- 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
Boise State never loses at Bronco Stadium, no matter what sideline Chris Petersen paces. The 23rd-ranked Broncos survived a visit from their former coach and his Washington Huskies, 16-13, on Friday night.
Boise State held a commanding yet far-too-close 16-0 lead at halftime, holding the Huskies to 58 yards of total offense yet keeping the visitors in the game thanks to a turnover on downs and an interception in Washington territory.
Inevitably, the Huskies crawled back in the game in the second half… somehow. Cameron Van Winkle put Washington on the scoreboard with a 40-yard field goal with 3:10 remaining in the third quarter, and then Dane Pettis pulled the club within six on a 76-yard punt return less than 90 seconds later.
Van Winkle knocked in a 28-yarder midway through the fourth and had a chance to send the game to overtime, but his 46-yard try at the 21-second mark sailed wide right.
Washington remained in the game despite an offense that failed to get anything going nearly the entire night. The Huskies gained only 179 yards on the entire night – they did not have a play travel farther than 13 yards from scrimmage until their final possession – including a 185-29 deficit on the ground. True freshman Jake Browning earned the start (the first true freshman to ever start an opening game for a Petersen-coached team) and played all but a few snaps; he displayed poise beyond what showed up on the box sheet, completing 20-of-34 passes for 150 yards with an interception.
Browning did, however, take a sack when Washington had marched to the Boise State 29 on the game’s final drive that cost the Huskies their final timeout and 10 yards Van Winkle could have used on his fateful miss.
Boise State also played a first-time starter at quarterback – and he wasn’t much better than Browning. Sophomore Ryan Finley hit on 16-of-26 passes for a pedestrian 129 yards and an interception. Jeremy McNichols led all rushers with 24 carries for 89 yards and both of the Broncos’ touchdowns, but gained only 19 yards on his 10 second half carries. The Broncos gained only 100 yards of offense in the second half (excluding the final time-killing possession), saw two of its seven possessions lose yardage, and watched its most promising drive, a 43-yard jaunt, end in a Kelsey Young fumble at the Washington 32.
In all, Boise State committed two turnovers and got stuffed on a 4th-and-1 inside Washington territory. Those are the types of mistakes required to keep a team that averages just 3.14 yards per play and does not score an offensive touchdown in the game down to its final snap. And, ironically enough, they’re the types of mistakes Boise State did not make when Coach Pete was on the home sideline, not the visitor’s.
Unless you live in the Champaign-Urbana area, you’re going to have to wait a week to see the Bill Cubit-coached Illini for the first week.
Torrential rains deemed a scheduled 8:12 local kick for Illinois-Kent State impossible, and the Fighting Illini announced around 10:15 Central that the game has been rescheduled for 2 p.m. ET Saturday. It will not be televised, but is available for streaming at BTN2Go.
Mother Nature has an effect on the visiting Flashes’ bottom line. Kent State sports information director told the Associated Press Aaron Chimenti that scrambling to find an extra hotel night for the Flashes’ traveling party of roughly 145 will cost the program $8,000 the cost of extra meals for the players. “And they eat well,” he said.
No. 23 Boise State has controlled Pac-12 vistor Washington through one half, leading 16-0. And it isn’t really that close.
Jay Ajayi-replacement Jeremy McNichols has carried the load for the Broncos so far, scoring on a seven-yard run with 3:12 to go in the first quarter and again on a one-yard plunge at the 10:26 mark of the second quarter. He’s rushed 14 times for 70 yards so far. Stanford transfer Kelsey Young has added 42 yards on nine carries and quarterback Ryan Finley has completed 11-of-17 throws for 79 yards.
True freshman Jake Browning earned the start for Washington. He hit five of his first six throws for 29 yards, but his seventh landed in the arms of Boise’s Darian Washington, giving the Broncos the ball at Washington’s 24-yard line. The Huskies emerged unscathed, though, after McNichols was stoned on a 4th-and-1 at the Washington 15.
Boise State had scored on 49 straight red zone trips, 40 of them touchdowns, until then. The Broncos also squandered another scoring opportunity when Finley was intercepted by Kevin King at the Washington 12 late in the second quarter.
