Safeties coach no longer with Arizona; WVU in his future?
Posted by Ben Kercheval on January 9, 2013, 1:09 PM EDT
Over the weekend, it was reported that longtime West Virginia assistant coach Steve Dunlap was fired by Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen. The move was one of two dismissals by Holgorsen over the past month, the other being cornerbacks coach Daron Roberts.
The projected move is an interesting one to say the least. Gibson is a West Virginia native, but he’s been practically attached to Rodriguez’s hip during his coaching career with stops at Michigan, WVU and Glenville State. Rodriguez, of course, was the coach of the Mountaineers from 2001-07.
Defense was, to put it lightly, a problem for WVU in 2012. For what it’s worth, the Wildcats ranked 117th nationally in pass defense and 118th in total defense this year.
Posted by Zach Barnett on September 14, 2014, 11:34 PM EDT
We’re still more than 10 days shy of the Pac-12 South Division showdown featuring No. 12 UCLA and No. 15 Arizona State, but the outlook already looks dismal for Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly.
Kelly left Arizona State’s 38-24 win over Colorado on Saturday during during the third quarter after injuring his right foot while moving outside the pocket. He returned to the sideline in the fourth quarter using crutches and in the company of Anikar Chhabra, the team’s orthopedic surgeon, according to Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic.
Head coach Todd Graham has stated he will not discuss the health of Kelly or linebacker Viliami “Laiu” Moeakiola, who left the game with right arm injury, just that the pair “will be absolutely fine.”
That may be true, eventually, but initial word does not look good regarding Kelly’s availability for the UCLA game. According to Joe Schad of ESPN.com, Arizona State will be without its quarterback of 30 starts and 63 touchdown passes. Kelly had thrown for 195 yards and three touchdowns while adding 70 rushing yards and an additional touchdown before exiting the game.
Arizona State QB Taylor Kelly (foot) is not expected to play against UCLA on Sept. 25 due to a foot injury, per source.
Schad went on to say that “best case” involves Kelly returning for No. 17 USC on Oct. 4.
Arizona State is entering an absolutely crucial stretch where it faces UCLA, USC and No. 16 Stanford in consecutive games. For better or for worse, the Sun Devils’ season will be set on course following this stretch of upcoming games. The good news? Arizona State (somehow) only plays three games between now and Oct. 18, with two byes in the next four weeks.
There’s no denying, though, that the Sun Devils are a different bunch with Kelly on the sideline. Junior backup Mike Bercovicicompleted 2-of-4 passes for eight yards in limited action on Saturday night in relief of Kelly. A native of Calabasas, Calif., Bercovici has thrown 24 career passes, completing 14 for 112 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions. He has a career high of 65 passing yards.
No offense to Bercovici, but Arizona State needs Kelly in the lineup if it wants to defend its Pac-12 South championship.
Posted by Zach Barnett on September 14, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT
Thursday night offers a delicious appetizer to college football’s weekend menu: No. 5 Auburn at No. 20 Kansas State. It’s a game that provides an interesting and unique challenge for the defending SEC champions, and an opportunity for Kansas State to leap from the fringes to the thick of the College Football Playoff race.
There’s a chance Auburn will be without one of the parts that makes its engine run: big-play wideout Sammie Coates. Coates missed the Tigers’ 59-13 win over San Jose State on Sept. 6.
“Sammie is progressing very well,” offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee told the Montgomery Advertiser. “We’re still very optimistic he’ll be ready to roll.”
Head coach Gus Malzahn said last week they expect Coates to be ready to play on Thursday.
Coates has one reception for 13 yards in one game this season, but ranked third nationally in yards per reception a year ago after hauling in 42 grabs for 902 yards (21.5 yards per reception) and seven touchdown in Auburn’s run to the BCS title game. He came up big in the Tigers’ biggest games last season, catching four balls for 139 yards against LSU, nabbing five receptions for 104 yards and a score in an important win over Texas A&M, hauling in the game-tying 39-yard touchdown reception against Alabama (better known as the score that set up the score), and caught six passes for 94 yards and a score in the SEC championship defeat of Missouri.
Auburn and Kansas State will kick off at 7:30 p.m. ET Thursday on ESPN.
Rather than facing a fourth-and-12 with the game on the line, Florida ran the play, and Jeff Driskelhit Demarcus Robinsonfor a game-extending touchdown. The Gators would go on to win the contest 36-30 in triple overtime.
The SEC reviewed the play and, in a statement released on Sunday, found nothing wrong with back judge Scott Vaughan’s decision making:
“At the request of the University of Kentucky, consistent with SEC protocol, the conference office reviewed the fourth down play in the first overtime of the Kentucky-Florida game and has determined the officials applied the proper mechanics and guidelines that are in place to determine when a flag should be thrown for delay of game. The back judge is responsible for delay of game calls. The procedure for the back judge is for his eyes to stay on the clock when it nears zero. When the clock hits zero, he immediately looks from the clock to the ball. If the ball is moving, there is no delay of game. If the ball is stationary, a delay of game penalty is called,” the league said.
When reading an explanation like that, the protocol makes sense. Football is not basketball, where buzzers and red lights can notify officials and everyone inside an arena when the clock has expired. Without the ability to watch the play clock and the ball simultaneously, giving the center those fractions of a second it takes the back judge to alter his gaze from the play clock to the ball to snap the ball makes sense.
If I’m Mark Stoops today, my real frustration is the policy that a potential play clock violation is somehow not reviewable. If millions of dopes on Twitter can see a play did not get off in time, a replay official can as well.
Posted by Zach Barnett on September 14, 2014, 6:04 PM EDT
Nicholls State, located in Thibodaux, La., and a member of the FCS’s Southland Conference, is off to an 0-3 start this season, but that’s not the reason the school says head coach Charlie Stubbs resigned on Sunday. Citing unspecified “major health reasons”, Nicholls State president Bruce Murphy has accepted Stubbs’ resignation.
“For more than four years I have given my best effort to create the climate of change needed to support a winning football program here at Nicholls,” Stubbs said in a statement. “During the past year I have been diagnosed with major health issues, and I know that now is the time to step aside and focus my efforts on my health.”
The school had planned to wait until Monday to make the announcement, but word leaked out early through Mike Detillier of WWL in New Orleans.
