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Top Oklahoma DT to undergo season-ending back surgery

Tulsa  v Oklahoma Getty Images

Adding injury to insult, Oklahoma defensive tackle Jordan Phillips will undergo back surgery and will miss the rest of the season, coach Bob Stoops said Monday.

Phillips started Oklahoma’s first four games as the defensive tackle in the Sooners’ 3-3-5 defense and made seven tackles, two of which were for a loss. He missed Oklahoma’s last two games, including Saturday’s 36-20 loss to Texas in Dallas — a game Stoops expected him to play in.

Stoops said Monday the issue has bothered Phillips for the last few years and that it’s “not improving like they want it to.”

Oklahoma’s run defense has been up-and-down with and without Phillips. Notre Dame and Texas both rushed for over 200 yards against the Sooners, while West Virginia averaged about seven yards per carry on Sept. 7 in Norman.

Redshirt freshman Jordan Wade is expected to step in for Phillips, with junior Torrea Peterson also increasing his workload.

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WVU CB Daryl Worley suspended indefinitely for violation of team rules

West Virginia v Alabama Getty Images

Well, this isn’t what you want to happen five days before No. 4 Oklahoma comes to town.

West Virginia cornerback Daryl Worley has been suspended indefinitely for the ubiquitous “violation of team rules”, head coach Dana Holgorsen announced Monday night.

Worley registered 45 tackles and an interception in five starts a year ago as a freshman. The Philadelphia native was one of three Mountaineers selected to represent the club at Big 12 Media Days in Dallas this summer, if you’re looking for an idea of where he stood on the team. Through three games this season, Worley has posted 17 tackles, two tackles for loss, and a team-best two interceptions.

The good news here is that West Virginia’s secondary won’t be totally depleted. As Worley moves off the active roster, senior cornerback Ishmael Banks replaces him. Banks’ three-game, NCAA-mandated suspension for academic issues is now over. Banks started all 12 games at cornerback in 2013, and posted two interceptions.

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Todd Graham, AD Ray Anderson pledge a combined $1 million for Sun Devil Stadium renovation

Weber State v Arizona State Getty Images

Arizona State’s leadership is serious about renovating Sun Devil Stadium. So serious, in fact, that two major figures inside the athletics department have pledged a cool $1 million to get it done.

Head coach Todd Graham and athletics director Ray Anderson, along with their wives, have each pledged $500,000 to the $50 million fundraising campaign to renovate the 56-year-old stadium. They are the largest gifts in the history of the Arizona State athletics department made by ASU employees.

“Pick the cliche, skin in the game, put your money where your mouth is, you’ve got to walk the walk,” Anderson told the Arizona Republic on Monday. “I think intuitively the four of us understood we needed to step up and be able to answer those challenges, and we believe we have in a significant way to the extent our circumstances allow. Now Todd and I can go out much more credibly and much more comfortably to ask others to say, ‘Join us in this transformational experience.’ We can do it much more emphatically, because in fact we put skin in the game.”

Graham earns $2.4 million in his third year as the Sun Devils’ head coach. Anderson earns $600,000, but can afford to pledge more than 80 percent of his salary after multiple decades in high-paying positions within the sports business. Anderson spent many years as an agent before working as a labor lawyer in Atlanta, then executive vice president and chief administration officer for the Atlanta Falcons, and then as executive vice president of football operations for the NFL before joining the Sun Devils’ athletics department. He reportedly made $1.69 million with the NFL.

“We’re not following anybody else’s model,” Graham said. “It’s the Arizona State model. We have an opportunity to do something great. It’s a family decision for us, but it wasn’t something I spent a lot of time thinking about. It was a no-brainer because it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we wanted to step up and say, ‘The Grahams are committed.'”

So committed is Anderson to getting this project done that he hired Greg McElroy Sr. away from the Dallas Cowboys to serve as associate vice president and chief business development officer.

All told, the project is slated to cost $225 million, with construction beginning next year.

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Army announces 2015 schedule, includes trip to Happy Valley, date with Rutgers at Yankee Stadium

Jeff Monken

Army is but two games into its 2014 season, but its 2015 schedule is already set.

