One of the most efficient touchdown producers in college football in 2016 that you were probably completely unaware of appears ready to make his 2017 debut.
A vague lower-extremity injury knocked George Aston out of most of not only summer camp but also Pittsburgh’s first three regular-season games as well. With Georgia Tech on the horizon in Week 4, the fullback is listed as probable on the team’s official injury report released Thursday.
For a team that has scored just four offensive touchdowns in two games against FBS competition, Aston’s potential return could serve as somewhat of a boon for that side of the ball.
Last season, Aston totaled 75 yards on 22 carries as well as 169 yards on 22 receptions. In those 44 touches, Aston totaled 10 touchdowns — five on the ground, five through the air.
Saturday’s game will serve as the ACC opener for both Pitt and Tech.
A week after seeing their in-state rivals score a big win in the state of Ohio, No. 9 Oklahoma State (3-0) traveled north to the neighboring state of Pennsylvania to assert its dominance as an offensive machine in a 56-14 victory over Pittsburgh (1-2). The Cowboys had over 600 yards of offense in the victory and were nearly flawless in their offensive execution all day long.
Mason Rudolph continued to pad his stat sheet against a Pitt defense that was made of Swiss cheese. Rudolph passed for 497 yards and five touchdowns before getting a rest in the second half. Rudolph’s last pass of the day was actually an interception, but the Oklahoma State defense answered the call with a pick-six of Ben DiNucci just two plays later, with Justin Phillips returning a pass 10 yards for a score. Until the Rudolph interception, Oklahoma State had scored touchdowns on all seven of their possessions. The Cowboys were also excellent on third down, going a perfect nine-for-nine before failing on a third down in the second half.
Four different Oklahoma State wide receivers eclipsed the 100-yard mark, with Jalen McCleskey (162 yards, 3 TDs), James Washington (124 yards), Marcell Ateman (109 yards, 1 TD), and Dillon Stoner (100 yards, 1 TD) all getting in on the fun.
The 56 points allowed by the Panthers is the most allowed by a Pat Narduzzi team in his third year as head coach. The Panthers allowed 61 points to Syracuse last season. The Panthers did well in working the clock last week to slow down Penn State on the road until the Nittany Lions found the big plays n the second half, but Oklahoma State never allowed the Panthers to mimic that game plan with any success the entire game.
Oklahoma State now goes rolling right into Big 12 play for the rest of the season after wrapping up a 3-0 mark in nonconference games to start the year. Oklahoma State returns home for the first time since the season opener next week to host No. 20 TCU (playing SMU today). Oklahoma State dominated TCU last year in a 31-6 victory in mid-November.
Pittsburgh will hit the road to open up their ACC schedule next week against Georgia Tech in an ACC Coastal Division matchup. Georgia Tech will be rested after having their Week 3 game against UCF canceled due to Hurricane Irma. Pittsburgh clipped the Yellow Jackets, 37-34 last season.
A week after Pitt managed to work the clock well on the road against Penn State, the Panthers have simply been unable to duplicate the game plan against Oklahoma State. Mason Rudolph has already passed for 423 yards and five touchdowns as the Big 12 contenders are ripping and tearing their way to a road victory at Pittsburgh this afternoon. Oklahoma State took a 35-0 lead on the Panthers and lead 49-14.
Oklahoma State has scored a touchdown on each of their offensive possessions in the first half. Even when it looks as though Pitt’s defense might come up with a big play, the Cowboys shrug the threat aside. Few plays perhaps demonstrate that better than this 69-yard touchdown play by Oklahoma State, in which Rudolph gets himself out of pressure and remains patient until a man comes open.
Oklahoma State wide receivers Jalen McCleskey and Dillon Stoner have each put together 100-yard afternoons with three combined touchdowns. Running back Justice Hill has rushed for 91 yards and two more scores. Oklahoma State has a chance to score the most points against Pitt in the Pat Narduzzi tenure in western Pennsylvania. Syracuse scored 61 points on the Panthers in a bonkers of a game last year. Oklahoma State is just 12 points away from tying that mark.
The good news for Pitt? Oklahoma State is going to be sending in the second-team offense for the bulk of the second half.
The ACC was gearing up for a week that was to star Florida State and Miami in a primetime battle in the sunshine state. However, Hurricane Irma’s path through the state of Florida is causing some more disruption to the college football schedule a week after wiping a handful of games off the calendar. With Florida State and Miami being moved back to October 7, the ACC will now get to take advantage of a prime time vacancy by showcasing the game that should have been there in the first place.
Clemson’s road game at Louisville will now take over the primetime slot for the ACC this week on ABC. The ACC Atlantic Division battle between the reigning national champions and the reigning Heisman Trophy winner (Lamar Jackson) was originally scheduled for 3:30 p.m. This will be just the fourth time in college football history the defending national champs will face the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, and it will be just the third time it has happened in the regular season.
Clemson won last year’s meeting with the Cardinals in Death Valley, and both teams are off to 2-0 starts this season. The matchup will now go head-to-head in the main prime time slot against USC vs. Texas on FOX.
The ACC also shuffled a few other games to adjust their Week 3 schedule as well. Boston College’s home game against Notre Dame will move from a noon kickoff to 3:30 p.m. on ESPN. Pittsburgh’s home game against Oklahoma State will remain at noon but will be bumped to ESPN. Virginia’s home game against UConn will now air on ESPN2, also kicking off at noon.
“I appreciate the cooperation and flexibility by our institutional leadership and television partners in making these changes possible,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford in a released statement.
After going dormant for over 15 years, Penn State and Pittsburgh renewed their football series in 2016. In that renewal game, Pitt came away with a 42-39 win at home.
Year 2 of the renewal was played in Happy Valley this year with a decidedly different result as the Nittany Lions cruised to a 33-14 win Saturday afternoon.
So, big win for James Franklin and his football program? Well, not exactly.
It should be noted that Franklin has preached in the past that no game is more important than another, with the Week 1 win over Akron holding just as much weight as the Week 2 win over Pitt. But, still, that Super Bowl shot…