No. 15 Georgia leaves inaugural South Bend trip with win over No. 24 Notre Dame

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It was a night to remember for Bulldogs young and old — no matter what the final score showed. Still, both groups are going home happy. In its first ever trip to Notre Dame — these programs have each played more than 1,200 games previously, but only once against each other — and the first ever start for true freshman quarterback Jake Fromm, No. 15 Georgia earned a tight 20-19 win over No. 24 Notre Dame.

After the teams traded field goals in the first quarter, Notre Dame (1-1) found pay dirt first on a 1-yard Brandon Wimbush scrambled at the 12:24 mark of the second quarter, which was set up after Jake Fromm fumbled at his own 34-yard line.

Georgia (2-0) immediately responded, moving 62 yards in 12 plays, a drive that culminated in a 5-yard toss from From to Terry Godwin that was originally ruled incomplete before it was overturned on review.

C.J. Sanders momentarily gave Notre Dame the lead back on what was ruled on the field as a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, but review ruled his forearms down at the Notre Dame 36. The Irish moved to the Georgia 24, setting Justin Yoon up for a 42-yard field goal with 4:14 to go before the break.

Yoon pushed the lead to six with a 36-yarder with 6:22 to play in the third quarter, but Georgia grabbed its first lead of the night on a 75-yard drive punctuated by a 6-yard Sony Michel run on the ensuing possession.

Notre Dame put together its longest drive of the night to open the fourth quarter, slicing through the Georgia defense for 73 yards over 12 plays, but an 8-yard Wimbush run came one yard short of the sticks on 3rd-and-9, setting up another Yoon field goal to see-saw Notre Dame back in front at 19-17 with 10:21 remaining.

The Irish had a chance to take control after forcing Georgia into a three-and-out, taking the ball with the lead at their own 25, but Georgia forced a three-and-out of its own and then reclaimed the lead on a 30-yard Rodrigo Blankenship field goal with 3:34 to play.

After forcing three consecutive incompletions, Georgia had the chance to put the game away with a single first down, but a 3rd-and-2 handoff to fullback Christian Payne ended one yard short, giving Notre Dame the ball back for a last-gasp drive with 1:57 remaining. Wimbush moved the Irish 17 yards, but Davin Bellamy sacked Wimbush and forced a fumble, which Lorenzo Carter recovered for the Bulldogs. Georgia expired the final 1:14 to hold on for the win.

The end was emblematic for Wimbush, who hit 19-of-39 passes for 211 yards and spent much of his night running with nowhere to go. He was credited with 16 carries for one yard, and Notre Dame as a team managed only 55 yards on 37 rushes. Georgia rushed for 185 yards as a team, led by Michel’s 73 yards and Nick Chubb‘s 63, while Fromm hit 16-of-29 passes for a modest 141 yard with a touchdown and an interception.

Colorado lands Nebraska transfer LB Guy Thomas

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There’s a new Guy on the team at Colorado.

On Saturday, former Nebraska linebacker Guy Thomas announced his commitment to Colorado. “I give thanks to everybody that has been influential, and supportive in my life,” Nyon said in a graphic posted to his Twitter account. “I am taking this time to announce that I will be committing to the University of Colorado.”

Thomas first announced his transfer back in November; he appeared in just four games over two years on the club. He posted four tackles in as many games as a redshirt freshman in 2018, with three coming against FCS Bethune-Cookman.

“It’s not working out,” Thomas told the Omaha World-Herald upon his transfer.

Barring a waiver, Thomas will have to sit out the 2019 season and compete as a redshirt junior in 2020. He figures to contribute as a pass-rushing outside linebacker whenever he is cleared to play.

As of now, Jim Harbaugh plans to play Shea Patterson and Dylan McCaffrey in every game

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Michigan does not open training camp until Aug. 2 and does not play its first game until Aug. 31, so any “as of right now” statements are devoid of 20-odd practices worth of context.

Still, as of Big Ten media days, Jim Harbaugh plans to play both Shea Patterson and Dylan McCaffrey in every game.

“Yeah, I do (see games where they’ll both play). Where it stands right now, and that could change later or not, is I see them both playing,” Harbaugh told the Detroit Free Press. “Where it stands right now, I see it as maybe redefining what a starter is…. I’m really not talking about playing them both at the same time (on a play), when I say both in games it’d be they’re both playing quarterback during the same game. And in the way it stands now, in every game.”

Harbaugh has been a one-quarterback man for the entirety of his career, but Patterson’s inconsistency and McCaffrey’s talent may demand a change. Michigan did juggle quarterbacks in 2017 — John O’KornBrandon Peters and Wilton Speight each threw at least 81 passes — but that was due to necessity, not strategy.

Patterson completed 64.6 percent of his passes last season for 2,600 yards (on 8.0 per attempt) with 22 touchdowns against seven interceptions while rushing 76 times for 273 yards and two touchdowns. In his second year in the program, McCaffrey completed 8-of-15 passes for 126 yards with two touchdowns whilst rushing 10 times for 99 yards and a touchdown.

The son of Ed McCaffrey and brother of Christian McCaffrey is certainly the heir apparent in Ann Arbor, and it appears Harbaugh isn’t willing to wait for the future to arrive in order to unleash arguably his most talented quarterback recruit since Andrew Luck.

Big Ten could realign divisions yet again, according to PJ Fleck

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Whether he knew it or not, Minnesota head coach PJ Fleck broke news that will set certain circles of the college football blogosphere (including this one) by touching on the topic that is consistently gobbled up like Thanksgiving turkey: realignment.

“Change is inevitable,” Fleck told The Athletic. “I think we all know that. I think that the East and West have been around for a while. I like it, I like the division of it. But I don’t think it will stay the same. I think we’ll change it at some point because change is coming somehow, some way. And I think people are going to want to move it around, and shake it up a little bit.”

Fleck said the topic came up during the Big Ten’s spring meetings in Arizona; the conference did not comment on the topic.

The Big Ten split into divisions upon Nebraska’s 2011 arrival, memorably going with the idiotic Legends and Leaders alignment that was designed to protect rivalries and preserve competitive balance. That alignment lasted three years, until Maryland and Rutgers joined the party in 2014 and the conference rejiggered its alignment into a more sensible East and West split.

While a geographic divide does preserve rivalries and makes both logistical and logical sense, it has come at the price of competitive balance. The East champion has gone a perfect 5-for-5 in Big Ten title games under the current arrangement.

However, the East is a mere five games ahead of the West in regular season matchups, an average of one extra victory per season.

If — and at this point’s a very big if — the Big Ten does realign again, the conference could return to a Legends and Leaders format (hopefully with different names) or it could scrap divisions altogether, giving each school two or three protected rivals while putting the rest of the league in a regular rotation. The positive aspect of this alignment is it guarantees the top two teams would meet in Indianapolis, but the drawback is it could trigger an instant Michigan-Ohio State rematch.

It’s too early to report when and if a second realignment would happen, but as Fleck reminded us this week it is never too early to speculate.

Penn State DE Yetur Gross-Matos, RB Journey Brown suspended through rest of July

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The season does not begin today, but if it did Penn State would be without one of its best players.

Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin confirmed to the press at Big Ten media days that defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos and running back Journey Brown are presently suspended for a “violation of team rules” dating back to spring practice. The suspension is slated to end Aug. 1.

Gross-Matos, a junior, led Penn State in sacks (eight) and tackles for loss (20) while registering 54 tackles, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery on the season. He enters the year a candidate for the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year award.

“I talk to him all the time,” Franklin told Lions247 of Gross-Matos, despite the suspension. “[He is] doing great.”

Brown, also a junior, posted eight carries for 44 yards and a touchdown in 2018.