Stanford, USC switch identities during first half

3 Comments

The USC Trojans and Stanford Cardinal borrowed each other’s game plans during the first half of play in Palo Alto. Stanford holds a slight 10-7 lead due to opening up its offense and keeping USC’s defense on its heels.

The Cardinal is known for its physical running attack and overwhelming offensive line. The program prides itself on packing in their offense and still being able to run the ball against any defense. Yet, quarterback Kevin Hogan threw the ball 17 times for 157 yards.

Stanford operated at a quicker pace and didn’t huddle during drives. It used multiple-receiver sets and continually used the shotgun formation. Jet sweeps and the wildcat formation were also sprinkled into the mix. This was a multiple Stanford offense that operated on the positive side of the field throughout the half.

The Trojans were far more deliberate on offense.

USC’s offensive line lacks experience, but it’s a massive unit. The right side consists of two first-time starters in right guard Damien Mama and right tackle Zach Banner. Mama is listed at 370 pounds, while Banner is 6-9 and 350 pounds. This Trojans’ offense line can consistently win at the point of attack and did against Stanford.

Junior Javorius Allen ran the ball 15 times for 71 yards, and sophomore Justin Allen added a short touchdown carry. Overall, USC averaged 5.1 yards per carry on designed runs, while Stanford averaged only 3.3 yards per carry.

As the teams prepare for the second half, USC has to place an emphasis on winning at the point of attack on the defensive side of the ball. The Trojans are highly talented with defensive tackle Leonard Williams and middle linebacker Hayes Pullard among their front seven. If these two continue to win individual match-ups while the rest of the Trojans’ defense adjusts to Stanford’s multiple looks, the Cardinal’s three-point advantage can easily be overcome.

Stanford, meanwhile, has to play sound football. Seven penalties in the second half for 53 yards is unacceptable. And a lead of only three points isn’t good enough after winning the time of possession battle by more than eight minutes.

Lott IMPACT Trophy announces semifinalists

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
1 Comment

You know we are getting close to award season in college football because it seems this week has been filled with announcements about semifinalists for every award possible. Welcome to the party, Lott IMPACT Trophy. A total of nine semifinalists were announced by the Lott IMPACT Trophy, which is awarded to the best defensive player with a focus on success on and off the field, integrity, maturity, performance, academics, community and tenacity.

The nine semifinalists for this year’s Lott IMPACT Trophy are:

  • Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
  • Cole Christiansen, LB, Army
  • Jordan Fuller, DB, Ohio State
  • Brandon Jones, DB, Texas
  • Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
  • Chris Orr, LB, Wisconsin
  • Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson
  • Curtis Weaver, DL, Boise State
  • Evan Weaver, LB, Cal

Linebacker remains a strong position for the Lott IMPACT Trophy this season, with five of the nine semifinalists playing a linebacker position.

This year’s recipient of the Lott IMPACT Trophy will be announced on Dec. 15 at the Pacific Club in Newport Beach. This list of nine semifinalists will be trimmed down to four finalists prior to the announcement.

Kentucky’s Josh Allen took home the award last season.

Class of 2019 four-star Baylor commit says he’s heading to Utah

Photo by Douglas Stringer/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
3 Comments

Former Baylor quarterback Peyton Powell has a new football home in the Pac-12. Powell announced on Thursday he is heading to Utah to join the Utes program.

“It’s time for me to clear the air and I WILL be doing that at THE University of Utah,” Powell said in a statement share don his Twitter account on Thursday afternoon.

Powell came to Baylor with the hopes of being able to compete and play quarterback for the Bears. That opportunity was one of the reasons Baylor ended up winning his commitment out of high school, while many schools hoping to sign the four-star athlete could find ways to use his athleticism at different positions. Powell, a member of the Baylor Class of 2019, has not played this season and will have four years of eligibility remaining. NCAA rules would force Powell to sit out the 2010 season before being ruled eligible to play, but he may be given a chance to play right away considering he did not play during his freshman year at Baylor.

Arizona continues shaking up coaching staff with reported firing of defensive line coach

Photo by Jacob Snow/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
2 Comments

As a year of disappointing results comes down the final stretch for the Arizona Wildcats, changes are already in the air for Kevin Sumlin and the program. On Thursday, Arizona continued to go through the process of overhauling its defensive coaching staff with the firing of defensive line coach Iona Uiagalelei.

News of the coaching change was first reported by Jason Scheer of Wildcat Authority. According to that same report, defensive analyst Greg Patrick will be moved into the position of defensive line coach, at least for the remainder of the current season.

Arizona ranks 73rd nationally in rushing defense, 113th in sacks, and 119th in tackles for a loss. These are all stats most commonly used to evaluate the performance of the defensive line, and the results this late in the season just simply aren’t good any way you look at it.

A month ago, Arizona parted ways with defensive coordinator Marcel Yates and linebackers coach John Rushing. Uiagalelei is the third defensive coach to be removed from the staff during the 2019 season.

Jonathan Taylor, Chuba Hubbard among semifinalists for Doak Walker Award

Getty Images
3 Comments

Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor is attempting to do something that has only been done twice before by winning the Doak Walker Award in back-to-back seasons. Taylor was one of the 10 semifinalists revealed by the Doak Walker Award on Thursday, putting last year’s top running back one step closer to pulling off the rare feat on the college football award circuit.

Taylor will have some stiff competition for the award this season. Among the other semifinalists for the award include Oklahoma State’s Chuba Hubbard, the nation’s rushing leader with 1,726 yards and 20 rushing touchdowns (Taylor has 1,463 yards and 17 rushing touchdowns in the same number of games as Hubbard).

Darren McFadden of Arkansas is the most recent player to win the Doak  Walker Award in back-to-back seasons, doing so in 2006 and 2007. The only other player to win the award in consecutive seasons, and the only other two-time winner of the Doak Walker Award, is Ricky Williams of Texas. Williams won the award in 1997 and 1998. Taylor joined former Wisconsin running backs Melvin Gordon (2014), Montee Ball (2012) and Ron Dayne (1999) to move Wisconsin into first place for most all-time Doak Walker Award winners. Texas also has four awards won, but by three players (Ricky Williams twice, Cedric Benson in 2004 and D’Onta Foreman in 2016).

The other semi-finalists for the Doak Walker Award this year include LeVante Bellamy of Western Michigan (21 touchdowns leads the nation), AJ Dillon of Boston College, JK Dobbins of Ohio State, Clyde Edwards-Helaire of LSU, Travis Etienne of Clemson, Kenneth Gainwell of Memphis, Xavier Jones of SMU, Zack Moss of Utah.