The Black Knights unveiled their 2015 slate on Monday, highlighted by a trip to Penn State, a home date with Duke, a return to Yankee Stadium to face Rutgers, and the traditional finale versus Navy. Army will also face Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy rival Air Force on Nov. 7 in Colorado Springs; the Black Knights have not claimed the trophy since 1996, and have posted a combined 4-34 record against their service academy rivals since then.

The Rutgers game will be Army’s third appearance in the new Yankee Stadium. The Black Knights fell to Notre Dame 27-3 on Nov. 20, 2010, and will face Connecticut in the House That Jeter Built on Nov. 8 of this season.

The date with Penn State represents the 26th all-time meeting between the Black Knights and Nittany Lions, but first since 1979. Penn State holds a 13-10-2 lead, and has claimed the last nine meetings.

Army will be one just three FBS Independents next season, as Navy begins is maiden voyage in the American Athletic Conference.

Army is 1-1 in the debut campaign of head coach Jeff Monken.

The full schedule:

Sept. 5 – vs. Fordham
Sept. 12 – at Connecticut
Sept. 19 – vs. Wake Forest
Sept. 26 – at Eastern Michigan
Oct. 3 – at Penn State
Oct. 10 – vs. Duke
Oct. 17 – vs. Bucknell
Oct. 24 – at Rice
Nov. 7 – at Air Force
Nov. 14 – vs. Tulane
Nov. 21 – vs. Rutgers (at Yankee Stadium, Bronx, N.Y.)
Dec. 12 – vs. Navy (at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia)

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UCLA announces signing of top-ranked QB Josh Rosen

Josh Rosen

With Brett HundleyMyles Jack and company on the field, the present state of UCLA football looks pretty good. And with today’s news, the future looks pretty dang sunny as well.

The Bruins formally announced the signing of quarterback recruit Josh Rosen on Monday afternoon. A five-star recruit if there ever was one, Rosen is the No. 2 ranked player among the Class of 2015 according to Rivals.com, and the nation’s highest rated quarterback. Hailing from St. John Bosco High School and Bellflower, Calif., Rosen has 5,287 career passing yards and 61 touchdowns to his credit. As a junior, the 6-foot-4, pro style signal caller completed nearly 70 percent of his throws for 3,200 yards with 39 touchdowns and only seven interceptions.

Rosen guided St. John Bosco to a 16-0 record and a CIF State Open Division Bowl title a year ago, and has his club ranked No. 1 nationally by USA Today. But other than that, the kid has nothing going for him.

Rosen is set to join the Bruins at the beginning of the winter quarter, which starts Jan. 2.

With redshirt junior quarterback Brett Hundley figured to accept the riches some NFL team will bestow upon him this spring, Rosen will compete with the blonde locks and late-game heroics of Jerry NeuheiselAsiantii WoulardMike Fafaul and a host of others for the staring role in 2015.

The Bruins also added four-star junior college outside linebacker Takk McKinley on Monday.

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Georgia RB Nick Chubb undergoes thumb surgery

Clemson v Georgia Getty Images

Georgia offensive coordinator Mike Bobo will have even fewer excuses for not getting the ball to Todd Gurley for the next week or so. Freshman running back Nick Chubb underwent thumb surgery on Monday after suffering an injury during practice last week.

Playing with his left thumb under extra glove and protective wrapping, Chubb toted the rock four times for 34 yards in the 13th-ranked Bulldogs’ 38-35 loss to No. 14 South Carolina.

Chubb’s availability for Saturday’s date with Troy figures to be in doubt, but nothing has been finalized.

“They said they would see how he’s doing (Tuesday) before they make that decision,” his mother, Lavelle Chub, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “Possibly this week but they’re not really sure (how long he’ll be out).”

The freshman has splashed on the scene in a loaded backfield through two games, rushing eight times for 104 yards and a touchdown. His 13 yards per carry average places him second nationally.

Georgia hosts Troy on Saturday, and then re-opens SEC play with consecutive home dates against Tennessee and Vanderbilt.

 

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Iowa State OL Jacob Gannon rejoins team after battling anxiety

Jacob Gannon, Christian Dudzik

One of the strangest stories of this young 2014 season has come full-circle in a positive way.

After abruptly leaving the team under uncertain circumstances 11 days ago, Iowa State offensive tackle Jacob Gannon rejoined the team on Monday.

