- Jerry Sandusky passed on the Temple coaching job? The Owls dodged one there.
- The halo over Joe Paterno‘s head on a mural has been removed. Here’s a picture.
- Obviously, the Freeh report has dominated Penn State headlines, but the annual Lift For Life did raise over $100,000 for the Kidney Cancer Association.
- Spencer Hall and SB Nation take on the Big 12. If you need to laugh — and judging by many of the comments over the past 48 hours, I would say that’s an affirmative — I would recommend clicking the link.
- Frank Beamer lost 32 pounds? Good for him.
Saturday offseason one-liners
Along with candy and costumes, egging is another annual tradition of the Halloween season. Unlike the first two traditions, though, it’s normally an illegal activity — as a Penn State quartet recently found out.
Late last night, the PSU student newspaper The Daily Collegian reported, four Nittany Lions — tight end Brent Wilkerson, safety Anthony Smith, defensive end Garrett Sickels and center Wendy Laurent (pictured, No. 55) — were charged with criminal mischief. The charges stem from what was described as an on-campus “egg-throwing situation.”
Other than eggs and a building (Beaver Hall) being involved, no other details were released.
“We are aware of the egg-throwing situation that occurred Thursday evening and will determine the appropriate measures for the four squad members involved,” a statement from the school read. Presumably*, the lobbing of eggs at an inanimate object won’t result in any hefty punitive measures being meted out against any of the players.
(*unless a first-year head coach wants to send a message)
Laurent would be the most noticeable name of those involved. The offensive lineman is the team’s No. 2 center and, with starter Donovan Smith’s status uncertain for Saturday’s game against Maryland because of injury, the junior could be in line to start.
The only other player to see the field this season is Anthony Smith, who’s played on special teams in three games.
No Todd Gurley, no Keith Marshall and no Sony Michel have been no problem for Georgia for quite a while. Saturday, it’ll be lather, rinse, repeat in UGA’s backfield for the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
As previously reported, Gurley, suspended for two more games by the NCAA earlier this week, won’t play against Florida after his appeal was denied. Additionally, both the Macon Telegraph’s Seth Emerson and 247Sports.com’s Gentry Estes are reporting that Marshall didn’t travel with the team to Jacksonville and, thus, won’t play in the annual rivalry game.
Marshall has been sidelined since suffering an ankle injury — presumably the high-ankle variety — in the Sept. 20 win over Troy, with Saturday marking the fifth consecutive game he will have missed. This season, the former four-star running back has rushed for just 24 yards on 12 carries.
Additionally, Sony Michel is doubtful with a shoulder injury he suffered a week after Marshall’s injury. Michel is still currently third on the team in rushing with 223 yards.
The first five games of the season, the true freshman ran for 223 yards and two touchdowns. The last two, those numbers are 345 and three, including a career-high 202 in the win over Arkansas two weeks ago. In those two games, Chubb is responsible for 68 of the 86 running back carries; in the win over the Razorbacks, it was 30 to three.
In yet another (sad) sign that yet another season is rapidly slipping away, a coaching award has released its midseason(ish) watch list.
The second such major award to do the deed — the Bear Bryant Award did the same a week or so ago — is the Dodd Trophy, which recognizes “the head coach of a team which enjoys a successful football season while also stressing the importance of academic excellence and character.” A total of 13 coaches made the initial cut, all of whom come from Power Five conference schools.
Four former winners of the award are on the watch list, including last year’s winner, Duke’s David Cutcliffe, and two-time winner Bill Snyder of Kansas State (1998, 2012). The other two are Clemson’s Dabo Swinney (2011) and Bob Stoops (2003).
Some of the noteworthy names left off the list includes, among others, Florida State’s Jimbo Fisher, Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze, Marshall’s Doc Holliday, TCU’s Gary Patterson, Baylor’s Art Briles and Oregon’s Mark Helfrich. The first two and last three of those have their respective teams in the Top 10, while the Herd is one of just three unbeaten FBS squads.
Meanwhile, two-loss coaches like Swinney, Stoops and UCLA’s Jim Mora are a part of the group.
The SEC led all conferences with four coaches on the watch list. The ACC, Big Ten, Big 12 and Pac-12 have two apiece.
The 2014 winner of the Dodd Trophy will be announced in Atlanta during the week prior to the Dec. 31 Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl week.
Because, of course he is. Possibly
On the scariest of the holidays, one of the most frightening football fans on the planet, Harvey Updyke, is making a claim related to the criminal offense that turned him into a household name a couple of years ago. In a Facebook posting this afternoon, the convicted tree-killer claimed that he will be going trick-or-treating this Halloween dressed up as a dead tree.
