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.

As teammates flew, DB ejected for punching Louisville player forced to ride managers’ bus back to Clemson

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That’ll teach him.  They hope.

In the third quarter of Clemson’s 35-point win over Louisville Saturday night, Tigers cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. was involved in a punt-return kerfuffle with Cardinals defensive back Trenell Troutman that ended with Booth, after he had taken him to the ground, punching Troutman.  The fracas resulted in Booth being ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct.

Following the game, head coach Dabo Swinney apologized to his UofL counterpart, Scott Satterfield, for what he described as unacceptable, disappointing behavior.

Sunday, Swinney stated that the punishment phase for Booth commenced almost immediately, and commenced in a very unique way.

“He had a long bus ride home last night and plenty of time to think about it,” Swinney said, confirming that Booth rode the managers’ bus back to Clemson instead of flying home with the rest of his teammates.

For those keeping score at home, it’s a roughly seven-hour drive from Louisville to Clemson via an automobile, and likely longer if you’re taking a bus.  Taking a plane, it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of an hour and a half.

In addition to the bus ride, Swinney also stated that Booth will be subject to additional, unspecified in-house sanctions.

Alabama expects ‘full, speedy recovery’ for Tua Tagovailoa following ankle surgery

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At least publicly, Alabama is putting a positive spin on the most talked-about ankle in college football.

Late in the first half of Alabama’s win over rival Tennessee, starting quarterback and Heisman front-runner Tua Tagovailoa went down with an apparent ankle injury. After spending time in the sideline medical tent, Tagovailoa went into the locker room for further observation.

Not long after that, Tagovailoa was seen exiting the stadium and getting into the back of an ambulance; he would ultimately return to the sidelines but not the game as Mac Jones finished out the win.  Immediately following the game, Nick Saban stated that Tagovailoa suffered a high-ankle sprain, a similar injury he worked through a season ago, and will “probably be out a week or two.” In the postgame press conference, the head coach all but ruled the junior out for next weekend’s home game against Arkansas.

In a statement Sunday, the football program confirmed that Tagovailoa underwent a surgical procedure on the ankle earlier in the day.  It was also confirmed that the junior will not play in this Saturday’s game against Arkansas.

Tua Tagovailoa suffered a high-ankle sprain last night against Tennessee. Our physicians performed a successful tight-rope procedure on his right ankle this morning. This is the same injury, but the opposite ankle that Tua injured last season. Tua will miss next week’s game against Arkansas, but we expect a full and speedy recovery.

As for that TightRope procedure, which significantly cuts the recovery time from a high-ankle sprain?

This technique is used to stabilize an ankle after injury. It can be used to repair a high-ankle sprain, which damages the soft tissue structures between the tibia and fibula and causes these bones to separate. It can also be used to stabilize a fracture of the fibula. The TightRope system anchors the ends of the tibia and fibula together with a braided polyethylene cord, rather than with a rigid surgical screw, to restore the original position of the bones and to allow for proper healing.

Following next Saturday’s game, top-ranked Alabama will be on a bye in Week 10 before its huge showdown with No. 2 LSU in Tuscaloosa Nov. 9. Tagovailoa’s availability for that game is uncertain, even as he told teammates that he’ll “be back for LSU.”

The combination of nearly three weeks from the time of the surgery to the LSU game and the TightRope procedure itself lends credence to the private optimism coming from Tuscaloosa regarding Tagovailoa being healthy enough to take the field for a game that could very well determine one of the four College Football Playoff participants.

UCF paying UConn $1 million to renew Civil ConFLiCT in 2021

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Bob Diaco may no longer be the head coach at UConn but his legacy of trying to build a rivalry with UCF lives on in the form of a seven-figure check.

The Hartford Courant reports that the soon to be independent Huskies have agreed to a 2021 game in Orlando with the Knights and that the program will receive a $1 million check as a result of the trip South for the non-conference meeting.

The two teams have played seven times since becoming fellow members of the AAC dating back to 2013, with UCF holding a 5-2 edge overall in the series. The Knights won the meeting in late September 56-21 and have dominated the Huskies the last few years.

Fans of both programs know there’s not much of a rivalry given the lopsided nature of the results but there have been attempts to stir things up, most notably by Diaco when he ran UConn and created a semi-serious (and unacknowledged in Orlando) trophy and named the game the ‘Civil ConFLiCT.’

At least things won’t end with September’s contest as the two teams continue to fill out their schedules. UConn will now have UCF on the docket in 2021 in addition to home games against FCS Holy Cross and Purdue plus road trips to UMass and Clemson. The Knights, meanwhile, host Boise State and travel to Louisville in the non-conference slate in addition to their regular rotation of AAC opponents.

CUSA fines Lane Kiffin $5K, reprimands FAU head coach for tweet

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Lane Kiffin has made headlines again and it has nothing to do with his team’s play on the field.

Conference USA announced on Sunday that they’ve fined the Florida Atlantic head coach $5,000 and publicly reprimanded him for violating the league’s sportsmanship policy after he posted a tweet on Saturday night that was critical of officials.

“Conference USA has specific rules and standards regarding sportsmanship which have been adopted by our membership,” CUSA commissioner Judy MacLeod said in a statement. “We have an obligation to enforce our rules including the prohibition of public criticism of officiating.”

Kiffin’s expensive tweet came in the heels of a 36-31 loss to Marshall on Friday.

The Owls and their social media-loving head coach will travel to Old Dominion on Saturday to continue conference play.