If there was going to be a trap game on Clemson’s schedule this season, you could probably point toward Georgia Tech’s visit at the end of the month. That might be a bit premature to say at the moment given how the No. 2 team in the country is struggling on the road at Syracuse on Friday night and may have lost their quarterback to an injury.
The Orange’s offense not surprisingly led the way at the fast track of the Carrier Dome as a result, helping the home team to a 17-14 lead at halftime in what is rapidly becoming a very interesting conference game.
Quarterback Eric Dungey was the trigger man for the ‘Cuse attack, which helped pick up chunk after chunk on one of the best defenses in the country. He finished the half with 193 yards and two scores through the air while also providing a solid threat with his legs in rushing for 47 yards as well. Despite the impressive stat line, he did suffer a minor leg injury on a quarterback sneak that could hamper his ability to keep things going in the second half.
While Dungey isn’t 100 percent, neither was his counterpart in Kelly Bryant. The Tigers’ QB was solid throwing the ball (12/17, 116 yards) but was not able to move around all that well with that balky ankle. Most pressing for the fans back at home was the fact that he was slammed to the turf just before the break, having to be helped off by trainers with what his coach later said was a concussion. Running back Tavien Feaster rushed for a 37 yard touchdown in what was otherwise the lone offensive highlight for a team that is playing a backup behind center the rest of the way.
As bad as things were (on both sides of the ball) for Dabo Swinney’s squad, it could have been a much bigger hole they were in had there not been a swing early in the second quarter. An offensive pass interference penalty wiped a touchdown off the board that would have put Syracuse up two touchdowns. Instead, just two plays later the Tigers ended up tying things up at 14-all on a rough mistake by the Orange when tailback Dontae Strickland fumbled while being tackled, allowing Tanner Muse to scoop and score from 63 yards out.
The Dome has been a strange place to play for many ACC teams over the years no matter how good or bad Syracuse has been and it seems like that could be the case following the first half. Perhaps a trip to the locker room will reignite the second-best team in the country but, through two quarters at least, the Tigers are looking mighty vulnerable on the road against an up-tempo offense that is putting up quite the fight on Friday night.
WATCH: Penn State players danced to Backstreet Boys and Nicki Minaj at THON
Everybody, rock your body! Penn State football players put on an impressively choreographed performance during a brief skit at Penn State’s annual THON dance marathon.
Although Penn State players were unable to participate in a separate THON-related event due to a scheduling oversight and an NCAA rule, a handful of representatives from the football program took the stage to show off their best dance moves (as did every other Penn State sports team, and more). The mix started off with some Backstreet Boys and ended with some Nicki Minaj, with one player dressed for the part.
The results from Penn State’s annual dance marathon are in too. Penn State students raised $10,151,663.93 to put toward fighting pediatric cancer.
It did not take very long for Dan Mullen to prove his way of working in the offseason is going to be a little different from what Florida players had become accustomed to. Judging by a few tweets from Gators players coming out in recent days, Mullen has Florida players working harder than they have in quite some time.
It is not all that uncommon to have a completely new approach to training and physical conditioning any time there is a coaching change at a football program, and the mere change in workout approach alone can be enough to send a jolt through an entire program. Not to suggest workouts under former head coach (and new Michigan offensive assistant) Jim McElwain were easy, but some players on Florida’s roster are claiming on Twitter the workouts they are going through now are getting the job done.
@CoachSavage got that animal out of me today pushed me to limits I never thought I could reach ….
Mullen brought strength and conditioning coach Nick Savage with him from Mississippi State, and you probably see why. Savage has quickly earned the respect of a number of the Florida football players after some intense workouts. Mullen and Savage are out to raise the bar when it comes to both toughness and physical endurance. That could have been seen as an area of weakness for Florida the past couple of years against certain teams (Alabama and Michigan, for example).
The work being put in now is just the beginning for how Mullen wants to get Florida back to the top of the SEC. Getting the team stronger now will have to lead to on-field development as well, especially on offense. Fortunately for Mullen, the offense has been one of his specialties.
Iowa State offensive lineman Sean Foster spent some time in jail overnight after being arrested for being in a bar while underage and interfering with an official. He was charged with two counts; one for “minors prohibited on certain premises” and another for “interference with official acts,” according to an Ames Tribune report. Foster was released from jail with $600 in total bonds for his two charges.
A redshirt sophomore right tackle, Foster started six games for the Cyclones in 2017, including the final four games of the season that concluded with the Liberty Bowl against Memphis. He remains in line for the starting job at right tackle again in 2018, beginning with a chance to start the spring as the expected starter. This particular incident may not affect that outlook all that much in the grand scheme of things, so long as Foster stays out of additional trouble and there isn’t more to the story behind the scenes.
According to the Ames Tribune, Iowa State head coach Matt Campbell was not expected to release any comment or statement about the incident. Foster’s status with the Iowa State program is unchanged until given further notice, although some form of internal discipline for an act like this is likely to occur in some capacity at some point in time.
The Jim McElwain watch in Ann Arbor is essentially done. ESPN reports the former head coach of the Florida Gators has signed a deal to join Jim Harbaugh as a new member of the Michigan coaching staff. Michigan has not formally announced the new addition yet, but McElwain told ESPN he is getting to work right away as a wide receivers coach.
“I’m excited to get back into it and am looking forward to going there and learning and helping Michigan get better,” McElwain said to ESPN‘s Chris Low, who reported the latest update in the ongoing McElwain-To-Michigan story. It has been quite a year for McElwain, who has now gone from wanting to “beat the heck out of Michigan” to joining Harbaugh as an offensive assistant (Harbaugh was 2-0 against McElwain in head-to-head meetings between Michigan and Florida).
McElwain was fired by Florida last October in the midst of a disappointing season after discrepancies in McElwain’s claims about receiving death threats could not be backed up by the coach. Florida bought out McElwain’s contract at a reported $7.5 million.
Michigan had been looking to fill the role of receivers coach following the abrupt departure of Dan Enos to Alabama. Enos joined the Michigan coaching staff for a cup of coffee, getting hired in January after the Arkansas coaching staff was given an overhaul with the firing of Bret Bielema only to leave for a job with Nick Saban. McElwain, of course, is one of many coaches to jump into head coaching off the Saban coaching tree in recent years, first with Colorado State and most recently with Florida.
Previous reports have floated the idea McElwain will call plays for the Wolverines, but that remains unconfirmed.