Updyke, a lifelong Alabama fan, was convicted of poisoning, and ultimately killing, the famed Toomer’s Corner oaks at Auburn following the 2010 Iron Bowl.
This stunt, as it were, comes a couple of months after Updyke had been scheduled to appear at a charity event where people would’ve been allowed to either dunk [Updyke] in a dunking booth or throw pies at his face. Because of the ensuing uproar, the appearance was canceled.
Even if it’s a joke, which is what we’re guessing will eventually be the case, it likely won’t come off as a particularly funny one to either UA or AU fans.
Updyke, as “Al from Dadeville,” infamously called into the Paul Finebaum radio show in February of 2011 and claimed to have poisoned the Toomer’s oaks after Auburn beat Alabama in the 2010 Iron Bowl. He was subsequently arrested, chargedand ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of criminal damage of an agricultural facility, a Class-C felony. He was sentenced to three years in jail — he served 180 days of the sentence — and was placed on supervised probation for a period of five years. During that probationary period, he has a 7 p.m. curfew.
Additionally, Updyke, who now lives in Louisiana less than an hour from the LSU campus, was ordered to pay $800,000 in restitution and has been barred from the following: any Auburn University property, any collegiate sporting event and speaking to the media. Thus far, he’s only reportedly paid $99 in restitution.
No, Deshaun Watson is not ready for a return to the playing field, but he’s getting closer. Much, much closer.
For the first time Wednesday night since injuring his hand in the Oct. 11 win over Louisville, the Charleston Post & Courier reported, the Clemson quarterback threw a football at practice. The fact that Watson is back throwing a football less than three weeks after incurring the injury came as a bit of a shock to the true freshman’s offensive coordinator.
“Looked good. I think he’s kind of surprised everybody how far along he is right now with everything,” Chad Morris said. “[Wednesday] was his first time back into it taking actual snaps and reps, so it was good to see him back in there.”
Despise the surprise of what thus far has been a speedy recovery, don’t look for the original timeline for a return to be updated. Probably.
Morris, whose Tigers are on a bye this weekend, said its “doubtful” Watson would play in the Thursday night game next week against Wake Forest. That, though, is actually a slight upgrade as Watson’s currently listed as “out” on the official Clemson injury report for that game.
Cole Stoudt, who has started the last two games, is still expected to start against the Demon Deacons. Watson might — might — be available as an emergency-type quarterback if the need arises. Barring a setback, Watson is expected to return for the Nov. 15 game against Georgia Tech as the starter.
Watson remains the No. 2 quarterback in the country in passing efficiency, behind only Heisman front-runner Marcus Mariota of Oregon. In the two games Watson has started and completed — he was injured early on in his third start– the Tigers have averaged 45.5 points per game; in Stoudt’s four starts against FBS teams, that average is 17.7 ppg.
The trigger has officially been pulled.
Following up on reports that surfaced late Friday morning, Michigan president Mark Schlissel announced this afternoon that Dave Brandon has (ahem) “resigned as UM’s athletic director”. The move comes after a month in which Brandon was assailed from numerous corners for various missteps, from the handling of the Shane Morris head injury to the corporate nature of home football games to go along with the pricing to an embarrassing string of emails from the AD to various fans.
Add in the football team’s 3-5 record to start the 2014 season, its worst since 2008, and it’s a recipe for what most will consider a forced resignation after four years on the job.
“Dave feels that it would be in the best interest of our student-athletes, our athletic department and our university community if he moved on,” the president said. Schlissel stated during a press conference that he accepted Brandon’s resignation this morning and that he agreed with the now-former AD’s decision to step aside.
Former UM football player Jim Hackett will serve as interim athletic director until a permanent replacement is found. Mlive.com wrote that “Hackett, a 1977 Michigan graduate, comes to U-M after two decades as chief executive of Grand Rapids-based Steelcase Inc., one of the world’s largest office furniture makers based.”
Brandon’s departure almost certainly means Brady Hoke, already on one of the hottest coaching seats in America, will be out as the Wolverines’ head coach at season’s end, if not sooner. And, just who will make the decision to kick the chair out from underneath Hoke’s noosed neck?
Speculation had heavily centered on Arkansas AD and College Football Playoff chairperson Jeff Long even before Brandon’s resignation was announced; expect that speculation to increase exponentially with today’s development. UConn’s Warde Manuel and Boston College’s Brad Bates have been mentioned prominently as well. There’s even one report that tosses the name of Oklahoma’s Joe Castiglione into the mix, while another states UM has already reached out to current Central Michigan AD Dave Heeke.
Back in May, Kentucky announced that it had extended the contract of Mark Stoops.
Nearly six months and eight games later, they’ve done it again.
UK announced Friday afternoon that it had reached an agreement on yet another contract extension for its head football coach. The deal back in May would’ve kept Stoops with the Wildcats through June 30, 2019; this new agreement binds him to UK through the 2019 season, meaning that it’s a rare half-year extension.
“Mark is guiding our program in the direction we all want it to go and we are proud to reward that,” athletic director Mitch Barnhart wrote in the first of a series of tweets posted to his Twitter account. “I was confident Mark was right for this job when I hired him, but he has exceeded my expectations. From leading a group of young men to recruiting to fundraising, Mark has embraced and excelled in all facets of this job. I am excited about the progress our team has shown on the field, but this is as much about the next five years as it is the last 1.5.
“As I’ve said before, I believe we can compete at the highest level in the toughest conference. @UKCoachStoops is the coach to take us there.”
There was no word on what if any salary increases may be involved.
After going 2-10 in his first season last year, Stoops has his Wildcats sitting at 5-3 in 2014 and on the verge of bowl eligibility for the first time since 2010. While there’s certainly a greater on-field buzz when it comes to the Wildcats, it’s on the recruiting trail where it’s the loudest and most pronounced.
Kentucky currently has the No. 22 recruiting class for the 2015 cycle after Stoops and his coaching staff pulled in the No. 17 class this past February and the No. 29 class in 2013. Prior to Stoops’ arrival, UK had just two recruiting classes — 2006 (No. 36) and 2009 (No. 41) — finish inside the Top 50 nationally since 2002.
It appears Michigan’s athletic department — and likely its football program as well — is about to embark on a new direction.
Late Friday morning, UM announced in a press release that university president Mark Schlissel will conduct a press conference at 1:30 ET this afternoon. The only reason given for the presser was that Schlissel would be making an unspecified announcement.
It’s been rumored for weeks that embattled athletic director Dave Brandon is on his way out. Based on one report, that’s indeed both the case and the subject of the this afternoon’s media event.
The Detroit News subsequently confirmed that Brandon will be stepping down.
In addition to the woeful performance of the football team under Brady Hoke, Brandon has come under fire for the handling of the Shane Morris head injury; the corporate nature of home football games to go along with the pricing; and an embarrassing string of emails from the AD to various fans.
Should Brandon be out as all signs indicate, it would likely serve as the second-to-last nail in Hoke’s coaching coffin, with the last being driven in by the new AD just before he brings in his own hand-picked head coach.
Unfortunately for both the player and the team, reality matched the speculation.
Tulane confirmed earlier this week that Xavier Rush suffered an undisclosed knee injury during practice and would undergo further evaluation. There were rumblings that the injury was related to the wide receiver’s ACL.
While the school has yet to confirm it, both the Baton Rouge Advocate and New Orleans Times-Picayune are reporting that Rush has indeed torn an ACL. The Green Wave is expected to confirm the news at some point today.
As the senior has already used his redshirt season and he will not be eligible for a medical waiver, Rush’s collegiate career has come to an end.
Rush is currently second on the Green Wave in receiving yards with 295 and leads the team with three receiving touchdowns and a 19.7 yards per catch average. His 15 catches are second among receivers and third among all players.
Officially, Texas A&M will not name a starting quarterback for Saturday’s game against Louisiana-Monroe until shortly before kickoff. Unofficially, a change is in the offing at the most important position on the football field as both the CBS affiliate in Dallas-Fort Worth and Billy Liucci of TexAgs.com are reporting that Kyle Allen will get the start in the non-conference home game.
Hill tossed six interceptions in the last two losses to Alabama and Ole Miss, leading to the quarterback competition being opened up yet again during the Aggies’ bye week. He had been named as Johnny Manziel‘s successor in mid-August after a fight with Allen that began in the spring and continued on into summer camp.
Should Allen start against ULM, he’d hit the field with as impressive an on-paper pedigree as any player in the country. Allen came to College Station this season as a five-star member of the Aggies’ 2014 recruiting class, rated as the No. 1 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 7 player at any position.
Allen has thrown passes in four of eight games this season, going 23-38 for 264 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Before we get to what Louisville didn’t do, first let’s discuss what Florida State did on Thursday night: overcome a 21-0 deficit on the road, score 42 points over the game’s last 30 minutes and 33 seconds, drop 580 yards of total offense (and 380 in the second half) against the nation’s top statistical defense, and held the Louisville without a third- or fourth-down conversion until the game was put away. And in the process, No. 2 Florida State extended its winning streak to 24 games with a rise-from-the-dead 42-31 victory over Louisville.
