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No. 25 LSU runs away from No. 8 Miami

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After a 2017 season that saw the Hurricanes start 10-0, including those back-to-back wins over top-15 Virginia Tech and Notre Dame teams, and finish 0-3 with back-to-back-to-back double-digit losses, the goal, the hope, for No. 8 Miami entering Sunday night was to show that 2018 would be more about the first 10 and not the last three.

The first 30 minutes of Sunday night’s game showed that plan to be unfounded. No. 25 LSU opened up a 27-3 halftime lead and cruised to a 33-17 statement win at AT&T Stadium in suburban Dallas.

Before the game turned into a blowout, though, there was a moment when Miami appeared to have the upper hand. That’s all it was, a moment, but it happened. Tied 3-3 late in the first quarter, Miami moved from its own 30 to the LSU 32, but the drive sputtered and freshman kicker Bubba Baxa‘s 45-yard field goal sailed wide right.

Then the rout was on.

Nick Brossette registered LSU’s first touchdown with a 50 yard burst straight through the middle of Miami’s defense.

After forcing a three-and-out, LSU scored on another Brossette run, a 1-yarder, which was set up by a 22-yard connection from Joe Burrow to Ja'Marr Chase which appeared to fall incomplete on second glance, but the Tigers were able to snap the ball before the replay official could intervene.

With the score at 20-3 midway through the second quarter, Malik Rosier made a mistake that buried the Hurricanes for good when he didn’t see LSU linebacker Jacob Phillips lying in wait for his slant pass, and Phillips raced the interception 45 yards for a touchdown.

Staked to a 24-point halftime lead, Ed Orgeron took the air out of the ball in the second half — not that the Tigers were slinging it around to begin with — and the Bayou Bengals managed just the third and fourth of Cole Tracy‘s field goals, a transfer who last played at tiny Division II Assumption College in Massachusetts.

A pair of Rosier touchdowns, a 3-yard run with 13:57 to go and a 32-yard strike to Brian Hightower with 8:43 remaining, allowed Miami to cling to a slight glimmer of hope when taking over at its own 5 with 6:30 remaining to chip away at a two possession deficit. Rosier maneuvered the Canes from the shadow of their own goal post to the LSU 40, but Rosier tossed three straight incompletions and then was sacked on 4th-and-10 with 4:40 to play, allowing LSU to shut the door on any possibility of a UCLA-over-Texas A&M Labor Day Sunday redux.

LSU’s offense didn’t jump off the page, as the Tigers achieved only 17 first downs and converted just 3-of-16 third downs. Burrow was a workmanlike 11-of-24 for 140 yards, and Brossette led all runners with 22 carries for 125 yards and two touchdowns. But the Tigers didn’t need to be spectacular to win on Sunday; capitalizing on Miami’s plethora of offensive and special teams mistakes proved to be more than enough. Rosier tossed two interceptions and Zach Feagles averaged just 36.4 yards on five punts.

Rosier battled through the entire game, hitting 15-of-35 passes for 257 yards while being credited with 15 carries for 12 yards. DeeJay Dallas led Miami in rushing with 38 yards on eight carries.

LSU opens its home schedule next week with Southeastern Louisiana before beginning its SEC gauntlet with a trip to No. 9 Auburn on Sept. 15 (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS). The Tigers team that took the field Saturday night flashed plenty of potential to win 10 or more games, but a schedule that includes No. 3 Georgia and Florida in addition to a more-ferocious-than-ever SEC West will make them earn it.

Miami, meanwhile, plays a schedule that could still see the Canes reach double-digit wins again. Mark Richt‘s team gets Florida State at home and does not face No. 2 Clemson. But Sunday night’s result shows a potential 10-win season would once again be a mirage.

Arizona’s leader in receiving yards underwent surgery on a fractured foot earlier this month

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A key piece of the passing game for Arizona football is recovering from a health issue.  Fortunately, it doesn’t appear it will impact his availability for the upcoming season.

Prior to Arizona shuttering spring football practice because of the coronavirus pandemic, Jamarye Joiner suffered a fractured left foot.  It was reported at the time that the wide receiver was “believed to have suffered a Jones fracture, which is a break between the base of the foot and the fifth metatarsal.”

According to The Athletic, Joiner underwent surgery to repair the damage May 12.  The procedure was delayed as elective surgeries were scuttled because of the pandemic.

The same website reported that the receiver will be sidelined for a period of 6-12 weeks.  Such a timeline would extend, at the long end, to early August.  Arizona is scheduled to open the 2020 football season Aug. 29 against Hawaii.

Joiner was a three-star member of the Arizona football Class of 2018.  The Tucson native was rated as the No. 6 prospect regardless of position in the state of Arizona.

Originally signing as a quarterback, Joiner completed three of his four pass attempts for 17 yards in two games a true freshman.  Playing in less than four games allowed Joiner to preserve a year of eligibility.

Prior to the start of summer camp, Joiner made the move from quarterback to wide receiver.  In his first season at the position, the redshirt freshman led the Wildcats in receiving yards with 552 and receiving touchdowns with five.  His 34 receptions were third on the team, while his 16.2 yards per catch was second among the nine players with at least 10 receptions.

Arizona head football coach Kevin Sumlin this month became one of a handful of coaches to take a pay cut.

Oklahoma won’t be allowing football players to come back for on-campus workouts until July 1

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Here’s to guessing the Oklahoma head football coach is completely on board with this approach.  Even as it’ll put him nearly a month behind other Power Five programs.

