It may be too early to suggest the Miami Hurricanes are back, but a 21-9 victory at home against Florida is certainly a positive sign for The U. Despite putting together just 212 yards of offense and having the defense on the field nearly twice as long than the offense, Miami took advantage of Florida’s miscues in a huge early season victory to improve to 2-0.
Miami quarterback Stephen Morris was far from accurate, completing 12 of 25 pass attempts, but he tossed a pair of touchdowns in the first quarter to give Miami an early 14-6 lead. The defense entered bend-but-don’t-break mode for the rest of the afternoon to ensure the Hurricanes never trailed. Florida showed an ability to move the football but always seemed to stall on their own account as often as Miami’s defense came through with a play. Running back Duke Johnson scored the eventual game-winning touchdown following a Florida turnover deep in their own territory, but Johnson was limited to just 58 yards on 21 attempts.
Miami forced five turnovers in the game, with Florida losing the football three times inside the red zone. Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel struggled on third down all day long as well, with two interceptions and a fumble.
Miami now gets a week off on the schedule before returning to host FCS Savannah State on September 21. How Al Golden handles the off week could be critical for the Hurricanes, who could easily fall in to a trap of self-confidence. It will be important to not get too carried away with one win and to keep the Canes focused on the bigger picture moving forward. The ACC schedule begins October 5 for Miami with a home game against Georgia Tech, who represented the division in the ACC Championship Game last year because Miami instituted a self-appointed postseason ban.
As for Florida, the Gators also enter an early bye week before opening their SEC schedule at home against Tennessee. The Gators will take a fall in the polls, but the goal of playing for an SEC Championship is still a fate worth getting up for. If the Gators are going to make a run in the sEC, the offense absolutely has to tighten up and find ways to make plays. The defense has proven to be in OK shape in the first two weeks, but without an offense it may not matter too much later on this fall.
Illinois has extended year-long interim head coach Bill Cubit for another two seasons, the program announced Saturday afternoon. Does that make him a short-term full-time head coach or a long-term interim coach? Or a combination of the two?
Either way, Cubit is in Champaign to stay through the 2017 season.
A mitigating factor here, undoubtedly, is the absence of a full-time chancellor and a full-time athletics director.
“Bill has stepped in during an extremely difficult period and done an outstanding job in leading our football program since August,” interim athletics director Paul Kowalczyk said in a statement. “Our student-athletes have responded in a positive manner and we feel he is the best person at this time to be the head coach. We wanted to allow Bill to make decisions regarding the program as the head coach without the interim title, and lead the Fighting Illini into Saturday’s game without speculation.”
Cubit’s extended contract will pay him $1.2 million annually. Former Illini head coach Tim Beckman made a reported $1.8 million.
“During the past three months, Coach Cubit has led this team with a steady and experienced hand,” interim chancellor Barbara Wilson said. “He has earned respect and appreciation from all of us. This move will allow the permanent Athletics Director to evaluate the program at his or her own schedule and make decisions based on those evaluations once that search is completed.”
Illinois is 5-6 this season, playing to extend its season at home against No. 16 Northwestern (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU).
Confirming what was reported earlier this week, Tulane announced Saturday morning it had relieved head coach Curtis Johnson of duties.
Johnson closed his four-year tenure with a 45-34 loss to Tulsa Friday night, a game where the Green Wave led midway though the fourth quarter but were undone by two pick-sixes. He closes his run with a 15-34 record, peaking with a 7-6 mark and a New Orleans Bowl appearance in 2013 but winning only eight games in his other three seasons.
“I want to thank CJ for his hard work and his dedication to rebuilding the Green Wave football program,” Tulane AD Rick Dickson said in a statement. “His efforts were rewarded in 2013 when Tulane reached its first bowl in 11 years. Since then, however, the program has not progressed to the level that we aspire to.”
Similar to Illinois, Central Florida and possibly Rutgers, Tulane says it will find a replacement for Dickson (who originally said he’d step down mid-2016) before finding a new head coach.
Many assume Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood won’t survive this disappointing and scandal-ridden fourth season of his. But it could be his boss, the highly controversial Julie Hermann, that receives the ax first.
According to a report from Keith Sargeant of NJ.com, Hermann could see her 30-month tenure end as soon as this weekend.
“Rutgers athletic director Julie Hermann is expected to meet with university President Robert Barchi before the end of the weekend, three people familiar with the situation told NJ Advance Media on Friday,” Sargeant wrote. “The meeting, presumably called by Barchi, is the first evidence the university’s administration is preparing to act.”
Sargeant writes that Hermann has been kept in the dark while the university conducts a top-to-bottom investigation into the football program’s compliance efforts. Flood was suspended three games and fined $50,000 earlier this season for overriding the church-state relationship between football and academics.
The results of that investigation could find Rutgers joining the ranks of Illinois and Central Florida among schools looking to hire an AD and head football coach at the same time.
“The futures of Flood and Hermann could hang on a report being compiled by the university’s office of enterprise risk management, ethics and compliance,” wrote Sargeant. “The report is expected to detail allegations of failed drug tests and other issues that could result in NCAA infractions and possible sanctions, multiple people familiar with the situation have told NJ Advance Media.”
In addition to a losing season on the field, Rutgers football has dealt with drug suspensions and player arrests off the field this fall.
A 40-23 loss to Boise State Friday condemned San Jose State to a third straight bowl-less season, but Spartans AD Gene Bleymaier said afterwards the setback would not result in a change in job status for head coach Ron Caragher.
“There’s no question about his status,” Bleymaier told the Contra Costa Times. “Ron’s our coach, and he’ll be our coach going forward.”
Hired away from San Diego to replace the departed Mike MacIntyre, Caragher is just 14-22 in three seasons leading the Spartans.
San Jose State did go 6-6 in his debut season of 2013 but did not garner a bowl invite.