The Fifth Quarter: Historic Week 6 Rewind


Below is a list of links out to gamers posted by the CFT crew, placed in one handy and convenient space for you, our beloved and dear readers.

  • In what was arguably the biggest upset in an upset-laden weekend, TCU stunned Oklahoma 37-33 on an interception return for a score early in the fourth quarter.  All of the sudden, the Horned Frogs are one of four unbeaten Big 12 teams in conference play, joining Baylor, Oklahoma State and Kansas State.  That number will be trimmed by at least one in Week 7 as TCU travels to Waco to take on Baylor.
  • Dak Prescott and his five total touchdowns dove headfirst onto the Heisman radar in leading No. 12 Mississippi State to a 48-31 beating of No. 6 Texas A&M that wasn’t even remotely as close as the score suggests.  Based on how the Bulldogs looked, they should be in or very near the Top Five when the new polls are released Sunday afternoon.  Or the Aggies were vastly overrated.  One of the two.
  • Putting a bow on a perfect and historic day of football for the state of Mississippi was Ole Miss, which stunned Alabama a few hours after ESPN had put the wraps on the first-ever GameDay show in The Grove.  The Rebels can’t bask in the glow of arguably the biggest win in the program’s history for too long, however, as they host Auburn next Saturday.
  • Auburn and Nick Marshall (four total touchdowns) had little problem dispatching LSU.  There’s a fairly decent chance that, given the top of the rankings getting knocked on its ass, the Tigers will not only move up to No. 2 but, perhaps, even into the top slot.
  • If the Big Ten was secretly rooting for undefeated Nebraska to knock off one-loss Michigan State, it was sorely disappointed as the Spartans hung on for dear life in beating the Cornhuskers.  And, courtesy of all of the Week 6 tumult and despite the one loss, Sparty could very well find itself in or near the Top Five Sunday afternoon.
  • It may have been a win only a football mother could’ve loved, but it was still a win for Notre Dame over nationally-ranked Stanford.  After what should be a breather against North Carolina next weekend, ND will be set to face top-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee.
  • Baylor was off offensively, but still found a way to easily put away an overmatched Texas squad in a 21-point win.  And if that doesn’t tell you everything you need to know about the state of UT football, when a BU squad can play less-than-stellar and still walk away with a double-digit win, then I don’t know what to tell you.
  • After an extended afternoon nap, Oklahoma State woke up and put away Iowa State 37-21 in Ames, a place that was a house of horrors for the Cowboys recently.  Tyreek Hill‘s 97-yard kickoff return to start the second half set the tone for OSU.
  • Ohio State stepped on Maryland’s throat in the first half, and didn’t step off it in the second half as the Buckeyes cruised to a 52-24 win over the Terrapins in College Park.  The game marked the Terps’ first-ever conference home game in the Big Ten and its first sellout since 2008.  It also marked yet another sign that OSU quarterback J.T. Barrett should, one, at least be on the fringe of the Heisman conversation and, two, Braxton Miller should at least be mildly concerned about retaining his job next year.
  • HAIL YES!!! Arizona State perhaps saved its season with a last-second Hail Mary prayer that was answered, stunning a USC team that was still likely licking its wounds from a Boston College loss a couple of weeks ago.  The fact that the Sun Devils did it with their backup quarterback and kept their Pac-12 South hopes alive served as the cherries on top of the sundae.
  • Will Muschamp was school girl-level giddy over (barely) dropping Tennessee in Neyland Stadium.  Why he was that giddy when his squad is an absolute mess is another question for another day.
Oklahoma v TCU
Oklahoma v TCU

For those who were looking for utter chaos and a massive shakeup in the polls, Week 6 was Christmas, New Year’s Eve and Flag Day all rolled into one uproarious ball of “Holy $*&!”.

During this glorious weekend of football, including Thursday night, the Nos. 2 (Oregon), 3 (Alabama), 4 (Oklahoma) and 6 (Texas A&M) teams in last week’s Associated Press poll all lost.  It’s the first time since November of 1990 (No. 1 Virginia, No. 3 Nebraska, No. 4 Auburn, No. 5 Illinois) and only the second time since 1936 that four of the top six teams in the country had gone down to defeat the same weekend.  Three of those losses featured the higher-ranked team on the road — and came by a combined 12 points — with the lone home loss being the Ducks losing by seven in Eugene.

Add in No. 8 UCLA’s upset loss to unranked Utah at home, and it’s the first time in the history of college football — EVER — that five of the top eight teams have been knocked off in a single week.  Let that sink in for a minute.  The first-ever college football game was played in 1869… the AP poll debuted in 1934… and today, Oct. 4, 2014, was the first time that has happened in this great game.


That said, and by default, Florida State will likely remain No. 1 in the eyes of the AP voters, while Auburn will likely slide into the No. 2 hole.  Or those two could be flip-flopped.  After that?

You could state a case for both No. 12 Mississippi State and No. 11 Ole Miss, after the greatest day of football in that state’s history, to leap into the Top Five, especially the former on the strength of back-to-back wins over Top -10 teams. Any combination of No. 7 Baylor, No. 8 UCLA and No. 9 Notre Dame could find themselves in that rarefied ranking air as well.  And what of No. 25 TCU’s dispatching of No. 4 Oklahoma?  Rocketing up 20 or more spots into the Top Five certainly may be asking a little too much of the voters, but perhaps it shouldn’t.

