Getty Images

Boiler Up! Purdue holds off Arizona rally to win Foster Farms Bowl

1 Comment

Fans who don’t follow Purdue closely might not know the name Anthony Mahoungou but after the wideout’s performance in the Foster Farms Bowl, safe to say he’ll be talked about for quite a while by fans of the Boilermakers. That’s because the senior from Paris — yes, as in France — wrestled in the game-winning touchdown with just under two minutes left to cap off a wild second half for both sides and give Purdue (7-6) a 38-35 victory over Arizona (7-6).

Mahoungou, who finished the night with six catches for 118 yards and a pair of scores, prevented what would have been a heck of a collapse for an offense that put up 31 points in the first half but was held scoreless after leaving the locker room right up until he crossed the goal line. Fellow senior Gregory Phillips added his own bit of aerobatics into the end zone with one of his two touchdown catches and formed a pretty good opposite number to his teammate with a game-high 149 yards.

While there were stretches in the third and fourth quarter where the offense wasn’t quite clicking on the rare trip to the West Coast for the Boilermakers, quarterback Elijah Sindelar threw for 396 yards with four touchdowns and just one interception on 53 attempts — none bigger than that final one down the field.

Those heroics spoiled an improbable rally on the part of Arizona, which was close to pitching a second half shutout and had scored 21 unanswered to take the lead in the fourth quarter. Wildcats quarterback Khalil Tate had only 58 yards rushing but was terrific through the air to spark the team when they needed it. The electric dual-threat finished his first postseason outing with 302 yards passing and five touchdowns of at least 24 yards — but did toss an interception on the team’s final drive to seal the loss.

In what was a key reason the team lost though, Rich Rodriguez‘ squad never could get things going consistently in the run game and had only 128 yards rushing. That will be quite the disappointment to the fans back in Tucson as the team looked like they had turned the corner in October but limped to the finish of the 2017 season with four losses in their past five games.

Trending in the other direction would be the winners in the Bay Area as Purdue completed a remarkable rebuild in record time under first year coach Jeff Brohm. The Boilermakers not only won a bowl game for the first time in six years but closed the year strongly with their fourth win in their last five outings. Both teams have plenty to look forward to in 2018 but there was certainly a lot more for the Big Ten side to remember after pretty fun finish from the Bay Area.

Kansas looking for first Big 12 road win since Oct. 4, 2008

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s been a season of “first times since…” standards thus far this year for the Kansas football program, and the Jayhawks have the opportunity to add yet another one in Week 4.

Saturday afternoon, Kansas will travel to Waco for a Week 4 matchup against Baylor in the Big 12 opener for both schools.  Should the Jayhawks head back to Lawrence with a win stuffed into its back pocket, they would do something they haven’t done in nearly 10 full years.

On Oct. 4, 2008, Kansas beat Iowa State 35-33 in Ames.  That marked the Jayhawks’ last road win in Big 12 play as they have lost 40 straight conference games away from home since.

All told, Kansas has lost 29 of its last 30 Big 12 games, with the last win coming vs. Texas in 2016.

Already in 2018, Kansas snapped a 46-game road losing streak, which was the second-longest such streak in the history of college football at any level.  Additionally, they have won back-to-back games over FBS teams for the first time since 2009.

A win over Baylor would also give Kansas back-to-back wins over Power Five teams for the first time since 2008.

Nick Saban plans to continue using both Tua Tagovailoa, Jalen Hurts

Alabama v Louisville
Getty Images
2 Comments

So much for that idea, it appears.

Two weeks ago, a report surfaced that there is an agreement in place between Jalen Hurts and the Alabama football program that would allow the quarterback to take a redshirt for the 2018 season, provided starter Tua Tagovailoa doesn’t go down with an injury.

Hurts appeared in Alabama’s season-opening romp over Louisville at the beginning of the month, and then in the next two as well.  Thanks to a new NCAA rule implemented this year, players can appear in up to four games in a season and still retain the ability to take a redshirt; it appeared that the rumored agreement between the player and the football program would’ve been that Hurts would not play in more than four games this season — again, unless Tagovailoa is injured.