Sadly, Stubbs waited 54 years to get his first head job and was forced to walk away after only four years at age 58. The longtime assistant was 10-38 as the head coach of the Colonels. The high point of Stubbs’ tenure had to be the 27-23 win over Western Michigan on Sept. 7, 2013, the school’s third win over an FBS opponent.
Posted by Zach Barnett on September 14, 2014, 5:38 PM EDT
A smash-mouth defense, a physical, downhill running game and… professional quarterbacks who come through in the clutch? For one Sunday, that third point is a hallmark of Michigan State football as three former Spartans quarterbacked their professional clubs to victory.
Let’s start with the day’s most unlikely hero, Drew Stanton. Michigan State’s signal caller from 2003-06, Stanton hadn’t recorded a statistic since 2010 until earning a pinch-hit start for the Arizona Cardinals Sunday at the New York Giants. Shaking off the rust quickly and smoothly, Stanton’s first drive in a full World Cup cycle traveled 80 yards in seven plays and put his Cardinals up 7-0. After falling behind 14-10 through three quarters, engineered another lengthy march (13 plays, 74 yards) to pull Arizona to within 14-13. For the day, Stanton completed 14-of-29 passes for 167 yards in a 29-14 win.
Finally, the afternoon concluded with a winning effort by the quarterback sandwiched between Stanton and Cousins on the Spartans’ timeline, Brian Hoyer. The quarterback who refuses to cede his job to Johnny Manzielcompleted 24-of-40 throws for 204 yards and a touchdown. Hoyer was great when he had to be, finding Miles Austin for a three-yard touchdown to give his Cleveland Browns a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, and then closed the game by guiding the Browns from their own four yard-line to the visiting New Orleans Saints’ 14 in 3:31 (Hoyer hit 8-of-11 passes for 78 yards on the march), setting up a Billy Cundiff 29-yard field goal with three seconds remaining to give Cleveland a 26-24 win. It was Cleveland’s second win in a home-opener since the franchise’s 1999 rebirth.
When informed of his former pupils’ 3-0 afternoon, rumor has it Mark Dantonio allowed observers a faint glimpse of something resembling a human smile before returning to preparation for Saturday’s tilt with Wyoming.
Posted by Kevin McGuire on September 14, 2014, 4:31 PM EDT
Notre Dame got a little more of a fight from Purdue than most had expected early on in Indianapolis on Saturday, and the game also cost the Irish a safety for the rest of the 2014 season. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly announced today junior safety Nicky Baratti will miss the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury suffered during the win over the Boilermakers.
Baratti’s injury was suffered after entering the game to replace Max Redfield. Redfield had been ejected for targeting. After just one play, Baratti was injured. Of course, a shoulder injury is nothing new for Baratti. Baratti also missed the 2013 season due to a shoulder injury and he suffered a dislocated shoulder in Notre Dame’s spring game.
Notre Dame’s depth in the secondary continues to be a concern for the Irish. Austin Collinsworth was lost with an MCL sprain and Eilar Hardy is currently suspended from team activities while an investigation into academic irregularities continues in South Bend. Notre Dame has a bye week to figure some things out and will hope to have some problems solved by the time their next game against Syracuse in MetLife Stadium comes around in two weeks.
Helmet sticker to College Football Talk contributor JJ Stankevitz via CSN Chicago.
Posted by Kevin McGuire on September 14, 2014, 3:28 PM EDT
For the second week in a row BYU found its football program ranked in the AP Top 25 and the Cougars finally cracked the coaches poll this week. BYU has reached a quick 3-0 record with relative ease thanks to the play of quarterback ranked in the AP Top 25 and the Cougars finally cracked the coaches poll this week. BYU has reached a quick 3-0 record with relative ease thanks to the play of quarterback Taysom Hill and one of the hardest hitting defenses in the country. There is still plenty of football to be played, but BYU is starting to already show signs of a team capable of stringing together a 10 or 11-win season. But what would happen if the Cougars went 12-0?
BYU going undefeated is certainly a realistic possibility, but will not come easy. BYU will host a Virginia team that has already shut down UCLA’s and Louisville’s offenses this season, but the Cavaliers may come up short on offense on the road against the Cougars this weekend. After Virginia, Chuckie Keeton and Utah State visit Provo. Keeton may not be quite 100 percent but BYU holds the edge over he and the Aggies anyway the last few years.
BYU’s biggest road games the rest of the season will be played at UCF (Thursday, October 9) and at Boise State (Friday, October 24). The regular season concludes on the road at California. To most, the strength of schedule for BYU lacks much to stack up compared to teams from other conferences, so it may take some convincing even to get a 12-0 BYU team into the College Football Playoff. BYU’s case would be given some legs to stand on if an unblemished record included wins over a Mountain West Conference champion (Boise State, Utah State or Nevada) and an American Athletic Conference champion (UCF), but even that might not prove to be enough to make a push into the playoff. Not in the eyes of the selection committee, that is.
When BYU left the Mountain West Conference to pursue football independence, it did so knowing it faced a challenge to crack the grand stages of the postseason format in the BCS era. The formula has not changed under the new playoff era, but the Cougars have another obstacle to even get to one of the big revenue bowl games at the end of the season. Even without receiving a spot in a four-team playoff, BYU will have to wait until all power conference champions or alternates are slated in the playoff and big bowl line-up. Then BYU must wait for the highest ranked conference champion from a Group of Five conference to be given a bowl game. BYU then must hope the selection committee extends an invite to BYU over attractive and qualified options from the rest of the field, most likely coming from the power conferences. Then it all comes down to who has done the most and (likely) who will draw the most attractive match-up and crowd in the stands and on TV. If that becomes the case, then BYU’s best bet may be to rely on a spot in the Fiesta Bowl.
But hey, there is plenty of football to be played. If you are BYU, the only thing to do now is the same as what schools like Florida State, Alabama, Oregon and Oklahoma are doing and just win all the games you can. Nobody knows how the selection committee will handle the postseason, so the best thing BYU can do is simply make it impossible for the selection committee not to include them somewhere in the field.
Posted by Kevin McGuire on September 14, 2014, 2:24 PM EDT
The latest Associated Press Top 25 ranking this week somehow managed to keep Georgia ahead of South Carolina and Stanford ahead of USC. This after Georgia lost at South Carolina this weekend and Stanford was edged by USC the previous week. Good luck figuring that all out. The top five remain the same as last week, with No. 1 Florida State receiving 37 first-place votes. No. 2 Oregon received 17 first-place votes, followed by Alabama (1 first-place vote), Oklahoma (2 first-place votes) and Auburn.
