No. 1 Florida State’s OT escape highlights a crazy Saturday

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Week 4 of the 2014 college football season offered 55 games, and exactly one of them featured a ranked team taking on a fellow ranked team. If you thought that guaranteed a dull day, well, you don’t know college football.

NO. 1 FLORIDA STATE SURVIVES CLEMSON IN OT

Florida State looked every bit like a team playing without the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, as Sean Maguire was sacked five times and threw two interceptions. The Clemson defensive line dominated, limiting the Seminoles to minus-12 rushing yards in regulation (key phrase: in regulation), as the Tigers’ own backup Deshaun Watson (296 total yards, one touchdown, no turnovers) guided the Tigers to a 17-10 fourth-quarter lead. Florida State tied it when Rashad Greene caught a 74-yard catch-and-stroll touchdown after a Clemson defender fell down, but Clemson appeared headed toward the upset after Maguire’s interception gave the Tigers the ball at the FSU 24. But Clemson fumbled on its second play, opened overtime by getting stuffed on a 4th-and-1 (did we mention kicker Ammon Lakip missed 2-of-3 field goals) and closed the night by letting Karlos Williams move the required 25 yards in two plays to give Florida State the season-saving 23-17 win.

Have fun sleeping tonight, Clemson.

BUT NO. 2 WASN’T MUCH BETTER

Marcus Mariota completed 21-of-25 passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns and added 58 rushing yards to lead No. 2 Oregon to a 38-31 win at Washington State. The rest of the Ducks’ offense? Fifteen touches for 15 yards. (All numbers approximate.) Oregon averaged an un-Duck-like 4.1 yards per carry, and allowed the Cougars to throw for 436 yards and rush for 63 more. And to top it off, it took the officials ruling this 3rd-and-13 pass  in Oregon territory on Washington State’s would-be tying drive as nothing but good, clean defense to clinch the win.

MISSISSIPPI STATE TAKES DOWN NO. 8 LSU

It’s not often you see a 34-29 decision described as a blowout, but that’s what this felt like. Mississippi State built a 34-10 lead over No. 8 LSU and outgained the Tigers by 140 yards – their 570 yards were the most LSU allowed an opponent since the pre-Nick Saban era – and generally whipped their hosts up front. But then LSU backup signal caller Brandon Harris caught fire, hitting 6-of-8 throws for 140 yards and two touchdowns, and all of a sudden a 24-point game saw LSU throwing into the end zone for a chance to win the game. It was intercepted, and Dan Mullen moved to 3-21 against ranked teams, snapping a 15-game losing streak, and Mississippi State became the first non-No. 1 ranked team to win a night game in Death Valley during the Les Miles era.

NO. 4 OKLAHOMA BEATS WEST VIRGINIA, FINDS A RUNNING BACK

America, meet freshman running back Samaje Perine. Playing for an injured Keith Ford, Perine carried 32 times for 242 yards and four touchdowns to power No. 4 Oklahoma past West Virginia, 45-33. His touchdowns pulled OU into a 17-17 tie, gave the Sooners a 31-24 lead, and then a 38-27 lead, and then put the game away at 45-27.

NO. 2 ALABAMA BLASTS FLORIDA, 42-21

You get the feeling that if Alabama didn’t turn the ball over four times, this would have had a 40-point final margin. Florida took a 14-7 lead in the middle of the first quarter thanks to two early turnovers by the Tide, but Alabama erupted from there, ending the game on a 35-7 run and absolutely blowing the Gators off the stat sheet. Blake Sims threw for 445 yards and four touchdowns, Amari Cooper caught 10 passes for 201 yards and three touchdowns, and Derrick Henry added 111 rushing yards and a score, as Alabama outgained Florida 645-200. Yep, Cooper outgained the Fighting Muschamps by himself, and nearly outscored them, too.

MISSOURI LOSES TO INDIANA, UNDOES SEVEN YEARS OF SEC DOMINANCE

Missouri left the Big 12 North, and then promptly turned the SEC East into the Big 12 North. The 18th-ranked Tigers lost to Indiana at home on Saturday, 31-27, after blowing a 27-24 lead on a D’Angelo Roberts touchdown run with 22 seconds remaining. It’s never a good thing for your SEC championship chances when you allow Indiana to throw for 252 yards while also outrushing you by 69 yards, right?

