Late Jeff Driskel interception costs Florida as Gators snap defeat from jaws of victory

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Jeff Driskel was perfect in the fourth quarter – until he wasn’t. And his one moment of imperfection cost Florida as the Gators blew a late 24-20 lead to fall to LSU 30-27 at the Swamp on Saturday night.

Trailing 20-17 entering the final frame after Leonard Fournette‘s second rushing touchdown of the game at the 3:42 mark of the third quarter, Driskel hit five of his first six passes of the fourth quarter for 118 yards, including an 11-yarder to Demarcus Robinson to put the Gators up 24-20 with 6:10 to play, and a 73-yarder, again to Robinson, to move the ball to the LSU two after the Bayou Bengals had reclaimed the lead at 27-24 on an Anthony Jennings scoring strike to Travin Dural (which he happened to catch while battling pass interference).

With the clock nearing the tw0-minute mark, Brandon Powell rushed for one yard on first-and-goal, and Driskel carried for no gain on second-and-goal. With the ball on the one-yard line, Driskel found an open Tevin Westbrook in the end zone, but the pass clanged off his hands and fell incomplete. The Gators settled for a Francisco Velez field goal to tie the game at 27-27 with 1:49 to play.

After forcing a three-and-out, the Gators reclaimed the ball at their own 42 with 54 seconds to play. Driskel hit Brandon Powell out of the backfield on consecutive plays for 13 yards (making him 7-of-9 for 131 yards with a touchdown and a drop in the quarter….good, right?), Driskel forced a ball into coverage, and Rickey Jefferson snagged it for LSU and returned the ball 23 yards to the Florida 36.

Because of the Westbrook drop, a tie game meant LSU could play conservative knowing worst-case scenario meant overtime – instead of a touchdown do-or-die situation – and that they did. One Terrance Magee run and an incomplete pass set Colby Delahoussaye up for the 50-yard game-winning field goal with three seconds to play.

The win dropped Florida to a painful 3-2 on the season and 2-2 in SEC play, while LSU improves to 5-2 and avoids its first 0-3 SEC start since 1999.

Driskel completed 14-of-25 passes for 183 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions while carrying the Gators’ ground attack with 21 rushes for 71 yards. While Driskel dominated the stat sheet, Andre Debose was Florida’s best offensive player with two punt returns that totaled 115 yards, one for 62-yard touchdown that opened the scoring and a 53-yarder that set up Driskel’s touchdown pass.

Florida played most of the games without star cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, and lost wide receiver Latroy Pittman to a scary hit that saw him carted off the field.

Jennings played the whole way at quarterback for LSU, hitting on 10-of-21 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown, while Fournette posted his best game as a collegian with 27 rushes for 140 yards and two touchdowns.

Florida will host Missouri next week, while LSU returns home to face Kentucky.

Former four-star Clemson DB enters transfer portal

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A couple of weeks or so before kicking off summer camp, the defending national champion’s depth in the secondary has taken a bit of a hit.

Exiting spring practice, Kyler McMichael was listed as A.J. Terrell‘s back up at one of Clemson’s cornerback slots. However, as first reported by 247Sports.com, McMichael’s name is now listed in the NCAA transfer database.

It’s at this point in the program where we’re compelled to remind readers that McMichael can pull his name from the portal and remain with the Tigers, although entering is, more times than not, the first step toward a transfer. Taking a seat in the portal also affords other programs the opportunity to contact the defensive back without receiving permission from Clemson.

Should McMichael ultimately opt to leave the Tigers, it’s highly likely that he’d have to sit out the 2019 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules if he lands at another FBS program.

A four-star member of Clemson’s 2018 recruiting class, McMichael was rated as the No. 8 corner in the country; the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 56 prospect overall on 247Sports.com’s composite board. He was the highest-rated defensive back in the Tigers’ class that year.

McMichael picked Clemson over offers from, among others, Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee.

As a true freshman, McMichael played in 12 games. During that action, he was credited with a pair of tackles in just over 100 snaps.

Oh, SHI? Cue Clay Davis because Rutgers announces new football naming rights deal for what will now be known as SHI Stadium

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Cue Clay Davis because the birthplace of college football has a new name and fans probably can’t wait to make fun of it.

Rutgers announced on Friday that they have agreed to a new stadium naming rights deal with SHI International Corp. that will see the Scarlet Knights’ home rebranded over the next seven years into SHI Stadium. The venue was officially known as HighPoint.com Stadium last year but the naming rights deal with what most know as High Point Solutions expired this offseason.

“As the State University of New Jersey, we are thrilled to partner with SHI,” Rutgers athletic director Pat Hobbs said in a statement. “Headquartered right here in Somerset, SHI proudly embraces its strong Rutgers ties. As we celebrate the 150th Anniversary of college football here at the Birthplace, we are delighted to partner with a company that shares in our Relentless Pursuit of Excellence. This partnership will positively impact athletics, the university and the New Jersey community.”

Terms were not announced by the school but “a person familiar with the contract told NJ Advance Media it’s a 7-year deal starting at $1.25 million and increasing by $100,000 annually to $1.85 million in 2025-26.” At a total of nearly $10 million over the lifetime of the contract, that isn’t quite what other Power Five programs have fetched but a still significant bump over the previous $600,000 a year the school got.

The Scarlet Knights previously played at Rutgers Stadium up until 2011. The first football game at the newly renamed stadium will happen on Aug. 30 against UMass.

Rimington Trophy watch list is out for 2019 and it includes 80 FBS centers

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Are you a starting center for 2019? Good, because chances are high you made the Rimington Trophy watch list.

The Rimington Trophy Committee released their annual pre-season watch list for the award given to the nation’s best center and remarkably, 80 of the 130 FBS teams were represented on the list. While watch lists are always notable for their length and being sometimes too broad, it kind of feels like everybody who is in line to start was granted a place on this year’s edition.

Among the notable names were Clemson’s Sean Pollard, Wisconsin’s Tyler Biadasz, Michigan State’s Matt Allen, Oklahoma’s Creed Humphrey, Notre Dame’s Jarrett Patterson, Stanford’s Drew Dalman, Washington’s Nick Harris and LSU’s Lloyd Cushenberry III.

You can find the full list of centers nominated here.

The winner of the award will be announced in early December along with a host of other college football honors. The winner will then be recognized at the Rimington Trophy Presentation in Lincoln, Nebraska on January 18, 2020.

Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam, Oklahoma’s Grant Calcaterra lead off 2019 watch list for the Mackey Award

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Being a tight end in today’s version of college football means you’re a player wearing many hats.

While blocking is emphasized less than ever before, players at the position still need to do it in addition to splitting out wide, running reverses and lining up all over the field in a variety of offensive sets. This year’s annual watch list for the 2019 Mackey Award includes a host of players who can do it all and leave an impact between the lines that can make them a headache for opposing defensive coordinators.

While the entire list includes just about every starter at the position in the country, some of the headliners for the upcoming season include Washington’s Hunter BryantOklahoma’s Grant Calcaterra, Alabama’s Miller Forristall, Memphis’ Joey Magnifico, Missouri’s Albert Okwuegbunam, Stanford’s Colby Parkinson and Vandy’s Jared Pinkney.

The full list of players on the Mackey Award watch list can be found here.

Last year’s winner was Iowa’s T.J. Hockenson, who later became a top 10 draft pick for the Detroit Lions the following spring.