Boise added a 24-yard Tyler Rausa field goal with three seconds left before half to give us our 16-0 score.
Browning completed 7-of-11 passes for 41 yards and that interception; Washington has been out-rushed 153-17 thus far.
Rare is the game with a 56-21 final score where both teams come away feeling better about themselves than when they started, but that’s what we saw Friday night in Dallas as No. 4 Baylor dominated the second half for an as-expected 35-point win.
Let’s start with the winning team. Baylor picked up exactly where it left off, needing only four plays and 50 seconds to notch its first touchdown, a three-yard Devin Chafin run. The Bears added three more scores in the first quarter, driving 75, 75 and 63 yards to get them. Baylor was shut out in the second quarter – the Bears actually posted a minus-1 total offense number in the frame – but stole momentum for good at the end of the first half, sacking SMU quarterback Matt Davis at the Bears’ 9-yard line as time expired.
Baylor thoroughly dominated the second half, owning a 28-0 scoring advantage, as Seth Russell hit Jay Lee for a pair of third quarter touchdowns and capped his night with a 57-yard catch-and-dash touchdown to Corey Coleman. True freshman Jarrett Stidham entered the game late and connected with Chris Platt for a 42-yard touchdown on his very first collegiate pass.
Overall, Russell hit 15-of-30 passes for 376 yards with five touchdowns and an interception while adding six carries for 59 yards and another score. Chafin, Shock Linwood and Terence Williams combined to rush 28 times for 219 yards and one score. Each of Baylor’s three primary wide receivers posted big numbers – Coleman snagged five passes for 178 yards and a score, Cannon snared three grabs for 104 yards and a score, and Lee compiled 70 yards while scoring on all three of his grabs.
But the night was not as easy for the two-time defending Big 12 champions as the final score indicated, as SMU played even or ahead of the Bears for all but the final play of the first half. After Baylor opened the scoring, SMU used a 49-yard Braeden West kickoff return to set Davis up for a 46-yard scoring strike to Courtland Sutton on the Ponies’ very first snap from scrimmage.
Remember, this was the same SMU team that came out the gate last season looking more lifeless than a Walking Dead casting call, needing a full 120 minutes to notch its first points of the 2014 season. But it wasn’t really the same team at all, thanks to new head coach Chad Morris.
After scoring on its first drive, SMU answered another Baylor touchdown by marching 83 yards in 12 plays to again tie the game. SMU shut Baylor out in the second quarter while mounting another long scoring drive, this time a 12-play, 78-yard, 6-minute, 22-second slog to pull within 28-21.
That was pretty much the high point for the Mustangs. Their next drive ended in an interception, and the drive after that saw SMU get only two plays off in the final 43 seconds of the first half after driving to the Baylor 3 with a chance to tie the game.
SMU did not threaten to score in the second half, punting on five straight possessions before throwing another interception, but the point had been proven. The Mustangs played a top-five team to a relative draw for 30 minutes, and showed in Davis that they have a quarterback. The junior Texas A&M transfer connected on 16-of-23 passes for 166 yards with two touchdowns and two picks while leading the club in rushing with 24 carries for 115 yards. Xavier Jones rushed 13 times for 38 yards and a score and caught four passes for 38 yards, and Sutton totaled 82 yards and two touchdowns on his three receptions.
More than the statistics, though, SMU looked different than it ever did under in 2014. The Mustangs played crisper, harder and with purpose and certainty. Credit Morris for that.
Baylor may very well go on to win a third straight Big 12 title and reach its first College Football Playoff, but here’s one thing that is absolutely certain: the days of SMU being a pushover ended the day Morris was hired.
Charlotte held on to beat Georgia State 23-20, Friday evening, giving their 49ers their first win at the FBS level in their inaugural game against an FBS opponent. The victory came at the expense of a Georgia State program still looking for its first win over a top-level opponent, dropping the Panthers to 0-for-23 all-time.
