Report: WVU trying to cut Florida State game

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The primary story of West Virginia’s 70-33 spanking of ACC champ Clemson in the Orange Bowl the other night, besides all the broken records, was the momentum the Mountaineers would ride into the Big 12 conference provided everything worked out from a legal standpoint with the Big East.

Well, that’s an ongoing dilemma, and as much as WVU would love to have you believe the school will be in their new conference starting July 1, the truth is that negotiations between the two sides haven’t commenced yet as far as we know — WVU president Jim Clements wouldn’t comment on such talks earlier this week —  and we’re getting to a point where what happens in the 2012 season is going to have to be decided upon.

But if WVU does make it to the Big 12, their non-conference schedule is going to have to be reduced by one game to fit the new conference slate (WVU was anticipating the arrival of TCU before the Horned Frogs went to the Big 12, so Big East football teams had four non-con games scheduled). According to the  Tallahassee Democrat, WVU is trying to get out of its away game with Florida State ($) in anticipation of its own move to the Big 12. The Mountaineers would keep their non-con games against Marshall, Maryland and James Madison. 

The buyout of cancelling that game has been rumored to be anywhere between $350,000 and $500,000.

West Virginia halts Kansas winning streak at 1 game

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The streak is over. Before it really began.

After thumping Boston College last Friday night, Kansas returned home to open its Big 12 slate against West Virginia, but Les Miles and company could not keep the mojo going as WVU emerged with a 29-24 win.

A win would have given Kansas (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) back-to-back wins over Power 5 opponents for the first time since taking four straight over the 2008-09 seasons.

West Virginia scored first and never trailed, but Kansas scored with 2:10 remaining to pull within five, the closest the Jayhawks had been since a 7-7 tie in the second quarter. After pulling within 29-24, Kansas forced a WVU punt and then took over at its own 20 with 32 seconds remaining. The Jayhawks moved to their own 48, where a completion from Carter Stanley to Daylon Charlot and a series of laterals put the ball in Pooka Williams‘ hands, but he was tackled at the West Virginia 12, ending the game.

Stanley threw for 275 yards and three touchdowns, while Williams rushed 15 times for 76 yards.

Austin Kendall completed 25-of-37 passes for 202 yards for West Virginia (3-1, 1-0 Big 12), while Kennedy McKoy rushed 20 times for 73 yards and a touchdown, Leddie Brown rushed 12 times for 70 yards, and Martell Pettway added 40 yards and two scores on the ground.

Like Kansas, West Virginia was picked at the bottom of the Big 12, so Kansas could be waiting a while still for its next set of back-to-back Power 5 victories.

Pitt Special! Pitt stuns No. 15 UCF in thriller to snap UCF regular-season win streak

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After 27 consecutive wins in the regular season, the UCF Knights have taken a loss. No. 15 UCF (3-1) was upset on the road by Pitt (2-2, 0-1 ACC) on Saturday afternoon in Heinz Field, 35-34. Pitt blew a 21-0 lead befroe coming back to win the game with a trick play in the final minute of the fourth quarter.

With the game on the line in the final minute of the fourth quarter, Pitt rolled out a play reminiscent of the Philly Special (Pat Narduzzi attempted to rebrand the play as Pitt Special after the game) from Super Bowl 52. Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett caught a pass from Aaron Matthews for a three-yard go-ahead touchdown.

Making the situation more imposing for UCF was the fact head coach Josh Heupel burned UCF’s final timeout on defense just before the touchdown was scored. That left UCF in a tough spot with under a minute to play. Starting at their 25-yard line with 56 seconds to play and no timeouts at their disposal, time ran out on the Knights as the Pitt defense was swarming. Gabriel was sacked twice in three plays to lock the gate son a win for the Panthers.

UCF fell behind with an uncharacteristically ugly start that saw them fall behind 21-0, and every aspect of the team was to blame. The offense was unable to get going. The defense could not make a big stop. And the special teams unit had a punt blocked and returned for a touchdown by the Panthers. But UCF seized some control and got things back in their favor with a couple of scores before halftime, and a 21-7 burst out of halftime turned the tables in UCF’s favor.