No. 6 Texas A&M and No. 7 Baylor each moved up one spot in this week’s AP poll, followed by LSU and Notre Dame each moving up two spots. No. 10 Ole Miss rounds out this week’s top 10 after moving up four spots following a blowout win over Louisiana-Lafayette. The Rebels leaped over No. 11 Michigan State (up two spots), No. 12 UCLA and past No. 13 Georgia. Georgia dropped seven spots in the AP ranking but finished 11 points higher than No. 14 South Carolina. Arizona State moved up a spot to No. 15 this week, swapping places with Stanford. USC dropped eight spots in the AP poll after losing at Boston College Saturday night, to No. 17.
No. 18 Missouri moved up two spots following a win against UCF and No. 19 Wisconsin dropped a spot during their bye week. Kansas State also dropped a spot in a bye week down to No. 20.
After debuting in the AP Top 25 last week, BYU moved up four spots to No. 21 this week after beating Houston at home Thursday night. BYU is followed by No. 22 Clemson (up one spot) and Ohio State (down one spot). Nebraska returns to the top 25 this week at No. 24. The Huskers are followed by Oklahoma State to complete the top 25. The Cowboys are making their first appearance in the AP poll this season.
Posted by Kevin McGuire on September 14, 2014, 1:14 PM EDT
Despite Oklahoma winning at home against an SEC opponent this weekend, the Sooners were passed by Oregon in the latest Amway Coaches Poll, released Sunday afternoon. Florida State remains atop the coaches poll with 50 first-place votes, followed by Alabama with one first-place vote. Oregon received six first-place votes and Oklahoma received four. Auburn remains ranked fifth by the coaches.
Baylor (No. 6), Texas A&M and LSU all moved up a spot in the coaches poll in that order, followed by Notre Dame and UCLA. The Irish and Bruins each moved up two spots to round out the top 10 in this week’s coaches poll.
No. 11 Michigan State moved up two spots from No. 13 in their bye week after losing at Oregon. The defending Big Ten champions are followed by Ole Miss (up three spots) and Arizona State. Georgia took a big drop from No. 6 down to No. 14 after losing on the road at South Carolina. The Gamecocks are ranked two spots lower in the coaches poll at No. 16 despite winning the head-to-head competition. Stanford sits between the two SEC schools at No. 15 after moving up one spot.
No. 17 Wisconsin and No. 18 Ohio State stood firm in their positions this week, but Missouri moved up three spots to No. 19. Kansas State is ranked 20th for the second straight week.
USC took the biggest drop in the coaches poll this week after losing on the road at Boston College Saturday night. The Trojans, a week after edging Stanford, dropped 11 spots from No. 10 down to No. 21. They are followed by Nebraska. The Huskers dropped a spot to make room for USC despite winning on the road at Fresno State late Saturday night to go 3-0. BYU makes its first appearance in the coaches poll this week after moving up four spots in the coaches voting to debut at No. 23. Clemson and North Carolina complete the coaches top 25 for a second straight week, respectively.
Virgina Tech was the only team to be dropped from the coaches top 25 this week after losing at home to East Carolina.
Posted by Kevin McGuire on September 14, 2014, 11:33 AM EDT
Penn State pulled one out of a magic hat Saturday night. When you have a quarterback as talented and composed as Christian Hackenberg, good things and good plays eventually happen even on a night like Saturday night. Penn State’s offensive line was once again a near-complete wreck. The running game for the Nittany Lions was virtually non-existent. Hackenberg once again had too many moments when he had to force plays that just were not there. Rutgers was in Hackenberg’s face all night, knocking him off-balanced at times and forcing him to move. In the end though, Hackenberg showed great poise and leadership in leading Penn State to a late rally and victory.
Because the NCAA has lifted the remaining two seasons of a postseason ban on the football program, Penn State is now eligible to participate in the bowl season, the College Football Playoff and Big Ten Championship Game, as long as they qualify for any of those three. As a result of last night’s victory, Penn State is now out in front of the Big Ten championship race, sitting in first place with a 1-0 conference record before any other Big Ten teams (besides Rutgers) play a conference game. It is a good situation, and the schedule is as favorable as it can possibly be with a bye week before heading to Michigan, followed by a bye week before hosting Ohio State. Penn State also gets Michigan State at home in the final week of the regular season. While Saturday night’s come-from-behind thrill in New Jersey is plenty reason to celebrate, it is clear there is much that needs to improve in State College for Penn State to truly become a legitimate Big Ten contender.
It starts up front with the offensive line. Hackenberg needs protection and the running game cannot get going until the offensive line starts to improve. Depth on the line is a problem and a result of the sanctions the past couple of years, so just how much can improve between now and the next game or month may be limited. That does not mean Penn State and the coaching staff will not try. Perhaps what should be more of a breather next Saturday at home against UMass will be a good week to show some progress.
Once the offensive line does improve, the running game should follow. Mixing things up between Zach Zwinak for power running situations, spreading things out with Bill Belton and adding in Akeel Lynch to the mix still has potential for a good running game to help take some pressure off Hackenberg. Hackenberg has not had the cleanest first three games of the year despite some terrific passing numbers, and the thought he can actually get better is pretty remarkable. Receivers holding on to more passes would help as well. Penn State has shown potential to have receivers ready to step up after Allen Robinson moved to the NFL, but there have been a number of dropped passes the first few weeks as well.
Can Penn State realistically contend for a Big Ten championship? Given the way the Big Ten has been playing thus far, sure, why not. But before Penn State fans start making plans for Indianapolis, there is still a long uphill battle for the Nittany Lions. But for right now, they are in control of the Big Ten East, and that should feel pretty good.
Posted by Kevin McGuire on September 14, 2014, 11:11 AM EDT
What looked to be a serious scare for Arizona State may not be as severe as initially feared. Quarterback Taylor Kelly was removed from last night’s game against Colorado and left on the sideline using crutches, but head coach of the Sun Devils appeared confident about his quarterback’s status moving forward. During a post-game radio interview, Todd Graham said quarterback Kelly and linebacker Laiu Moeakiola are “going to be perfectly fine,” according to AZCentral.com.
