Top 25 Notebook: Alabama remains undefeated heading into Week 5 of NCAA football season

By Liz Weeks

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(Will Vragovic/Tampa Bay Times/TNS)

On Saturday, undefeated Alabama faced off against then-unblemished Vanderbilt in both teams’ first conference game of the season. The Crimson Tide beat the Commodores 59-0, to remain atop the Southeastern Conference and the Top 25 rankings, for the fourth week in a row.

Alabama (4-0) held Vanderbilt (3-1) to only 38 passing yards and 40 rushing yards, as the Crimson Tide dominated the entire game. Total yardage added up to 677 yards for Alabama, 496 of which came from the rushing game.

Alabama running back Damien Harris rushed for a season-high 151 yards on 12 carries and scored three touchdowns. Harris and company rushed for an average of over seven yards per carry.

Freshman quarterback Tua Tagovailoa completed 80 percent of his passes (8-for-10, 103 yards and two touchdowns) in the blowout victory. The Crimson Tide quarterback also rushed for 22 yards

Jerry Jeudy and Devonta Smith each hauled in touchdown receptions in the win.

Alabama was stout defensively as well, limiting the Commodores to only three first downs while the Crimson Tide had 38.

This Saturday, Alabama will play No. 24 Mississippi State (3-1) in a primetime SEC matchup.

Clemson Rises Steadily in Rank

Just a few weeks ago, Clemson was the No. 5 ranked team in the nation. Now at the start of Week five, the Tigers (4-0) are spending their second week in the No. 2 spot after gradually rising in rank throughout the season.

Through four games, Clemson remains unbeaten in both the Atlantic Coast Conference and in non-conference play.

The Tigers faced Boston College on Saturday afternoon, beating the Eagles 34-7 at Frank Howard Field at Clemson Memorial Stadium.

An 11-yard touchdown run from Clemson quarterback Kelly Bryant in the second quarter got the Tigers on the board first.

BC scored off a 1-yard touchdown run from Eagles running back AJ Dillon in the third quarter, knotting the game up at 7-7.

However, the Tigers scored 27 points in the final quarter, to take control and run away with the contest, beating BC 34-7. Travis Etienne and Kelly Bryant each rushed for more than 100 yards for Clemson, while the Eagles as a whole ran for 96 yards.

The Tigers’ 4-0 start is the third straight time that the team has been undefeated in the first four weeks of the season. Clemson is playing its third Top 25 team, No. 12 Virginia Tech (4-0), this Saturday night.

Oklahoma State Drops, TCU Jumps in Standings     

Entering Week 4, Oklahoma State (3-1) sat in the No. 6 spot; now after a high-scoring, 44-31 loss to Texas Christian University (4-0) Saturday, the Cowboys have dropped nine spots to No. 15. Meanwhile, TCU has leapt up to No. 9 after previously sitting in the No. 16 spot last week.

While both teams totaled about the same number of yards (499 for the Cowboys and 466 for the Horned Frogs), TCU held possession for 39 minutes, four seconds, while OSU only managed the ball for 20 minutes, 56 seconds.

The Horned Frogs committed one turnover whereas the Cowboys had four.

TCU running back Darius Anderson ran for three touchdowns and 168 yards, combining with quarterback Kenny Hill (22-for-33, 228 yards, TD, and an INT) as the stars for the Horned Frogs in the win.

Even with a late OSU rally in the fourth quarter in which the Cowboys scored 14 points, TCU stood strong to defeat OSU and remain undefeated on the season.

With a bye-week this weekend, TCU hopes to remain a threat in the Big 12 conference.

Liz Weeks can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @lizweeks20.