Oregon blows out Florida State, advances to first CFP title game

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It was on this same Rose Bowl field a year ago that Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston first displayed his penchant for pulling rabbits out of hats. Turns out that trick does not extend to ducks.

The Seminoles’ 29-game losing streak ended with a resounding thud Thursday night as No. 2 Oregon blew out third-ranked Florida State 59-20 in the inaugural College Football Playoff semifinal.

Oregon led 18-13 after a rip-roaring first half defined by a fourth-and-1 option play where Winston extended for what was originally ruled a touchdown but reversed upon review.

Florida State accepted the ball to start the second half, moved down the field swiftly, and then turned it over at the Oregon 31-yard line on a Dalvin Cook fumble. Oregon needed only five plays to capitalize with a touchdown.

This would become a theme for the rest of the second half.

Winston hit Travis Rudolph for an 18-yard touchdown to pull Florida State back within 25-20, but Oregon immediately raced 81 yards in five plays, with Darren Carrington taking care of the last 56 by himself on a catch-and-run from Mariota (390 total yards, three touchdowns). Trailing 32-20 in late in the third quarter, Winston hit Cook for a 10-yard completion but the freshman again fumbled the ball, and Mariota again found Carrington, this time for 30 yards, to break the game wide open at 39-20.

Then, facing a 4th-and-the season at the Oregon 30, Winston pump faked, slipped, lost the ball, and watched Tony Washington race 58 yards to put the game and Florida State’s repeat bid out of reach with 1:36 remaining in the third quarter.

Two more turnovers, a Winston interception that bounced off the hands of Ereck Dargan and a Jesus Wilson fumble, ballooned the lead to 59-20 with more than 10 minutes to play. ESPN analyst Kirk Herbstreit provided the eulogy: “Florida State has quit.”

Five of Florida State’s first six second-half possessions ended in turnovers, and Oregon’s first five possessions ended in touchdowns. That is how the ‘Noles never-say-die streak ended and, truly, that was the only way it could end.

And in the end, Oregon treated the defending national champions just like it treated California, and Washington State, and Oregon State, and the most of the Pac-12 throughout this run that’s seen the Ducks win everything but a national championship.

A week from Monday, they’ll play for one.

Court proceedings for Nebraska’s Maurice Washington pushed back again

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So much for the fourth time being a charm.

Maurice Washington‘s twice-postponed preliminary court appearance in a California courtroom on a pair of charges, including a felony, had been scheduled for Sept 3; the court case was delayed yet again on that September day and rescheduled for Oct. 17, “when a preliminary hearing may be set.”

“May” was the operative word in that sentence fragment as the most recent court proceeding has led to the case being pushed back yet again without a preliminary hearing being scheduled.  Washington’s next court date is now slated for Dec. 12, after the conclusion of Nebraska’s regular season.

Washington served what amounted to a half-game suspension earlier this year as he played in the second half of Nebraska’s season-opening win over South Alabama. Head coach Scott Frost subsequently stated that Washington will remain an active member of his football program, at least until the case is adjudicated.

Appearing in a Santa Clara County (Calif.) courtroom in April, Washington was arraigned on a pair of charges, one a felony and the other a misdemeanor, in connection to a situation whose genesis was a little over a year ago.  In mid-February, a Santa Clara County judge signed a warrant filed a couple of days earlier that sought the arrest of the Nebraska running back for alleged violation of that state’s revenge-porn law. It’s alleged that Washington sent a sexually-explicit 10-second video, recorded two years prior by someone other than Washington, involving a then-15-year-old female and two other boys, neither of whom was Washington, to that same female in early March of 2018. The female has claimed she is being sexually assaulted in the video, which allegedly shows the teenager performing oral sex on one boy while another masturbates.

Washington is facing a felony count of possessing a video or photograph of a person under 18 who is engaging in or simulating sexual conduct and a misdemeanor count of posting a video or photograph of a person engaging in or simulating sexual conduct without consent, leading to the person suffering emotional distress. Washington had dated the alleged victim prior to the video being recorded.