Charlotte opened the scoring with a play straight out of the yakety sax playbook, and the uneven play continued from there. The Niners committed five turnovers, including one on the doorstep of the Georgia State goal line, but survived thanks in large part to poor execution by Georgia State. The Panthers committed three turnovers of their own, converted only three of 15 third downs, missed a 44-yard field goal and, with a chance to snap victory out of the jaws of defeat, watched a last-gasp onside kick head straight out of bounds.
TOUCHDOWN 49ERS (the other 49ers) pic.twitter.com/egiS8HJrwF
— SB Nation GIF (@SBNationGIF) September 4, 2015
Matt Johnson completed 19-of-32 passes for 244 yards with a touchdown (and two interceptions) and Kalif Phillips led the ground effort with 90 yards on 19 carries.
Charlotte led 23-6 through three quarters and held on for victory after Nick Arbuckle fired two fourth quarter touchdown passes, the last of which came from 53 yards out to Penny Hart with 30 seconds remaining.
Charlotte, who did not play its first game until 2013, remains (however briefly) undefeated at the FBS level, and figures to remain so for at least another week as the Niners return home to face FCS Presbyterian next Saturday.
Georgia State, meanwhile, has but one win since moving to the Sun Belt in 2013 – a 38-37 squeaker over an Abilene Christian program in its first game transitioning from Division II to FCS on the first night of the 2014 season. And with tonight’s now marked firmly in the ‘L’ column, one has to wonder if the Panthers’ first win over an FBS foe may have to wait until 2016.
Driving for a potential game-tying score in the wee hours of Friday morning (for those of us on the mainland, at least), Colorado quarterback Sefo Luifau completed a pass to Phillip Lindsay, bringing the Buffs to the Hawaii six yard-line with the clock running at 14 seconds and counting.
They wouldn’t get another snap.
See for yourself below how an entire crew of officials failed to get a snap ready with ample time available.
— Pacific Takes (@PacificTakes) September 4, 2015
And… game. Hawaii 28, Colorado 20.
A day later, the Mountain West office has reviewed the tape and defends the effort provided by the crew consisting of MW, Big 12 and Southland officials.
“After a thorough review via the standard procedures of the Mountain West/CFO West infrastructure, it has been determined the MW officiating crew employed the appropriate mechanics on the final play of the Colorado at Hawai’i game and were in no way deficient in the proper execution of their responsibilities,” the Mountain West told ESPN. “There is also no evidence the Hawai’i player intentionally interfered with the placement of the ball and thus no action by rule was warranted.”
For its part, Colorado told CBS Sports reporter Dennis Dodd it is ready to move forward.
Looks like Colorado moving on after end-of-game officiating issue at Hawaii. Just told: No one here feels the need to comment.
— Dennis Dodd (@dennisdoddcbs) September 4, 2015
Just a hunch here, but with a team bus breaking down on its way back into Boulder, Colorado could just be ready to put the whole trip behind them.
A serious damper was put on Arizona’s season-opening 42-32 win over UTSA when All-Everything linebacker Scooby Wright left the game with an apparent knee injury and was later seen in street clothes using a cane to walk the Wildcats’ sideline.
While nothing concrete has emerged, the initial prognosis on Wright’s left knee, and, thus, Arizona’s season, appears positive. ESPN’s Brett McMurphy reported Friday “results indicate Wright’s injury will not cause him to miss the rest of the season, sources said.”
Wright turned in one of the most productive seasons in recent memory in 2014, leading the nation with 163 tackles, 29 tackles for loss, 14 sacks and six forced fumbles. He became the first-ever sophomore to win the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year award and won the Nagurski, Lombardi and Bednarik awards.
Arizona is expected to provide an official update on Wright’s status on Monday, McMurphy reported.
Those sitting at home on Friday afternoon are being treated to some college football. Charlotte is playing its first FBS college football game since launching the program a few years ago, and the way it is starting off may make some wonder why they didn’t get the program together sooner. Charlotte has jumped out to a 10-0 lead at Georgia State in Atlanta, and it started off with a fumble returned for a touchdown.