SPURRIER RIPS NO. 14 SOUTH CAROLINA’S 48-34 WIN OVER VANDY

Vanderbilt – 37-7 losers to Temple earlier this year – held a 14-0 lead over No. 14 South Carolina in the first quarter, and returned two kickoffs for touchdowns. Steve Spurrier was quite pleased.

THINGS GET TESTY IN LINCOLN AS NO. 24 NEBRASKA WINS REUNION WITH MIAMI You have to really piss off the locals to get booed off the field in Lincoln. Or, be the Miami Hurricanes. Ameer Abdullah rushed 35 times for 229 yards and two touchdowns as the Cornhuskers rallied from a 14-7 first half deficit and never trailed in the second half, but nine Miami penalties and a general touchy-feely nature led to the ‘Canes getting booed out of the most welcoming house in college football as Nebraska won, 41-31.

OFFENDED BY MICHIGAN’S OFFENSE, MOTHER NATURE FLOODS THE BIG HOUSE It’s clear by now that Brady Hoke has no idea how to construct an offense without Denard Robinson, and it’s also abundantly clear by now that Mother Nature is tired of sitting around and waiting for the Wolverines to get it together. Michigan accumulated 4.4 yards per pass, 3.3 yards per rush and a grand total of three points in a 26-10 loss to Utah. And then this happened during the fourth quarter:

HOW’S THIS FOR A NIGHTCAP? ARIZONA BEATS CAL ON HAIL MARY California led Arizona 31-13 entering the fourth quarter. It wasn’t enough. The Wildcats launched a mad rally, but the Golden Bears’ lead appeared safe at 45-30 with five minutes remaining. The Wildcats notched two more touchdowns to pull within 45-43 after the Cal offense sputtered, but all they had to do to earn the first Pac-12 win of the Sonny Dykes era was stop a simple Hail Mary. Surely they could do that, right?

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on April 10, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: One-time Illini Jeff Thomas discusses flip back to Miami
THE SYNOPSIS: It was quite the year or so for the talented but enigmatic wide receiver.  Dismissed by then-Miami head coach Mark Richt in November of 2018.  Signed with Illinois the following month.  Reneged on that commitment and returned to Miami in January of last year.  Served a two-game suspension during the 2019 season.  Left Miami again, this time early for the NFL draft.  Besides that, though, not much going on with Thomas.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Nick Saban was calling recruits during White House visit
THE SYNOPSIS: The Process stops for no one, not even the President of the United States of America.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Navy QB Keenan Reynolds named co-winner of 2016 Sullivan Award
THE SYNOPSIS: This marked the third straight year a college football player at least partially claimed one of the most prestigious individual awards in collegiate athletics.  The first two were Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott and Penn State offensive lineman John Urschel.  Reynolds is the last football player to win the award.  A pair of quarterbacks, Ohio State’s Justin Fields and Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence, are semifinalists for this year’s honor.

2015

THE HEADLINE: TCU’s Gary Patterson says somebody will always feel screwed by college football’s postseason
THE SYNOPSIS: The head coach wasn’t wrong then.  And, as athletic directors are overwhelmingly in favor of an expanded College Football Playoff, he wouldn’t be wrong now.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Updated: Statements issued after Petrino fired from Arkansas
THE SYNOPSIS: After nearly a week-long run, the Bobby Petrino soap opera in Fayetteville officially came to an end.

2010

THE HEADLINE: Smokin’ hot Kiffin sashays into second round
THE SYNOPSIS: Lane Kiffin was part of an Esquire Magazine online contest.  A Sexiest Woman Alive contest.  The then-USC head coach took down the No. 1 seed, professional golfer Natalie Gulbis.  He then beat race car driver Danica Patrick to advance to the Sassy Sixteen.

2009

THE HEADLINE: REPORT: GRUDEN TURNED DOWN JOB WITH DUCKS*
THE SYNOPSIS: In a round of Grumors that didn’t involve Tennessee, Jon Gruden turned the offensive coordinator position at Oregon.

(*Yes, back in the day, we used to scream out our headlines at our readers in all-caps. The move to NBC a couple of months later mercifully ended that practice.)

Akron transfer offensive lineman Brandon Council commits to Auburn over Baylor, Missouri

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The future home for a former Akron football player has officially come into focus.

