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College Football AP Top 25 Takeaways: Veteran QBs Clifford, Nix Deliver Big

Being truly a good, but not at all great, quarterback could be a rough ride in college football.

Sufficient to start and become successful, however, not good enough to fulfill fans that see just a ceiling they wish was higher.

This is actually the life that Penn States Sean Clifford and Oregons Bo Nix have led, and on Saturday, the veteran quarterbacks proved their worth.

Clifford, in his sixth year with Penn State, deftly guided the 22ndranked Nittany Lions through hostile territory also to among their most impressive non-conference victories in years.

Clifford took a lick early from Auburn, popped back up and sent Tigers fans home early from Jordan-Hare Stadium. Clifford was 14 for 19 for 178 yards, a rushing touchdown and nary a turnover.

Epoch Times Photo
Penn State offensive lineman Juice Scruggs (70) celebrates with Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford (14) after he scored a touchdown against Auburn through the first 1 / 2 of an NCAA college football game in Auburn, Ala., on Sept. 17, 2022. (Butch Dill/AP Photo)

The near future at Penn State is five-star freshman Drew Allar. The near future looks bright plus some Nittany Lions fan come in a rush to obtain there.

But also for now, Cliffords the person for Penn State coach James Franklin, who seems to have surrounded the 24-year-old with the very best group of weapons the team has already established in in a number of years.

Freshman running backs Nick Singleton and Kaytron Allen (who combined 174 yards and four touchdowns) have resuscitated a Penn State running game that is dormant for just two years.

The opportunity to become more balanced and take pressure off the passing game has been important for all of us, Franklin said.

Then add talented pass-catchers, and Clifford could be both game-manager and playmaker.

The record says Penn State is in exactly the same stick it was this past year after three games: 30, with a detailed road win to open the Big Ten season and victory against Auburn.

A personal injury to Clifford halfway through the Iowa game this past year sent Penn State right into a spiral. This team feels different.

Meanwhile, Auburn experienced two quarterbacks who combined for four giveaways that buried the Tigers. Who knew just how much Auburn would miss Nix?

The five-star recruit who started the majority of the Tigers games the final three seasons had a lot of highs and lows on The Plains, a variety of the memorable and regrettable.

He jumped in to the portal after last season and landed at Oregon. Good choice.

Fourteen days taken off being embarrassed by top-ranked Georgia, the 25th-ranked Ducks looked like the Pac-12 contender these were expected to maintain a decisive victory against BYU.

Nix threw two touchdown passes and ran for three scores contrary to the Cougars. The final Oregon quarterback to achieve that: Heisman winner Marcus Mariota in 2014.

Among my past coaches explained that pressure is really a privilege, therefore Ive really taken that to heart, and theres nothing more true for me, Nix said. If you have plenty of pressure this means that folks have confidence in you, people believe that you can do it, or you wouldnt have pressure at all.

Epoch Times Photo
Oregon head coach Dan Lanning greets Oregon quarterback Bo Nix (10) following a touchdown against BYU through the first 1 / 2 of an NCAA college football game in Eugene, Ore., Sept. 17, 2022. (Andy Nelson/AP Photo)

The Ducks were so badly outclassed by Georgia in Atlanta on Labor Day weekend it had been tempting to wonder whether new coach Dan Lanning and his staff may be in over their heads.

And there have been a lot of Ducks fans wondering if Nix really was the best they might execute a quarterback with former blue-chipper Ty Thompson on the bench.

Since that 493 loss, the Ducks have scored 111 points. Against BYU, a team that went 50 contrary to the Pac12 this past year and beat Baylor the other day, Nix had the Ducks up 387 in the 3rd quarter.

Neither Clifford nor Nix will be players the draftniks debate following the season. And there is going to be moments this year when their fans still miss another big thing.

However they were a lot more than sufficient Saturday.

Going, Going

Given that Nebraska has shifted from Scott Frost, the question is whos another coach to be fired.

Auburns Bryan Harsin has appeared like a short-timer since last winter, when Auburn made a decision to fish for grounds to fire him after just one single season.

The coup didnt work, nonetheless it has been apparent that Harsin has little support.

If there is a way to surprisingly successful season that saved Harsins job, thats probably gone now.

Auburn next dives into Southeastern Conference play: Can Harsin survive back-to-back road games against No. 1 Georgia no. 20 Mississippi in mid-October?

Talking about Ole Miss, the Rebels beat Georgia Tech and coach Geoff Collins 420.

Collins is in Year 4 of a rebuild that figured to be tricky following the Yellow Jackets ran the choice under Paul Johnson, but has completely didn’t launch.

Georgia Tech is typically not the kind of school thats likely to pull the plug this early. At this specific rate, though, its likely to be tough to play out this year.

Georgia Tech has UCF in a few days, No. 23 Pitt from then on.


Appalachian State may be the team of the entire year.

Must-see TV. This week: The Mountaineer Miracle

The initial game for Nebraska post-Frost cannot have gone much worse. No. 6 Oklahoma scored more points in Lincoln than it ever has in a rivalry that goes back greater than a century.

After 179 minutes of football this year, No. 1 Georgia permitted its first touchdown. Brock Bowers and the Bulldogs crushed SC and also have looked terrifying through three weeks.

No idea precisely how good No. 4 Michigan is following the Wolverines outscored Colorado State, Hawaii and UConn 16617. Maybe Maryland can provide Michigan something near a game in a few days.

The initial FCS team to beat an electrical Five opponent this year is Southern Illinois. The Salukis came in 02 and dropped Northwestern, which includes lost two straight since beating Nebraska in Ireland.

Weekly following the Sun Belt registered three Power Five road wins, South Alabama and Old Dominion had two more on the sights.

But UCLA and Virginia both kicked walk-off field goals in order to avoid the upsets.

March Madness in September: Kansas, Duke, Syracuse and Indiana are 30. The Blue Devils and Jayhawks play in Lawrence, Kansas, in a few days.

By Ralph D. Russo

The Associated Press


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