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No. 22 Utah hangs on for Holy War revival win over BYU in Las Vegas Bowl

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No. 22 Utah turned five consecutive BYU turnovers into touchdowns en route to a 35-0 first quarter lead and then held on for dear life, securing a 35-28 win in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl.

The turnover avalanche came early for BYU (9-4) after quarterback Tanner Mangum fumbled on the third play from scrimmage and Utah (10-3) cashed in with a six-play, 25-yard drive. Mangum’s next pass was intercepted by Tevin Carter and returned 28 yards for a touchdown. The Cougars’ third drive ended in another Mangum pick, this one again to Carter, who returned it 33 yards to the BYU 1. Joe Williams punched in Utah’s third touchdown one play later.

Mangum tossed his third pick on BYU’s next drive, this time to Dominique Hatfield, who raced 46 yards for another pick six. The deluge became complete when Squally Canada fumbled on the second snap of BYU’s next possession, and Travis Wilson cashed in five plays later with a 20-yard scoring dash.

All told, Utah held a 35-0 lead with 4:38 remaining in the first quarter while needing only 65 yards of offense.

The teams settled from there, trading punts on seven consecutive possessions after a missed BYU field goal, until the Cougars marched 97 yards in 13 plays to dent the scoreboard with a three-yard toss from Mangum to Remington Peck with 36 seconds left in the first half.

BYU forced a Utah punt to open the second half, then moved 72 yards in 12 plays to pull within 35-14 on a 10-yard Francis Bernard run at the 10:02 mark of the third quarter.

Mangum found Nick Kurtz for a five-yard touchdown pass on fourth-and-goal with 10:33 left in the fourth quarter, then pulled his Cougars to within 35-28 on a four-yard run with 3:23 left.

Utah’s offense, with no points since that first quarter deluge, ran out the final 203 seconds, securing a win that, kiss-your-sister as it may have felt after that 35-0 lead, is a win nonetheless.

BYU out-gained the Utes 387-197 on the day while holding a 22-13 first downs edge. Mangum finished the day completing 25-of-56 passes for 315 yards with two touchdowns (plus one rushing) and three interceptions (plus one fumble). Wilson hit 9-of-16 throws for 71 yards while adding 15 rushes for 23 yards and a score. Utah held a 126-71 advantage on the ground.

In the teams’ first meeting since 2013, Utah’s win extended its Holy War lead to 58-34-4 in a series dating back to 1896 (today’s game was the first outside of Provo or Salt Lake City). The Utes have now won five straight meetings and 10 of the last 13.

With its current coaching staff out the door for Virginia as soon as the final gun sounded and its new head coach all but named before toe met leather, it appeared BYU’s focus these past two weeks was on anything but the opponent lining up across the line of scrimmage. BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall made coaching in the Vegas Bowl a condition of his accepting the job at Virginia, but the task of managing two jobs on opposite sides of the country appeared to affect his team’s preparation for Saturday’s game. Oregon State defensive coordinator and former Cougars fullback Kalani Sitake has been all but named BYU’s next head coach.

The win gives Kyle Whittingham his fourth 10-win season in 11 tries at Utah and, after an 18-19 start in the program’s first three Pac-12 seasons, pushes his Utes to 19-7 with two straight top-25 finishes over the past two seasons. And the cherry on top of a successful season? He denies Mendenhall his 100th victory at BYU while ending their personal 11-Year War with a 7-3 advantage.

Darrell Dickey to join Texas A&M staff as offensive coordinator

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Memphis offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey is taking the same job at Texas A&M, according to a report from, uh, me.

Dickey has been on the Memphis staff for the past six years, first as an original member of Justin Funete‘s staff and continued on under new head coach Mike Norvell. His 2017 unit ranked among the top five nationally in scoring, total offense and yards per play, and came within a defensive stop of winning the American championship and playing in the Peach Bowl.

