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Toledo thrashes Bowling Green, but will it matter?

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Toledo played a fantastic game on Tuesday night, winning 44-28 at rival Bowling Green.

The Rockets intercepted Bowling Green standout quarterback Matt Johnson on the first play from scrimmage. They scored touchdowns on their first two possessions and found points on all six of their first half touches. They led 17-0 after one quarter, 30-7 at one point in the second quarter and never allowed the Falcons to pull within one score.

Toledo displayed fantastic balance, as quarterback Phillip Ely completed 16-of-24 passes for 208 yards with a touchdown and an interception while Kareem Hunt rushed 29 times for 153 yards and two touchdowns. Its defense held Johnson, who entered the night as the nation’s second-leading passer, more than 100 yards below his season average an intercepted him twice, half the number of picks Johnson had thrown all season entering the game.

Toledo out-rushed Bowling Green 198-94 while holding the Falcons to 17 points below their season scoring average and more than 200 yards below its yearly yardage average.

All this while playing on the road against a hated rival.

Again, Toledo played a fantastic game on Tuesday night. Perhaps the best any MAC team has posted all season.

But while the Rockets (9-1, 6-1 MAC) went a long way to proving themselves the MAC’s best team, they may not get a chance to win the hardware proving themselves the conference’s top dog.

By virtue of a 32-27 loss to Northern Illinois last Wednesday, the Rockets ceded control of the MAC West to the Huskies – and they aren’t likely to give it back. NIU faces Western Michigan (Wednesday) and Ohio (next Tuesday) to close the season, both at home. Western Michigan is improved, but the Huskies own a six-game winning streak in the series. Ohio is 7-4 on the season, but has been outscored by an average of 51-18 in losses to the three best MAC opponents its faced to date this fall.

And, by the way, Northern Illinois has dropped just one MAC home game in the past seven seasons.

So it is Northern Illinois, not Toledo, that has the inside track to face MAC East champion Bowling Green (8-3, 6-1 MAC) in Detroit for the conference title.

But while Toledo may not have the opportunity to claim a conference championship, they do have the satisfaction of owning an emphatic sixth straight victory in a hated rivalry that dates back to 1919.

Not a bad consolation prize.

Duke backups 3D-printed brace to help QB Daniel Jones return from fractured clavicle

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File this under stories that can only happen at a few schools across the country — that are very on-brand for the academic reputation of the place too.

A story published in The Chronicle this week detailed the efforts that Duke utilized to get quarterback Daniel Jones back from a fractured clavicle in a remarkable three weeks. One unconventional part of the recovery? A 3D-printed brace that was designed in conjunction with backup center Clark Bulleit and reserve linebacker Kevin Gehsmann.

In order to implement any of their ideas, Bulleit and Gehsmann needed approval from the team’s medical personnel. The training staff did more than just simply give the okay, opting to fully collaborate on the process.

“The training staff helped us to identify pressure points, and took Daniel through his range of motion, telling us where the brace could or could not go,” Bulleit said. “We would determine how to change the shape of the brace to cover the collarbone and retain its integrity while not hitting the pressure points.”

Jones wound up missing just two games with the Blue Devils and has played well with the brace underneath his pads in recent weeks, completing over 63% of his passes with four touchdowns as Duke has cracked the Top 25 with a 5-1 overall record.

While it’s still crazy that the signal-caller was even able to bounce back from a fracture so quickly, the extra bit of help he had (in the most unconventional way possible) from his teammates certainly made things a lot easier on Jones and the Blue Devils overall.

Baylor, Oregon schedule home-and-home series for 2027 and 2028

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If you like neon colors on college football uniforms, boy have we got a future series for you.

In an announcement made on Friday, Oregon and Baylor confirmed the two schools have agreed to a home-and-home series on the gridiron in their first-ever meeting between the two programs. The Bears and Ducks will play at McLane Stadium in Waco on Sept. 11, 2027; while the return game will take place at  Autzen Stadium in Eugene on Sept. 9, 2028.

The move certainly beefs up the non-conference slate for both sides after years of rather lackluster scheduling for various reasons. Baylor recently scheduled a series with Auburn for 2025/2026 and Oregon was similarly busy over the summer adding an SEC opponent with a future date with Georgia in 2022.

This series between the Ducks and Bears is the first on either team’s schedule for the 2027/2028 seasons so each has a few more slots to fill nearly a decade ago.

TCU safety Innis Gaines out for Oklahoma showdown and more likely done for season

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TCU will be without a key member of its defense for this weekend’s showdown against Big 12 rival Oklahoma as starting safety Innis Gaines will not play on Saturday — and possibly not again this season.

Speaking on his radio show on Thursday night in the DFW Metroplex, head coach Gary Patterson ruled the junior out against the Sooners and cautioned that he was “likely” done for the year after suffering a leg injury against Texas Tech last week.

Gaines himself seemed to suggest that he also will be out a significant amount of time with the injury in a Twitter post.

Gaines has been a key member of the Horned Frogs defense the past two years and has been one of the program’s best players on defense in 2018, ranking second on the team in tackles (31) and tackles for loss (6.5), as well as recording one interception, a forced fumble and a sack.

Compounding the loss of Gaines is the fact that fellow safety Niko Small has been out since the loss to Texas, leaving TCU fairly thin in the one area that you can typically count Patterson’s defense to be strong in. Freshman La’Kendrick Van Zandt is likely to be elevated into the starting role based on the team’s depth chart but you could also see an increase in playing time for Trevon Moehrig-Woodard as well.

Either way, this is not exactly the kind of news you want to hear just days before facing off against Kyler Murray and the Oklahoma offense.

Arkansas will reportedly be without starting QB Ty Storey for Tulsa

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Arkansas will continue feeling the effects of its Week 7 loss to Ole Miss on into Week 8.

Ty Storey suffered a head injury in the 37-33 loss to the Rebels this past Saturday, although head coach Chad Morris had been optimistic about the starting quarterback’s availability for this Saturday’s non-conference game with Tulsa.  Friday, however, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, citing a source with knowledge of the decision, is reporting that Storey will not play against the Golden Hurricane.

Storey has started five games this season — the Week 2 loss to North Texas as well as the last four losses in a row.  The junior has thrown for 983 yards and seven touchdowns this season, but his 124.4 pass efficiency rating of 124.4 is 11th among SEC quarterbacks and 89th nationally.

As a team, the Razorbacks are 105th in the country and last in the SEC in passing efficiency at 118.7.

If Storey is indeed sidelined as the reports suggest, either redshirt sophomore Cole Kelley or true freshman Connor Noland would get the start.  Kelley started the opener this year as well as a Week 3 loss North Texas before losing the job a second time to Storey.  Noland has attempted seven passes on the season.

While Kelley certainly has the edge in experience, the Democrat-Gazette writes that “Noland was seen taking first-team reps as media members left at the end of the viewing period on Wednesday.”