Through the first three weeks of the season, UCLA became the pleasant surprise of the Pac-12 under first-year coach Jim Mora. Bruins running back Johnathan Franklin was leading the country in rushing yards and generating some dark horse Heisman buzz and Brett Hundley has been an exciting first-year starter.
Maybe that attention in the Pac-12 should be shifted to Oregon State. The Beavers have only played two games this year, but they’re a surprising 2-0 after going on the road and beating UCLA 27-20. Sean Mannion, after being thrown into the fire last season as a freshman, has been a solid quarterback and OSU is looked greatly improved in the trenches. Mannion has some good receivers to throw to as well. Brandin Cooks and Markus Wheaton both went well over 100 yards receiving.
Oregon State’s defense gave up big yards — 444 to be exact — but they were able to hold Franklin to just 45 yards rushing.
OSU coach Mike Riley‘s seat was beginning to get rather toasty heading into this season. Known for consistency and one or two big upsets a year, Oregon State has fallen on hard times lately. So far, OSU has two nice wins over Wisconsin and UCLA. The Beavers have a tough schedule this season, but Riley has the team generating the most recent buzz in the Pac-12.
Along with Arizona, that is, and the Wildcats have a chance to generate even more tonight against Oregon.
Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.
With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future. The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.
Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee. The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.
At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas. The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.
Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels. He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.
Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.
The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August. The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.
From the site’s report:
The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.
The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”
Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”
At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations. Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.