Last-second field goal keeps Playoff, Heisman hopes alive for No. 10 TCU

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No. 10 TCU fought back from a 13-point deficit, fell behind by 13, and then did it again as Jaden Oberkrom knocked in a 37-yard field goal as time expired to beat No. 20 West Virginia 31-30 in Morgantown.

The Mountaineers built a 13-0 first quarter lead after a 75-yard opening march and then two field goals, both of the shorter variety after West Virginia did not convert a third down of makable distance near the goal line. TCU pulled within 13-7 on a 47-yard catch-and-run from Trevone Boykin to Deante’ Gray with 1:44 to go in the first quarter, but that was it for first half scoring.

If TCU had lost this game, it would undoubtedly point to the second quarter, where the Frogs forced three turnovers inside West Virginia territory and turned none of them into points.

No matter, West Virginia wasn’t done giving the ball away. The Mountaineers coughed it up twice more in the second half. The first came on a premature shotgun snap that caught Clint Trickett by surprise, recovered by TCU’s Mike Tuaua at the WVU 33. Five straight runs, the last a two-yarder by Boykin, put TCU up with 9:27 to go in the third quarter.

West Virginia then went on a 14-0 run to reclaim its 13-point edge at 27-14 on a five-yard Dreamius Smith run, coming immediately after TCU had taken its first lead, and then one play after that as Terrell Chestnut ripped the ball from Josh Doctson‘s arms and raced 36 yards for a touchdown.

Facing at 3rd-and-9 at his own 35, Trickett threw his second interception of the day. Three plays later B.J. Catalon raced in from 23 yards to pull TCU within 27-21 as the third quarter came to a close.

Josh Lambert knocked in a 23-yard field goal, pushing the West Virginia lead to 30-21, but the Mountaineers’ offense completely collapsed from there. West Virginia did not gain a first down in the third quarter, actually moving backwards seven yards on its nine fourth-quarter snaps, giving TCU the opportunity it needed to mount the comeback.

Catalon scored from six-yards out with 7:33 to go, and had a great shot at his third touchdown of the day on a 4th-and-3 pass from Boykin, but West Virginia appeared to get away with a hold.

The Mountaineers immediately gave the ball back, and the Frogs moved 56 yards in seven plays to give Oberkrom a 37-yard field goal as time expired.

Since mutually joining the Big 12 in 2012, TCU has beaten West Virginia by one in double overtime and by one on a last-second field goal, while West Virginia won by three in overtime last season. The road team has won all three games.

Boykin kept his Heisman Trophy hopes alive only by winning this game, as he spent much of the afternoon looking like the 2013 version of himself. He completed only 12-of-30 passes for 166 yards with a touchdown and an interception while rushing nine times for 49 yards and a touchdown; take away the touchdown and he managed 4.1 yards per attempt on his 29 throws.

TCU mounted this comeback by shutting down All-America candidate Kevin White (three catches, 28 yards) with its own All-Conference candidate named Kevin White. The Frogs also moved to the run in the second half, pounding out 167 yards on 29 carries after halftime. Catalon did most of the work with 20 carries for 105 yards and two touchdowns, while Aaron Green added 11 rushes for 65 yards.

The combination of Smith, Andrew Buie and Wendell Smallwood produced 176 yards on 39 carries, but could not get the necessary space with which to work as Trickett achieved only 162 passing yards on 26 attempts.

The win keeps TCU’s Big 12 and national championship hopes alive, setting up an absolutely massive game with No. 11 Kansas State on Saturday in Fort Worth.

West Virginia, meanwhile, must take solace in being college football’s most-accomplished three-loss team (losses to Alabama and Oklahoma before today, plus wins over Baylor and at Oklahoma State). They’ll visit Texas next week.

Two-game suspensions for Louisiana Tech’s starting QB, star WR

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Suffice to say, Louisiana Tech’s offense will be at less than full strength when it takes the field in Week 12 later on today.

