No. 23 Duke escapes Blacksburg with quadruple OT win

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With the game on the line in the first four-overtime game in ACC history, Thomas Sirk pushed up the middle of a short field for a game-winning two-point conversion attempt to keep No. 23 Duke perfect in ACC play. The wild 45-43 victory at Virginia Tech keeps the Blue Devils in a favorable position in the ACC Coastal Division and helps them keep pace with Pittsburgh and North Carolina in the division standings.

Duke and Virginia Tech exchanged field goals in the first overtime, and then traded touchdowns in the second. Bucky Hodges scored one for the Hokies from 11 yards out and Anthony Nash hauled in a short touchdown pass from Thomas Sirk to force the game to a third overtime on Duke’s possession. In that third overtime, the teams once again exchanged field goals to lead to a fourth overtime. It was the first four-overtime game for both schools.

Duke seemed to take firm control of the game in the third quarter when Shaun Wilson ripped off a 58-yard touchdown, putting Duke up 21-10. However, the Hokies put together a time-consuming 20-yard play to cover 95 yards for a gritty touchdown, with Travon McMillian doing the honors on a short two-yard run to make it a one-score game late in the third quarter. Duke added a field goal early in the fourth quarter to extend its lead to eight points. Virginia Tech strung together another long touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter, going 83 yards on 12 plays, the last being a 23-yard touchdown catch for Bucky Hodges from Michael Brewer.

Duke is now bowl-eligible for the fourth straight season.The Blue Devils have lost each of the last three bowl trips and will continue looking for the first postseason bowl victory in school history since winning the Cotton Bowl at the end of the 1960 season. Where that bowl game will be still remains to be seen. For now, Duke still has other business to attend to.

Next up for Duke will be another important ACC Coastal Division game. The Blue Devils will host Miami in Durham next week, with the Hurricanes coming in looking to move on from an awful 58-0 home loss to Clemson. Miami won last year’s game, 22-10, and has not lost in Durham since 1976. This is a pivotal, make-or-break stretch for Duke. After Miami, Duke plays at North cArolina and then hosts Pittsburgh. Duke’s fate in the ACC Coastal Division could be set in these next three games.

Virginia Tech will hope to rebound on the road next week when the Hokies head north to take on Boston College. The Hokies are starting to flirt with an unfortunate postseason fate. Three wins shy of bowl eligibility, Virginia Tech must win three of their final four games. With road trips to Boston College, Georgia Tech and Virginia to go with a home game against North Carolina, a bowl trip is still within reasonable reach for Virginia Tech. The Hokies have not missed the postseason since 1992. The end of the Frank Beamer era in Blacksburg appears to be ending on a disappointing note.

Toledo announces future three-game series with Kentucky

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How about a little Power Five-Group of Five scheduling news to start off your Wednesday morning?

This week, Toledo announced that it has reached an agreement on a future three-game series with Kentucky, which is essentially a home-and-home plus a one-off.  The two schools will play in Lexington during the 2025 and 2028 seasons, with the Wildcats traveling to the Glass Bowl in 2027.

Specific dates for those matchups, which will be the first-ever between the school, weren’t divulged.

“We are very pleased to enter in this three-game series with the University of Kentucky,” said UT athletic director Mike O’Brien in a statement. “Bringing an SEC opponent into the Glass Bowl is huge for our football program and for our fans. We look forward to an exciting series with the Wildcats, beginning with the game in Lexington this fall.”

That 2027 game will mark just the second time an SEC school has ever traveled to Toledo for a football game, with the first being Missouri in 2014.  All told, the Rockets have played four games against members of that conference and have gone 1-3 in those contests, with the lone win coming against Arkansas in 2015.

Love lost as Memphis LB enters transfer portal

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For the third time this offseason, Memphis has seen a member of its football program sucked into the infamous portal.

Citing a source familiar with the decision, the Memphis Commercial Appeal is reporting that Nyle Love has entered his name into the transfer database.  No specific reason was given for the departure, although positioning on the depth chart would be a likely place to start.

Other FBS schools will be able to contact Love without receiving U-M’s permission, with the linebacker also retaining the ability to return to the Tigers if he so desires.  As we have noted multiple times in the past, the school now also has the option to strip Love of his scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.

If Love moves on to another FBS school, it’s very likely he’ll have to sit out the 2019 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.

Love didn’t play a down for Tigers after coming to the AAC school as a three-star 2018 signee.

USC confirms JT Daniels is still Trojans’ starting QB

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The drama in the Land of Troy, such as it was, is officially over.

For most, there was a three-man battle for USC’s starting quarterback job throughout this offseason — incumbent JT Daniels, Matt Fink and Jack Sears.  Tuesday, the Trojans ended the competition charade by confirming that Daniels will indeed be the team’s starter when they open the 2019 season later this month.

Most intriguing, though, is the fact that true freshman Kedon Slovis, who has been mostly an afterthought in the competition, has been chosen as the true sophomore Daniels’ backup over Fink, a redshirt junior, and Sears, a redshirt sophomore.

Daniels started 11 games as a true freshman for the Trojans this past season, with Sears starting the other.  Fink seriously contemplated a transfer this offseason before opting to remain at USC.  Slovis, meanwhile, was a three-star 2019 signee who was rated as the No. 26 pro-style quarterback in the country.

In his first season as a starter, Daniels completed almost 60 percent of his 363 passes for 2,672 yards, 14 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Michigan transfer Brandon Peters wins starting QB job at Illinois

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Michigan transfer Brandon Peters has won the quarterback derby at Illinois, Lovie Smith announced Tuesday.

“We loved Brandon when we got a chance to know him during the recruiting process,” Smith said. “Now that we’ve seen him on the field, he has been everything we though he would be. He has really thrown the ball well and is a better runner than he’s given credit for. Most importantly, he has moved into a leadership role for us. We’re pumped up about Brandon leading us heading into the season.”

A former 4-star recruit, the Avon, Ind., native is a graduate transfer who still has two years of eligibility remaining.

At Michigan he appeared in 10 games with four starts, completing 53 percent of his 110 throws for 680 yards and four touchdowns.

Illinois opens its season Aug. 31 at home versus Akron.