Associated Press

Oregon rolls snake eyes in Mario Cristobal’s Las Vegas Bowl debut

4 Comments

With Justin Hebert in the lineup, Oregon’s offense was one of the best in college football, racking up 50 points and 580 yards per game. The Ducks had Hebert in the lineup on Saturday, but the Oregon attack looked nothing like it had under Willie Taggart in Mario Cristobal‘s head coaching debut.

Oregon committed four turnovers, was doubled up on first downs, was out-gained by nearly 200 yards, did not cross the 50-yard line until more than midway through the third quarter and its offense did not score until the fourth quarter in a deceptively-close 38-28 loss to No. 25 Boise State in the Las Vegas Bowl.

Boise State jumped out to a 24-0 lead, and hopped on the Ducks from the jump. The Broncos’ defense posted a three-and-out to open the game, then rolled down the field, going 67 yards in 13 plays and concluding with a nifty 1-yard Ryan Wolpin run.

Boise State forced another three-and-out on Oregon’s next possession and again moved into scoring territory when the Ducks scored their best play of the game, as cornerback Arrion Springs baited Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien into throwing an end zone interception.

It didn’t matter, though, because Oregon running back Tony Brooks-James was forced into a fumble by the Broncos’ Leighton Vander Esch, and Rypien erased his mistake with a 26-yard scoring strike to Cedrick Wilson

The first quarter closed with another minus-territory fumble, as this time Hebert lost the ball as he was being sacked at his own 21 but Boise State could not capitalize when Haden Hoggarth missed a 42-yard field goal.

After another Oregon punt, Hoggarth pushed Boise’s lead to 17-0 by converting a 39-yard field goal at the 8:59 mark of the second quarter.

Hebert followed up his fumble with two consecutive interceptions, with the second pick being returned 53 yards for a touchdown by Kekaula Kaniho, pushing the lead to 24-0 with 5:11 left in the first half.

Boise State had a chance to close the half with a 31-0 lead, but instead let Oregon back in the game with two disastrous plays inside the final minute. First, a Statue of Liberty play backfired when Rypien’s exchange bounced off Alexander Mattison‘s face mask and Oregon’s Troy Dye picked it up and raced 86 yards for the Ducks’ first touchdown with 37 ticks left in the half. Then, after a 67-yard completion to Wilson, Rypien’s pass into the end zone was intercepted and returned for a 100-yard touchdown by Oregon’s Tyree Robinson with seven seconds left, giving Oregon 14 defensive points in a 30-second span.

The Broncos accepted the ball to open the second half and managed to complete this drive, moving 75 yards in a dozen plays, finding pay dirt on a 13-yard strike from Rypien to Alec Dhaenens to push their advantage to 31-14. The score remained there for the next quarter as the teams traded punts on six consecutive possessions until Oregon’s offense finally affected the score with an Oregon-esque 8-play, 78-yard drive that spanned less than two minutes. Hebert hit Brenden Schooler for a 24-yard score to bring the Ducks within 10 with 10:07 to play, then took over at his own 42 just over a minute later with a chance to pull his club within three, but he was sacked for a loss of 10 yards on a third down from the Boise State 42, forcing a punt. 

Boise State used the extra chance to put the game out of reach, slicing 86 yards in 11 plays, punctuated by another 1-yard Wolpin run with 2:22 to play. Hebert pulled Oregon back within 10 with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Jaylon Redd with 1:12 left, but the Ducks could not recover the ensuing onside kick. He finished the game an up-and-down 26-of-36 for 233 yards with two touchdowns, two interceptions, one fumble, and four sacks. Even with those four sacks, Hebert rushed nine times for a team-leading 16 yards, as the Ducks were out-gained 112-52 on the ground.

Rypien completed 21-of-38 throws for 362 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, and Wilson caught 10 passes for 221 yards and one score.

The win pushed Boise State to 4-0 in the Las Vegas Bowl, the best mark by any team in the history of the 26-year-old game, and to 3-0 all-time against Oregon. It also gave Boise State its 11th season of 11-plus wins over the last 16 years. This marked the sixth time Boise State has closed one of those 11-plus win seasons with a bowl victory over a Power 5 opponent, and the first since Bryan Harsin closed a 12-2 debut season of 2014 with a 38-30 Fiesta Bowl win over Arizona. That number trails only Ohio State for the most in FBS since 2002.

Oregon, meanwhile, concluded its season of multiple changes at 7-6. Saturday’s loss was not without precedent, though. Cristobal became the second consecutive coach to lose his debut in the Las Vegas Bowl, joining Major Applewhite, who dropped his Houston debut in a 34-10 rout to San Diego State last season. There was also another Oregon coach who began his tenure with an inauspicious loss to Boise State. He coaches at UCLA now.

Texas Tech QB Alan Bowman cleared to fly to Red Raiders’ game at Iowa State

Getty Images
1 Comment

Texas Tech quarterback Alan Bowman missed the better part of the Red Raiders’ loss to West Virginia and all of their win over TCU after dealing with a partially collapsed lung suffered during the WVU game. While he did not play in the TCU game, he was in attendance, though in an unusual way. While the team flew from Lubbock to Fort Worth, Bowman had to make the 5-ish hour drive to Cowtown and back since he was not cleared to fly.