The first touchdown as an FBS program came just four plays into the 2015 season. On 2nd and 12 from their own 39-yard line, Charlotte cornerback Terrance Winchester picked up a loose football and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown. The play was reviewed by officials to determine if the fumble was legit, but it dod not take too long to confirm the play on the field. Winchester and the defense went right back to work and forced a three-and-out against the Georgia State offense. Charlotte then added a field goal to take a 10-0 lead in the Georgia Dome.
Welcome to the FBS, Charlotte.
You know, college football on Thursday night was so much fun. We should do it all again tonight. Sound good? I knew I liked you.
Tonight’s Friday night line-up sees three teams that played in a New Years Six bowl in action tonight, and two of them are on the road. No. 4 Baylor will open the 2015 campaign in Dallas against SMU. The defending co-Big 12 champs will look to make a good first impression against the Mustangs, but will be without defensive lineman Shawn Oakman and defensive back Orion Stewart. Both players have been suspended for one game for a violation of team rules. This should be of little concern for the Bears, who should have more than enough offense to show off against a team it blanked last season (45-0).
At the same time Baylor is kicking off against SMU, the team it faced (and lost to) in the Cotton Bowl last season will be hoping to avoid an upset in Kalamazoo. No. 5 Michigan State is playing on the road against Western Michigan, a program seemingly trending upward in the MAC under the leadership of P.J. Fleck. Mark Dantonio‘s Spartans are once again a Big Ten contender with playoff aspirations, but now move forward without defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi calling the shots on defense. Michigan State should still be a defensive force for most programs this season, and having a steady quarterback like Connor Cook should bode well for Michigan State tonight and throughout the season.
The last New Years Six bowl participant on the schedule for tonight is good old Boise State. Once again the favorite for the Group of Five big bowl invitation, the Broncos look to get off to a good start with a victory over a Pac-12 program, Washington. The Huskies bring some youth and inexperience to the blue turf this evening, but they just so happen to be coached by a guy who knows all about this environment, Chris Petersen. Petersen returns to the place that made him a household name in the college football ranks, but he may not have the roster ready to grab victory from the Broncos. Boise State could very well go undefeated this season, especially if Thursday night’s showing by Utah State is an indication for what to expect from them this year, and having a win over a power conference opponent will be key down the line.
Illinois Goes Without Beckman
The Bill Cubit era gets underway as Illinois quickly moves past the Tim Beckman experience. Beckman was canned by the school last week, one week before the first game of the season against Kent State. Look for Illinois to get off to a good start on offense with Wes Lunt taking to the air early and often.
The Charlotte 49ers play their first FBS football game tonight, and they may even grab their first FBS win in school history. The 49ers are on the road taking on Georgia State. The Panthers have a long way to go but should still have an advantage against the upstart program at Charlotte.
FCS Upset Alert?
Weather got in the way of Stony Brook’s attempt to top Toledo. Southern Utah let one slip away against Utah State, and UConn avoided a loss at home to Villanova. Will we see an FCS program take down an FBS squad tonight? We could, and Fordham has a chance. The Rams take on Army, which should look to run the football and wear down the FCS program on the rise. Fordham is two years removed from taking down Temple, and they could do it again tonight.
Syracuse is hosting Rhode Island, which could get interesting if the Orange can’t create some separation in the first half.
It’s been a while since we have seen some live animals at a college announcement press conference. Thankfully that drought is over thanks to Elijah Holyfield, son of boxing legend Evander Holyfield. the talented running back recruit announced he will play for the Georgia Bulldogs, and he made the announcement with a pair of bulldogs by his side.
Georgia had been considered a solid favorite for Holyfield for a while according to recruiting analysts, although Michigan was an early leader on the recruiting trail too. That makes sense, with Holyfield being a Georgia native and the way the Bulldogs seem to pump out running backs lately. Holyfield held offers from plenty of schools, and it’s not just because he is the son of a former heavyweight boxer. Rivals ranks Holyfield as a four-star running back, and the third best running back in the nation and in the Rivals top 100 ranking (No. 99).
— Logan Booker (@LoganMBooker) September 4, 2015
Georgia extended an offer to Holyfield last year, and that was music to the champion’s ears.