Kelly was injured in the third quarter at Colorado Saturday. He returned to the sidelines with a walking boot on and crutches. Losing the starting quarterback for the past two years does seem to be a blow to the offense of Arizona State, but until we know more about the specific timeline for a potential return it would be premature to write off the Sun Devils in the Pac-12 South Division, which they won last fall. Junior Mike Bercovici took over under center and would be the likely starter if needed again.
After giving defensive back Ezekiel Bishop a chance to play linebacker in Moeakiola’s place, Arizona State soon inserted freshman Christian Sam, a more natural fit at linebacker. If they need to fill that hole for an extended period of time, Sam will likely get the call after playing well with his opportunity.
Posted by John Taylor on September 14, 2014, 2:24 AM EDT
As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.
(Writer’s note: I’m “playing” very severely under the weather this weekend, so I apologize in advance for any errors and/or typos you may come across. Well any more than normal I should say. Thanks in advance.)
Turn that Top Dozen upside down
Heading into Week 3, the schedule wasn’t looking too promising on paper. Exiting it? To steal from the imitable Ron Burgandy, boy, that escalated quickly… I mean, that really got out of hand fast — especially in the Top 12 of the rankings. Two teams in that rarefied air lost outright — No. 6 Georgia, to South Carolina; No. 9 USC, to Boston College — while No. 12 UCLA barely escaped against a fair-to-middlin’ Texas team and looked unimpressive for a third straight game. The first two will certainly tumble out of the Top 10, while the Bruins could slip a bit as well despite the win. So, which teams will replace UGA and USC? No. 11 Notre Dame is a mortal lock. The second is murky as No. 12 is, of course, UCLA while No. 13 is one-loss Michigan State. My guess would be No. 14 Ole Miss slides into the Top 10, just ahead of the Spartans.
Livin’ the hug life
Instead of another one of the bigger stories in Week 3 appearing above the cyber fold, how about we toss in a really cool example of sportsmanship*? Yeah, didn’t think you’d mind. UMass, 2-27 since early November of 2011, jumped out to a quick 14-o lead on Vanderbilt in Nashville and took a 31-20 lead into the fourth quarter. Two Commodore touchdowns, however, gave them the lead with just over a minute to play. The Minutemen would roar back, driving into position to kick a game-tying field goal and send the non-conference contest into overtime. As time expired, though, UMass kicker Blake Lucas missed the chippy 22-yard attempt. Then, this happened.
Yes, that would be Vandy defensive lineman Adam Butler giving Lucas a brief hug — and pat on the back — after the really bad miss. Bravo, young man, for your short but welcome show of sportsmanship.
Loss puts UGA in SEC East driver’s seat?
If those in and around the Georgia football program aren’t nearly as upset and distraught over a divisional loss as you think they should be, don’t worry. There’s a method to the apparent madness. Yes, UGA was out-physicaled in its loss to South Carolina. Yes, USC and UGA are now tied atop the SEC East at 1-1, with the former holding the head-to-head tiebreaker. However, based on recent precedent, the Bulldogs have the rest of the division right where they want ‘em. You see, the last two times UGA has qualified for the SEC championship game as the East’s winner (2011 and 2012), the Bulldogs lost to the Gamecocks the first month of the season. Yep, the Dawgs have ‘em right where they want ‘em.
What’s this “forward pass” you speak of? The passing game might as well be a foreign language for Arkansas, which is just fine when you have the type of devastating and punishing running game it does. In UA’s 42-28 road win over Texas Tech, the Razorbacks ran the ball 68 times and passed it just 12. The last Hogs pass of the game came with 8:05 remaining in the third quarter. Eschewing the pass made sense as the Hogs rushed for 438 yards and scored all seven of their touchdowns on the ground. In fact, UA had more rushing attempts (68) than passing yards (61). Alex Collins led the team with 211 yards, while Jonathan Williams chipped in 146 and four touchdowns. Who knows if this pound-and-grind ground game can hold up against SEC defenses on a weekly basis, but’s certainly pointing the Hogs in the right direction after wandering around lost during a three-win 2013 season.
USC v Boston College
What’s the rush?
Sticking with the running-game theme, all those who thought Boston College would manhandle USC at the line of scrimmage raise your hands. Now put your hands down ’cause all y’all are lying. In one of the more stunning turn of events on what turned out to be a wild weekend of football, the Eagles rushed for a whopping 452 yards in their shocking 37-31 win over the No. 9 Trojans. BC averaged 8.4 yards per carry, while ‘SC was held to a microscopic .7 ypc. Just as unbelievable, the Eagles were credited with 16 tackles for losses in the game, meaning they controlled both sides of the line of scrimmage. Last season, BC lost to USC by 28, and were outgained on the ground 257-101 despite having one of the leading rushers in the country in Andre Williams. Simply staggering how things have changed over the course of what was almost exactly 365 days.
Entering the 2014 season, there weren’t many coaches on hotter seats than Virginia’s Mike London and West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen. After what transpired in Charlottesville and College Park Saturday, however, those collective temperature have appreciably decreased. For the time being. Against heavily-favored and 21st-ranked Louisville, London’s Cavaliers were able to hold off the Cardinals’ fourth-quarter comeback — two touchdowns to give the UofL its first and only lead — before a late field goal ultimately sent fans storming the field following a 23-21 win. While London is far from out of the woods, the fact that the Hoos moved to 2-1, with the lone loss being an eight-point defeat at the hands of then-No. 7 UCLA, bodes well for the beleaguered coach. Meanwhile, WVU moved to 2-1 as well with its last-second win over Maryland on the road. The Mountaineers’ lone loss? A 33-23 decision to No. 2 Alabama. The true test of how far along WVU is thus far this season, though, will come next week when they host No. 4 Oklahoma in Morgantown.
Mr. Versatility Dak Prescott is one of the more athletic quarterbacks not only in the SEC but in the country. In Mississippi State’s 35-3 win over South Alabama, Prescott showed it yet again. In the game, Prescott threw a touchdown pass… ran for a touchdown… and caught a touchdown pass. Making that feat all the more impressive? It’s the second time in his career he’s pulled off that trifecta in the same game.
