Getty Images

QB Nick Fitzgerald powers Mississippi State to win over Texas A&M

2 Comments

Just when you thought Mississippi State was sliding and Texas A&M was ascending, the two maroon-clad teams decided to prove that things are just as difficult to as ever to sort out in the SEC West.

In a game that was awfully hard to watch as the result of a pair of offenses that couldn’t do much, Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was able to find the end zone just enough to secure a 35-14 win that makes his team bowl eligible and likely ranked in the top 25 heading into next week.

The signal-caller was once leading the way for MSU using both his arm and his legs, completing 12 passes for 141 yards and two touchdowns while rushing for a team-high 105 yards and a score on the ground. Things would have been a bit easier for Dan Mullen’s side had Fitzgerald not been sacked twice (he also tossed an interception on the first drive of the game) and pressured constantly but beggars can’t be choosers given how hard yards and points were to come by most of the night at Kyle Field.

Running back Aeris Williams also added 68 yards rushing but was mostly bottled up by a solid Aggies front seven.

Speaking of the home team, things were rough from the opening few drives as A&M couldn’t even crack 50 yards by halftime and needed plenty of help to get over the 200 mark for the game. Young quarterback Kellen Mond was 8-of-26 for just 56 yards and threw two interceptions. He was benched in the fourth quarter for former starter Nick Starkel, but he too ended up tossing an interception (that went the other way for six) before rallying to toss a 70 yard touchdown to Camron Buckley.

Given that the team was coming off a bye, the unimpressive effort will likely do nothing but fan the flames of head coach Kevin Sumlin’s hot seat ahead of another tough November slate.

The flip side is that Mullen’s Bulldogs are suddenly winners of three straight and enter a stretch where it’s not out of the question that they could wind up with nine victories on the year. A visit by Alabama does loom large in two weeks down in Starkville but given how closely the Aggies played the Tide earlier in the season, maybe MSU has a pretty good claim as to being the second best team in the mighty SEC West once again.

Chip Kelly and UCLA land ex-Washington QB K.J. Carta-Samuels

Getty Images
Leave a comment

K.J. Carta-Samuels may have left Washington, but he’s not leaving the Pac-12.

Carta-Samuels brother, Austyn, revealed on his own personal Twitter account that K.J. will be transferring to UCLA. “Chip Kelly, you just got yourself a QB,” the recruiting coordinator at Missouri wrote.

The younger Carta-Samuels brother subsequently told CBSSports.com that Kelly is “a huge reason why” he chose to move on to the Bruins.

In early December, Carta-Samuels announced that he would be leaving Chris Petersen‘s Washington football program.

Carta-Samuels will be joining Kelly’s squad as a graduate transfer, which means he’ll be one of the players fighting for the right to replace three-year-starting quarterback Josh Rosen. Earlier this month, Rosen did the somewhat expected and left early for the NFL draft.

A four-star member of UW’s 2014 recruiting class, Carta-Samuels was rated as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 24 player at any position in the state of California. Budda Baker, a second-round pick in the 2017 NFL draft, was the only signee in the Huskies’ class that year rated higher than Carta-Samuels.

Carta-Samuels played in 25 games over the past three seasons. He ended the Huskies portion of his collegiate playing career with 310 yards, three touchdowns and one interception in completing 27-of-47 passes.

Bryce Love returning to Stanford for senior season

Getty Images
1 Comment

This is certainly a surprising, if not extremely significant development.

Given his talent level and the position he plays, it’s been long thought that Bryce Love would be leaving Stanford early and declaring for the April draft.  Instead, Love’s father confirmed to the San Francisco Chronicle in a text early Tuesday morning that his son will be returning to the Cardinal for his senior season.

The Chronicle wrote that “[t]he junior tailback didn’t make his decision until the last possible minute Monday night, the deadline for entering the NFL draft.”

Despite battling through an ankle injury that lingered throughout the latter portion of the 2017 season, Love was second in the country in rushing with 2,118 yards and tied for fifth in rushing touchdowns with 19.  He finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting behind winner Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma.

With this decision, Love will very likely enter the 2018 season as the favorite to claim this year’s Heisman.

Report: Hugh Freeze visited Alabama’s football building Monday

Getty Images
2 Comments

It wouldn’t take long to call the roll of head coaches who could get away with hiring Hugh Freeze at the moment, and Nick Saban is certainly at or near the top of that list. Based on word coming out of Tuscaloosa, a Saban-Freeze marriage could very well be on the horizon to test that theory.

According to the Tuscaloosa News, the disgraced former Ole Miss head coach was a visitor at Alabama’s football building on Monday. While the News didn’t detail the nature of the visit, FootballScoop.com writes that “Freeze was in the building today at Alabama to discuss the open offensive coordinator job.” Another national writer, however, downplayed the possibility of Freeze joining Saban’s staff.

Per the News, Saban has always held a healthy respect for Freeze given how much success, relatively speaking, the Rebels’ offense had going up against the Crimson Tide’s defense.

Saban is searching for a fourth offensive coordinator in less than 14 months after Brian Daboll left the team Sunday after one season to take the same job with the Buffalo Bills. Given Freeze’s credentials, he’d certainly warrant serious consideration to fill the opening; based on his exit from Oxford, he could be a tough sell in a lot of places.

Freeze “resigned” from Ole Miss after it was discovered he was using a school-issued cell phone to hook up with escort services on multiple occasions. Additionally, there were the Rebels’ NCAA issues while Freeze was in charge that left the coach with a team-game suspension to serve; that suspension would not have to be served if Freeze is a coordinator or position coach.

It was reported earlier this month that Les Miles was involved in Arizona’s search for a head coach and had an interest in bringing Freeze along as his coordinator if he landed the job. Not long after, after criticism came pouring in over the potential move, the earlier reports were walked back because of the stigma that still follows Freeze.

Ex-Nebraska WR Keyshawn Johnson Jr. reportedly lands at Arizona

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It appears Keyshawn Johnson Jr. will continue his collegiate playing career a little bit further west than where it began.

On the same day that Kevin Sumlin was hired as the head coach at Arizona, Nate Clouse of Rivals.com reported that Johnson will be enrolling at UA this week and play for the Wildcats. The son of former USC great Keyshawn Johnson will be eligible to play immediately for Sumlin in 2018.

In late June of last year, Johnson was cited for marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.  Not long after, the wide receiver decided to take a leave of absence, with his famous father stating that his son needed some time to “mature” and would not play for the Cornhuskers in 2017.

At the time, the plan was for the junior Johnson to return to Lincoln and play his college football for Mike Riley.  With his father’s college offensive coordinator dismissed at the end of the regular season, Johnson took to Twitter in mid-December to announce that he wouldn’t be returning to the Cornhuskers.

Johnson was a four-star member of the Cornhuskers’ 2017 recruiting class who was an early enrollee and participated in spring practice, but never played a down for NU. Before signing with Nebraska, he held offers from, among others, Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Miami, Ohio State and USC.