Wrapping up the opening weekend ACC action

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No. 20 Florida State 59 Samford 6

Tallahassee Heisman hopeful Christian Ponder did not help his stock to start Saturdayafternoons match with Samford. The Seminoles’ first appearance in the red zone ended with a sixyard interception.

Once reality hit, though, Ponder bounced back. He threw four first half touchdowns–three in thesecond quarter–as the ‘Noles went into half time with a 42-3 lead.

Backup quarterback sophomore EJ Manuel came in for relief of Ponder so as topreserve his health after the break.

The second half featured another field goal from Samford kicker Cameron Yaw and apair of rushing touchdowns from FSU.

• No. 16 Georgia Tech 41 South Carolina State 10

The Yellowjackets under head coach Paul Johnson haven’t made any significantchanges. The Georgia Tech defense played well against SC State, holding the offense to zeropoints despite failing to grab a turnover.

The offense was its usual self, as well. Quarterback Josh Nesbitt characteristicallypassed for eight yards through the first half, and the run game accounted for the other 175 yards.

The Yellowjackets headed into half-time with a 20-3 lead, and never looked back. Nesbitt scoredanother rushing touchdown, and Georgia Tech finished with six total rushing touchdowns, fourmore scores than they had pass completions…for the day.

The Bulldogs’ Malcolm Long added a one-yard rushing touchdown for SC State’s lonetouchdown of the afternoon.

Boston College 38 Weber State 20

Last season, Boston College 26-year-old sophomore quarterback Dave Shinskie had arollercoaster of a season. He played well against Wake Forest, Florida State and NC State. Hehad bad games against Notre Dame, Virginia and North Carolina.

Then there was the Virginia Tech game. Shinskie’s passer rating was -22.20. The Hokies caughtmore of Shinskie’s passes than did the Eagles.

In order for BC to turn things around this season, they would need Shinskie to lead the offensesuccessfully. His first pass on Saturday was less than ideal.

Weber State linebacker Taylor Sedillo intercepted Shinskie for seven yards and set upthe Wildcats in the Eagle red zone. They settled for a field goal.

On BC’s next drive, Shinskie completed all three of his passes for 35 yards and a touchdown to

Chris Pantale, wiping away any fear or doubt any Eagle fan could have.

But Shinskie was not yet through scaring Boston College fans. He finished the day a miserable10 of 20 for 187 yards, with a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. And this was againstWeber State’s defense, not Virginia Tech or North Carolina.

Eagle running back Montel Harris looked great, finishing with 115 yards and a score,but the Eagles must have Shinskie perform, or it will be another disappointing season for BostonCollege.

Clemson 35 North Texas 10

The big question mark for Clemson heading into their Saturday afternoon battle with NorthTexas was the play of quarterback Kyle Parker. Would he repeat his success from lastyear, or would he crumble under the distraction(s) of becoming a professional baseball player?

Early on, Parker played as well as he could have. He hit two touchdowns through the air toreceiver Brandon Clear and running back Jamie Harper.

The Tigers started their scoring with a 60-yard run in the first quarter by running back AndreEllington.

If the Tiger defense had not got to Mean Green quarterback Nathan Tune four times inthe first half, then Tulane may very well have been tied with Clemson at the break. North Texasalso fumbled, losing yardage, on three separate occasions.

Both running backs Harper and Ellington finished with two scores each, sending all thoughts offormer Tiger CJ Spiller to the wind.

Parker quieted down, finishing with nearly half of his pass attempts being incomplete, one aninterception.

Virginia 34 Richmond 13

Running back Keith Payne was through with football until former Cavalier headcoach Al Groh left and current head coach Mike London stepped in. Boy, isCavalier nation glad he came back.

Payne ran for 108 yards on just fifteen carries for four scores, three of which were in the secondhalf to help UVA pull away from the Spiders.

According to Rivals.com, Payne had three straight carries over 13 yards, each time with defenders on hisback.

Richmond, a perennial FCS powerhouse, had previously beaten Virginia twice in the past fiveyears. The two were within one-point when Virginia led at half-time, 14-13. The last three scoreswere all Payne’s.

NC State 48 Western Carolina 7

NC State quarterback Russell Wilson was in a similar situation as Clemson passerKyle Parker this summer. Wilson was selected in the MLB draft, and missed somepracticing with his Wolfpack teammates because of baseball related events.

But, unlike Parker, Wilson did his part in leading the Wolfpack offense to a ton of points. Hecompleted 21 of 31 passes for 306 yards and four scores, without a blemish.

As for the Wolfpack defense, they did not allow the Western Carolina Catamounts into the redzone. The seven points surrendered by the Wolfpack defense was the fewest amount since NCState’s second game of last season.

Duke 41 Elon 27

In his first career start, Duke quarterback Sean Renfree had a career-day. Renfree passedfor 350 yards and two touchdowns, showing that former Blue Devil quarterback ThaddeusLewis might have been a product of Duke’s offensive system.

Duke had a comfortable lead throughout the entire first half, heading into the break up 27-13.

The third quarter was scoreless, while the fourth featured two scores by each team.

No. 21 LSU 30 No. 18 North Carolina 24

In what many thought would be a blow out, North Carolina held its own and nearly toppled LSU.The Tar Heels rallied from a 30-10 halftime deficit to come within six.

With a successful onside kick, UNC looked like they had all the momentum in the world…untilTar Heel quarterback TJ Yates fumbled, allowing the Tigers to attempt to run out theclock.

If it were only that simple.

North Carolina managed to knock the ball loose with their depleted defense, and recovered thefumble. With 2:17 remaining in the game and on his own 27 yard line, Yates led the Tar Heelsdown the field to mount a comeback.

Yates completed his first five passes of the drive, but with 0:10 left in the game, he threw twoincomplete passes, attempted for tight end Zack Pianalto. Yates finished the gamecompleting 62.2% of his passes for 410 yards and three scores.

LSU turned the ball over four times, yet still escaped with the victory.

It’s only natural to imagine what the end result would have been had North Carolina played their entire team. The Tar Heels were without eight starters, severely limiting their potential as a unit.

Third ex-Vandy football player sentenced to 15 years for rape

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A third former Vanderbilt football player will spend a sizable portion of his adult life behind bars.

In June of this year, Brandon Banks was found guilty on one count each of aggravated rape and aggravated sexual battery related to a 2013 gang rape of an unconscious woman. Friday, Banks was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

In July of last year, one of Banks’ former teammates, Cory Batey, was sentenced to 15 years after being found guilty of aggravated rape. Four months later, another former Vandy football player, Brandon Vandenburg, was sentenced to 17 years after being found guilty of the same charge as Batey. The judge gave Vandenburg a longer sentence than Batey because the former was the leader in the attack and betrayed the woman’s trust.

Banks, Vandenburg, Batey and another ex-Vandy football player, Jaborian ‘Tip’ McKenziewere initially charged Aug. 9, 2013, with five counts of aggravated rape and two counts of aggravated sexual battery each after a police investigation determined that the four had raped an unconscious woman.

On June 28 of 2013, Vanderbilt announced that four unnamed players had been indefinitely suspended amid reports that the players were connected to an alleged sex crimes case.  The next day, Vandy officials further clarified the players’ statuses, releasing a statement announcing the dismissals of the four.  That release further added that none of the four will be permitted to return to campus without permission from the office of student conduct and academic integrity.

McKenzie has pleaded guilty and is awaiting sentencing.  He has agreed to testify against his former teammates in exchange for what he hopes is a lighter sentence.

Georgia Tech dismisses leading rusher Dedrick Mills

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I believe this one would qualify as a significant development.

In a very brief press release, Georgia Tech announced Friday afternoon that Dedrick Mills has been dismissed by Paul Johnson from the football team.  The only reason given was an unspecified violation of Tech athletics department rules.

The head coach is expected to meet with the media following practice later on this afternoon.

Regardless of the specific reason for the dismissal, Mills’ departure serves as yet another blow for the run-heavy Yellow Jackets.

Last season, Mills’ 771 yards and 12 rushing touchdowns led all Tech ball carriers.  169 of those yards came in the bowl win over Kentucky.  Mills put up all of those numbers as a true freshman despite being suspended on two different occasions for a total of three games.

Mills’ dismissal is the second huge blow to their 2017 running game as Marcus Marshall, who was second on the team last season with 624 yards, announced in late November that he would be transferring from Tech.  Less than a month later, he moved on to James Madison.

With those twin departures, Clinton Lynch‘s 415 yards last season makes him the team’s leading returning rusher.

LOOK: Notre Dame unveils alternate uniforms honoring Knute Rockne’s legacy

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As you may know, I’m hardly a fan of the alternate uniform craze.  These, though, I can very easily get behind.

Notre Dame on Friday released images of new uniforms the Fighting Irish will wear for their Nov. 18 game against Navy.  From helmet to shoes, the new duds will serve as a head-to-toe tribute to the legendary Knute Rockne.

The players will all have the name “ROCKNE” emblazoned on the backs of their jerseys, while the helmets replicate the leather ones of Rockne’s era.  The cleats also will pay homage to the era in which Rockne, also a former player at the school, coached the Fighting Irish to five national championships from 1918-1930.  In those 13 seasons, the Irish lost just 12 games under Rockne.

Additionally, the sleeves will be adorned with the words from one of Rockne’s most famous speeches.



Penn State OKs James Franklin’s new deal, reportedly worth nearly $6 million annually

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James Franklin is now in some very heady financial company.

Friday morning, Penn State’s Board of Trustees Committee on Compensation, as expected, unanimously approved an amended contract for their head football coach.  While no details were released — that’s expected to happen later today — it’s believed the amended deal will extend through the 2023 season.  Franklin’s old contract ran through 2019.

Additionally, Bruce Feldman of SI.com is reporting that the new six-year deal will average $5.8 million annually.  What Franklin’s compensation for 2017 and beyond will, again, be divulged later on today.

The average of $5.8 million a year would make him the fourth-highest-paid coach in college football, behind only Alabama’s Nick Saban and a pair of fellow Big Ten coaches — Ohio State’s Urban Meyer and Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh.

Set to enter his fourth season with the Nittany Lions, Franklin has an overall record of 25-15 at the school.  After a pair of 7-6 seasons to begin his tenure, 2016 was a breakout one for the program as they went 11-3 and won the Big Ten championship for the first time since 2008.

Expectations are extremely high coming off that breakout season as the Nittany Lions are ranked sixth in the preseason coaches’ poll.