Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is off to a great start this season.
Through three games — all Duck blowouts — the sophomore has 889 passing yards with seven touchdowns and no interceptions. He has also rushed for 262 yards and four scores and is averaging 17.5 yards per carry.
All very good numbers to be sure, but perhaps the most impressive aspect is that Mariota is producing them while missing large chunks of games due to the margin of his team’s victories.
In No. 2 Oregon’s 59-14 rout of Tennessee on Saturday, Mariota threw for a career-high 456 yards while running and passing for a combined five touchdowns in about two-and-a-half quarters. He missed the entire fourth quarter the week before as Oregon crushed Virginia 59-10. Mariota had 199 passing yards and 122 rushing yards and three total touchdowns in that one. He also missed the fourth quarter against Nicholls State in the opener while passing for 234 and rushing for 113.
Totaled up, that’s four-and-a-half quarters that Mariota has spent on the bench this season.
In fact, Mariota has finished only four of the 16 games he has played in his career, which makes you wonder how his overall numbers would look with a full work load. Of course, many great players in college football have this same kind of statistical handicap, but given Oregon’s propensity for huge margins of victory, Mariota seems to be uniquely affected.
Even with his limited snaps, Mariota is on pace to have 3,848 passing yards with 30 touchdown passes, plus 1,131 rushing yards and 17 touchdowns — and that’s not counting a potential bowl game. That comes to 4,979 yards of total offense and 47 touchdowns, which just happens to be about what the last five Heisman-winning quarterbacks produced in their Heisman seasons.
These numbers combined with Oregon’s lofty poll position are the main reasons why Mariota is the current favorite to win the Heisman trophy.
Duke quarterback Thomas Sirk‘s senior season is over before it started.
The Blue Devils announced Saturday Sirk suffered a partial tear of his left Achilles tendon during Thursday’s practice and will undergo surgery at an undisclosed date.
A fifth-year senior, the injury will end Sirk’s career unless the NCAA grants him a medical redshirt. Which, to be clear, there’s no reason — on the surface, at least — he wouldn’t receive one. This is the third Achilles injury Sirk has suffered in the last three-and-a-half years. He missed the 2013 campaign with an Achilles rupture in his right ankle during the spring, and ruptured his left Achilles in February of this year.
Sirk led the Devils to a Pinstripe Bowl victory last season. On the year, he completed 59 percent of his throws for 2,625 yards with 16 touchdowns.
Parker Boehme, a redshirt junior and Sirk’s backup last season, figures to start in Sirk’s stead. He completed 43-of-78 throws for 579 yards last season.
Miami has dismissed veterans Al-Quadin Muhammad and Jermaine Grace for violations of NCAA rules, the program announced Saturday.
The reason for the investigation, per the Palm Beach Post, was the pair’s use of luxury rental cars.
The statement from ‘Canes head coach Mark Richt:
“The University of Miami announced today that red-shirt junior Al-Quadin Muhammad and senior Jermaine Grace have been permanently dismissed from the Hurricanes football program for violating NCAA rules. The University will, however, continue their financial aid through graduation. The decision was made in consultation with outside counsel and after discussions with the NCAA enforcement staff. As no staff members or boosters were involved in the violations, the program will not be subject to sanctions and, at this time, the University deems this matter closed.”
Muhammad (pictured, 98) was one of Miami’s top returning players on the defensive line. An Irvington, N.J., native, he registered 54 tackles while leading the club with 8.5 TFLs and five sacks a season ago.
Grace was also penciled in to start along the Hurricanes’ defensive front. The Miami Gardens native posted a team-high 79 tackles from his linebacker spot with six TFLs, two sacks and five pass breakups, which also ranked third on the club.
The suspensions could have an impact beyond affecting defensive coordinator Manny Diaz‘s unit as well.
The Hurricanes’ probation doesn’t end until October.
Miami will have time to ease Muhammad and Grace’s replacements into the lineup. The Hurricanes open with Florida A&M and Florida Atlantic at home, then visit Appalachian State and take a week off before opening ACC play at Georgia Tech. Florida State comes to Miami on Oct. 8.
Marshall has dismissed safety Tiquan Lang, the program announced in a statement Friday.
The dreaded “violation of team rules” is the culprit here. Draw your own conclusions from there.
“Marshall senior safety Tiquan Lang has been dismissed due to a violation of team rules and policies,” said head coach Doc Holliday.
Lang ranked second on the team last fall with 91 tackles. He also posted two interceptions, six pass break ups and a tackle for loss.
He posted a career day in the 2015 opener, posting 17 tackles and returning two interceptions for touchdowns in a 41-31 win over Purdue. Lang was named Conference USA’s Defensive Player of the Week for becoming the first C-USA player since 1998 to record two pick sixes in the same game.
One of the most enviable jobs in Group of 5 football has been awarded.
Western Kentucky head coach Jeff Brohm has announced Mike White will be the Hilltoppers’ starting quarterback this season. A transfer from South Florida, White defeated Louisville transfer Tyler Ferguson and sophomore Drew Eckles to win the job.
“Mike has done a nice job preparing himself for this moment and operates our offense well,” Brohm said, via the Louisville Courier-Journal. “All three of our veteran quarterbacks worked extremely hard and will be prepared if we call their number. On Thursday, Mike will be our starter and I’m excited for his potential to lead our team.”
A native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., White, a redshirt junior, started off and on for the Bulls in 2013 and ’14 (oddly enough, the Bulls’ down years before taking off in 2015), tossing a total of 11 touchdowns against 16 interceptions. The Bulls 2-12 in games where he saw significant action though, to be fair, he was hardly South Florida’s only work in progress at that time.
White inherits the job from Brandon Doughty, who ranked second and third nationally in passing over the past two seasons. Doughty is now with the Miami Dolphins.
Western Kentucky opens its season Thursday against Rice.