Brutus Buckeye

Stock Up / Stock Down: CJ Stroud has wheels, Buckeyes struggle in bad weather again and Tennessee, Clemson and Alabama all go down in flames

It was a glorious weekend for Ohio State fans, and the Buckeyes’ performance on Northwestern wasn’t the biggest part of it.

Saturday’s slog at Evanston aside, several heavy hitters suffered setbacks as Tennessee, Alabama and Clemson all slumped in Week 10. In the latest edition of Eleven Warriors‘, we take a look at all the biggest events in the world of college football as the College Football Playoff race heats up in mid-November.

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The mobility of CJ Stroud

Call it a silver lining? CJ Stroud had his career-worst game as a passer on Saturday, but his 79 rushing yards will go a long way to silence critics who have long said the redshirt second refuses to run the ball. Stroud racked up the most yards in his rushing game history with just six rushing attempts, and some of those were desperately needed in a tighter game than he needed to be.

Stroud’s 44-yard run was especially important in the fourth quarter, as it set up a Miyan Williams touchdown that sealed Ohio State’s victory late. He also doubled the longest play of the day for Buckeye’s offense, which could barely complete a pass in the elements.

Georgia

So much for an SEC history book for Tennessee. Georgia brought Josh Heupel and company back to earth with a 14-point win that saw the nation’s best offense limited to 289 total rushing yards and one touchdown on the day. The Bulldogs sacked Hendon Hooker six times when the Heisman favorite couldn’t even lunge 200 yards in the air and threw a rare interception. Stetson Bennett had an effective game with over 250 yards and a pair of scores to help lead Georgia to a victory over the hottest team in the sport.

Marcus Freeman

What a bow for the Irish. Notre Dame falls to Ohio State and Marshall to start the first full year under Marcus Freeman, but suddenly gets knocked out of top teams in consecutive weeks in the final month of the regular season. The Irish picked up their best win of the season in Week 9, passing Syracuse with authority, and they outdid themselves against Dabo Swinney and company on Saturday. Notre Dame blasted Clemson 35-14 to return to the AP poll and ousted the Tigers from the CFP conversation, at least for now, with their first loss of the season.

USL

From unranked to No. 7 in the AP poll in the space of three weeks, Brian Kelly lifted LSU late in the season after a 32-31 win over Alabama. Arizona State transfer quarterback Jayden Daniels continues to be deadly as a double threat under center, finishing with three total touchdowns as the Tigers took the Crimson Tide to overtime and finished the work with a two-point conversion after their first touchdown of the extra period. .

LSU didn’t look set to make much of a splash in Kelly’s freshman season after a season-opening loss to Florida State and a blowout loss to Tennessee in mid-October. Yet all of a sudden, the Tigers picked up back-to-back wins over Florida, Ole Miss and Bama to cement themselves as the third-highest-ranked team in the SEC.

TOS

Sonny Dykes’ first season in Forth Worth, Texas is already TCU’s most successful since 2017. Holding a 9-0 record after a 34-24 victory over Texas Tech, the Horned Frogs are now well positioned for their first CFP berth following losses to several perennial title contenders. TCU’s primetime game with No. 18 Texas next weekend is the toughest test left on its regular-season schedule, but if the Horned Frogs earn a 10th win, they could be on. on track for a top-four finish in the final playoffs. the rankings are determined next month.

Stock down

Buckeyes in bad weather

When Michigan bullied the Buckeyes in the freezing cold and snowy conditions at the Big House last season, some wondered aloud how The Game might have been different had the weather not been a factor. Unfortunately for Ohio State, there’s no hiding from the elements in Big Ten country in November. The Buckeyes battled bad weather again on Saturday, finishing with the fewest total rushing yards all season (283) as rain and wind made it nearly “impossible” to get the ball rolling, according to Ryan Day.

Ohio State still won, but questions about the Buckeyes’ ability to beat a higher caliber opponent — Michigan, for example — in an unfavorable outdoor environment will only linger going forward.

Run the game

Although the passing attack was far less spectacular, there was a good reason for that. Winds over 30 miles per hour and clear sideways rain impacted CJ Stroud’s ability to throw the ball and Buckeye receivers’ ability to catch it. While the running game stats aren’t quite as bad — Ohio State passed 200 yards for the first time since Week 6 and finished with three quick scores — questions about that are much more pervasive going forward.

TreVeyon Henderson’s injury absence leaves positional depth uncertain, inside line play continues to be shaky and Stroud’s 79-yard effort has skewed the team’s running numbers. Buckeyes. Take out Miyan Williams’ 27-yard touchdown, and he’d average just 3.4 yards per carry against Northwestern, which had the 109th rush defense in the nation going into the weekend.

Tennessee

Four days after securing first place in the initial CFP standings, the Volunteers fell victim to defending champions CFP and suffered their first defeat of the season. In a clash between perhaps the best offense and the best defense in the nation, the latter reigned supreme as the Bulldogs essentially shut down Hendon Hooker and company to claim a two-touchdown victory at home. The Vols won’t fall far after losing to the reigning national champions, but their path to the CFP is certainly murkier now than it was before.

Heisman competitors

Regarding his candidacy for the Heisman Trophy, CJ Stroud chose a good weekend to have a day off. As far as passing goes, the Ohio State quarterback had the worst game of his college tenure on Saturday, completing just 10 of 26 attempts and finishing with 76 yards. But things didn’t go well for several other top contenders for college football’s most prestigious individual honor, either.

Both Hendon Hooker and Bryce Young suffered team losses, and although Young still put up big numbers, it was Alabama’s second loss of the year. Tennessee’s loss was only his first, but Hooker played his worst game of the year as he failed to break 200 passing yards or throw a touchdown pass, committed a number of rare business and finished with just 17 rushing yards on 18 attempts. This means that even after a poor performance against Northwestern, Stroud still possesses the best chance of bringing home the Heisman entering Week 11.

Alabama

Going into the weekend, Alabama still looked capable of leading the board for the remainder of the regular season, potentially avenging its only loss in the SEC Championship Game and earning a spot in the CFP. After suffering a second regular season loss at the hands of LSU, however, the Crimson Tide will be on the outside. Nick Saban and company have fallen to No. 10 in the AP Top 25, and Saint Nick has now lost four games. in his last 19.

Clemson

The Tigers took a significant step back in their quest for a resurgent 2022 season on Saturday. Clemson were the only undefeated team in the ACC as they headed to South Bend this weekend, but their 35-14 loss dropped the Tigers’ standings down seven places in the AP poll to place them at No. 12 in the nation. Clemson can still play catch up in the CFP race, but he doesn’t have exactly the type of opponents to make a big statement throughout the regular season.

Illinois

Fighting Illini’s hot streak was officially snuffed out over the weekend as Bret Bielema and company suffered an eight-point loss to a Michigan State program that had previously lost five of its last six games. Illinois debuted No. 16 in the CFP standings and climbed to No. 14 in the AP poll before the loss to Sparty, which will ensure the Illini moves in the opposite direction.


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