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.

Four-star 2017 signee Damion Barber set to leave Penn State via the transfer portal

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For the first time since early April, Penn State has taken a hit from the football portal.

At that time, wide receiver Mac Hippenhammer entered the NCAA transfer database.  Nearly two months later, defensive tackle Damion Barbor signaled his intention to leave the Penn State football team by popping a squat in the portal.

The lineman made the announcement on Twitter.  In a statement addressed to “Nittany nation.”

“Growing up as a kid from Harrisburg it was always a dream to play here at Penn State,” Barbor wrote. “I succeeded that dream and have loved my time here at the university. I want to thank everyone who has supported me through my time here. I made so many friends and countless memories. I also want to give a special thanks to Coach Franklin & the rest of the staff for taking a chance on me and letting me fulfill my dream out of high school.

“That being said, right now I feel as though the best chance for me and my career is to enter the transfer portal and continue my journey. Thank you Nittany Nation and WE ARE!

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.

Barber was a four-star member of the Penn State football Class of 2017.  The Harrisburg native was rated as the No. 9 player regardless of position in the state of Pennsylvania.  He was also the No. 13 strongside defensive end in the country.

As a true freshman, Barber took a redshirt.  He then played in 11 games the past two seasons.  Eight of those appearances came a year ago.

Auburn WR Jashawn Sheffield arrested twice in one-week span last month in Georgia

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Thanks to an Auburn football player, it’s a two-for-Tuesday on the arrest front.  And, to clarify, that’s player in the singular.

According to the Montgomery Advertiser, Jashawn Sheffield was arrested May 9 in Georgia on one count of disorderly conduct.  But wait, there’s more.  Exactly one week later, the Tigers wide receiver was arrested in the Peach State yet again, this time “DUI Less Safe.”

Both of those charges, incidentally, are misdemeanors.

No details of what led to either arrest have been released.  As for the DUI charge?  The Advertiser writes that “[i]n the state of Georgia, a ‘DUI Less Safe’ can be charged if a law enforcement officer believes a driver is less safe behind the wheel because of alcohol consumption, even if that person is under a specific blood-alcohol content.”

As a result of the two off-field incidents, though, Sheffield has been indefinitely suspended by the Auburn football program.  AU football players are set to return to campus next week to commence voluntary workouts.  Because of the suspension, the receiver won’t be one of the ones returning.

Sheffield was a four-star member of the Auburn football Class of 2019.  The Georgia native was the No. 28 player in his home state regardless of position.  The 6-1, 183-pound receiver also played in the Under Armour All-America game.

As a true freshman, Sheffield appeared in one game.  He didn’t catch any passes in that lone appearance.  He did, though, rush for 30 yards on a pair of carries.

Because he played in four or fewer games, however, Sheffield was able to take a redshirt for the 2019 campaign.

(Tip O’ the Cap: The Fulmer Cup)

LSU adds first-ever games vs. Grambling, Southern to future schedules

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Amidst these trying times across the country, LSU has made a couple of historic additions to its future football schedules.

Monday, LSU announced that it has added a pair of one-off football games with Grambling and Southern.  LSU will face Southern on Sept. 10, 2022.  Grambling and LSU will then tangle Sept. 9 the following season.  Obviously, both of those will be played at Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge.

Both Grambling and Southern are Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the state of Louisiana.  It will mark the first time LSU has ever played either in football.

“This is an incredible opportunity to join our fan bases of these historic Louisiana institutions and championship programs,” athletic director Scott Woodward said in a statement. “These dates will be days to celebrate not only football, but the state of Louisiana and all of our people. It’s time and we are all proud to be a part of it.”

“We are excited to announce our games against Southern and Grambling in the future,” LSU head football coach Ed Orgeron said in his statement. “We have a great relationship with all universities in our state. It is important to LSU to have a great relationship with all of the universities in our state.”

The two games also complete LSU’s nonconference schedules for both seasons.  In addition to Southern, LSU will face Florida State (Sept. 4, New Orleans), New Mexico (Sept. 24) and UAB (Sept. 28) in 2022.  The following year, its Florida State (Sept. 3, Orlando), Army (Oct. 21) and Georgia State (Nov. 18) joining Grambling.

Report: Two Marshall football players test positive for COVID-19, are in isolation

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It appears Marshall will serve as a guinea pig for the rest of the college football world.

Monday, Marshall announced that three individuals — two student-athletes and one university employee — tested positive for coronavirus.  It was subsequently reported that the two student-athletes are Marshall football players.  According to the school, none of the three cases are related.

All three, incidentally, are asymptomatic.  None of the names are being released by the university.

Ahead of the return to campus, the individuals were tested for the virus.  All three are, per university protocol, now in isolation.  Their close contacts are being identified and instructed to follow appropriate protocols, including quarantine or self-isolation, the university stated.

Below are some of the guidelines being followed by the university:

  • All student-athletes arriving on campus are in mandatory self-isolation for one week;
  • Following the completion of the self-isolation period, all student-athletes are tested for COVID-19 and must return a confirmed negative result before being allowed out of self-isolation;
  • All Athletic Department employees who come in close contact with student-athletes are being tested; and
  • Any student-athlete returning a positive test is required to quarantine and follow positive test guidelines. A student-athlete who tests positive will be required to secure a negative test before completing the quarantine period.

“It shows that what you are doing is working,” said Marshall athletic director Mike Hamrick. “If a positive comes up, we’ve caught it and we can quarantine them. Everyone else was negative and what we set out to do with our testing is working. I think that’s the positive thing about it. You want to know. That’s why you test.”