College Football Scores 2013: How Ranked Teams Performed in Early Matchups
Now that we have left behind the tune-up matches where money is exchanged for little programs to take a beating, we move on to the exciting portion of the college football schedule.
Sunday's early matchups featured stunning displays of offense as four conference battles gave fans some of the best football of the season.
Here is how the early games played out for ranked teams.
No. 3 Clemson Dominates Syracuse
Not many gave the 2-2 Syracuse Orange a chance against Tajh Boyd and the Clemson Tigers, and that notion was backed by a historic effort from Boyd in the first half.
Boyd brutalized the Orange in the first half with 363 yards and four touchdowns on just 18 completions, which ESPN says is a pretty big deal:
Clemson QB Tajh Boyd is 1st FBS player with 350 Pass yds & 4 Pass TD in a 1st half since Hawaii's Bryant Moniz in 2011 vs UC Davis.— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 5, 2013
Boyd is a legitimate Heisman contender and the Tigers sit pretty at 5-0 after the 49-14 victory over Syracuse.
He ended the day with 455 yards and five scores while his favorite target, receiver Sammy Watkins, notched 126 yards and what can only be described as a pretty touchdown:
Clemson more than justified its high rank against Syracuse.
No. 6 Georgia Out-Muscles Tennessee
Aaron Murray and the Georgia Bulldogs entered a tough SEC matchup with Tennessee in need of another major win to rise back up the rankings.
Georgia got just that as Murray set an important record in the first half—moving into first place as the SEC's all-time passing leader, as detailed by Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald:
There it is. Aaron Murray now SEC career passing yardage leader on pass to Conley for 24 yards. Now has 109 on day.— Marc Weiszer (@marcweiszer) October 5, 2013
Things were not all positive for the Bulldogs in their 34-31 victory. The team entered the game with star back Todd Gurley in street clothes thanks to injury and lost fellow star back Keith Marshall in the first quarter after a massive hit covered well by CBS and ESPN:
Uh-oh: Keith Marshall takes a big hit to his right knee and is down, grabbing the knee. Doesn't look good.— Eye on College FBall (@EyeOnCFB) October 5, 2013
CBS says Keith Marshall is out for the game.— ESPN_SEC (@ESPN_SEC) October 5, 2013
Receivers Justin Scott-Wesley and Michael Bennett also left the game with injuries as the Vols kept things close throughout, forcing overtime.
The Bulldogs were saved in overtime: A Tennessee player reached out for the score and fumbled out of the endzone for a touchback, allowing Georgia to kick an easy field goal for the win:
Georgia can take comfort in being 3-0 in the SEC, but the fate of its top two stars is a major concern.
No. 14 Miami Blows Out Georgia Tech
Upset alert was in full force Saturday afternoon after Stephen Morris and the Miami Hurricanes found themselves down 17-7 after one quarter against the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets.
The Hurricanes defense was mostly to blame, allowing touchdown runs to both David Sims and Harrison Butker before settling down.
Offensively much of the early struggles fell on Morris, who was the definition of inconsistent throughout, before finishing the game with 324 yards to go with three touchdowns and two interceptions.
As horrific as Morris was at times, he also allowed the Hurricanes to pull ahead in the third quarter with a 69-yard touchdown pass to Allen Hurns:
Duke Johnson ended up carrying the team with his 184 yards and Miami remains undefeated at 5-0 and will continue to rise up the rankings despite a slight hiccup en route to the 45-30 victory over Georgia Tech.
No. 19 Michigan Stomps Minnesota
Michigan has had a tough go of things this season, but those struggles were absent in the early goings against the Minnesota Golden Gophers in the 100th meeting between the two sides.
Michigan jumped out to an early lead on the first drive of the game courtesy of a seven-yard touchdown run from running back Fitzgerald Toussaint, but Minnesota matched with a score of its own.
After that, it was all Michigan.
The Wolverines rattled off 10 straight points before piling on late and winning the game 42-13.
It's a breath of fresh air for a Wolverines team that in recent weeks had hardly survived against lesser opponents such as Akron and Connecticut.
Michigan now sits at 5-0 heading into a critical matchup with Penn State.
Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling
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