J.(ust) T.(ossing) TDs
Yes, it was against Kent State, but Ohio State in general and J.T. Barrett desperately needed a performance like the one on display Saturday afternoon. In the 14-point upset loss to Virginia Tech in the Horseshoe last Saturday, the redshirt freshman completed just 9-of-29 passes and tossed three interceptions. Seven days later, and against much lesser competition, Barrett tied a school record with six touchdown passes and threw for 312 yards — the first 300-yard game for an OSU quarterback since Terrelle Pryor‘s 334 yards in October of 2010 — as the Buckeyes rolled over the Golden Flashes 59-0. With what appears to be a high-powered Cincinnati offense looming in Week 4 (see below), it’s a good thing OSU got both its quarterback and its offense back on track after being derailed by the Hokies.
Lovin’ life with Kiffin
There’s no arguing who has been the biggest beneficiary of Lane Kiffin‘s first season as Alabama’s offensive coordinator or Blake Sims‘ first season as starting quarterback. In 2013, Amari Cooper caught 45 passes for 736 yards and four touchdowns. Not bad, but nothing like this year as the All-SEC receiver has 33 receptions for 454 yards and two touchdowns. Last season, Cooper didn’t reach those totals until the 11th game (receptions), 10th game (receiving yards) and 8th game (receiving touchdowns). At his current pace, Cooper would set school records with 132 receptions and 1,913 receiving yards.
Taking out the trash (talking)
Thanks to an egregious officiating error, Florida was able to hold off Kentucky in triple overtime. It also meant that, technically, Jojo Kemp had to eat his words from earlier in the week and UK will be forced to wait yet another to snap The Streak. With the (tainted) win, Florida has now won 28 straight over Kentucky, which ties Texas over Rice (1966-93) as the fifth-most consecutive wins over one opponent in an uninterrupted series. Still ahead are Nebraska over Kansas State (29, 1969-97), Oklahoma over Kansas State (32, 1937-68), Nebraska over Kansas (36, 1969-2004) and Notre Dame over Navy (43, (1964,2006). Penn State has a current winning streak of 30 straight over Temple, although those wins have been spread out over 63 years and counting.
Big House streak continues
There was some genuine concern heading into Michigan’s home game against Miami of Ohio that the football program’s NCAA-record streak of 100,000-plus crowds would come to an abrupt end. That turned out to not be the case, at least officially, as the announced crowd for the Wolverines’ lackluster win was 102,824 — official capacity: 109,901 — and pushed the streak to 253 straight. The last time UM failed to hit 100,000 in attendance? Oct. 25, 1975, when 93,857 witnessed the 55-7 pasting of Indiana.
The fact that Baylor was without four of its top five wide receivers Friday night really didn’t matter to either the Bears or Bryce Petty. In the 63-21 road romp over Buffalo, Petty, who missed last weekend’s game with a back injury, threw for 416 yards, with three of his receivers going over the 100-yard mark. KD Cannon, a true freshman, led all receivers with 189 yards on his six catches. This season, Cannon already has 14 catches for 471 yards and five touchdowns; 223 yards and three of the scores came in Week 2 alone. Jay Lee chipped in with 136 yards in Week 3 while Lynx Hawthorne added 123.
UC, the thing is, they’re in no hurry…
Prior to Week 3, every single one of the 128 teams at the FBS level had opened their respective seasons… except for Cincinnati. That changed Friday night as the Bearcats opened their 2014 season in uproarious fashion, “holding on” for a 58-34 win over Houston after jumping out to a 34-0 lead early in the second quarter. Gunner Kiel, making his first career start, passed for 418 yards and six touchdowns, the latter total being an FBS record for a first-time starter. It’s also the second consecutive season under Tommy Tuberville that UC has opened the season with a win of 20-plus points, the first being a 42-7 pasting of Purdue late last August.
When it comes to the pageantry and tradition of college football, it doesn’t get much better than the Ohio State band performing “Script Ohio” at halftime of Buckeye games. One of the few things better than that would be multiple Scripts during the same game at the same time — which is exactly what, along with the alumni band, The Best Damn Band In The Land did for OSU’s matchup with Kent State in Columbus Saturday afternoon.
Another B1G MAC embarrassment
Last week, the Big Ten dropped two games to its Midwestern little brother the MAC. At least in one B1G stadium, it was lather, rinse and repeat. While Ohio State drubbed Kent State, Indiana was embarrassed by Bowling Green in a 45-42 loss. That would be the same BGSU squad that was pummeled in the opener by 28 points by Western Kentucky, which beat Illinois in Week 2. That loss was symptomatic of yet another weekend of conference-wide malaise as the league went just 3-6 against non-B1G schools, with two of the wins coming against the MAC (Ohio State-Kent State;Michigan-Miami) and one against a non-Power Five member (Nebraska-Fresno State). Say what you want about there being a dozen or so weeks left in the season to turn things around, but the Big Ten looks far and away like the worst league — top, middle and bottom — of the Power Five conferences. And they’re still looking like a league that will be on the outside of the College Football Playoff window looking in.
WhUT the WhUT?
It’ not been a good start to the Charlie Strong era at Texas. A microcosm of that rough start” The pregame coin toss, which was botched by Longhorn players…
So UCLA wins the toss and elects to defer. And then Texas chooses to kickoff. So UCLA will get it twice.
… which did not make the head coach a happy camper.
Coming off the football program’s biggest win in a handful of years, Virginia Tech had all the momentum. They had rocketed up to No. 17 in the country on the strength of the road win against Ohio State and there were even whispers — very faint ones — that the Hokies could be the ACC team to challenge Florida State’s dominance. And then Week 3 happened. East Carolina jumped out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead on the sleepwalking Hokies and hung on for the 28-21 win in Blacksburg. Tech was actually able to come back and tie the game at 21-all before the Pirates scored with :16 left to drop VT to 2-1 on the season. What it also does? Makes Ohio State’s loss look that much worse, for both the Buckeyes specifically and the Big Ten as a whole. Speaking of which…
And the (losing) beat goes on for Kansas football. Thanks to KU’s dismal showing in a 41-3 loss to Duke, the Jayhawks still have not beaten a Power Five school on the record since edging Iowa State 35-33 on Oct. 4, 2008. They haven’t won a road game against any team since Sept. 12, 2009, a 37-9 win over UTEP. Since winning the Orange Bowl to cap a 12-1 2007 season that included a perfect 4-0 road mark, KU has gone 22-51 overall and 2-27 away from Lawrence. Since Mark Mangino was (wrongly) dumped in 2008, that overall record is 9-39 under Turner Gill and his successor, Charlie Weis. Hey, though, it’s not all bad for the Jayhawks — basketball season starts up in a couple of months.