With that out of the way, here is the list of things Louisville did not do that could have pushed this game the other way:
- Turn a 1st-and-goal at the four into points on the game’s opening possession.
- Recover a fumble by Florida State’s Karlos Williams at the goal line in the waning moments of the first half.
- Hold on to the ball after intercepting Jameis Winston to open the second half.
- Corral what would have been a possible pick six, which would have pushed Louisville’s lead to 31-21.
- Convert a third down while the game was still in doubt.
- Catch a 4th-and-2 pass with room to run while trailing 35-31 deep into the fourth quarter.
In the end, Louisville did just enough to give its fans (and the FSU-hating masses) just enough to hope, but not enough to actually put the game away.
Cardinals defensive back Gerold Holliman intercepted Winston – the reigning Heisman winner’s third pick of the night, and second to Holliman – on the first play from scrimmage of the second half, but Winston then forced a fumble as Holliman fought for extra yardage, and wide receiver Travis Rudolph hopped on the loose pigskin.
Louisville forced a turn0ver on downs on the next possession and then pushed the lead to 24-7 a minute later, but the two 50/50 plays falling Florida State’s way gave the Seminoles life.
Normally a 17-point road deficit is overcome through the battle-hardened strength only veterans possess, but true freshman teamed with Winston to overcome and then put away Louisville over the last 25 minutes of the game. Winston hit freshman Rudolph for a 68-yard catch-and-run score to pull within 24-14, and then true freshman Dalvin Cook accounted for 76 yards in an 80-yard drive, including a 40-yard touchdown dash, to make the score 24-21.
Florida State took its first lead with 12:48 to go in the fourth quarter when Winston hit Ermon Lane, another freshman, for a 47-yard pass that somehow threaded through three Louisville defenders, and came one play after Holliman let a possible pick-six bounce off his knee and land incomplete.
Louisville then regained the lead with 9:20 to go on a one-yard Dyer plunge, but the Seminoles re-took it for good with a 38-yard rush by Cook. The Cardinals’ next possession ended when a Will Gardner pass bounced off tight end Charles Standberry‘s hands on 4th-and-2 at the Louisville 39 with a shade over 150 seconds to go. Florida State scored three plays later when Winston hit fullback Freddie Stevenson for a 35-yard play-action touchdown pass on a 3rd-and-6.
Winston posted his finest performance of the season, overcoming self-inflicted adversity and a bum ankle to complete 25-of-48 passes for 401 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions (and one very important forced fumble), while Cook came off the bench to account for 150 yards and two touchdowns on 13 touches.
Gardner threw for 330 yards with a touchdown and an interception, but did not rise to the moment when Louisville needed it, missing every third down pass until the game was out of reach. DeVante Parker carried the Cardinals’ passing attack with eight grabs for 214 yards. Dyer rushed 28 times for 134 yards and three touchdowns, but tallied only 39 yards in the second half.
Louisville drops to a very painful 6-3 (4-3 ACC) on the season and heads to Boston College on Saturday.
Florida State improves to 8-0 on the year, and is now one win away from becoming the 11th team in the last 50 years to mount a 25-game winning streak.
After Clemson (17-10 deficit into a 23-17 win), N.C. State (24-7 deficit into a 56-41 win), Notre Dame (17-10 deficit into a 31-27 win) and tonight, this 2014 Florida State team has taught future opponents that they had best not bother even taking a lead; defeat is inevitable, and that’s just going to make it all the more painful.
One week after popping Georgia State to the tune of 69 points, 10 touchdowns in 11 possessions and 613 rushing yards, Georgia Southern kept the beat going with a 42-10 blowout of Troy on Thursday night.
Nine Georgia Southern rushers combined for 421 yards and six touchdowns on 63 carries. Quarterback Kevin Ellison led the way with 99 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries while also completing 5-of-9 passes for 31 yards, and Favian Upshaw added 96 yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
Tonight’s result means Georgia Southern, the top-ranked FBS rushing offense at a shade over 400 yards per game, has racked up 1,034 rushing yards in the past five days. They’ve punted twice in 22 combined possessions.
All that running limited Troy to just 44 offensive snaps. Five Trojans combined to rush 33 times for 141 yards, while two quarterbacks lifted only 11 passes with four completions for a combined 13 yards. The Trojans were held out of the end zone until the 1:18 mark of the fourth quarter, with the score already at 42-3.
In all, Georgia Southern outgained Troy 461-154 and held a 28-9 advantage in first downs.
