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No. 20 Washington State scores bizarre win over Boise State in triple OT


Strange games and Mike Leach seem to go hand-in-hand but even he would have to admit that what happened Saturday night on the Palouse was bizarre even to him.

That No. 20 Washington State went to overtime against regional rivals Boise State is not exactly surprising as each are pretty evenly matched teams and they played a close thriller last year. That the Broncos were even in a position to win the game was the result of 21 straight points in the third quarter using an, ahem, Kansas transfer Montell Cozart at quarterback was a bid odd though. So it was probably appropriate (and equally bizarre) therefore, that the Cougars used their own 21 point run to tie the game, force free football and eventually secure a 47-44 triple overtime victory in a manner only possible well after midnight has rolled around across most of the country.

Hey, it was one of those games.

Cozart was in the game as part of the team’s normal rotation but took over full-time after Broncos’ starter Brett Rypien (7/8, 76 yards pre-injury) was knocked out with a concussion. He returned in street clothes after halftime while his understudy returned to lead the team’s charge, rushing for one touchdown from 14 yards out and then hitting a 47 yard bomb for another score to finish the game with nearly 300 yards of total offense off the bench.

Leach and the Cougars understand what it’s like to send in the backup too, although the first time the team went to second string QB Tyler Hilinski it was a head coach’s decision after starter Luke Falk was simply ineffective. The second time came after Falk was slammed to the turf and injured, though the senior managed to set the school record for passing yardage before doing so.

But to get back to things being strange in this one, both backup signal-callers managed to score for both themselves — and the opponent — in the fourth quarter. Hilinski’s error came on an attempted (and ill-advised) shuttle pass that was returned by BSU’s Curtis Weaver 55 yards the other way. As if to one-up his opposite number, Cozart came right back and threw a pick-six off a shuttle/flip pass that wound up in the hands of linebacker Peyton Pelluer all the way to the end zone.

But let’s take it to another level with the Broncos leading by a touchdown. That’s when they forced a stop and appeared to get the ball back with a tad less than three minutes to go to try to ice the game. But of course the ball hit a Boise punt returner and Wazzu recovered in the red zone, setting up a game-tying score four plays later. File it under #Pac12AfterDark or just plain weird football but it certainly was something late into the night of a wild day in college football.

And that’s not even getting into overtime.

Eventually Hilinski dumped it off to Jamal Morrow for a 22 yard touchdown in the final extra frame, a play that included the tailback soaring over the pylon to score the game-winner. It was a fitting ending to a game full of moments that only college football could produce.

The Cougars and their pirate-loving head coach will wake up Sunday with their team likely remaining in the top 20 of the polls but certainly capable of making more noise out West in the wild Pac-12. And, oh yeah, plenty of weirdness.

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa injures thumb on throwing hand in spring practice opener

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This is not exactly the most optimal way to open the spring for Nick Saban and Alabama.

Shortly before seven p.m. ET this evening, grad transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew, who originally committed to play his last season of college football at Alabama, announced on Twitter that he will instead move on to Washington State.  Not long after that, after the Crimson Tide had completed their first practice of the spring, Saban confirmed that Tua Tagovailoa sustained an injury to the thumb on his right (throwing) hand.  Specifically how he sustained the injury wasn’t clear.

The rising sophomore will be taken to Birmingham for further evaluation; just how long he’ll be sidelined remains to be seen.

Jalen Hurts started every game but one at quarterback the past two seasons, guiding the Crimson Tide to a 26-2 record in that span.  He was under center for the national championship game loss to Clemson, and was in the same spot for this year’s title game against Georgia until a 13-0 halftime deficit compelled Saban to pull the trigger on a change.

And the rest, as they say, is history, as Tagovailoa played a significant role in a second-half comeback that was capped by the true freshman’s game-winning touchdown pass in the first overtime.  Even as it seems obvious to those on the outside that this is Tagovailoa’s team moving forward, given how much more advanced the backup is in the passing game than the erstwhile starter, Saban is not quite ready to pull the trigger on a full-time change at the position.  In fact, the head coach even stated that he’s open to playing both quarterbacks.

Minshew, who started five games at East Carolina last season, was viewed as experienced insurance in case Hurts decided to transfer.  Or, if Tagovailoa suffered an injury.

After committing to Alabama, grad transfer QB Gardner Minshew tweets flip to Washington State

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So much for the implementation of the Jalen Hurts Transfer Protection Plan™.

In late February, Gardner Minshew, a graduate transfer quarterback from East Carolina, confirmed that he had committed to play for Alabama and would enroll at the university in May.  Nearly three weeks later, Minshew shifted his course significantly, announcing on Twitter that he is “[p]roud to say that I’ll be playing my last year of college ball at Washington State.”

At least when it comes to the opportunity for playing time, the Cougars, looking to replace Luke Falk, make much more sense than the Crimson Tide, who has, in addition to a two-year starter in Hurts, national championship game hero Tua Tagovailoa.

As a graduate transfer, Minshew will be eligible to play immediately for Wazzu in 2018 and could be in line to win a starting job at the Power Five school.

Minshew started five games for the Pirates last season, throwing for 2,140 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions in completing just over 57 percent of his 304 pass attempts. Prior to his departure from ECU, he was penciled in as the Pirates’ 2018 starting quarterback.

The news of Minshew’s initial commitment to UA came a little over a week after Minshew visited the Tuscaloosa campus.  Earlier in February, it was reported that Alabama had an interest in Minshew, the quarterback who announced late last month that he had withdrawn from East Carolina to tend to a personal matter in his home state of Mississippi.

WATCH: Amazon releases trailer for ‘All or Nothing’ season following Michigan

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“All or Nothing” has been Amazon’s answer to HBO’s “Hard Knocks” with one clear distinction — “All or Nothing” actually follows its subject throughout the season. The first two seasons followed the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams, and has now expanded into the college game. Amazon on Tuesday unveiled the trailer for its upcoming season with Michigan, in which its cameras followed Jim Harbaugh‘s Wolverines through an 8-5 campaign where the maize and blue won no games of consequence.

This is not the first such documentary series to follow a college team. Showtime’s “A Season With” has chronicled seasons of Florida State, Notre Dame and Navy.

The upcoming season will hit all Amazon Prime streaming devices on April 6.

Report: Auburn WR Eli Stove undergoes surgery for torn ACL

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A significant development has gone under the radar at Auburn, until now. Junior wide receiver Eli Stove tore his ACL during Auburn’s first spring practice and underwent surgery last Tuesday, according to Brandon Marcello of Auburn Undercover.

As a sophomore in 2017, Stove caught 29 passes for 265 yards and rushed 30 times for 315 yards and two touchdowns, which made him the Tigers’ third-leading rusher.

Stove was expected to increase his portfolio heading into 2018, but now he’ll spend the foreseeable future working simply to get back on the field. No timetable has been set for Stove’s return.

Though Stove is one of Auburn’s most talented pass-catchers, the Tigers aren’t hurting for depth even in his absence. Nine wideouts caught a pass for Auburn last season, and not one of them was a senior.