The reason for Gannon’s departure was anxiety, and thankfully his condition is well enough under control that he can return to the club immediately.“I have been recently diagnosed with anxiety,” Gannon said in a statement. “I am receiving treatment for my condition and I am looking forward to being a part of the football team. I want to thank Coach Rhoads and my teammates for their support.”

“We are glad Jacob is back with the Cyclone football family,” added head coach Paul Rhoads. “We are behind Jacob 100 percent and will continue to support him throughout the process.”

Kudos to Gannon for realizing he had an issue, and credit to Iowa State for creating an environment where he can get treatment for an unseen ailment. That’s not always the case in the rah-rah, macho football culture.

Gannon started 13 of his 36 career appearances before leaving the club in the aftermath of the Cyclones’ 34-14 season-opening loss to North Dakota State. He was replaced at right tackle by redshirt freshman Jake Campos.

A three-year letterwinner, Gannon is also a two-time Academic All-Big 12 performer and was honored with a National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete award.

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AD Joe Castiglione doubts OU would have taken DGB if available after Ray Rice video release

Oklahoma v Alabama

The release of the Ray Rice video has changed the reality a lot of people live in – including those inside college athletics. If the spotlight was not bright enough on domestic assault – or any other sort of violence – it is now. And that puts Norman, Okla., at the epicenter of the domestic violence issue inside college athletics.

In April, sexual assault allegations against linebacker Frank Shannon came to light. Shannon has since been suspended for the season, a decision which he appealed. In mid-August, freshman running back Joe Mixon was suspended for the season for striking a female and breaking four bones in her face over the summer.

And then there is the case of former Missouri wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham. Kicked off the team breaking into a female’s apartment and subsequently pushing her down the stairs, Green-Beckham joined the Sooners in July and is sitting out the 2014 season after his immediate transfer waiver was denied by the NCAA.

Of the three, Green-Beckham’s case has cast the highest scrutiny upon Oklahoma, partly because DGB is the most high-profile player among the group, and partly because Oklahoma accepted him as a transfer and then petitioned for him to play immediately on nebulous grounds. Reached by Sports Illustrated recently, Oklahoma athletics director Joe Castiglione said Green-Beckham more than likely would not be a Sooner if available today – not because of any newfound moral clarity, but simply because Castiglione thinks the case would simply be too hot for Oklahoma to handle.

“If someone presented a case like that now, I think you would be fair to say that he probably wouldn’t be at Oklahoma,” Castiglione said. “Just because of the attention and the cases now in the public consciousness, the university would have been unlikely to take on a situation like that.”

This is an issue that isn’t going away soon for Oklahoma. Shannon maintains his innocence. The media has seen the Mixon incident on video, but the public has not. Recall again how quickly the Rice fiasco engulfed the news cycle once that video went public.

To be fair, Oklahoma is not the only school in college football, not even the only school in its conference, dealing with this issue. And this is college football, after all. There is no doubt to Green-Beckham’s ability to play the game at the highest of levels.

If Oklahoma didn’t take him, someone else would have.

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SMU hires ex-Gator assistant Tim Davis to help coach Mustangs OL

Tim Davis

In a season full of tumult and turmoil, SMU is looking to the outside for help in fixing something on the inside of the football program.

Earlier Monday, SMU interim head coach Tom Mason announced that he has added Tim Davis to his Mustangs coaching staff.  Davis will aid current offensive line coach Wes Saun with that positional group.

Davis brings extensive experience to the squad, especially at the collegiate level.  In a 31-year coaching career, Davis has spent time on coaching staffs at, among other places, Wisconsin, Utah, USC, Alabama and Minnesota.

Davis served as the line coach at Florida for two seasons before being fired shortly after the end of the 2013 regular season.

“I felt like we needed some help there and he can give us some help,” Mason, who took over the program after June Jones abruptly resigned a week ago today, said as his team was coming off a bye this weekend. “He’s an expert at that and he’ll bring a little energy.”

If Davis is going to help SMU’s beleaguered line, he has a tough row to hoe ahead of him.

This season, the Mustangs are 102nd in passing yards per game and dead last in rushing yards with minus-16 — yes, they’ve run for negative yardage this season.  Of SMU’s 39 carries, 24 of them either lost yards (21) or went for no gain (3).  Mustang quarterbacks have been sacked 11 times in just two games.

So, yes, Davis — and the new coaching staff next year — has his work cut out for him.

