Braxton Miller electrifies as No. 1 Ohio State gets revenge on Hokies

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It was not easy. Well, it was not easy for one-quarter. No. 1 Ohio State (1-0) seemed to lose grip of its game control in the second quarter in Blacksburg against Virginia Tech (0-1), but the Buckeyes made adjustments at halftime, showed off some sizzle on offense and pulled away for a big road win Monday night. Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett each threw a touchdown pass, but former quarterback Braxton Miller was the true star of the night in his new position with a pair of touchdowns. When the damage was done, Ohio State seized a 42-24 victory.

Ohio State stormed out of the gate looking to avenge last seaosn’s only loss of the championship season. The Buckeyes started Jones at quarterback after months of speculation, and it seemed to be the right choice. Jones made some incredible plays with his strong arm and Ezekiel Elliot rushed for an 80-yard touchdown on the first two drives of the game for the Buckeyes. Then Ohio State hit a snag on offense as the Hokies string together a 17-0 run to take a 17-14 lead to halftime. It was all Ohio State after that though.

Jones hooked up with Miller for a 54-yard touchdown on the third play of the second half, giving Ohio State a 24-17 lead. Later in the third quarter Miller once again showed off some video game talent by unleashing a devastating spin move that will likely be replayed countless times this week. The spin move was part of a 53-yard touchdown run to increase the Buckeye lead to double digits, 28-17. Playing in his first game at his new position, Miller was Ohio State’s leading receiver with 78 yards and a touchdown. He also ended the night as Ohio State’s third-leading rusher with 62 yards and a touchdown. Elliott rushed for a game-high 122 yards and a touchdown. Jones nearly hit the century mark with 99 rushing yards and a touchdown. Ohio State’s offense combined for 572 yards to Virginia Tech’s 320 yards. There was even room for improvement for the Ohio State offense, with a pair of turnovers (and a third when Elliot fumbled a punt return on special teams duty). Ohio State converted three of nine third-down attempts and committed six penalties.

Virgina Tech’s chances to win seemed to evaporate in the Lane Stadium air when quarterback Michael Brewer left the game early in the second half. Brewer was knocked out of the game after being hit by Ohio State’s Adolphus Washington on the first offensive possession of the half for the Hokies. Brewer suffered a broken left collarbone and will reportedly undergo surgery on Tuesday. He is expected to miss the next four to five weeks, which serves a serious blow to Virginia Tech’s offense. If Brewer misses the next five games, the earliest he would return would be October 17 on the road at Miami, always a key game in the up-for-grabs ACC Coastal Division. Brenden Motley came off the bench to replace the injured Brewer, and he will likely keep that job until further notice. Motley completed four of nine pass attempts for 36 yards and a late touchdown. He was picked off once on a deep pass down the middle of the field. At that point Virginia Tech was looking for a big play to swing the momentum back in their favor, but it clearly did not work out that way.

Moving forward it will be interesting to see what Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer does with the offense. He certainly has options, and none of them seem to be all that bad. Jones did take the majority of the snaps on offense before Barrett entered the game in what was essentially mop-up duty. Even Braxton Miller took a snap before Barrett got a chance. Against Virginia Tech it may have not been wise to mix up players at the position with any regularity, but next week may be different. Ohio State hosts Hawaii next week and that should present more freedom to experiment on offense a bit more if that is what Meyer desires.

The scary thing about Ohio State’s victory Monday night is this Buckeyes team is only going to get better. Ohio State played without a handful of suspended players, including defensive end Joey Bosa. Throw those suspended players back on the depth chart, and all of a sudden this Ohio State is even deeper and more of a threat. There is a reason Ohio State entered the 2015 season as the unanimous top team in the land. Monday night they backed it up. There may not be any team out there that can beat them.

Alabama: Tua Tagovailoa to undergo hip surgery Monday in Houston

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There’s some additional clarity to what was the biggest college football storyline in Week 12 — or the entire 2019 season, for that matter.

After hours and hours worth of ofttimes ominous speculation, Alabama announced Saturday night that Tua Tagovailoa had been diagnosed with a dislocated right hip, an injury suffered in the first half of its rout of Mississippi State, and would miss the remainder of the 2019 season. At the time, the school stated that Tagovailoa “is undergoing further testing to determine the best course of treatment.”

Sunday night, the football program confirmed in a statement attributed to Dr. Lyle Cain, the team’s orthopedic surgeon, that the junior quarterback will undergo surgery on his injured hip in Houston Monday.

