Virginia Tech comes from ahead to lose

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It was just two weeks ago Virginia Tech was being praised for their effort against Ohio State in Columbus. Really, it was that recently the Hokies were ranked in the top 25 and looking like a strong contender in the ACC, or at least the Coastal Division. Two weeks later the Hokies have lost two straight games on their home field. Last week it was East Carolina holding on for a victory. This week it was the Hokies coughing up a fourth-quarter lead and going down in division play as Georgia Tech snuck out of Blacksburg with a 27-24 victory.

Virginia Tech lost the lead twice in the fourth quarter. Georgia Tech took its first lead since the opening score when Paul Davis returned an interception of Michael Brewer 41 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter. The extra point gave Georgia Tech a 17-16 lead, but it lasted just a few minutes. On the ensuing possession, it was Brewer who got a lucky bounce on a fumbled football. Brewer had the loose ball find its way to him and he was able to run for a 21-yard touchdown with the defense mostly out of the picture. A two-point conversion gave the home team a 24-17 lead midway through the quarter.

Georgia Tech looked cooked on a 4th and 15 situation but pulled together a big first down play out of a timeout that seemed costly at the time. After completing the first down the Yellow Jackets again took to the air as Justin Thomas connected with DeAndre Smelter for a 31-yard touchdown with 2:03 to play. After converted a 4th and 15, why not go for broke, right? It paid off, and from there Georgia Tech’s defense waited for another mistake to pounce on. They got it on Virginia Tech’s next drive. Brewer made a poor decision on a pass and was picked off by D.J. White on the first play of the drive. The turnover gave Georgia Tech a free possession at the Virginia Tech 40-yard line. Using their time management to perfection, Georgia Tech methodically moved into field goal position for Harrison Butker. Butker sent a routine 24-yard field goal through the uprights as time expired, giving Georgia Tech the win and a spot in first place in the ACC Coastal Division.

Virginia Tech will play their third straight home game next weekend. Western Michigan will make the trip to represent the MAC, and Virginia Tech will return to ACC play with another key ACC Coastal Division battle the following week against North Carolina. The road trip to Chapel Hill kicks off a crucial three-game stretch for Virginia Tech in division play with games at North Carolina, at Pittsburgh and then at home against Miami. That could easily give Virginia Tech a chance to rebound and grab a firm hold of the division, which is something no team in this division has really been able to do in recent seasons. Georgia Tech is just getting started with their key division stretch. After taking next week off, Georgia Tech will host Miami and Duke before visiting North Carolina and Pittsburgh.

Georgia Tech is just getting started with their key division stretch. After taking next week off, Georgia Tech will host Miami and Duke before visiting North Carolina and Pittsburgh.

LSU students will go to class on Saturday to make up for national title game

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LSU students who got to skip class for the national title game (and the ensuing celebrations…) were hit with a dose of reality returning to Baton Rouge on Friday.

According to an announcement from the university, classes that were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday for the championship game have been rescheduled. As a result, students will have to go to class on Saturday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Feb. 8.

So yes, Saturdays in the fall have resulted in a few Saturdays of work in the spring.

The school had received a bit of criticism when it was announced that classes were cancelled on the dates surrounding the championship game. While the practice has happened elsewhere, the nature of the game being less than an hour from campus in New Orleans certainly made things unique for the Tigers and their large fan base.

While some students no doubt had hoped that the classes at the time were indeed cancelled, it turns out they were in fact just being rescheduled. Going to school on a Saturday probably isn’t what many had in mind when signing up for the spring semester but there’s probably not a soul in purple and gold will take issue with the change given that it comes as a result of hoisting the ultimate football trophy on Monday night in the Big Easy.

Virginia safety Chris Moore enters transfer portal

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The transfer portal has claimed another name.

As first noted by ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Virginia safety Chris Moore has entered his name into the database as he explores a move out of Charlottesville.

Moore started five of his nine appearances for the Cavaliers in 2019 and wound up recording 42 tackles. While he was in line to become one of the key members in the secondary going forward, a prior  suspension for violating team rules back in November may have wound up playing a role in his departure and standing with the team.

The safety had previously missed all of the 2018 season with an injury as well.

Moore was originally a three-star recruit out of Ashburn, Va. in 2016 and, assuming the redshirt senior has a degree, likely has a season remaining as a grad transfer.

DL Jay Tufele, WR Tyler Vaughns skipping draft to stay at USC

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Clay Helton has a lot of issues to deal with at the moment. Having a talented USC football team is not one of them.

The Trojans received a rare bit of good news on Thursday evening as two key players announced they were skipping the 2020 NFL Draft. In back-to-back announcements, defensive lineman Jay Tufele and wideout Tyler Vaughns confirmed they would remain in Los Angeles for the 2020 season.

Tufele is one of USC’s best defensive players. He recorded 42 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season as a redshirt sophomore despite dealing with a handful of injuries. With leading sacker Drake Jackson also back, there’s a nice tandem up front for whoever the team hires as defensive coordinator to work with going forward.

Vaughns returning also makes a dangerous receiving corps that much deeper. Michael Pittman Jr. was lost to graduation but the next three top wideouts are set to be back in 2020. Add in a group of solid tailbacks and both J.T. Daniels and Kedon Slovis at QB and USC will once again have one of the top offenses in the Pac-12.

Whether it will all help save Helton’s job again remains to be seen. If nothing else though, there’s at least there’s some positive news for the cardinal and gold this offseason with Tufele and Vaughns back in the fold going forward.

Nebraska and OC Troy Walters “mutually agreed to part ways”

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A year after significantly falling short of expectations, an offseason of change has commenced at Nebraska.

In one of the first big moves since Scott Frost took over at his alma mater, the Cornhuskers and offensive coordinator Troy Walters announced on Friday that they had ‘mutually agreed to part ways.’

“Troy has been a valued member of our coaching staff for the past four years,” Frost said in a statement. “Troy is a good mentor for his players, provides great energy on and off the field, and carries himself with a presence off the field that will be missed. I want to thank him for his work on our coaching staff, and wish him and his family all the best going forward.”

The duo first came together when Frost was hired at UCF and led a number of prolific offenses, including the undefeated 2017 team for the Knights. Walters was a finalist for the Broyles Award that same season though has not called plays for either team.

Walters had a distinguished career as a player at Stanford that included All-American honors and a Biletnikoff Award in 1999. He spent several years in the NFL before going into coaching during stops at Texas A&M, N.C. State and Colorado.

The departure of Walters could interestingly lead to a reunion between Frost and a familiar name in Mark Helfrich. The latter was head coach at Oregon when Frost was elevated to offensive coordinator for the Ducks and is in search of a job after being let go by the Chicago Bears from a similar role.