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Feleipe Franks replaces injured Luke Del Rio, leads Gators to 38-24 win vs. Vandy

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The quarterback carousel continued in Gainesville on Saturday. Luke Del Rio, who was just named the starting quarterback for Florida this week after guiding the Gators to a road win at Kentucky last week, was taken out of the game with an apparent shoulder injury late in the first half. Feliepe Franks came in off the bench and had an immediate impact with a deep pass to setup a key field goal and then had an efficient second half through the air to help guide Florida to a 38-24 victory over Vanderbilt.

It is unknown at this time what the future holds for Del Rio. The injured shoulder was the one he had surgically repaired last year, so the caution level is understandably high for the Gators and Del Rio. If he is out for an extended period of time, then it will be up to Franks to provide a steady and reliable arm in the offense moving forward if Florida is to contend for the SEC East.

At least Florida can still generally rely on their defense. Although Vanderbilt put together some good drives at times, the Gators had enough stops to hold off the upset bid from the visitors. But the offense was keyed by the first 100-yard day on the ground by Malik Davis, who took off 39 yards for the dagger on a 4th and 1 late in the game.

After going to halftime tied at 17-17, thanks in large part to a deep pass from Franks to setup a game-tying field goal as time expired in the first half, Florida scored two touchdowns on two straight offensive series while Vanderbilt was held to a three-and-out and fumbled the football away to the Gators. Florida took a commanding 14-point lead on Vanderbilt and that was enough t grab the win at home.

Florida will stay home next week for a game against LSU. Florida snapped a three-game losing streak to the Tigers last season in a game that was transplanted to Baton Rouge following a rescheduling fiasco following a hurricane. LSU ended up hosting the game that was originally scheduled to be played in Gainesville, and to accommodate the change the Gators gained the home game this season.

Vanderbilt will be home next week for another SEC East battle, this time with Georgia. Vanderbilt upset the Bulldogs last season in Athens, 17-16 and the two schools have split their last four meetings.

LSU students will go to class on Saturday to make up for national title game

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LSU students who got to skip class for the national title game (and the ensuing celebrations…) were hit with a dose of reality returning to Baton Rouge on Friday.

According to an announcement from the university, classes that were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday for the championship game have been rescheduled. As a result, students will have to go to class on Saturday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Feb. 8.

So yes, Saturdays in the fall have resulted in a few Saturdays of work in the spring.

The school had received a bit of criticism when it was announced that classes were cancelled on the dates surrounding the championship game. While the practice has happened elsewhere, the nature of the game being less than an hour from campus in New Orleans certainly made things unique for the Tigers and their large fan base.

While some students no doubt had hoped that the classes at the time were indeed cancelled, it turns out they were in fact just being rescheduled. Going to school on a Saturday probably isn’t what many had in mind when signing up for the spring semester but there’s probably not a soul in purple and gold will take issue with the change given that it comes as a result of hoisting the ultimate football trophy on Monday night in the Big Easy.

Virginia safety Chris Moore enters transfer portal

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The transfer portal has claimed another name.

As first noted by ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Virginia safety Chris Moore has entered his name into the database as he explores a move out of Charlottesville.

Moore started five of his nine appearances for the Cavaliers in 2019 and wound up recording 42 tackles. While he was in line to become one of the key members in the secondary going forward, a prior  suspension for violating team rules back in November may have wound up playing a role in his departure and standing with the team.

The safety had previously missed all of the 2018 season with an injury as well.

Moore was originally a three-star recruit out of Ashburn, Va. in 2016 and, assuming the redshirt senior has a degree, likely has a season remaining as a grad transfer.

DL Jay Tufele, WR Tyler Vaughns skipping draft to stay at USC

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Clay Helton has a lot of issues to deal with at the moment. Having a talented USC football team is not one of them.

The Trojans received a rare bit of good news on Thursday evening as two key players announced they were skipping the 2020 NFL Draft. In back-to-back announcements, defensive lineman Jay Tufele and wideout Tyler Vaughns confirmed they would remain in Los Angeles for the 2020 season.

Tufele is one of USC’s best defensive players. He recorded 42 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season as a redshirt sophomore despite dealing with a handful of injuries. With leading sacker Drake Jackson also back, there’s a nice tandem up front for whoever the team hires as defensive coordinator to work with going forward.

Vaughns returning also makes a dangerous receiving corps that much deeper. Michael Pittman Jr. was lost to graduation but the next three top wideouts are set to be back in 2020. Add in a group of solid tailbacks and both J.T. Daniels and Kedon Slovis at QB and USC will once again have one of the top offenses in the Pac-12.

Whether it will all help save Helton’s job again remains to be seen. If nothing else though, there’s at least there’s some positive news for the cardinal and gold this offseason with Tufele and Vaughns back in the fold going forward.

Nebraska and OC Troy Walters “mutually agreed to part ways”

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A year after significantly falling short of expectations, an offseason of change has commenced at Nebraska.

In one of the first big moves since Scott Frost took over at his alma mater, the Cornhuskers and offensive coordinator Troy Walters announced on Friday that they had ‘mutually agreed to part ways.’

“Troy has been a valued member of our coaching staff for the past four years,” Frost said in a statement. “Troy is a good mentor for his players, provides great energy on and off the field, and carries himself with a presence off the field that will be missed. I want to thank him for his work on our coaching staff, and wish him and his family all the best going forward.”

The duo first came together when Frost was hired at UCF and led a number of prolific offenses, including the undefeated 2017 team for the Knights. Walters was a finalist for the Broyles Award that same season though has not called plays for either team.

Walters had a distinguished career as a player at Stanford that included All-American honors and a Biletnikoff Award in 1999. He spent several years in the NFL before going into coaching during stops at Texas A&M, N.C. State and Colorado.

The departure of Walters could interestingly lead to a reunion between Frost and a familiar name in Mark Helfrich. The latter was head coach at Oregon when Frost was elevated to offensive coordinator for the Ducks and is in search of a job after being let go by the Chicago Bears from a similar role.