When word began to surface that some conferences/schools would possibly be allowing its player to return to campus June, Lincoln Riley blasted the notion.

“All the talk about these schools wanting to bring players back on June 1 is one of the most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard,” the coach said in mid-May. “We’ve got to be patient. We have one good shot at it. …

“It would be completely irresponsible to bring these guys in too early. We need to bring these guys in as late as we can. Every day they come in could be a day we could’ve gotten better, learned more about the virus, the [personal protection equipment] gets better, a day closer to a vaccine, the testing capabilities get better. It’s just not worth it.”

Two weeks later, Oklahoma has announced that it will reopen its facilities July 1 for voluntary football workouts.  That’s exactly one month beyond the date to which the NCAA gave the green light last week.

According to the program, returning Oklahoma football players will need to be evaluated and cleared by the OU medical staff before they can participate in the voluntary activities.  OU added that the players “will be continuously monitored and will be expected to adhere to a number of safety protocols and guidelines.”

“As I have stated before, we are going to approach this return with extreme care,” Riley said in a statement. “We have received tremendous guidance from highly respected medical professionals, and we will follow their recommendations. We understand that the well-being of our student-athletes is at the top of our responsibilities. That’s why we will be diligent in how we manage everything from the way we relate to each other to the cleaning of our facilities and beyond.

“Our medical personnel have told us that the safest thing we can do is keep our players off campus for as long as possible. We chose the latest point that we could bring them back and still have enough time to prepare.”

The SEC confirmed its players would be returning June 8.  Both Ohio State and Illinois from the Big Ten will be doing the same on the same date.  Ditto for Clemson and Louisville as well.

USC transfer Clayton Bradley tweets move to UNLV

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One former USC football player has found himself a new home.  Unofficially.

Clayton Bradley had entered the NCAA transfer database back in January.  Four months later, the offensive lineman took the next step in leaving USC football by committing to UNLV.

Bradley made the announcement of a move to the Rebels on Twitter.

“I would like to thank the Trojan family for the past five years at the [U]university of Southern California,” Bradley wrote. “My experience and the relationships I’ve made will last a lifetime.  I’d like to thank the coaches who have recruited meduring my time in the transfer portal for the opportunity to complete my final year of eligibility.

“After speaking with Coach Arroyo and Coach Norcross I am excited about the program that they and the staff are building.  I have decided to attend the University of Las Vegas for my final season.  Excited for the journey ahead!”

Bradley had been granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA earlier this offseason.

Bradley was a four-star member of the USC football Class of 2015.  The Anaheim, Calf., product was rated as the No. 33 tackle in the country.  He was also the No. 42 player regardless of position in the Golden State.

In five seasons with the Trojans, Bradley appeared in 17 games.  The lineman started three of those contests.  All three of the starts, and 14 of the appearances, came during the 2016 season.  Bradley didn’t see the field at all this past season for USC football.

In December, UNLV turned to Marcus Arroyo as its next head football coach.  The Oregon offensive coordinator replaced the dismissed Tony Sanchez.

Clemson announces football players can return to voluntary on-campus activities June 8

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Thanks to Clemson football, another return domino has fallen.

Last week, the NCAA announced that it would allow schools to bring its student-athletes back to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1.  The SEC subsequently confirmed its players would be returning June 8.  Both Ohio State and Illinois from the Big Ten will be doing the same on the same date.

Monday afternoon, Clemson announced that some student-athletes, including football players, will be permitted to return to campus for voluntary activities starting June 8.  Clemson is the second ACC school to announce such a return, with Louisville being the first.

As will be the case with the Cardinals, the Tigers are doing a phased approach to the return.  From the school’s release:

Clemson Athletics has planned a three-phase approach to return, with oversight from the University, as well as guidance from local and national health officials and best practices. The first phase is expected to commence in conjunction with Clemson University’s previously-announced Phase I target date.

All phases include guidelines for social distancing, face coverings, enhanced sanitization, limited groups, modified use of space and other safety measures. In addition to the overarching plan, the department has worked at a granular level with coaching and support staffs, looking at each facility and developing guidelines for those individual spaces. The plans are subject to change based on guidance from the CDC, DHEC, State of South Carolina, Clemson University, the NCAA or the ACC or new medical information and research.

Phase I includes just those staff members directly responsible for the health and well-being of student-athletes, as well as those preparing facilities for Phase II. Sport coaches are expected to work remotely for Phase I, which will last no fewer than 14 days. Coaches may begin activity within facilities in limited numbers and employing recommended protocols with objective-based duties no sooner than Phase II.

Phase II and Phase III each further integrate staffs and student-athletes, and make adjustments to capacities and group settings, as well as facility access. Clemson will continue to evaluate policies and procedures on spacing, contact tracing, testing, and other safety measures as more is known from the CDC, DHEC, ACC, NCAA or other medical research or guidance. Details regarding fall competition are not available at this time.

“We are encouraged to begin the first step in the implementation of our Phase I planning, and appreciate the leadership of our University in helping us prepare for our student-athletes and staff to return in early June,” said athletic director Dan Radakovich in a statement. “We are confident in our ability to provide a safe environment and have put our energy into that goal. We’re encouraged by the progress and remain vigilant as we begin to welcome a limited number of student-athletes back to our facilities.”