Christian McCaffrey‘s second Heisman campaign is off to a much better start than his first. Especially on the final scoreboard.
The tailback racked up 210 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns as Stanford held off Kansas State 26-13 in the season opener for both teams. The Cardinal had no need to blame their body clocks for the effort but head coach David Shaw has plenty to work on after a lackluster showing in the second half gave the Wildcats a chance to claw back into the game.
Quarterback Ryan Burns finished 14-of-18 for 156 yards and a touchdown in his first start. The redshirt junior looked impressive early on in replacing school record holder Kevin Hogan and completed every pass up until halfway through the 3rd quarter. As Shaw promised, backup Keller Chyrst rotated in during the second quarter to lead a scoring drive but didn’t play much the rest of game as the offense struggled in the second half.
Luckily the Cardinal’s defense, replacing a number of key starters from last season, kept a pesky KSU offense in check most of the night. Dallas Lloyd and Quenton Meeks both recorded interceptions and the team racked up eight sacks on the night.
Kansas State failed to get much of a running game going beyond quarterback scrambles and failed to score in the red zone several times in the second half. Starting QB Jesse Ertz was generally ineffective in his first game back since injuring his knee in the opener last season but did finish the game with 207 yards passing, a score and an interception.
Ertz was downed for a safety with just over four minutes to go in the game that appeared to all but end any hopes of a win. But veteran head coach Bill Snyder had a trick up his sleeve and the team recovered an onside free kick on the ensuing play. KSU promptly marched 66 yards for a touchdown on a great throw by Ertz to freshman Isaiah Zuber to cut the lead to six.
But it was once again McCaffrey to the rescue for the Cardinal. Helped by a vicious block, the Heisman favorite ran 41 yards untouched to the end zone for the final points of the night to ice the victory for the Pac-12 favorites.
Stanford will be off next week before hosting USC in a rematch of the league title game from last year. Kansas State will play Florida Atlantic in their home opener in two weeks.
Ohio running back Maleek Irons was arrested over the weekend for his role in fleeing a possible drunk driving accident.
The Athens News reports Irons was arrested Saturday morning by police responding to a call about “an intoxicated male driving a vehicle, colliding with other vehicles, and fleeing the scene.” The vehicles connected to the call was found off the road at 3:39 a.m. When police discovered the car, Irons got out of the car and started to run tow a dorm on Ohio’s campus, failing to stop when commanded by the officer.
Irons has been charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, resisting arrest and obstructing official business. He was released on bond and has a court appointment scheduled for Tuesday morning. There has been no statement from Ohio on his status with the program, although an indefinite suspension of some sort may be expected as is usually the case when an issue like this arises.
With Irons finding himself in some legal hot water, that means The Fulmer cup season is officially underway.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban may be the most powerful person within the Alabama sports department, but even he has a boss. Now, he will have a new boss.
Alabama Director of Athletics Bill Battle is stepping down into retirement from his current position, although he will remain active in the university as a special assistant to university president Stuart Bell. Battle has been fighting through health issues and completed treatment for cancer last summer. His vacant spot in the athletics department will be filled by Arizona Athletics Director Greg Byrne. A formal announcement has not been made as of yet, but multiple reports have confirmed the pending Byrne hiring. (UPDATE: Alabama has since formally announced the hiring of Byrne)
”Bill has done a tremendous job as director of athletics, and has accomplished so much during his career,” Bell said, according to the Associated Press. ”His business expertise, coupled with his coaching experience and his strong understanding of the role an athletic department has in the daily fabric of a university, has allowed us to achieve the great successes we have enjoyed during his tenure. We are blessed to have the continued benefit of his counsel.”
The hiring of Byrne takes Alabama outside its own foundation to bring in an outsider to lead the sports department. Byrne is an Idaho native who has worked in an administrative role in two SEC schools, so he will be familiar with the landscape the conference has to offer. Byrne was the athletics director of Mississippi State from 2008 through 2010 before moving to Arizona for the past six years. At Mississippi State, Byrne hired football coach Dan Mullen. Byrne also held an associate AD role at Kentucky, where he directed development and fundraising efforts for the Wildcats.
It’s not yet Signing Day, but Notre Dame has already secured a major commitment for what Brian Kelly hopes is a major bounce-back 2017 season.
Offensive lineman Quenton Nelson announced Sunday he is returning for his senior season. “Excited for this team to grow every day this offseason by putting in nothing but hard work and grinding together. When we reach our full potential, look out,” Nelson wrote in an Instagram post. “I’m right behind you Coach.”
Nelson, who hails from “Westeros, GOT,” according to his Twitter bio, is a two-year starter at guard for the Irish. Notre Dame finished tied for 62nd nationally in yards per carry this season, but ranked eighth in that same metric a year ago en route to earning a finalist not for the inaugural Joe Moore Award — given to the nation’s best offensive line unit — and a Fiesta Bowl appearance.
Former California head coach Sonny Dykes is set to join TCU’s staff in a to-be-determined role, multiple outlets reported Sunday evening. Jeremy Clark of TCU’s 247 site broke the news.
Dykes, of course, was the head coach of the Golden Bears through last Sunday, when the school abruptly fired him. He was 19-30 in four seasons with Cal.
With Doug Meacham off to Kansas and Sonny Cumbie running the show for the Horned Frogs’ offense, Dykes is a natural fit to slide in and assist Cumbie. Dykes was an offensive assistant of Mike Leach at Texas Tech from 2000-06, and Cumbie played for the Red Raiders as a quarterback from 2000-04. Sharing the same first name can’t hurt, either.