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Baylor expected to get three WRs back for ISU game

Antwan Goodley Getty Images

Not that it actually needed them, but Baylor was down all four of its leading returning wide receivers from 2013 for last Friday’s 63-12 romp over Buffalo.

For the Bears’ next game, they should be back to near full-strength in the receiving corps.

On his teleconference Monday, head coach Art Briles confirmed that Antwan Goodley (pictured), Corey Coleman and Clay Fuller will play in BU’s next game against Iowa State.  Neither Goodly (quad) nor Coleman (hamstring) nor Fuller (clavicle) have caught a pass this season after combining for 138 receptions last season.  Goodly alone accounted for 71 of those.

There’s no word on when Levi Norwood (47-733-4 in 2013) will return. Two weeks ago, Norwood underwent wrist surgery and was originally scheduled to be out for at least three weeks. That would’ve put him back on the field for the Cyclones game, although that doesn’t appear to be the case as of today.

With all of that experience sidelined, youth has been served for Baylor in the passing game.  True freshman KD Cannon has proven to be one of the early breakout stars in the whole of college football, catching 14 passes for 471 yards and five touchdowns.  The receiving yards lead the FBS, while his receiving scores are tied for second nationally.

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Tide may get starting WR, CB back for Gator game

West Virginia v Alabama Getty Images

The key word in that headline, though, is “may,” especially as it pertains to the latter.

With their SEC opener against looming five days down the road, Nick Saban used part of his allotted time during the SEC coaches teleconference to address the status of a pair of injured starters, wide receiver DeAndrew White and cornerback Jarrick Williams.  Of the two, it appears White is the one closer to a return.

In Alabama’s season-opening win over West Virginia, White suffered what Saban described as a “little separated shoulder.”  The receiver has missed the past two games, but Saban sounded more optimistic than pessimistic that he’ll be available for the Florida game Saturday.

“We’ll see how it goes with him and make a decision later in the week and see if we think he’s able to play,” the coach said.

While Williams will return to practice this week, al.com wrote that Saban “called him a long shot to play against Florida.” Williams played on a broken foot in the opener and, like White, has missed the past two games.

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Rutgers apologizes to Penn State for ‘inappropriate, offensive’ fans

Penn State v Rutgers Getty Images

It appears some of the Rutgers denizens in Piscataway took the “rivalry” aspect of the game against Penn State a little bit too far for the administration’s liking.

In a statement credited to Julie Hermann and sent out Monday morning, the RU athletic director apologized for what she described as the “inappropriate and offensive” signs made and t-shirts worn by Scarlet Knight fans before and during the primetime affair Saturday night. That game marked RU’s first-ever game a against a Big Ten team as a member of that conference, and a record crowd of 53,774 were on hand to witness it. And the debauchery.

Suffice to say, most of what Hermann deemed “inappropriate and offensive” alluded to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal of nearly three years ago.

One of the more salacious photos — we’ll link to it HERE but won’t post it on CFT — shows a certain sex act between what appears to be a stick figure-type young boy and an adult on a Penn State banner. As you would expect, there were the obligatory “Ped State” t-shirts as well. One of those types of t-shirts made a brief appearance on RU’s official Facebook page:

Below is Hermann’s complete statement.

On behalf of Rutgers University and the Athletic Department, we would like to apologize for the regrettable actions of a handful of Rutgers fans on Saturday that do not convey the message of good, competitive spirit that we look forward to having with our new Big Ten rival Penn State University.

Some of the signage and t-shirts that we have been made aware of were both inappropriate and offensive.

I have spoken with and apologized to the Penn State athletic director Sandy Barbour and I would like to apologize equally to the Penn State University fans, as well as Rutgers fans that were subjected to this classless display that does not represent the ethos of our university, athletic department or fan base.

The two inappropriate pictures that appeared briefly on our Facebook page as part of a 200-picture montage were immediately removed when we were alerted to their content.

It is unfortunate that the actions of a few spoiled an otherwise historic and recording-setting night that Rutgers fans provided for our first Big Ten football game.

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Foot injury knocks OU RB Keith Ford out 2-3 weeks

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Just as Oklahoma is set to commence Big 12 play in earnest, the unbeaten Sooners have been hit with their first significant obstacle of the 2014 season.

During a Monday teleconference, head coach Bob Stoops revealed that running back Keith Ford is dealing with a foot injury.  Specifically, Ford has a slight fracture in the foot.

