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Nagging neck injury forces South Carolina LB to retire

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The college football career of South Carolina linebacker Davonne Bowen has, unfortunately, come to a premature end. Bowen reportedly has confirmed he will retire from football due to a neck injury suffered previously, according to The State.

It is unknown exactly when the injury was first experienced, although the report says Bowen has been dealing with stingers during his freshman season in 2017. The stingers resurfaced during spring practices in Columbia. The nagging injury has made it difficult to continue playing at the level he would desire, and continuing to play with the injury would open himself up to further damage that could be more long-term.

Bowen will get to remain on scholarship at South Carolina. He signed with South Carolina in the Class of 2017.

Minnesota DB Antoine Winfield, Jr. to miss remainder of season with foot injury

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For the second year in a row, Antoine Winfield, Jr.‘s season ends just four games after it started.

After appearing in 12 games and starting nine as a true freshman in 2016, Winfield was lost for the year four games into his sophomore campaign of 2017. He obtained a hardship waiver to play this season as a redshirt sophomore, but now will miss the rest of the season to a foot injury suffered in a 42-13 loss to Maryland on Saturday.

He will undergo surgery on Monday.

In a statement announcing the injury, Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck announced the Gophers will pursue another hardship waiver for Winfield, meaning he would be a fourth-year sophomore in 2019 if approved.

Winfield is the second Gopher to be lost for the season, following running back Rodney Smith.

“We are heartbroken for Antoine,” Fleck said. “Like Rodney Smith, I know he will keep his oar in the water, keep moving forward and will work tirelessly to return to the field next season. We believe Antoine meets the waiver requirement for a sixth year of eligibility and we will file that waiver with the NCAA at the conclusion of the season.”

Winfield led all Gophers defensive backs with 17 tackles on the year while tying for the team lead with one interception. He was also the team’s punt returner, notching a 76-yard score in a 48-10 win over New Mexico State on Sept. 1 and a 31-yard return in a 26-3 defeat of Miami (Ohio) on Sept. 15.

Minnesota (3-1) is off Saturday before visiting Iowa on Oct. 6

Wake Forest fires defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel

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Wake Forest has relieved defensive coordinator Jay Sawvel of duties, head coach Dave Clawson announced Sunday.

After starting the season 2-0 with wins over Tulane and Towson, the Demon Deacons have allowed 97 points in consecutive losses to Boston College and No. 8 Notre Dame.

“This was a difficult decision and not a spur of the moment decision,” said Clawson.  “I want to thank Coach Sawvel for all his hard work with our football program over the last two years.  Coach Sawvel is a very good person and a good football coach.”

Wake Forest ranks 110th nationally in yards per play allowed (6.35) and 106th in scoring (33.5).

With Sawvel out, defensive analyst Tom Gilmore has been elevated to the full-time staff as outside linebackers coach. Coordinator duties will be split up amongst the remaining staff, and specific duties have yet to be assigned. Gilmore joined the Wake staff over the summer; he was formerly the head coach at Holy Cross.

Wake Forest (2-2) hosts Rice on Saturday.

Virginia Tech dismisses DE Trevon Hill

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Virginia Tech had a disaster of a night Saturday in Norfolk, falling to winless Old Dominion in a 49-35 stunner. The Monarchs dropped 632 yards on the hapless Hokies, the most ever allowed by a Bud Foster defense, and surrendered 28 fourth quarter points to turn a 28-21 lead into a 49-35 loss.

Perhaps such a performance, shocking as it may be, was inevitable after losing 10 players from last year’s defense, including four over the summer.

But if that’s the standard for how Virginia Tech will defend, things are about to get a whole lot worse. Head coach Justin Fuente announced Sunday that starting defensive end Trevon Hill has been booted from the team, effective immediately.

“After consultation with our coaching staff and administration at Virginia Tech, Trevon Hill has been dismissed from the football team effective immediately for not upholding the high standards that we have for our student-athletes at Virginia Tech,”’ Fuente said in a statement. “I will always put the interests of Virginia Tech and our team first no matter how difficult those decisions may be.”

Hill was, and still is, Virginia Tech’s leader in sacks (3.5) and tackles for loss (4.5). No other Hokie has more than one sack through three games.

He seems to be taking it… well.

As if that wasn’t enough, starting quarterback Josh Jackson left the ODU loss with an injury, and a team spokesman had no update on Sunday.

The Hokies (2-1) visit unbeaten Duke on Saturday night (7 p.m. ET, ESPN2).

No. 17 Kentucky leads five newcomers in this week’s AP poll

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Carnage littered the AP Top 25 landscape following Week 4’s games, as seven ranked teams lost games — five of them to unranked opponents, and a sixth in horrific fashion.

As such, five new teams are in, led by No. 17 Kentucky. Following a 28-7 smashing of then-No. 14 Mississippi StateMark Stoops‘s Wildcats are 4-0 overall and off to their first 2-0 start since 1977. As such, they graced the AP Top 25 for the first time since Nov. 11, 2007, and just the second time since 1984. The No. 17 ranking is UK’s highest ranking since Oct. 21, 2007.

Also joining the rankings are No. 18 Texas, who was No. 23 in preseason, did not earn a single vote after losing at Maryland and now has vaulted back into the rankings after back-to-back double-digit wins over ranked opponents (both of whom are now unranked). Elsewhere, a pair of unbeaten Power 5 teams have joined the rankings for the first time this season in No. 22 Duke and No. 24 California, and Texas Tech came in at No. 25 after smashing then-No. 15 Oklahoma State by 24 points in Stillwater.

Only two of the seven losers remained in the poll: Oregon, who actually climbed a spot to No. 19 after blowing a 17-point third quarter lead to No. 7 Stanford and No. 23 Mississippi State for absolutely no reason whatsoever. (I expected this from the good-for-literally-nothing coaches’ poll, but I expected better from you, AP voters.)

Elsewhere, LSU leapfrogged Oklahoma for No. 5 after Army took the Sooners to overtime in Norman, and Penn State jumped Auburn for No. 9 ahead of a massive game Saturday night in Happy Valley.

Michigan, Miami and BYU moved up five spots, while UCF, Wisconsin and Michigan State gained three.

The full poll:

1. Alabama — 1,523 total points (60 first-place votes)
2. Georgia — 1,422
3. Clemson — 1,409 (1)
4. Ohio State — 1,363
5. LSU — 1,238
6. Oklahoma — 1,201
7. Stanford — 1,143
8. Notre Dame — 1,067
9. Penn State — 1,001
10. Auburn — 987
11. Washington — 946
12. West Virginia — 923
13. UCF — 727
14. Michigan — 698
15. Wisconsin — 662
16. Miami — 571
17. Kentucky — 541
18. Texas — 308
19. Oregon — 297
20. BYU — 270
21. Michigan State — 256
22. Duke — 244
23. Mississippi State — 241
24. California — 118
25. Texas Tech — 106

Five ranked-on-ranked matchups await us in Week 5:

No. 12 West Virginia at No. 25 Texas Tech (noon ET, ESPN2)
No. 4 Ohio State at No. 9 Penn State (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC)
No. 7 Stanford at No. 8 Notre Dame (7:30 p.m. ET, NBC)
No. 20 BYU at No. 11 Washington (8:30 p.m. ET, FOX)
No. 24 California at No. 19 Oregon (10:30 p.m. ET, FS1)