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North Carolina Football
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- — Luke Altmyer threw a touchdown pass and ran for another and Isaiah Williams caught eight passes for 120 yards to lead Illinois to a 23-17 win over Florida Atlantic in a non-conference game Saturday.
It was a bounce-back game for Altmyer, who threw four interceptions in a 30-13 loss to Penn State last week and was benched in the fourth quarter. He completed 25 of 36 passes for 303 yards and wasn’t picked off.
“I called Luke at 8’clock last Saturday night. I didn’t want him to go to bed worrying if he was still our starting quarterback,” said Illinois coach Bret Bielema. “I wanted to let him know I was still behind him and we would come up with a game plan for him to be successful. Then the team picked him up during the week.”
Florida Atlantic’s Daniel Richardson, in his first start after Casey Thompson suffered a season-ending ACL tear, completed 28 of 49 passes for 256 yards and two touchdowns. Richardson was intercepted in the end zone by Nicario Harper early in the fourth quarter.
Florida Atlantic coach Tom Herman thought a “winnable game” slipped through his team’s fingertips, but he thinks the Owls have a bright future.
“For the last 10 months (since he became coach), I’ve talked to the team about having faith. Faith is belief without evidence. We got some evidence (Saturday). We have a lot to build on.”
After falling behind 10-0, the Illini (2-2) rallied to lead 14-10 at halftime and pulled away from Florida Atlantic (1-3) in the third quarter before the Owls scored a late touchdown.
Aidan Laughery scored on a 2-yard run early in the quarter, capping an eight-play, 94-yard drive that included a 45-yard pass from a scrambling Altmyer to Williams. Caleb Griffin added a 44-yard field goal later in the quarter.
After committing five turnovers against Penn State, the Illinois offense started slowly against Florida Atlantic.
The Illini marched to the Owls’ 19 on their first drive, then turned the ball over on downs.
On Illinois’ second possession, Altmyer was sacked by Xavier Peters, fumbled, and Jayden Williams recovered for the Owls at the Illinois 28. That led to a 22-yard field goal by Logan Lupo that gave Florida Atlantic a 3-0 lead.
After an Owls’ touchdown on a 19-yard pass from Richardson to LaJohntay Wester, Illinois got back into the game on a trick play. Altmyer took a pitch on a reverse flea flicker and threw a 46-yard touchdown pass to a wide-open Griffin Moore.
Illinois grabbed a 14-10 halftime lead on a 7-yard run by Altmyer that capped an 8-play, 85-yard drive.
Illinois punter Hugh Robertson hit Wester after he'd run out of bounds on a 20-yard punt return, and he was flagged for unnecessary roughness. The penalty gave the Owls the ball at the Illinois 28 and set up a 19-yard touchdown pass from Richardson to Wester on the final play of the first quarter.
BLAST FROM THE PAST
Bielema compares Williams, a 5-foot-10, 185-pounder who has caught passes in 29 straight games since switching from quarterback before the start of the 2021 season, to a former diminutive receiver.
“When NFL scouts ask me about Isaiah, I compare him to Antwaan Randle El,” Bielema said, who played in the NFL from 2002-2010.
Florida Atlantic: Wester, the Owls’ career reception leader, was as good as advertised. He had 13 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown.
Illinois: The Illini defense finally looked like the nationally ranked Illinois defense of 2022, holding Florida Atlantic to 97 yards on the ground.
Florida Atlantic: After a bye week, the Owls will play host to Tulsa on Oct.7.
Illinois: The Illini will play at Purdue next Saturday.
CLEMSON, S.C. -- — Jordan Travis has spent too long hearing how No. 4 Florida State can't beat Clemson.
That's over now after Travis threw a picture-perfect touchdown pass in overtime to lift the Seminoles to a long-sought victory over the rival Tigers.
Keon Coleman caught the 24-yard TD pass from Travis in overtime and the Seminoles followed up with a defensive stand to snap a seven-game losing streak to Clemson with a 31-24 win that touched off a Death Valley celebration a decade in the making.
“I had tears coming down in the locker room,” said Travis, the sixth-year quarterback.
Florida State had has ceded its position as the ACC's power program to Clemson. Clemson had won seven of the past eight league crowns and national titles in 2016 and 2018.
Now, it looks like the Seminoles are ready to jump back into the top spot.
“We come here with that atmosphere and had adversity over the course of the game, all things you expect,” Florida State coach Mike Norvell said. “The end of this game, it was really special. The things I was most proud of, I told our players, was they put their heart on display.”
Travis also threw for another TD and ran for a score for the Seminoles (4-0, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who had not beaten Clemson (2-2, 0-2) since an overtime victory in 2014. He's now accounted for 82 touchdowns in his career to move past Chris Weinke as No. 1 in program history.
“I saw it,” DeLoach said. “And I did what I could do."
Florida State trailed by as much as 10 twice in the first half.
Clemson had a chance to take a late lead with 1:47 left in the fourth quarter, but Jonathan Weitz, a graduate student who left the team before the season only to return this week after the Tigers had issues in the kicking game, missed a 29-yard try wide left.
“When I hit it, I thought I hit it good," Weitz said. “When I looked up, it's dying left.”
Given another chance, Travis and the Seminoles would not fold. Travis lofted a high-arcing pass that Coleman caught in stride and hushed the raucous Death Valley crowd on the first extra possession.
Clemson couldn't get a first down on its possession when Klubnik’s fourth-and-2 pass sailed wide of the target and Florida State’s players sprinted to celebrate on the field where the program hadn’t won since 2013.
Clemson had only lost twice in 10 years at Death Valley since the Seminoles and quarterback Jameis Winston’s memorable, 51-14 beatdown of the Tigers in 2013.
Klubnik passed for 283 yards and a touchdown and ran for a score. But he had a fumble for the third time in four games, this one proving costly.
“We played our butt off,” Klubnik said. “We've just got to learn how to finish.”
The Tigers started No. 9 in the preseason rankings, slid down and eventually out of the poll after a 28-7 loss in Week 1 to unranked Duke. Three weeks of hearing their season was over obviously rankled the defending ACC champions and they had their most effective offensive showing this season.
But they bogged down late and after having a third-and-1 in overtime, couldn't get a yard to keep the game going.
Weitz had been Clemson's back-up kicker for four seasons, before calling it quits this year. He got a call from coach Dabo Swinney at his home in Charleston last Sunday, asking hime to rejoin the team, and returned Monday. Weitz had been working on a graduate degree online.
He got the Tigers' scoring started with a 30-yard field goal. He had made just three extra points in his four seasons with the team before pursuing a job in finance.
Florida State: The Seminoles overcame perhaps their biggest ACC hurdle to supplant Clemson as the league heavyweight. If Florida State can continue to show the grit it displayed in raucous Death Valley, it will be a strong bet to be playing for its first ACC conference crown since 2014.
Clemson: The Tigers needed a win here to get themselves back in the ACC and College Football Playoff chase. Instead, they've got two losses in September for the second time in three seasons and will need conference chaos for any chance to play for a league title.
Travis said Clemson's choice of one-on-on coverage against Johnny Wilson and Keon Coleman got him angry. The two receivers combined for 10 catches and 180 yards with Coleman catching two TDs.
"I feel like we were disrespected all day. When you put one-on-one against Johnny Wilson and Keon Coleman, I feel like you have no respect for either the receivers or the quarterback.”
Florida State has a week off, then starts a three-game homestand with Virginia Tech on Oct. 7.
Clemson travels to Syracuse on Saturday.
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