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.
VIDEO: Body cam footage shows Iowa football player’s encounter with police
The story of an Iowa football player, Pokemon Go and Iowa City police now has some visuals to go along with the oral narrative.
Over the weekend, officers in that police department were searching for a suspect in a bank robbery. Hawkeyes defensive lineman Faith Ekakitie (pictured, No. 56) just happened to be in a park in that area and seemingly matched the description of the suspect — black man in black clothing wearing something on his head — prompting the officers to approach the lineman. When Ekakitie failed to respond to the officers’ commands, because he was wearing headphones, weapons were drawn.
Because of the national attention the incident has received, the ICPD on Tuesday released two body cam videos that shows exactly how the encounter between their officers and Ekakitie went down.
“I think it’s critical we get the information out so people can actually see the events as they actually occurred in real time,” says ICPD Sgt. Scott Gaarde in regards to releasing the videos.
In his social media missive, Ekakitie thanked the police officers involved for how they handled the situation.
“I would like to thank the Iowa City Police department for handling a situation very professionally,” the lineman wrote. “I would also urge people to be more aware of their surroundings because clearly I wasn’t.
“Lastly, I would urge us all to unlearn some of the prejudices that we have learned about each other and now plague our minds and our society. I am convinced that in the same way that we learned these prejudices, we can also unlearn them.”
Arrest on UCLA campus led to USC CB’s suspension for opener vs. Alabama
The Los Angeles Times reported that USC cornerback Isaiah Langley was arrested back in May at a frat party at rival UCLA on three misdemeanor charges — suspicion of trespassing, intoxication and resisting arrest. USC head coach Clay Helton subsequently confirmed that Langley will be suspended for the opener against Alabama because of the incident.
From the Times on the events surrounding the arrest:
Langley was attending a fraternity party at UCLA when he was arrested, according to Greenstein. She said Langley gave responding officers the wrong age and resisted arrest.
“When he was asked to leave, he refused,” Greenstein said. “Police were called and he was arrested for misdemeanor trespassing.”
As a true freshman last season, Langley appeared in 11 games as a backup corner. He was credited with 12 tackles in limited action.
On his official bio, the school wrote that “Langley will battle for key playing time at cornerback as a sophomore in 2016.”
Five-star Miss. St. signee Jeffery Simmons sees resolution to legal issues
At least when it comes to the legal system, the saga of Jeffery Simmons has come to an end.
According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, the touted Mississippi State signee pleaded no contest to a charge of simple assault while he was found guilty on one count of malicious mischief Tuesday. A disturbing the peace charge he had been facing was dismissed.
Simmons’ restitution consists of $711 for medical bills and $175 for the alleged damage to the victim’s car. Simmons will also pay fines of $175 for the simple assault and $300 for the malicious mischief.
The woman on the receiving end of Simmons’ fists, Sophia Taylor, was subsequently found guilty of disorderly conduct.
The controversy was renewed and grew in early June when Mississippi State announced that Simmons would only be suspended for the opener against South Alabama. Based on the video, many observers thought that Simmons shouldn’t be permitted to enroll in school let alone see the field at all in 2016.
“I would caution people to be careful about judging a man and his character through 10 or 20 seconds of a video,” Simmons’ attorney, Jay Perry, said according to WTVA.com. “He’s a fantastic young man who made a poor choice but he’s really looking forward to carrying on at Mississippi State.”
Simmons was the only five-star member of the Bulldogs’ 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 1 player at any position in the state of Mississippi and the No. 15 player overall by Rivals.com. On National Signing Day this past February, Simmons, in what some recruitniks considered a surprising development, opted for MSU over Alabama and in-state rival Ole Miss.
Reserve Ohio State DL Dylan Thompson academically ineligible for the fall
Those were the words of Urban Meyer back in May when discussing the status of Dylan Thompson with his Ohio State football program. Fastforward two months, and Thompson did indeed do something, albeit it’s a something that’s not even remotely positive.
At the Big Ten Media Days Tuesday, the OSU head coach announced that Thompson is academically ineligible for the fall semester. That means the defensive lineman likely won’t play at all in 2016, and it could mean it’s the end of the road for the player in Columbus.
Urban Meyer said that defensive lineman Dylan Thompson will be academically ineligible for the 2016 season.
Thompson came to the Buckeyes as a three-star 2014 signee, rated as the No. 21 strongside defensive end in the country and the No. 18 player at any position in the state of Illinois. An injured knee cost him his entire freshman campaign, while he didn’t play at all during his redshirt freshman season in 2015.
Though bad news for Thompson, it frees up another scholarship and has allowed Ohio State to gift scholarships to former walk-ons Craig Fada and Joe Burger, both of which Meyer said will graduate in December and see the field this fall.