Marcus Mariota emerges as Heisman favorite during Oregon’s 45-16 win over Stanford


This was the game everyone was waiting for from the No. 5 Oregon Ducks and their quarterback, Marcus Mariota.

For both the team and its quarterback to take the next step, they had to prove they could beat the Stanford Cardinal after falling to them during the past two seasons. The Ducks may not have been undefeated this season, but they certainly proved they’re worthy of being named one of the nation’s top teams with a 45-16 victory over the one team they couldn’t previously get past.

While Mariota was already considered one of the top candidates to win this year’s Heisman Trophy, the junior signal-caller may have moved his way to the forefront of the conversation with his performance Saturday.

Mariota was 19-of-30 passing for 258 yards and two touchdowns. He also had his largest rushing output of the season with 85 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Oregon’s quarterback is now completing 68.2 percent of his passes for 2,541 yards, 26 touchdowns and only two interceptions this season. Plus, Mariota ran for 410 more yards and seven touchdowns.

Meanwhile, Mariota’s top competition, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, hasn’t kept pace despite leading the nation’s No. 1 team. Prescott is completing 61.1 percent of his passes for 2,025 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions. The biggest advantage for the Bulldogs’ signal-caller is his 725 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on the ground. But a two-interception performance in a shaky effort against the 4-5 Arkansas Razorbacks certainly doesn’t help Prescott’s cause.

While the Stanford victory was a major milestone for Mariota, the quarterback wasn’t the only reason Oregon was able to finally overcome the Cardinal.

The Ducks were able to run the ball effectively for the first time in three seasons. Freshman running back Royce Freeman ran for more yards in this year’s game than the entire Ducks team did last season. Freeman finished the contest with 98 yards on 19 carries.

Oregon’s defense also didn’t allow Stanford to control the game with its running attack. The Cardinal ran for 132 yards and only averaged 3.4 yards per carry.

This victory now becomes a major building block for Oregon as its pursues an appearance in the first College Football Playoff. With Ole Miss’ loss to the Auburn Tigers, Oregon should claim the fourth and final spot from the playoff committee this week. The Ducks will then control their destiny during the rest of the season.

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, 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’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 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.