Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS
Chuck Liddy/Raleigh News & Observer/TNS

Football rivalries mark an exciting weekend

Week 13 of the college football season finally came and passed, and with it came a full slate of ACC/SEC games along with several ACC in-state rivalries. Many college football aficionados refer to the week after Thanksgiving as rivalry week, and that held true this year as we were treated with games such as Clemson at South Carolina, Florida State at Florida and North Carolina at N.C. State.

The battle of the Palmetto State took place in Columbia, S.C., this weekend as the No. 1-ranked Clemson Tigers made the bus ride across the state to take on their biggest rival, the Gamecocks of South Carolina. The game started off slow as both teams came out of the gates not scoring at all in the first quarter. However, Clemson finally got their high-powered offense going as they took a 14-3 lead into the half. South Carolina battled back in the second half to make the final score respectable as Clemson narrowly escaped Columbia with a 37-32 win. ACC Player of the Year candidate Deshaun Watson threw for 279 yards and one touchdown while rushing for an additional 114 yards and three touchdowns. The Tigers now focus their efforts on the North Carolina Tarheels in the ACC Championship this upcoming weekend in Charlotte. With a win, Clemson most likely locks down the number one seed in the College Football Playoff.

The battle of the Sunshine State took place in Gainsville, Fla., this weekend in a matchup of top 15 teams that included the No. 13 Florida State Seminoles taking on the No. 12 Florida Gators. Florida State took an early lead and never looked back, taking a 10-0 lead into the half and ultimately winning with a final score of 27-2. Defense was clearly the story in this one for the ‘Noles, as they didn’t allow a single point until the fourth quarter. Florida State was led on offense by star running back Dalvin Cook, who ran for 183 yards and two touchdowns. While Florida State did not make the ACC Championship game, they are preparing for a bowl game that is expected to take place sometime around New Year’s Day.

In a battle of two ACC founding members, North Carolina travelled to Raleigh this weekend to take on the N.C. State Wolfpack in a battle of the Tar Heel State. This game is always a battle year in and year out and this year didn’t see anything different as both teams went back and forth with each other the whole 60 minutes. North Carolina’s high powered offense flew out of the gates, putting up a whopping 35 points in this first quarter and taking a 35-14 lead into the half. N.C. State battled back in the second half, but it wasn’t enough; UNC pulled this one out with a final score of 45-34. The ‘Heels were led by sophomore running back Elijah Hood who ran for 220 yards and two touchdowns. Carolina takes their offense into Charlotte this next weekend as they look to knock off the No. 1 Clemson Tigers.

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As the ACC regular season is over, we look forward to the ACC Championship game slated for this upcoming weekend (Dec. 5) in Charlotte, N.C. in Bank of America Stadium.

North Carolina looks to play spoiler and ruin Clemson’s unblemished season and possibly sneak into the College Football Playoffs.

Look for this one to be a shootout as both teams come in with two of the most high- powered offenses in the country.

It should be a quarterback duel in what pits two of the ACC’s best quarterbacks against each other in Deshaun Watson and Marquise Williams.

While this one will be close, I like Clemson winning by a final score of 45-38 and moving on to the College Football Playoffs which will be decided on Sunday, Dec. 6.

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