As a result, Stoops said, Ford will be sidelined for the next 2-3 weeks.

Such a timeline means Ford will definitely miss this weekend’s road trip to improved West Virginia.  The silver lining for OU is that it has a bye the weekend of Sept. 27 before the Oct. 4 game against TCU, meaning Ford would miss just two games if the pessimistic end of the prognosis comes to fruition.

It should also mean that Ford will definitely be on the field for Oklahoma’s annual rivalry game against Texas Oct. 11.

Ford currently leads the Sooners with 197 yards and five rushing touchdowns.  He’s also the third-leading receiver with 100 yards on six catches, adding in another touchdown through the air for good measure.

The OU ground game will be in good hands in Ford’s absence, with Samaje Perine (177 yards) and Alex Ross (132) more than capable of handling the load.

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Thomas Rawls, CMU’s leading rusher, facing three felony charges

Rawls

Arrest Day at CFT continues unabated, with Central Michigan latest finding itself dealing with a player with an off-field issue.

According to the Mount Pleasant Morning Sun, Thomas Rawls was arrested Sunday on three felony warrants: one count of larceny, two counts of stealing credit cards.  The charges stem from an April incident at the Soaring Eagle Casino.

Warrants for Rawls’ arrest were issued in mid-May.

From the Morning Sun’s account of what led to Rawls’ arrest yesterday afternoon:

Video surveillance from the casino shows Rawls entering a casino eatery with two other men, observing an abandoned purse in a chair, and sitting on it, according to an affidavit requesting arrest warrants filed by a Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Police officer.

After sitting on the purse, Rawls hands it to one of his companions, who places it in a bag before the pair leave the casino, the officer said.

The officer said Rawls used a stolen credit card from the purse to buy sub sandwiches at a casino sub shop and the group later bought $33.77 worth of gas with a debit card from the stolen purse.

Despite being caught on tape, Rawls denies the allegations.

Prior to CMU’s game this past Saturday, the football program announced that Rawls would not play against Syracuse. “CMU continues to review an issue that came to our attention Friday,” a release stated in part.

Despite missing one full game, Rawls is far and away the Chips’ leading rusher with 276 yards; Saylor Lavallii is next up with 41 yards. In fact, the rest of Chips combined have rushed for just 67 yards, so Rawls missing any amount of playing time would be a significant development for 2-1 CMU.

At the moment, Rawls is indefinitely suspended from the football team.

In January of this year, Michigan announced that Rawls was one of three Wolverine players released from their scholarships. In early July, Rawls, a graduate transfer, announced that he would be transferring to CMU.

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Miami’s Kevin Olsen charged with DUI

Kevin Olsen

Very early last month it was reported that Kevin Olsen would be suspended for at least one game to start the 2014 season after failing a drug test.

A month and a half later, Olsen finds himself with an even bigger issue, one that puts his future with Miami very much up in the air.

According to multiple media outlets, Olsen was arrested very early Monday morning and charged with driving under the influence.  Olsen was also charged with possession of a stolen or fictitious driver’s license.

There were no details as to what led to the charges.  The school has yet to comment on what if any punishment Olsen may be facing.

Olsen had been involved in the Hurricanes’ quarterback competition throughout the offseason, which was eventually whittled down to Kansas transfer Jake Heaps and true freshman Brad Kaaya.  The latter ultimately won the job.

A four-star member of Miami’s 2013 recruiting class, Olsen was rated as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the country.  He’s the younger brother of former Hurricanes standout Greg Olsen.

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UMass likely loses leading rusher for rest of year

Jamal Wilson AP

UMass’ tough loss to Vanderbilt Saturday is looking even tougher in the rear-view mirror.

In the first quarter of what would turn into a 34-31 loss, running back went Jamal Wilson down with what appeared to be an ankle injury.  Wilson was taken off the field on a cart for X-rays, and didn’t return.

According to head coach Mark Whipple, “I think he’s done for the year.”

Whipple didn’t specify the specific nature of the injury, but it’s believed Wilson broke his ankle.

Through a little over two games, Wilson leads the Minutemen with 88 yards rushing. With Wilson out and true freshman J.T. Blyden not healthy enough to return to the playing field, UMass will likely turn to Lorenzo Woodley as the bell cow in the running game.

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