If there was going to be a trap game on Clemson’s schedule this season, you could probably point toward Georgia Tech’s visit at the end of the month. That might be a bit premature to say at the moment given how the No. 2 team in the country is struggling on the road at Syracuse on Friday night and may have lost their quarterback to an injury.
The Orange’s offense not surprisingly led the way at the fast track of the Carrier Dome as a result, helping the home team to a 17-14 lead at halftime in what is rapidly becoming a very interesting conference game.
Quarterback Eric Dungey was the trigger man for the ‘Cuse attack, which helped pick up chunk after chunk on one of the best defenses in the country. He finished the half with 193 yards and two scores through the air while also providing a solid threat with his legs in rushing for 47 yards as well. Despite the impressive stat line, he did suffer a minor leg injury on a quarterback sneak that could hamper his ability to keep things going in the second half.
While Dungey isn’t 100 percent, neither was his counterpart in Kelly Bryant. The Tigers’ QB was solid throwing the ball (12/17, 116 yards) but was not able to move around all that well with that balky ankle. Most pressing for the fans back at home was the fact that he was slammed to the turf just before the break, having to be helped off by trainers with what his coach later said was a concussion. Running back Tavien Feaster rushed for a 37 yard touchdown in what was otherwise the lone offensive highlight for a team that is playing a backup behind center the rest of the way.
As bad as things were (on both sides of the ball) for Dabo Swinney’s squad, it could have been a much bigger hole they were in had there not been a swing early in the second quarter. An offensive pass interference penalty wiped a touchdown off the board that would have put Syracuse up two touchdowns. Instead, just two plays later the Tigers ended up tying things up at 14-all on a rough mistake by the Orange when tailback Dontae Strickland fumbled while being tackled, allowing Tanner Muse to scoop and score from 63 yards out.
The Dome has been a strange place to play for many ACC teams over the years no matter how good or bad Syracuse has been and it seems like that could be the case following the first half. Perhaps a trip to the locker room will reignite the second-best team in the country but, through two quarters at least, the Tigers are looking mighty vulnerable on the road against an up-tempo offense that is putting up quite the fight on Friday night.
It’s been well over a year since the NCAA reached a settlement in a class-action lawsuit over grant-in-aid/cost of attendance and yet the $208 million the organization is still just sitting in a bank account waiting to be doled out. While you might first think that this is the result of the usual dragging of their feet from those in Indianapolis, it turns out that is not the case at all.
USA Today is reporting that it’s actually former Western Michigan wide receiver Darrin Duncan who is the one holding things up. He withdrew from the class-action case but his attorney, Caroline Tucker, “attempted to obtain $200,000 from the plaintiffs’ lawyers in exchange for dropping the objection.” The lawyers on the plaintiffs’ side have naturally responded in force, asking either of the two to post a five-figure bond to cover their own legal fees resulting from this delay. The judge in the case, Claudia Wilken, knocked that down to $5,000 last Friday by calling Tucker/Duncan’s objection to the case “meritless and thus his appeal is unlikely to succeed.”
At this point, Duncan/Tucker can either put up the money and risk losing it to continue their objection or drop things and let the payments — which could go as high as $6,000 per athlete — begin. While this is naturally focused on money, there’s a bit more to what the former Broncos receiver is going through:
All of this is occurring against the backdrop of Duncan dealing with personal hardship.
Now 28, he has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to his mother and a GoFundMe page established on his behalf about a year ago. He has received death threats because of his objection to the settlement, his mother, Arleen Pollard, said in an interview with USA TODAY Sports.
It does appear as though a solution to this long-running saga is in the cards somewhat soon but until then, the wait continues before the checks can start hitting the mail.
Could we have the start of a budding rivalry between Pitt and Mississippi State? No, but the two programs did see one poach a staffer from the other.
A source told FootballScoop that Mississippi State assistant director of football operations Reed Case has taken the director of recruiting position at Pitt. Both positions are off-the-field roles but as anybody who has worked in a football office will tell you, each is crucial to the day-to-day success of a program.
Per the folks over at FootballScoop, this is one of the first big jobs that Case has had at an ACC program in the Northeast but he’s got a diverse background from stops at Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and East Carolina among others.
The move by Pat Narduzzi fills the vacancy left behind by long-time staffer Mark Diethorn, who previously served as the Panthers’ director of recruiting for six years before heading to a new job at his alma mater of Virginia Tech last week.
The lifeblood of every college football program, recruiting can sometimes give us some awkward moments and it appears we have another courtesy of Virginia. Let us first bring up this tweet from Philadelphia (Pa.) Imhotep Class of 2019 wide receiver Anthony Gordon, who seemingly committed to the Cavaliers last Thursday.
Great for the kid, right? Well, there’s just one problem, 247Sports says that Gordon is not actually a commitment for the program for a rather big reason:
There was an issue though, the 6-foot-1, 175-pound wide receiver never had the scholarship offer from UVA he reported in March. According to multiple sources, Virginia had not been in contact since March and no call was made to the Virginia staff before the post on social media.
So… yeah. This immediately brings Kevin Hart (no, not that one) to mind after the former offensive lineman staged a ceremony to commit to Cal even though the Golden Bears never recruited him nearly a decade ago. It does seem like there is at least some contact between Virginia and Gordon in this case though, as that report makes clear, it has been a while since the two have talked.
All is not lost for Cavs fans though, as the program did add a commitment from Emil Bo Andersen at their summer camp. Why would we mention this? Well, Anderson is not only a 6-foot-5, 280-pount defensive tackle that comes at a position of need, but he’s actually Danish and is apparently ticketed to a full-ride across the pond thanks to what he showcased at the UVA camp. Very cool and not the first ACC player to come from overseas either should his pledge hold up.
It’s never dull in the ‘crootin world.
There’s been a lot of cool moments across college football this past spring but one of the best came in one of the most unlikely of places: Syracuse. At the Orange’s spring game in mid-April, backup quarterback Rex Culpepper suited up in between chemotherapy treatments and managed to throw a (tear-jerking) touchdown pass in the final drive of the afternoon.
Fast forward a few months and Culpepper, after undergoing over 100 hours of treatment, was declared cancer-free in early June. Fully healthy and finally cleared to return to regular football activities, the signal-caller recently went through an offseason workout with his teammates and later spoke to the media about everything that has happened throughout the process.
And how did he describe beating cancer? Well, naturally he brought an a very special on-the-field victory from last season.
“The closest thing I can say is it felt like beating Clemson,” Culpepper said, according to Syracuse.com. “You just feel so incredibly ecstatic that nothing in your life could ever go wrong.”
We’re pretty confident that even Tigers fans won’t mind hearing that given what the quarterback has been through and what a joyful moment that it was for the program back in October.
Next up for Culpepper and the team? Fall camp later this year as he competes with senior Eric Dungey in one of the more impressive quarterback rooms in the ACC for a variety of reasons.