One thing that is fairly certain amidst all of the chaos is that this is likely far from being the last upsetting weekend ahead of what should be an epic first year of the College Football Playoff.  Speaking of which, godspeed to the 13-person CFP selection committee; based on the way this weekend played out, you’re going to need it.  And earmuffs.  Lots and lots of big, bulky earmuffs.

If you’ve followed the past two seasons of Connor Halliday‘s career, you got the feeling that setting a significant national passing record was a matter of time.  Saturday night turned out to be that time.  In Washington State’s wild 60-59 loss to Cal that would’ve made defensive purists’ collective heads explode, the senior quarterback threw for a whopping 734 yards.  That breaks the FBS single-game record of 716 yards yards by Houston’s David Klingler Dec. 2, 1990, against Arizona State.  It’s also the second-most ever at any level of the NCAA, behind only Div. III Eureka College’s Sam Durley‘s 736 yards in 2012.  Halliday’s counterpart, Jared Goff, threw for 527 yards in the win.  The combined 1,263 yards passing is also an FBS record.

The record and the 812 yards of total offense are no doubt bittersweet for all involved as Wazzu missed a 19-yard field goal — 19 YARDS!!! — with 15 seconds remaining in the game that would’ve given them the win.  Instead, the Golden Bears, winners of one game in 2013, now sits atop the Pac-12 North at 2-1 in conference play and 4-1 overall.

LSU v Auburn
LSU v Auburn

A snapshot look at how my ballot would look Sunday if I, ya know, had a real vote.  And, after a string of upsets in Week 6 mentioned directly above this, I’m just going to scrap last week’s Top Five and start the hell over.

1. Auburn — You happy now, Plains people?  After weeks of snubbing last season’s BCS runners-up, the Tigers have vaulted to the very top of this meaningless Top Five.  The blistering of No. 15 LSU was AU’s third quality win of the season, joining the season-opening 24-point smackdown of 3-2 Arkansas and the win over No. 20 Kansas State in Manhattan in Week 4.  The Tigers have another big test next week with yet another ranked team. Speaking of which… (Last week: unranked)
Next up: at No. 12 Mississippi State, Oct. 11

2. Mississippi State — In back-to-back weeks, you went into Death Valley and easily beat No. 8 LSU, then followed that up with a beatdown of No. 6 Texas A&M in Starkville.  In my book, that résumé puts you near the very top.  Actually, it should probably put the Starkville boys at No. 1, the more I think about it.  Another big test, though, awaits. (Last week: unranked)
Next up: vs. No. 5 Auburn, Oct. 11

3. Florida State — The Seminoles have more talent than just about any team in the country, but simply haven’t played like it for the vast majority of the season.  It’s also very likely FSU is being compared to the 2013 version that steamrolled the competition en route to a BCS title, so that likely has hurt and will continue to hurt its standing as well.  . (Last week: No. 3)
Next up: vs. Wake Forest, Oct. 4

4.  Ole Miss — The fact that this is just the Rebels’ second win over a Power Five team this season, and the first came against woebegone Vanderbilt, means the Oxford 11 will have to settle for a spot just inside the Top Five.  The fact that they are even inside the Top Five, however, is surprising in and of itself.  There’s no rest for the West weary, however, as the Rebels will head out on the road against a team that will be pissed off and looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season. (Last week: unranked)
Next up: at No. 6 Texas A&M, Oct. 11

5. Baylor — The Bears’ résumé is easily the weakest of the group, with wins over Iowa State and Texas not nearly enough to offset wins over SMU, Northwestern State and Buffalo the first three weeks of the season.  In fact, it was nearly the reason why Notre Dame was sitting in this spot instead of BU.  I’ll give it to you this week, Bears, but I’m keeping my eyes on you moving forward. (Last week: unranked)
Next up: at No. 25 TCU, Oct. 11

(Dropped out: No. 1 Oklahoma, No. 2 Oregon, No. 4 Alabama, No. 5 Texas A&M)

Baylor v Texas
Baylor v Texas

How ranked teams endured close shaves vs. unranked opponents

No. 7 Baylor 28, Texas 7:  The Bears led a mediocre Longhorns team — and that’s being kind — just 7-0 at halftime.  BU’s offense was out of sync throughout, with its 389 yards of offense well below its seasonal average of 641 yards per game, the best in the nation.  The good news for Art Briles and his Bears is they have games against West Virginia and Kansas, plus a bye, before they face Oklahoma the first Saturday in November.

No. 21 Oklahoma State 37, Iowa State 20: The replay booth, much to the dismay of its athletic director, gave the Cowboys a controversial touchdown with no time left and a 13-6 halftime lead.  A kickoff return for a touchdown to open the second half, however, gave OSU some breathing room and it went on to cruise, relatively speaking, in Ames.