For the past 24 hours our medical team has consulted with multiple orthopedic experts across the country, who specialize in hip injuries and surgeries. Based on that research, Tua is being flown to Houston tonight to be evaluated and is scheduled to have hip surgery Monday. As previously stated, we anticipate a full recovery. The main focus has been, and will remain, on Tua, his family, and making sure we are providing them the best medical care possible.

It’s long been expected that Tagovailoa would forego his remaining year of collegiate eligibility and make himself available for the 2020 NFL Draft. At this point, it’s unclear how the injury will impact Tagovailoa’s decision.

Ed Orgeron did not stick to sports in Louisiana governor race

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There were two major events on Saturday in the state of Louisiana: LSU’s closer than expected win at Ole Miss and the hotly contested gubernatorial race that saw incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards win reelection.

And yes, those events are in order of importance to most.

It seems there’s quite the sports angle to the latter too and it not surprisingly involves the former. You can start on Wednesday where Edwards, calling himself ‘John B.’ from Amite, called into Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron’s weekly radio show ahead of the polls opening over the weekend.

“It is an easier state to govern when the Saints and LSU are winning,” Edwards also told the New York Times. “People are just in a better mood.”

While we will leave the political analysis of Edwards’ victory to others, it’s worth noting that the result was also a personal win for Orgeron, who endorsed the Democrat back in the spring and has enjoyed a good relationship with those in and around the statehouse ever since taking over the program as head coach.  It is pretty rare for a head coach to ever wander into political waters nowadays (especially in a non-presidential election cycle) it seems that’s not the case for the Louisiana-loving Cajun in charge of No. 1 LSU.

Also a quick kudos to the governor himself, who said earlier in the week on Orgeron’s radio show that the Tigers shouldn’t overlook the Rebels in Oxford. Given the fight that Matt Luke’s team put up, that was certainly spot on in big sandwich game after beating Alabama and taking on Texas A&M.

45,161 fans see Ithaca beat SUNY Cortland to set D3 attendance record at MetLife Stadium

Keenan Slusher
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MetLife Stadium has been home to some awful NFL football this season but this past Saturday fans in the Tri-State region were at least treated to a far more interesting product on the field..

As we noted back in early October, this year’s Battle for the Cortaga Jug was going to be extra special because it was going to take place in the Meadowlands as Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland attempted to set a new Division III record for attendance. According to the Ithaca Journal, the pair did just that with 45,161 fans showed up to the game as the Bombers (that’s Ithaca) won their third straight Jug, 32-20.

“The electricity was unreal,” Cortland senior running back Zach Tripodi told the paper, “… When I scored, I don’t think I’ve ever felt something like that. You really felt the crowd.”

The final tally broke the previous D3 mark of 37,355 (from a 2017 matchup between St. Thomas and St. John’s at Minneapolis’ Target Field) by a considerable margin.

For what it’s worth, the D3 game at MetLife also had a bigger crowd than the ones that watched some of the FBS programs in New York, including the 16,286 down in Durham, N.C. that saw Syracuse thump Duke, the 8,450 that saw Buffalo lose at Kent State or the 25,747 in West Point that saw Army beat Virginia Military Institute.

Good football, it seems, is hard to come by in the Empire State but fans will come out for quality play no matter what level.

Louisville AD dons a bird mask, breaks out Pappy van Winkle to celebrate bowl berth

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For some teams, reaching a bowl game — even those obscure dot com-sponsored ones — is quite meaningful. Such is the case at Louisville as they have embarked on one of the better turnarounds in the country this season under new head coach Scott Satterfield. 

Following up a 2-10 disaster at the hands of Bobby Petrino last year, the new staff has revitalized the program and secured bowl eligibility on Saturday by beating N.C. State 34-20. That’s a cause worth celebrating around the city and Cardinals AD Vince Tyra certainly did not short himself on that front after the sixth victory of 2019 by donning a rather comical mask in the locker room and breaking out some very expensive whiskey to share with the head coach.

Tyra and Satterfield may indeed be the only ones to drink Pappy out of a Gatorade cup but it probably tasted even sweeter than it normally does given the accomplishment it’s celebrating. While some fans may scoff at reaching six wins in a season, the jubilation in Louisville is a good reminder that benchmarks like that have plenty of meaning for programs who sat at home in disarray last year.