With the fourth game of the season fast approaching, it doesn’t seem as if redshirting Hurts is in Nick Saban‘s plans.  At all.

From ESPN.com‘s Chris Low‘s interview with the Crimson Tide head football coach:

It’s the same as it’s always been, to use them both,” Saban told ESPN on Thursday. “It evolves a little bit as you go. Our team has evolved. I can’t tell you exactly how it all will play out. It’s going to be whoever helps our team play the best, and they’ve both played a role in doing that. …

We needed both quarterbacks last year, and we’ll need them both again this year.

Hurts, who was 26-2 as the Tide’s starting quarterback entering 2018, is on schedule to graduate from UA in December.  It’s widely expected that, at some point afterward graduation, he will transfer from the Tide as the true sophomore Tagovailoa is firmly entrenched as the starter.

Provided he doesn’t actually end u redshirting this year, Hurts would then have one more season of eligibility he can use at another FBS school.

Fourth & fifth Auburn players leave Tigers since 2018 season started

Getty Images
Leave a comment

In what’s quickly becoming a trend, Auburn has lost yet another couple of players to in-season moves.

Citing an unnamed source, Rivals.com was the first to report that Nate Craig-Myers is leaving the Tigers and will transfer out of Gus Malzahn’s football program. No specific reason for the abrupt departure of the wide receiver was given.

Despite starting all three games for the Tigers this season, Craig-Meyers had just two receptions for 39 yards. He’ll apparently finish the AU portion of his playing career with 394 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns on his 22 catches.

Craig-Meyers was a four-star member of the Tigers’ 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 6 receiver in the country; the No. 6 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 45 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. He was the highest-rated signee on the offensive side of the ball for the Tigers that recruiting cycle.

Additionally, 247Sports.com reported that Craig-Meyers’ half-brother, Jayvaughn Myers, did not attend Thursday’s practice and is leaving the team as well. The defensive back was a 2016 signee who played sparingly during his two-plus seasons on The Plains.

Head coach Gus Malzahn subsequently confirmed both of the departures.

Including Craig-Meyers and Meyers, a total of five Tigers have left the program since the start of the 2018 season. Just this week, tight end Jalen Harris took to Twitter to announce his decision to transfer. Additionally, cornerback John Broussard Jr. and punter Aidan Marshall parted ways with the team earlier this month as well.

Most, if not all of those players are taking advantage of a new NCAA rule implemented this offseason that allows them to play in up to four games in a season and still be able to take a redshirt and preserve a year of eligibility.

Miami to be without its leading tackler for FIU game

Getty Images
Leave a comment

As it closes out the non-conference portion of its 2018 schedule, Miami will (again, in one case) be at less than 100 percent at a couple of key positions.

Mark Richt confirmed Thursday that Jaquan Johnson will be sidelined for The U’s Week 4 matchup with Florida International. The safety suffered a hamstring injury in the Week 3 road win over Toledo and did not practice at all this week.

Johnson has started 17 straight games for the Hurricanes — three this season, all 13 in 2017 and the 2016 Russell Athletic Bowl win over West Virginia. In 2018, the fourth-year senior leads the ‘Canes in tackles with 22. He also has one of UM’s two blocked kicks on the season.

In addition to Johnson, wide receiver Ahmmon Richards will miss his third straight game because of a knee injury suffered in the season-opening loss to LSU. Like his teammate, Richards did not practice at all this week.

The knee issue continues a string of injuries that Richards has had to battle through the past two seasons.

Richards missed the first two games in 2017 because of a hamstring issue, then suffered a season-ending meniscus injury in late November. At the time of that latter injury, Richards was third on the Hurricanes in receptions (24) receiving yards (439) and receiving touchdowns (three). The year before as a true freshman, he led the team with 934 receiving yards.

Prior to being injured in the opener this season, Richards had one catch for nine yards.

Miami will open ACC play next Thursday against North Carolina, with that short week likely playing at least a small role in erring on the side of caution with the players, Johnson in particular.