Missouri

Temple sacks Penn State, ends 39-game winless streak

36 Comments

The was far from the optimal way for Year 2 of the James Franklin Era at Penn State to begin.

Temple had entered the mid-afternoon contest as a 10-point home underdog.  A little over three hours later, the Owls had stunned the Nittany Lions 27-10.  Penn State had actually jumped out to a 10-0 first-quarter lead before Temple ripped off 27 unanswered points, with the final touchdown in the fourth quarter essentially putting the game away with 12 minutes remaining as the Nittany Lions were pitifully and woefully inept offensively.

The Nittany Lions mustered just 191 yards of offense — 103 passing, 88 rushing.  The first two drives of the game, which resulted in a field goal and a touchdown, netted Penn State 128 yards, which means its offense totaled just 63 more the last three-plus quarters.

Last season, the Nittany Lions’ offensive line was brutal; this season is proving to be no different as beleaguered quarterback Christian Hackenberg was sacked a whopping total of 10 times.  One of those sacks, embarrassingly enough, came when the Owls went with a two-man pass rush.  While not every sack was on the line, enough were that Franklin and his staff must do something before a potential first-round pick is ruined.

As big as the loss was for Penn State, it might’ve been an even bigger win for Matt Rhule‘s Temple program.

After winning just two games his first season, Rhule saw that total jump to six in 2014.  Historically, though, this was one of the record books as it served as the Owls’ first win over the Nittany Lions since 1941, a winless streak of 39 consecutive games.  After a tie in the 1950 game, Penn State had won 31 straight games against Temple.

This game also marked the program’s first home win over a Power Five conference school since beating Kansas in 1942.

The icing on the cake for Rhule?  He was a linebacker for the Nittany Lions in the nineties.

CFT 2015 Preseason Preview: SEC Predictions

5 Comments

As the 2015 season draws near, we peek into our crystal ball and guess project how each of the five major conferences will play out. Today, we will be examining the home of the defending national champion, the Big Ten. 

And while we’re at it, check out some of our other Power Five conference predictions HERE (ACC), HERE (Big 12) and HERE (Big Ten) as the CFT team continues to take its month-long glimpse of the upcoming season.

SEC EAST

1. Georgia (10-3; beat Louisville in Belk Bowl)
There is one certainty when it comes to the East: UGA will not finish lower than third, a low-water benchmark for each of Mark Richt‘s 14 seasons in Athens that has included five division titles — none since 2012, though.  They return the most talent of any team in the division, although the fact that they opted for Grayson Lambert as the starting quarterback has me second-guessing my prediction.  It’s been a decade since UGA’s last SEC championship, and if they’re going to get back to that level they’ll have to do so with a schedule that includes both Alabama and Auburn as well as a road trip to Tennessee.  Still, anything less than an East title and a spot in the SEC championship game would be decidedly disappointing — and would lead to yet another offseason of “is it time to go in another direction?” speculation.

2. Tennessee (7-6; beat Iowa in Taxslayer Bowl)
Am I a year early with this lofty projection?  Possibly, especially given the team right below them.  Still, there’s no denying that Butch Jones has stuffed his talent cupboard after the barren years under his predecessor, Derek Dooley.  The Vols closed out last year on a positive note, going 4-1 down the stretch — the lone loss coming by eight to Mizzou — capping it off with an impressive 45-28 win over the Hawkeyes in the bowl game.  That final flourish coincided with Josh Dobbs‘ ascension as the starting quarterback.  With the scintillating playmaker poised to build off his first season at this level, the Vols could very well challenge both UGA and Mizzou for East supremacy.

3. Missouri (11-3; beat Minnesota in Citrus Bowl)
“Here we go again, denigrating the two-time defending East champion Tigers.” — the two Mizzou fans who frequent this site, probably.  And, actually, that’s an understandable reaction, given how the Tigers have been the class of the division the past two seasons.  They’re also one of the few teams in the conference that returns its starting quarterback.  Still, there are concerns along the defensive line — they return just five starters on that side of the ball, period — and their schedule doesn’t do them very many favors as they play at Georgia and Arkansas as well as play host to Mississippi State.  It wouldn’t shock me, though, if Mizzou made it three straight titles.  In fact, the only thing that would shock the system is if they finish outside the top three in the division.