No. 22 East Carolina 45, SMU 24: Anytime you allow a team that’s lost its first four games this season by the combined score of 202-12 to come within three touchdowns of you, you’re going to make the cut for this list.  The woeful Mustangs were actually down by 11 at 35-24 at the end of the third quarter before the Pirates’s scored 10 fourth-quarter points put to rest any thoughts of an upset.

Michigan v Rutgers
Michigan v Rutgers

I begin my weekly look at a trio of the current head coaches who could most likely be ex-head coaches by season’s end — if not sooner.

1. Brady Hoke, Michigan
Michigan’s dumpster fire of a season continued unabated, with a 26-24 loss to Rutgers dropping the Wolverines to 2-4 on the season.  That’s the football program’s worst start since going 2-4 in Rich Rodriguez‘s first season in 2008, and its first 0-2 start in Big Ten play since 1967.  Add in a 3-9 record in conference play over the past 12 games and the Shane Morris debacle, and it’s very safe to assume that Hoke will not make it to a fifth season in Ann Arbor in 2015.

2. Will Muschamp, Florida
While the head coach was pleased as pie with the Yugo with spinnin’ rims that was the 10-9 win over Tennessee, his team’s performance in that near-loss is yet another data point for those who are looking for the head coach’s ouster sooner rather than later.  The further away the Gators get away from players recruited by Urban Meyer, the more UF’s record has taken a  downward turn.  In 2011 and 2012, Years 1 & 2 post-Meyer, the Gators were 18-8; since, they are 7-9.  In the talent-rich state of Florida, the Gators simply don’t have the talent to compete with the SEC heavyweights — or even its middleweights — and that should be the most disturbing sign to Muschamp’s boss.

3. Tim Beckman, Illinois
Beckman entered the season on one of the hottest seats in America, but quieted that talk somewhat with a 3-2 start to 2014.  Then, Purdue happened.  Saturday, the Boilermakers dropped the Illini to end their nine-game Big Ten losing streak and crank up the heat under Beckman’s seat yet again.  In his first two-plus seasons in Champaign, Beckman is 9-21 overall and a staggering 1-17 in conference play.

Ohio State v Maryland
Ohio State v Maryland

A statistical look at how some — stressing the word “some” — of the top contenders for this year’s stiff-arm trophy fared this weekend, listed in alphabetical order so as not to offend any of the delicate sensibilities readers in the audience may possess or get their unmentionables all wadded up over “their” player being excluded.  Also, each week one name will be sliced from a list that begins at a baker’s dozen:

J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State (4-1, No. 20)
Saturday: 18-23 (78.3%), 267 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions; 71 yards rushing, one touchdown
Season: 88-133 (66.2%), 1,354 yards, 17 touchdowns, five interceptions; 276 rushing yards, two touchdowns

Shane Carden, QB, East Carolina (4-1, No. 22)
Saturday: 31-41 (75.6%), 410 yards, four touchdowns, zero interceptions; 47 yards rushing
Season: 142-219 (64.4%), 1,879 yards, 15 touchdowns, three interceptions; 66 rushing yards, three touchdowns

Rakeem Cato, QB, Marshall (5-0, unranked)
Saturday: 18-23 (78.3%), 198 yards, two touchdowns, two interceptions; 20 rushing yards
Season: 87-144 (60.4%), 1,361 yards, 12 touchdowns, four interceptions; 195 rushing yards, four touchdowns

James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh (3-2, unranked)
Saturday: 21 carries for 83 yards (four ypc)
Season: 156 carries for 874 yards (5.6 ypc), nine touchdowns; two catches for 20 yards

Amari Cooper, WR, Alabama (4-1, No. 3)
Saturday: nine receptions, 91 yards
Season: 52 receptions, 746 yards, five touchdowns; 29 rushing yards

Everett Golson, QB, Notre Dame (5-0, No. 9)
Saturday: 20-43 (46.5%), 241 yards, two touchdowns, one interceptions; 34 rushing yards
Season: 114-178 (64.1%), 1,383 yards, 13 touchdowns, three interceptions; 138 rushing yards, four touchdowns

Melvin Gordon
Melvin Gordon

Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin (3-2, No. 17)
Saturday: 27 carries for 259 yards (9.59 ypc, one touchdown
Season: 105 carries for 871 yards (8.3 ypc), nine touchdowns; five receptions, 27 yards, one touchdown

Todd Gurley, RB, Georgia (4-1, No. 13)
Saturday: 25 carries for 163 yards (6.5 ypc), two touchdowns; two receptions, 24 yards; 1-1 (100%), 50 yards passing
Season: 94 carries for 773 yards (8.2 ypc), eight touchdowns; 11 receptions, 53 yards; 1-1 (100%), 50 yards passing

Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA (4-0, No. 8)
Saturday: 16-21 (76.2%), 269 yards, two touchdowns, one interception; 16 carries for minus-24 rushing yards
Season: 91-125 (72.8%), 1,310 yards, nine touchdowns, two interceptions; 53 carries for 122 rushing yards, two touchdowns

Marcus Mariota, WR, Oregon (4-1, No. 2)
Thursday: 20-32 (62.5 percent), 276 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions; nine carries for one rushing yard; one reception, 26 yards
Season: 111-160 (69.4%), 1,687 yards, 17 touchdowns, zero interceptions; 72 carries for 215 rushing yards, three touchdowns; one reception, 26 yards

