It was a series of comings and goings for No. 13 USC’s backfield in the 38-28 win over Utah Thursday night.
On the brighter side of the running back ledger, D.J. Morgan returned to the playing field for the first time since undergoing minor knee surgery early last month. And it was a solid return for the sophomore, who rushed for 46 yards in five carries as the primary backup to Silas Redd.
Redd himself, though, was knocked out of the game with an undisclosed injury. The Penn State transfer, who led the Trojans in rushing with 77 yards and a touchdown, declared after the game that he is “fine,” although there’s been no official word on that front from the school.
Additionally, Curtis McNeal was knocked out in the first quarter of a game that was actually 14-0 in favor of the Utes at the time. Second on the team in rushing entering the conference game, McNeal reportedly suffered a concussion and did not return.
The comings and goings at the RB position, though, didn’t really matter on a night that was all about the aerial attack for the Trojans. A two-game slump for Matt Barkley — just 446 yards passing total, with two touchdowns vs. four interceptions — became a thing of the past as the senior quarterback threw for 303 yards, three touchdowns and, most importantly, no interceptions.
Marquise Lee was the biggest beneficiary of Barkley shaking off the mini-slump, with the sophomore catching 12 passes for 192 yards and a touchdown. The scoring play covered 83 yards, the longest of his career.
After moving on from Ohio State, Jared Drake has opted to drop a couple of rungs on the college football ladder in continuing his playing career.
On his personal Twitter account Thursday, Drake announced “that the next stop on this long journey will be with the Leathernecks of Western Illinois University!” As Western Illinois plays at the FCS level, the linebacker will be eligible to play immediately in 2018.
Drake came to the Buckeyes as a walk-on in 2015. he played in nine games the past two seasons, almost exclusively on special teams.
According to his official OSU bio, Drake had “added long snapping to his résumé along with his responsibilities as a linebacker.”
The aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey continue to linger, in this case as it pertains to college football scheduling.
Houston and UT-San Antonio in March of 2016 announced a future four-game series, with two of the games set to be played at the latter’s home (2017, 2023) and two in the former’s (2022, 2024). Because of the once-in-500 years flooding event in the Houston area last August, however, the 2017 game was canceled.
In a press release Thursday, UTSA confirmed that the canceled 2017 game will now be played on Aug. 30, 2025, at TDECU Stadium in Houston. The 2023 game, which had been scheduled to be played in San Antonio, will now be played in Houston.
The 2022 and 2024 games had been scheduled for Houston’s home but will now be played in San Antonio’s Alamodome.
The two football teams have met twice previously, in 2013 and 2014. The road teams won each of those matchups, with the Roadrunners spoiling the opening of UH’s new stadium in the 2014 game.
In April, Fotu Leiato was arrested on a couple of charges related to the illegal removal of a parking boot from his vehicle. A month later, we’ve learned Leiato was given the boot from his current football program for good measure.
247Sports.com was the first to report that Leiato has been dismissed by first-year Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal. Further to the point, the linebacker’s dismissal came a day after his April arrest but the news didn’t surface until Thursday.
In the April incident, Leiato was arrested on charges of second-degree criminal mischief, second-degree theft and criminal trespassing. That was actually his second arrest this year as he was charged with misdemeanor trespassing in January.
The combination of the two arrests led Cristobal to pull the trigger on a dismissal.
Coming to Eugene as a three-star safety, Leiato played in 37 of 38 games the past three seasons. The Washington native earned the first start of his collegiate playing career during the 2017 season.
The senior had been in line to earn a starting job exiting spring and heading into the summer phase of the offseason.
Darren Kirkland‘s injury-plagued time on Rocky Top has come to an end.
On his personal Twitter account Thursday evening, Kirkland announced that he has decided to transfer out of first-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt‘s Tennessee football program. The linebacker gave no specific reason for his decision to move on from the Volunteers.
“Tennessee will always hold a special place in my heart,” Kirkland wrote. “These moments have been priceless and I’m a better player and man from this experience.”
As a graduate transfer, Kirkland would be eligible to play for another FBS program in 2018. Not only that, but he will have two seasons of eligibility remaining counting this year.
A four-star 2015 signee, Kirkland started 10 games as a true freshman and then another six in a sophomore campaign marred by a high-ankle sprain that forced him to miss four games. In summer camp last year, he suffered a knee injury severe enough to sideline him for the entire 2017 season.
The rehab from that injury kept Kirkland from being a full participant in Pruitt’s first spring practice this year.