Cincy QB Gunner Kiel conscious, moving all extremities following vicious hit

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A serious-looking injury has cast a pall over a game that began with a high amount of anticipation and excitement.

Late in the first quarter of the Cincinnati-Memphis matchup, Bearcat quarterback Gunner Kiel was met by Tiger defender Chauncy Lanier.  As Kiel gave himself up in a slide, Lanier laid him out with a vicious hit to the signal-caller’s head.  It looked as if both Lanier’s head and shoulder pads made contact with Kiel’s helmet, leading to the officials throwing a flag for targeting.

Kiel, who sustained a concussion last weekend but was cleared for tonight’s game, lay motionless on the turf almost from the moment he was hit.  Medical personnel from both sidelines assisted in getting Kiel strapped to a board and carted off toward an awaiting ambulance.

While none of the television shots showed any movement below the neck, an ESPN sideline reporter claimed to have seen Kiel’s toes move.  He was also communicating with emergency personnel before, instead of being taken to a local hospital for further observation, he was taken into the locker room.  In an update, UC stated that Kiel is awake and moving all four limbs.

As for the hit itself, it looked like the dictionary-definition of targeting, which the American Football Coaches Association defines as “[n]o player shall target and initiate contact to the head or neck area of a defenseless opponent with the helmet, forearm, fist, elbow or shoulder.” Based on the video evidence…

… that’s clearly a targeting foul. However, upon further review, the AAC officiating crew decided to overturn the initial call, wiping out the penalty and allowing Lanier to remain in the game. With social media grabbing its pitchforks and torches ready to mount a protest, the conference attempted to explain the decision to rescind the targeting call.

Kiel’s legs and backside were clearly on the ground prior to the hit, so the league’s explanation doesn’t hold much if any water.  By definition, per the SEC’s coordinator of officials Steve Shaw, a sliding player is defenseless.

As for the game, Kiel’s replacement, Hayden Moore, hit on a 68-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter to give the visiting Bearcats a 17-14 lead in what’s a key AAC matchup.  Memphis scored three minutes later to take a 21-17 lead with 11:03 remaining in the half.

As of this posting, UC is driving inside Memphis territory with just over nine minutes remaining as they look to retake the lead.

UPDATED 9:08 p.m. ET: Kiel has been transported via ambulance to a local Memphis hospital for further evaluation.  Per UC officials, Kiel remains conscious and has movement in all of his extremities.

UPDATED 9:26 p.m. ET:  As for the game itself, the wildly entertaining matchup has gone to halftime, with Cincinnati holding a 30-28 lead on Memphis.  The teams traded the lead six different times, with the Bearcats striking last in the half with under two minutes remaining.

UC holds a decided 419-264 edge in total offense.  Moore, who replaced the injured Kiel, has thrown for 255 yards and a pair of touchdowns.  The freshman came into tonight’s game with a career total of 225 yards passing and one touchdown.

UofM’s Paxton Lynch has thrown for 189 yards and a touchdown.

VIDEO: LSU RB Derrius Guice squats 650 pounds

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Derrius Guice may be the most underrated player in college football.

Playing in the shadow of Leonard Fournette, Guice posted an eye-popping 8.55 yards per carry (51 rushes for 436 yards) as a freshman in 2015, then kept his big-play ability as his usage increased while Fournette battled injuries in his final college season. Guice rushed 183 times for 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns; his 7.58 yards per carry average was the most among Power 5 rushers with at least 180 carries.

So, yes, Guice is really good. He’s also a physical freak.

LSU captured and tweeted video Friday of Guice squatting 650 pounds, more than three times his listed 212 pounds.

If — and this is a massive, Les Miles-firing if — LSU can consistently throw the ball in 2017, go ahead and make Guice your darkhorse Heisman contender in 2017.

(HT CBS Sports)

Former Miami TE Jovani Haskins headed to West Virginia

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Jovani Haskins announced two weeks ago he was leaving Miami for “somewhere else.” That somewhere else proved to be a favorite destination of other Sunshine State transfers: West Virginia.

“WVU is my new home and I can’t wait to perform in front of the fans of West Virginia!” he tweeted on Saturday.

A 3-star prospect out of Bergenfield, N.J.., Haskins was offered by West Virginia in the class of 2016 and most recruiting experts actually had him signing with the Mountaineers before a surprise commitment to Miami.

Haskins joins two former state of Florida players on WVU’s roster: starting quarterback Will Grier (Florida) and former Miami quarterback Jack Allison (Miami). The Mountaineers also employed Florida State transfer Clint Trickett at quarterback and Miami transfer Antonio Crawford at cornerback.

Haskins redshirted in 2016 and will presumably sit out 2017 before gaining eligibility in ’18. West Virginia could use the help immediately; the roster lists one scholarship tight end at present. WVU currently has two tight ends pledged for the 2018 class in addition to Haskins.

 

BYU wearing special patch in honor of LaVell Edwards

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BYU got the summer media day fun started on Friday with their football media day. BYU tends to pull out all the stops on its media day with coach and player interviews, alumni returning, and a handful of announcements about the future of the program. In addition to news about their relationship with ESPN, BYU also announced the football team will be sporting a patch this season in honor of the late LaVell Edwards.

In addition to players wearing the patch on their jerseys, BYU coaches will also wear the patch on their sleeves.

Edwards passed away in December at the age of 86. The BYU coaching legend spent 29 seasons on the sidelines in Provo and accumulated 257 wins along the way. Among those was a national championship season in 1984, which remains the most recent national championship to be claimed by a program not currently in a power conference. Edwards took 22 BYU teams to a bowl game.

Now if we can just keep getting BYU to stick to that lighter shade of blue as their main home uniform, we’ll be in great shape.

Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks found guilty of rape

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Former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Banks was convicted by a jury on Friday for rape of a female Vanderbilt student. Following 15 hours of jury deliberations, the verdict of guilty on one count of aggravated rape and one count of aggravated sexual battery was in.

”He’s shocked but understands that this is only the first part of this process, there’s a lot more to do from here on,” Banks’ lawyer, Mark Scruggs, said after the verdict. ”We have some really good issues to raise.”

Part of Banks’ defense was built on succumbing to peer pressure, suggesting he feared he may be beaten up by teammates if he did not participate in the scandalous activity. The jury, having reviewed videos and photos from the incident, some of which were shot by Banks, determined that was not a viable defense.

”Making fun of another person is not right, but we know it happens,” Assistant District Attorney Roger Moore said in closing arguments, according to the Associated Press. ”But it doesn’t give you a legal defense to commit a crime, particularly not an aggravated rape, an aggravated sexual battery. I mean if that’s the case, then we’d have the ‘football team defense.”’

Banks will serve a minimum of 15 years in prison. One count of aggravated rape has a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Other former Vanderbilt players had previously been convicted for their roles in the 2013 rape. Cory Batey was found guilty of aggravated rape and sentenced to 15-25 years in prison in April 2016. Brandon Vandenbeurg was found guilty and sentenced to 17 years in prison.