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Lack of offense dooms No. 5 LSU in Lambeau loss to Wisconsin

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Two years ago, LSU and Wisconsin met in Houston for the front end of this odd home-and-home. The Badgers built a 24-7 lead and lost 28-24. For most of the second half, it appeared history would repeat itself. The Badgers built a 13-0 lead and watched it slip away in a matter of six plays. But a late field goal and an even later interception allowed Wisconsin to secure a 16-14 upset of No. 5 LSU at Lambeau Field.

Wisconsin owned the first half, and continued that dominance into the second, forcing a three-and-out on LSU’s first possession, then stuffing the ball 58 yards in five snaps to notch the game’s first touchdown — a five-yard Corey Clement jaunt to put Wisconsin up 13-0 at the 10:47 mark of the third quarter.

The Badgers forced another punt on their next defensive possession, the fifth of the day, but Wisconsin quarterback Bart Houston (looking extreeeemly Bart Houston, with his t-shirt sleeves descending below his jersey sleeves) did the one thing he absolutely, positively could not do: a forced interception on 3rd-and-long from deep in his own territory. Tre’Davious White zigged and zagged across the field to put LSU on the board with an 18-yard pick six at the 5:28 mark of the third quarter.

LSU took advantage of the momentum on their next possession as quarterback Brandon Harris finally sprung to life, finding Leonard Fournette for a 31-yard connection and Travin Dural for a 10-yard touchdown, giving the Tigers a 14-13 lead.

The teams traded punts on their next five possessions before Wisconsin took the lead with 3:47 to go on a 47-yard Rafael Gaglianone field goal.

On the ensuing possession, LSU (0-1) moved from its 25 to the Wisconsin 35 with plenty of time for a game-winning field goal, but Harris through an interception to the chest of Wisconsin defensive back D’Cota Dixon with 57 ticks to go. The pick was a fitting end for LSU, as its offense let the defense and special teams down for the previous 59 minutes as well. For the day the Tigers mustered only 14 first downs and 257 total yards. They converted 2-of-10 third downs and snapped the ball just 50 times to Wisconsin’s 71, dooming their defense to spend 37 of the game’s 60 minutes on the field. Fournette managed 138 yards on 23 carries and three receptions for 38 yards, but failed to dominate the game the way his numbers indicated. Harris connected on 12-of-21 passes for 131 yards with a touchdown and two picks.

Wisconsin (1-0), meanwhile, managed just enough offense to get out of its own way. The Badgers survived not only Houston’s pick six, but also another Houston interception near the LSU goal line and a turnover on downs at the LSU 23. For the day, Houston hit 19-of-31 passes for 205 yards, while Clement rushed 21 times for 86 yards.

LSU’s loss is a rare moment of September weakness, both for itself and the SEC. Today’s result marks LSU’s first regular season non-conference loss since dropping the 2002 opener to Virginia Tech, and just the SEC’s fourth setback in 18 opening week neutral site games. It’s also the first time an SEC team has lost to a Big Ten foe with College GameDay in town to hype the contest; the SEC was 5-0 before today.

Oregon WR Bryan Addison serving ‘in-team suspension’

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That’s certainly a new way to describe it.

Monday, Mario Cristobal announced that Oregon freshman Bryan Addison is serving what he labeled as an “in-team suspension.” The only reason given for the punitive measure was an unspecified violation of team policy.

“He’s part of the team,” the head coach said of the wide receiver according to 247Sports.com. “But he will be practicing with the team in a couple of weeks as long as he abides by what he needs to.”

Addison had played in the first three games of the 2018 season, but hasn’t taken the field in any of the last four.  He has one reception for 12 yards, which came in the Week 2 win over FCS Portland State.

A four-star 2018 signee, Addison was rated as the No. 1 player at any position in the talent-rich state of California.  Only one signee, offensive lineman Penei Sowell, was rated higher than Addison in the Ducks’ class this year.

