Head coaches — at least publicly — won’t complain about winning ugly when it comes to securing a victory in college football. If you gave some truth serum or a few adult beverages to Geoff Collins though, the first year head coach would have to admit that Thursday night’s game at Tropicana Field was about as ugly as it comes in the sport.
Not that it mattered in the end, as his Temple team (7-6) managed to mow down Florida International (8-5) for a 28-3 win in the Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl.
The formula was a familiar one for the Owls: salty defense, a methodical offense and wait for a few big plays out of quarterback Frank Nutile. The signal-caller didn’t have the sharpest outing down in St. Petersburg, Fla. but was solid enough to lead his team to the win column by throwing for 254 yards and a touchdown without an interception. He scored the game’s first points as well on a keeper in the second quarter and setup the team’s second score on a big pass play down the field that tailback David Hood (76 yards rushing) eventually punched in for a touchdown.
Adonis Jennings (51 yards), Keith Kirkwood (96 yards) and Isaiah Wright (73 yards, one touchdown) were the big play threats in the passing game and balanced out things given how difficult it was to run the football. The offense did just enough to take advantage of a quality performance from the Temple defense, which recorded seven sacks, two fourth downs stops, and kept their opponent out of the end zone despite having one of the more productive units in the country coming in.
Most of those struggles for FIU can be traced back to their opening drive of the game when senior starting quarterback and Tampa native Alex McGough went down with what officials later said was a broken collarbone. That seemed to chuck the game plan right out the window for the Panthers, which never seemed to get any consistency on that side of the ball out of backup Maurice Alexander once he threw two early interceptions and was generally running around to avoid pressure on every drop back. Running backs Napoleon Maxwell and Alex Gardner failed to find much space on the ground without much of a passing threat as neither came close to hitting the century mark.
Despite the loss though, it was still a heck of a year for FIU and first year coach Butch Davis as they made just the third ever bowl appearance for the program and tied the school record for wins in a season.
Temple knows all about turnarounds themselves as the bowl victory on Thursday, just the third postseason win in program history, caps off a remarkable second half surge that included four wins in their final five games. Given how bad the Owls looked in September, that’s a nice little springboard into the offseason for Collins and his staff as they send the winningest senior class in school history off with a nice, if ugly, victory.
Both for this season and on into the future, Houston has found its depth in the secondary depleted.
According to Joseph Duarte of the Houston Chronicle, Zaire Taylor plans to transfer from the Cougars. While there’s been no confirmation from the school, the defensive back retweeted another tweet which indicated he was leaving and that an “[e]xclusive interview [is] coming this Sunday.”
Taylor was a three-star member of UH’s 2018 recruiting class. Through the Cougars’ first six games this season, Taylor hadn’t registered a defensive statistic.
When Wisconsin takes the field this weekend looking to bounce back from a stunning beating at the hands of Michigan in Week 7, the Badgers’ secondary could have decidedly different — and depleted — look to it.
UW released its initial injury report for this coming Saturday’s homecoming game against Illinois, and a whopping five defensive backs were listed on it. The injured fivesome are safeties D’Cota Dixon (right leg), Scott Nelson (right leg) and Reggie Pearson (left leg) and cornerbacks Travian Blaylock (right leg) and Faion Hicks (left leg).
Hicks, Nelson and Pearson were all injured in the loss to Michigan. Dixon sustained his injury in the Oct. 6 win over Nebraska and didn’t play against U-M. Blaylock, after playing in the first four games this season, hadn’t seen any action in the last two.
Hicks and Nelson, both redshirt freshmen, along with the senior Dixon were listed as starters ahead of the Wolverines game. Pearson made his first career start in place of Dixon, who hadn’t been listed on the injury report heading into that game.
The Badgers will update the status of all five defensive backs later on in the week.
The depth along the interior of Duke’s defensive line has taken an injury hit.
Earlier this week, Duke confirmed that Edgar Cerenord suffered a ruptured right Achilles tendon in this past Saturday’s win over Georgia Tech. The defensive tackle underwent surgery Monday afternoon to repair the damage.
Suffice to say, the fifth-year senior will miss the remainder of the 2018 season.
Cerenord could pursue a sixth season of eligibility if he so chooses. It’s unclear at this point if he’ll utilize this option.
Thus far, Cerenord, who started all 13 games last season, has played in 41 games during his Blue Devils career. Four of those appearances came this season, and he was credited with 14 tackles in that action.
According to the school, he’s the lone senior on the Blue Devils’ defensive line.
Iowa State’s not going to take the monetary hit lying down.
Earlier Tuesday, the Big 12 announced that ISU has been fined $25,000 after their fans stormed the field this past Saturday. The field storming came in the aftermath of ISU’s huge upset of then-No. 6 West Virginia in Ames.
In a statement announcing the fine, conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby said that the league “[has] a duty to provide a safe game environment” and that ISU “has a written event management policy that was not thoroughly implemented, and was unsuccessful in ensuring the safety and security of all visiting team game participants” — a sentiment with which WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen is likely to agree.
Not long after the league’s announcement, ISU president Wendy Wintersteen confirmed in a statement that the university will appeal the fine.
Our institution takes the safety and welfare of all student-athletes, officials and fans very seriously. We have reviewed all of our procedures, including several videos of the post-game celebration, and we do not agree with Commissioner Bowlsby’s assessment of the events that evening,. Chief [Michael] Newton, of the Iowa State University Police Department, and the CSC staff had a very thorough and specific plan.
“Those plans were discussed and implemented prior to the game and were evaluated and adjusted during the game to ensure the safest atmosphere for everyone attending the game, including the West Virginia players and staff.
According to school officials, it took security less than 90 seconds to safely get the WVU football contingent off the field and into the locker room. No injuries have been reported on either side.