Rutgers grabs comfortable win against Iowa State in Pinstripe Bowl

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Much of the story of the second Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium on Friday was written in the opening quarter. The central theme from Iowa State’s perspective was its inability to cash in on field position against the 12th-best scoring the defense in the country. As a result, when the Cyclones fell behind, they could not make up enough ground in what would be a 27-13 loss to Rutgers in front of an announced crowd 38,328.

While they came away with points, the Cyclones had to settle for a pair of Zach Guyer field goals on their first two drives despite reaching at least the Scarlet Knights’ 25-yard line both times. The Rutgers defense, which was allowing only 18.7 points per game coming in, bent but did not break. When Jawan Jamison plunged in from a yard out early in the second quarter, Rutgers had a 7-6 lead and an advantage it would not relinquish.

“We were controlling the football game, but had only six points,” said Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads, who signed a 10-year extension on Dec. 16. “We had our opportunities and failed to execute.”

Limiting the damage to six points was huge for Rutgers, which did not change up its schemes despite Iowa State’s ability to move the ball on those first two drives.

“We didn’t make any adjustments,” said coach Greg Schiano. “We just got acclimated to the speed of the game. Our kids calmed down and played big on third down.”

The Cyclones not only squandered field position – they reached the Rutgers 26 late in the first half and came away with nothing to show for it – but penalties also hurt the cause. After San San Te’s 26-yard field goal put Rutgers up 10-6, Iowa State appeared to take the lead when Jarvis West returned the ensuing kick 93 yards. However, Iowa State was guilty of holding. With Steele Jantz having taken over for Jared Barnett at quarterback, Iowa State (6-7) shook it off and moved the ball. Guyer, though, missed a 51-yard field goal attempt. The Scarlet Knights (9-4) took over and pieced together a 10-play, 66-yard drive that was capped by Jamison’s 12-yard touchdown run for a 17-6 lead. Jamison finished with 134 yards on 27 carries.

The teams spent most of the third quarter trading punts before Te drilled a 29-yard field with 13:21 remaining in the fourth quarter to increase Rutgers’ lead to 20-6. Rhoads’ team still had some fight in it, however. Jeff Woody’s 20-yard TD run with 10 minutes remaining polished off a 76-yard drive and cut the deficit to 20-13. After the Cyclones failed to threaten on their next possession despite starting their next drive at their 42, they had Rutgers pinned deep in their own territory. But Chas Dodd, who started and then alternated at quarterback with Gary Nova, connected with Brandon Coleman on an 86-yard touchdown with 5:47 to play. The 6-foot-6 Coleman was covered by 5-foot-7 corner Jimmy Reaves.

“I thought that was a great play call,” said Schiano, citing offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti. “It was a gutsy call and it was a huge turning point in the game.”

The Cyclones would march into the red zone with a chance to again make it a one-score game, but Darius Reynolds could not hold onto Jantz’s fourth-down pass in the end zone with 4:31 remaining.

Rutgers, playing its second game at Yankee Stadium this season, has the longest active bowl winning streak at five. They are 5-2 all-time in bowls. The Cyclones fell to 3-8 and were denied their 500th all-time win.

Alabama settling in as five-touchdown favorite over Tennessee

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Five-touchdown, not five-point.  The Butch Jones Era, ladies and gentlemen.

In the wake of yet another crippling, emasculating loss for the Tennessee football program, Butch Jones again pulled fired up his verbal backhoe and further buried his coaching tenure on Rocky Top.  There’s little doubt Jones’ time as the Volunteers will expire at some point between now and shortly after the end of UT’s season; there’s exactly zero doubt that, outside of Knoxville — and probably inside, to be blunt — the perception of the program under Jones is at its lowest in decades.

The latest case in the latter point?  Wagering establishments.

Sunday afternoon, UT will enter the not-so-friendly confines of Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa for the 100th edition of its annual rivalry game against top-ranked Alabama.  Over the weekend, the Vols opened as anywhere from a 33- to 34.5-point undergo.  As we head toward midweek, it’s crept a bit upward according to Bovada.lv.

