No. 16 Fresno State (10-1, 7-1 MWC) will not be going to a BCS bowl game this season. San Jose State (6-6, 5-3 MWC) made sure of that with a resounding and wild 62-52 victory in San Jose Friday afternoon, handing the Bulldogs their first loss of the season at the worst possible time. The win for the Spartans makes San Jose State eligible for postseason play.
Fresno State’s defense was shredded by San Jose State quarterback David Fales for 549 passing yards and six touchdowns. It was the first 500-yard game of his career for Fales. the Spartans also had three different wide receivers record at least 140 yards with Tyler Winston, Kyle Nunn and Chandler Jones all pacing the offense. The Spartans rolled up 736 yards of offense in the game. It was quite the turnaround for San Jose State as well. San Jose State lost at home in overtime last week to Navy. That loss meant San Jose State had to win this week to gain postseason eligibility and to do that against the top team in the conference.
Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr did just about everything you could have wanted him to do with a potential BCS bid within sight. Carr completed 38 pass attempts for 519 yards and six touchdowns. Receiver Davanta Adams accounted for 264 receiving yards and three touchdowns.
Fresno State had been chasing Northern Illinois for an automatic BCS invite despite playing in a conference without an automatic bid. Ranking in the top 16 of the BCS standings and ahead of a conference champion from a conference with an automatic bid was what Fresno State needed, but that is far out of reach this late in the season no matter what happens in next week’s Mountain West Conference championship game, which will be hosted by Fresno State. Northern Illinois completed a 12-0 regular season and now is likely one win away from clinching a second straight BCS trip if they can win the MAC Championship Game against Bowling Green next week in Detroit. The Huskies played Florida State in last year’s Orange Bowl. Northern Illinois needs to stay ranked ahead of Central Florida, who can wrap up the American Athletic Conference championship tonight with a win against South Florida.
Fresno State will host either Utah State or Boise State in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game next week. If Utah State wins their home game against Wyoming, they will advance to the conference championship game. A loss to Wyoming by Utah State would set up a rematch between Fresno State and Boise State. Fresno State defeated Boise State earlier this season in Fresno, 41-40.
Pat Tillman is essentially the Knute Rockne of Arizona State football, the central figure that will be as important to the program 100 years from now as he is today. And while Notre Dame will wear Rockne-themed uniforms later this season, so, too, will Arizona State.
The program revealed Tillman-centric uniforms on Monday for their Nov. 4 game with Colorado, based on the uniform Tillman wore as a member of the U.S. Army while fighting in Afghanistan.
Tillman played linebacker at Arizona State from 1994-97 (he was named the Pac-10’s Defensive Player of the Year as a senior) and then spent four seasons with the Arizona Cardinals before the events of 9/11 inspired him to join the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Army Rangers before he was killed in action in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, at age 27.
Arizona State unveiled a Tillman statue at Sun Devil Stadium at its season-opening win over New Mexico State.
“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Kevin Tillman, Pat’s brother, said at the unveiling. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these different facets of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.”
Florida has lost two in a row and is off to a 3-3 start, and that streak will probably reach three on Saturday after the Gators meet No. 3 Georgia. While everyone knows SEC fans are passionate about their football, some have taken Florida’s struggles too far.
How far? By threatening to kill the players and coaches.
“I think it’s a pretty good lesson for the way things are,” head coach Jim McElwain said, via Only Gators. “There’s a lot of hate in this world and a lot of anger. And yet, it’s freedom to show it. The hard part is, obviously, when it’s threats against your own players, death threats to your families, the ill will that’s brought upon out there. And yet, I think it’s really one of those deals that really is a pretty good testament to what’s going on out there nationally. There’s a lot of angry people, and in this business, we’re the ones you take the shots at. And that’s the way it is.”
In my experience, it seems people lodging death threats are far more serious about the threat part than the, uh, other. But that’s easy for me to say, I’ve never received one.
Sam Darnold was appointed the No. 1 pick of the 2018 NFL Draft on the second day of 2017. As a redshirt freshman, Darnold torched Penn State to the tune of 33-of-53 passing for 453 yards with five touchdowns and one interception in a 52-49 Rose Bowl win.
One problem, though. Darnold hasn’t played like a No. 1 pick this season.
While he hasn’t been the most disappointing player on what’s turning out to be a disappointing USC team, Darnold has posted pedestrian numbers (for him): hitting 63.5 percent of his passes for an even eight yards per attempt with 17 touchdowns against 10 interceptions. He ranks 38th nationally in passing efficiency. This puts him, coincidentally, one spot ahead of former USC quarterback Max Browne.
On Monday, NFL Draft analyst Benjamin Allbright shared a report that Darnold is expected to return to USC next season.
Considering Ronald Jones could return next season and that Stephen Carr is just a freshman, the prospect of Darnold returning in 2018 has to take the sting out of a lost 2017 for Trojans fans.
Texas has lost two straight upset bids in strikingly similar fashion: true freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger leads a potential-game winning drive, scrambles, hits his head on the turf and ends the possession in a puzzling throw.
The first came in last week’s loss to No. 10 Oklahoma. Trailing 29-24 late in the fourth quarter, scrambled for two yards to the Texas-48 yard line but hit his head on the Cotton Bowl turf and was forced to leave the game for five plays. Shane Buechele pushed the Longhorns to the Oklahoma 31, but he was replaced after a sack and Ehlinger ended up throwing the ball away on 4th-and-13 from the OU 34 with two minutes to play. That, as they say, was that.
Fast forward to Saturday and Texas was trailing No. 11 Oklahoma State 13-10 in overtime when Ehlinger opened the possession with a scramble that again saw the back of his head bang against the Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium turf. He stayed in the game this time, but ended the game on a puzzling (to say the least) interception to absolutely no one on 3rd-and-4 from the OSU 6.
While Ehlinger was not evaluated for a concussion during the game, he did not practice Sunday and head coach Tom Herman said Monday that Ehlinger and center Zach Shackelford are in concussion protocol.
Complicating matters for Texas is that sophomore back-up Shane Buechele is playing on a gimpy ankle that kept him out against San Jose State and Kansas State that Herman said will not improve as the season goes on.
No matter, Texas will face a hungry Baylor team on Saturday (noon ET, ESPNU) that nearly completed a comeback against No. 22 West Virginia on Saturday night.