Braxton Miller

Another Saturday of spring games on tap for your football cravings

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One Saturday of something that resembles college football down, one to go.

Like last week, which was filled to the brim with 43 spring games (a few were cancelled due to inclement weather), today will be packed with — if our math is correct (again) — 29 spring games from around the country.

As you probably figured out already, it’s darn-near impossible to touch on every single game. We’ll be writing up some thoughts on a few of the big programs/storylines today individually — Arkansas, Ohio State, Oklahoma State, Penn State, West Virginia and Virginia Tech… y’all are under the microscope — so consider this to be a “best of the rest” post that we’ll be updating with happenings from the other couple dozen games as they enter our inbox.

So, be sure to check back here throughout the day if you’re not out supporting your program already.

And, remember, what you see today is exactly what you should expect come this fall.

— WVU’s defense — yes, the defense — won the Gold-Blue game on Saturday.  (11:50 p.m. ET)

— Mike Gundy hopes to name a starting QB at Oklahoma State “this week.

— Keith Arnold gives you five things he learned at Notre Dame’s spring game.

— It’s another year, but Penn State still has problems at quarterback. (8:53 p.m. ET)

— What did we learn from Arkansas’ spring game? The Razorback offense is unfairly good (against backups) and Tyler Wilson should be getting more publicity than he is. And not just for his stats, but for his leadership in a trying time for the program. (8:53 p.m. ET)

— The biggest takeaway from Maryland’s spring finale?  The Terps defense accounted for what was described as “13 legitimate sacks.”  That’s good news for the defensively, but, conversely, not so good for the line on the other side of the ball. (7:07 p.m. ET)

— In the first spring game of the Mike Leach era at Washington State, Jeff Tuel passed for 285 yards and two touchdowns as the Cougars put the finishing touches on its allotment of 15 spring sessions.  All told, four Wazzu QBs combined to throw for 568 yards in the exhibition game. (7:04 p.m. ET)

— What did we learn from Tennessee’s Orange and White spring game? That Derek Dooley is happy with the Vols’ effort. Achievement level coachspeak unlocked!

— Ladies and gents, we have, unless I’m mistaken, our first overtime of the 2012 spring practices when the Red team defeated the Blue team 24-23 in Ole Miss’ Grove Bowl. It looks like JUCO QB Bo Wallace will be leading the Rebels this fall. (5:31 p.m. ET)

— Ohio State wrapped up their spring game with a 20-14 win by the Scarlet team over the Gray team. The emphasis on offense? Improving the passing game (5:22 p.m. ET)

— Because of inclement weather, Virginia Tech’s spring game has been officially cancelled. In other news, the Hokies picked up 30 commitments today, completely oversigning nearly a year in advance. Take that, SEC.  (5:11 p.m. ET)

— Syracuse’s spring game ended in a 9-0 defensive crawl, resulting in no offensive points in the 90-minute scrimmage. Junior defensive tackle Jay Bromley forced a safety and later stripped the ball that would be returned Brandon Sharpe for a touchdown (4:27 p.m. ET)

— A total of 3,500 diehards watched the curtain fall on Minnesota’s spring practice, although they didn’t see much offense as the Maroon team downed the Gold squad 3-0 in a spring game played amid the rain drops.  Backup quarterback Max Shortell was the offensive “star” of the game with 98 total yards — 68 passing, 30 rushing. (3:27 p.m. ET)

LOOK: TCU to wear debut new chrome helmets for game vs. Oklahoma

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As someone loathe to post on the myriad uniform combinations that college football teams toss out there on an almost weekly basis, I have to admit that these are… not bad. At all.

Quite fresh looking, actually.

Ahead of their black-out game against Oklahoma Saturday, TCU unveiled a new chrome helmet that the Horned Frogs will wear against the Sooners.  The helmets feature purple facemasks and a rather large purple horned frog on each side of it.

While all of that stuff, the helmets and uniforms and cleats and gloves and the like, are mainly for the benefit of recruits and current players, I and my particular demographic would have to give it a hearty thumbs up.  Which I’m certain means the world to the football program.

Longtime starting WKU safety likely out for remainder of 2016

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 10:  Calvin Ridley #3 of the Alabama Crimson Tide rushes away from Marcus Ward #8 of the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers at Bryant-Denny Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Like they have the last couple of weeks, Western Kentucky will have to get used to Marcus Ward not patrolling its defensive secondary on game days.

Ward (pictured, left) injured his knee in Week 2 and has not returned to the playing field.  Unfortunately for the player and the football program, that absence will continue as the safety underwent surgery on the knee, which is expected to sideline him for the remainder of the 2016 season.

This may not be the last of the fourth-year senior in a Hilltopper uniform, though, as Ward has yet to use his redshirt season and would have a medical waiver at his disposal even if he had.  It’s unclear, however, if Ward will return for another season or rather make himself available for the 2017 NFL draft.

Ward has started a total of 31 games since his true freshman season in 2013, including 26 the previous two seasons.  He was named preseason second-team All-Conference USA prior to the start of the 2016 season.

Perhaps more importantly, he was named a semifinalist earlier this month as a semifinalist for the Campbell Trophy, also known as the Academic Heisman.

No. 10 Washington becomes Pac-12 front-runner after Friday night thrashing of No. 7 Stanford

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Quarterback Keller Chryst #10 of the Stanford Cardinal is hit as he throws by linebacker Connor O'Brien #29 and linebacker Psalm Wooching #28 of the Washington Huskies on September 30, 2016 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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All summer long, people wondered why Washington was getting so much preseason love.

After Friday night’s 44-6 thrashing of Stanford in front of a national audience, nobody is wondering anymore about the Huskies.

The sophomore backfield combo of quarterback Jake Browning (210 yards, three touchdowns) and Myles Gaskin (an even 100 yards rushing, two scores) once again powered Washington to a big win, with the offense scoring on all but two full drives on a night where everything went right for the purple and gold.

Defensively is where the Huskies really impressed though. The team swarmed to the ball on every snap, forced two fumbles, racked up eight sacks and kept Stanford under three yards a play for most of the night. The normally reliable Christian McCaffrey was kept in check in remarkable fashion, rushing for just 49 yards on 12 carries.

Just six days after a remarkable comeback win at UCLA, there wasn’t much left in the tank for a Stanford team that was missing two starting cornerbacks and just couldn’t get anything going offensively on the road in a hostile environment. Quarterback Ryan Burns did throw for 151 yards and a touchdown but was under siege most of the night thanks to some shaky play up front from the normally reliable Cardinal offensive line.

The win by Washington certainly establishes Chris Petersen’s team as the Pac-12 favorite — at the very minimum — with a chance to all but punch their ticket to the conference title game next week at Pacific Northwest rival Oregon. If the Huskies continue to look like they did on Friday in Seattle though, a berth in the College Football Playoff is certainly going to be in the cards as well.

No. 10 Washington putting on a show with big first half against No. 7 Stanford

SEATTLE, WA - SEPTEMBER 30:  Head coach David Shaw of the Stanford Cardinal looks on prior to the game against the Washington Huskies on September 30, 2016 at Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
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On the first offensive play of the night for Stanford, the Cardinal picked up a first down thanks to a face mask penalty.

It was all downhill from there for the Cardinal.

No. 10 Washington lived up to their high preseason billing on Friday night by manhandling the defending Pac-12 champions in just about every way possible to jump out to a 23-0 halftime lead.

Quarterback Jake Browning threw just three incompletions on his way to 167 yards and two touchdowns and the Huskies looked every bit the part of a top five team in a wild, vintage atmosphere on Montlake. While the offense was impressive, the Washington defense was swarming as well, racking up six sacks in the game so far.

Stanford couldn’t get anything going offensively, averaging just 2.8 yards per play in the first half. Superstar Christian McCaffrey was held mostly in check, with just eight yards receiving and 31 on the ground.

To add injury to the insult of that first half, the Cardinal’s best defender — defensive lineman Solomon Thomas — was injured in the second quarter with a lower leg injury. The team is already without both its starting cornerbacks for the game so it could be a long second half for the visitors.

The game isn’t over yet and there’s plenty of #Pac12AfterDark potential but that was quite a statement made by Chris Petersen’s Huskies in the first half in establishing their credentials for the College Football Playoff.