Nick Marshall, QB, Auburn (5-0, No. 5)
Saturday: 14-22 (63.6%), 207 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions; 16 carries for 119 rushing yards, two touchdowns
Season: 55-95 (57.9%), 755 yards, eight touchdowns, one interception; 58 carries for 392 rushing yards, four touchdowns

Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State (5-0, No. 12)
Saturday: 19-25 (76%), 259 yards, two touchdowns, zero interceptions; 23 carries for 77 rushing yards, three touchdowns
Season: 77-13 (58.8%), 1,323 yards, 13 touchdowns, two interceptions; 85 carries for 455 rushing yards, six touchdowns

Jameis Winston, QB, Florida State (5-0, No. 1)
Saturday: 23-39 (59%), 297, one touchdown, one interception; seven carries for 34 rushing yards, one touchdown
Season: 96-144 (66.7%), 1,288 yards, eight touchdowns, five interceptions; 19 carries for 42 rushing yards, two touchdowns

cd0ymzcznguwzdbhnduynddiytjhm2yyzthlmtjjotqwyyznptm0mzi1mjbimdq2zwewzjm1ymjhmtljnzdmyjnizjk5HE SAID IT
“It’s great to see all these people out here getting disappointed. I love it.” — Will Muschamp, acting a little too cocky for a head coach who just watched his Florida team bumble and stumble its way to an unimpressive 10-9 win over Tennessee.

“Our receivers know how to catch the ball. We just had an off day today.” — Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill, after watching his receivers inexplicably drop myriad passes in the loss to Mississippi State.

“This was just a dominate performance. We talked about this being a momentum Saturday for us and I’m just so proud of them. They put all three phases together – offense, defense and special teams. Just really proud of our guys. Really proud of our defensive performance. Those three turnovers were huge.” — Dabo Swinney said following Clemson’s 41-0 win over North Carolina State, his first shutout as a head coach.

“It wasn’t necessarily clean. The weather was a factor. But it was a factor for both teams. You saw the ball come out of both quarterback’s hands funny. Saw some missed balls that guys typically don’t miss but once again it was even” — Stanford’s David Shaw, on his team’s sloppy loss in South Bend to Notre Dame.

“I’m just so proud of our young men. You can’t lose a game in 30 or 45 minutes. You have to play for 60 minutes and that is something we’ve preached since we’ve been here. … At the end of the day, you get in this job to mentor young men, first. I preach that to our staff. I have the best staff of men that you want your kids around. These are great life lessons. Sometimes you’re on the other side of it and it stings and hurts. We’ve had our share of those. We have tremendous respect for Coach (Nick) Saban and Alabama. It’s a huge win for our program and our fans. It’s been a tremendous day.” — Hugh Freeze, after Ole Miss’ historic upset of Alabama.

How happy were Ole Miss fans about their team’s upset win over Alabama?  Not only did they take the goal posts out of the ground, but they managed to get them out of the stadium and paraded them around Oxford.

And that came after this sensual, on-field post-game celebration

[/slow clap for all aspects of the celebrations]

Tennessee announced earlier in the week that it wanted fans attending Saturday’s game against rival Florida to “checkerboard” Neyland Stadium.  The fans responded in resounding fashion to give the place a very cool look:

Not only did guest picker/pop diva Katy Perry manage to hit on both Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight and former Ohio State quarterback Kirk Herbstreit in the same segment, but she also managed to reference…

Katy Perry Corn Dog

… corn dogs in picking the winner of the LSU-Auburn game.  And throwing said corn dogs at the ESPN cameras.  I had my doubts going in, but well-played, Katy.  Well-played.

Not well played was Knight following Perry’s flirtation.  In OU’s 37-33 loss to TCU, Knight completed just 14-of-35 passes and tossed a pair of interceptions, the last of which was returned 41 yards for the game-winning score.

Following Arizona’s upset of Oregon Thursday night, the Wildcats’ second straight win over the Ducks, the UA athletic department’s official Twitter account went to a video game of the past to sum up the last two meetings between the teams.

Todd Gurley Pass Gif

Yes, that would be Georgia running back Todd Gurley completing a 50-yard pass in the win over Vanderbilt, and as a lefthander at that.  That pass, incidentally, was UGA’s longest completion of the season, which may be the most serious indictment of the Bulldogs’ limp passing attack to date.

This is the GIF of Nebraska offensive lineman Jake Cotton — untouched, mind you –falling backwards that makes me laugh uncontrollably every single time I watch it.  Enjoy.

Jake Cotton Fall




Florida State has won a nation’s-best 21 straight games, extending the record for an ACC school by beating up on Wake Forest Saturday. The Seminoles’ last loss came Nov. 24, 2012, a 37-26 home setback to in-state rival Florida. With the exception of the last Saturday’s game against Clemson (23-17 in overtime), the 2014 season opener against Oklahoma State (37-31), the BCS title game against Auburn (34-31) and the 2012 regular-season finale against Georgia Tech (21-15), FSU has won every one of its games during this current streak by at least 14 points. Of those 16, 10 wins have come by 30-plus points, with three of those being by 50-plus points and two by 60-plus. FSU, thanks to Oklahoma’s loss, is the only team in the country with a double-digit winning streak, although Mississippi State at nine in a row is closing in. At the opposite end of the W/L spectrum is Idaho and UMass at 12 straight.  Thanks to Miami of Ohio’s win, the Vandals and Minutemen are the only FBS team with a double-digit losing streak.

