Take one of the Pac-12’s best rushing attacks, mix in the league’s best receiver on the other sideline and stir after dark to get some wild, offensive-laden craziness in Seattle, right? Uh, not even close.
No. 10 Washington rode their incredible defense and used a handful of big plays from their offensive veterans to secure a bruising 27-20 win on Saturday night and drop the fighting Herm Edwards’ of Arizona State to a slumping .500 on the season.
Huskies QB Jake Browning crossed the 10,000 yard passing plateau for his college career and continued closing in on several school records with an efficient 202 yard game. That included three excellent throws into the end zone for touchdowns, one to Aaron Fuller, another to Ty Jones and the best of the bunch in the fourth quarter to help salt the game away to a tip-toeing Cade Otton.
The signal-caller’s play balanced out another solid (if not quite the usual spectacular) effort from Washington’s one-two punch in the backfield as Myles Gaskin recorded 86 yards on the ground and Salvon Ahmed chipped in with 71 more on limited carries. The team punted just three times all game and probably could have gotten off to a better start had their signature Chris Petersen trick play on the first play of the game — in this case, a double-pass — not been picked off.
The real star of the show might have been the defense though. Linebacker Ben Burr-Kirven looks like a budding All-American and finished with 20 tackles and two forced fumbles while the entire front seven was a load for the Sun Devils to handle. Eno Benjamin had just one long run on his way to 104 yards plus a TD and otherwise had to fight for running room on every carry.
He was still a bright spot for ASU all things considered… namely how rough of an outing it was for QB Manny Wilkins (104 yards passing) and star receiver N'Keal Harry (five catches, 20 yards). The entire group seemingly continued their struggles from last week’s loss against San Diego State and will now need to find some way to regroup with the heart of their Pac-12 slate coming up next month. After grabbing the nation’s attention with a victory over Michigan State, now will really be the time we’ll find out what Edwards can do as a college coach as he tries to rebound from a losing streak for the first time.
The Huskies, meanwhile, can rest easy knowing they didn’t get swept up in the wild nature of the day in college football with so many ranked teams falling to unranked squads. It was by no means a crisp outing for Petersen’s group but it is a precious win nevertheless and does set up a very intriguing game next Saturday night against a ranked BYU squad. At this point late into the night on Saturday, surviving and advancing is nothing to overlook and, thanks mostly to their defense, Washington did just that against Arizona State.
Using holidays to tie into a piece of social media content has been the norm for years around college football and beyond. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is no exception. However, somebody behind the scenes of Florida State’s official recruiting account on Twitter may have benefitted from thinking twice about putting out a graphic to celebrate the holiday in honor of the great civil rights leader.
Basing a piece of art around Florida State’s “Do Something” motto and featuring an image of MLK Jr. could have been executed a bit better than the way it was on Monday. The official Twitter account for Florida State’s recruiting efforts slapped a wide receiver’s glove on the right hand of Martin Luther King Jr. in a way that made it look as though Dr. King was doing a tomahawk chop, the signature gesture for Florida State fans. A quote by Dr. King was printed below the FSU slogan.
the tweet was removed after approximately 45 minutes, but screencaps live forever.
As you might imagine, this tweet was not received particularly well as it began making the rounds on Twitter.
This is one of those ideas that must have sounded like a good idea at some point in the production process but should have been held to the drawing board in the brainstorming phase. How it was given a green light to proceed to the stage where the graphic is designed and then given the approval to be sent to Twitter is a bit mystifying. There is nothing inherently wrong with creating MLK-inspired graphics to share on a football Twitter account, but there are tasteful ways to go about it. This was not exactly one of those better designs. Since the tweet was removed, here’s hoping a lesson was learned not just by the Florida State social media team behind the graphic but others in and beyond the Florida State program paying attention to how it was received and handled.
It is not too often you see one school welcome a transfer player from another program within the same conference, and even more rare to see it within the same division. Tennessee did just that with the addition of Deangelo Gibbs on Monday.
Gibbs, a Georgia native, was officially added to the Tennessee program on Monday, the school announced, after spending the last two years at SEC East counterpart Georgia. Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt noted his knowledge and relationship with Gibbs dates back to recruiting him out of high school when Pruitt was a defensive coordinator at Georgia and later a defensive coordinator at Alabama.
“Deangelo is a guy that I knew, and our staff knew in recruiting when he was coming out of high school,” Pruitt said in a released statement. “He’s a guy that can play on either side of the ball. He’s very tough and has unique ball skills. He’s a very instinctive player, and he has size and speed. We are happy to have him at Tennessee.”
Gibbs played defensive back for Georgia, appearing in 13 games over the last two years. Pruitt noted the ability Gibbs has to play on either side of the football. It is unconfirmed which role Gibbs will have for Tennessee primarily or if utilizing his skills in multiple ways will be the plan.
Gibbs will have to wait until 2020 to get back on the field, however. NCAA transfer rules require Gibbs to sit out the 2019 season before being ruled eligible to play once again in 2020 as he is transferring from one FBS program to another.
New Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen is busy compiling his first football roster with the Cougars. Two new additions to the roster will come from a pair of power conference programs with the additions of safeties Thabo Mwaniki and Jordan Moore.
According to a report from Tulsa World, Mwaniki is heading to Houston after making his decision to leave Oklahoma State last November. After starting the first four games for the Cowboys, Mwaniki was reduced to a backup role in the Cowboys defense.
Moore, who previously played at Texas A&M, announced his decision to transfer to Houston on Sunday night with an image on his Twitter account. The image of Moore in a Houston football uniform included the message “New chapter,” thus noting he was ready to start with a clean slate with the Cougars. Moore announced his decision to transfer from the Aggies just before Christmas.
Moore will be required to sit out the 2019 season and will be eligible to play again beginning in 2020 due to NCAA transfer rules. However, because he only appeared in four games for Texas A&M in 2018, he can preserve a year of eligibility under the NCAA’s redshirt rule. That would make him a redshirt sophomore in 2020.
Mwaniki still has a redshirt option to use as well. Mwaniki appeared in seven games for Oklahoma State last season so he would have to use his redshirt year for the 2019 season, which he would have to sit out anyway due to NCAA transfer rules. Mwaniki will have two years of eligibility to use at Houston.
Despite how the 2018 season ended for Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, there is absolutely no reason to suspect he is in any jeopardy of not being Alabama’s starting quarterback next season when Alabama opens the 2019 season in Atlanta against Duke. But perhaps there is something to be said about sibling rivalry?
After the conclusion of the Polynesian Bowl this weekend, incoming Alabama quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, the younger brother of Tua, joked about the possibility of taking down his older brother for the starting job in Tuscaloosa.
In front of a camera, a teammate from the high school all-star game asked if Taulia was “going to beat your brother out for the spot?” Staring into the camera for a brief moment, Taulia responded “Tune in” with a smile as he walked away from the interview among laughter.
The remark was clearly in good fun and who would expect anything else from a little sibling rivalry like this? You have to love it.
Taulia is a four-star dual-threat quarterback in Alabama’s Class of 2019 and many expect he will be the successor to his brother once Tua Tagovailoa moves on. That could happen as soon as next year with Tua coming up on his junior season. With Jalen Hurts transferring to Oklahoma, it might be possible we see some of the younger Tagovailoa in a backup role in 2019, especially with the new redshirt rule allowing players to appear in four games while still preserving a year of redshirt eligibility.
The jokes are surely fun, but there will be no quarterback competition in Tuscaloosa.