In mid-February, Brandon Council took the first step in leaving the Akron football team by placing his name into the NCAA transfer database. A month later, prior to the NCAA banning in-person recruiting because of the coronavirus pandemic, the offensive lineman took an official visit to Baylor. He had been scheduled to do the same with Auburn. Those plans, though, were placed on indefinite hold.

Over the weekend, Council announced that he had whittled his transfer to-do list down to three. Not surprisingly, Baylor and Auburn made the cut. Additionally, Missouri is part of the transfer trio.

LSU and USC were also reportedly in play at one point as well.

Thursday night, Council officially whittled his transfer to-do list down to one.  Auburn.

Council will be eligible to play immediately in 2020 as a graduate transfer. It’s believed that this coming season would be Council’s final season of eligibility, although the player could get a sixth season from the NCAA.

Coming out of high school in North Carolina, Council was a two-star member of Akron’s 2016 recruiting class.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, Council started nine games at left guard in 2017. The 6-4, 325-pound lineman then started the first three games of the 2018 season at right tackle before going down with an injury that sidelined him for the remainder of the year. That injury plus the redshirt for his first season could potentially trigger a sixth season.

Coming off that injury, Council started all 12 games in 2019. Council played every position along the offensive line this past season.

Jim Harbaugh extends scholarship offer to second-grade cancer survivor

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Courtesy of the current Michigan football head coach, how about a little pick-me-up story amidst all of the coronavirus pandemic news?

Thomas Fidone is a four-star 2021 prospect out of Iowa. On the 247Sports.com composite, he’s rated as the No. 2 tight end in the country for next year’s class. Suffice to say, the 6-5, 220-pound prospect is a hot commodity on the recruiting trail.

Fidone holds offers from, among others, Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame and Nebraska. And, yes, Michigan. Which is where the pick-me-up comes into play.

Because of the NCAA’s ban on in-person recruiting, Fidone this week was on a video chat with Jim Harbaugh and U-M tight ends coach Sherrone Moore. During the chat, Fidone’s second-grade cousin, Sebastiano Fidone, joined in.

According to a Facebook posting from Sebastiano’s mother, her son was asked by the coaches to flex. Sebastiano complied. And, at that point, Harbaugh offered the young man, who battled leukemia for four years until finishing up chemotherapy in February of last year, a Michigan football scholarship.

Sebastiano received his first college offer today. 😆

We were able to join cousin Thomas Fidone on a video chat with Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh and tight end coach Sherrone Moore. During the video chat, they asked Yanno to flex. He did, and Coach Harbaugh immediately offered him a scholarship. Now that he offered, he can’t send him a Michigan football t-shirt because of NCAA gifting rules 😆. He told Yanno a scholarship is better than a t-shirt in the long run anyway. He said his previous record for youngest scholarship offer was a 7th grader, so Yanno being in 2nd grade smashes that.

Yanno and Thomas got to do a little virtual workout together and it was an awesome perk of Thomas being heavily recruited, we are so thankful for Thomas and the coaches for setting it up today.

For those curious, the younger Fideone would be a member of the Class of 2030.

And, great work, Coach Harbaugh. And good luck, young man, as you continue what is hopefully a long, prosperous and fruitful life.

Second ex-Miami player in a month transfers to Colorado State

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Quietly, Colorado State football is becoming a quasi, Rocky Mountain version of The U.

Last month, defensive lineman Scott Patchan announced that he would be transferring to Colorado State after leaving the Miami football program. Exactly one month later, one of Patchan’s former teammates, Brian Polendey, announced that he too is headed to CSU.

“Excited for this next chapter,” the tight end wrote.

As Polenday would be coming into the Colorado State football program as a graduate transfer, he would be eligible to play for the Rams in 2020. Not only that, but he has another season of eligibility he can use in 2021 as well.

Coming out of high school in Texas, Polenday was a three-star 2017 signee. He was rated as the No. 21 tight end in the country.

The past three seasons, Polenday played in a combined 14 games. He saw action in six as a true freshman, then had his sophomore season end after two games because of injury. His six appearances in 2019 were highlighted in his first career start, the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl loss to Louisiana Tech.  A shutout loss, if you needed a reminder.

The 6-6, 240-pound Polenday was mainly used as a blocking specialist during his time in Miami. He finished his time with the Hurricanes with one catch for 14 yards. That lone reception came during his truncated 2018 campaign.

Colorado State will be under new leadership this fall as Steve Addazio was hired as the program’s new head football coach. Addazio replaces Mike Bobo, who was fired earlier that month.