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Memphis grabs G5 pole position with program-defining win over Ole Miss

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Coming into its Week 7 matchup with No. 13 Ole Miss, Memphis was looking to send a message to not only the rest of its Group of Five compatriots but to the college football world as a whole.  Exiting the weekend, consider the message resoundingly sent.

On the strength of strong-armed sophomore quarterback Paxton Lynch and a surprisingly stout defense, the Tigers fought back from an early hole then held on for a 37-24 win over the Rebels.  It was U of M’s 13th straight win, a streak that’s the third-longest in the country and extends back to October of last year.

The Rebels jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead after just five minutes of play in the first quarter, only to see the home-standing Tigers rip off 31 straight points.  That run began late in the first quarter on a Lynch touchdown pass and ended the same way after the first drive of the third quarter.

The Rebels then went on another run of their own, with a 10-point mini-spree late in the third quarter — a Chad Kelly-to-Laquon Treadwell touchdown hookup and 24-yard field goal — cutting the lead to one score at 31-24.

A 42-yard Jake Elliott field goal with 9:44 remaining in the game pushed the lead back out to two scores at 34-24.  And then came the backbreaker for the Rebels: a 16-play, 70-yard drive that began at the Tigers’ 21-yard line and ended with another Elliott field goal.  It wasn’t the points that mattered, although it stretched the lead to 13 at 37-24; rather it was the time off the clock — 7:57 to be exact — that left the Rebels with just :55 to find a way to score a pair of touchdowns.  That, of course, didn’t happen.

Lynch ended the game with 384 yards passing, his fifth consecutive effort of 300-plus. Given the opponent it came against, you’ll likely hear Lynch’s name dropped into the Heisman discussion moving forward.

The combination of Memphis’ resounding win over a ranked SEC team and Boise State’s thumping at the hands of Utah State Friday night leaves the Tigers as the clear front-runners for the G5’s slot in a New Year’s Six bowl.  Yes, there are plenty of games to play, with Memphis still having to traverse a couple of unbeaten obstacles on the road in Temple and Houston.  Still, in the here and now, Memphis is the best the G5s have to offer.

Whether they can keep Justin Fuente beyond this year is another matter entirely.

Iowa DT Brady Reiff arrested for public intoxication

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Iowa defensive tackle Brady Reiff could face some upcoming internal discipline following an arrest over the weekend. Reiff was arrested for public intoxication early Saturday morning by Iowa City police.

According to Hawk Central, Reiff was released from jail at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, a little less than seven hours after his arrest. A statement from Iowa Athletics Director stated the university was aware of the incident and was gathering more information on the story.

At this time, there has been no discipline handed out to Reiff from within the Iowa football program or athletics department, but some form of punishment should probably be expected down the line. A loss of playing time in the season opener would appear to be the most likely result given the misdemeanor caliber of the crime involved.

Reiff recorded 13 tackles, one sack and one interception while appearing in 12 games for the Hawkeyes last season. Reiff is expected to compete for a starting job on Iowa’s defensive line this season.

South Florida shows off new Adidas uniforms

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South Florida is switching apparel providers this season, leaving behind Under Armour for a new deal with Adidas. And with a new apparel partner now officially on board, the time has come to see what Adidas has up their sleeves for the Bulls.

South Florida shared a video on its Twitter account with the first look at the new uniform design, which looks fairly common to what most Adidas uniforms look like. One of the most notable changes to the uniform is the removal of “USF” from the front chest of the uniform and replacing it with text that reads “South Florida.”

The pants read “Bulls” on the legs and the USF “U” logo makes appearances on the hips and wrist bands. The first look at the helmet looks pretty interesting as well, with a chrome green face mask. The details of the helmet can be a bit more difficult to make out, although it appears at one point to be a green USF logo outlined in white (and gold?) on a gray helmet.

Reaction to the new uniforms among USF fans seems to be a bit mixed, but we will have to wait and see how the feelings are when USF reveals the full home and away assortment of uniforms down the road. As with many uniforms these days, it should be expected USF will have some combinations to keep them looking fresh on a weekly basis.

Miami’s signature Turnover Chain could be back in 2018, and WR Ahmonn Richards wants one too

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If you thought it was just a short-term fads designed to inspire Miami’s defense, well, you were probably right. But that short-term fad could very well be appearing once again this season on a Miami Hurricanes sideline near you.

After fielding plenty of questions about the iconic Turnover Chain, representatives of Miami at the ACC Football Kickoff last week showed no reason to doubt the chain will not be back again this fall. The Turnover Chain was a pop culture sensation in the world of college football as defensive players recovering a fumble or picking off a pass for an interception would race to the sideline to have the sparkling turnover chain placed around the necks. People either loved it or loathed it. So get ready to love it or loathe it again this fall.

Miami head coach Mark Richt didn’t shut down the idea while addressing the media at the ACC media day event, and he jokingly called it the greatest thing since sliced bread. Even wide receiver Ahmonn Richards was asked about the turnover chain and the possibility of having an equivalent prize for offensive players.

I think so. I think it’s time,” Richards said, according to The Sun Sentinel. “But those guys work hard, and they’re really enjoying it, and it helps them out, also, wanting to make plays and stuff. So I think we should have something, but it’s not up to me.”

Miami tied for third in the nation with the most takeaways with 31 (Wyoming led the nation with 38; UCF was second with 32 and Miami tied with Memphis and Central Michigan). In 2016, the Hurricanes had just 19 takeaways for the entire season.

Rutgers AD takes to Twitter to support head coach Chris Ash, downplay any hot seat talk

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We’re weeks away from the 2018 season beginning and with media days underway across the country, there’s inevitably some talk of which coaches are on the hot seat and who might be a few losses away from feeling the heat.

CBS Sports’ Dennis Dodd complies a list every year of who might be feeling some pressure and who is safer than can be around the sport. One of the coaches who he listed as ‘start improving now’ (or a 4 on a 1-5 hot seat scale) was Rutgers head coach Chris Ash. The Scarlet Knights job is one of the hardest in football given their place in the Big Ten and while there has been some progress in the rebuild, Ash is 6-18 overall and only picked up his first conference win last season.

It’s only Year 3 of Ash’s tenure though and it seems that kind of pressure isn’t quite reflecting reality from the administration as athletic director Pat Hobbs took to his Twitter account on Saturday to say that there’s no hot seat at all for the young head coach:

We’re sure that Ash appreciates the extra bit of support publicly in what he’s doing with the program but something says he’ll be asked to comment about the whole thing next week at Big Ten Media Days in Chicago. The Scarlet Knights certainly looked much improved in 2017 between the lines but digging out of such a big hole for the program is going to only get tougher as they try to get over the hump and make a bowl game in 2018.