AP Top 25 college football roundup
No. 1 Clemson 73, Georgia Tech 7
Trevor Lawrence wasn't focused on his near-record streak of passes without an interception, just as he has tuned out speculation he could be the first pick in next year's NFL draft.
Lawrence just had his mind on leading Clemson's offense and having fun.
He brushed off the first interception he has thrown this season and passed for a career-high 404 yards and five touchdowns as No. 1 Clemson overwhelmed Georgia Tech on Saturday.
Led by Lawrence, Clemson's 671 yards and 73 points were the most allowed by Georgia Tech in the modern era.
“It’s really fun,” Lawrence said. “That’s why we practice and work so hard to get the details right and be on the same page. ... It's a lot of fun when your team plays like that offensively and defensively.”
Lawrence completed 24 of 32 passes. All of his scoring passes came in the Tigers' dominant first half.
“It’s the highest level of football I’ve seen out of him,” Clemson offensive coordinator Tony Elliott said. “It’s what everybody in the building expects and what he expects from himself. ... He’s doing an unbelievable job of blocking out any external noise about the future and the biggest thing is he’s being present in the moment.”
Clemson led 52-7 at halftime and kept adding to the lead in the second half, even with second- and third- (and maybe fourth-) stringers on the field.
Lawrence left the game after Clemson's first possession of the second half.
Clemson (5-0, 4-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) allowed only 204 yards and had a dominant 29-7 advantage in first downs.
The second-longest streak of passes without an interception in ACC history ended late in the first quarter when Zamari Walton picked off a pass by Lawrence. It ended Lawrence’s streak of 367 passes without an interception, falling short of the ACC record of 379 set by North Carolina State’s Russell Wilson from 2008-09.
Lawrence shrugged off the missed chance at the ACC mark.
“I didn’t really add much pressure to myself,” he said.
Otherwise, it was one of the best games of Lawrence's career. His previous high was four touchdown passes. He passed that mark in the first half, connecting for two scoring passes with Amari Rodgers.
Georgia Tech (2-3, 2-2) provided its fans an early thrill when freshman quarterback Jeff Sims threw a 59-yard scoring pass to Jalen Camp in the first quarter for a 7-7 tie. The Yellow Jackets' upset hopes faded quickly.
Lawrence answered with an 83-yard scoring pass to Rodgers on the Tigers' next play, and the Yellow Jackets never recovered. The long pass sparked a string of 66 consecutive points scored by the Tigers.
It was the most points allowed by Georgia Tech since a 94-0 loss to Auburn in 1894. The Yellow Jackets couldn't build on momentum gained in last week's 46-27 win over Louisville.
“The big thing we’ve got to learn in this program is how to handle success,” second-year coach Geoff Collins said. “We’re going to start having a lot of success around here and we’ve got to learn how to handle it and ... not just rely on learning from mistakes.”
Rodgers had six catches for 161 yards. He also had a 16-yard TD reception.
The Tigers took advantage of a Georgia Tech defense that was focused on stopping Travis Etienne, Clemson's other Heisman candidate, and the Tigers' running game. Etienne had a 2-yard scoring run in the second quarter to become Clemson's all-time scoring leader, passing former kicker Chandler Catanzaro with 408 points.
Lawrence had a 34-yard scoring pass to tight end Davis Allen and also threw TD passes to Cornell Powell and Frank Ladson.
Georgia Tech's defense had no better luck against Clemson's backups. Freshman Hunter Helms threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Ajou Ajou and had another scoring drive capped by Kobe Pace's 7-yard scoring run.
The Tigers showed impressive poise in avoiding a letdown following last week's much-anticipated win over Miami. Clemson made an impressive case for its No. 1 ranking with the dominant win. Lawrence played like he was compiling a highlight film for his Heisman Trophy campaign.
In a game viewed as a measuring stick for the second year of Collins' program, the results were discouraging. Clemson beat the Yellow Jackets 52-14 to open last season in Collins' debut, and this loss was more lopsided. The Yellow Jackets had three turnovers. Sims completed 6 of 13 passes for 81 yards with one touchdown and one interception, and he lost two fumbles.