“I was happy about that offer because I’m a Georgia fan,” Evander Holyfield said last October. “And then I found out that he liked Georgia, so that offer was a good thing.”
For 60 minutes on Thursday night Division 2 Millersville and Division 3 Ursinus were locked in a scoreless battle. The two small schools in Pennsylvania needed overtime to settle their differences in the season opener. And then they needed another overtime. And another. And another after that. Then, just for good measure, a fifth overtime. Finally, after five overtime sessions, Ursinus left Millersville with a 17-9 victory.
The game was a sloppy one too, with seven combined turnovers between the two schools. Urisnus could not do much on the ground, rushing for just 68 yards. Millersville did little through the air with just 43 passing yards. Both teams had chances to end this game before hitting a fifth overtime, but chalk this one up for the defenses. Millersville had a first-and-goal from the Ursinus two-yard line in the first overtime and got as close as one inch away from scoring a game-winning touchdown. Instead, the Marauders had to settle for a game-tying field goal to send it to a second overtime.
A missed field goal attempt by Ursinus in the second overtime led to the third extra session. Both teams reached the end zone in the third overtime, but neither was able to complete the NCAA-required two-point conversion attempt. To the fourth OT they went, where both teams missed 35-yard field goal attempts.
Mercifully, Ursinus quarterback Sal Bello completed a touchdown pass to Carmen Fortino on a two-point conversion attempt following a touchdown run by Corey Kelly. That gave Ursinus a 17-9 lead, and when Millersville failed to convert a fourth-and-long from the 17-yard line, the game finally came to an end.
(Photo courtesy Ursinus Athletics.)
On Monday night the Virginia Tech Hokies will pay tribute to two local television journalists shot killed in a shooting caught on air last week by wearing a memorial decal on the back of their helmets. Ohio State will join the Hokies in paying their respects to the shooting victims as well.
Virginia Tech revealed the memorial decal in honor of Allison Parker and Adam Ward from WDBJ-7 in Roanoke, Virginia. The white circle decal has the number seven to represent the television station and two ribbons, one in teal and the other in marron, on each side of the number. The teal ribbon has the initials of Parker underneath, with teal being her favorite color. Ward’s initials appear underneath the maroon ribbon, which represents Ward’s graduation from Virginia Tech.
Ohio State sought the permission of Virgina Tech to add the decals to their own helmets for the game, which Virginia Tech was more than happy to lend.
“Ohio State expressed a desire to show its solidarity with Virginia Tech in remembering the vibrant lives of Alison Parker and Adam Ward,” Virginia Tech Director of Athletics Whit Babcock said in a released statement. “Coach [Frank Beamer] and I both agreed it was a wonderful gesture on the part of Gene Smith (Ohio State AD), Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes. We hope fans of both teams join us in hopefully providing some solace to the friends, families and co-workers who continue to miss Alison and Adam.”
Prior to Monday night’s season opener in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech will hold a 30-second moment of silence before the national anthem is performed.
(Photo courtesy of Virginia Tech Athletics.)
Forget about whether or not the Big 12 got the raw end of the deal in the first year of the College Football Playoff for a moment, and shift your attention to the Group of 5 conversation. Thursday night offered some interesting developments right out of the gate as far as those conferences are concerned. Few may have had as much of an impact as FIU’s surprising victory at UCF, thanks to a blocked field goal in the final seconds.
The highest-ranked Group of Five conference champion will receive a spot in the New Years Six line-up under the College Football Playoff format. Last year that spot went to Boise State out of the Mountain West Conference. When discussing the Group of Five, it is important to not just differentiate between specific teams like Boise State and Cincinnati, but also the entire body of work put together by the conferences as a whole. This may have been part of the reason the Big 12 was left out of the playoff last season, and appeared to be part of the reason why Boise State had a decided edge over Marshall out of Conference USA last season. Winning games is important for a team, but seeing other members of your conference rally to score some good wins helps the cause for everybody. That is why FIU upsetting UCF on Thursday night is pretty significant. Scoring wins against other Group of Five conferences helps everywhere in the conference.
