Texas starts fast, hangs on for upset of No. 23 West Virginia


If you can call beating a team on the trail end of the Top 25 a signature win, then Charlie Strong wrote his name across the bottom of Texas’ 33-16 win over No. 23 West Virginia on Saturday afternoon.

The Longhorns built a 24-3 halftime lead after Johnathan Gray and Malcolm Brown led the way for 178 rushing yards, but Texas practically demanded the Mountaineers crawl back in the game after sticking its offense in neutral for most of the second half. Texas’ first seven drives of the second half went punt, punt, fumble, punt, turnover on downs, interception or punt, losing yards on two of those possessions and traveling 11 yards or less on five of them. And, voila, all of a sudden West Virginia took possession of the ball at its own 14 with more than five minutes remaining in the game.

But, as it had so many times throughout the day, the Texas defense stood tall when its offense needed it to, forcing a turnover on downs at the WVU 15 yard line. Gray rushed in from 15 yards out for his third touchdown of the day, putting the game away and providing the winning score with 3:06 to go.

Texas rushed the ball 39 times for 228 yards and Gray’s three scores, carrying the day for a spectacularly mediocre Tyrone Swoopes, who completed 11 of his 29 passes for 124 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Cedric Reed led the defensive effort for the Longhorns, recording three sacks, including one for a safety, and a forced fumble. Vance Bedford‘s unit allowed Clint Trickett to complete 35-of-48 passes, but for just 248 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. Kevin White caught 15 passes for 132 yards, but no other Mountaineer gained more than 50 yards through the air. Dreamius Smith led the way for West Virginia on the ground with 10 carries for an even 100 yards and a touchdown.

The win pushes Texas to 5-5 on the season and on the precipice of bowl eligibility with an extremely winnable visit to Oklahoma State next week. After that, Strong’s bunch closes the season with a chance for a statement win over TCU in Austin on Thanksgiving night.

West Virginia, meanwhile, falls from controlling its own destiny in the Big 12 just eight days ago to standing below Texas in the standings at 4-3 in league play. The 6-4 Mountaineers will take Saturday off before hosting Kansas State on Thursday, Nov. 20.

Fenway Bowl to pit ACC vs. American

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Fenway Park confirmed on Monday that “America’s most beloved ballpark” will indeed host a bowl game this winter, as was reported back in April.

While full details are still forthcoming, the game will pit teams from the ACC and the American.

Fenway Park has hosted a number of games in recent years, but this will be the venue’s first college postseason game. Some might even say Fenway’s entire 107-year history has been building toward the opportunity to host a 7-5 ACC team against an 8-4 American team.

The Red Sox will become the sixth MLB franchise to host a college bowl game in recent years, joining the Yankees (Pinstripe Bowl), Diamondbacks (Cheez-It Bowl), Rays (Gasparilla Bowl), Marlins (the defunct Miami Beach Bowl) and Giants (Redbox Bowl, since moved to Levi’s Stadium).


Jerry Kill joins Virginia Tech support staff

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Jerry Kill stepped down as Minnesota’s head coach in the middle of the 2015 season, but he’s remained active as ever in “retirement.”

He spent 2016 as an assistant AD at Kansas State, returned to coaching as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Rutgers in 2017, but, after the same epileptic seizures that chased him out of coaching followed him to Piscataway, Kill stepped down after just one season. He was quickly scooped up as the athletics director at Southern Illinois, but now Kill is returning again to coaching — sort of.

Virginia Tech on Monday announced Kill as the new assistant to the head coach for Justin Fuente. In this newly-created role, Kill will use his experience to assist Fuente with “a myriad of duties.”

“Jerry Kill will serve as a tremendous resource for our football program,” Fuente said. “Coach Kill possesses over three decades of expertise and will be great addition to our staff. In addition to over 20 years of experience as collegiate and high school head coach, he’s served as a coordinator on both sides of the ball. He can dissect the game from virtually every angle and will be able to provide his unique perspective on everything from recruiting, to personnel and facilities. ”

“While it was a difficult decision to leave so many wonderful friends and colleagues at Southern Illinois, I am thrilled for the opportunity to join Coach Fuente and his staff at Virginia Tech,” Kill said. “I’ve long appreciated and admired Justin as a coach and teacher of the game. I respect his penchant for identifying talent and helping young men reach their potential. He has assembled a fabulous coaching staff and roster of talented players at Virginia Tech. I can’t wait to help the Hokies in any way I can.”

Kill will join the Virginia Tech staff effective immediately. He went 152-99 as a head coach at five different schools from 1994-2015.


Pac-12 admits refs botched Arizona State-Michigan State ending

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No. 24 Arizona State beat Michigan State 10-7 on Saturday, a win that was preserved by a 12-men-on-the-field penalty that wiped away a game-tying field goal for the Spartans. Matt Coghlin‘s second attempt, this one from 47 yards, sailed wide right, allowing the Sun Devils to hold on for the win.

But it turns out there should have been a second penalty called.

The Pac-12 has announced its officials missed a penalty on Arizona State on Coghlin’s second, missed attempt.

“An Arizona State defensive player took a running start and leapt over the kicking team’s line in an attempt to block the kick. In the process, he leapt into the frame of the body of an opponent. The penalty would have been 15 yards from the previous spot and an automatic first down.

In this case, it would have been administered as half the distance to the goal and Michigan State would have been provided one untimed down.”

That penalty would have moved the Spartans up to the Arizona State 14-yard line, giving Coghlin a third attempt from just 31 yards out.

The Pac-12 provided no word on what, if any, internal accountability the officiating crew that missed such a crucial penalty will face.


Chip Kelly won’t make QB change despite UCLA offensive woes

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Chip Kelly revolutionized college football back when he was at Oregon, becoming so successful that not one but three NFL teams tried or succeeded in hiring him.

Kelly’s return to the sidelines in the college game however… could be going better. UCLA was blown out of the water on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl by No. 5 Oklahoma and the Bruins offense is actually among the worst in all of FBS.

They’re dead last in yards per play, second to last in total offense and No. 127 in scoring offense. Oh and sophomore quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is No. 99 nationally in passer rating.

Despite those numbers, it appears Kelly isn’t contemplating a new face behind center as the team moves into Pac-12 play.

“We didn’t,” Kelly said when asked by the LA Times whether he thought of making a change at quarterback on Saturday. “…we felt confident in Dorian.”

To be fair, Thompson-Robinson did seem a little improved against the Sooners than he did in his first two starts of 2019 against Cincinnati and San Diego State. But those numbers speak for themselves with road trips to Washington State and Arizona coming up for the 0-3 side from Westwood.