No. 2 Clemson went down. No. 8 Washington State fell. No. 10 Auburn blew a big lead and lost. Could top-ranked Alabama see a scare as well?
Not. A. Chance.
The Crimson Tide looked like an emphatic choice as the best team in the country on Saturday, rolling over Arkansas 41-9 in a game that was never in doubt for the home team on a lovely night in Tuscaloosa for Homecoming.
Not everything was perfect for Nick Saban’s squad though, as the team struggled to field punts and saw quarterback Jalen Hurts toss his first interception of the year. Of course, it’s not like it really mattered in the end, as the signal-caller finished with 155 yards and a touchdown through the air and another 41 yards and a score on the ground in a runaway.
Perhaps the biggest development for the Tide was that tailback Damien Harris might start to get a little Heisman love going forward. He started the game by ripping off a 75-yarder to the house (for the second straight time) and wound up with 125 yards and two scores on the ground all told. Harris did make a trip to the injury tent late in the second half but it’s possible he could have returned had the score not been out of hand. Either way, backups were in fairly early in the second half to spell the starters.
Razorbacks quarterback Cole Kelley did what he could in making his first start in place of Austin Allen, but it’s not exactly easy to face this Alabama defense. The big gunslinger passed for an even 200 yards with an interception and a TD, but was pressured on just about every dropback and took five sacks. It would have helped if he had a running game to lean on but Devwah Whaley could muster just 18 yards on five carries against that tough front seven.
In the end, another ho-hum Alabama victory. Considering what happened elsewhere around the country in a wild week for college football, it’s at least good to know you can rely on some things that never change.
Jerry Kill stepped down as Minnesota’s head coach in the middle of the 2015 season, but he’s remained active as ever in “retirement.”
He spent 2016 as an assistant AD at Kansas State, returned to coaching as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Rutgers in 2017, but, after the same epileptic seizures that chased him out of coaching followed him to Piscataway, Kill stepped down after just one season. He was quickly scooped up as the athletics director at Southern Illinois, but now Kill is returning again to coaching — sort of.
Virginia Tech on Monday announced Kill as the new assistant to the head coach for Justin Fuente. In this newly-created role, Kill will use his experience to assist Fuente with “a myriad of duties.”
“Jerry Kill will serve as a tremendous resource for our football program,” Fuente said. “Coach Kill possesses over three decades of expertise and will be great addition to our staff. In addition to over 20 years of experience as collegiate and high school head coach, he’s served as a coordinator on both sides of the ball. He can dissect the game from virtually every angle and will be able to provide his unique perspective on everything from recruiting, to personnel and facilities. ”
“While it was a difficult decision to leave so many wonderful friends and colleagues at Southern Illinois, I am thrilled for the opportunity to join Coach Fuente and his staff at Virginia Tech,” Kill said. “I’ve long appreciated and admired Justin as a coach and teacher of the game. I respect his penchant for identifying talent and helping young men reach their potential. He has assembled a fabulous coaching staff and roster of talented players at Virginia Tech. I can’t wait to help the Hokies in any way I can.”
Kill will join the Virginia Tech staff effective immediately. He went 152-99 as a head coach at five different schools from 1994-2015.
No. 24 Arizona State beat Michigan State 10-7 on Saturday, a win that was preserved by a 12-men-on-the-field penalty that wiped away a game-tying field goal for the Spartans. Matt Coghlin‘s second attempt, this one from 47 yards, sailed wide right, allowing the Sun Devils to hold on for the win.
But it turns out there should have been a second penalty called.
The Pac-12 has announced its officials missed a penalty on Arizona State on Coghlin’s second, missed attempt.
“An Arizona State defensive player took a running start and leapt over the kicking team’s line in an attempt to block the kick. In the process, he leapt into the frame of the body of an opponent. The penalty would have been 15 yards from the previous spot and an automatic first down.
In this case, it would have been administered as half the distance to the goal and Michigan State would have been provided one untimed down.”
That penalty would have moved the Spartans up to the Arizona State 14-yard line, giving Coghlin a third attempt from just 31 yards out.
The Pac-12 provided no word on what, if any, internal accountability the officiating crew that missed such a crucial penalty will face.
Chip Kelly revolutionized college football back when he was at Oregon, becoming so successful that not one but three NFL teams tried or succeeded in hiring him.
Kelly’s return to the sidelines in the college game however… could be going better. UCLA was blown out of the water on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl by No. 5 Oklahoma and the Bruins offense is actually among the worst in all of FBS.
They’re dead last in yards per play, second to last in total offense and No. 127 in scoring offense. Oh and sophomore quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson is No. 99 nationally in passer rating.
Despite those numbers, it appears Kelly isn’t contemplating a new face behind center as the team moves into Pac-12 play.
“We didn’t,” Kelly said when asked by the LA Times whether he thought of making a change at quarterback on Saturday. “…we felt confident in Dorian.”
To be fair, Thompson-Robinson did seem a little improved against the Sooners than he did in his first two starts of 2019 against Cincinnati and San Diego State. But those numbers speak for themselves with road trips to Washington State and Arizona coming up for the 0-3 side from Westwood.
TCU may have moved into the top 25 of the AP Poll this week after dispatching Purdue on Saturday but upcoming opponent SMU is off to an equally hot start coming into Week 4 after topping Texas State.
In fact, it’s a historic one down in Dallas.
As the school noted recently, the 3-0 start to the 2019 campaign is the Mustangs’ best since… 1984. That’s just after the Pony Express days on the Hilltop and right before the program got hammered by the NCAA for major violations.
Sonny Dykes’ tenure got off to a rough start after going 5-7 last season but the team looks much improved thanks in part to the play of Texas transfer QB Shane Buechele.
We’ll see if the two can keep things rolling against the rival Horned Frogs but the AAC might just have another intriguing team in the mix after such a hot start by SMU.