Well hello, college football. Oh how we’ve missed you. And, Saturday’s slate, you have one helluva act to follow.
Twice during Ole Miss’ Big 12-esque 39-35 win over Vanderbilt, the Rebels reached down and came back from 11-point deficits — and that was after Vandy fell down 10-0 in the first quarter.
With just under two minutes left in the fourth quarter of the back-and-forth affair, Ole Miss held a four-point lead before Jordan Matthews turned a fourth-and-18 into a 42-yard gain — one play after vomiting all over the Vanderbilt Stadium turf as Twitter concussion specialists cried foul — and Steven Scheu turned a busted coverage the next play into a 34-yard touchdown catch-and-run.
35-32 Commodores with just 1:30 remaining and, after the ensuing kickoff, the Rebels 75 yards from a game-winning touchdown. Following an incomplete pass on first down, the Vandy defense proceeded to pull its best Matthews, coughing up a 75-yard touchdown run (pictured) to Rebels running back Jeff Scott with just over a minute left.
As deflating as that turn of events was, Vandy still had the opportunity to shock Ole Miss late in back-to-back seasons. A facemask penalty on the kickoff return following Scott’s TD stunner handed the ‘Dores the ball just shy of midfield, at their own 49. On a third-and-four with 30 seconds or so left, a tipped Austyn Carta-Samuels pass was intercepted by the Rebels, sealing the Ole Miss win in the SEC opener for both schools.
The player who tipped the final, catchable pass? Jordan Matthews, which just makes ya sick to your stomach.
While there will be plenty of pundit bloviating over Matthews and whether he should’ve been in the game, there is one certainty coming out of Nashville very early Friday morning: that was college football at its finest between two very solid teams. And, it should be noted, a warning shot across the bow of the rest of the SEC that neither Ole Miss nor Vandy will be easy outs in 2013.
In mid-April, Patrick O’Brien took to social media to announce his decision to transfer from Nebraska. Earlier this month, the quarterback announced his new college football home. Wednesday, said new college football home confirmed O’Brien’s addition.
In a press release, Colorado State acknowledged that O’Brien has indeed joined Mike Bobo‘s football program. Because of NCAA transfer rules, the 6-4, 230-pound O’Brien will be forced to sit out the 2018 season.
However, beginning with the 2019 season, he will have two years of eligibility that he can use moving forward.
A four-star member of the Cornhuskers’ 2016 recruiting class, O’Brien was rated as the No. 10 pro-style quarterback that year. It’s that pro-style of play that led him to transfer away from Scott Frost and Nebraska after the new regime’s first spring practice came to an end earlier this offseason.
As the primary backup to Tanner Lee last season, and after redshirting his true freshman season, O’Brien completed 18-of-30 passes for 192 yards and an interception. He also ran for four yards on 14 carries.
An arrest has been made in connection to the death of a former Oregon football player, the Eugene Register-Guard and The Oregonian are reporting.
Ex-Ducks linebacker Fotu Leiato was found dead early Friday morning as the result of what was described as a single-car accident. Pedro Chavarin Jr. was the driver of a vehicle that rolled over and crashed in Eugene; at the time, the 22-year-old UO student told police that he was the only occupant of the vehicle.
While Chavarin was initially charged with DUII, one count of first-degree manslaughter has since been added as Leiato’s body was found hours after the crash. According to police, the 21-year-old Leiato had been a passenger in Chavarin’s Kia sedan at the time of the wreck.
According to The Oregonian, Chavarin faces a minimum of 10 years in prison if convicted of first-degree manslaughter.
Leiato played in 37 games the past three seasons for the Ducks. He was dismissed from the football program in April after the second of his two arrests this offseason.
“We are saddened to learn of the passing of Fotu, and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time,” a statement from the university at the time of Leiato’s passing began. “He will be remembered and missed by all who knew him.”
An already tragic story has taken an even sadder turn.
In early March, Rice defensive end Blain Padgett was found dead in his apartment after he failed to show for a football workout and a wellness check was performed. This week, the Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office determined that the 21-year-old’s death was caused by the “toxic effects of carfentanil, which is an analog of the synthetic opioid analgesic fentanyl,” KTRK-TV in Houston wrote.
From the television station’s report:
Dr. Richard Pesikoff, a Baylor College of Medicine employee, said carfentanil is a dangerous opioid that was designed to be an elephant tranquilizer.
It’s 10,000 times more potent than morphine, and 100 times more potent than fentanyl.
Dr. Pesikoff said carfentanil is deadly because it causes the brain to suppress breathing.
“It’s a dangerous recreational drug,” Dr. Pesikoff said. “Probably the most dangerous. Maybe LSD is equally as dangerous because it comes in micrograms and just the tiny bit that you touch go through the pores in your skin.
In 2016, the 6-5, 250-pound Padgett was second on the team in tackles for loss with 5½ and led all Owls defensive linemen with 41 tackles. He played in just three games this past season, while also playing in eight games as a true freshman in 2015.
In response to the cause-of-death report, the university issued the following statement:
The Rice community was deeply saddened by the loss of Blain Padgett. Out of respect for Blain and his family, we will not discuss personal or private matters. His family, teammates and friends continue to have our deepest condolences.
The drug involved in his player’s death led head coach David Bailiff to state that “[i]t makes you evaluate again as a man is there something else you could’ve done? Is there some other outreach that we could’ve lead to?” The family’s question as it pertains to the findings is a poignant one as well.
“We would like to know how Blain got his hands on this drug that seems very difficult to get,” Mical Padgett, Blain’s father, said. “That’s our main question. How did he get it and why did he take it?
LSU rarely loses a player it wants out of Louisiana. Now add in that said player isn’t just from Louisiana, but lives in Baton Rouge. Now add in that he’s regarded as the No. 1 player at his position. Yeah, this kid was never going anywhere else.
Derek Stingley, Jr., committed to LSU on Wednesday, beating out Texas and Florida.
Rivals ranks Stingley as the No. 1 corner and No. 1 overall player in its 2019 rankings. Stingley stands as the No. 1 corner and the No. 8 overall player on the 247Sports ratings. ESPN is more bullish on Stingley, slotting him as just the No. 3 cornerback and the No. 67 overall player. (247Sports lists Lewis Center, Ohio, defensive end Zach Harrison as its No. 1 overall player, while ESPN favors Westlake Village, Calif., defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux.)
Stingley was previously committed to LSU, but de-committed to take his time and make an informed decision. All that information led him to the exact same conclusion.
“There are a lot of reasons I love LSU, but the main thing is coach Corey Raymond. We have built a strong relationship over a long period of time. We have really gotten to know each other. I am relaxed around him, we can talk about anything and I know he will be there for me at any time. Our connection is what really pushed LSU to the top,” he told Rivals. “This commitment is completely different. I took my time. I put more time into it and really looked at other schools. I got caught up in the hype before and I did not know anything about recruiting or other schools. I know all I need to know now and LSU is the school for me. I am done now and I will not visit any other schools.”
LSU’s 13-man class is rated No. 10 nationally in the 247Sports Composite rankings.