Getty Images

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

Leave a comment

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.

Illinois boots three players charged with home invasion and robbery

Photo by Steven Branscombe/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Illinois head coach Lovie Smith has dismissed three players charged with home invasion and robbery. Offensive linemen Darta Lee and Howard Watkins and tight end Zarrian Holcombe have all been dismissed from the program, according to a statement.

Lee and Holcombe were previously suspended by Smith for violations of team rules. Watkins had also been indefinitely suspended following the initial allegations. All three players claimed the incident that led to the charges was nothing more than an innocent prank, but the authorities and Smith didn’t seem willing to buy that claim.

Each player faces a mandatory prison sentence of 4-15 years on each count against them if found guilty.

Report: Conference USA to air at least 15 football games on Twitter in 2017

2 Comments

Conference USA is in a position where it needs to think outside the box and look to stay ahead of the curve in a changing TV landscape. It appears to be ready to air games on Twitter in 2017.

A report from The Virginian-Pilot says broadcast company STADIUM will air at least 15 football games involving Conference USA teams this fall. STADIUM is the result of a recent merger between the American Sports Network, 120 Sports and Silver Chalice (which also owns Campus Insiders and the online ACC Digital Network). The ASN had owned the broadcast rights to Conference USA games through the end of the 2017-2018 sports season that will carry over to the STADIUM deal (allowing for Conference USA basketball games to be aired on Twitter as well). It was announced earlier this month STADIUM intended to broadcast Conference USA games on Twitter, but it was unknown how many games might make it to the networking service. STADIUM reportedly has an interest in continuing to air Conference USA contests beyond the next athletic season.

Conference USA still has broadcast deals with ESPN and CBS Sports in effect as well, so don’t expect the premiere matchups in the conference to be aired on Twitter. However, by sharing the games online, Conference USA is hoping to reach a wide-spread audience and have the opportunity to be a trending topic. It could work, as Twitter would make sure the game is given a steady feed to allow for a pleasant viewing experience and fan interaction in real time.

Conference USA saw TV revenue take a big hit over the last year. Last summer, Conference USA’s television revenue reportedly dropped to just $2.8 million for the entire conference following realignment changes. Finding a home on a streaming platform now would be key for the conference’s future stability.

Alabama DC Jeremy Pruitt named son after former Tide linebackers Reuben Foster and Ryan Anderson

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
1 Comment

It is not at all uncommon for children born in the state of Alabama to be named after Alabama football legends, but it is not every day you see a child of an Alabama coach receives a name inspired by former Alabama football players.

Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt announced the birth of his new son, Flynt Anderson-Foster Pruitt, on Twitter. Alabama fans will likely already know the connection to the new child’s name, as used the last names of two former Alabama football players to create the middle name of Anderson-Foster; Ryan Anderson and Reuben Foster.

Maybe this is more common than I’m aware of, but regardless of how often a coach names a child after former players, this is a testament to the relationship the Pruitt family established with both former Alabama linebackers. And now there will be a bond for years to come between the coach and his family and Anderson and Foster.

Helmet sticker to Al.com.

Wisconsin’s season tickets for 100th anniversary of Camp Randall are a thing of beauty

Photo by Tom Lynn/Getty Images
2 Comments

The Wisconsin Badgers are gearing up for their 100th season playing home football game sin Camp Randall Stadium. As part of the season-long celebration, Wisconsin put some brilliant artistic detail into their season tickets for the 2017 season.

Each ticket to a home Wisconsin game is designed like a retro-style program. These are beautifully done and mimic the style of a program cover from decades past. I’m particularly fond of the program cover for the Purdue game, which features Wisconsin’s Bucky floating in space with a ship with the Purdue logo nearby. Is that a space train? The Band Day program for the game against Florida Atlantic also looks fantastic.

These tickets will surely be must-have collectibles for Wisconsin fans. If Wisconsin wants to make a few extra bucks, then blowing up these images and selling them as posters may be a good decision as well. And I wouldn’t put it past Wisconsin to suit up in a retro-style uniform for at least home game this season in Madison.