Nyles Pickney, a 300-pound defensive tackle, had a 1-yard scoring run in a jumbo package. Cez Mellusi added a 5-yard scoring run in the third quarter after Taisun Phommachanh replaced Lawrence.
After having all three of its field-goal attempts blocked in last week’s win over then-No. 7 Miami, Clemson fixed the problem on B.T. Potter’s 30-yard field goal in the first quarter.
No. 4 Notre Dame 12, Louisville 7
Kyren Williams ran for 127 yards, Ian Book had a 13-yard touchdown run late in the third quarter and Notre Dame held off Louisville.
Williams ran 25 times and had his third 100-yard game of the season to help the Irish (4-0, 3-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) win their 22nd straight at Notre Dame Stadium.
It came against an inspired 3-4 Louisville defense that spent most of the afternoon on the field. Notre Dame controlled the clock for more than 36 minutes, including a game-ending 14-play drive that burned the final 7:55.
Book completed 11 of 19 for 106 yards and ran 12 times for 47 yards.
The Cardinals (1-4, 0-4) have lost four in a row.
No. 11 Texas A&M 28, Mississippi State 14
Isaiah Spiller ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns and Kellen Mond threw for two scores to help Texas A&M beat Mississippi State.
Texas A&M (3-1) led 14-0 at the half and had 325 yards of total offense in the game. Ainias Smith caught five passes for 20 yards and a touchdown. Chase Lane had a 51-yard touchdown reception in the opening minutes of the third quarter.
Mississippi State (1-3) had little offensive rhythm for the third straight game. The Bulldogs’ first touchdown came on Emmanuel Forbes’ interception return in the third quarter.
Bulldogs coach Mike Leach benched starting quarterback KJ Costello midway through the second half for freshman Will Rogers, same as he did last week in a 24-2 loss at Kentucky. Rogers connected with Malik Heath for a 15-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter.
Texas A&M’s defense continually disrupted the line of scrimmage, finishing with six sacks and eight tackles for loss. Mississippi State had minus-2 yards rushing and 217 yards of total offense.
No. 13 Miami 31, Pittsburgh 19
D’Eriq King threw four touchdown passes to help Miami beat Pittsburgh.
Will Mallory caught two of King’s scoring passes and the Hurricanes (4-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) bounced back from a 42-17 loss at top-ranked Clemson last week.
The Panthers (3-3, 2-3) lost their third straight and were without senior quarterback Kenny Pickett. He suffered an ankle injury against Boston College last week.
Kentucky 34, No. 18 Tennessee 7
Kelvin Joseph and Jami Davis returned interceptions for touchdowns in the first half and Kentucky shut out Tennessee in the second half.
It was Kentucky’s first victory in Neyland Stadium since 1984, the Wildcats’ largest margin of victory in Knoxville since 56-0 in 1893 and their most lopsided victory in the series since 1935.
After getting six interceptions and allowing only a safety against Mississippi State last week, Kentucky (2-2) picked off three passes against the Vols (2-2).
Joseph’s 41-yard touchdown and Davis’ 85-yard return — both off interceptions thrown by Jarrett Guarantano — helped put Kentucky up 17-0 in the second quarter.
With about 5 minutes left in the third quarter and trailing by 20, Tennessee went three-and-out for a second consecutive possession and was showered with boos from the sparse crowd of 22,519.
No. 23 Virginia Tech 40, Boston College 14
Hendon Hooker ran for a career-high 164 yards and three touchdowns and threw for a score in Virginia Tech’s victory over Boston College.
Khalil Herbert added 143 yards rushing for the Hokies (3-1, 3-1 Atlantic Coast Conference). They ran for 350 yards in bouncing back from a road loss to North Carolina.
Virginia Tech scored off of four of BC’s five turnovers to pull away. The Eagles (3-2, 2-2) turned it over three times in the first half alone, with the most damaging coming when quarterback Phil Jurkovec overthrew an open Jaelen Gill deep in Virginia Tech territory. Devin Taylor intercepted the pass for the Hokies, and Hooker’s 29-yard touchdown pass to Herbert made it 17-7.
Boston College cut it to 17-14 on a touchdown pass from Jurkovec to Hunter Long with 7:11 left in the third quarter, but the Hokies scored the final 24 points – 17 of those off BC turnovers.
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