The No. 15 Arizona Wildcats can take multiple positives away from its 42-10 victory over the No. 17 Utah Utes.
Unfortunately, the main concern for the Wildcats is the health of their starting quarterback, Anu Solomon. Solomon put together a strong first-half effort before injuring his ankle. The freshman didn’t play during the second half and was reportedly wearing a walking boot on the sideline.
Senior Jesse Scroggins took over for Solomon. Scroggins played well during his first extended action of his career. The senior wasn’t asked to do much, but he kept his team in position to win without making too many mistakes.
Solomon’s status for the coming week is in question as Arizona continues to compete for a Pac-12 South crown. A feat that won’t come easily. The Wildcats need plenty of help despite a 6-2 conference record:
If Solomon isn’t ready to play next weekend against Arizona’s primary rival, the Arizona State Sun Devils, the Wildcats can continue to rely on freshman running back Nick Wilson. The talented runner set a career-high against Utah with 218 yards on 20 carries.
The Wildcats’ defense was also impressive against Utah.
Arizona forced four turnovers and only allowed 4.5 yards per pass. The play of senior safety Tra’Mayne Bondurant continues to be a highlight of the Wildcats season. Bondurant forced a fumble and snapped a pick-6 against Utah.
With a strong running game, talented wide receivers and an opportunistic defense, Arizona still has a chance to represent the Pac-12 South in the conference championship game even without Solomon in the lineup.
Utah, meanwhile, fell to 7-4 with the Colorado Buffaloes remaining on the schedule. An 8-4 finish might place Utah toward the bottom of the Pac-12 South, but it’s still a successful season for Kyle Whittingham‘s squad.
The SEC and Pac-12 are in a bit of a love affair right now. Actually, scratch that. They’re full-on obsessed with one another.
More than 30 SEC v. Pac-12 games are on the docket for future years, and two more were added to the ledger on Monday when LSU and Utah inked a home-and-home.
Utah will host LSU on Sept. 6, 2031, and LSU will return the favor on Sept. 11, 2032.
“Our aspirations to continue to grow and elevate our football program make opportunities like this especially important,” Utah AD Mark Harlan said. “For our student-athletes it is an incredible opportunity to play a high-profile opponent in two fantastic environments. It also is incredibly attractive to our fans to host a team like LSU at Rice-Eccles Stadium and to go on the road to Baton Rouge and cheer on their Utes.”
Utah has two more home-and-homes against SEC schools coming, against Florida in 2022-23 and Arkansas in 2026 and ’28. LSU has home-and-homes with UCLA (2021, ’24) and Arizona State (2029-30) on its docket.
The schools have met twice previously, with LSU winning in Baton Rouge both time, 35-10 in 1974 and 35-7 in ’76.
Bret Bielema is interviewing for the Colorado head coaching position, according to reports Monday from NFL Network and ESPN.
Bielema tried to get in on the Michigan State job that, obviously, went to Mel Tucker, so now he’s in the running for the job Tucker left.
The former Wisconsin and Arkansas head coach joined Bill Belichick‘s witness protection program after his 2017 Arkansas firing, working for a year as “consultant to the head coach” in New England. He was promoted to defensive line coach and reportedly told friends he was in the running to become the defensive coordinator after Greg Schiano stepped down, but Belichick wound up giving that job to himself.
He wound up following Joe Judge from Foxboro to the New York Giants, but now has apparently decided he’d rather be back in college than work as a position coach at the NFL level.
Bielema went 68-24 at Wisconsin before his 29-34 flameout at Arkansas. His teams famously stuck to a ground-and-pound philosophy that worked like peanut butter and jelly in Madison but peanut butter and salsa in Fayetteville. So, should Colorado be as interested in Bielema as he apparently is in them, his offensive philosophy would figure to be question one in the interview.
Mel Tucker secured his first signee over the weekend, which is impressive since he didn’t take the job until after the 2020 signing periods.
Jordon Simmons, a 3-star running back from Powder Springs, Ga., committed to Michigan State back in October but did not sign in the early period or the late period.
After Mark Dantonio‘s retirement the night before the February signing period, Simmons announced he would not sign with the Spartans the following day.
“Due to the unforeseen retirement of Coach Dantonio and after discussing things with my family, I have decided to delay my signing with Michigan State University until further notice,” he tweeted the night of Dantonio’s announcement. “I love everything that Michigan State has to offer and I appreciate the love and support that the fan base has shown me. However, with the uncertainty of the MSU program I have decided to take some time to weight out my options and think about where I will spend the next 4 years.”
After taking a couple weeks to consider his options and get to know his new head coach, Simmons inked with the Spartans once and for all.
The Simmons saga shows that, should players obtain a free release to play elsewhere if their head coach leaves in between the time they sign scholarship papers and their freshman seasons, most of those players would still wind up at their original school simply because they’d be out of options elsewhere.
Central Michigan football is the latest FBS program to face an off-field issue invoicing one of its players.
Friday, Jim McElwain announced that Kyron McKinnie-Harper had been indefinitely suspended from the Central Michigan football team for violating unspecified team rules. The school’s student newspaper subsequently reported that a warrant was issued for McKinnie-Harper’s arrest Feb. 13.
Per court records, McKinnie-Harper is facing one count of using a computer to commit a crime, one count of unauthorized computer access, one count of computer fraud and three counts of larceny by conversion. One of the larceny counts and the computer access charge are felonies. The others are misdemeanors.
“According to court records, police are looking at his Oct. 27 online activities,,” the paper wrote. No further details of what led to the charges has been detailed.
As for what type of prison time the cornerback could be facing if convicted? From the report:
McKinnie-Harper is charged with one felony larceny count of more than $1,000, less than $20,000. Conviction could result in 5 years in prison and/or fines of up to $10,000 or 3 times the value of the stolen property. He also faces two misdemeanor larceny counts of $200, less than $1,000. A conviction is punishable by 1 year in jail and/or fines of up to $2,000 or 3 times the value of the stolen property. Using a computer to commit a crime is a felony that could result in 4-to-10 years in prison.
As a true freshman, McKinnie-Harper emerged as a starting corner the last half of the 2019 season. An unspecified injury kept the defensive back out of the bowl game in which Central Michigan football played following the 2019 campaign.
“The coach would not elaborate on the injury and McKinnie-Harper did not travel with the team, though other injured teammates did go to Albuquerque,” 247Sports.com wrote.
In his first season with Central Michigan football, McKinnie-Harper led the Chips in passes defensed with 10 and forced fumbles with two.