Pittsburgh’s 81 underclassmen — 55 freshmen (true and redshirt) and 27 sophomores (true and redshirt) — listed on its current roster is the highest total for any FBS team in the country. That’s 78.7 percent of its roster; Penn State, at 72.4 percent (76/105), is second.

East Carolina’s Shane Carden currently ranks fourth among all active FBS quarterbacks in engineering “game-winning” drives (i.e. offensive scoring drive in the 4th quarter or overtime that puts the winning team ahead for the last time), two behind Louisiana-Monroe’s Pete Thomas (seven) and one behind Ohio State’s Braxton Miller (six) and San Diego State’s Quinn Kaheler (six).

The most total yards for an FBS team since 2000, courtesy of, as you’d expect, the sports information department of the team at No. 1:

1. Texas Tech (88,018)
2. Oklahoma (83,905)
3. Oregon (83,169)
4. Hawaii (82,966)
5. Houston (82,945)

The 10 longest consecutive game-scoring streaks in the country are…

Florida, 326 (1988-Present)
TCU. 272 (1992-Present)
Air Force, 263 (1992-Present)
Tennessee, 251 (1994-Present)
Virginia Tech, 249 (1995-Present)
Ohio State, 248 (1993-Present)
Georgia, 241 (1995-Present)
Nebraska, 238 (1996-Present)
Wisconsin, 224 (1997-Present)
Kansas State, 221 (1996-Present)

There are only 16 football programs nationally that returned its entire coaching staff intact from the 2013 season: Arizona, Auburn, Baylor, Boston College, BYU, Colorado, Colorado State, Kansas State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Michigan State, Mississippi, San Diego State, South Carolina, Tennessee, UTEP and Washington State.

True freshmen have accounted for 20 of LSU’s 27 offensive touchdowns. Quarterback Brandon Harris has accounted for nine scores (three rushing, six passing), while running back Leonard Fournette and wide receiver Malachi Dupre have four each and running back Darrel Williams three. The 14 touchdowns produced by that quartet are the most by an LSU true freshman class since running backs Justin Vincent (10) and Alley Broussard (four) combined for 14 in all of the 2003 season.

South Carolina v Kentucky
South Carolina v Kentucky


Jojo Kemp ran for 131 yards and three touchdowns on 17 carries as Kentucky “upset” South Carolina. The win pushed the Wildcats to 4-1 on the year; UK had won just four of its previous 24 games prior to this season.

— Alabama has gone 4-3 in its last seven games.  In the Tide’s previous 42 games dating back to November of 2010, UA had gone 39-3.

— UCLA’s Brett Hundley was sacked a whopping 10 times in the Bruins’ upset loss to Utah.  Six different Utes were credited with sacks, with Hunter Dimmick and Nate Orchard contributing three apiece.

— Cal’s Trevor Davis returned back-to-back kickoffs for touchdowns in the win over Washington State, one going for 98 yards and the other 100.

— Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong had 10 catches for 212 yards and three touchdowns as ASU stunned USC 38-34.  The last of the three TD catches was the Hail Mary with no time left.  Mike Bercovici passed for 510 yards in the win.  In the first two starts of his career, Bercovici has passed for 998 yards and eight yards.

— Trailing UMass 41-14 very late in the second quarter, Miami of Ohio stormed its way back to end its school-record 21-game losing streak with a stunning 42-41 win. It was the RedHawks first win since Oct. 27, 2012.  In a losing effort, quarterback Blake Frohnapfel threw for 389 yards and four touchdowns. Frohnapfel has now passed for 968 yards the past two weeks.

— Coming off a stunning performance in his debut as a starter, Deshaun Watson totaled 350 yards of offense (267 passing, team-leading 83 rushing) and scored a pair of touchdowns both passing and rushing in Clemson’s 41-0 win over North Carolina State.  Jacoby Brissett, who was brilliant in NCSU’s near-upset of Florida State, was held to just 35 yards passing by the Tigers’ defense.

— With 410 yards passing in the win over SMU, Shane Carden became ECU’s all-time leader in passing yards(now has 9,134 career), surpassing passing David Garrard (9,029 from 1998-2001).

Austin Grammer completed 21-of-26 passes for a career-high 332 yards and two touchdowns in Middle Tennessee State’s 37-31 win over Southern Miss.

Todd Gurley totaled 237 all-purpose yards in Georgia’s 44-17 win over Vanderbilt: 163 rushing, 24 receiving and 50 passing.  Just give the man the damn Heisman already as he’s clearly the best football player in the country.

Melvin Gordon ran for a career-high 259 yards on 27 carries, yet Wisconsin still found a way to lose 20-14 to Northwestern.  Actually, the way was three interceptions by two different Badger quarterbacks, which the Wildcats turned into 10 points.

