce Young (9) gets ready to run a play against Arkansas during the first half of an NCAA college football game, in Fayetteville, Ark Alabama Arkansas Football, Fayetteville, United States – 01 Oct 2022
#14 Ole Miss- 22, #7 Kentucky- 19
This will not be a game that Kentucky wants to remember. The Wildcats looked quite off-balance from the very beginning of this game on both sides of the ball. Will Levis was sacked three times in the game and faced more pressure than the scorebook will show. The pocket almost never seemed completely clean. However, Levis was hardly the reason for this loss. He completed 75% of his throws for 220 yards and two touchdowns from a crowded pocket for most of the game. Levis fumbled twice including the game-ending turnover as protection broke down on the backup right tackle during the last Kentucky offensive snap in the red zone. Kentucky’s star running back who missed the first month of the season, Chris Rodriguez, did not play poorly, but struggled to gain any real momentum rushing for 72 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries. That is around 3.8 yards per carry.
The Ole Miss running game was the story in this one, as Kentucky could not contain them on the ground. Quinshon Judkins ran for 106 yards and a touchdown on only 15 carries contributing to the Rebels’ 186 yards on the ground. Ole Miss QB, Jaxson Dart, was the culprit of their only turnover throwing an interception in the final minute of the first half.
This game was an oxymoron to traditional football philosophy. Kentucky controlled the ball overwhelmingly possessing the ball for more than 36 minutes and punting half as much as Ole Miss. However, the Rebels won the turnover battle and made less mistakes on special teams. Kentucky could not convert when kicking missing their first attempt and then muffing the snap on the next one. They also missed an extra point. Those points left on the board are sure to be a focus for Mark Stoops as they try to regroup moving forward.
Up Next (Ole Miss): @ Vanderbilt
Up Next (Kentucky): vs. South Carolina
#22 Wake Forest- 31, #23 Florida State- 21
Another great QB battle in the ACC as Sam Hartman and Jordan Travis dueled in Tallahassee. However, this time Wake Forest had the upper hand as Hartman took the game by storm leading Wake to take a 21-7 lead after the first half. Hartman ended the day with 234 yards passing and two touchdowns while completing 65% of his passes on 34 attempts. The Demon Deacons controlled time of possession for the majority of the contest due to their running game, which has been inconsistent for them all season to say the least. Justice Ellison put together a nice outing rushing for 114 yards and a score on 18 carries as the team’s lead back. Christian Turner also ran for a score on 64 yards rushing. This win was an immediate momentum shift taking down one of the best teams in the conference after suffering a heartbreaking loss to Clemson last week.
Jordan Travis was exceptional despite the loss. He finished the game with a higher QB rating than Hartman, more touchdowns, more passing yards, and was sacked less. As far as stats are concerned, Travis had the better game. However, Wake controlled time of possession and won the turnover battle as Florida State fumbled twice. The Seminoles also committed more penalties and were less efficient on third down going 4-11 on conversions. Florida State put together a late surge narrowing the lead to as little as five at one point, but was unable to hold as Wake took this one on the road.
Wake Forest looks to have a more easy-going schedule for the next three weeks until they play NC State in early November. As for Florida State, they get NC State next week and it could be viewed as must-win if they want to fall in favor of the AP.
Up Next (Wake Forest): vs. Army
Up Next (Florida State): @ NC State
#2 Alabama- 49, #20 Arkansas- 26
The Crimson Tide took a big conference win against Arkansas, but it did not come without bad news attached to it. Star QB and potential top overall pick in the NFL draft, Bryce Young, went down with a throwing shoulder injury and did not return to the game. The severity of the injury is not known at this time. Due to Young’s injury, we saw Jalen Milroe take over and provide another element to the Alabama offense. Milroe ran for 91 yards and a touchdown on six carries including 77-yard sprint towards the end of the game. However, Alabama’s offense was driven by Jahmyr Gibbs who ran for a crazy 206 yards and two touchdowns on only 18 carries. The Tide were also much more efficient on third down converting on 9-14 for the afternoon.
As for Arkansas, KJ Jefferson struggled to consistently produce against this Alabama defense. He completed just over 50% of his passes for 155 yards and a score and could not create nearly as much as usual with his legs only rushing for 38 yards. Raheim Sanders was the major offensive catalyst for the Razorbacks rushing for 101 yards and a touchdown. This is the Razorbacks’ second straight conference loss after going down to Texas A&M last week.
The big story of the game is whether Bryce Young’s injury is serious enough to keep him out for a significant amount of time. If not, Alabama’s offense will have to take a different approach moving forward with Milroe at QB.
Up Next (Alabama): vs. Texas A&M
Up Next (Arkansas): @ Mississippi State
#5 Clemson- 30, #10 NC State- 20
Clemson continues to cement themselves as the best team in the ACC. This game was another great display of young QBs who will play in the NFL in the coming years. DJ Uiagalelei is looking more like the player that Clemson recruited a couple years ago as he further develops his game. DJ has become a multi-dimensional player that can crush defenses with both his arm and his legs. The Clemson QB threw for 209 yards and a touchdown while completing 70% of his throws. He also ran for two touchdowns on 64 yards. Clemson’s pass rush proved itself tonight making Devin Leary’s life much harder in the pocket than normal. They got to Leary three times with superstar edge rusher, Myles Murphy accounting for half of them. The pass rush is just one area where Clemson’s defense was outstanding. They held NC State to just 34 yards on the ground.
NC State struggled to find consistency on the offensive side of the football. Devin Leary was forced to throw the ball 48 times due to the Wolfpack’s inability to run the football effectively. Leary was under pressure for most of the game, but especially in the second half. Leary put up 245 yards with a touchdown and a pick completing 28 of 48 pass attempts. He also ran for a touchdown. Thayer Thomas was Leary’s most reliable target pulling in nine catches for 84 yards.
Clemson looks like the class of the ACC after tonight given that Wake Forest took down Florida State. As for NC State, they have the opportunity to rebound at home next week against the Seminoles.
Up Next (Clemson): @ Boston College
Up Next (NC State): vs. Florida State