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USC WR Joseph Lewis pleads no contest to domestic battery

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Late last week, USC wide receiver Joseph Lewis‘ trial in connection to a pair of domestic violence incidents was set to begin.  Less than a week later, the trial phase has come to an end before it really began.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Lewis reached an agreement on a plea deal Wednesday that saw the Trojans football player plead no contest to two counts of domestic battery.  The Times reported that the plea arrangement came as jury selection was nearly complete and opening arguments in the case had been scheduled for the same day.

Lewis had been facing two years in jail; as part of the plea agreement, Lewis has been sentenced to 60 days in the Los Angeles County Jail, a sentence that will likely be reduced to 30 days based on what the newspaper describes as “good time, work time” credit.

Per the Times, the other terms of the plea deal include…

36 months summary probation… a 10-year ban on owning, using or possessing firearms; enrollment in a weekly yearlong domestic violence treatment program and a protective order that prohibits him from approaching within 100 yards of the victim or contacting her.

In late February, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office declined to pursue a felony charge against the USC wide receiver after he was arrested on one count of corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant.  At the time, though, it was reported that the case had been referred to the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, which would decide whether misdemeanor charges would arise from the arrest.

Not long after, the city attorney’s office filed five misdemeanor counts against Lewis.  The charges stemmed from two separate incidents in February, and included three counts of domestic battery with an injury, false imprisonment and domestic battery without an injury.

In the wake of the arrest, Lewis was suspended from the football team.  In fact, his name was removed from the roster and remains that way.  While the player is hopeful he’ll be permitted to rejoin the team before the start of the upcoming season, the football program has yet to address said player’s status moving forward.

It should be noted that, thus far, no details of what led to the arrest and charges have been released.

A five-star member of the Trojans’ 2017 recruiting class, Lewis was rated as the No. 4 receiver in the country; the No. 6 player at any position in the state of California; and the No. 31 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. The only player rated higher in USC’s class that year was running back Stephen Carr.

As a true freshman last season, Lewis caught four passes for 39 yards. He had been expected to play a bigger role in the Trojans’ passing game this season, although the off-field situation will obviously be a factor in that.

Baylor, Oregon schedule home-and-home series for 2027 and 2028

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If you like neon colors on college football uniforms, boy have we got a future series for you.

In an announcement made on Friday, Oregon and Baylor confirmed the two schools have agreed to a home-and-home series on the gridiron in their first-ever meeting between the two programs. The Bears and Ducks will play at McLane Stadium in Waco on Sept. 11, 2027; while the return game will take place at  Autzen Stadium in Eugene on Sept. 9, 2028.

The move certainly beefs up the non-conference slate for both sides after years of rather lackluster scheduling for various reasons. Baylor recently scheduled a series with Auburn for 2025/2026 and Oregon was similarly busy over the summer adding an SEC opponent with a future date with Georgia in 2022.

This series between the Ducks and Bears is the first on either team’s schedule for the 2027/2028 seasons so each has a few more slots to fill nearly a decade ago.

TCU safety Innis Gaines out for Oklahoma showdown and more likely done for season

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TCU will be without a key member of its defense for this weekend’s showdown against Big 12 rival Oklahoma as starting safety Innis Gaines will not play on Saturday — and possibly not again this season.

Speaking on his radio show on Thursday night in the DFW Metroplex, head coach Gary Patterson ruled the junior out against the Sooners and cautioned that he was “likely” done for the year after suffering a leg injury against Texas Tech last week.

Gaines himself seemed to suggest that he also will be out a significant amount of time with the injury in a Twitter post.

Gaines has been a key member of the Horned Frogs defense the past two years and has been one of the program’s best players on defense in 2018, ranking second on the team in tackles (31) and tackles for loss (6.5), as well as recording one interception, a forced fumble and a sack.

Compounding the loss of Gaines is the fact that fellow safety Niko Small has been out since the loss to Texas, leaving TCU fairly thin in the one area that you can typically count Patterson’s defense to be strong in. Freshman La’Kendrick Van Zandt is likely to be elevated into the starting role based on the team’s depth chart but you could also see an increase in playing time for Trevon Moehrig-Woodard as well.

Either way, this is not exactly the kind of news you want to hear just days before facing off against Kyler Murray and the Oklahoma offense.

Arkansas will reportedly be without starting QB Ty Storey for Tulsa

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Arkansas will continue feeling the effects of its Week 7 loss to Ole Miss on into Week 8.

Ty Storey suffered a head injury in the 37-33 loss to the Rebels this past Saturday, although head coach Chad Morris had been optimistic about the starting quarterback’s availability for this Saturday’s non-conference game with Tulsa.  Friday, however, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, citing a source with knowledge of the decision, is reporting that Storey will not play against the Golden Hurricane.

Storey has started five games this season — the Week 2 loss to North Texas as well as the last four losses in a row.  The junior has thrown for 983 yards and seven touchdowns this season, but his 124.4 pass efficiency rating of 124.4 is 11th among SEC quarterbacks and 89th nationally.

As a team, the Razorbacks are 105th in the country and last in the SEC in passing efficiency at 118.7.

If Storey is indeed sidelined as the reports suggest, either redshirt sophomore Cole Kelley or true freshman Connor Noland would get the start.  Kelley started the opener this year as well as a Week 3 loss North Texas before losing the job a second time to Storey.  Noland has attempted seven passes on the season.

While Kelley certainly has the edge in experience, the Democrat-Gazette writes that “Noland was seen taking first-team reps as media members left at the end of the viewing period on Wednesday.”

Reports: FAU loses Azeez Al-Shaair to ACL tear

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Just past the halfway point of the 2018 season, Florida Atlantic’s defense has taken a very steep and significant hit.

First reported by the South Florida Sun-Sentinel and subsequently confirmed by OwlAccess.com, Azeez Al-Shaair has been diagnosed with a torn ACL.  The linebacker suffered the injury during practice earlier this week.

As a result of the injury, Al-Shaair will miss the remainder of the season.  Additionally, because this is his final season of eligibility, Al-Shaair will see his collegiate career come to an end as well.

This season, Al-Shaair is second on the team in tackles with 43 and tied for the team lead in quarterback hits with three.  The fourth-year senior will finish as the Owls’ all-time leader in tackles.

Al-Shaair was named as the Conference USA Preseason Defensive Player of the Year over the summer after leading the league with 147 tackles in 2017.