ACC Coastal slightly less complicated with Duke’s double OT win at Pitt


Whatever you do next year when Duke and Pittsburgh together, you might want to take the over. For the second striaght season, Duke and Pittsburgh traded blows on the scoreboard with high frequency. Pittsburgh had the last laugh in 2013, but this season saw Duke come out on top. It would take double overtime to do so, but it was worth the extra effort for the Blue Devils. No. 24/24 Duke (7-1, 3-1 ACC) celebrated a 51-48 victory over Pittsburgh (4-5, 2-3 ACC) after backup quarterback Thomas Sirk scored his second touchdown of the game.

Pittsburgh had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation, but a 26-yard field goal try by Chris Blewitt sailed wide of the goal. Duke used two timeouts to attempt to freeze Blewitt, and it worked. The missed field goal try sent the game to overtime, where the offenses continued to trade scores.

The teams traded touchdown runs in the first overtime, with Duke starting quarterback Anthony Boone running 12 yards on the first possession and Pittsburgh’s James Conner running 14 yards for the tying score. Conner had a monster performance on the ground with 263 yards and three touchdowns, but it was not enough. For Pittsburgh, neither was holding the football for over 40 minutes in regulation. This week the Panthers held on to the football (zero turnovers after an awful job holding the football last week) and outgained Duke 594-438 in total offensive yards. After Blewitt connected on a field goal to give Pitt a 48-45 lead in the second overtime, Duke pushed forward to give Sirk a chance to score the game-winning touchdown. Earlier in the game Sirk had pushed one in from the goal line. He did the same here.

Two of the ACC’s best wide receivers also went over 100 yards in this game. Pittsburgh receiver Tyler Boyd turned in 140 yards on seven receptions, but it was Duke’s Jamison Crowder who led all players with 165 yards and two touchdowns on nine receptions.

So, for now, Duke sits alone in first place in the ACC Coastal Division. At 3-1 in ACC play, the Blue Devils have a one game lead in the loss column over Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Miami and Virginia. Duke also owns head-to-head victories over Georgia Tech, Virginia and now Pittsburgh. Miami owns the head-to-head tiebreaker with Duke. Duke will have four more games to play, including three home games to end the season in Durham against Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest. As long as Duke can avoid a loss at Syracuse next week, Duke could be sitting ina  good shot at returning to the ACC Championship Game once again.

Of course, just when you think you have the ACC Coastal Division figured out it can be flipped around the next week.

Pittsburgh will have to win two more game sin their final three (@ UNC, Syracuse, @ Miami) in order to become bowl eligible this season.

Ole Miss confirms addition of Navy transfer Jake Springer

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Ole Miss has looked to a service academy to significantly bolster its football roster.  Officially.

Back in mid-March, Jake Springer signaled his intention to transfer from Navy by entering the NCAA transfer database.  A little over three months later, the striker utilized Instagram to announce that he had committed to the Ole Miss football team.

Two weeks after that social media revelation, Ole Miss confirmed that Springer has signed and been added to the Rebels football roster.  It was initially thought that Springer would be headed to the Rebels as a graduate transfer.  Instead, the school confirmed he’ll have to sit out the 2020 season.  The 2021 season will be his final year of eligibility.

Springer was a two-star member of the Class of 2017 for the Midshipmen.  His recruiting pedigree, though, belies the potential for production he brings to Ole Miss football.

After playing in six games as a true freshman, Springer saw action in a dozen in 2018.  He started four of those contests, intercepting a pair of passes in that action.  The Missouri product had a breakout season in 2019, starting 10 games for the Midshipmen.  He led the team in both tackles for loss (16) and sacks (eight).  The latter total is tied for third-most in academy history, the former tied for the fifth-most.

Following the regular season, Springer was accorded second-team All-AAC honors.

While he played a hybrid linebacker/safety (striker) position at Navy, Springer is expected to make his mark in the secondary for the SEC school.

Illinois LB Joseph Thompson enters the transfer portal

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Illinois has been on the right side of the football portal throughout the offseason.  Now, Lovie Smith‘s crew finds themselves on the wrong end.

First reported by, Joseph Thompson has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database. subsequently confirmed that the defensive back is intent on leaving the Illinois football program.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Thompson was a three-star member of the Illinois football Class of 2019.  The Chicago native was rated as the No. 27 recruit regardless of position in the state of Illinois.  As a true freshman, Thompson didn’t appear in any games and took a redshirt.

On the positive side for the Illini? Illinois has added seven transfers to its football roster this offseason.  Five of those have come from Power Five programs.

In mid-March, ex-Alabama linebacker Christian Bell tweeted that he was moving on to the Illini. Shortly thereafter, we noted that an FCS All-American offensive lineman had opted to transfer into the Illinois football program. New Mexico State wide receiver Desmond Dan did the same.  As did Miami wide receiver Brian Hightower.  And Mississippi State offensive lineman Brevyn Jones as well in early May  And Louisville defensive back TreSean Smith last week mid-May.  And Cal defensive tackle Chinedu Udeogu that same month.

Report: Oklahoma wants to move its 2020 opener up a week, to Aug. 29

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While seemingly everyone in the sport is looking to push games back, Oklahoma is actually looking to move its football opener up.

Oklahoma is currently scheduled to open the 2020 college football season at home in Norman against FCS Missouri State Sept. 5.  According to The Oklahoman, however, OU is looking to move that matchup up a week, to Aug. 29.  Reportedly, the FCS school is amenable to such a move.

The reasoning behind such a waiver?

OU athletic director Joe Castiglione’s rationale in this pandemic-stricken year is that moving the opener would give OU an off week after each of its first two games, which could be valuable with the testing of players for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

With constant testing and the subsequent contact tracing for those exposed, teams face a season with frequent quarantines and isolation of players who either have the virus or have been exposed to it.

At the moment, Oklahoma is scheduled to face Tennessee at Memorial Stadium Sept. 12.  Then coming off a bye, OU would travel

All of this, of course, is contingent on there actually being non-conference games in the sport.  The Big Ten was the first conference-only scheduling domino to fall.  The ACC and Pac-12 are expected to follow suit.  The Sooners’ conference, the Big 12, likely won’t make a decision on that front until the end of this month.  The same goes for the SEC as well.

Five-star 2020 Georgia signee Broderick Jones reportedly injured in motor bike accident

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There’s a health concern involving one of the crown jewels of the Georgia football Class of 2020.

With Auburn in hot pursuit, Broderick Jones confirmed back in February that he had signed with Georgia football. The offensive lineman stated on National Signing Day he is “a Georgia boy” and “wanted to be close to home so my family could support me.“

Now, though, is confirming that Jones suffered “a lower leg injury related to an accident involving a motor bike.” No details surrounding the accident have been revealed, although the website noted that it didn’t happen in the last couple of days.

It’s expected that Jones will be recovering for multiple weeks, perhaps up to two months. As of yet, the Georgia football program has not commented on the development.

The No. 3 recruit regardless of position in the state of Georgia, the 6-5, 298-pound Jones is the No. 2 offensive tackle in the country.  On the composite, he’s listed as the No. 11 prospect overall in the Class of 2020.  Only one signee in this year’s class for the Bulldogs, cornerback Kelee Ringo, was rated higher.

While Jones verbally committed to UGA in April of 2018, the departure of line coach Sam Pittman for the head job at Arkansas in December caused some concern.  In January, Jones took an official visit to Arkansas.  He took another to Illinois that same month.

With the Bulldogs, the expectation is that Jones will slide into a starting job as a true freshman.  Provided there is a season, of course.