— Speaking of which, Northwestern safety Godwin Igwebuike picked off all three of the passes in the win over Wisconsin. Those were the first interceptions of the redshirt freshman’s career.

Akeem Hunt‘s 177 yards rushing was part of Purdue’s 349-yard effort on the ground as the Boilermakers upended Illinois 38-27.

— Central Michigan’s Thomas Rawls ran for a career-high 229 yards and two TDs in a 28-10 win over Ohio.  The career day came three weeks after Rawls was initially charged with a trio of felonies.  He reached a plea deal a week later and rejoined the team.

Rashard Higgins set a school record with four touchdown receptions as Colorado State whooped Tulsa 42-17 to push its record to 4-1.  The Rams are off to their first 4-1 start since 2006, when they finished 4-8.

— East Carolina wide receiver Justin Hardy has caught a pass in 41 straight games — the third-best active streak — and has caught at least two passes in every single game of that streak. Hardy now has 303 career receptions, and will need to average nearly six catches per game over the next eight contests (including a bowl game) to surpass Oklahoma’s Ryan Broyles‘ FBS record of 349. Incidentally, Hardy has averaged 7.4 receptions per game in his career, and 8.4 the last 19 games.

— Mississippi State linebacker Richie Brown tied a school record with three interceptions as MSU “upset” Texas A&M in Starkville Saturday.

— Utah State’s Darell Garretson threw three first-half touchdown passes and finished with 321 yards passing, his third-career 300-yard game, as USU upended BYU 35-20 Friday night.  The Aggies are now 4-51 lifetime vs. ranked teams, although they’ve won the last three such meetings.

— Mississippi State’s win over No. 6 Texas A&M marks the first time since the program began playing football in 1895 that the Bulldogs have beaten ranked teams in back-to-back games.  Last Saturday, MSU dropped eighth-ranked LSU in Death Valley.

— Clemson came into the North Carolina State game as the least penalized team in the country with 11 in four games, and hadn’t had more than four in a single contest.  In the win over NCSU, the Tigers were flagged nine times.

— UT-San Antonio has been flagged just once in the last 20 games for holding (the 2014 opener against Houston).

— The Florida-Tennessee game Saturday was the first time both teams entered the contest unranked since 1955.  The Vols have now lost nine straight in the rivalry, with the last victory coming Sept. 18, 2004.

— SMU had scored one touchdown in its first five games this season; against East Carolina, the Mustangs scored three touchdowns in the first three quarters of what would become a 45-24 loss.

— Stanford has held opponents under 30 points in each of its past 28 games, the nation’s longest such streak. Louisville and Ole Miss are tied for second (12).

— Ohio State has now won 17 straight regular season games in Big Ten play, the second-longest streak in conference history behind the 20 straight by the Buckeyes in 2005-07.  Also, the Buckeyes have never lost a true road game under Urban Meyer (11-0).

— With the win over Kent State, Northern Illinois has now won 28 straight games at home and 24 straight MAC games.

— New Mexico State is the only FBS team that has yet to allow a sack this season.

— With two in the win over Navy, 4-1 Air Force has forced 10 turnovers this season; they forced nine turnovers in 12 games last season.

— Utah State’s “upset” win over BYU Friday night was its first in Provo since Oct. 7, 1978.  The win snapped a 17-game losing streak to the Cougars on the road.

— Oregon has lost as many Pac-12 games under Mark Helfrich in less than two seasons (three) as the Ducks did the last four years under Chip Kelly (three).


… with the visit to Ole Miss, there are now 15 Power Five schools that haven’t played host to ESPN’s College GameDay show, which is now in its 22nd year on-campus? Those not-so-fine 15 are Baylor, Cal, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas, Louisville, Maryland, Minnesota, Mississippi State, Rutgers, Virginia, Wake Forest and Washington State.  That list will likely be sliced to 14 as the preeminent pregame show is expected to head to Starkville for the huge MSU-Auburn showdown.

… the three longest active streaks of being ranked in the Top 10 of the Associated Press poll belongs to Alabama (56), Florida State (22) and Auburn (14)?

… the nation’s two oldest FBS programs met for the first time ever Saturday as Rutgers hosted Michigan? The Scarlet Knights have played the most games in NCAA history (1,294) while the Wolverines (1,273) rank third — Navy is No. 2 at 1,276. Rutgers is playing its 145th year of football while Michigan is in its 135th year.

… After losing its first seven games to Nebraska, Michigan State has now won the last two? Along with Saturday’s win in East Lansing, the Spartans beat the Cornhuskers 41-28 in Lincoln last season.

… Wake Forest is the only school in the nation starting a true freshman at QB and at center?  That helps explain why the Demon Deacons have the worst offense in the ACC.

… the MAC (Northwestern, Purdue, Indiana, Pittsburgh) and the Mountain West (Colorado, Washington State, Wake Forest, Boston College), with four apiece, have the most wins vs. Power Five teams among the Group of Five conferences in 2014? The AAC (Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Vanderbilt) is next with three, followed by the Sun Belt (Wake Forest) with one. Conference USA is the only Group of Five league without a win over a Power Five opponent.