Beyond Memphis, the appeal for Jimbo Fisher is Dickey’s extensive experience in Texas. A Galveston, Texas, native, Dickey broke into coaching as a graduate assistant on Jackie Sherrill‘s staff at Texas A&M and bounced around in the state as the offensive coordinator at UTEP, SMU and Texas State, and served as the head coach at North Texas from 1998-06. He led the Mean Green to four straight Sun Belt championships from 2001-04.

It will be interesting to see how much control of the offense Fisher gives to Dickey. Memphis ran 882 plays in its 12 games this season, 41st nationally, while Florida State ranked 122nd with 734 — a difference of a dozen snaps a game.

Ratings for most major college football TV packages down in 2017

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TV ratings are down across the board for most sports and, heck, most of any form of televised entertainment these days. As our culture becomes more fragmented, so, too, do the ways we choose to consume in-home entertainment. And college football is not immune to that.

Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch compiled ratings for the major college football TV packages with the help of Sports Business Journal‘s Austin Karp, and here’s what he found:

CBS: 4.951 million viewers, down 10% from 5.489 million in 2016.

ABC: 4.203 million, down 18% from 5.097 million.

Fox: 3.625 million, up 23% from 2.951 million.

NBC: 2.742, down 3% from 2.814 million.

ESPN: 2.155 million, down 6% from 2.300 million.

FS1: 819,000, up 4% from 743,000.

However, this is not a doom-and-gloom report for college football. The pie isn’t shrinking, it’s just being cut into even smaller slices.

“I don’t think that meant less interest in college football,” Karp told SI. “If anything, I’d say the interest was higher this season compared to some prior years. If you look at total minutes viewed for college football, it had to be some sort of record this year.”

With the College Football Playoff returning to New Year’s Day this fall, expect many stories about how TV ratings were up for college football’s 2017-18 postseason. For the record, the last time the Rose and Sugar bowls held the semifinals, the Rose Bowl drew 28.2 million and the Sugar Bowl 28.3 million.

Shea Patterson announces transfer to Michigan, helping Wolverines solve QB riddle

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One of the continued frustrations of Michigan’s offense since the hiring of Jim Harbaugh has been the lack of play at the quarterback position. In 2018, that may not be quite the uphill climb it was this season. Shea Patterson is heading to Ann Arbor.

Patterson announced his decision to leave Ole Miss for Michigan with a released statement, via Twitter. Patterson thanked Ole Miss coaches, teammates and more in his brief statement.

Patterson may be eligible to play right away for Michigan. Because Ole Miss is under sanctions from the NCAA, seniors on the team were granted a free transfer without having to sit out a season. Patterson, a sophomore, would be required to have a waiver approved in order to be ruled eligible right away in 2018. Winning that immediate eligibility may just be a mere formality as players look to challenge their transfer restrictions from Ole Miss.

Regardless of the transfer eligibility for 2018, Michigan is landing a solid quarterback recruit one way or the other. Patterson passed for 2,259 yards and 17 touchdowns this season with nine interceptions in seven games. His 2017 season was cut short due to a knee injury.

Iowa safety Brandon Snyder arrested for drunk driving

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Iowa safety Brandon Snyder spent the early Sunday hours in a jail cell after being arrested for drunk driving. After being pulled over just after 3:00 a.m. in the morning on Sunday, Snyder admitted to drinking and failed a breathalyzer test.

“We are aware of the incident involving Brandon,” a statement from Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said. “While we are currently gathering additional facts, we are very disappointed to learn of Brandon’s involvement. Brandon is subject to the rules and regulations of the UI Student-Athlete Code of Conduct, and the rules and regulations of our football program.”

Snyder was not expected to play in Iowa’s appearance in the Pinstripe Bowl this season due to injury, but it remains to be seen just what his official status will be in light of this weekend’s legal trouble.

As reported by the Des Moines Register, the 22-year old was pulled over near Kinnick Stadium. The police report notes Snyder was wearing multiple wristbands, suggesting he made a couple of stops to consume alcohol during the course of the night. He was released from a county jail at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday.