What’s the last thing you want to happen when facing the top defense in the country in terms of sacks? Lose a starting offensive lineman, that’s what.
Unfortunately, that’s the very situation Oregon could find itself in for its road trip to Utah Saturday night. Late in UO’s blowout win over Stanford, starting right tackle Matt Pierson sustained an injury to his left knee.
An MRI performed Monday revealed a sprained MCL, which leaves Pierson’s status as “day-to-day” according to offensive line coach Steve Greatwood.
The reason that Pierson was still in the game in what would turn out to be a 29-point win is simple: injuries along the line have left the Ducks painfully thin at that grouping. The lack of healthy personnel left O’s head coach lamenting the circumstances that helped lead to Pierson’s injury.
“When you have one less chess piece then another chess piece has to stay out on the board a little bit longer,” Mark Helfrich said. “That was very unfortunate. …
“We’re not trying to do anything other than get out, get the clock run out and get out of dodge.”
If Pierson is sidelined — that seems to be the case at this point — he would be replaced by either true freshman Tyrell Crosby or sophomore Cameron Hunt. While Hunt has started at guard and Crosby has played this season, they will be facing what will likely be the line’s most formidable test this season Saturday.
As a team, the Utes lead the nation in sacks with 39, and they’re third in tackles for loss with 73. Individually, linebacker Hau’Oli Kikana is tops in the country in sacks (15.5) and tackles for loss (21.5).
(Photo credit: Oregon athletics)
We overlooked this one earlier in the week, but it’s a rather sizable piece of official news for Lane Kiffin‘s Florida Atlantic football program.
By way of the Palm Beach Post Tuesday, it has been confirmed that John Raine was recently awarded a fifth season of eligibility. The ruling will allow the senior tight end to play for the Owls in 2020.
A broken ankle cost Raine all but four games of his true freshman season in 2016, paving the way for the NCAA to rule in his favor on his appeal for another year of eligibility.
“I’m super excited about it,” Raine told the Post about the NCAA’s approval of a medical hardship waiver. “I love being here; I love playing football.”
With two regular-season games plus a bowl remaining, Rainer has already set career-highs in receptions (26), receiving yards (426) and receiving touchdowns (five). The touchdowns are tops on the Owls.
All good things, streaks in this particular case, must come to an end.
Saturday afternoon in South Bend, Notre Dame will play host to Navy in the 93rd renewal of their football rivalry. And, according to the South Bend Tribune, the game won’t be played in front of a sellout crowd at Notre Dame Stadium (capacity: 77,622), which is actually a startling development.
This weekend, you see, will mark the first time since Thanksgiving Day 1973 (vs. Air Force) that the Fighting Irish haven’t sold out a home football game, snapping a streak of 273 straight sellouts. Ahead of that streak being snapped, the Irish’s athletic director for the past dozen years, Jack Swarbrick, attempted to downplay the development.
From the Tribune:
It was never sort of important to me to keep it alive, but I understand why other people thought so. It’s a point of distinction to a lot of people and our fans.
“For me it’s always been: What’s the stadium environment like? Are we creating a great environment for our team and for our student-athletes? That you can say it’s also sold out is sort of a byproduct of that.
“But if my choice is (77,622) people in an environment that’s not really good versus 75,000 in a raucous environment, I’ll take the latter every time.
Notre Dame’s 237-game streak had been the second-longest active streak in college football behind Nebraska’s 373, which will move to 374 when Big Red hosts Wisconsin this weekend. The last time the Cornhuskers failed to sellout Memorial Stadium was during the 1962 season.
The field for the award that fetes the nation’s most versatile college football player has been whittled down significantly.
Earlier Thursday, the Louisville Sports Commission announced the four finalists for the 2019 Paul Hornung Award that have been chosen by the 17-member selection committee. And (surprise!), all four of the finalists come from Power Five conferences: Lynn Bowden Jr. (Kentucky), Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU), Joe Reed (Virginia) and Wan’Dale Robinson (Nebraska).
All four of the finalists come from the offensive side of the ball and have spent time as return specialists as well. Because of injuries at the position, Bowden, listed as a wide receiver to start the season, has started the last three games at quarterback for UK, with the Wildcats going 2-1 in that span.
Reed is primarily a wide receiver and Edwards-Helaire a running back, while Robinson has split his time between both positions.
The 2018 winner of the Hornung Award was Purdue’s Rondale Moore, who likely would’ve been given serious finalist consideration again this year if not for his season essentially being derailed by a lingering hamstring injury.
For all of the statistical particulars for each candidate, click HERE the award’s press release:
It appears Kansas State will have to settle for a mea culpa.
In the second half of last Saturday’s game, Texas cornerback Jalen Green (pictured) leveled K-State wide receiver Wykeen Gill (not pictured) on a play away from the ball and was ejected from the contest after (eventually) being flagged for targeting. The play will cost Green the first half of UT’s game this Saturday against Iowa State per NCAA targeting rules, but will likely cost Gill at least one full game as he will be sidelined for the Week 12 matchup with West Virginia as the receiver is currently in concussion protocol.
That disparity didn’t sit well with K-State’s head coach.
“It’s unfortunate because it was away from the play, didn’t have anything to do with the play, and Wykeen is probably going to miss a game,” Chris Klieman stated at his weekly press conference Tuesday. “When you have a hit like that and somebody only misses a half, I don’t think that’s very fair.”
Wednesday afternoon, Green issued an apology in which he stated, in part, that he “realize[s] how it may have looked” but “I do want everyone to know I was not trying to take a cheap shot.”
As for “not trying to take a cheap shot,” you be the judge.