The 2019 season has officially gotten underway, and Clemson took very little time in showing why it is ranked No. 1.
On Thursday night, the Tigers demolished Georgia Tech 52-14. In the game, Trevor Lawrence was 13 for 23 and threw for 168 yards with a touchdown but also had two interceptions. Lawrence also rushed three times for 24 yards and another score.
As expected, Travis Etienne led the way on the ground with 12 rushes for a whopping 205 yards (his longest rush was for 90 yards) and three touchdowns. The leading receiver for the Tigers was Tee Higgins with four receptions for 98 yards and a touchdown.
For Georgia Tech, James Graham led all quarterbacks with 72 yards and a touchdown. Jordan Mason also rushed 13 times for 72 yards and a score in the loss for the Yellow Jackets.
Elsewhere on Thursday, No. 12 Texas A&M beat Texas State 41-7, and No. 17 UCF beat Florida A&M 62-0.
While these teams all got off to good starts, let’s take a look at other news around college football:
Alabama Opens Against Duke Shorthanded
While No. 2 Alabama will get rolling on Saturday against unranked Duke, it will do so shorthanded. The Crimson Tide will be without running backs Najee Harris and Brian Robinson as well as linebacker Terrell Lewis, at least to start the game. These three will be serving suspensions for the first half of the game due to missing a team function.
While their absences will likely have little effect on the outcome, it is Nick Saban’s way of trying to ensure that order is kept in his program. Of the three, Harris is the most significant. He is expected to take on a large role in the running game after rushing 117 times for 783 yards and four touchdowns last season.
Robinson also played last year, rushing 63 times for 272 yards and two touchdowns. Still, it appears that at least for a half, they are going to have to wait to take the field.
In addition to these three, it also appears that DeVonta Smith will not be playing as he has been suspended for an undisclosed amount of time. Last season as a sophomore, Smith had 42 receptions for 693 yards and six touchdowns.
Again, with the depth of Alabama and the weakness of the Blue Devils, these suspensions are likely to have no effect on the outcome of the game, but it is worth monitoring moving forward.
More Bad News For Alabama
While the suspensions are worrisome for the Crimson Tide, at least they will be back. Unfortunately, Alabama received some bad news as it appears that middle linebacker Dylan Moses will be out for the entire season after tearing an ACL in one of his knees Tuesday. Last season, as a sophomore, Moses had 86 tackles (10 for loss). He also had 3.5 sacks. It is expected that freshman Shane Lee will fill the void left by Moses’ injury.
Weather To Play Havoc This Weekend
With Hurricane Dorian looming, colleges in the south, particularly Florida, are playing it safe. In fact, the Florida State-Boise State game that had been scheduled for Saturday night has been moved to Tallahassee as a noon kickoff.
With the storm expected to elevate to a category 3 by the time it hits Florida this week, this was really in the best interest for everyone involved. It is better to be safe than sorry, and the two teams will still get to play some football on Saturday.
Tennessee Gets Boost In Defense
Former Michigan defensive lineman Aubrey Solomon put in for immediate eligibility when he transferred to Tennessee, and it appears that he is getting his wish. The NCAA indicated on Tuesday that Solomon, who has been practicing with the team, will be good to go for their game against Georgia State this Saturday.
As a freshman in 2017, Solomon had 16 tackles, including two for loss, in eight games. Last season, though, he suffered a knee injury and missed most of the season. Now healthy and ready to go, the No. 23-ranked prospect and five-star recruit in the class of 2017 will look to shine as he will try to help the Vols this season.
LSU Defensive Back Transferring
It appears that LSU will be losing a defensive back as Kelvin Joseph has indicated that he will be transferring to Kentucky. Joseph, who is a sophomore, will not be able to play this season but will still have three years of eligibility left. As a freshman, Joseph had played in six games, recording 12 tackles.
Interestingly, he is also starting to recruit as he took to social media to try to convince former teammate Mannie Netherly to also come to Kentucky. While that remains to be seen, it does appear that this might have been a good solution for all sides as Joseph had been suspended from playing in the Fiesta Bowl last season due to a violation of team rules.