Rutgers enters B1G world with tiny loss
Yes, Rutgers and its athletic programs officially joined the Big Ten July 1. Yes, RU played its first game as a member of the Big Ten two weeks ago. It hadn’t, however, actually played a game against a team from its new conference until this weekend — and, based on the result, it might take a bit of time to recover from the psychological effects of the loss. Prior to the game with Penn State, the crowd was amped… the players were amped… the coaches were even amped,.. and the team responded to the atmosphere, jumping out to a 10-point halftime lead. That would be the last of the home team’s scoring as the Nittany Lions scored the final 13 points to escape Piscataway with a narrow three-point win. Incidentally, the PSU-RU game was the earliest Big Ten conference game since 1996. It was also the first time Rutgers has hosted Penn State on-campus since 1955.
They heart cupcakes
There are 65 members of the so-called Power Five conferences — the ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC. Of those 65, just 11 of them do not play another member of that elite Group of Five. Not so unexpectedly, the SEC is the conference with the most at four (Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Vanderbilt). That league was followed by the Pac-12 (Arizona, Colorado, Oregon State) and ACC (North Carolina State, Wake Forest). That leaves the Big Ten (Penn State) and the Big 12 (Baylor) with just one apiece.
UCLA v Texas
TOP 25 TOO-CLOSE-FOR-COMFORT How ranked teams endured close shaves vs. unranked opponents
No. 12 UCLA 20, Texas 17: Of course, this game was greatly impacted by the Bruins’ starting quarterback, Brett Hundley, going down early with some type of shoulder injury. A late touchdown pass from Jerry Neuheisel — Rick’s son — kept the Bruins from addressing an embarrassing loss.
No. 16 Arizona State, Colorado 24: Like their conference brethren, the Sun Devils were impacted by the loss of their starting quarterback, Taylor Kelly, to injury.
No. 20 Missouri 38, UCF10: Mizzou led UCF just 14-10 at halftime and 21-10 after three quarters before 17 fourth-quarter points erased any hope of an upset for the winless Knights.
No. 25 BYU 33, Houston 25: After jumping out to a 23-0 lead midway through the second quarter, it appeared the Cougars were poised for a blowout that had people, for whatever reason, talking playoff. The Conference USA Cougars drowned out that noise by scoring 25 of the last 35 points of the game to nearly pull off a stunning comeback.
CFT TOP FIVE A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Sunday if I, ya know, had a real vote.
1. Florida State — If there were a way to score during a bye week, I’m quite certain FSU and its embarrassing riches of offensive talent would find a way to do it. Alas, the Seminoles will have to settle instead for having an extra week of rest and preparation for its ACC opener this coming weekend. (Last week: No. 1) Next up: vs. Clemson, Sept. 20
Wyoming v Oregon
2. Oregon — The Ducks have won their three games this season 156-54. UO has byes the next two weeks — including the Washington State game — before embarking on a five-game stretch that includes games against Arizona, UCLA, Washington and Stanford. (Last week: No. 2) Next up: at Washington State, Sept. 20
3. Texas A&M — That romp over South Carolina in the opener looks even better now with the Gamecocks’ win over Georgia, doesn’t it? The 38-19 cruise over Rice Saturday night didn’t hurt, either. (Last week: No. 3) Next up: at SMU, Sept. 20
4. Alabama — Is it just me or is there something a little off on or slightly askew with the Tide’s defense? They gave up 23 against a so-so West Virginia team in the opener, then allowed 12 points to a woeful Southern Miss squad. Regardless, UA is clearly one of the five best teams in th country right now. (Last week: No. 4) Next up: vs. Florida, Sept. 20
5. Oklahoma — All the Sooners have done is beat their first three opponents of the 2014 season by an average of nearly 34 points per game. I probably should move them ahead of Alabama, but just can’t pull the trigger quite yet. (Last week: No. 5) Next up: at West Virginia, Sept. 20
West Virginia v Maryland
HE SAID IT
“I haven’t talked to Josh Lambert since he got on campus, and we’re going to keep it that way. I know his name and who he is but other than that I’m doing the hands off approach.” — West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen, when asked what he said to his kicker prior to the game-winning field goal attempt. Lambert, incidentally, is a redshirt sophomore who led the team in scoring in 2013.
HE SAID IT, THE SEQUEL
“I keep hearing about how student bodies across the country aren’t showing up for games. Ours certainly is and I want to thank them. I never want to take them for granted, because one day you’ll look up there and they won’t be there for you. I think a big reason we jumped out fast was because of the environment created by our students and our fans, so I just want to make sure we show our appreciation.” — Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer said of the capacity crowd that showed up for a noon kickoff against a MAC school.
HE SAID IT, THE THREEQUEL
“I’m proud of our team and staff. We had a tough loss at South Carolina. Coming back having to play another power away in a hostile venue was tough and I’m proud of our kids because we’ve been talking about the commitment since day one. To be able to see it grow in front of you is a beautiful thing to watch. That was a great win for our players.” — ECU head coach Ruffin McNeill, following his squad’s upset win over Virginia Tech.
HE SAID IT, THE QUADQUEL
“Arkansas burst into the line, which I think everybody started to almost brain fart, so to say, in that sense, because they hadn’t shown up on film.” — Texas Tech linebacker V.J. Fehoko, on the Red Raiders’ miscommunications on defense as Arkansas rolled over Tech.
HE SAID IT, BONUS EDITION
“I knew we had a good chance to beat them when I heard [Paul] Finebaum pick them to win by 20 points.” South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier, after the huge win over Georgia.
GIF OF THE DAY
Many people, myself and Barry Switzer included, give kickers and punters a hard time for not being “real” football players. Try telling that Army’s Alex Tardieu. Or Stanford’s Kodi Whitfield.
That, my friends, is Army strong.
