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Ohio State wins first game without Urban Meyer on sideline since Nov. 5, 2011

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No Urban Meyer?  No problem.  At all.

With Meyer serving the first of what will be a three-game suspension, Ohio State had little issue dragging Oregon State into the season-opening woodshed as the Midwest OSU spanked the West Coast OSU 77-31 in Columbus.  The Buckeyes jumped out to a 42-14 halftime lead and, after a weather delay that lasted nearly an hour and a half, dropped it in cruise control the remainder of the way as acting head coach Ryan Day picked up his first career win in his first-ever game as head coach.

In his first career start, and replacing the record-setting J.T. Barrett under center, quarterback Dwayne Haskins completed 14 of his 18 passes for 164 yards and three touchdowns… in the first half.  Haskins finished the day with 313 yards, five touchdowns and one interception in going 22-of-30 passing.  The touchdown passes set a school record for a first-time starter, while the passing yards marked the first time in program history a quarterback had thrown for 300-plus in his first debut.

On the ground, Mike Weber, reduced to second fiddle behind Freshman All-American J.K. Dobbins last season, led both teams with a career-high 186 yards rushing (on 20 carries).  The junior also accounted for a career-high four touchdowns — three rushing, one receiving.  As for Dobbins, considered one of the preseason Heisman Trophy favorites, the sophomore put up a quiet 74 yards on 15 carries.

All told, the Buckeyes ran for 375 yards — they averaged 7.1 yards on their 53 carries — as part of an offense that rolled up 721 yards of total offense.  The 77 points matched the program record for an opener set in 2016 against Bowling Green.  It was also the most points scored in any game since they hung 83 on Iowa during  the 1950 season.

Defensively, Nick Bosa very loudly tossed his name into the Heisman hype hat as the true junior — and likely Top Five pick in the 2019 NFL draft — was credited with a pair of sacks and recovered a fumble for a touchdown for good measure.  Dre’Mont Jones matched Bosa with two sacks as the Buckeyes’ defensive front seven combined to drop Beaver quarterbacks six times.

In a losing effort, Artavis Pierce ran for 168 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just 11 carries.  Those touchdowns came on runs of 80 and 78 yards in a span of just over three minutes early in the third quarter.

The Beavers, incidentally, have now lost 11 straight games dating back to the 2017 season.  Conversely, the Buckeyes are now rising a six-game winning streak.

The win marked the first time Ohio State has won a game without Meyer on the sidelines since Nov. 5 of 2011, a 34-20 triumph over Indiana.  The head coach that day was Luke Fickell, who replaced Jim Tressel before giving way to Meyer the following year.  The Buckeyes went 6-7 that lost 2011 season; the Buckeyes have lost a total of eight games in the six-plus seasons under Meyer.

That 2011 season was also the only time since 2004 that the Buckeyes have failed to finish a season with at least 10 wins.

In addition to today’s game, Meyer will be suspended for the Week 2 matchup with Rutgers and the Week 3 showdown against TCU.  The coach will also be suspended through Sept. 2; that suspension prevented Meyer from taking part in the Buckeyes’ preparations for the season opener against the Beavers.  He will, however, be permitted to take part in all football activities leading up to the Rutgers and TCU games, including practices, player meetings, coaches meetings, etc.

That participation will begin Sunday as Meyer’s in-week suspension comes to an end tomorrow.

Report: Georgia RG Ben Cleveland suffers fractured left fibula

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Georgia starting right guard Ben Cleveland suffered a fractured left fibula in the Bulldogs’ 43-29 win at Missouri, according to Dawgs247.

According to the site, the injury will not require surgery or a cast, but Cleveland will miss “at least a month.” No. 2 Georgia hosts Tennessee on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS) and Vanderbilt before a massive visit to No. 5 LSU on Oct. 13. They’ll take Oct. 20 before closing SEC play with Florida, No. 17 Kentucky and No. 10 Auburn.

The fibula is a non-weight bearing bone and, thus, a significantly less damage break than the tibia.

Cleveland is a redshirt sophomore from Toccoa, Ga. He has started Georgia’s last nine games at right guard.

The Cleveland injury is not the only ailment Georgia is dealing with at the moment. Dawgs247 noted starting left tackle Andrew Thomas, who missed the Middle Tennessee game with a left ankle injury and seemingly re-aggravated it in the first half, when a player rolled up on him. He did not return to the game afterward.

Fellow sophomore Justin Shaffer replaced Cleveland at right guard in the Missouri win.

Tennessee LB booted from Florida loss releases statement

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On a night the Vols celebrated their 1998 national championship team, Tennessee played about as far away from national championship-caliber football as you’ll ever see a Tennessee team play. The Vols lost to Florida 47-21 in a game that was simultaneously better and worse than the final score. Tennessee was only out-gained 387-364 and won the first downs battle 18-14, but much of that was due all the short fields the Vols gave Florida after coughing up half a dozen turnovers. When fans started pouring out of Neyland Stadium early in the third quarter, the scoreboard read Florida 33, Tennessee 3.

And that’s not all.

Over the course of the game, head coach Jeremy Pruitt told linebacker Quart’e Sapp to leave the field after Sapp, Pruitt said, declined to enter the game.

“Since I’ve been here, Quarte has been a really good ambassador to our program, he’s done everything I’ve asked him,” Pruitt said. “He left the field because he wouldn’t go into the game when he was asked to go in. I don’t know how things were done before, but when you tell somebody to go in and they refuse to go in, we’re not going to do that around here. So I asked him to leave.”

On Sunday, Sapp released a statement on Twitter saying he did not refuse to go in the game. Sapp’s statement does not clarify exactly what happened, but he expressly denies he was asked to enter the game and refused.

“During the UT vs. UF game I was never asked nor did I refuse to go into the game. There was a sideline confrontation (I’m sure will be resolve internally that occurred and the other party had to be restrained.”

Sapp, a redshirt junior, was listed as Tennessee’s No. 2 weakside linebacker entering the Florida game. Given the praise Pruitt heaped upon Sapp above and the fact Tennessee can’t exactly turn away able bodies with Georgia, Auburn and Alabama coming up in its next three games, but bet here is this spat gets resolved internally and everyone moves on.

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.