Dillon Gabriel overcame his own rough start to the game to throw for 321 yards and two touchdowns. Both touchdown passes came in the third quarter, the first to Gabriel Davis from the 10-yard line to bring UCF within four and the second to Davis for a 28-yard score to push UCF’s lead to 10.

But UCF couldn’t put the game away for good. UCF missed on a fourth-down conversion attempt in the fourth quarter and settled for a field goal at the end of a 10-play drive with 4:36 remaining in the game. Pitt then went on their game-winning drive over the course of 12 plays. The drive was extended by a UCF offside penalty on a 4th & 5 with 2:11 left to play. After getting the free first down, Pickett completed a 19-yard pass to Taysir Mack to get the ball down to the UCF 11-yard line. A few plays later set the stage fo the memorable touchdown by the Panthers.

For the first time in three seasons, UCF must rebound from a regular-season loss. The good news is they get a good rebound opportunity next week at home against UConn. It will be all conference play the rest of the year for UCF, and their hopes of playing in the New Years Six ar not at all dashed base don this one loss. With over two months of football still to be played, UCF still is firmly in the mix for a third-straight NY6 appearance (although fans of Boise State are feeling good at this particular moment). But the talk about UCF in the College Football Playoff, for now, can be set aside.

As for Pitt, the Panthers play one more non-conference matchup next week against Delaware, a top 25 FCS program coming off a nailbiter against Penn earlier today. After a battle with the Blue Hens, Pitt will remain in ACC play for the rest of the season, beginning with a road trip to Duke. And against Duke, anything can happen if recent history is any indication.

SMU upsets No. 25 TCU, claims Iron Skillet for first time since 2011

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The Iron Skillet is heading back to Dallas for the first time in nearly a decade as one of the surprise stories of the early portion of the 2019 season has continued its unexpected winning ways — and at the expense of a rival for good measure.

The media had SMU pegged as the fourth-best team in the AAC South in its preseason poll; in his college football bible, Phil Steele had the Mustangs in third place in the division.  Saturday afternoon, however, SMU showed it should be a force to contend with in the conference race as it jumped out to a 31-17 halftime lead on No. 25 TCU and then held on for a 41-38 win over the Horned Frogs.

The win gives SMU, an eight-point underdog entering the game, possession of the Iron Skillet for the first time since 2011 and just the third time since 1998.

The 4-0 start is the program’s first since the Pony Express days of 1984; a win next week would match the 5-0 start of the ’83 squad.  Barring something unforeseen, the Mustangs will be ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 for the first time since the 1986 season when the new poll is released Sunday afternoon.

Former Texas quarterback Shane Buechele passed for 288 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win.

No. 8 Auburn too much for No. 17 Texas A&M

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No. 8 Auburn did most of its damage to No. 17 Texas A&M on two drives. The first was the game’s opening drive, where Anthony Schwartz darted 57 yards for a touchdown. The second came midway through the fourth quarter, when the Tigers went 12 plays and 69 yards , with 11 of those plays and 62 of those yards coming on the ground, the last effectively putting the game way, as JaTavious Whitlow‘s 8-yard rush with 8:27 remaining gave Auburn a 28-10 lead en route to a 28-20 win.

Texas A&M (2-2, 0-1 SEC) rallied after the Whitlow run, moving 69 yards to set up a Seth Small field goal and then 81 yards in eight snaps to pull within 28-20 on a Kellen Mond-to-Ainias Smith strike with 2:12 remaining.

Whitlow recovered A&M’s onside kick after the Smith touchdown, allowing the Tigers to ice the game and emerge from Kyle Field with their fourth win in as many trips. Overall, the road team is 7-1 in this series since Texas A&M joined the SEC in 2012.

Auburn (4-0, 1-0 SEC) won the game because it owned the ground game. The Tigers rushed for 195 yards to the Aggies’ 56, though all but 76 of Auburn’s rushing yards came on two drives.

Bo Nix took care of the football, but threw for just 100 yards on 20 attempts and missed on three deep balls that would have broken the game open for Auburn. He did rush for six yards on a 3rd-and-5 to expire the clock inside the final minute.

Mond threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns, but needed 49 attempts to get there. He found Jhamon Ausbon eight times for 111 yards and Quartney Davis five times for 82 yards and a score, but A&M’s inability to run the ball with its running backs left Mond as the Aggies’ leading rusher at just 26 yards.