Week 11 Lowe Down: Georgia, Clemson get big wins

Matt Lowe

November 09, 2018 at 5:54 pm.

Oct 27, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm (11) throws the ball against the Florida Gators during the second half at TIAA Bank Field. Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 27, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs quarterback Jake Fromm (11) throws the ball against the Florida Gators during the second half at TIAA Bank Field. Photo Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to Week 11 of The Lowe Down

Alabama’s dominating win over LSU last week put to bed any doubts about how good this year’s Crimson Tide is.

I was anxious to see if the Tigers could mount any kind of resistance, but when it was evident after a half that they couldn’t, I became convinced that no team, except possibly Clemson, will be able to handle Nick Saban’s bunch this season.

The offense, under the guidance of quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, is simply too good and the defense continues to improve. Barring something unexpected, Alabama will roll on to yet another national title.

The yearly record is 63-21. To the games we go…

Friday, November 9

Louisville (2-7) at No. 13 Syracuse (7-2) 6:00 p.m. CT

There was a time when Louisville’s Bobby Petrino was considered to be one of the brightest head coaches in college football.  Now, not so much. The Cardinals have been outscored 133 to 51 in their last two games and have lost six straight after opening the season 2-1. The Cuse, behind dynamic QB Eric Dungey, features an offense that’s one of the nation’s best so expect the Orange to score at will.

The Lowe Down: Syracuse 62, Louisville 22

No. 23 Fresno State (8-1) at Boise State (7-2) 9:15 p.m. CT

Under the direction of former Cal head coach Jeff Tedford, Fresno State is playing some serious ball. The Bulldogs have made headlines due to their scoring prowess (40 points a game), but the team wouldn’t be where it is if it weren’t for a stingy defense — currently tied with Mississippi State for the top scoring D (12.3 ppg.) in the country.  That defense will be tested versus veteran signal-caller Brett Rypien and the Boise offense, especially on the Smurf Turf, but Fresno has a special player behind center in Marcus McMaryion (2,416 passing yards, 20 TDs, three picks; seven rushing scores) and he’ll be the difference.

The Lowe Down: Fresno State 27, Boise State 19

Saturday, November 10

No. 10 Ohio State (8-1) at No. 18 Michigan State (6-3) at 11:00 a.m. CT

Although Ohio State still controls its own destiny as far as a potential College Football Playoff berth is concerned, the Buckeyes don’t appear to be getting better. Sure, the offense is good. But the defense isn’t championship caliber and for whatever reason this Ohio State team just doesn’t have the “it” factor. Michigan State has struggled offensively all year long, but it could have some success against the Buckeyes, who allowed 31 points to Nebraska last week. Look for Brian Lewerke to have a big game for Michigan State, but Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins and his array of weapons (J.K. Dobbins, Johnnie Dixon and Parris Campbell to name a few) will be too much for the Spartans.

The Lowe Down: Ohio State 30, Michigan State 23

TCU (4-5) at No. 9 West Virginia (7-1) 11:00 a.m. CT

Players play for coaches they like. It’s that simple. In last week’s epic win over Texas, West Virginia head coach Dana Holgerson asked his players on the sideline if they wanted to go for the win, when an extra-point conversion would’ve tied the game and likely sent it to overtime. The Mountaineer players said they did, and the rest is history. TCU is always a capable opponent, but Will Grier and the Mountaineers offense is clicking and the Horned Frogs won’t be able to hang on the road.

The Lowe Down: West Virginia 38, TCU 20

Oklahoma State (5-4) at No. 6 Oklahoma (8-1) 2:30 p.m. CT

Which Oklahoma State team will show up when it travels to Norman to take on the rival Sooners? Will it be the one that beat Texas? Or the one that lost by 19 points at Kansas State? I’m going to go with the later. Oklahoma rolls.

The Lowe Down: Oklahoma 49, Oklahoma State 26

No. 16 Mississippi State (6-3) at No. 1 Alabama (9-0) 2:30 p.m. CT

Alabama is on a completely different level right now than any team in college football. Heck, a friend of mind said after the Crimson Tide’s thrashing over Louisville in the season opener that no team would come within 25 points of Nick Saban’s squad all season long. Although I didn’t agree with that notion then, I do now. This Crimson Tide offense reminds me of the great San Francisco 49ers outfits ran by Joe Montana and Steve Young. And you know what’s scary? The Alabama defense continues to get better and better with each passing game. Mississippi State QB Nick Fitzgerald may present the Crimson Tide with some problems due to his running ability, but the lack of a passing game will doom the Bulldogs.