Thursday night, the Tech football program announced that three players, junior wide receiver Adrian Hardy, senior outside linebacker James Jackson and quarterback J’Mar Smith, have been suspended for Friday night’s game against Marshall.  Hardy and Smith will also be suspended for next Saturday’s road game against UAB.

Per the school, all three players were slapped with their respective suspensions because of violations of unspecified athletic department policies.

“This matter is being handled internally,” the program said in a statement. “Neither [head football coach Skip] Holtz nor athletic department officials will address this further.”

Smith is in his third season as Tech’s starting quarterback and has thrown for 2,483 yards, 14 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2019.  Smith will be replaced in the starting lineup by Aaron Allen, who has thrown nine passes this year and will be making the first start of his collegiate career.

Hardy leads the Bulldogs in receiving yards with 482 and is second in receptions with 39.

Tech is in the midst of an eight-game winning streak that has them sitting atop the West Division of Conference USA at a perfect 5-0.  Their only loss came in the season opener against No. 19 Texas.

Report: Florida State no longer considers Bob Stoops a candidate

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It appears you can put this particular piece of drama to bed.

In the days after Willie Taggart was fired as Florida State’s head coach, Bob Stoops‘ name was connected to the opening through various levels of speculation.  At one point, FSU’s athletic director, David Coburn, publicly stated that the current head coach and general manager of the XFL’s Dallas franchise is a candidate for the job; Stoops subsequently stated that “the rumors/reports of him being a candidate for the Florida State job opening are not accurate.”

Nearly two weeks later, and citing two sources familiar with the search, the Tallahassee Democrat is reporting that “Florida State has been in contact with representatives of former Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops and does not consider him a candidate for its vacant football coach position.”

With the former Oklahoma coach out of the running — if he was even in the running in the first place — FSU could turn its attention to current FBS head coaches such as Memphis’ Mike Norvell, Penn State’s James Franklin and Iowa State’s Matt Campbell.  Interim head coach Odell Haggins is also drawing support from current Seminole football players to take over the job permanently.

Coburn has long maintained that the university is on track to have a replacement in place before the end of November.

Nick Saban says he suspended unnamed Alabama player for Miss. St. game for not going to class

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Let the sleuthing and/or Internet message-board speculating commence in earnest.

Thursday night on his weekly radio show, Nick Saban revealed that he had suspended one of his Alabama football players for this Saturday’s game against Mississippi State in Starkville.  The head coach even gave a specific reason for the suspension — the player didn’t go to class.

What Saban didn’t do?  Divulge the name of the player who has been suspended.

Alabama will be looking to bounce back from its first loss of the season last weekend against a Mississippi State squad that the Crimson Tide has beaten the last 11 times they have played, with the Bulldogs’ last win coming in 2007.  That, of course, was Saban’s first season in Tuscaloosa.

Robert Mathis, Erik Williams part of the Black College Football Hall of Fame Class of 2020

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A handful of the greatest Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU) players — and an administrator and coach as well — are set to be honored for their collegiate gridiron exploits.

The Black College Football Hall of Fame on Thursday revealed six individuals who will be a part of its Class of 2020. Four of the inductees are former players — Earl “Air” Harvey (North Carolina Central), James Hunter (Grambling State), Robert Mathis (Alabama A&M) and Erik Williams (Central State).

Joe Taylor, a former coach at FAMU, Hampton, Howard and Virginia Union,  ex-MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas will be officially inducted next February.

“On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we congratulate the Class of 2020,” said BCFHOF Co-Founder and 2011 Inductee Doug Williams. “Everyone that has vote to determine the next class understands how difficult it is to only choose six. The Class of 2020 is a great representation of the talent that has come from Historically Black Colleges & Universities.”

Williams, a third-round pick in the 1991 NFL Draft, spent most of his professional career with the Dallas Cowboys, earning first-team All-Pro honors three times as an offensive tackle as well as being a part of three Super Bowl-winning teams.

The year after setting an FCS record with 20 sacks, Mathis was selected in the fifth round of the 2003 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts. In his 14 seasons with the Colts, Mathis was named to the Pro Bowl five teams and owns a Super Bowl ring as well.