Stanford holds off Oregon State

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On a night when its offense was once again stagnant, No. 6 Stanford’s vaunted defense stepped up to the plate, slowing down Oregon State’s nation-leading passing attack just enough to secure a hard-fought 20-12 victory over the Beavers in Corvallis on Saturday night.

The game wasn’t in hand until the very end as OSU drove to the Stanford seven-yard-line in an attempt to send the game into overtime, but Sean Mannion’s pass to Kevin Cummings was batted away in the end zone with one second left and the Cardinal survived.

Stanford set the tone for the game early, punishing Mannion early and often with a ferocious pass rush. By the time the game was over, the Cardinal got to Mannion eight times — with Trent Murphy getting 2.5 of those sacks — and held the Beavers to 17 net rushing yards.

Mannion, who entered the game averaging 427 yards and four touchdown passes per game, was held to 271 yards on 41 of 57 passing. His favorite target, Brandin Cooks, led the nation with an average of 11 catches and 168 receiving yards per game, but he was limited to just nine catches for 80 yards and one score.

But the Cardinal offense almost wasted this fine defensive effort. Quarterback Kevin Hogan was 8 of 18 for 88 yards and Stanford finished with just 273 total yards and 13 first downs. Luckily, running back Tyler Gaffney stepped up with 145 yards and three touchdowns on 22 carries. It was Gaffney’s fifth 100-yard effort of the season and third in a row.

As good as he was on the night, it was Gaffney’s fumble that allowed Oregon State to chip away at a 20-9 deficit with a Trevor Romaine field goal with three minutes to play. Up eight points, the Cardinal just needed a first down to ice the game. But the Beavers defense held up and Stanford punted away.

Cooks returned the punt 28 yards to the Cardinal 43 yard line and that’s when Mannion and OSU went to work and almost pulled it out.

The Beavers now have one loss in conference, but they’ll need some help if they are going to win the league. You can also kiss Mannion’s Heisman hopes goodbye.

As for Stanford, the win keeps its slim national title hopes alive and sets up a huge matchup with Oregon on Nov. 7. That one could be for a lot of marbles.

After UCLA, Baylor visits, ex-LSU lineman opts for Texas JUCO

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In the end, a former highly-touted high school prospect will start over at a much lower rung on the college football ladder.

According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Willie Allen has decided to attend Tyler Junior College and play football this season for the Texas JUCO.  The offensive lineman told the Baton Rouge Advocate that he decided to take the JUCO route so as not to miss out on another season of eligibility as he had previously burned his redshirt.

The move comes nearly three weeks after Allen decided to transfer from LSU.

Prior to settling on the Texas JUCO, Allen had taken visits to, among others, Baylor and UCLA.  TCU had also been given serious consideration by Allen, but he was blocked by LSU after that Big 12 program reportedly had contact with the player before he had formally requested a transfer.

A four-star 2016 signee, Allen was rated as the No. 10 player at any position in the state of Louisiana and the No. 17 tackle in the country.  Only one lineman in the Tigers’ class that year, guard Donavaughn Campbell, was rated higher than Allen.

An unspecified leg injury suffered in the midst of summer camp sidelined him for his true freshman season and led to Allen taking a redshirt for 2016.

Allen was the third offensive lineman to transfer since December.  That month, tackle Chidi Okeke opted to leave; four months later, Andy Dodd did the same.

Another member of Allen’s recruiting class, four-star defensive back Savion Smith, announced May 31 that he would be transferring as well.

Dwayne Wallace, Cal’s starting right guard, no longer with team

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Just a little over a month before the start of summer camp, Cal’s offensive line has taken what some might consider a rather significant hit.

In a very short and terse press release, the football program announced that “Dwayne Wallace is no longer associated with the school’s football program.”  No reason was given for what could be best described as an eyebrow-raising departure.

The first two years of the 6-5, 330-pound Wallace’s collegiate playing career were spent at the junior college level in Riverside, California.  He transferred to Cal in January of 2016.

In his first and what turned out to be only season with the Golden Bears, Wallace started nine of the 12 games in which he played.  Exiting spring practice, Wallace was firmly entrenched as Cal’s starting right guard.

With Wallace’s departure, Cal’s offensive line will now have four new starters for the 2017 season.

Ole Miss, Texas Tech to open 2018 season in Houston

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As opening weekend of the 2017 season grows larger and larger on the horizon, there’s some news for the same weekend the following year that’s been confirmed.

As expected, both Ole Miss and Texas Tech announced Friday morning that the two football teams will open the 2018 season at Houston’s NRG Stadium, home of the NFL’s Texans.  The game that will be a part of the annual Advocare Texas Kickoff series does not yet have a specific date or time for its kickoff.

The two programs have met in football five times previously, the first coming in 1986 and the last in the 2009 Cotton Bowl.  The Rebels hold a slight 3-2 edge in the miniseries.

“We are excited to be part of this great event and play a tradition-rich opponent like Texas Tech,” said Ole Miss athletic director Ross Bjork in a statement. “In our scheduling process, we seek out marquee matchups at premier venues, and this is a tremendous opportunity to showcase our program on a grand stage. Houston and the state of Texas have become quite the hot bed for Rebel Nation, and we know our fans will continue our stellar reputation of supporting our team and filling up NRG Stadium.”

“We’re excited to return to Houston and take part in the AdvoCare Texas Kickoff,” Bjork’s Tech counterpart, Kirby Hocutt, said. “The support of Red Raider Nation helped set a new Texas Bowl attendance record in our last trip to Houston, so we look forward to NRG Stadium being filled with scarlet and black once again to kick off the 2018 season.”

This year’s Advocare Texas Kickoff will feature LSU squaring off against BYU in Houston.

Scholarship offer for a 9-year-old? Nevada says sure, why not

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OK, this might be getting a little bit ridiculous. Check that — this is getting ridiculous.

Earlier this year, Lane Kiffin, long the king of way-too-early offers, further buttressed that reputation earlier this month when, just weeks after offering the seventh-grade son of Tee Martin, the Florida Atlantic head coach offered a scholarship to a quarterback who had just completed the sixth grade.  Earlier this month, Hawaii one-upped Kiffin by offering an 11-year-old who just completed the fifth grade.

At the time, we wrote, “Surely there’s not an offer to a kid still in elementary school in the offing.”

Nevada football: Hold my beer…

Welp.

Assuming young Mr. Finney just completed the fourth grade — fourth grade!!! — that would make him a member of the Class of 2026.  And you all thought that scheduling way-into-the-future home-and-home series was getting out of hand.

If nothing else, it has people talking about Nevada’s program at a time when not many are talking about college football in general and Wolf Pack football specifically.  Besides, what possible harm could come from entitling pre-teens with scholarship offers, right?

(Tip O’ the Cap: SBNation.com)