He returned to the lineup Saturday for the Red Raiders’ home game with Kansas. The freshman diced the Jayhawks to the tune of 36-of-46 passing for 408 yards with three touchdowns against one interception in a 48-16 blowout win. His return brings a much-needed second dimension to the Texas Tech attack, bolstering the Red Raiders’ status as a Big 12 dark horse contender over the last five weeks of the regular season.

But one key question remained: could he fly?

The answer is yes, head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Monday. Texas Tech visits Iowa State on Saturday, and Kingsbury confirmed his freshman quarterback will make the trip.

“We bussed him to the TCU game, but he was cleared after that,” head coach Kliff Kingsbury said, via the Dallas Morning News.

Texas Tech (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) visits Iowa State and its freshman phenom quarterback Brock Purdy (572 yards, seven touchdowns in two games) in a must-win game. The Red Raiders host No. 8 Oklahoma and No. 6 Texas in the two games following the trip to Ames. Win those, and Kansas State and Baylor will be the only things standing between the Texas Tech and the Big 12 Championship.

BC RB A.J. Dillon on track to return to lineup vs. Miami

Getty Images
2 Comments

Boston College running back A.J. Dillon has missed the Eagles’ last two games, but it’s all systems go for the club’s next game.

Head coach Steve Addazio said Tuesday Dillon should be back in the lineup when BC hosts Miami on Friday. He participated in practice on Tuesday.

“He looked really good and I would say barring anything popping here I think he’ll be ready to roll,” Addazio told the Boston Herald. “It’s been a slow steady process and I think the last two days have been his real matriculation back into normal practice.

“It was a little bit slow (Monday) and little bit more today and it will be full tomorrow.”

The action will be Dillon’s first in a month. He rolled up 106 carries for 652 yards and six touchdowns before exiting the Eagles’ Sept. 29 win over Temple after rolling his ankle.

The leading ACC rusher at the time of his injury, Dillon rushed for 149 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Holy Cross and 185 yards and a score in a 41-34 win at Wake Forest on Sept. 13.

Dillon missed the Eagles’ last two games, a 28-23 loss to No. 22 NC State and a 38-20 win over Louisville.

 

LSU fans to fund ‘Free Devin White’ billboards around SEC offices

Getty Images
3 Comments

Devin White will miss the first half of No. 4 LSU’s date with No. 1 Alabama on Nov. 3 (8 p.m. ET, CBS). The SEC confirmed as much on Tuesday, and Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron has conceded the fact.

“Discussions with the SEC made clear there is no process for appeal,” LSU senior associate athletic director Robert Munson told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “The suspension will stand.”

Though the administration has accepted White will miss the first two quarters, the fans have not.

A GoFundMe campaign launched Monday has now surpassed its goal of $4,150 to place two “Free Devin White” billboards in the Birmingham metro areas, which holds the SEC offices. As of this writing, the campaign had amassed $6,130.

Reads the campaign, started by LSU fan Edward H.:

We’re putting up a billboard for two weeks in Birmingham, AL, the home of SEC headquarters, to let them know it’s time to #FreeDevinWhite.

A downtown Birmingham billboard will cost $2305.

An I-65 billboard will cost $1845.

We’ll fund as many billboards as possible, with any excess funding going as a donation toward the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine, in honor of Devin’s love of horses.  

That’s a Geaux Tigers.

White was ejected for targeting during the fourth quarter of the Tigers’ 19-3 win over Mississippi State over a targeting call that is ticky-tack at best.

LSU’s fervor — I read one post on Tiger Droppings on Sunday that polled whether the White suspension should be a catalyst for LSU to leave the SEC — is indicative of how devastating to the Tigers’ chances it will be to play without White for the first half. The linebacker is easily LSU’s leading tackler with 76 stops.

Alabama’s offense averages 38.8 points per game… by halftime.

Boise State possible landing spot for ex-UCLA QB Devon Modster

Getty Images
Leave a comment

A month after leaving UCLA, the market for Devon Modster is beginning to take shape.

According to 247Sports.com, Modster visited Boise State over the weekend, the first school he’s taken a trip to since parting ways with the Bruins.  There’s one significant personal connection with the MWC program as the quarterback’s older brother, Sean Modster, is a senior wide receiver for the Broncos.

Per Devon Modster, he was told by Boise quarterbacks coach Zak Hill the Broncos are “still evaluating what they want to do [at the quarterback position] and he would let me know by December if they were going to take an older guy or if they want a young guy out of high school.”

In addition to Boise, other Mountain West schools like Nevada, San Diego State and San Jose State have expressed some level of interest.  Additionally, he’s “heard a little from North Carolina State too.”

On Sept. 21, Modster announced he would be transferring from the Bruins.  Shortly thereafter, he enrolled at a California junior college.  Regardless of where he ends up, he’ll be eligible to play immediately in 2019, the first of his two seasons of eligibility he’ll have remaining.

The California native was a four-star signee in the Bruins’ 2016 recruiting class.  As the backup to Josh Rosen last season, Modster 51-of-79 passes for 671 yards and four touchdowns.  Prior to transferring, he hadn’t thrown a pass this season.