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Stanford beats Kansas State behind Christian McCaffrey, stingy defense

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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.

Reports: Maryland OC Walt Bell to take same job at Florida State

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Willie Taggart has found himself someone to (help) guide his first offense at Florida State.

While there’s nothing official yet from the football program, 247Sports.com was among the first to report that Maryland’s Walt Bell is set to be named as FSU’s offensive coordinator. Bell is also expected to serve as FSU’s quarterbacks coach.

ESPN.com subsequently confirmed the initial reports.

The 33-year-old Bell spent the past two seasons as the coordinator at Maryland.  Prior to that, he held the same job, along with quarterbacks coach responsibility, at Arkansas State from 2014-15.

While Bell called plays during his stint with the Terrapins, it’s expected Taggart will have play-calling responsibilities with the Seminoles.

Wazzu statement: ‘The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinksi is devastating to all’

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Tuesday night, the Pullman Police Department confirmed that 21-year-old Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead in his apartment of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.  Very early Wednesday morning, the football program and athletic department released statements addressing the devastating developments.

HEAD FOOTBALL COACH MIKE LEACH
We are deeply saddened to hear the news of Tyler’s passing. He was an incredible young man and everyone who had the privilege of knowing him was better for it. The entire WSU community mourns as thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

INTERIM ATHLETIC DIRECTOR John Johnson
The tragic news today surrounding Tyler Hilinski is devastating to all. Tyler was a tremendous individual, great friend and teammate, and he will be deeply missed. Our hearts go out to his family and friends.

Earlier tonight, the football team was brought together and informed of the tragedy. There, they were met by campus and department counseling and psychological services, including athletics’ on-staff clinical psychologist and a licensed mental health counselor, along with WSU Athletics medical team. The university will continue to coordinate and provide ongoing counseling care for all student-athletes as long as needed.

Washington State QB Tyler Hilinski found dead in apparent suicide

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There is utterly tragic and horrific news coming out of Pullman Tuesday night.

According to the Pullman Police Department, Washington State quarterback Tyler Hilinski was found dead at his apartment late Tuesday afternoon of what was described as an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. “A rifle was discovered next to Hilinski and a suicide note was found,” the police stated in a release.

Police officers were called to the residence at 7:30 p.m. ET (4:40 p.m. local time) for a wellness check after the redshirt sophomore failed to show up for a team activity earlier in the day.

Hilinski was just 21 years old.

As of this posting, there’s been no official response from the football program regarding the passing of Hilinski.  Wednesday, the university had been expected to announce the new athletic director replacing Bill Moos, Florida Atlantic’s Pat Chun; because of the football player’s death, that press conference will be rescheduled for a later date.

In place of Luke Falk, Hilinski started Wazzu’s Holiday Bowl loss to Michigan State.  With Falk off to the NFL, Hilinski was expected to be the Cougars’ starting quarterback in 2018.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Hilinski’s way-too-early passing.

Former Nebraska OL coach Mike Cavanaugh hired by Syracuse

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Dino Babers has added a very experienced trenchman to his Syracuse coaching staff.

The school confirmed Tuesday that Babers has hired Mike Cavanaugh as his next offensive line coach. In a coaching career that spans 32 seasons, Cavanaugh has been a line coach in some form or fashion for 31 of them.

“Mike has an outstanding track record of teaching and developing quality offensive linemen,” Babers said in a statement. “He’s done it successfully at every level in college as well as the pros. This was an opportunity to add someone whose knowledge and experience will greatly enhance our staff and benefit our players.”

The past three seasons, Cavanaugh was the line coach at Nebraska. At the FBS level, he’s also served as a line coach at Oregon State (2005-14) and Hawaii (1999-2004).

From 1997-98, Cavanaugh was the assistant offensive line coach for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers.

“I’d like to thank Coach Babers for this opportunity and for welcoming me into the Syracuse family,” Cavanaugh said. “He and his staff have coached some of the most prolific offenses in college football. I’m excited to learn from them and to be part of the championship-caliber program they are building at Syracuse.”

The 2018 season will mark the first time since 2004 Cavanaugh is not a part of a Mike Riley-coached staff.