A year ago, North Carolina State’s decision to hire Dave Doeren didn’t reflect favorably on the university. A year later and Doeren helped orchestrate the second biggest turnaround in major college football this season.
With the 34-27 victory over the UCF Knights in the Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl, the Wolfpack finished 8-5 overall, which is a five-game improvement in the win column for Doeren.
The improvement came naturally for a young and improving roster. Only six seniors started on both sides of the ball. Meanwhile, the young players stepped up, particularly during the bowl game.
Quarterback Jacoby Brissett, a Florida transfer, strung together an outstanding performance against the Knights. The junior was 15-of-26 passing for 262 yards and a touchdown. The quarterback carried the team to a 17-10 halftime lead before the running game took over in the second half.
Both junior Shadrach Thornton and sophomore Matt Dayes finished the opening half with less rushing yards (29) than Brissett. Yet the duo exploded in the second half courtesy of a strong run-blocking effort by North Carolina State’s offensive line.
Wolfpack offensive coordinator Matt Canada repeatedly called inside zone runs to gash UCF’s stout defense. The Knights entered the bowl game with the fifth-ranked rush defense. Thornton and Dayes, however, shredded George O’Leary‘s defense with 174 total yards including a pair of touchdowns from the sophomore.
Despite the loss, UCF continues to prove its one of the best programs among the Group of Five conferences. The Knights finished 9-5 overall. It’s the fourth time in five years that O’Leary led the program to at least nine wins.
But the spotlight will shine on Doeren Friday due to the tremendous job he orchestrated this season with a program that wasn’t expected to compete at a high level.
The coach will now be expected to take the program to yet another level next season, and it’ll be possible to do so with a seasoned Brissett behind center and a talented stable of running backs.
In his first season in Morgantown, Neal Brown will have a new offensive toy with which to play as West Virginia heads into the 2019 season.
Early on in the offseason, Sean Ryan opted to transfer from Temple and continue his collegiate playing career elsewhere. In April, the wide receiver settled on WVU as his next elsewhere, announcing on Twitter that he would be transferring to the Mountaineers.
With the start of a new campaign eight days away, it’s being reported that Ryan has been granted an immediate-eligibility waiver that will allow him to see the field in 2019 for the Big 12 school.
The granting of the waiver is very likely due to the fact that Temple went through some significant coaching upheaval following the end of the 2018 season.
As a true freshman this past season, Ryan played in 10 games. In that extended action, the 6-4, 195-pound receiver from Brooklyn, NY, caught 12 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown for the Owls.
Some will say that this could be one of the Fighting Illini’s only Power Five wins in 2019, but you won’t hear that from us.
Aug.13, Derrick Smith tweeted that, “effective today, I would like to inform [Miami Nation], I am no longer on the University of Miami football team.” Over the weekend, Smith took to Twitter again to reveal that four schools are under consideration as a potential landing spot — Florida, Illinois, Nebraska and Texas. In the same tweet, the third-year junior defensive back indicated that a new school will be picked at some point this week.
Friday evening, Smith revealed that he will continue his collegiate playing career for Lovie Smith and the Illini.
It’s believed Smith will be ineligible to play immediately for his new team. He would, though, have two years of eligibility he can use beginning with the 2020 season.
The Orange Park, Fla., native came to The U as a three-star member of the football program’s 2017 recruiting class. The past two seasons, Smith saw action in 25 of the Hurricanes’ 26 games and was credited with 24 tackles, 1½ of which were for a loss.
Prior to his decision to leave, Smith was expected to play an expanded role in the Hurricanes’ secondary this coming season.
Boise State’s once impressive Class of 2019 is dwindling much quicker than head coach Bryan Harsin would like just as the season arrives on the blue turf.
As per the Idaho Statesman, freshman quarterback Kaiden Bennett and tailback Keegan Duncan have both left the team. In addition to those names, as many as three other members from the most recent recruiting class could fail to suit up for the program this fall.
Bennett was one of several quarterbacks battling for the starting job to succeed Brett Rypien at Boise State so his likely transfer out seems like a clear indication that one of Chase Cord, Jaylon Henderson or even freshman Hank Bachmeier will be the starter when the team opens against Florida State in Jacksonville. While the three-star recruit from Folsom, California was considered a long shot in the race, his departure may just be the first of several after Harsin names a starter.
The loss of Duncan can’t be overlook either as he was considered to be one of the best recruits in the state of Idaho during his senior season and could have provided depth in a fairly young tailback room this season.
Fellow freshman D.K. Blaylock also left the team this month and two junior college transfers have not made it to campus yet according to the Statesman.
Boise State had signed the top class in the Mountain West in February according to 247Sports and a top 50 group nationally but it appears that highly touted group won’t be making quite the impact many expected after these most recent defections.
James Franklin has his replacement for Trace McSorley at quarterback and it’s the guy everybody could have predicted for the past several months.
In the latest in a long line of QB decisions around college football this week, redshirt sophomore Sean Clifford will indeed be the Nittany Lions starter when the team opens their season against Idaho on Aug. 31.
Clifford was tabbed by many as McSorley’s replacement almost as soon as last year’s fellow backup, Tommy Stevens, announced his plans to transfer to Mississippi State. While the two were both expected to battle it out throughout August to become PSU’s starter, both will wind up taking the first snaps for their respective programs after Stevens was named QB1 for the Bulldogs on Thursday by ex-Nittany Lions OC Joe Moorhead.
As for Clifford, he beat out redshirt freshman Will Levis for the gig and will have a high bar to clear leading a team many consider as a dark horse to win the Big Ten. As McSorley’s backup in 2018, he threw just seven passes in mop-up duty but completed five for 165 yards and two touchdowns.
Those career numbers are about to make a significant jump in the coming weeks as Clifford starts a new chapter in State College.