For the first time since 1941, Duke (9-2, 5-2 ACC) has won nine games in a football season. One more would send the Blue Devils to their first ACC Championship Game. It was a sluggish start against Wake Forest (4-7, 2-6 ACC) but Duke rallied and came through on both sides of the football to leave town with a hard-fought 28-21 victory. The win keeps Duke on top of the ACC Coastal Division with one game to play.
Brandon Connette finished a third quarter drive that saw Duke take their first lead of the game. He did so in historic fashion by rushing for his 26th total touchdown of the year to give the Blue Devils a 28-21 lead after the successful extra point attempt. The touchdown tied a Duke single season record for total touchdowns in a season.
With Wake Forest looking poised to answer, the Duke defense came up with two big plays to force a 4th and 35 punting situation. Defensive end Kenny Anunike came up with a shoestring sack and seven-yard loss on Wake Forest quarterback Tanner Price and followed it up on the next play with a 13-yard sack of Price as the defensive line swarmed and collapsed the pocket protection. Duke later recovered a fumble midway through the fourth quarter at midfield, setting Duke up for a knockout blow.
With the win, Duke moves one step closer to wrapping up their first ACC division title since the conference expanded to a division format in 2005. If Duke beats North Carolina next week in Chapel Hill, then the Blue Devils will advance to face Florida State in the ACC Championship Game in Charlotte. A loss will leave Duke open to having to rely on tiebreaker scenarios. Duke has never won ten games in a season, but could have three opportunities to set the new school mark.
As for Wake Forest, the loss sinks the Demon Deacons below the eligibility requirement to play in a postseason bowl game. Wake Forest will enter SEC territory next week to wrap up their season at Vanderbilt.
It’s a bad time for the Big 12. The conference isn’t signing blue chip prospects at the rate of its peers, isn’t producing draft picks at the rate of its peers and isn’t reaching and winning big games at the rate of its peers.
But the Big 12 is still getting paid at the rate of its peers.
The league’s contracts with ESPN and FOX combined with its 10-team set up have allowed the Big 12 to keep pace with the SEC and Big Ten and remain ahead of the ACC and Pac-12 in financial distribution. The Dallas Morning News‘s Big 12 writer Chuck Carlton tweeted on Friday the league’s per-school distribution will again grow 10 percent to more than $33 million in 2017-18.
The SEC distributed just north of $40 million in 2016-17, while the Big Ten was at $33 million by 2014-15.
However, since the Big 12 does not have its own television network, its conference distributions do not include third-tier rights, which its schools keep and sell on their own — like the Longhorn Network. So schools like Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas are likely getting paid equal or above their SEC and Big Ten peers.
Now if only they could start recruiting and winning like them, too.
Former Texas defensive tackle Jordan Elliott will now be a Missouri Tiger, he announced on Friday.
Elliott chose Missouri to follow Brick Haley, his defensive line coach in Austin that landed at Mizzou after Charlie Strong‘s firing.
“They’re a program that’s on the come up, SEC ball is the highest level,” Elliott said in an interview with Power Mizzou. “Coach Haley is one of the best D-Line coaches out there. Missouri’s a powerhouse for defensive linemen. They’re coming and going first round every year. That’s real appealing to me.
“I talked to coach Haley and got it rolling.”
Elliott was a Signing Day addition to Strong’s 2016 class who was committed to Michigan before his late flip. He said that his one season in Austin amounted to a year-long version of buyer’s remorse.
“There’s a lot of speculation going around, but at the end of the day I just wasn’t happy there,” he said. “It’s nothing against the coaches at Texas, they’re great coaches. It’s a great program and I really learned a lot of things, but I just never really enjoyed Texas since I first got there.”
Elliott posted eight tackles and 1.5 TFLs in six appearances as a true freshman last season before suffering a torn MCL against Iowa State in October.
He would have been in line for starter’s snaps had he remained on Tom Herman‘s squad this fall. Instead, Elliott will sit out the 2017 campaign and have three years remaining to compete as a Tiger beginning in ’18.
Tired of the continuous stream of negative college football news? Here ya go.
During a September 2015 game against Georgia, Southern wide receiver Devon Gales sustained a severe spinal injury that left him paralyzed and hospitalized for five months. This week, Gales used Twitter to offer up a very encouraging and inspiring update — the former wide receiver, with the assist of a couple of physical therapists, taking a dozen steps.
On the way indeed.
In February, Georgia announced that it was launching “Drive to Build a Dawg House” for Gales and his family.
One of the top playmakers in Nebraska’s passing game has avoided what was originally a serious legal charge.
According to KETV-TV in Omaha, Stanley Morgan was arrested following a traffic stop May 6 in Port Orange, Fla., for possession of 21.4 grams of marijuana; according to the penal code in the state of Florida, possession of more than 20 grams of weed is considered a felony. However, the television station wrote, “prosecutors charged the case as ‘possession of cannabis not more than 20 grams,’ making it a misdemeanor.”
Why the the charge against Morgan went from a potential felony to a misdemeanor — or reduced as the Associated Press reported — wasn’t detailed. A misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia charge was dropped as well.
Cornhuskers defensive back Antonio Reed was also in the vehicle that was driven by his teammate and was charged with misdemeanor pot possession as well.
“Head Coach Mike Riley and the Athletics Department are aware of a recent incident in Florida involving Stanley Morgan Jr.,” a statement from the university began. “We will have no additional comment until we have all information regarding this matter.”
Morgan’s 33 receptions for 453 yards were second on the team last season. With Jordan Westerkamp‘s departure, the junior is the Cornhuskers’ leading returning receiver.
Also a junior, Reed played in 22 games last season. He was credited with 22 tackles.