ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 26: Running back Nick Chubb #27 of the Georgia Bulldogs rushes in for a touchdown in the third quarter of the game against the Southern University Jaguars on September 26, 2015 at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Georgia. The Georgia Bulldogs won 48-6. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
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Nick Chubb chugs No. 18 Georgia past No. 22 North Carolina

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In his first game back from injury, the new-and-improved Nick Chubb looked just like the old Nick Chubb. The sophomore rushed 32 times for 222 yards and two touchdowns, including a 55-yarder with 3:24 left in the game to put No. 18 Georgia’s 33-24 Chick-fil-A win over No. 22 North Carolina away.

Chubb also opened the scoring with a two-yard plunge, and Georgia used another rushing score, this time a 19-yard burst from Brian Herrien, to take a 14-10 lead into the break.

But that halftime lead did not last long. Fourteen seconds, in fact. T.J. Logan raced the second half kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, and Logan later pushed the Tar Heels’ lead to 24-14 with a 21-yard dash with 6:34 to play in the third quarter.

True freshman Jacob Eason immediately answered. The five-star phenom piloted the Bulldogs on an 11-yard, 75-yard jaunt, which he capitalized with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie with 1:19 to play in the third quarter. Georgia (1-0) then received some help from North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora, who drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after a 13-yard completion was negated by an ineligible receiver downfield penalty. Instead of enjoying a 1st-and-10 at their own 25, North Carolina faced a 2nd-and-18 from their own four-yard line where, oddly, they called a screen pass in their own end zone. It was swallowed up for a safety.

After the teams traded punts, the Eason-to-McKenzie connection again came up big for Georgia, this time a 51-yard rainbow on 3rd-and-5, setting up a William Ham go-ahead 29-yard field goal, the first of his career, with 5:27 to play.

North Carolina (0-1) went three-and-out on its next possession, cruelly losing a first down spot to a 3rd down incompletion overturn by the replay booth. Then it was Chubb time.

With 3:34 to play, Chubb raced from his own 45 to pay dirt, securing him a bit of catharsis and Kirby Smart his first win as Georgia’s coach.

Smart answered an off-season of quarterback uncertainty by alternating between Eason and Greyson Lambert. Lambert earned the start and completed 5-of-8 throws for 54 yards. Eason connected on 8-of-12 throws for 131 yards and a touchdown.

For North Carolina, Trubisky hit 24-of-40 throws, but for just 156 yards. The Heels were also out-rushed 289-159. The loss will continue questions of whether Fedora’s program, while established enough to beat the teams they’re supposed to beat, has progressed enough to compete with the upper-echelon programs in the sport. After starting 11-1 last season, the Heels have now lost three straight to Clemson, Baylor and Georgia.

Georgia’s win pushes the SEC to 7-1 all-time against the SEC in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff, and 15-4 in neutral site kickoff games since 2008.

Cal hires Marques Tuiasasopo to coach quarterbacks

BERKELEY, CA - NOVEMBER 28:  Noah Westerfield #33 of the California Golden Bears runs onto the field prior to the start of an NCAA football game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at California Memorial Stadium on November 28, 2015 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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Former Washington quarterback great Marques Tuiasasopo is making his rounds through the entire Pac-12.

On Monday, California announced the hiring of the former Husky to coach the Bears’ quarterbacks and serve as the team’s passing game coordinator. Tuiasasopo served in the same capacity for UCLA last season, and previously worked alongside Golden Bears head coach Justin Wilcox at USC and his alma mater.

“It is important that the coaches on our staff have strong connections on the West Coast and Marques certainly has been a fixture in the football world on this side of the country for a long time,” Wilcox said in a statement. “The connections he has made over the years along with his familiarity with the Pac-12 will pay tremendous dividends for us in recruiting. Also, having been a former player he understands the game from the players’ perspective quite well and is enthusiastic on imparting the knowledge he has gained as both a player and young assistant coach to our players.”

Tuisasopo jumped into coaching as a strength and conditioning assistant at Washington in 2009, then moved on-the-field as an intern and later tight ends coach at UCLA.

“I’m really excited to be joining the Cal football family and to be coaching with Justin Wildox again,” Tuiasosopo said. “Justin is a great coach and an even better person. I look forward to working with the new coaching staff that is being put together at Cal and tapping into the program’s rich football history, building off that and bringing championship football back to this great University.”