The win pushes Georgia Southern to 7-2 and 6-0 in Sun Belt play with a trip to Texas State waiting next Saturday.
Troy (1-8, 1-4 Sun Belt) will host Georgia State next Saturday.
The Todd Gurley saga has finally reached its final conclusion.
The NCAA announced Thursday night it had upheld Georgia’s appeal of his four-game suspension for accepting more than $3,000 in exchange for autographs.
Membership committee upholds Todd Gurley suspension upon appeal. He will be eligible to play Nov. 15.
— Inside the NCAA (@InsidetheNCAA) October 31, 2014
Gurley has missed the last two games due to the investigation, and will miss the ninth-ranked Bulldogs’ dates with Georgia (Saturday) and Kentucky (Nov. 8).
“We are very disappointed in tonight’s decision by the Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee regarding our appeal on Todd Gurley’s eligibility reinstatement,” Georgia said in a statement. “We believe our case to the NCAA for Todd’s immediate reinstatement was strong and compelling. However, we now have exhausted all available options and look forward to Todd’s return to competition on November 15. The full attention of the Bulldog Nation now needs to be focused on our team and Saturday’s important game against Florida.”
The silver lining here for Georgia is that the Bulldogs should beat the Gators and Wildcats without Gurley, and then get a rested and hacked off version of the nation’s best runner back for No. 4 Auburn on Nov. 15.
Despite missing the past two games, Gurley still leads Georgia in rushing with 773 carries and eight touchdowns on 94 carries while catching 11 passes for 53 yards and completing his only pass for 50 yards.
Former Iowa State head coach and Florida State and Vanderbilt athletics director Clay Stapleton passed away Thursday in Missouri City, Mo. He was 93.
Stapleton is best known for coaching the Cyclones’ famed “Dirty Thirty” 1959 team, remembered for putting together a 7-3 season with only 30 players on the roster. It was Iowa State’s first winning season in a decade. Stapleton went 42-53-4 as head coach from 1958-67.
Stapleton left coaching for athletics administration, first serving as the athletics director at Iowa State, where he was instrumental in the construction of Jack Trice Stadium and Hilton Coliseum and hired future College Football Hall of Fame coach Johnny Majors as his replacement.
He then moved on to serve as athletics director at Florida State (1971-72) and Vanderbilt (1973-78).
Stapleton played at Tennessee, and served as an assistant coach at Wofford College (S.C.), Wyoming and Oregon State.
The National Football Foundation on Thursday released its list of 17 finalists for the Campbell Trophy, college football’s highest scholar-athlete honor. Now in its 25th season, the Campbell Trophy is considered the academic version of the Heisman.
“We are extremely proud to announce this year’s National Scholar-Athlete Class,” said NFF President & CEO Steve Hatchell. “These young men have an unrelenting commitment to excellence in all aspects of their lives, and they represent all that is right in college football. They serve as living examples of our mission of building leaders through football, and they create an exceptional pool of candidates for the Campbell Trophy.”
To be eligible for consideration, finalists much be in their final year of eligibility, carry a GPA of 3.2 or higher, be listed first team on their respective teams’ depth charts, and have an outstanding record as of leadership and community service.
As a group, the players average a 3.69 GPA, a dozen are team captains, 15 have earned all-conference honors, six have received All-America accolades, four have been named their conference’s player of the year, and nine hold school records of some sort.
The 17 finalists are:
- Terry Baggett, Army running back
- Austin Damaschke, Concordia (Wis.) quarterback
- Austin Hasquet, Northern Arizona linebacker
- David Helton, Duke linebacker
- Taylor Kelly, Arizona State quarterback
- Nate Leonard, UTSA center
- Tyler Lockett, Kansas State wide receiver
- Mike Mancini, Trinity (Conn.) safety
- Charles Moore, Tarleton State (Texas) safety
- Mark Murphy, Indiana safety
- Jordan Richards, Stanford safety
- Kevin Rodgers, Henderson State (Ark.) quarterback
- Mike Sadler, Michigan State punter
- Caleb Schafffitzel, Missouri State safety
- Tyler Varga, Yale tailback
- Brandon Vitabile, Northwestern center
- Zach Zenner, South Dakota State running back
All 17 finalists will receive $16,000 post-graduate scholarships and will head to New York City for the Dec. 9 awards dinner at the Waldorf=Astoria. The Campbell Trophy winner, in addition to joining a group consisting of Danny Wuerffel,Peyton Manning, and Tim Tebow, receives a $25,000 post-graduate scholarship.
Penn State’s John Urschel won the honor in 2013.