(more…)

Dismissed by Penn State, Daiquan Kelly moves on to UMass

7 Comments

Over the weekend, Daiquan Kelly was dismissed by Penn State.  Three days later, he reportedly has a new school.

Kelly’s high school coach has confirmed to nj.com that his former player has decided to move on to UMass to start his collegiate playing career.  The Minutemen, for what it’s worth, have yet to announce Kelly’s addition to the roster.

“He’s going to leave on Saturday morning to go over there and I think it’s a great spot for him,” Union City (NJ) High School coach Wil Valdez told the website. “He’ll go there, redshirt and then have the opportunity to start as a redshirt freshman.

“The coaches at UMass like him as a safety and with his size and stature, he should be in a good position to make plays for them at the position.”

Other than an unspecified violation of team rules, there was no reason given for Kelly’s dismissal by James Franklin.

Kelly, a four-star 2015 signee, was rated as the No. 17 athlete in the country and was listed as a linebacker by Penn State. Only two 2015 defensive signees, a pair of defensive backs, were rated higher than the New Jersey product in the Nittany Lions’ 2015 recruiting class.

(Photo credit: Rivals.com)

Penn State dismisses four-star freshman linebacker

84 Comments

One of the key additions to Penn State’s Class of 2015 has been dismissed from the program. On Saturday morning the Penn State athletics department sent out a brief statement announcing freshman linebacker Daiquan Kelly has been dismissed from the program due to a violation of team rules.

The reason for the dismissal is unknown at this time, although the severe discipline would suggest this was hardly something as trivial as stealing soda from a Burger King. We will have to wait to learn more on this situation for now, but James Franklin making the decision to remove a four-star athlete from his program just as fall camp was getting started is a show that this was a somewhat severe matter.

Kelly was a four-star recruit in Penn State’s Class of 2015 out of New Jersey. The Union City, New Jersey native chose Penn State over offers from a good handful of programs including Rutgers, Boston College, Illinois, Cincinnati and more. Rivals ranked Kelly as the 17th best athlete in the nation in the Class of 2015 and the ninth best recruit from the fertile recruiting grounds of the Garden State.

UPDATE (10:51 A.M.) – Kelly released a brief statement on his Twitter account pronouncing his love and respect to his coaches and teammates at Penn State and he is focused on “getting back in the classroom” to continue his dream of getting a degree and playing college football.

FCS-to-Ducks transfer one of 30 QBs on Unitas Award watch list

2 Comments

Even as one high-profile FCS transfer has yet to be officially added to his new Power Five program’s roster, he’s still highly thought of by at least one major award.

Tuesday, the fine folks at the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award released its preseason watch list, with the annual award given to the best college senior or fourth-year junior quarterback recognizing 30 players who meet the qualifications.  And, again, those qualifications are that they are, one, a quarterback and, two, are a college senior or fourth-year junior.

Included in that group of 30 is Vernon Adams, one of the most decorated players in the Football Championship Series who announced in February of this year that he would be transferring from Eastern Washington to Oregon for his final season of collegiate eligibility.  In early July it was reported that Adams had been admitted to UO and ruled eligible to enroll in classes at the university.  However, Adams will likely miss at least the first three days of the Ducks’ summer camp that begins Aug. 10 as he cleans up one final class that will allow him formal admission and his inclusion on his new squad’s roster.

There’s also one current FCS quarterback in the group: North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz.

In addition to Adams and Wentz, 2014 Unitas finalists Cody Kessler of USC and Dak Prescott of Mississippi State are included in the initial watch list.   Last year’s winner was the man Adams will attempt to replace, Marcus Mariota.

Below is the complete list of preseason Unitas Award watch listers.  And, again, those eligible are college senior or fourth-year junior quarterbacks.

Vernon Adams, Oregon
Brandon Allen, Arkansas
Tommy Armstrong, Nebraska
Mike Bercovici, Arizona State
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Blake Frohnapfel, UMass
Everett Golson, Florida State
Taysom Hill, BYU
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Driphus Jackson, Rice
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Chuckie Keeton, Utah State
Cody Kessler, USC
Gunner Kiel, Cincinnati
Fredi Knighten, Arkansas State
Joe Licata, Buffalo
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Maty Mauk, Missouri
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Zach Terrell, Western Michigan
Justin Thomas, Georgia Tech
Chad Voytik, Pittsburgh
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah