Colorado’s dream season isn’t over yet.
The ninth-ranked Buffaloes used a battering defense and several timely second half scores to beat No. 22 Utah 27-22, securing the Pac-12 South title and the school’s first trip to the conference title game.
Quarterback Sefo Liufau was battered and bruised by a tough pass rush but scrambled out of several bad situations to throw for 270 yards and a touchdown — numbers that would have been much greater had his wideouts not dropped several big passes in the first half. The signal-caller also led the team in rushing with 59 yards as tailback Phillip Lindsay was bottled up for the most part.
Yet it was the Buffs’ defense that really won them the game and showed why they are one of the best units in the country. In addition to limiting Utah quarterback Troy Williams to 13-of-40 passing (with two interceptions, one touchdown), Kenneth Olugbode’s scoop and score extended the Colorado lead to two scores and gave the team all of the second half momentum. Safety Tedric Thompson tied a school-record for interceptions in a season late in the fourth quarter with his seventh pick of the year to seal the game.
Utes running back Joe Williams managed just 3.7 yards a carry on a night where his normally reliable offensive line had trouble with everything the opposing front-seven threw their way. Utah failed to capitalize on multiple trips to the red zone and made it to the opposing four yard line but came away with just nine points. The score was only as close as it was because of the team’s terrific special teams that managed to find the end zone on a 55 yard punt return.
The win, arguably the biggest in Mike MacIntyre’s tenure given the stakes, sets up a juicy Pac-12 title game next Friday in Santa Clara. Washington is bound to move up into the top four in the rankings with a clear path to the College Football Playoff and only one game left standing in the way.
Colorado has been proving people wrong all season long though and will have one more chance to do it again against the Huskies.
It is not too often you see one school welcome a transfer player from another program within the same conference, and even more rare to see it within the same division. Tennessee did just that with the addition of Deangelo Gibbs on Monday.
Gibbs, a Georgia native, was officially added to the Tennessee program on Monday, the school announced, after spending the last two years at SEC East counterpart Georgia. Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt noted his knowledge and relationship with Gibbs dates back to recruiting him out of high school when Pruitt was a defensive coordinator at Georgia and later a defensive coordinator at Alabama.
“Deangelo is a guy that I knew, and our staff knew in recruiting when he was coming out of high school,” Pruitt said in a released statement. “He’s a guy that can play on either side of the ball. He’s very tough and has unique ball skills. He’s a very instinctive player, and he has size and speed. We are happy to have him at Tennessee.”
Gibbs played defensive back for Georgia, appearing in 13 games over the last two years. Pruitt noted the ability Gibbs has to play on either side of the football. It is unconfirmed which role Gibbs will have for Tennessee primarily or if utilizing his skills in multiple ways will be the plan.
Gibbs will have to wait until 2020 to get back on the field, however. NCAA transfer rules require Gibbs to sit out the 2019 season before being ruled eligible to play once again in 2020 as he is transferring from one FBS program to another.
New Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen is busy compiling his first football roster with the Cougars. Two new additions to the roster will come from a pair of power conference programs with the additions of safeties Thabo Mwaniki and Jordan Moore.
According to a report from Tulsa World, Mwaniki is heading to Houston after making his decision to leave Oklahoma State last November. After starting the first four games for the Cowboys, Mwaniki was reduced to a backup role in the Cowboys defense.
Moore, who previously played at Texas A&M, announced his decision to transfer to Houston on Sunday night with an image on his Twitter account. The image of Moore in a Houston football uniform included the message “New chapter,” thus noting he was ready to start with a clean slate with the Cougars. Moore announced his decision to transfer from the Aggies just before Christmas.
Moore will be required to sit out the 2019 season and will be eligible to play again beginning in 2020 due to NCAA transfer rules. However, because he only appeared in four games for Texas A&M in 2018, he can preserve a year of eligibility under the NCAA’s redshirt rule. That would make him a redshirt sophomore in 2020.
Mwaniki still has a redshirt option to use as well. Mwaniki appeared in seven games for Oklahoma State last season so he would have to use his redshirt year for the 2019 season, which he would have to sit out anyway due to NCAA transfer rules. Mwaniki will have two years of eligibility to use at Houston.
Despite how the 2018 season ended for Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, there is absolutely no reason to suspect he is in any jeopardy of not being Alabama’s starting quarterback next season when Alabama opens the 2019 season in Atlanta against Duke. But perhaps there is something to be said about sibling rivalry?
After the conclusion of the Polynesian Bowl this weekend, incoming Alabama quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, the younger brother of Tua, joked about the possibility of taking down his older brother for the starting job in Tuscaloosa.
In front of a camera, a teammate from the high school all-star game asked if Taulia was “going to beat your brother out for the spot?” Staring into the camera for a brief moment, Taulia responded “Tune in” with a smile as he walked away from the interview among laughter.
The remark was clearly in good fun and who would expect anything else from a little sibling rivalry like this? You have to love it.
Taulia is a four-star dual-threat quarterback in Alabama’s Class of 2019 and many expect he will be the successor to his brother once Tua Tagovailoa moves on. That could happen as soon as next year with Tua coming up on his junior season. With Jalen Hurts transferring to Oklahoma, it might be possible we see some of the younger Tagovailoa in a backup role in 2019, especially with the new redshirt rule allowing players to appear in four games while still preserving a year of redshirt eligibility.
The jokes are surely fun, but there will be no quarterback competition in Tuscaloosa.
The Los Angeles Rams captured the NFC championship yesterday with an overtime victory on the road against the New Orleans Saints. With the win, the Nebraska Cornhuskers saw their record of consecutive Super Bowls with at least one former Husker playing in the game extended to 26.
Former Nebraska standout Ndamukong Suh kept the streak alive for the Huskers as a fixture on the defensive line for the Rams. But even if the Rams had lost the game, Nebraska still would have seen their streak extended to 26 later in the day when the New England Patriots clinched the AFC Championship with their own road overtime victory against the Kansas City Chiefs. Patriots running back Rex Burkhead, a former Nebraska running back, had four catches for 64 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Patriots’ AFC title game victory.
While Nebraska maintains their impressive streak of Super Bowl participants, a number of colleges will be represented by more players in this year’s Super Bowl between the Patriots and Rams. Georgia has a total of five players in the game, edging out Cal, Florida, Miami, and Rutgers for the most players in this year’s Super Bowl. A total of 19 FBS programs will have at least two players in the Super Bowl this season.
As noted by the college football community on Reddit, Georgia could become the second school to have two starting running backs in a Super Bowl if the Patriots start Sony Michel (the Rams would have Todd Gurley). The last team to do that was Cal a few years ago when the Patriots (Shane Vereen) faced off with the Seattle Seahawks (Marshawn Lynch). Cal is also making some Super Bowl history as the Golden Bears will be the first school to have a total of five quarterbacks play in a Super Bowl with Jared Goff. Goff joined former Golden Bear quarterbacks Joe Kapp, Craig Morten, Vince Ferragamo and Aaron Rodgers in that Super Bowl QB lineage.
Goff could also be the second-straight Pac-12 quarterback to win a Super Bowl, following Arizona’s Nick Foles last season. Goff would be the third Pac-10/12 quarterback to win the Super Bowl since 2000, joining Foles and Rodgers.