National Whiparound Week 9: Deshaun Watson, Clemson Survive Scare

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Week 9 provided yet¬†another eventful weekend in college football — most notably the matinee matchup in the ACC. No. 3 Clemson defeated No. 12 Florida State in a game that went down to the wire. The weekend also provided yet another convincing performance from Michigan, a huge upset in the SEC East and another victory for Pac-12 leader Washington.

Here’s a look at four of the biggest takeaways from Week 9.

FIRST DOWN

Clemson survives a scare at Doak Campbell Stadium

Florida State had several chances to put Clemson away late in Saturday’s game but didn’t. Leading 28-20 in the fourth, the Seminoles allowed 17 points and failed to capitalize on their final drive.

Despite a 169-yard, four-touchdown performance by Dalvin Cook, FSU couldn’t pull off the upset at home.

For Clemson, the win likely solidified an ACC Championship Game appearance, kept its College Football Playoff chances alive and ended a decade-long losing streak at Doak Campbell Stadium.

Deshaun Watson threw for 378 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on 27 of 43 passing. Wayne Gallman recorded 82 yards and two touchdowns on 20 attempts.

Watson’s the only Clemson quarterback to win two straight against the Seminoles.

Despite the close call on the road, the Tigers remain the favorite to win the ACC Championship and are still in contention for a spot in the College Football Playoff.

SECOND DOWN

Michigan rolls against Michigan State

“Who’s got it better than us?”

Nobody…in the Big Ten, that is. One of the big doubts facing the Jim Harbaugh-Michigan hype was last year’s loss to Michigan State. Doubters said Harbaugh needed to beat the Spartans and Ohio State to validate lofty expectations.

But after cruising to a 32-23 victory in East Lansing, the Wolverines are one step closer to winning their first conference championship under Harbaugh. There is, however, still a Week 14 matchup at Ohio State to worry about.

THIRD DOWN

Tennessee’s injury problems exposed by South Carolina

Butch Jones may have finally run out of his proverbial bricks after Tennessee’s loss at South Carolina. The Vols controlled their own destiny in the SEC East. All they had to do was win out against a few sub-,500 teams, which seemed reasonable even with numerous injuries to key starters.

Instead, Tennessee not only lost against a bad Gamecocks team, but also faces the departure of leading rusher Jalen Hurd. Perhaps the mantras and moral victories have finally run thin.

Even beating Florida and Georgia in the same season may not be enough for Jones to save his job. There’s no excuse for being out-coached by Will Muschamp three times. That should say it all.

Jones may be a good recruiter, but he’s incapable of coaching that talent up to expectations.

FOURTH DOWN

Washington stays undefeated with win over Utah

Washington kept its College Football Playoff chances alive with a 31-24 win over Utah Saturday. Myles Gaskin led the Huskies with 151 yards and a touchdown on 19 carries, while quarterback Jake Browning threw for 186 yards, two touchdowns and an interception on 12 of 20 passing.

At this point, Washington controls its own destiny in the Pac-12 and should be the favorite in the conference championship game. The two wins over ranked opponents should also help the Huskies in the eyes of the College Football Playoff committee as well.