S.I.D. NOTE OF THE DAY
Purdue’s series with Notre Dame is tied with USC vs. Notre Dame and New Mexico vs. New Mexico State for the fourth-longest uninterrupted non-conference series in the FBS behind Notre Dame and Navy (since 1927), Army and Navy (since 1930) and Cincinnati and Miami (Ohio) (1945). The 86 games between the two programs is the most vs. a Big Ten opponent in Fighting Irish history. That uninterrupted streak will end next season, however, as the two football programs aren’t scheduled to meet again until 2020.
S.I.D. NOTE OF THE DAY, THE SEQUEL In addition to Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit and Lee Corso, ESPN’s College GameDay has had another constant – the [Washington State] flag, which this weekend [made] its 150th consecutive appearance on the weekly show, dating back to the beginning of the 2004 season. Two flags – Ol’ Crimson and Gray – have been flown in the background of the GameDay set by dozens of friends and alumni. The Gray flag was added this year after Whitey was retired in honor of Steve Gleason’s “No White Flags.” WSU recognized the GameDay flag wavers in a pregame ceremony prior to the Montana State game in 2010. In addition to the flags that fly, there is a traveling flag signed by the holders after each episode. The traveling flag is retired after each season, the first of which is hanging in WSU’s Alumni Center.
(Tip O’ the Cap: Washington State athletics)
Are you curious as to which college team had the most players on NFL rosters (excluding practice squads) opening weekend? If so, here you go with a Top 10 list, courtesy of the NFL itself:
– Florida State, on a bye this weekend ahead of the Clemson game, remains the only team in the country with a double-digit winning streak (18). The next closest? LSU, Mississippi State, Oklahoma and Washington have each won six straight. Miami of Ohio continues to have the nation’s longest losing streak, with its loss to Michigan representing the 19th in a row. With a loss to Cincinnati next Saturday, the RedHawks would tie Temple (2004-06) for the 14th-longest losing streak in FBS history. Should the Oxford school lose its final nine games — they won’t be favored in any of them — they’d own the second-longest such streak, trailing only Northwestern’s 34 straight earned from 1979-82.
– Washington State’s Connor Halliday threw for 544 yards and six touchdowns in a 59-21 win over Portland State. It’s the second time in three games Halliday has thrown for 500-plus yards. He was 14 yards away from breaking his own single-game school record.
– Trevor Knight has two career 300-yard games, and both came in Oklahoma wins over SEC teams: 304 on Tennessee last night, 348 on Alabama in the 2014 Sugar Bowl.
– Brad Kaaya’s 342 yards were the most by a true freshman quarterback in Miami history.
– In the first half of Ole Miss’ blowout win over Louisiana-Lafayette, Bo Wallace completed 20-of-24 passes for 290 yards and three touchdowns. He opened the game by completing his first 16 passes. After playing just over two quarters, Wallace finished 23-28 for 316 yards and four touchdowns.
– Marshall has rolled up 1,429 yards of offense the past two games, 705 in the Week 3 win over Ohio and 724 in the win over Rhode Island. Quarterback Rakeem Cato has been responsible for 854 of those yards — 692 passing, 162 rushing.
– The 511 yards passing by Clint Trickett in West Virginia’s 40-37 win over Maryland were the second-most in school history, behind Geno Smith‘s 656-yard explosion two years ago. Trickett’s main target was Kevin White, who caught 13 passes for 216 yards on the afternoon.
– Shane Carden accounted for all four of East Carolina’s touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) in the 28-21 win over Virginia Tech. The rushing score was the game-winner as Carden snuck in from a yard out with just :16 left.
– Bowling Green’s James Knapke attempted 73 passes — completing 46 — and threw for 395 yards in the win over Indiana. The attempts and completions set school records. It was just the second career start for the redshirt sophomore.
– Texas’ Tyrone Swoopes completed 18 straight passes over the course of two games: seven straight to end the BYU game, 11 to begin the UCLA game. Unfortunately for Swoopes and the Longhorns, both of those games were losses.
– Shaun Wilson‘s 245 yards rushing in Duke’s romp over Kansas were the most in school history. Making that record even more impressive was the fact that Wilson carried the ball just 12 times.
– Backup running back D.J. Vinson‘s five rushing touchdowns set a UAB single-game record. It also tied the Conference USA mark for a single game.
– Illinois’ embarrassing loss to Bowling Green wasn’t Tevin Coleman‘s fault as the running back rushed for 190 yards and scored three touchdowns on the ground. He added four catches for 38 yards out of the backfield for good measure.
– Pittsburgh James Conner has 545 yards rushing this season, breaking Tony Dorsett‘s school record for most rushing yards in the first three games of a season set back in 1973. The sophomore had 178 yards in the win over FIU.
– True freshman Nick Wilson has 449 yards and four touchdowns through three games for Arizona, all wins as the Wildcats are off to their third 3-0 start the last three years. They’re cumulative record in their remaining games in 2012 and 2013? A middling 10-10.
– Arizona State’s D.J. Foster has four rushes of 40 or more yards this year; no Sun Devil had more than two in 2013. As a team, ASU has seven40-plus-yard rushes in three games after having five for all of 2013.
– In Miami’s win over Arkansas State, Phillip Dorsett caught four passes for 201 yards and two touchdowns. Last season, he had 272 yards receiving and two receiving touchdowns for the entire year.
– Florida wide receiver Demarcus Robinson is the first Florida player with consecutive 100-yard receiving games since Jabar Gaffney in 2001.
– LSU wide receiver Travin Dural caught a five-yard pass early in LSU’s game against Louisiana-Monroe, the first time in his career (15 games) that a reception didn’t go for either a first down or a touchdown. Entering the game, Dural was averaging 48.5 yards per catch this year, with four of his six receptions going for touchdowns.
– Washington’s Shaq Thompson returned an interception 36 yards for a touchdown and had a 52-yard fumble recovery for another score, the first time a Husky defensive player has done that since at least 1978.
– Marshall Morgan‘s field goal in the first quarter of Georgia’s game at South Carolina was his 19th in a row, breaking the SEC record he had shared with Tennessee’s Fuad Reveiz. Morgan’s streak ended at 20 consecutive makes as he missed from 44 yards out late in the second quarter. He actually missed two in a row, the second coming with just over four minutes left that could’ve tied the game at 38.
– Cody Sokol tossed five touchdown passes, three in the second quarter, as Louisiana Tech dropped North Texas 41-21 Thursday night.
