On a weekend full of incredible college football games, one of the most interesting intersectional matchups involved Pac-12 South favorite UCLA heading into the heart of SEC territory to take on Texas A&M.
In what was a fairly even first half by both teams, the Aggies took a narrow 10-9 lead heading into the locker room but will be looking to make some adjustments after a slow start offensively. The Bruins have their own issues to address after coming away with just two field goals on two trips inside the A&M 10 yard line.
Quarterback Trevor Knight did advance the ball with both his arm and his legs during his first start for A&M after transferring over from Oklahoma. He ended the first half 14-of-21 for an even 100 yards while scrambling for another 13 on the ground. His favorite target in the passing game was not surprisingly Christian Kirk, who posted seven catches for 45 yards.
Keith Ford scored the first half’s only touchdown but it was teammate Trayveon Williams who led the Aggies in rushing with 61 yards on five carries.
A few days after riling up the 12th Man with comments about the potential crowd noise at Kyle Field, UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen was 11-of-19 passing for 131 yards. He also tossed an inexplicable interception early in the game when he attempted to throw the ball away while being dragged down, but the ball ended up being lofted into the hands of Daeshon Hall. Rosen did make some NFL-caliber throws against an active A&M defense but not enough to give the Bruins the lead at halftime.
Tailback Soso Jamabo also chipped in with 53 yards rushing for UCLA.
In a position battle NFL scouts no doubt had a close eye on, Bruins left tackle Connor McDermott did a solid job on potential No. 1 overall pick Myles Garrett but the rest of the line was up and down against a fast John Chavis defense.
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.