UTEP v Kansas State
UTEP v Kansas State

… of Kansas State’s five regular captains for the 2014 season, three — offensive lineman B.J. Finney, defensive end Ryan Mueller (pictured) and linebacker Jonathan Truman — began their careers as walk-ons? If you add special teams captain Weston Hiebert, K-State has four of six captains that were not on scholarship at the beginning of their careers.

… USC has just one player on its roster from Arizona (longsnapper Peter McBride), while Arizona State feature 31 Californians? Meanwhile, Utah, which faced UCLA, has 10 starters and 35 players total from the state of California.

… San Jose State has allowed just 187 yards passing the past three games? They allowed seven passing yards to Minnesota in Week 4, 64 to Nevada in Week 5 and 116 to UNLV in Week 5.

… Fresno State’s game against San Diego State was that football program’s 1,000th in its history? Thanks to the win over the Aztecs, the Bulldogs are now 580-420 over the course of 93 seasons. Those are the most all-time wins of any team currently in the Mountain West.

… Louisiana-Monroe’s game against Arkansas State was its first outside of the state of Louisiana in 2014? Three of the Warhawks first four games were home contests (Wake Forest, Idaho, and Troy) while the fourth was played in Baton Rouge vs. LSU.

… Temple has the fewest number of seniors on its roster with eight? The Owls and Tennessee, with six apiece, have the fewest number of seniors on the two-deep depth chart. Baylor has just seven.

… In his 48th season calling Washington State football games, Bob Robertson is the longest-tenured collegiate announcer in the country. Bill Hillgrove, in his 44th season calling Pittsburgh games, is second.

Have you ever wondered what an in-season day in the life of an Army football player is like? Thanks to that service academy’s sports information department, you can take a peek below into the very busy life of senior defensive lineman Joe Drummond:

Army Day in the Life I

Army Day in the Life II

Pac-12 responds to football players threatening opt-outs

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The Pac-12 responded Monday to football players who have threaten to opt-out of the season because of concerns related to health and safety, racial injustice and economic rights with a letter touting the conference’s work in those areas and an invitation to meet later this week.

A letter from Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott, dated Aug. 3, was sent to 12 football players leading the #WeAreUnited movement. The letter was obtained by The Associated Press and first reported by Sports Illustrated.

The players say they have been communicating with more than 400 of their peers throughout the Pac-12. The group released a lengthy list of demands Sunday and said if they are not addressed they will not practice or play. The group said it reached out to the Pac-12 on Sunday to request a meeting. In the letter, Scott said he was eager to discuss their concerns.

“I will come back to you in the coming days following discussion with our members and student-athlete leaders to schedule a call for this week to discuss the matters that you have raised,” Scott wrote.

Also Monday night, Washington State coach Nick Rolovich said in a statemen t he regretted cautioning one of his players about being part of the #WeAreUnited movement. A recording of a conversation between Rolovich and receiver Kassidy Woods obtained by the Dallas Morning News revealed the coach seemingly warning the player that being involved with the group would hurt his standing with the team. Woods had called Rolovich to inform him he was opting out of the season for health reasons related to COVID-19.

“I spoke with Kassidy Woods in a private phone conversation last Saturday afternoon. This was before the #WeAreUnited group had released its letter of concerns,” said Rolovich, who is in his first season was Washington State coach. “Without knowing the concerns of the group, I regret that my words cautioning Kassidy have become construed as opposition. I’m proud of our players and all the Pac-12 student-athletes for using their platform, especially for matters they are passionate about. WSU football student-athletes who have expressed support for the #WeAreUnited group will continue to be welcome to all team-related activities, unless they choose to opt out for health and safety reasons.”

The #WeAreUnited players’ demands focused on four areas: health and safety protections, especially protocols related to COVID-19; guarding against the elimination of sports programs by schools during an economic downturn; ending racial injustice in college sports; and economic freedom and equity.

Scott addressed each area, highlighting the conference’s:

— Medical advisory committee working on COVID-19 protocols and webinars for student-athletes and their parents;

— Support for reforming NCAA rules regarding name, image and likeness compensation for college athletes;

— Recent initiatives to address racial inequities such as the formation of a social justice & anti-racism advisory group that includes student-athletes representatives.

Scott also listed 10 areas in which, he wrote, “The Pac-12 has been a leader in supporting student-athlete health and well-being …” Included were enhanced medical coverage post-eligibility; cost-of-attendance stipends added to the value of scholarship; mental health support; and the Pac-12′s support of reforming NCAA transfer rules to allow athletes more freedom to switch schools.

Pac-12 football teams are scheduled to begin preseason practices Aug. 17 and the league’s conference-only regular season is set to start Sept. 26.

Big 12 to allow teams to play 1 non-conference football game

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Two people involved with the decision say the Big 12 will permit its teams to play one nonconference football game this year to go along with their nine league contests as plans for the pandemic-altered season continued to fall into place.

The people spoke Monday night to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the conference was still preparing an official announcement.

The Big 12 university presidents signed off on the conference’s scheduling model, which gives schools the ability to play one nonconference game at home. The conference’s championship game is scheduled for Dec. 5, but one of the people told AP that the conference is leaving open the possibility of bumping it back a week or two.

