UCLA starts strong, gives Cal some life at end of half

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Riding a two-game losing streak, UCLA, through 28 minutes, was very much looking like a team that had no intention of making it three in a row. The last two minutes, though, show there’s still some work to do.

With two quarters in the books, UCLA is dominating Cal in every facet of the game but still takes “just” a 26-10 lead into halftime.  UCLA came into the Pac-12 matchup having lost two in a row, to Arizona State and Stanford, by a combined 36 points.

While Cal opened the scoring on a field goal early in the first, UCLA proceeded to rip off the next 23 points.  The Bears, though, head-scratchingly gift-wrapped the final three points for the Bruins.

Trailing 20-3 with just under six minutes remaining in the second and facing a fourth-and-10 from their own 25-yard line, Cal inexplicably attempted a fake punt.  Once the laughter from the Bruins’ punt return unit subsided and they regained their bearings, Bears punter Harry Adolphus was stopped for a four-yard gain to turn the ball back over to the Bruins.

Cal dodged what could’ve been a significant bullet, however, as UCLA couldn’t punch it in from the three on three plays and had to settle for a 20-yard Ka’imi Fairbairn field goal. On the ensuing possession, the Bears marched 75 yards down the field and cut the lead to 23-10 with just under a minute remaining on a Jared Goff one-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Lawler.

The Bruins weren’t done, however, as Fairbairn kicked a school-record 60-yard field goal as time ran out in the quarter.  It was Fairbairn’s fourth field goal of the half.

The Bruins produced 357 yards of offense, while the defense held the normally high-powered Bears to just 170. True freshman Josh Rosen accounted for 238 of the Bruins’ yardage through the air, and provided both Bruin touchdowns in the half.

One thing to keep an eye on in the second half is the health of Paul Perkins.  The star UCLA running back sustained an injury to his left knee late in the second quarter and didn’t return to the contest.  His availability for the remainder of the game is unknown.

Ruffin McNeill steps away from Oklahoma and football to be with family

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Family will always be more important than football, which is why Ruffin McNeill will be putting football on hold for an undetermined amount of time. Oklahoma announced on Thursday that assistant head coach and outside linebackers coach McNeill will leave football to help take care of his father.

“This was one of the hardest decisions I’ve had to make,” McNeill said in a statement released by Oklahoma. “But in the end, being near my dad was a necessary choice. Right now I need to be a son again and I need to help my brother and other family members take care of my dad, who is battling significant health issues. This is not retirement for me. I still want to coach in some form or fashion. But right now that can’t be the case. My focus needs to be on my dad back in North Carolina.”

“Ruffin means so much to me and to my family, and his family means so much to him,” Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley said in a statement. “I know his decision to leave OU was a very difficult one, but was one he felt he had to make.”

Although McNeill said this is not a retirement decision and expressed a desire to continue coaching when the time is right, Riley confirmed the Sooners will be looking for a replacement on the staff.

“I still want to coach in some form or fashion,” McNeill said. “But right now that can’t be the case.”

McNeill joined the Oklahoma coaching staff under Riley in 2017.

Miami’s QB revolving door sees Miami QB Jarren Williams reportedly entering transfer portal

Miami QB Jarren Williams could be entering the transfer portal.
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As we are quickly learning with the new day and age of college football, the minute a new quarterback arrives on the scene by way of a transfer, another may soon be on the move. Case in point, the current situation at Miami. Quarterback Jarren Williams will be entering the transfer portal, according to a report from Pat Forde of Sports Illustrated (via Twitter).

This news is hardly shocking given the attention given to the arrival by D’Eriq King from Houston earlier this week. King, a graduate transfer with immediate eligibility for this fall, is widely expected to step in and be Miami’s starting quarterback in 2020. Naturally, that would reduce the playing time Williams or any other Miami quarterback would be likely to see in the fall.

As a redshirt freshman in 2019, Williams was Miami’s leading passer with 2,187 yards and 19 touchdowns with seven interceptions. Williams is the only Miami quarterback who played in as many as 12 games last fall. If not for the addition of King, Williams may have been Miami’s most likely starter this season.

If Williams, a former four-star recruit in the Class of 2018, does indeed enter the transfer portal and ultimately decides to leave the Hurricanes for a new school, he will have to sit out the 2020 season. He would then have two years of eligibility left to use beginning in 2021.

Appalachian State and Liberty schedule future home-and-home series

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Appalachian State and Liberty have agreed to a future home-and-home series beginning in 2024. The schools announced future games to be played at Appalachian State in 2024 and at Liberty in 2025.

Appalachian State will host the Flames on Sept. 28, 2024. Liberty will host the Mountaineers the following fall on Oct. 11, 2025. Although this will not be the first time the two programs have played each other, it will mark the first time the two schools have faced each other with both being full FBS members.

Appalachian State and Liberty have faced off 10 times before. The most recent meeting in the series took place on Oct. 11, 2014, when Appalachian State was in its first season transitioning to from the FCS to the FBS. Liberty won an overtime shootout, 55-48. Liberty made the move from FCS to FBS in 2018 and is coming off its first bowl appearance, and victory, this past season against an Appalachian State rival, Georgia Southern.

“One of our goals in football scheduling is to play regional opponents to which our fan base can easily travel, and we’ve been able to do that with series like this one,” Appalachian State Director of Athletics Doug Gillin said in a released statement.

The addition of Liberty to Appalachian State’s future schedules fills the non-conference portion of the 2024 schedule for the reigning Sun Belt Conference champions. Appalachian State will also host East Tennessee State and play road games at Clemson and East Carolina in 2024. Appalachian State has two openings on its 2025 schedule, as of now. A home game against South Carolina is also booked for 2025 in addition to the road game at Liberty.

Liberty now has seven games booked for the 2024 season. The independent program will also host Coastal Carolina and Marshall and play road games at North Carolina, Eastern Michigan, Ball State, and UMass in 2024. Liberty still needs three more games to fill up the 2025 schedule, which is highlighted by road games at Army and Duke and a home game against Wake Forest.

Second Oklahoma State WR this week enters transfer portal

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Thanks to the portal, the ranks of the Oklahoma State football receiving corps has been thinned a bit over the past couple of days.  Again.

On Twitter TuesdayTyrell Alexander announced that he has decided to transfer from the Oklahoma State football team and “reopen my recruitment process.” The wide receiver would be leaving Stillwater as a graduate transfer for his final season of eligibility.

Thursday, it’s now being reported that teammate and fellow receiver LC Greenwood has entered the portal as well.  On his personal Twitter account late Thursday morning, Greenwood confirmed his impending departure.

“I have built relationships and bonds that will last me a lifetime,” Greenwood wrote. ” My time here has been amazing and I enjoyed every minute of being a [C]owboy.”

A four-star member of the Oklahoma State football Class of 2017, Greenwood was rated as the No. 35 receiver in the country and the No. 42 player regardless of position in the state of Texas.

After taking a redshirt as a true freshman, however, Greenwood never lived up to the four-star rating.  Greenwood played in three games in 2018 but didn’t record any statistics.  This past season, he caught three passes for 12 yards.

Greenwood and Alexander were actually the second and third wide receivers to leave the Oklahoma State football team this cycle, joining Patrick McKaufman. All told, 11 Cowboys have left the program.

Tight end Grayson Boomer was another of those transfers.