Missouri’s BCS dreams clank off upright in double overtime

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Missouri’s undefeated season did not come quietly. Rather, it came with a loud clank off the left upright in the second overtime. South Carolina handed Missouri their first loss in the season after Connor Shaw came off the sidelines for a wild rally and Andrew Baggett‘s 24-yard kick in the second overtime ran in to the upright and bounced the BCS dreams of Missouri from the conversation. South Carolina, down 17-0 at one point in the second half, stormed back for a wild 27-24 victory.

South Carolina needed a spark in the second half. Trailing 14-0 to Missouri, Steve Spurrier wanted to see Dylan Thompson lead the Gamecocks back with the SEC East on the line, but three straight incomplete passes turned the football over on downs in Missouri territory, the ol’ ball coach made the move to call on a beat-up Connor Shaw. The way Shaw played some might wonder why he did not get the start in the first place.

Shaw led the Gamecocks all the way back from a 17-0 deficit in the in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 17-17 with 42 seconds to spare and the defense held Missouri to force overtime on the road.

Missouri struck first in the overtime, taking the overtime’s opening possession in on the ground with a Marcus Murphy run to the left side of the line near the goal line. With the game one down away from being clinched by Missouri, Shaw once again came through in the clutch with a fourth-and-goal pass to the end zone, where it was secured by Bruce Ellington to send the game to a second overtime.

The tension only built from there. With Missouri feeling so close to a trip to Atlanta as the SEC East champions, it would be up to the defense to make the first play in the second overtime. During the possession though South Carolina lost running back Mike Davis to what appeared to be a gruesome lower leg injury on his right leg. Amazingly, Davis walked off the field. Two plays later, the Elliott Fry kicked a 40-yard field goal to give the Gamecocks their first lead of the night. then the kicking game caught up to Missouri, when Baggett’s much shorter attempt hit the upright and fell no good.

Missouri’s loss will hurt in the standings, but the Tigers may still have a good shot to get to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game. Missouri still holds a one-game lead in the loss column in the SEC East, with South Carolina now right behind them and owning a tiebreaker. This loss will be a setback for a team that has built plenty of momentum and deserved credit. This Missouri team is still going to play a factor in the SEC race and could still get back in to the BCS conversation before the end of the season. Missouri could still make a run to become the nation’s top one-loss team. If the Tigers can manage to run the table the rest of the way, which would likely include a win over Alabama in the SEC Championship Game, then Missouri would absolutely be one of the favorites to get in to the BCS Championship when all is said and done.

But for now Missouri just needs to bounce back next week against at home against Tennessee.

Ex-UCLA head coach Terry Donahue recovering from surgery following cancer diagnosis

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One of the greatest UCLA football head coaches of all-time is the latest to battle one of the most insidious diseases in the history of mankind.

UCLA has confirmed that Terry Donahue was recently diagnosed with an undisclosed form of cancer and underwent surgery this past Friday.  The 74-year-old Donahue was released from the hospital Tuesday morning and is set to begin chemotherapy.

“The Donahue family appreciates everyone’s well wishes but requests privacy at this time,” the football program wrote in its release.

Donahue, who played his college football for the Bruins in the mid-sixties, served as the offensive line coach at his alma mater from 1971-75 before replacing Dick Vermeil, who left to take the same job with the Philadelphia Eagles, and taking over as head coach in 1976.

In 20 seasons leading UCLA, Donahue led the Bruins to a school-record 151 wins.  From 1976-95, Donahue captured five Pac-12 championships and two conference Coach of the Year honors. He was the first coach in NCAA history to win a bowl game in seven consecutive seasons, and had a 10-9-1 record against crosstown rival USC.

In 2000, Donahue was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Southern Miss, Troy schedule 4-game series

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Southern Miss and Troy on Tuesday jointly announced a four-game series to be spread across the next decade.

Troy will visit Hattiesburg on Sept. 18, 2021, but Southern Miss will not make a return visit until Sept. 14, 2024. The teams will then take the next three years off before resuming in Troy again on Sept. 16, 2028, and the series will conclude on Sept. 1, 2029 in Hattiesburg.

“We are excited to announce these future games for our football program,” Southern Miss AD Jeremy McClain said. “Our scheduling philosophy moving forward will continue to include regionally based opponents that provide great opportunities for fans to enjoy Golden Eagle football.”

Southern Miss and Troy have met nine times previously, first in 1937 and most recently 2016. The Trojans won both of those games, while Southern Miss took the seven in between.

As of today, Southern Miss has its entire 2021 non-conference slate lined up against teams from the state of Alabama. The Golden Eagles open at South Alabama, then visit Tuscaloosa a week after hosting Troy. The Trojans stand as USM’s only non-conference opponent on the books for the 2024, ’28 and ’29 seasons.

Troy, meanwhile, hosts Liberty on Sept. 11, 2021, and visits South Carolina a week after the trip to Hattiesburg. The Trojans will visit Memphis a week before hosting USM in 2024, and have no other games scheduled in 2028 or ’29.

 

Former USC, Tennessee assistant Willie Mack Garza joins Wyoming staff

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Wyoming has hired Willie Mack Garza as the club’s safeties coach, the program announced Tuesday.

Garza is a new name to Cowboys fans but not new to head coach Craig Bohl. Garza worked for Bohl at North Dakota State from 2005-08. That stint led him to join Lane Kiffin‘s staffs at Tennessee (2009) and USC (’10). At Tennessee, Garza committed a show-cause penalty for violating a recruiting rule.

“I do want to make one thing clear, Willie Mack has acknowledged a mistake he made 10 years ago that resulted in him being disciplined by the NCAA for a recruiting violation,” Bohl said. “Since then, he has been reinstated by the NCAA.  We have a reputation of holding ourselves to high ethical standards here at the University of Wyoming, and I expect Coach Garza to follow those high standards.”

Garza spent the past two seasons at Dixie State, a Division II school in Utah, including one as defensive coordinator. He left Dixie State earlier this year to become the co-defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Texas A&M-Commerce, another Division II school.

“First and foremost this is a blessing that Coach (Craig) Bohl and the University of Wyoming Athletics Department has provided me this opportunity to come coach here,” said Garza.  “I love coaching.  It is in my blood.  I love being around the players and the other coaches, going into the WAR Room and preparing.  This is also an opportunity for me to provide a platform for young men to be successful on and off the football field in the four to five years that they are here and for the rest of their lives.”

With Garza aboard, Cowboys defensive coordinator Jake Dickert will now transition to linebackers coach in addition to his coordinator duties.

At least nine players have now left South Carolina this offseason

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The transfer train has made frequent stops in Columbia throughout the offseason, and the month of May has been no exception.

Cole Cubelic of the SEC Network was the first to report Monday that the name of safety Jonathan Gipson is now listed in the NCAA transfer database.  Additionally, 247Sports.com is reporting that wide receiver-turned-running back Joe Thomas has entered the portal as well.

After coming to the Gamecocks as a three-star 2018 signee, Gipson played in two games as a true freshman.  Because he played in fewer than four games, Gipson can take a redshirt for 2018, which would leave him with four years of eligibility.  However, barring something unexpected, Gipson would have to sit out the 2019 season if he moves on to another FBS program, meaning he’d have three years to play three seasons beginning in 2020.

Thomas, a walk-on, played in two games this past season as well.

Gipson and Thomas are at least the eighth and ninth players to transfer from the Gamecocks this offseason, joining, among others, defensive end Shameik Blackshear (HERE), linebacker Zay Brown (HERE), quarterback Darius Douglas (HERE) and running back Ty’Son Williams (HERE).