If the Heisman Trophy was to be presented this weekend, LSU running back Leonard Fournette would receive it. In reality the trophy will not be awarded for another few months, which leaves Fournette some more time to add to his Heisman Trophy campaign highlight reel. Fournette had two rushing touchdowns in No. 8 LSU’s 34-24 victory at Syracuse on Saturday in New York. The two rushing touchdowns traveled a distance of 76 yards, and he was not touched once on either run.
Syracuse did hang with LSU for a while before LSU started to pull away in the second half. Syracuse matched LSU’s offense point for point, with an LSU special teams touchdown by Tre’Davious White giving LSU the edge on the scoreboard. But Syracuse just coudl not keep up on offense despite a valiant effort from fifth string quarterback Zach Mahoney. Mahoney caught LSU off guard with a beautiful 40-yard touchdown throw down the center of the field to Brisly Estime in the third quarter.
After Syracuse cut the LSU lead to 24-17 early in the fourth quarter on another touchdown throw from Mahoney (to Ben Lewis), LSU pulled away. Brandon Harris completed an 11-yard touchdown throw to Malachi Dupre on the ensuing possession to regain the 14-point advantage. A field goal from Trent Domingue from 37 yards padded the lead four minutes later.
Fournette’s performance will surely be discussed. Fournette rushed for 244 yards and two touchdowns. Keep in mind he also had an 87-yard touchdown negated due to an illegal formation penalty on LSU. In doing so, Fournette became the first LSU running back to rush for 200 yards in a game in back-to-back weeks. Fournette will have a good chance to make more history with a third straight 200-yard day next week when LSU hosts Eastern Michigan.
Uh, good luck Eastern Michigan.
Marshall safety Braydon Drayton was arrested Wednesday and charged for his alleged actions in a domestic assault incident.
According to a report from WSAZ, Drayton was place din custody at a regional jail with a bond set at $55,000. Drayton was charged for suspected strangulation and domestic battery of a woman. A formal complaint submitted earlier in the day claimed the alleged victim had red marks around her neck and chest following the alleged assault by Drayton. The victim claims to have been grabbed by Drayton around her neck as tempers flared.
Drayton has been suspended by the Marshall football program on an indefinite basis, allowing the legal process to play out before any further decisions on his status with the program may be made.
With Rutgers searching for a new head coach and Mississippi State head coach Joe Moorhead reportedly being among the top candidates to fill the vacancy, the rumor-denial season is in full swing in Starkville. Days after Moorhead deflected the idea of him leaving Mississippi State to take the Rutgers job, some of Moorhead’s players are coming to his aide to shut down the idea the coach would return to his home state.
“It’s funnier to him than anything,” Mississippi State quarterback Garrett Shrader said, according to a Mississippi Clarion Ledger report on Tuesday. “He’s not leaving an SEC West program. He’s told me that multiple times.”
“He’s our coach. He’s been the same guy,” Shrader said. “He’s passionate about this team. He’s very vocal about that. He’s not going anywhere.”
Joining Shrader in attempting to shut down the Moorhead-to-Rutgers rumor mill was running back Kylin Hill, who summed up the discussion as nothing more than the typical banter that seemingly happens during the silly season that is the coaching carousel.
“There’s always going to be outside noise,” Hill said. “That’s the world we live in today. I’m not too focused on it. Nobody’s focused on it. Everybody loves the man.”
Moorhead and Mississippi State will have their attention set on this week’s game. The Bulldogs hit the road for a game at Texas A&M on Saturday. Mississippi State is looking to even its record at 4-4.
The trend sweeping the nation in collegiate athletics appears to be heading to Georgia next. The “Fair Pay to Play” movement will be coming to Georgia, following the lead of California and following similar pushes by other states around the country.
Georgia state representative Billy Mitchell will reportedly be submitting formal legislation that would seek to allow college athletes to be eligible to receive compensation for the use of their image, likeness, and name. This is the same basic principle behind the new law in the state of California which was recently signed and will go into effect beginning in 2023.
If the legislation were to pass within the state of Georgia, it would impact every college football team in the state including FBS programs at Georgia, Georgia Tech, Georgia Southern, and Georgia State. Other states in the southeast to begin getting the wheels in motion for a Fair Pay to Play movement include Kentucky, South Carolina, and Florida. Other states have gotten in on the fun too, including Pennsylvania, Minnesota, New York, Illinois and Nevada.
New York’s proposal went a step farther than the most common proposed legislation in the Fair Pay to Play movement by proposing universities directly share a percentage of an athletic program’s overall revenue with every student-athlete on campus.
In this day and age, officials are being scrutinized to degrees once never dreamed of. With multiple angles for instant replays on television and on the big stadium scoreboards, every little mistake by an official in a football game will come under fire from fans, coaches and players. Following a tough loss to Florida, South Carolina fans and their head coach, Will Muschamp, were not particularly pleased with some officiating decisions or lack of decisions made in the setback at home against the Gators. South Carolina’s issues were just the latest in a string of concerns folks around the SEC have had about the integrity of the officials calling their games, a story every fanbase in every conference can relate to in some way.
On Wednesday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey addressed the general concerns fans about the officials working game sin his conference. In short, Sankey says nobody is perfect.
“The Southeastern Conference is entrusted with supporting an officiating program that is responsible for calling the games of our member schools. We take this duty most seriously,” Sankey wrote on the SEC’s official website. “We view perfection as our desired goal while also understanding it will always be an elusive standard in a game that is filled with surprises. And we are disappointed when we don’t get it right. Because our goal is to get it right, every time.”
Sankey continued to enforce the idea the SEC is constantly monitoring the performance of their officials and explained the assignments for officials may also be adjusted according to their ongoing in-season performance reviews. While the SEC does not make these assignment changes transparent once changes are made, the idea is to have the best officials working the best games without any potential issues becoming growing concerns in key moments.
Sankey also issued a reminder that coaches and administrators throughout the conference are not allowed to publicly rip the officials, a standard operating procedure in every conference (just ask Lane Kiffin about that).
The SEC has taken some strides in an effort to be more transparent about the officiating process with the launch of a new Twitter account (just don’t check the mentions on game days) and programming on the SEC Network to detail how the rules are governed and upheld during games.