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Will Grier, David Sills V team up to help No. 12 West Virginia throttle Kansas State

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The West Virginia offense began the day a little rusty with two turnovers following a week off after a cancelled game. Safe to say that slow start was but a minor speed bump on their way to a win Saturday afternoon in Morgantown.

The No. 12 Mountaineers did just about whatever they wanted offensively to throttle Kansas State 35-6 in both teams’ Big 12 opener, showcasing the arm of Heisman candidate Will Grier and proving that Dana Holgorsen’s squad remains a dangerous threat for Oklahoma and others in the league in the process.

Grier shook off an interception just six plays into the game to throw for 356 yards and five touchdowns before the final whistle (he tossed two late picks as well when the score was well in hand). Wideout Marcus Simms had the most impressive of those five scores off an 82-yard catch-and-run in the first quarter but it was the signal-caller’s favorite target in David Sillswho was the most productive with 73 yards and three touchdowns.

If there was one area that wasn’t rolling on offense for the Mountaineers, it might have been the rushing attack. Kennedy McKoy needed only eight carries to record 57 yards but the team took until late in the fourth quarter to crack the century mark against KSU. It didn’t matter at all in the end but if there’s one area where Holgorsen and his staff will nitpick watching film on Sunday it might be the over-reliance on big passing plays and not getting consistent yardage on the ground.

Even so, that kind of productivity made the Wildcats jealous. Quarterback Skylar Thompson was a solid 11-of-17 passing for 145 yards but the offense never could find any sort of consistency despite a few short fields. Backup Alex Delton was inserted in the second half to provide a bit of a spark but failed to (59 total yards) and the team mustered only two field goal drives all game. Alex Barnes was also held in check with just 49 yards rushing.

The end result drops K-State to a disappointing 2-2 to open the season and gets Big 12 play off in a suboptimal way for Bill Snyder after an offseason spent lurking as a dark horse. The team everybody thought the Wildcats will be does not appear to be showing up between the lines so far in 2018 and a tough test awaits next Saturday against Texas to make matters worse.

As for the Mountaineers, they may find themselves in the top 10 by next week after moving to 3-0 and remain a quality team that will be in the thick of the Big 12 race this fall. They’ll hit the road to face Texas Tech next week but a 7-0 start to this year’s campaign seems increasingly likely if they keep playing like they did against Kansas State.

Florida, USF tweak future series to move game at Raymond James Stadium up to 2021

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While we came awfully close to seeing Florida play an in-state squad from the AAC (ahem, UCF) this postseason, we’re guaranteed just such a matchup down the road when the Gators hook up with USF for a previously scheduled three-game series. While that 2-for-1 was put on the books back in May, it was just announced by the schools that they’re making a change already.

According to a release, the single game that USF is responsible for at Raymond James Stadium has been shifted up to 2021 instead of the 2023 date originally agreed upon. The pair of games at the Swamp in Gainesville will remain on the docket for 2022 and 2025 so this is just a slight tweak to the series.

The moves help the Gators fill out their (more near-term) future schedules a bit more as they have just a single opening in 2021 after the Bulls adjusted their end of the series. In-state foes USF and Florida State are, however, all that’s on the docket for Florida starting in 2022 and beyond so AD Scott Strickland has some work to do over the coming months and years on that front.

The flip side is that USF has quite the slate of difficult opponents in 2021, with the home-game in Tampa against Florida sandwiched between trips to BYU and N.C. State in the same season. The team does have one more non-conference opening that year, which you would assume would wind up being a lower-level school at home.

NDSU promotes Matt Entz to replace new Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman

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North Dakota State is sticking with what works. Namely, that includes promoting from within.

The program announced on Thursday that defensive coordinator Matt Entz will indeed become the Bison’s next head coach in the coming weeks, taking over the job from new Kansas State head coach Chris Klieman after he was hired by the Big 12 school earlier this week.

“Having watched Matt as the defensive coordinator for the past five years, I knew he possessed the qualities to be the head football coach at North Dakota State: leadership, integrity, toughness, and a sincere appreciation for the history and tradition of Bison football,” ,” AD Matt Larsen said. “I’m eager to work with Coach Entz and his staff as they continue building upon the championship tradition of Bison football.”

This will be Entz’ first head coaching gig and comes after serving the past five years as NDSU’s defensive coordinator and linebackers coach. Prior to joining Klieman’s staff, he found plenty of success as a DC at previous stops with FCS Western Illinois and Northern Iowa.

“Great things happen to great people, and I am so happy for the Entz family,” Klieman added. “Matt is the right guy for the job. I know the Bison will have unbelievable success. The program is in great hands.”

Both Klieman and Entz will remain in their current roles with NDSU until the conclusion of their FCS playoff run before moving on to their new gigs. The former had been promoted once Craig Bohl left for Wyoming a few years ago and that’s worked out just fine for the Bison so it appears the school has no qualms at going back to the well and doing the same thing with the latter. Entz certainly understands expectations around the ol’ Fargo Dome going forward, which includes this weekend’s upcoming semifinal game against South Dakota State.

Texas Tech regents approve $20 million football facility renovation, may expand alcohol sales at stadium too

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Seemingly like clockwork, when a Power Five school hires a new head coach they typically will wind up improving facilities in some fashion shortly thereafter. Consider that the case at Texas Tech following the ouster of Kliff Kingsbury and the recent hire of Matt Wells to lead the football program.

The school’s board of regents met on Thursday down in Lubbock and among the agenda items was approving a $20 million renovation to the team’s football facilities. As is nearly always the case in the state, the project was naturally approved and will move forward, per the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, as soon as Wells is able to sign off on any changes he wants to the plans:

That wasn’t the only football-related move on the agenda for the Red Raiders however, as athletic director Kirby Hocutt put in his pitch to open up beer and wine sales at Jones AT&T Stadium as soon as the upcoming season.

As noted above, there are numerous Big 12 schools who have opened the taps in general seating areas over the years. Oklahoma State was the most recent to do so in 2018 but it’s been brought back at Texas and West Virginia, among others, to great success (i.e. $$$) the past few years.

Holy Cross AD reportedly set to take same position at Air Force after lengthy search

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Air Force appears to finally have their man to lead the Falcons’ athletic department.

Some eight months after former AD Jim Knowlton departed for California, it appears the program is on the verge of plucking Holy Cross AD Nathan Pine to fill the same position in Colorado Springs. The Worcester Telegram & Gazette first reported the news.

Col. Jennifer Block has served as interim athletic director in the wake of Knowlton’s departure but it’s clear that the Air Force has always wanted to keep a civilian in the top post long term. To that end, this will be the first time the Falcons’ AD will be hired and paid under the umbrella athletics corporation at the school, per the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Pine has a lengthy background out West despite spending the past five years leading the Crusaders. An Oregon State alum, he has worked for the Beavers and fellow Pac-12 program California as well. In addition, he’s made stops at Maryland and, funny enough, academy rival Army too.