The 10-team Big 12 already plays a nine-game, round-robin conference schedule. Unlike other Power Five conference that have switched to either exclusively (Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) or mostly (ACC) league games this season, the Big 12 could not add more conference games without teams playing each other more than once.

Several Big 12 teams have already started preseason practice, with Kansas and Oklahoma slated to play FCS teams on Aug. 29.

As conferences take steps toward a football season that seems to be in precarious shape, the NCAA is expected to weigh in Tuesday on fall sports other than major-college football.

The association’s Board of Governors is scheduled to meet and whether to cancel or postpone NCAA championship events in fall sports such as soccer, volleyball and lower-division football is expected to be a topic.

Only the Pac-12 has a full football schedule with matchups and dates in place among Power Five conferences. The Pac-12 will begin Sept. 26, along with the Southeastern Conference, which is still working on its new 10-game slate.

The Atlantic Coast Conference has opponents set for its 10-game conference schedule and will start the weekend of Sept. 12, but no specific game dates. The ACC has also said it will permit its teams to play one nonconference game.

The Big Ten, first to announce intentions to go conference-only this season, has yet to release a new schedule, but that could come later this week.

Now that the Power Five has declared its intentions the Group of Five conferences can start making plans and filling holes on their schedules.

American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco has said the AAC could stick with its eight-game conference schedule and let its members plays as many of their four nonconference games as they can salvage or replace.

The Mountain West, Conference USA, Mid-American and Sun Belt conferences are likely to take similar approach.

Early Monday, Texas State from the Sun Belt announced it was moving a nonconference game against SMU up from Sept. 5 to Aug. 29.

Good morning and, in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening and good night! CFT, out…

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CFT is no more. At least, when it comes to NBC Sports.

The first of last month, I — this is John Taylor (pictured, catching the game-winning touchdown in Super Bowl XXIII) — began my 12th year with CFT and NBC Sports. This morning, I was informed that my position was being eliminated and I would not be completing that 12th year. Which, of course, meant I wouldn’t be eligible for the traditional 13th-anniversary gift of lace. Which really bummed me out. Because I really like lace.

The jarring phone call was both a slap in the face and a relief. Jarring because, well, it was completely unexpected. Out of the blue, even amidst the pandemic that is wreaking absolute and utter havoc across the country. A relief, on the other hand, because, every single day for the past four months, I woke up wondering if this would be the day I get that call.

Would this be the day? Would this be the day? A question played on an endless loop that just f***s with you mentally, emotionally, physically.

That’s no way to live.

Then again, being job-less is no way to live, either. But, here we are.

So many people I want to thank. First and foremost, Mike Florio and Larry Mazza. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Especially Mr. Mazza on the food front. Hopefully, lunch at Oliverio’s — best damn stuffed shells I have EVER had — can still be a thing, Larry.

And so many people that have worked for me. Not to single anyone out, but I’m going to single one out in Ben Kercheval. Ben, non-biological son of Hoppy, you were and continue to be the man. I appreciate you more than you know.  Rasheed Wallace may indeed be your biological father, but I will forever consider you my illegitimate Internet stepson.

Mike Miller is the best boss anyone could ever ask for.  Hire that man.  You can thank me later.

Kevin McGuire, Zach Barnett, Bryan Fischer, I will always treasure what we did, together, these last few years. Things were on the uptick, and it’s sad that we won’t be able to see it through. Together.  We should’ve — SHOULD’VE SHOULD’VE SHOULD’VE — been given that opportunity.  And it will forever piss me off that we weren’t.

Brent and Chris and JJ, much love to you all as well.

Shortly after I received the job call of death, I called my dad. Told him what was going on in his son’s life.  After I hung up the phone, he sent me a GIF in a text message a few minutes later.  I’ll link it here to end whatever this is, because it’s appropriate.  And old school.

And, well… bye.


2018 FCS All-American RB commits to Virginia

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Virginia joined South Carolina over the weekend as Power Five football schools realizing a personnel benefit from a lower-level program’s loss.

Two weeks ago, the Colonial Athletic Association announced that it was canceling its 2020 college football season because of the coronavirus pandemic.  One member of that FCS conference is Towson.  Coincidentally or not, one standout member of the Tigers, Shane Simpson, took to Twitter last week to announce that he has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.

On that same social media service Sunday, the running back confirmed that he has committed to the Virginia football team.  Simpson had his transfer to-do list down to Virginia and Texas.

As Simpson was a fifth-year senior in 2019, it appears he has been granted a sixth season of eligibility.  Or, is fairly confident he will receive one.

Simpson would likely be eligible for that sixth season as he missed all but four games of his true freshman season in 2015 because of injury, then missed all but the first three games last season because of a serious knee injury.

In 2018, Simpson earned first-team All-American honors.  He finished second in all of FCS with 171.5 all-purpose yards per game, totaling 2,058 yards on the season.  That same season, the Pennsylvania product was the CAA’s Special Teams Player of the Year and earned three different all-conference honors: first-team at running back, second-team as a kick returner and third-team as a punt returner.

Simpson would be eligible to play immediately in 2020 at the FBS level.