Clemson, down to its third quarterback after the transfer of Kelly Bryant and injury to Trevor Lawrence, found a way to beat Syracuse thanks to RB Travis Etienne, QB Chase Brice and a stifling defense.
No. 1 Alabama 56, Louisiana 14
The result in itself wasn’t surprising as No. 1 Alabama dominated Louisiana at home, 56-14. Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa kept himself in the Heisman Trophy conversation with two more touchdowns and no interceptions, and true freshman Jaylen Waddle continued to make a name for himself with three touchdowns (two receiving, one punt return). But the most important development was the fact that backup quarterback Jalen Hurts took the field for the fifth time this season, removing the possibility once and for all of him sitting and taking a redshirt. Hurts continuing on with the team provides coach Nick Saban a valuable safety net in the event of an injury of Tagovailoa, not to mention a potential weapon on offense, especially in short-yardage situations. — Alex Scarborough
No. 3 Clemson 27, Syracuse 23
The Tigers have Travis Etienne and their ground game to thank for pulling off the comeback win over Syracuse. With Trevor Lawrence injured and Kelly Bryant no longer on the team, the worst-case scenario nearly came true for the Tigers, who trailed for most of the game. But on the decisive game-winning drive, Brice made one clutch fourth-down throw and another long run that allowed Etienne to punch in the game-winning score. This was a far from a pretty game, though. Clemson had three costly turnovers, and could not find a rhythm for much of it. Just the way it did at Texas A&M, Clemson found a way to survive another day, but there is no sugarcoating this fact: Losing Lawrence long-term is not a prospect anybody at Clemson wants to face. — Andrea Adelson
No. 12 West Virginia 42, No. 25 Texas Tech 34
The Mountaineers started fast, but they have to finish better. They emerged from Lubbock unscathed, with Big 12 title contention still intact, but going scoreless on offense in the second half was a bit troubling. Dana Holgorsen and Jake Spavital want to see a more mature team in how it handles success. Holgorsen wasn’t happy with how his offense finished each of the last two games and when the games get tougher, it’s going to be more important to finish strong. — Sam Khan Jr.
No. 16 Miami 47, North Carolina 10
The turnover chain became the overriding story in Miami’s 47-10 victory over North Carolina, as the Hurricanes forced six turnovers and scored three times on defense. But there are two takeaways that cannot be overlooked: N’Kosi Perry got his first career start and showed off the dazzling passing ability coach Mark Richt has raved about since signing the quarterback last year. Perry showed a comfort in the offense a week ago against FIU, and that continued in his first start. He did throw a few interceptions but for the most part, you can see why Richt has been so high on Perry. His passing ability makes Miami a far different team on offense. Secondly, starting middle linebacker Shaq Quarterman sprained his ankle and though Richt didn’t sound too concerned, his status is one to watch with Florida State looming next week. Miami safety Jaquan Johnson has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury, and the Hurricanes can’t afford to be without their best two players on defense as the season moves forward. — Adelson
No. 21 Michigan State 31, Central Michigan 20
Michigan State did exactly what it needed to – avoid an upset. The Spartans got off to a slow start, and allowed the Chippewas back into the game into the fourth quarter, but the 11-point deficit was too much to overcome. Michigan State’s stifling run defense to hold the Chippewas to 63 rushing yards — including five in the first half — and two scoreless quarters. While Michigan State’s defense earned the spotlight and forced two turnovers, quarterback Brian Lewerke accounted for two of the team’s four rushing touchdowns. Michigan State hosts Northwestern on Saturday before what will be a season-defining stretch in October with back-to-back games against Penn State and Michigan. — Heather Dinich