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- 2022 College Football Playoff Championship Preview: #1 Alabama Crimson Tide Vs. #3 Georgia Bulldogs - January 10, 2022
1) Alabama Crimson Tide (10-0) defeated Mississippi State Bulldogs 31-24
If I told you that Mississippi State would rush for 172 yards, have more first downs, convert 8 out of 15 third downs, commit zero turnovers and have a tw0-to-one time of possession edge, the Bulldogs win the game right? Despite all of that, Alabama went into Starkville and beat a good Mississippi State team. The defense gave up 330 total yards but got the stops needed late. The offense gained 444 total yards. They saved their best for last, scoring two fourth quarter touchdowns. The game winner came on a 26 yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jalen Hurts to freshman wide receiver DeVonta Smith with 25 seconds remaining.
2) Miami Hurricanes (10-0) defeated Notre Dame 41-8
Miami absolutely destroyed Notre Dame. The defense used it’s speed to neutralize Notre Dame’s perceived power advantage. They shut down the Irish rushing attack (109 yards allowed) and forced them to pass. That proved to be a disaster for the Irish, as the Hurricanes picked off three passes, returning one for a touchdown. The offense was not great but took advantage of great field position created by the defense. Quarterback Malik Rosier was decent, passing for 137 yards and a touchdown. Running back Travis Homer rushed for 146 yards, averaging 8.1 yards per carry. This is the type of dominating win that jumps a team four spots in the Top 10. The Hurricanes just announced themselves as national contenders. The last hurdle is Clemson in the ACC championship game.
3) Clemson Tigers (9-1) defeated Florida State Seminoles 31-24
Clemson used two late touchdowns to pull away from Florida State. It was not pretty but they got the win. The defense was good, giving up 229 total yards. They allowed 3-13 on third down, 0-2 on fourth down, forced two turnovers and only 21 rushing yards. The offense struggled early but found a groove late. Quarterback Kelly Bryant was 20-30 for 151 yards and rushed for 60 yards with a touchdown. What happened to the big passing plays? The running game carried the offense, gaining 227 yards. Running back Travis Etienne rushed for 97 yards and two touchdowns. The passing game better get it together, because Miami will be waiting in the ACC championship game.
4) Oklahoma Sooners (9-1) defeated Texas Christian Horned Frogs 38-20
Oklahoma jumped out to a big halftime lead and never looked back. The defense was actually good: they did give up 424 yards but only 20 points, which is a huge win for them. Their second half performance was nothing short of amazing. The offense gained 533 total yards, a low output for them. Quarterback Baker Mayfield was excellent, passing for 333 yards with three touchdowns. Running back Rodney Anderson was the star of the game with 151 rushing yards with two touchdowns and added 139 receiving yards with another two touchdowns.
5) Wisconsin Badgers (10-0) defeated Iowa 38-14
Wisconsin dominated an Iowa team that hung 55 points on Ohio State last week. This was their best defensive effort to date. They gave up just 66 total yards (no, that’s not a misprint). The Badgers held the Hawkeyes to five first downs, 0-13 on third down and forced three turnovers. The offense was good and bad. The good was running back Jonathan Taylor, who rushed for 157 yards. The bad was quarterback Alex Hornibrook, who passed for 135 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.
6) Auburn Tigers (8-2) defeated Georgia Bulldogs 40-17
Auburn blitzed Georgia, which was so unexpected. The defense was outstanding, giving up 230 total yards. They completely shut down Georgia’s vaunted rushing attack, holding them to only 48 yards. Hard to imagine with stud running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. The Tigers dared quarterback Jake Fromm to beat them and he simply could not. Auburn’s offense gained nearly 500 total yards. Quarterback Jarrett Stidham was very good, going 16-23 for 214 yards with three touchdowns. Running back Kerryon Johnson was even better, rushing for 167 yards. They host Alabama in two weeks for the right to play in the SEC championship game.
7) Georgia Bulldogs (9-1) lost to Auburn Tigers 40-17
What happened to Georgia? They ran into a buzzsaw this weekend and got shredded. They could not generate anything of substance offensively, especially running the ball. Running backs Nick Chubb and Sony Michel were absolute non factors. As suspected, quarterback Jake Fromm was not capable of putting his team on his back and making big plays. The defense was horrible, giving up big plays all game long, including seven plays over 20 yards. This was their worst performance of the season. The thought of a possible rematch against the Tigers or facing Alabama in the SEC championship game is not a good one right now.
8) Ohio State Buckeyes (9-2) defeated Michigan State 48-3
Ohio State rebounded to rout Michigan State. The defense was awesome, giving up 195 total yards. They held the Spartans to 4-17 on third down, 64 rushing yards, forced three turnovers, and had six sacks. The offense gained 524 total yards. Running backs Mike Weber (162 rushing yards and two touchdowns) and JK Dobbins (124 rushing yards) carried the offense. Quarterback JT Barrett was just OK, passing for 183 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The good news is Ohio State controls their own destiny. If they win out they will face Wisconsin in the Big Ten championship game.
9) USC Trojans (9-2) defeated Colorado Buffaloes 38-24
Look who’s back in the Top 10. Is it too little too late? The offense looked really good, gaining 522 total yards. Quarterback Sam Darnold was good, going 21-34 for 329 yards with two touchdowns and zero turnovers. Running back Ronald Jones rushed for 142 yards and a touchdown. Wide receivers Steven Mitchell Jr (91 yards) and Tyler Vaughns (90 yards) came up big, keeping a lot of drives going. The defense struggled, giving up 486 total yards. Two Colorado receivers had over 100 yards. The Trojan defense must be better. They have secured a trip to the PAC 12 championship game.
10) Penn State Nittany Lions (8-2) defeated Rutgers Scarlet Knights 35-6
Penn State got back on track as Rutgers was exactly what the doctor ordered. The defense was good, giving up 200 total yards, albeit against an anemic offense. They held the Scarlet Knights to 3-15 on third down, 43 passing yards and 10 first downs. They were not really challenged. The offense was sleepwalking, gaining only 304 total yards. Quarterback Trace McSorely was efficient, going 16-21 for 214 yards with two touchdowns. Running back Saquon Barkley struggled again with only 35 rushing yards and that is worrisome. They need to get him back on track.