Tuiasasopo spent four years as a quarterback at Washington, ending his run with an eighth-place finish in the 2000 Heisman Trophy voting, a Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year award and a Rose Bowl MVP trophy, leading the Huskies to the No. 3 final AP ranking, which still stands as the program’s highest year-end ranking since their 1991 national championship. He left school as the Huskies’ all-time leader in total offense and become the first college quarterback ever to throw for 300 yards and rush for 200 in the same game.

 

Cal reportedly hires former Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter to head defense

LINCOLN, NE - SEPTEMBER 03: Head coach Tim DeRuyter of the Fresno State Bulldogs watches action against the Nebraska Cornhuskers at Memorial Stadium on September 3, 2016 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Nebraska defeated Fresno State 43-10.  (Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images)
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California will hire former Fresno State head coach Tim DeRuyter to serve as its defensive coordinator, according to multiple reports out Monday.

DeRuyter, of course, was the Bulldogs’ head coach through mid-October, where he was let go after starting with a 1-7 record. Prior to that, he led Fresno State to the 2013 Mountain West championship and shares of the MW West Division crown in 2012 and ’14. (And then Derek Carr graduated.)

A longtime defensive coordinator, DeRuyter previously served in that same post at Ohio, Navy, Nevada, Air Force and Texas A&M.

Gorley writes DeRuyter will be asked to transition the Bears from a 4-3 to a 3-4 alignment, a task he’s successfully completed in the past. He would take over a defense that finished last season ranking 122nd in yards per play allowed and second-to-last in scoring.

 

Michigan football going to Rome this spring

ROME, ITALY - APRIL 06:  A view of the Colosseum and Roman Forum during the Way Of The Cross procession held by Pope Benedict XVI on Good Friday April 6, 2012 in Rome, Italy.  The traditional Catholic procession on Good Friday recalls the crucifixion of Jesus Christ ahead of Sunday's Easter holiday. (Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images)
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The NCAA is going to shut down the ability to take a football team off campus during spring break starting in August, so Jim Harbaugh is making sure his program gets one more trip squeezed in. This one is going to require a passport.

This April, Harbaugh is taking the Wolverines to Rome for a “week of education and spring drills.” This is a direct response to criticisms Michigan faced when moving spring football practices to Bradenton, Florida last spring, nestled right in ACC and SEC recruiting grounds. The practices at the home of AS Roma, an Italian soccer club. What’s different about this one is the trip will come at the end of the semester instead of over spring break. Harbaugh just found a loophole.

“We were looking to provide our student-athletes with a great educational, cultural and international football experience,” Harbaugh said in a released statement. “I am excited that our student-athletes will be able to take advantage of this amazing educational opportunity, be exposed to another culture, and be ambassadors for the United States and the University of Michigan during our visit to Rome.”

Last week, the NCAA’s Division 1 Council voted to ban off-campus trips over scheduled off days from the academic calendar. But because this trip is not taking place over a spring break, the trip can, in theory, be used every year.

Just think, if Michigan had just gone to Rome last year instead of Florida, perhaps the feathers from the ACC and SEC would not have been so ruffled.

Harbaugh in Rome. This should be fun to follow.

New MLS stadium in San Diego could have plenty of perks for San Diego State football

SAN DIEGO, CA - JANUARY 01: A general view of the San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs en route to Chiefs 37-27 win over the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on January 1, 2017 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
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San Diego State is already locked in to continue playing games in Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego through the 2020 season, which may be perfect timing. A move to build a brand new Major League Soccer stadium is projected to open its doors in 2020, and the plan is to have room for San Diego State to share the stadium as well.

As detailed by a report from The San Diego Union-Tribune, FS Investors is an investment group that owns the rights to apply for a MLS franchise in San Diego. While still working out the finer details of their bid, but the company is reportedly planning to purchase the land containing Qualcomm Stadium, demolish the existing stadium and use that land to develop a new venue that could seat between 20,000 and 30,000 fans. At the same time, other land would be set aside in order to reserve for a potential NFL stadium in the event the city makes a bid to lure the National Football League back to the city after the Chargers packed up and left for Los Angeles.

The firm also hopes it can attract developers to add housing and commercial options that will target San Diego State students, and perhaps add to the environment around a soccer and college football stadium for a more enjoyable game day experience for both.

An application for an MLS franchise is due January 31 and the firm hopes to receive approval from City Council without having to rely on a public vote.