Bovada tells CFT that, over the last 31 years, the Vols have never been as large of an underdog as they are right now.  Prior to a 23-13 loss, they were 30- point underdogs to Florida in 2009.  In 2011 and 2013, they were 29- and 28-point underdogs, respectively, to Alabama.  They ended up losing both contests, 37-6 in the former and 45-10 in the latter.

In the previous 99 meetings between the rival programs, the Vols have lost by 35 or more points exactly four times. The first came in 1906 (51-0), the second in 1963 (35-0).  The last two times?  The 2013 game mentioned above and 2016 (49-10).

Ahead of last year’s game in Knoxville, the Crimson Tide was in the neighborhood of a seven-point favorite.

Cal loses leading tackler to season-ending injury

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Cal’s stunning upset in Week 7 came with a very steep price tag on the defensive side of the ball.

In the second half of Cal’s upending of then-No. 8 Washington State Friday night, Devante Downs went down with an unspecified injury.  Three days later, the football program confirmed that the inside linebacker would miss the remainder of the 2017 season because of it.

Other than lower body, the specific nature of the injury wasn’t detailed.

Regardless of what exactly is sidelining Downs, it’s a very significant blow to a Golden Bears defense that’s currently tied for 67th in scoring after finishing the past four seasons 125th, 123rd, 108th and 125th in the same category.

Through seven games, Downs is far and away Cal’s leading tackler with 65.  Next closest?  Ra Davison‘s 43.  He also leads the team in sacks (three), quarterback hits (four) and forced fumbles (two), while he’s tied for the lead in interceptions (two) and fumble recoveries (two).  The 5.5 tackles for loss for which he’s been credited are tied for second.

Urban Meyer’s wife apologizes after taking Twitter shot at Colin Kaepernick’s choices

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The wife of one of the top head coaches in college football dipped her toes into an ongoing national controversy — and not long after attempted to un-dip them.

In reaction to news that Colin Kaepernick, who kick-started the anthem kneeling controversy last season, had filed a grievance claiming that NFL owners colluded to keep him out of the league, Shelley Meyer tweeted “What-ever, he made his choices.”  The tweet from the personal Twitter account of the wife of Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was quickly deleted.

She also tweeted, in response to one of her followers stating that “I would take Tim Tebow over him any day,” “A million times. No comparison.”

The original tweet gained enough traction pre-deletion, however, that Kaepernick’s mother used the same social media website to chide Mrs. Meyer.

Less than 24 hours after the mini social media maelstrom erupted, Mrs. Meyer offered up somewhat of an apology/further explanation for her original tweet.

Arkansas starting QB Austin Allen could miss another couple weeks

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It appears Arkansas will be without its starting quarterback for a while longer than just one week.

An injury to his right (throwing) shoulder in the Week 6 loss to South Carolina knocked Austin Allen out of the game.  After some initial uncertainty in the week leading up to the Week 7 game against top-ranked Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Allen was indeed ruled out for what turned into a 41-9 loss.

With No. 21 Auburn up next, Bret Bielema all but ruled the senior out of the Week 7 matchup.  Additionally, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette has reported that Allen could miss up to three more weeks after being sidelined last weekend.

“If it came to a point later in the week where he could practice Thursday, I think there’s merit to (Allen returning this week),” Bielema said. “Where he’s at right now, I’d say we’re still a couple of weeks away, but Austin is a guy who surprises a lot of people and if he can go and do things, it’s a positive for us.”

Should the three-week timeline come into play, he would miss the AU game as well as contests against Ole Miss and Coastal Carolina before returning for the road trip to LSU Nov. 11.

If Allen is indeed sidelined, Cole Kelley (pictured) would again take his place.  Making his first career start, the redshirt freshman completed 23-of-42 passes for 200 yards, one touchdown and one interception on the road against the vaunted Crimson Tide.