After two straight losses to open the season in which he completed under 54 percent of his passes, Jordan Rogers was benched Saturday in favor of Austyn Carta-Samuels for Vanderbilt’s game against Presbyterian.
Whether that remains the case when the Commodores continue SEC play this weekend remains to be seen.
Carta-Samuels played well in the 58-0 win over the FCS program, completing 65 percent of his 20 pass attempts for 195 yards, one touchdown and, more importantly, no interceptions. It was the first Vandy start for Carta-Samuels, who transferred from Wyoming to the SEC school last year.
James Franklin was asked after the shutout win who would get the start in the conference opener against Georgia Saturday, and the second-year head coach declined to give next week’s opponent a heads up on his plans at the position. He did, though, laud Rogers for how he handled a demotion that could either be a one-game blip or a season-long story arc.
“It’s not a thing you really want to hear as a starting quarterback, especially as hard as he’s worked and as prideful as he’s been.” Franklin said by way of the Nashville Tennessean. “We felt like we needed to look at some things, and we’ll continue to do that at that position, as well as others.”
While Carta-Samuels, who started for two seasons with the Cowboys prior to transferring, acquitted himself well in his Vandy debut, he also was aided greatly by a ground attack that pounded out 410 yards against the overmatched Blue Hose.
While the news of late has been littered with the exits of two SEC wide receivers, one team from the Big Ten is welcoming back a player who plays the same position.
In a press release, Rutgers confirmed that Leonte Carroo has been reinstated to the Scarlet Knights football program. The release stated that head coach Kyle Flood, who is suspended himself, “reinstated Carroo after the student-athlete agreed to the conditions of his reinstatement and after he accepted the responsibility that comes with his return to the team.”
The reinstatement comes one day after a domestic violence charge against him was dropped after the alleged victim decided not to testify against he former boyfriend. Carroo had been accused of slamming a woman with whom he had a previous relationship into the concrete outside of the RU football facility last month.
Carroo has missed the last two games (Penn State, Kansas) because of the suspension. He will be eligible to return to practice today and play in Saturday’s game against 10th-ranked Michigan State.
Despite missing those two contests, Carroo is still tops on the team in receiving yards with 181 and tied for the team lead with three receiving touchdowns. He’s also averaging nearly 26 yards per reception.
Carroo led the Scarlet Knights last season in receptions (55), receiving yards (1,086) and receiving touchdowns (10).
It’s been a bad week for talented SEC wide receivers.
On the heels of Auburn giving the boot to D’haquille Williams following an alleged bar rampage, Tennessee announced Wednesday that Pig Howard has been dismissed from Butch Jones‘ football program. Violations of unspecified team rules was the only explanation offered.
Howard had been suspended for the season opener for the same reason due to an unspecified incident several months before. It’s unknown if the dismissal is related in any way to that suspension.
Injuries had allowed the senior to play in just two games this season, against Oklahoma and Western Carolina. He had one reception for eight yards, with that coming in the overtime loss to the Sooners.
The past two seasons, Howard led the Vols in receiving with 54 and 44 receptions in 2014 and 2013, respectively. He accounted for 1,006 receiving yards in that span, and has also scored a pair of rushing touchdowns.