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Clemson, Notre Dame in unknown waters with quarterback counters

For almost half a century, almost all national college football champions have had one major component in common: quarterback consistency from start to finish.

"These guys have the ball in their hands with every push," former Oklahoma coach Barry Switzer said. "In today's game, they're 90 percent doomed, and since the quarterbacks are throwing football and running just like them, they are the most important players in the field so they can win the Heisman." No matter if Texas Vince Young, Auburn's Cam Newton or Tim Tebow of Florida, the national title winning teams usually had the same vote in turn from start to finish.

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There were, of course, notable exceptions, all of which are due to injury. [19659002] In 1985, Troy Aikman broke his ankle in the fourth game after Oklahoma's start in the fourth game. Switzer turned to Jamelle Holieway, who led his team to a national title as the first true rookie QB. In Nebraska in 1994, Tommie Frazier missed much of the season with a blood clot and Brooks Berringer held course until Frazier returned to give Tom Osborne his first national championship, beating Miami 24:17 in the Orange Bowl.

And in 2014, the state of Ohio survived the loss of Braxton Miller and JT Barrett as Cardale Jones led the Buckeyes to victory over Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game and then in the debut of the College Football playoff against Alabama and Oregon.

Alabama coach Nick Saban made a bold move last season, switching the quarterbacks to the halfway point of the CFP National Championship, not because of an injury to starter Jalen Hurts, but in search of a spark. Freshman Tua Tagovailoa led the Crimson Tide to a 26-2 win over Georgia.

But few national championship teams in the modern era of sport have done what both Clemson No. 2 and Notre Dame No. 3 are trying to do this season.

The Tigers and Fighting Irish, who meet on Saturday in the CFP semi-final at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic (16.00 ET, ESPN), are trying to win a national championship after seeing their starting quarterbacks for their ineffectiveness during the season have won regular season.

"Coaches make decisions based on what's best for their teams," Switzer said. "What's the best decision to make their teams win? Obviously, they felt that was the right decision, in which case, both of them worked."

When Clemson and Notre Dame decided to promote their backup quarterbacks in late September, their decisions were not entirely unexpected.

After coach Dabo Swinney named Trevor Lawrence (right) as the first quarterback, Kelly Bryant left school and eventually moved to Missouri. [Photo] Photo: Mike Stewart

Kelly Bryant started as a Clemson starter with 16: 2 and led the Tiger in his first season as a starter in 2017 to a playoff mooring. But his support, a true freshman by Trevor Lawrence of Cartersville, Georgia, was voted # 2 recruit of the ESPN 300 in 2018. Lawrence enrolled with Clemson in January and seemed to be on the trail with Bryant as he came out of preseason camp.

Clemson punishes himself After a 28-26 win at Texas A & M in the Tiger's second game and two weeks later at a road game at Georgia Tech, writing seemed to be on the wall. With Bryant leading the offense, the tigers threw their first two possessions against the Yellow Jackets. Lawrence threw a 17-yard touchdown on his first ride and a 53-yard touchdown on the second.

"I did not know how it would turn out, but after four games, after the Georgia Tech game, it was so It was obvious that Trevor was the better player," said Clemson coach Dabo Swinney. "And it's hard, but that's our job, and at the end of the day, it's about positioning our team so that they have the best chance of winning."

Bryant did not play for the tigers again. He took advantage of NCAA's new four-game Redshirt rule and left the team. Earlier this month, he announced that he would move to Missouri, where he will have one more season.

"I did not expect Kelly to leave, but that was the decision he made," Swinney said. "So we had to go forward."

With Lawrence leading the offense, the tigers have scored 590 points this season, more than any other team in school history. They also average 529.8 meters per attack, another school record, and have scored 40 points or more in six of Lawrence's nine starts.

Lawrence has completed 65 percent of his attempts for 2,606 yards with 24 touchdowns and four interceptions. In the red zone he was nearly perfect with 15 touchdowns and no breaks.

With Trevor Lawrence at the helm, Clemson set a school record of 590 points this season. Scott Kinser / CSM / ZUMA Press Wire / AP Photo

"Trevor has done an amazing job," Swinney said. "We've had more touchdowns in school history than ever, and that's a big reason, so we can only play the best player."