Conference USA got off to a good start on Thursday night. Western Kentucky scored a victory over an SEC school, even if it was Vanderbilt. FIU took down UCF, a contender in the American and potential Group of Five contender. Texas San Antonio came up short on the road against Arizona, but they put up a respectable fight. While it is only a small fraction of a fraction of games to be played this season, Conference USA got off to a relatively good start compared to the American.
In addition to UCF going down, UConn narrowly escaped a home upset loss to Villanova. Tulane opened at home and was demolished by Duke, 37-7. The MAC did well with a road victory by Ohio over Idaho of the Sun Belt Conference. Ball State took care of business against VMI. But Central Michigan lost at home to Oklahoma State and Toledo was spared a potential loss Thursday night when Mother Nature intervened while the Rockets were losing to Stony Brook at home.
The Mountain West Conference holds the upper hand with the best contender in Boise State, and every team playing Thursday night scored a win. That includes Hawaii’s home victory over Colorado as the officials botched setting the ball with Colorado driving in the final seconds. It also includes Utah State’s massive struggle to get a 12-9 win over Southern Utah.
This race is going to be fun to watch all season long.
Florida State’s season will begin with one promising defensive end sitting on the sideline. Lorenzo Featherston will be out of action as a result of a knee injury suffered a few weeks ago leading up to the start of the season.
According to The Orlando Sentinel, Florida State head coach Jimbo Fisher believed Featherston would be back in time for the season opener after having his knee scoped. Unfortunately for Featherston, his knee has not recovered from that procedure as initially expected. With this being just the first game of the season, there is no need to rush back to the field. Florida State should be able to manage without his depth for at least one more week.
Until Featherston is able to return to the field, freshman Josh Sweat could slide into a starting role for the Seminoles at defensive end. Sweat was a five-star recruit in Florida State’s Class of 2015 out of Virginia. He was the top-rated recruit in the state of Virginia and the second-best defensive end in the nation in the Class of 2015 according to Rivals. Despite having his own injury history in high school, Sweat appears to be in good shape and ready to step into a key role on Florida State’s defensive line.
Florida State hosts Texas State on Saturday night (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN).
All that matters is getting a win, and it rarely matters how you get it. No. 2 TCU (1-0) opened the season on the road Thursday night, but they did so with quarterback Trevone Boykin having some off moments that helped allow Minnesota (0-1) to hang around. Fortunately, TCU’s defense was up to the task, holding their Big Ten hosts to fewer than 300 yards of offense until late in the game in a 23-17 win.
It was not the cleanest effort from TCU, with a pair of turnovers, Boykin’s pass completion percentage leaving room for improvement, and eight penalties. One thing to take from this game is TCU head coach Gary Patterson now knows what he needs to work on. Still, TCU went on the road and shut down a team some feel is capable of making things interesting in the Big Ten West Division this season. The Gophers have plenty of time this season to help boost TCU’s body of work in the long run, and Jerry Kill has now seen how much work he still needs to do.
Boykin completed 26 of 42 pass attempts for 246 yards and a touchdown. He also added 86 rushing yards and a touchdown to help make his night look a little more productive. His lone touchdown pass came in the first quarter on an 11-yard pass to Josh Doctson, putting TCU up 10-0 after one quarter of play. Minnesota was left playing catch-up the rest fo the night and never cut the lead down to fewer than seven points. Boykin ran 19 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter to put the Horned Frogs up 17-3.
Next week Minnesota will head to Fort Collins, Colorado to take on Colorado State. The Rams are coming off one of the more successful seasons in program history but could have a much different look this season. Jim McElwain left the program to coach Florida, which opened a spot for former Georgia assistant Mike Bobo to take the helm. Colorado State lost a number of key players. Minnesota’s secondary should be tested by Rams receiver Rashard Higgins, who accumulated 1,750 yards and 17 touchdowns last fall. Colorado State opens the season at home against Savannah State, so they should be 1-0 when the Gophers come to town.
TCU will return home to open the home schedule next week against Stephen F. Austin. things should be pretty easy going for the Horned Frogs next week and thew week after at home against SMU. TCU opens Big 12 play later this month on the road against Texas Tech.