South Carolina special teams block Florida’s chance to become bowl eligible

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Florida (5-4, 4-4 SEC) looked to have this game as close to being in the bag as either team may have been able to do on Saturday afternoon. After digging a 10-0 hole in the first quarter, Florida rallied with 17 straight points and held a 17-10 lead in the fourth quarter. But the South Carolina (5-5, 3-5 SEC) special teams pulled through with two huge blocks to give the Gamecocks enough life to tie things up late and force overtime. Then, in the overtime, South Carolina quarterback Dylan Thompson took it himself for a four-yard touchdown run for a 23-20 victory.

Florida had its chances to put this game away in the fourth quarter despite having another sluggish afternoon on offense, but the Gators could not finish things off in the fourth quarter. Florida’s fourth quarter possessions resulted in a three-and-out, a blocked field goal and a blocked punt. The Gators drove to the South Carolina 15-yard line but ended the drive with the Gamecocks blocking a 32-yard field goal try by Francisco Velez. South Carolina took over at their 41-yard line as a result but were unable to score points off the drive. Florida’s next possession was another three-and-out, this time with a punt blocked at the Florida 38-yard line.

Following the blocked punt, Thompson went straight to the air for a 27-yard gain to Mike Davis and a few plays later Davis was in the end zone, in part because Florida had been called for a pass interference in the end zone.

Florida had to settle for a field goal on the first possession of overtime, and South Carolina opted to simply keep things on the ground with Davis. It worked effectively with four straight runs to the Florida 11-yard line. South Carolina was on the four-yard line two plays later with a first and goal, at which time Thompson took care of things himself by running into the end zone for the win.

Florida ended the day with just three of 14 third-down conversions and 278 yards of offense. Gators quarterback Treon Haris attempted just 11 passes all afternoon, completing five for 60 yards and a touchdown late in the first half. Haris also led the Gators with 111 rushing yards. South Carolina was only marginally better on offense. South Carolina converted eight of 17 third downs for first downs but managed just 301 yards of offense and went 0-for-3 on fourth down attempts.

Florida will host Eastern Kentucky, an FCS program, next weekend in Gainesville for the final home game of the season. The following week Florida will wrap up the regular season on the road against Florida State. Florida is now done with SEC play, with a conference record of 4-4 this season, highlighted by a win over Georgia. After letting this game slip away, the talks about making a coaching change from Will Muschamp could heat up again after it looked as though he would manage to silence that idea for at least one more year. It has reached a point where even a win against Florida State might not be enough.

Florida can still play in a bowl game though. If the Gators win next weekend against Eastern Kentucky (and they should, although Eastern Kentucky is 8-2 after winning today against Murray State, so who knows), Florida will be eligible for postseason play. The last thing Florida will want is to have to clinch bowl eligibility against Florida State.

South Carolina also wrapped up SEC play this afternoon. The Gamecocks ended their season with a record in SEC play of just 3-5, a far cry from preseason expectations. South Carolina did record wins against Georgia and Florida, and that is usually a very good sign but other pieces just never fell into place for the Gamecocks, starting with a week one loss at home to Texas A&M. Next week South Carolina will host South Alabama from the Sun Belt Conference for the regular season home finale. The following week South Carolina travels to Clemson for the annual rivalry game against their instate ACC rival. South Carolina must win one of the next two games left on the schedule in order to become eligible to play in a bowl game. South Carolina has played in a bowl game every season since 2008 under Steve Spurrier.

Iowa places longtime strength coach Chris Doyle on administrative leave after allegations from former Hawkeyes flood social media

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Iowa is the latest football program caught up in the maelstrom of needed, necessary change.

Saturday, Iowa announced that longtime strength & conditioning coach Chris Doyle has been placed on administrative leave.  Additionally, an independent review will be conducted into allegations that Doyle directly contributed to “racial disparities in the Iowa football program.”

The development came after former Hawkeye football players took to social media en masse in the past couple of days to accuse Doyle of creating a hostile environment. Specifically, as it pertained to black Iowa football players. One former player spoke of Doyle mocking black football players that “made you walk around the football facility on eggshells … and caused anxiety that could be unbearable at times with your dreams and career on the line.”

“There are too many racial disparities in the Iowa football program,” former starting offensive lineman James Daniels wrote in a tweet. “Black players have been treated unfairly for far too long.”

In a video statement, Kirk Ferentz described the past 24 or so hours as “a defining moment” for his program.

