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No. 16 TCU fries SMU to retain ownership of Iron Skillet

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Although things may not have started off well for No. 16 TCU (2-0) after a weather delay pushed back the start of Friday night’s game by about 50 minutes, the Horned Frogs got everything in gear in the second half to defeat rival SMU (0-2) by a score of 42-12. KaVontae Turpin had a punt return for a touchdown and a 42-yard touchdown catch to help light the spark for TCU and help slam the door shut on the Mustangs. This is the seventh year in a row TCU has won the rivalry game as they continue to maintain possession of the Iron Skillet.

TCU’s defense shut down opportunities for SMU in the second half. Two plays after TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson (15/28, 146 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 67 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD) threw an interception on the opening drive of the second half, Ben Banogu forced a fumble by SMU quarterback Ben Hicks (18/38, 111 yards) and Alec Dunham returned the loose ball 25 yards for a touchdown. Down 21-12, SMU never had a drive longer than 13 yards the rest of the night until their next-to-last possession. By then, TCU had a 30-point lead.

Robinson rushed 18 yards for a touchdown to extend the TCU lead to 28-12 in the third quarter and his 42-yard pass to Turpin in the fourth quarter made any threat of an upset vanish as Gary Patterson soon started feeling comfortable getting some of his starters on the sideline for the remainder of the game. Michael Collins took advantage of that opportunity by running 10 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown.

TCU will now get one extra day of rest to begin focusing on their next game. TCU will meet Big Ten favorite Ohio State in Arlington, Texas in Week 3. The Buckeyes lead the all-time series 4-1-1, but the two programs have not met on the field since 1973. TCU will not be able to afford a slow start against Ohio State next week, because Ohio State will be far more likely to put points on the scoreboard whereas SMU jumped out to a 9-0 lead and never found an offensive rhythm after that.

SMU limps out to a 0-2 start with losses to TCU and North Texas, and neither has been particularly pretty. SMU will find it difficult to pick up the first win under head coach Sonny Dykes. Next week, the Mustangs head into Big Ten territory to play Ohio State’s rivals, the Michigan Wolverines. Michigan dropped their season opener at Notre Dame in Week 1, but Jim Harbaugh has a good chance to get his Wolverines into a comfort zone the next two weekends. SMU will host AAC opponent Navy the following week and may be looking to find its first win of the season at the end of September with a home game against Houston Baptist on Sept. 29.

LSU students will go to class on Saturday to make up for national title game

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LSU students who got to skip class for the national title game (and the ensuing celebrations…) were hit with a dose of reality returning to Baton Rouge on Friday.

According to an announcement from the university, classes that were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday for the championship game have been rescheduled. As a result, students will have to go to class on Saturday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Feb. 8.

So yes, Saturdays in the fall have resulted in a few Saturdays of work in the spring.

The school had received a bit of criticism when it was announced that classes were cancelled on the dates surrounding the championship game. While the practice has happened elsewhere, the nature of the game being less than an hour from campus in New Orleans certainly made things unique for the Tigers and their large fan base.

While some students no doubt had hoped that the classes at the time were indeed cancelled, it turns out they were in fact just being rescheduled. Going to school on a Saturday probably isn’t what many had in mind when signing up for the spring semester but there’s probably not a soul in purple and gold will take issue with the change given that it comes as a result of hoisting the ultimate football trophy on Monday night in the Big Easy.

Virginia safety Chris Moore enters transfer portal

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The transfer portal has claimed another name.

As first noted by ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Virginia safety Chris Moore has entered his name into the database as he explores a move out of Charlottesville.

Moore started five of his nine appearances for the Cavaliers in 2019 and wound up recording 42 tackles. While he was in line to become one of the key members in the secondary going forward, a prior  suspension for violating team rules back in November may have wound up playing a role in his departure and standing with the team.

The safety had previously missed all of the 2018 season with an injury as well.

Moore was originally a three-star recruit out of Ashburn, Va. in 2016 and, assuming the redshirt senior has a degree, likely has a season remaining as a grad transfer.

DL Jay Tufele, WR Tyler Vaughns skipping draft to stay at USC

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Clay Helton has a lot of issues to deal with at the moment. Having a talented USC football team is not one of them.

The Trojans received a rare bit of good news on Thursday evening as two key players announced they were skipping the 2020 NFL Draft. In back-to-back announcements, defensive lineman Jay Tufele and wideout Tyler Vaughns confirmed they would remain in Los Angeles for the 2020 season.

Tufele is one of USC’s best defensive players. He recorded 42 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season as a redshirt sophomore despite dealing with a handful of injuries. With leading sacker Drake Jackson also back, there’s a nice tandem up front for whoever the team hires as defensive coordinator to work with going forward.

Vaughns returning also makes a dangerous receiving corps that much deeper. Michael Pittman Jr. was lost to graduation but the next three top wideouts are set to be back in 2020. Add in a group of solid tailbacks and both J.T. Daniels and Kedon Slovis at QB and USC will once again have one of the top offenses in the Pac-12.

Whether it will all help save Helton’s job again remains to be seen. If nothing else though, there’s at least there’s some positive news for the cardinal and gold this offseason with Tufele and Vaughns back in the fold going forward.

Nebraska and OC Troy Walters “mutually agreed to part ways”

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A year after significantly falling short of expectations, an offseason of change has commenced at Nebraska.

In one of the first big moves since Scott Frost took over at his alma mater, the Cornhuskers and offensive coordinator Troy Walters announced on Friday that they had ‘mutually agreed to part ways.’

“Troy has been a valued member of our coaching staff for the past four years,” Frost said in a statement. “Troy is a good mentor for his players, provides great energy on and off the field, and carries himself with a presence off the field that will be missed. I want to thank him for his work on our coaching staff, and wish him and his family all the best going forward.”

The duo first came together when Frost was hired at UCF and led a number of prolific offenses, including the undefeated 2017 team for the Knights. Walters was a finalist for the Broyles Award that same season though has not called plays for either team.

Walters had a distinguished career as a player at Stanford that included All-American honors and a Biletnikoff Award in 1999. He spent several years in the NFL before going into coaching during stops at Texas A&M, N.C. State and Colorado.

The departure of Walters could interestingly lead to a reunion between Frost and a familiar name in Mark Helfrich. The latter was head coach at Oregon when Frost was elevated to offensive coordinator for the Ducks and is in search of a job after being let go by the Chicago Bears from a similar role.