By Jed Johnson
Week 9 of the college football season saw four of the top five teams win their games by fewer than 10 points.
The Alabama Crimson Tide did not play last week, and maintained its No. 1 ranking.
The No. 3 Clemson Tigers and No. 5 Louisville Cardinals were both in danger of losing their games, with each team trailing in the fourth quarter of those games.
The Tigers pulled off a fourth quarter comeback against the Florida State Seminoles on the heels of halfback Wayne Gallman’s 2-yard touchdown run with a failed two-point conversion and a 46-yard field goal from kicker Greg Huegel.
The Seminoles answered with a Dalvin Cook 8-yard rushing touchdown, his fourth touchdown in the contest on an off-tackle run to the right side with roughly three minutes remaining.
Five plays later, the Tigers retook the lead with an acrobatic touchdown from wide receiver Jordan Leggett, leaping over defensive back Kyle Meyers and crossing the right pylon.
The Tigers won the game, 37-34.
No. 5 Louisville trailed the 2-6 Virginia Cavaliers, 17-14, heading into the final quarter, but Lamar Jackson tossed two touchdown passes in an 18-point fourth quarter for the Cardinals – a 10-yard pass to Reggie Bonnafon and a 29-yard pass to Jaylen Smith, the team’s leading touchdown receiver.
Virginia quarterback Kurt Benkert and wide receiver Doni Dowling connected for a touchdown, putting Virginia up by one, Jaylen Smith caught the go-ahead score on a fade route down the right side of the field with 17 seconds left in the game.
No. 25 Virginia Tech escaped Pittsburgh with a 39-36 win over the Panthers Oct. 27.
Panther halfback James Conner recorded three rushing touchdowns to go along with 141 yards on 19 carries, but Hokies kicker Joey Slye made all six field goal attempts, which was the difference in the game.
Saturday contains some crucial match-ups between top 25 teams.
No. 10 Nebraska will face off against No. 6 Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, in a battle of 7-1 teams.
The Buckeyes average 10.6 more points per game than the Huskers do, 42.6 to 32.0.
Buckeye freshman halfback Mike Weber is averaging 6.0 yards per carry, with 770 yards and six scores on the ground in 129 attempts this season.
No. 1 Alabama travels to No. 13 LSU in a match that may be closer than expected with the sudden resurgance of the Bayou Bengals under interim coach Ed Orgeron.
Leonard Fournette has 670 rushing yards and five rushing touchdowns this season on 83 carries, even though he has missed four contests. In the four games Fournette has participated in, he has eclipsed 100 yards.
Crimson Tide quarterback Jalen Hurts has 1,578 yards in the air this season, with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Hurts has only failed to be responsible for a touchdown in one contest this year, but the Crimson Tide still scored 48 points.