The Lowe Down: Alabama 34, Mississippi State 10

No. 24 Auburn (6-3) at No. 5 Georgia (8-1) at 6:00 p.m. CT

This will be the third meeting between these two teams in the past year so it will be interesting to see what new wrinkles are thrown into the mix by the coaching staffs. Georgia has already clinched a trip to the SEC title game and is the better team, but injuries along the Bulldogs offensive line — most notably to starting center Lamont Gaillard, one the SEC’s best blockers — could benefit the Tigers in a big way considering that’s the visitor’s team strength. Auburn leads the league in tackles for loss (79) and is second in the conference in sacks (29) in large part to the emergence of BUCK end Nick Coe, a powerful athlete with good size (6-6, 270). If the Tigers can make life miserable for Georgia’s offense, which leads the league in rushing (233 ypg.), then it could possibly be in position for an upset in the fourth quarter. If it can’t, I’m not sure the Tigers have the scoring power to hang with the high-powered Bulldogs, who have won four out of the last five meetings.

The Lowe Down: Georgia 27, Auburn 16

Southern Miss (4-4) at UAB (8-1) 6:30 p.m. CT

If UAB pulls out a win at home Saturday night, then it will put itself in position to win the first conference title in the school’s history. The accomplishment would be tremendous considering the powers that be at the school terminated the program following the 2014 campaign. The Blazers have leaned on a power running game and the nation’s top scoring defense (12.1 ppg) to get where they are — and don’t expect that to change down the stretch. Just last week, UAB ran for a school-record 419 yards in a 49-point win over UTSA. Malique Johnson and Justice Powers are standouts on the O-line and tailback Spencer Brown is the green and gold’s bell-cow in the rushing attack. Redshirt freshman Tyler Johnston, a dual-threat, made his first start at quarterback in place of veteran A.J. Erdely last week and accounted for four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing). If Erderly can’t go against Southern Miss, Johnston will need to protect the football against a good Golden Eagles defense in order to for UAB to continue its amazing run.

The Lowe Down: UAB 22, Southern Miss 19

No. 2 Clemson (9-0) at No. 17 Boston College (7-2) 7:00 p.m. CT

Clemson is the class of the ACC by far, but this could be a tough road test for the Tigers. Boston College is playing well and possesses one of the best, if not the best, tailback’s in college football in AJ Dillon, who operates behind a big, strong offensive line. That line will have to play well against the Tigers dominating front wall if the Eagles expect to pull the upset. But the BC defense will also need to turn in a good performance if it hopes to keep the score tight. Clemson’s offense, which is led by freshman gunslinger Trevor Lawrence (1,549 passing yards, 18 TDs, three picks) and tailback Travis Etienne (998 rushing yards, 15 TDs) and rangy wideouts Tee Higgins and Justyn Ross, has been on fire of late. I don’t think BC can score with the Tigers, but the Eagles could make this a respectable game if Dillon plays well and the defense can force a turnover or two.

The Lowe Down: Clemson 30, Boston College 17

In other Saturday games:

Navy 17 at No. 12 UCF  45

Vanderbilt 20 at Missouri 27

Ole Miss 23 at Texas A&M 37

Wisconsin 27 at No. 20 Penn State 30

South Carolina 30 at No. 15 Florida 27 ****Upset Special

North Carolina 13 at Duke 30

Baylor 17 at No. 22 Iowa State 33

Virginia Tech 16 at Pitt 38

No. 4 Michigan 56 at Rutgers 7

Northwestern 13 at No. 21 Iowa 27

No. 11 Kentucky 27 at Tennessee 20

No. 8 Washington State 27 at Colorado 17

Oregon 30 at Utah 27

Temple 30 at Houston 37

Miami 31 at Georgia Tech 34

No. 19 Texas 33 at Texas Tech 29

Florida State 13 at No. 3 Notre Dame 34

California 27 at USC 24 ****Upset Special