Defense wins championships. That’s what we’ve all had drilled into our heads over the years. If that’s the case, the #5 Georgia Bulldogs are going to be big-time national title contenders this season based on what they did to the #3 Clemson Tigers in Charlotte on Saturday night. Though Clemson had seen a transition in star players on the offensive side of the ball, the Bulldogs still ground them down to a pulp, allowing just 180 total yards and only 14 first downs. They racked up seven sacks as a team, and the difference-maker ultimately came in the second quarter when Christopher Smith intercepted DJ Uiagalelei’s pass and returned it to the house for a 74-yard TD.
That was the game’s first and only touchdown, and they would go on win 10-3, signaling their intentions that they were indeed going to be a national title contender as many had predicted. That was not the only ranked team to meet on the first ‘real’ college football Saturday of the season, though. #19 Penn State also met #12 Wisconsin, and the Nittany Lions came on top with a 16-10 victory to begin their campaign 1-0. They were down 10-7 early in the fourth, but they roared back to put up nine more within two minutes or so to take the win. The Alabama Crimson Tide, the top team in the country, also handled their business against a ranked foe, hammering #14 Miami 44-13. Bryce Young amassed four touchdown passes and 344 yards as he had the keys handed to him, and at one stage the Tide were up 27-0. The other games that featured two ranked teams against one another saw #18 Iowa pound #17 Indiana 34-6 and #21 Texas control #23 Louisiana 38-18. #2 Oklahoma made a mess out of their meeting with Tulane, allowing a late rally from the Green Wave, but they held on to win 40-35 and avoid one of the biggest upsets in recent CFB memory.