Top 25 football roundup: Lawrence stars in return for No. 3 Clemson
Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, who hadn’t played in a game since Oct. 24, returned with a flourish Saturday, passing for 403 yards and two touchdowns as No. 3 Clemson routed visiting Pittsburgh 52-17.
Lawrence missed two games, including the team’s 47-40 double-overtime loss at Notre Dame on Nov. 7, while in quarantine for COVID-19. Expected to be the No. 1 selection in next year’s NFL draft, he completed 26 of 37 passes for the Tigers (8-1, 7-1 Atlantic Coast Conference).
Clemson’s Travis Etienne gained 58 yards on 11 carries with a pair of short touchdown runs.
Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett connected on 22 of 39 passes for 209 yards and two touchdowns, but he was intercepted four times, twice by Mario Goodrich. The Panthers’ (5-5, 4-5) had a two-game winning streak snapped.
No. 1 Alabama 42, No. 22 Auburn 13
Led by Mac Jones’ five touchdown passes, the Crimson Tide crushed the Tigers in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Jones led Alabama, which now leads the all-time series 47-37-1, by completing 18 of 26 passes for 302 and tossing a pair of touchdowns each to receivers DeVonta Smith and John Metchie III. Smith caught seven passes for 171 yards while Metchie caught six passes for 55 yards.
Alabama (8-0, 8-0 Southeastern Conference) prevailed despite playing without coach Nick Saban, who tested positive earlier in the week for COVID-19. Bo Nix completed 23 of 38 passes for 227 yards and two interceptions for Auburn (5-3, 5-3).
No. 6 Florida 34, Kentucky 10
Kyle Trask threw three touchdown passes to favorite target Kyle Pitts, Kadarius Toney scored on a trick play and the No. 6 Gators toppled the Wildcats in Gainesville, Fla.
Trask found Pitts for TDs of 56, 2 and 7 yards to extend the quarterback’s NCAA-leading touchdown total to 34. Pitts’ three tallies give him 11 on the season. The junior tight end returned to action after being injured by Georgia defensive back Lewis Cine on a targeting hit in the teams’ annual meeting in Jacksonville — a 44-28 Florida victory on Nov. 7.
The Gators (7-1, 7-1 Southeastern Conference) inched closer to the SEC East title behind Trask’s outing of 21 of 27 passing for 256 yards and three scores. Pitts caught five passes for a game-high 99 yards.
Michigan State 29, No. 8 Northwestern 20
The Spartans upset the Wildcats in East Lansing, Mich., to all but eliminate Northwestern’s outside chances of making the College Football Playoff.
Northwestern (5-1, 5-1 Big Ten) came back from a 17-point second-quarter deficit for the second time this season, scoring 20 unanswered points to take the lead early in the fourth quarter.
But the Spartans (2-3, 2-3) scored the last 12 points of the game, getting a pair of field goals from Matt Coghlin in the final 10:11 before recovering a fumble in the end zone as time expired.
No. 12 Indiana 27, Maryland 11
Freshman Tim Baldwin rushed for 106 yards and Stevie Scott added 80 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns, lifting the Hoosiers to a win over the Terrapins in Bloomington, Ind.
The Hoosiers (5-1, 5-1) led just 7-3 at halftime before pulling away in the second half for the win. D.K. Bonhomme sacked Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa in the end zone for a safety to put Indiana up 9-3 in the third quarter. Then, on the Hoosiers’ following offensive drive, Scott plunged in for a 1-yard TD run, with a subsequent two-point conversion putting Indiana up 17-3.
The drive came at a cost, though, as Indiana lost quarterback Michael Penix to an apparent leg injury. Penix had struggled throwing the ball up to that point, finishing the game 6 of 19 for 84 yards. Tagovailoa completed 17 of 36 passes for 241 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions for Maryland (2-2, 2-2).
No. 20 Coastal Carolina 49, Texas State 14
CJ Marable ran for three touchdowns as the Chanticleers remained unbeaten by clobbering the host Bobcats in San Marcos, Texas.
Coastal Carolina (9-0, 7-0 Sun Belt) clinched the conference’s Eastern Division title. Marable had scoring runs of 14, 9 and 23 yards. He scored the game’s first two touchdowns in the opening eight minutes, ending up with 157 rushing yards on 16 carries. Teammate Reese White added 72 rushing yards on seven attempts.
Grayson McCall threw for two first-half touchdowns on just 14 passes, with both of the scoring completions going to Jaivon Heiligh. McCall finished 11-for-18 for 154 yards in the air. Brady McBride through for 201 yards and a touchdown for Texas State (2-10, 2-6).
No. 23 Oklahoma State 50, Texas Tech 44
Third-string running back Dezmon Jackson rushed for 235 rushing yards and three first-half touchdowns as the Cowboys withstood the Red Raiders’ 639 total yards on offense in Stillwater, Okla.
Sanders Spencer threw for 222 yards and a touchdown and was intercepted once, and the Cowboys (6-2, 5-2 Big 12) also scored on Jason Taylor’s 48-yard kickoff return and Tre Sterling’s 65-yard interception return.
Alan Bowman went 31 of 46 passing for 384 yards and a touchdown and an interception for Texas Tech (3-6, 2-6). Seven of those completions went to Erik Ezukanma for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Sarodorick Thompson rushed for 133 yards and two scores, and Xavier White turned nine carries into 98 yards, one rush going 70 yards for a touchdown.
–Field Level Media