In late July, Washington’s preliminary court appearance was pushed back to the morning of Sept. 3, after Nebraska’s opener.  That appearance had originally been scheduled for mid-June before it too was pushed back.

After some academic uncertainty throughout the offseason, Washington was cleared to join the Cornhuskers football team in early August of last year. As a true freshman, and despite the off-field cloud hanging over him from the start of the season, Washington rushed for 455 yards and three touchdowns, numbers that were both good for third on the team. His 24 receptions were also third-best, while his 221 receiving yards were fourth.

In seven games this season, Washington has run for 298 yards (third on the Cornhuskers) and a touchdown on 50 carries. He also has 12 catches for another 162 yards and two more touchdowns.  The receptions and yards are fourth on the team, while the touchdowns are tied for the team lead.

In addition to the Golden State off-field woes, Washington was cited by university police for possession of drug paraphernalia.  It was subsequently confirmed that Washington, and three other Cornhusker football players cited for pot-related offenses, would not face criminal charges.

So, why wasn’t Ohio State’s Ryan Day part of the Dodd Trophy’s midseason watch list?

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At first blush, it was quite the head-scratcher.

Thursday afternoon, the Dodd Trophy released its midseason watch list, which consisted of 22 head coaches from seven different FBS conferences as well as a football independent. The most notable omission? Ohio State’s Ryan Day.

Not only did Day have the unenviable task of replacing a living coaching legend in Urban Meyer, but the first-year coach was forced to backfill myriad talent lost to the NFL on both sides of the ball, including quarterback Dwayne Haskins and havoc-wreaking defensive lineman Nick Bosa.

Despite that, Day has the third-ranked Buckeyes sitting at a perfect 6-0 coming off a bye weekend and heading into Friday night’s road trip to Evanston for a date with Northwestern. So, why no Dodd love?

As it turns out, it’s nothing nefarious. At all.

From the fine folks at the Dodd Trophy:

Considering The Dodd Trophy represents more than just a coach’s performance on the field, a coach in his first year, who has not had a full season to establish his own impact on APR and the local community, is not eligible to win.

As for those who are eligible?  See the award’s tweet below.

BYU starting QB vs. Boise State to be game-time decision

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Last week, Jaren Hall became the first black quarterback to start a game at BYU.  Whether he becomes the first black quarterback at the university to start two games remains up in the air.

In the fourth quarter of the Week 7 loss to South Florida, Hall was knocked out of the game with concussion-like symptoms.  There was some encouraging news on that front midweek, though, as Hall returned to full practice on Wednesday.

Despite that, it will likely be a game-time decision as to whether Hall, who himself replaced Zach Wilson after the season-opening starter underwent thumb surgery, will be available for the Boise State game Saturday night.  One hint that it could be Hall again?  Passing-game coordinator Aaron Roderick acknowledged that Hall took the most first-team reps of any of the Cougars quarterbacks during that Wednesday practice.

If Hall is ultimately unable to go, freshman Baylor Romney would very likely get the starting nod.  In replacing the injured Hall against the Bulls, Romney completed 6-of-10 passes for 73 yards on a couple of fourth-quarter drives.

Current No. 3 Joe Critchlow would then serve as Romney’s backup in such a scenario.

Kansas State’s Kenyon Reed leaps headfirst into the portal

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It’s been a couple of days since we’ve kicked off a morning with a portal post, so we were due.

Speculation was swirling over the past couple of days that Kenyon Reed was considering a transfer from Kansas State.  Thursday, defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton confirmed to 247Sports.com and others that the defensive back has made his way into the NCAA transfer database.

According to the coordinator, he became aware of the impending departure the day before, although he wasn’t quite clear in the details surrounding the player’s decision.  To further buttress the coordinator’s confirmation, Reed’s official bio is no longer a valid link.

Reed was a three-star member of the Wildcats’ 2019 recruiting class.  The California high schooler surprised most observers by signing with K-State over UCLA earlier this year.

As Reed didn’t play a down this year, he can take a redshirt for the 2019 season.