David Fales

San Jose State upsets Fresno State 62-52, spoils BCS plans

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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.

Kentucky QB Patrick Towles to transfer

Patrick Towles

Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles will transfer, he announced in an Instagram post Sunday afternoon.

Towles leaves school as Kentucky’s sixth-most prolific passer, completing 427-of-759 passes for 5,099 yards with 24 touchdowns and 24 interceptions.

Once compared to Ben Roethlisberger, Towles’ career peeked in a 2014 game with then-No. 1 Mississippi State, as he completed 24-of-43 passes for 390 yards with two touchdowns in a 45-31 loss to the Bulldogs.

But Kentucky stumbled down the stretch, starting 5-1 and finishing 5-7, and Towles stumbled through a 2015 campaign in which he threw nine touchdowns against 14 interceptions.

He’d been passed by freshman Drew Barker by the end of the season, and threw only four passes in a loss to Louisville on Saturday.

A junior, Towles will complete his political science degree in December and be eligible for immediate playing time at a new destination in 2016.

Penn State fires offensive coordinator John Donovan

Penn State football practice, Sept 9, 2015

Penn State has fired offensive coordinator John Donovan, the program announced Sunday.

“I have tremendous respect for John and the work he has put in the last five years,” head coach James Franklin said in a statement. “I wish him and his family nothing but the best in the future.”

Donovan originally hooked up with Franklin when the two were at Maryland, then coordinated his offenses at Vanderbilt and later Penn State.

Despite playing with what many project to be a future first-round pick in quarterback Christian Hackenberg, Penn State ranked 101st nationally in scoring, 108th in total offense and 80th in yards per play.

Penn State dropped its final three games of the regular season and averaged only 14.6 points in its five losses.

Purdue retains head coach Darrell Hazell, fires both coordinators

Markell Jones
AP Photo

It’s never a good thing when a head coach has to fire both of his coordinators on the same day. Of course, it’s never a good thing to be 6-30, either.

Both are realities at Purdue, as the Boilers announced Sunday head coach Darrell Hazell will return for a fourth season in 2016, but offensive coordinator John Shoop, defensive coordinator Greg Hudson and defensive line coach Rubin Carter will not.

“I appreciate the efforts of each of those guys over the last three years,” Hazell said in a statement. “They are quality men who are well respected by their players and their peers, and I am disappointed that things didn’t work out better. But I believe that in order to turn around this program, we need to make some significant changes and move in a different direction at those positions.”

Purdue, 2-10 in 2015, ranked 115th nationally in yards per play and 112th in yards per play allowed.

Virginia Tech announces Justin Fuente as head coach; Bud Foster to stay on as DC

Associated Press

Justin Fuente is officially Virginia Tech’s new head coach. A day after reports linked the two parties, the Hokies made the match official by announcing the 39-year-old as their new head coach on Sunday afternoon.

“Justin is a very impressive individual who also happens to be one of the brightest offensive minds in college football,” Virginia Tech AD Whit Babcock said in a statement. “He elevated Memphis to unprecedented heights. His recruiting philosophy is progressive and comprehensive. Coach Fuente has displayed tremendous talent in evaluating players and developing young men as they strive to reach their full potential. Simply put, Coach Fuente exudes all the qualities that Hokies hold near and dear. We are excited to officially welcome Justin Fuente as the leader of the Virginia Tech football program.”

Fuente went 26-23 in four years as Memphis’s head coach, but his success runs far beyond a simple won-loss record. After going 7-17 in his first two seasons, Fuente guided the Tigers to a 19-6 mark in 2014-15, which included a 15-game winning streak, a No. 13 national ranking and a win over rival Ole Miss within that run.

Simply put, it was the absolute peak of modern Memphis football.

And now Fuente is tasked with taking Virginia Tech to new heights. The Hokies dominated the ACC throughout much of the 2000’s, taking conference crowns in 2004, 2007, 2008 and 2010. But as Florida State and Clemson have risen, Virginia Tech has fallen.

After posting 13 top-25 finishes in 14 seasons, the Hokies are set to conclude their fourth straight campaign outside the national rankings, going just 16-16 in ACC play over that span.

The offensive numbers state exactly why Fuente was hired, and what he must do in Blacksburg; Memphis ranks seventh nationally in scoring offense and eighth in passing efficiency, while Virginia Tech sits at 64th and 59th, respectively.

The cupboard is not bare, though. Virginia Tech is in the midst of a 23-year bowl streak, and Fuente has already secured one key commitment — longtime defensive coordinator Bud Foster has agreed to stay on staff.

“I’ve been privileged to work for a legendary coach who always did it the right way,” Foster said. “I enjoyed that chapter and the success we’ve had, however, I am equally excited for the next chapter and working for Justin. Justin and I share a vision for the future of our program. After spending time together, I’m convinced he’s the right person to continue building on the standard we’ve established at Virginia Tech. I’m truly looking forward to working with him and supporting him.”

Clearly, Babcock and the VT brass believe, a Fuente offense and a Foster defense are what the Hokies need to catch Clemson and Florida State.

Now it’s Fuente’s job to make that happen.