Arizona State clinches Pac-12 South with win over UCLA

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Taylor Kelly threw for 226 yards and ran for 97 to lead No. 17 Arizona State to a 38-33 victory over No. 14 UCLA at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night.

With the win, ASU (9-2 overall, 7-1 in the Pac-12) clinched the Pac-12 South title. The Sun Devils will play Stanford in Palo Alto on Dec. 7. UCLA falls to  8-3 overall and 5-3 in conference.

The game was a tale of two halves. ASU jumped out to a 35-13 halftime lead as Kelly rushed for a score and passed for another, while linebacker Carl Bradford intercepted a Brett Hundley pass and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown.

The Bruins stormed back, outscoring ASU, 20-3, in the second half as Hundley got hot. The sophomore finished with 253 passing yards on 18 of 26 passing with two touchdowns and one pick. Erstwhile linebacker/running back Myles Jack ran for 86 yards and scored a touchdown for the third-straight game to lead the Bruins.

Marion Grice had 95 rushing yards and 72 receiving yards to put up another solid all-purpose effort for the Sun Devils. Receiver Jaelen Strong had six catches for a game-high 91 yards.

As a result of this win, the Sun Devils have won six straight games and will now make their first trip to the Pac-12 title game. Who would’ve thought that ASU could conceivably finish the season ranked ahead of both Stanford and Oregon? It’s a testament to the job that head coach Todd Graham has done in his time at Tempe, as he has led ASU to its first nine-win season since 2007.

Today also marked the official end of the Pac-12’s title hopes, as ASU, Stanford and Oregon all have two losses. What looked like a promising season for the conference just a couple weeks ago has fallen apart as a result of attrition and parity.

Nick Saban, on QB controversy: ‘there isn’t one’

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Consider The Nicktator perturbed.  Again.

Jalen Hurts (pictured, right) helped lead Alabama to the national championship game as a true freshman last season and is seemingly the Crimson Tide’s unquestioned starter as we trudge toward summer.  Five-star 2017 signee Tua Tagovailoa (pictured, left), however, had an impressive first spring in Tuscaloosa, capped off with an excellent showing in the annual A-Day game this past weekend.

The true freshman passed for 315 yards and three touchdowns in what amounted to a glorified scrimmage, while the incumbent threw for 301 yards and a pair of scores.  Hurts also tossed the lone interception between the two on the day.

Tagovailoa’s showing throughout the 15 spring practice sessions had led some to wonder whether there could be a quarterback controversy brewing at ‘Bama.  According to Nick Saban, that’s just the media being the media.

“Jalen Hurts played a lot of good football for us last year, and he’s certainly made a lot of progress this spring,” the head coach said by way of al.com. “Even though all of you in the press are trying to make a quarterback controversy out of nothing, which is what you’re doing right now, there isn’t one.”

LOOK: Jim Harbaugh hooks Pope Francis up with Michigan helmet, pair of Jordans

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There’s a series of words I’d never imagined I’d string together in a headline.

As you may have heard, Jim Harbaugh has taken his Michigan football team to Italy for an offseason European vacation.  As part of the trip, the team is in the Vatican City today and took in the Pope’s Wednesday address to the masses in St. Peter’s Square — the players and athletic director Warde Manuel sat amongst the crowd while the head coach and his wife were seated on the same stage as Pope Francis.

Following the address, and after a wait of nearly a half-hour, Harbaugh was able to meet with and speak to His Holiness.  The coach didn’t come empty-handed, either, as Pope Francis was gifted with a Michigan football helmet and a pair of Air Jordans.  Michigan-themed, of course.

“This is as good as it gets,” Harbaugh said according to mlive.com after his meeting with the pope. “This has been the experience of my lifetime.”

Tulane turns to Jonathan Banks as starter at QB

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Last season, there was just one FBS team — Army and its triple-option (967) — that passed for fewer yards than Tulane’s 1,360.  Tulane’s team passing efficiency rating of 93.12 was 128th of the 128 teams at this level of football.  Their completion percentage of 42.2 was, again, 128th in the FBS.  Their 5.3 yards per attempt was… 127th.

This season, the Green Wave’s passing hopes in a run-heavy offense will likely land on the shoulders of a junior college transfer.

Throughout the spring, Jonathan Banks had taken the majority of reps with the first-team offense.  Tuesday, Willie Fritz confirmed that Banks will be his starter under center heading into summer camp and, presumably, for the program’s season opener against Grambling at home Sept. 2.

At least for now, Banks has staked his claim to the job after a competition that included Glen Cuiellette and Jonathan Brantley, the starter and backup, respectively, last season.

“He did a good job this spring picking things up,” the head coach said according to nola.com. “We evaluated practices 1 through 15 and I thought, for a guy coming into a new situation, he did a very good job. He provides us with both a passing and a running threat, which in our offense you need to have.

“We’re excited about his development.”

Drew O’Bryan leaves Western Kentucky, drops down to FCS level

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Another day, another FBS player has transitioned away from his first college football home.

On his personal Twitter account recently, Drew O’Bryan acknowledged his decision to transfer from Western Kentucky. Additionally, he announced his next destination for good measure — Eastern Kentucky.

The linebacker said he made the decision “[a]fter talking with my family and many prayers.”

As EKU plays at the Football Championship Subdivision level, O’Bryan will be eligible to play immediately for the Colonels in 2017.

O’Bryan was a two-star member of WKU’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 18 player at any position in the state of Kentucky. He took a redshirt as a true freshman.