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Kicker Zane Gonzalez sets NCAA record as Arizona State escapes with a win against UCLA

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In the first half of Arizona State’s win over UCLA, the offenses could hardly do anything. In the second half, the two offenses could do nothing but get their quarterbacks injured.

The Sun Devils used several big gains, a few trick plays and a little bit of creativity on defense to sneak past the Bruins 23-20 and set a bit of history on a night that had a whole lot of injuries at the most important position on the field.

ASU kicker Zane Gonzalez made the most memorable impression of the contest as he passed Florida State’s Dustin Hopkins to set a new NCAA record with his 89th career field goal.  He connected from 46 yards out in the fourth quarter to set the new mark and the kick ultimately proved to be the game-winning score for the home team. The senior also hit from 35 and 23 yards as he proved once again to be the most reliable offensive option for coach Todd Graham.

The biggest story of the game however came at the quarterback position. Namely that just about every one of them left with an injury.

By far the biggest name was UCLA signal-caller Josh Rosen, who left after suffering a leg injury on a sack in the middle of the second quarter and didn’t return from the locker room until the middle of the third quarter. While he did re-enter the game and rally the Bruins with two touchdown passes in the second half, he also left the game for a second time after getting brought down extremely hard on a sack in the fourth quarter.

Rosen was seen holding his wrist in obvious pain and talking to trainers, which led to backup Mike Fafaul closing out the game with an interception on the final drive.

Arizona State was not immune from the QB bug either. Brady White (who himself was making the start in place of the injured Manny Wilkins) was knocked out of the game while getting spun out of bounds midway through the final quarter. He had to be carried off the field with a leg injury and was later seen moving around the sideline on crutches.

Freshman Dillon Sterling-Cole’s redshirt was burned as a result and just two plays later he threw an interception on his very first collegiate pass for the Sun Devils. The team still managed to hold on in a game that was certainly no masterpiece when it came to the play between the lines.

The end result further muddles the Pac-12 South standings in addition to causing some anxious fan bases left waiting to find out about the status of their quarterbacks going forward. ASU, Colorado and Utah are all tied atop the division and USC is just a half game behind with tie-breakers over two of the three.

It was not a banner night for Pac-12 football in the desert but the Sun Devils survived to capture a key win in the league and see a veteran player set a pretty cool NCAA record while doing so.

Oregon officially confirms swiping of assistant from Wazzu

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Washington State’s coaching loss will prove to be a fellow Pac-12 member’s gain.

Following up on reports that had surfaced throughout the latter part of this past week, new head coach Mario Cristobal announced that he has hired Jim Mastro as his new running backs coach. Mastro will also serve as the Ducks’ run-game coordinator.

Mastro had spent the past six seasons as the running backs coach at Washington State.

“We are thrilled to add Jim to the staff,” Cristobal said in a statement. “He has extraordinary leadership skills which will be of great benefit in developing our talented group of running backs. Jim possesses a wealth of experience both coaching and recruiting on the West Coast, and he has consistently been a tremendous innovator on the offensive side of the ball.”

Prior to Wazzu, Mastro spent one season (2012) as the tight ends coach at UCLA. For the 11 seasons prior to that first taste of the Pac-12, Mastro was the running backs coach at Nevada.

Mastro has also spent time on FBS coaching staffs at Idaho (1998-99) and San Jose State (1995).

QB Keller Chryst announces transfer from Stanford

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Stanford’s quarterback room will have a decidedly different look this coming season.

Keller Chryst announced on his personal Twitter account Sunday afternoon that he has decided to transfer from the Cardinal for his final season of collegiate eligibility.  Chryst will graduate from the university in June, making him eligible to play in 2018 at another FBS program if that’s the path he chooses.

Chryst gave no specific reason for the decision, although the fact that he lost his starting this past season likely played a significant role.

Chryst began the 2016 season as the backup to Ryan Burns, who started the first seven games after winning the job coming out of camp before losing it to Chryst midseason; he replaced Burns midway through that season as the starter.  While he suffered a torn ACL in Stanford’s Sun Bowl win over North Carolina following the 2016 regular season, he began the 2017 season as the starter; an injury in the Week 4 win over UCLA opened the door for redshirt freshman K.J. Costello to start the following week against Arizona State.  Chryst returned in Week 6 and started the next three games.

Ahead of the Washington State game in early November, however, a healthy Chryst was benched in favor of Costello.  In what turned out to be the final three starts of Chryst’s career with the Cardinal, he completed just under 57 percent of his passes for 453 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

In parts of three seasons, Chryst, whose uncle Paul Chryst is the head coach at Wisconsin, passed for 1,926 yards, 19 touchdowns and six interceptions in 289 attempts.

Rich Rodriguez releases statement as additional claim against his alleged behavior is filed

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Rich Rodriguez was fired earlier this month after his former administrative assistant filed an $8.5 million claim against him, saying she was forced to lie to his wife and children to cover up his extramarital affair and that he subjugated her to numerous instances of inappropriate behavior, including brushing up against her breast and making comments about his underwear and genitalia.

He admitted to the affair, but said the other claims were unequivocally false.

On Saturday, the same woman, Melissa Wilhelmsen, filed an additional $7.5 million claim against the University of Arizona, saying the school is liable for its former employee’s behavior.

From the suit, according to the Arizona Daily Star:

The document says that Wilhelmsen and her husband also have claims against Rodriguez for slander, defamation and false light, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress stemming from Rodriguez and his wife’s conduct after his firing — including “statements to football players at a team meeting on January 9, 2018.” Rich and Rita Rodriguez spoke to the players in a team meeting run by interim head coach Marcel Yates on that date. It was not immediately clear if any additional legal action had been filed.

Rodriguez on Sunday released a statement, essentially calling Wilhelmsen’s bluff.

Considering the plaintiff is now seeking a sum of $15 million here, the odds of an out-of-court settlement seem so overwhelming that they may as well be taken off the proverbial board.

LOOK: Jalen Hurts cut his hair

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We’ve all known Jalen Hurts for two years, and in that time three characteristics have remained constants about the Alabama quarterback:

1) His calm, unflappable demeanor.

2) His penchant for winning games.

3) His hair.

You can now scratch one of those off the list.

“The deal was if we won the natty, the locs (sic) had to come off lol,” Hurts wrote in a Twitter post. “New look. Same mission. Grind hard and improve every day!”

Hurts was held accountable to the deal by teammate Josh Jacobs.

Honestly, it won’t be the same this season when, after eluding beyond the left hash and just barely picking up a 3rd-and-11 by extending the nose of the football past the stick on the right sideline, we don’t see that same golden ponytail emerging from the crimson No. 2 helmet, calmly trotting back to the huddle like it’s all no big deal.