– Colorado State set a school record with 452 yards passing — starter Garrett Grayson had 425 of them — in the 49-21 win over UC Davis.
– Wake Forest was the antithesis of Boston College and Arkansas, rushing for minus-25 yards in the loss to Utah State.
– Alabama is 3-0 to start the season for the 11th straight year.
Kent State v Ohio State
– A whopping 89 percent of Ohio State’s 121 points this season have been scored by freshmen (true and redshirt) and sophomores. The present may have fizzled on the field in Week 2 vs. Virginia Tech, but the future for Urban Meyer and his Buckeyes looks bright, at least offensively.
– Saturday was the third-ever meeting between LSU and Louisiana-Monroe; including the 31-0 waxing last night, the Tigers have outscored the Warhawks 131-7 in the brief in-state series.
– Ohio State is also now 3-0 all-time against Kent State, outscoring the Golden Flashes 165-20. That includes the Buckeyes’ 66-0 win Saturday afternoon.
– Stanford has allowed just 13 points through three games, with both of its wins coming via the shutout (45-0 over UC Davis in Week 1, 35-0 over Army in Week 3). The Cardinal’s lone loss came by three points in a 13-10 loss to USC last week.
– Utah State’s game against Wake Forest — a USU win — was the first time the Aggies have ever played host to a team from the ACC. It was also USU’s first win against a team from that conference in four attempts.
– Air Force’s game against Georgia Southern — a 48-38 win for the service academy — marked the first time the Falcons played in the state of Georgia since Oct. 1, 1977, a 30-3 loss to Georgia Tech. The win also marked Air Force’s 100th overall since joining the Mountain West in 1999.
– UNLV hosted Northern Illinois Saturday; the Rebels won’t play another game at home until Oct. 10 vs. Fresno State. In between, they will take road trips to Houston, San Diego State (MWC opener) and San Jose State.
– Eastern Michigan scoffs in the general direction of UNLV’s road warrior impersonation as the Eagles, after opening at home, play four straight away from Ypsilanti. Two of those games were/will be paycheck games against Florida and Michigan State. The other two were /will be games against Old Dominion (?) and the MAC opener against Akron. It’s not like much home-cooking is in EMU’s future after that stretch, either, as three of its last seven are on the road, leaving the team with just five home dates in 2014.
– A whopping 10 different Cincinnati players caught passes in the Bearcats’ win over Toledo.
DID YOU KNOW THAT…
… Tulsa has the smallest undergraduate enrollment of FBS schools with 3,429 students? On the flip side, and per the ever-reliable Wiki, Arizona State has the largest enrollment at 60,168.
Posted by John Taylor on September 14, 2014, 1:20 AM EDT
Arizona State may very well have suffered an early-morning loss even as it was in the process of easily handling Colorado.
Late in the third quarter of the ASU-CU game, Taylor Kelly went down with an injury to his lower right leg. The starting quarterback was taken into the locker room and, a short time later, returned to the sidelines.
Unfortunately for the Sun Devils, he returned on crutches with a walking boot on his right foot.
During the telecast, it was reported that the school would only say that the injury was to Kelly’s right foot and that he wouldn’t return. An update after the game is expected from head coach Todd Graham.
Kelly has started every game for the Sun Devils the past two-plus seasons. One slight bit of good news for Kelly and ASU is that they are on a bye this coming weekend, and won’t take the field again until Thursday, Sept. 25 against UCLA.
Junior Mike Bercovici has taken over for Kelly in the Buffs game, and would do the same moving forward if the starter misses any time.
Posted by Zach Barnett on September 14, 2014, 1:10 AM EDT
Here’s what you need to know about No. 7 Texas A&M’s 38-10 win over Rice Saturday night in College Station: The most interesting aspects of this game were a playing surface ripped to shreds after a torrential rain on Friday…
… and a wild end-of-half sequence that saw scores for both teams wiped off the board due to penalties in the final four seconds of the second quarter. Rice kicked a field goal to bring the score to 21-10 at the half taken off the board due to an illegal substitution call against Texas A&M. The ensuing kick was blocked; Armani Watts picked up the loose ball and ran it back for an apparent touchdown before the Aggies were then hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct call for having players stand too close to the field.
Beyond that, it was a game where Rice somehow outgained the Aggies but somehow never truly felt in the game. The Owls had almost perfect balance, completing 24-of-36 passes for 241 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions, and ran the ball 55 times for 240 yards for a respectable 4.4 yards per carry.
Seriously, how do you outgain your opponent (481-477), achieve more first downs (28-23), decidedly win third down (10-of-20 vs. 3-of-8), win the turnover battle (1-0), dominate time of possession (43:17 vs. 16:43), and lose 38-10? How does that happen?
Well, one team has Kenny Hill, Speedy Noil, Ricky Seals-Jones, Myles Garrett, and company, and it’s the opponent. Hill completed a workmanlike – you could call it a trill – day at the office with 300 passing yards, four touchdowns and 38 rushing yards while barely breaking a sweat. Noil caught three passes for 71 yards, Seals-Jones hauled in five passes for 42 yards and a touchdown, and Josh Reynolds nabbed two scoring passes for 68 yards.
Texas A&M travels next week to Dallas to face a downtrodden SMU bunch in a game that will not be suitable for children, while Rice opens Conference USA play against league newcomer Old Dominion.
Posted by Zach Barnett on September 14, 2014, 12:24 AM EDT
The Brett HundleyHeisman train has reportedly taken just a short pit stop, rather than a complete derailment.
According to Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports, Hundley suffered a “slight” hyper-extension of his left elbow and is not expected to miss extended time. “They say he will be fine by the end of next week,” Feldman reported on Fox Sports Live.
Brett Hundley update: Slight hyper extension of left elbow he is expected to be fine by end of week, source tells @FOXSports#UCLA
Hundley departed No. 12 UCLA’s 20-17 win over Texas midway through the first quarter. He completed all four of his passes for 48 yards, and was then replaced by Jerry Neuheisel for the rest of the night. Neuheisel threw for 226 yards and two touchdowns in leading the come-from-behind win.
UCLA is off this coming Saturday, and then travels to No. 16 Arizona State on Thursday, Sept. 25.
For the season, Hundley has completed 53-of-77 passes for 638 yards with three touchdowns and one interception, while adding 65 rushing yards and an additional score.