That's the same attitude that Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly had when quarterbacks changed in the fourth game. Senior Brandon Wimbush started the first three before Kelly and offensive coordinator Chip Long decided to replace him with the offspring Ian Book.

The Irish opened the season with a stunning 24-17 win over Michigan, but then made gains as expected over Ball State and Vanderbilt.

"I think everyone [quarterback change] is different," Kelly said. "We did not just look at the wins and losses, but also how it affects our entire football team, and I think I've made that quite clear a few times: we've played too many defensive moments."

Wimbush threw four interceptions with a touchdown in the opening three games, and Notre Dame struggled to stay in the field, only 36 percent of the third defeat. In a 24:16 victory over Ball State, the Irish drove 72 offensive games against the Cardinals & # 39; 97.

"When you make a decision that is so difficult, not only do it in the quarterback position, but for your entire program," Kelly said. "And Brandon Wimbush, he won eleven games for us so it's never been easy to get a man out and he was undefeated at the time.

" But we looked at the future. We looked at how many games our defense had on the field. We looked at November. So, absolutely, there was the vision of how we can get to the College Football Playoff. All these parts had to be part of the decision-making process. It could not be: "How can we easily score more points?" It was, "How can we find ourselves a better football team in November?"

Book from El Dorado Hills, Calif., Came off the bench to throw two touchdowns in the fourth quarter in a 21-17 win over the LSU last season in the Citrus Bowl. Like Lawrence, he had lost a tight quarterback during the preseason camp. Book did not play in the first two games and tried three passes in the third round.

Once the Irish Rape Faded into the Background In long-back games, Long decided that a change had to be made, and he felt that a trip to Wake Forest was the best time to do so.

Ian Book completed more than 70 percent of his passes, winning two of his first five starts each. Kirby Lee / USA TODAY Sports

"We wanted to play a team that plays a zone and there would be a lot of open-minded people," Long said. I just did not want to go through the game and hit these guys. We wanted to practice where children came to practice and wanted to practice. … We wanted to get our boys like [receivers] Chase Claypool and Miles Boykin, where their development is progressing. It was more about the other 10 and their development than just the one. That was the big reason. "

Book scored twice in his first start of the season at Wake Forest for 565 yards with two goals at Wake Forest, scoring more than 70 percent of his passes and winning every one of his first five he's the first FBS quarterback, who has done this feat since Wisconsin's Russell Wilson in 2011.

"It was at the point where we had to earn points," Long said. "We had too much talent not to score many points.

Notre Dame has changed from an average of 23.3 points to 37.2 during the last nine games.

Long said the Irish also need to change the way they played the offense after winning the Star defensive linemen Quenton Nelson lost Mike McGlinchey to the NFL draft and Tailback Dexter Williams, who had to rush this season with 12 touchdowns for 941 yards, was suspended in the first four games due to an undisclosed injury.

"We Needed A Triggerman To Get The Ball Out The Defense Must Defend The Whole The field and not just the running game, "said Long." We did not have Quenton Nelson, Mike McGlinchey or Josh Adams (19459037) to rip things off and to do. We needed everyone involved. "

Unlike Bryant, Wimbush opted to remain for the rest of the season, and on 10 November, when a Florida State Game rib injury book broke out, Wimbush began and threw three touchdowns in a 42-13 round of Seminoles.

Sources told ESPN earlier this week that Wimbush intends to switch to the season after he graduated from Notre Dame in 2019

"One of the reasons we handled it so well was the fact that we kept the emotions out of the game," Boykin said. "We understand that our goal is one to win national championship, and we will do everything necessary. As a recipient, our approach has not changed.

"We travel routes The same way we work the same way, and it did not matter who threw us the ball."

Swinney repeated this great mentality, simply focusing on the end result.

"Sometimes that's hard because you have personal feelings for many of these people as individuals, and they all work so hard, but at the end of the day you have to do the best for the team."

Two try on Saturday Quarterbacks who have begun the season on the bench to bring their teams one step closer to a national championship. 19659049]
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