Brace yourselves folks. No. 22 Duke (8-1, 4-1 ACC) is closing in on a possible return trip to the ACC Championship Game. The Blue Devils took to the road for the final time this season and made sure to return with another win. This time the victim was Syracuse (3-7, 1-5 ACC) with a 27-10 victory. Duke and Syracuse were neck and neck for a while, but Duke pulled away for the win in the fourth quarter with a 17-0 edge on the scoreboard in the final quarter of play.
Jamison Crowder, normally one to make things happen in the passing game at wide receiver, made a game-changing play on special teams early in the fourth quarter. A 52-yard punt return early in the fourth quarter broke a 10-10 tie, and Duke’s defense never allowed Syracuse to get on the scoreboard. While the defense did its job to protect the lead, it was the Duke offense taking care of business padding it. Anthony Boone‘s 54-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Blakeney gave Duke a 27-10 advantage midway through the fourth quarter. It was the second time Boone had hooked up with Blakeney on the afternoon for a touchdown. The two had a 22-yard scoring connection in the second quarter.
This was hardly a perfect game for Duke though. Boone completed fewer than half of his 33 pass attempts and the Blue Devils converted eight of 19 third-down attempts for a first down. Duke’s running game averaged 3.0 yards per rushing attempt and it was kept out of the end zone. David Cutcliffe will have a few things he can work on with his team heading into the final stretch, which should help keep the team focused as well.
The win helps Duke stay ahead of Georgia Tech in the ACC Coastal Division. Duke won an earlier game against Georgia Tech, but can ensure they do not need to rely on tiebreakers if they can finish strong. Duke will get three final games all at home with a chance to protect the division lead. Winners of four straight now since losing at Miami, Duke will wrap up the regular season at home against Virginia Tech, North Carolina and Wake Forest. Winning two of three could likely be enough to grab the division crown, depending on what else happens around the division.
While Duke is flying high atop the ACC Coastal Division, Syracuse stumbled for the seventh time this season. With seven losses, Syracuse is now officially eliminated from postseason contention this season. Syracuse still has two more games to play. Both will come on the road, first against Pittsburgh in two weeks and then at Boston College to wrap up the season.
If they haven’t already, Stanford may want to consider encasing Jack West in some industrial-strength bubble wrap.
Some type of head injury sidelined season-opening starter K.J. Costello for the USC game in Week 2, although he was able to return the following weekend. However, after playing in two straight games, a thumb injury kept him out of the Week 5 win over Oregon State and the Week 6 upset of Washington.
In that win over the Huskies, though, Costello’s backup, Davis Mills, suffered a calf injury. Despite coming off a bye, Costello had already been ruled out of the Week 8 matchup with UCLA; Mills’ injury still lingers as well as, Wednesday night, the Cardinal announced that West (pictured) is expected to get the start against the Bruins.
It will mark the redshirt freshman’s first career start.
West has attempted just five passes during his collegiate career, which came during his true freshman season last year. While he played for nearly an entire quarter in replacing the injured Mills Oct. 5, West did not throw a pass.
It seems the transfer portal season never really ends. On Wednesday, one of the newest addition to the transfer portal was Maryland tight end Tyler Devera. Devera announced his entry to the portal on his Twitter account.
Devera was a three-star recruit in Maryland’s Class of 2019 and has yet to appear in a game for the Terrapins.
Entering the transfer portal allows Devera to have contact with any other college football program looking to recruit him. It is worth noting Devera had committed to Rutgers before ending up heading to Maryland. Devera decommitted from the Scarlet Knights after his older brother, Brendan Devera, was dismissed by (now former ) Rutgers head coach Chris Ash. Whether or not Rutgers is back in play given the program will (eventually) have a new head coach remains to be seen.
Even though Devera has not played a game this season, he would have to sit out the 2020 season if he transfers to another FBS program, per NCAA transfer rules and barring any potential waiver that receives approval for immediate eligibility. When Devera is eligible again in 2021, he will still have three years of eligibility after using 2019 or 2020 as a redshirt season.
The Texas Longhorns won’t be the only school wearing a throwback style this weekend. Add Texas Tech and Rutgers to the mix of teams adopting a look that pays tribute to a certain era in program history.
Rutgers, the birthplace of college football, will be doing neer before seen in the modern era of college football. The Scarlet Knights will wear long-sleeve jerseys. The long sleeves mimic the style of uniform worn by the earliest college football players, although these uniforms will be made of a much more athletic material compared to the gear worn by those in 1869. The red long sleeve jerseys will be topped by a white helmet with a classic “R” logo. From head to toe, it is quite a unique look for the Scarlet Knights.
Texas Tech won’t be wearing long sleeves, but they will be wearing a look similar to the one worn during the bicentennial. The retro uniforms to be worn by Texas Tech this weekend take a page from the 1976 Red Raiders with a white helmet and red double-T logo, complete with red stars. Texas Tech claimed a Southwest Conference title in 1976, so the design choice is appropriate for the Red Raiders.
Not to be forgotten, Boston College has been teasing its own throwback look for this weekend too. I’m just guessing it will be one Doug Flutie would appreciate.
Teams suiting up in uniforms designed to pay tribute to a previous generation of program history has been a thing for a while now, but it is great to see so many schools getting in on the fun in the 150th anniversary season of college football. Every team should make it happen.
But wait, there’s more! Boise State is going to wear a uniform similar to the one they wore during their Fiesta Bowl victory over Arizona in 2014.
C’mon Boise State. If you’re going to do a Fiesta Bowl throwback look, it is required by law that it must be the uniform worn in the win against Oklahoma.
The writing may have been on the wall for much of the season, but Alabama freshman defensive lineman Antonio Alfano appears to no longer be a part of the Alabama football program. Alfano’s name went missing from the team’s online roster, as noted by BamaOnLine.com on Wednesday.
Alfano was among the prized recruits in Alabama’s Class of 2019, but a suspension led to head coach Nick Saban eventually saying Alfano “basically quit” the team. Rumors of his pending entrance to the NCAA transfer portal were ignited following quotes from his family, but BamaOnline reports Alfano has yet to formally have his name added to the portal.
So, uh, what gives?
It’s hard to say for now. Alfano was suspended for unknown reasons early in the season and had yet to play a game for Alabama. His removal from the team’s online roster suggests he will not be making a return to the Crimson Tide. That would suggest an entry to the transfer portal is imminent, especially since his parents previously stated Alfano was doing just that (and publicly saying he should stay at Alabama).
Whatever the future holds for Alfano, there will likely be a number of programs willing to take a look and see if he’s ready to get back on the field in a new environment. If he does transfer, he would have to sit out the 2020 season before being ruled eligible to play again in 2021 with three years of eligibility remaining.