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After rusty start, No. 12 West Virginia gets going to take halftime lead against Kansas State

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No. 12 West Virginia didn’t play last week after Hurricane Florence cancelled their game against N.C. State so it’s understandable that the team was a little rusty to start their game against Kansas State. Head coach Dana Holgorsen probably didn’t like that they were extra rusty to kick things off but he’ll take the 21-0 halftime lead into the break either way to open Big 12 conference play in Morgantown.

Wildcats defensive back A.J. Parker came up with an interception six plays into the game and Bill Snyder’s squad added a fumble recovery on the ensuing drive to start the game off with a bang but the team was lackluster at best on the other side of the ball in failing to capitalize on the two initial turnovers. K-State finished the first half with only 77 yards and, while quarterback Skylar Thompson was efficient in throwing for 57 yards, his team couldn’t move the ball a lick on the ground — averaging under two yards per carry and looking anemic every time they handed the ball off.

Though the scoreboard didn’t quite indicate it, West Virginia moved the ball with much more ease and bounced back quickly from those two early turnovers. They racked up 320 yards through two quarters and were 5-of-7 on third down overall. Heisman candidate Will Grier looked particularly impressive in going 19-of-25 for 258 yards and a trio of scores after that interception. The first time he found the end zone was mostly the result of Marcus Simms weaving his way 82 yards on a catch and run, while David Sillshauled in the next two touchdowns in a bit of pitch-and-catch at the goal line between friends.

Needless to say, this has been a complete mismatch so far. The Wildcats are lucky to not be losing by a lot more the way they’re playing on both sides of the ball. The Mountaineers seem to have shaken off the early rust and could be in store for an even bigger second half if they can avoid those turnovers.

Braden White named prestigious 12th Man at Texas A&M

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The 12th Man is a big, big deal at Texas A&M. In fact, it’s pretty much the brand of not just the football program, but the entire athletics department. Case in point, A&M’s athletics department website is 12thman.com.

For the uninitiated, in 1922 the Aggies found themselves short of players in a football game against Center College, the No. 1 team in the country at the time, after multiple players sustained injuries over the course of the game. Down to just 11 players, A&M student E. King Gill volunteered to suit up and stand on the sidelines in case the team needed him. Gill now has a statue outside of Kyle Field, and A&M’s student section is collectively referred to as the 12th Man.

As such, it’s a tremendous honor for an active Aggie player to be awarded the No. 12 and, after fullback Cullen Gillaspia donned the jersey for a record-tying 39 games, it’s time to hand it off to a new player.

On Tuesday, Jimbo Fisher awarded the No. 12 jersey to Braden White, a walk-on linebacker from Florence, Ala.

“I’m honored just to be able to represent this great university and everything about it,” White said. “It’s a true blessing.”

White is a redshirt junior who has checked all the boxes of a player who checks all the 12th Man boxes. He was named Defensive Scout Team MVP during his redshirt year of 2016 and was honored as the Top Conditioned Athlete at the Aggies’ 2018 team banquet. He has appeared in 18 career games, recording 16 career tackles playing primarily as a special teams contributor.

White will wear No. 12 for the first time next when Texas A&M — ranked, ironically, No. 12 in the preseason AP poll — hosts Texas State next Thursday night (8:30 p.m. ET, SEC Network).

UConn begins building out independent schedules with BC home-and-home

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Until they tell us otherwise, Connecticut is going to try to make it as an FBS independent. This upcoming season will be the Huskies’ final one as a member of the American Athletic Conference, as the Huskies’ Olympic sports will return to the Big East and the football team will go it alone.

This will require lots (and lots and lots) of scheduling work, and quickly. As of now, the Huskies have four games on the schedule for a season that begins 12 months from now.

While it does nothing to help the 2020 slate, UConn began chipping away at the mountain in front of it on Wednesday by announcing a home-and-home with Boston College. The first game will be Oct. 29, 2022 in Storrs, with the return game going down Oct. 28, 2023 in Chestnut Hill.

The two programs have met 14 times previously; BC leads the series 12-0-2. The Eagles took the most recent meeting 39-16 in 2017.

Additionally, BC announced a 2023-28 home-and-home with Army and a Sept. 9, 2023 home game with Holy Cross.

Safety graduate transfers from Penn State to Pitt

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Penn State safety Johnny Petrishen has left State College for Pittsburgh, where he is now a Panther.

Petrishen announced the transfer on Tuesday evening, and Pitt confirmed his addition on Wednesday morning.

Petrishen has two years of eligibility remaining thanks — if you want to use that term — to two medical redshirts.

A Lower Burrell, Pa., native, Petrishen appeared in 17 career games as a Nittany Lion, including all 13 last season. Primarily a special teams player, he posted eight career tackles and one TFL in State College.

NC State transfer Tim Kidd-Glass tweets move to Liberty

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Hugh Freeze may be dealing with what was a significant health issue, but he’s still working his first-year roster at Liberty.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday evening, Tim Kidd-Glass announced that he “would like to thank God for allowing me to have another opportunity to further my football career… at Liberty University.” The announcement comes a couple of weeks after the safety triggered a move from North Carolina State by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database.

As a graduate transfer, Kidd-Glass will be eligible to play for the Flames in 2019.

The past three seasons, the Virginia native played in 33 games for the Wolfpack.  He started nine of those contests, all of which came during the 2017 season.