The Friday night match-up between Utah State and San Jose State may not be on most radars among casual college football fans, but it certainly has importance in the Mountain West Conference. The two newest members of the Mountain West Conference get a chance to showcase their programs on the national stage Friday night, giving the nation tuning in a chance to check out their quarterbacks.
By now most casual fans may be aware of Utah State’s Chuckie Keeton. Keeton emerged on the scene last year for the Aggies and entered this season as a dark-horse candidate for the Heisman Trophy. The Heisman campaign may be out of gas already after Utah State has dropped two games to Pac 12 opponents on the road (Utah, USC) but Keeton still has plenty of reasons for fans to tune in and catch a glimpse. Keeton has a way to extend plays and has already proven to be a valuable piece in Utah State’s offense. Keeton has thrown 14 touchdown passes to just one interception and his pass accuracy is still over 70 percent after completing just 53 percent of his passes last weekend at USC.
San Jose state has their own quarterback weapon of course. David Fales has faced stiffer competition and has not had quite the offensive production of his Utah State counterpart, but few are suggesting Fales is not a competent quarterback just yet. Optimum Scouting ranks Fales as the fifth best quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft, just ahead of Fresno State’s Derek Carr, and predicts a second round draft selection for the Spartans quarterback. Fales completed 67.4 percent of his passes for 216 yards against Stanford in week two, in Palo Alto.
Both quarterbacks are probably trailing Fresno State’s Carr right now for conference MVP honors, largely in part because Fresno State is undefeated, but Keeton and Fales have an opportunity Friday night to prove their teams are going to be in the mix moving forward in to October.
The two have combined for nearly 2,000 passing yards, exactly 20 touchdowns and just four interceptions in the first few weeks of the season. Think we will see some offense in San Jose this evening? Oh yes. There will be offense.
As if this day wasn’t busy enough, Ole Miss announced late Monday evening star-crossed offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil‘s suspension has been capped at seven games, meaning he’ll miss Saturday’s trip to Memphis but return in time for Texas A&M visit to The Grove on Oct. 24.
From the university:
The University initially withheld Tunsil from competition at the start of the season as both the NCAA and the University examined several alleged improper benefits. During the course of the process, it was determined by the NCAA that Tunsil received impermissible extra benefits that included the use of three separate loaner vehicles over a sixth-month period without payment, a four-month interest-free promissory note on a $3,000 down payment for purchasing a used vehicle, two nights of lodging at a local home, an airline ticket purchased by a friend of a teammate, and one day use of a rental vehicle. In addition, it was determined that Tunsil was not completely forthcoming when initially questioned by NCAA investigators regarding the loaner vehicles. He later corrected his account and since apologized.
As part of his reinstatement conditions, the NCAA imposed a seven-game suspension, ordered Tunsil to pay the value of the extra benefits to a charity, perform community service, and he will also make the vehicle down payment.
Said Tunsil: “I take full responsibility for the mistakes I made and want to thank everyone for their continued support. I want to apologize to my teammates, coaches and the entire Ole Miss family for how my choices affected our program. This was a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to being back on the field with my team and redeeming myself. The last 10 months have been a physical and mental battle for me, but I love playing this game more than anything else. I want to be here for my teammates who are depending on me to finish what we started together.”
The news is, obviously, great for Tunsil and head coach Hugh Freeze personally, as well as the entire Ole Miss football program. It’s also a nice plus for NFL scouts, as it means Tunsil’s first live action of 2015 will come against possible future No. 1 draft pick Myles Garrett.
Hope he’s been practicing.
Say it ain’t so, Steve.
According to a report from Thayer Evans of Sports Illustrated Monday evening, Steve Spurrier is set to retire.
Spurrier, 70, is a legend the likes college football has never seen before and never will again.
He was a Heisman Trophy winning quarterback at Florida, then returned to his alma mater and turned the program into a juggernaut, leading the Gators to 122-27-1 record from 1990-01 and a national championship in 1996. After a stint with the NFL’s Washington Redskins, Spurrier landed at South Carolina, where since 2005 he’s racked up a school record 86 wins.
But those wins slowed down of late. After an SEC East championship in 2010 and three straight 11-2 seasons from 2011-13, the Gamecocks fell to 7-6 in 2014, and are off to a 2-4 mark this fall. With the possibility of losses to nemeses old and new like Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Florida and Clemson ahead, Spurrier, it appears, would rather fade away quietly to the putting green.
Perhaps no two sentences summarize Spurrier, then and now, more precisely than this:
Combined with his three years at Duke, Spurrier closes up shop with a 228-89-2 mark, and a bust in the coaches’ wing of the Hall of Fame waiting for him.