“I appreciate the former players’ candor and have been reaching out to many of them individually to hear more about their experiences in our program,” the longtime coach stated. “I am planning on talking to all of them in the coming days. This is a process that will take some time, but change begins by listening first.

“Many of the discussions have centered around our Strength and Conditioning program and Coach Chris Doyle. I have spoken with him about the allegations posted on social media. They are troubling and have created a lasting impact on those players. Therefore, Coach Doyle has been placed on administrative leave immediately while there is an independent review. He and I agree that all parties will have their voices heard and then a decision about how to move forward will be made.”

Doyle has been the strength coach at Iowa since 1999. Last year, he was the highest-paid at his position in the country.

Missouri adds 2026 game against Troy in Columbia

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For the second time in a week, Troy has added a Power Five opponent to its future football slates.

Late last month, it was Iowa added to the 2024 schedule.  This week, Troy announced a future football game against Missouri.  That one-off matchup will take place Nov. 21, 2026.

Obviously, the game will take place at Missouri’s Memorial Stadium.

Troy and Mizzou have played four times previously, the first in 2002 and the most recent this past season.  Mizzou won three of those matchups, with the Trojans knocking off a 14th-ranked Tigers squad in 2004 at Troy.  All three of the Missouri wins came in Columbia.

The game against Missouri will actually be the second in 2026 for Troy football against an SEC school.  Troy had previously announced a home-and-home series with Mississippi State that starts that season.  In 2027, the Bulldogs will travel to the Trojans.

Since becoming an FBS program in 2001, Troy has played 25 games against members of the SEC.  The Trojans are 3-22 in those matchups.  The other two wins came against Mississippi State in 2001 and LSU in 2017.

After winning 10-plus games in three straight seasons from 2016-18, Troy tumbled to a 5-7 record in 2019.  That was the Trojans’ first season under Chip Lindsey.  Lindsey replaced Neal Brown, who left to take the head job at West Virginia.

Ole Miss’ Charles Wiley enters transfer portal

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For the first time in a couple of a few months, an Ole Miss football player has hit the transfer portal.

In February, it was cornerback Deantre Prince hitting the transfer database.  Four months later, former Ole Miss football teammate Charles Wiley has done the same.  The Jackson Clarion Ledger was the first to report the move.

Wiley will be leaving the SEC as a graduate transfer.  That will allow the linebacker/edge rusher to play immediately in 2020.  The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Wiley was a four-star member of the Ole Miss football Class of 2016.  The Stockbridge, Ga., native was the No. 23 player regardless of position in the Peach State.  He was also the No. 17 weakside defensive end in the country.

Wiley took a redshirt as a true freshman.  The next three seasons, he played in a combined 33 games.  The 6-2, 244-pound defender started three of those contests, with all three coming in 2018.

All told, Wiley has been credited with 57 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and 5½ sacks.  He set career-highs in tackles for loss (six) in 2018 and sacks (three) this past season.

Highest-rated signee in Duke’s 2018 recruiting class transfers to FCS Eastern Kentucky

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A touted member of a Duke football recruiting class a couple of years ago has found a new home.  And at a lower rung on the collegiate ladder.

In May, it was confirmed that Tahj Rice took the first step in leaving Duke football by entering the NCAA transfer database.  On Twitter this past week, Rice announced that he has committed to Eastern Kentucky.  And he’s changing his surname for good measure.

“Thank you Duke for the moments and memories it won’t be forgotten,” the defensive tackle wrote. “I’m excited to say I’ve transferred to @ekusports and I’ve decided to change my last name to Mcclung because it’s LONG [overdue].”

According to his official Duke bio, Rice is the son of Iana and Marcus McClung.

As Eastern Kentucky plays at the FCS level, Rice/McClung will be eligible to play immediately in 2020.  He’ll have another seaosn he can use in 2021 as well.

Rice was a four-star member of the Duke football Class of 2018.  The Louisville product was rated as the No. 15 strongside defensive end in the country.  He was also the No. 3 recruit regardless of position in the state of Kentucky.

Most notably, Rice was the highest-rated signee in the Blue Devils’ class that year.  In fact, he was the only four-star signee for Duke that cycle.

Rice played in 24 games the past two seasons.  He would’ve played in a 25th, but an appendectomy cost him an appearance in the 2018 Independence Bowl.

During his time with the Blue Devils, he was credited with 16 tackles, 2½ tackles for loss and 1½ sacks.

Rice is one of at least five Duke football players ( the others are HEREHEREHEREHEREHERE) who have left the Blue Devils since the calendar flipped from 2019 to 2020.