After less than two months at Pitt, Jeff George Jr. ascends to No. 2 QB

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That certainly didn’t take long.

In late August, after summer camp had closed, Jeff George Jr. was confirmed to have transferred to Pitt. Through the first three weeks of the 2018 season, the son of former Illinois great Jeff George wasn’t even listed on Pitt’s depth chart; the last five weeks, he’s been listed as the Panthers’ No. 3 quarterback.

On Monday, however, Pat Narduzzi confirmed that George has been elevated to the No. 2 spot behind starter Kenny Pickett. George’s ascension comes at the expense of Ricky Town, the former USC quarterback who transferred to Pitt late last year.

“Jeff’s come in and really picked stuff up well,” the head coach said, adding, “We have confidence in Ricky as well.”

The move up the depth chart continues a roller coaster that’s been George’s last few months.

It was confirmed in mid-August of this year that George had decided to transfer from Michigan.  The quarterback announced two months earlier that he had decided to transfer to U-M, which came approximately five months after he decided to transfer from Illinois.

In starting five games last season, George was the Illini’s leading passer after throwing for 1,273 yards.  He accounted for seven of the Illini’s eight touchdown passes on the year, as well as 10 of their 19 interceptions.

All told, George started nine games during his time in Champaign.  His first career start? At Michigan in October of 2016, a 41-8 loss that saw George complete four of his 15 passes for 95 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Pickett’s 117.8 pass efficiency rating is currently 10th among ACC quarterbacks and 103rd nationally, which raises the specter that George could ascend to the starting job for the 3-4 Panthers before it’s all said and done.

Report: Foot surgery could sideline Ohio State WR Austin Mack for the rest of the regular season

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Ohio State’s loss this past Saturday has proven costly in more than just the won-loss column.

Austin Mack went down with a foot injury early in the second half of the upset loss to Purdue in Week 8 and left the stadium on crutches.  Tuesday, Austin Ward of LettermanRow.com is reporting that the wide receiver underwent surgery on the injured foot and is expected to be sidelined for a period of 6-8 weeks.  247Sports.com subsequently confirmed the initial report through an OSU spokesperson.

Even on the low end of that 6-8 week timeline, Mackwould be sidelined for the remainder of the regular season.  Should the Buckeyes earn a spot in the Big Ten championship game, the junior receiver’s availability would be unlikely as well.

The good news, such as it is, is that Mack should be healthy enough to play in whatever bowl game for which the Buckeyes qualify.

This season, Mack is third on the Buckeyes with 26 receptions, while his 331 receiving yards are good for fourth.  Both of those totals are already career-highs.

Overwhelming favorites Alabama, Tua Tagovailoa see Bovada title, Heisman odds shorten

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During this current college football season, three of the surest things are upsets, Rutgers continuing to embarrass the Big Ten and oddsmakers really loving the defending national champions in general and one of its players specifically.

Bovada.lv has released its latest set of odds to win the 2018 College Football Playoff championship, with Alabama yet again the overwhelming favorite to claim the title at 1/2. Those odds are a bit shorter than the 5/9 the Crimson Tide was at just a week ago.

Clemson and Notre Dame both saw their odds shorten as well, with the former going from 13/2 to 5/1 and the latter from 19/2 to 13/2. Ohio State, meanwhile, fell from 7/1 to 12/1, the same as rival Michigan. The Wolverines, coming off a big road win over Michigan State, were also at 12/1 last week at this time.

Individually, Tua Tagovailoa saw his stranglehold on the odds to win the 2018 Heisman Trophy increase. A week ago, the Alabama quarterback was at 2/3; he’s now at 4/11.

Tagovailoa’s two main competitors saw their odds lengthen, with Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray at 7/2 (3/1 a week ago) and Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins at 12/1 (3/1).

The biggest climber has been Michigan’s Shea Patterson, with the quarterback going from off the board last week to 12/1 and behind only Tagovailoa and Murray.

Below are the complete set of national championship and Heisman odds, again courtesy of Bovada.lv: