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N’Kosi Perry starts at QB but No. 16 Miami rides the Turnover Chain to victory over UNC

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It was going to be hard to upstage the debut of N’Kosi Perry as the new starting quarterback for No. 16 Miami but if anything could do it, it had to be the Turnover Chain. College football’s most famous sideline trinket made six appearances — and even found the end zone three times — as the Hurricanes controlled the game throughout their ACC opener in an eventual 47-10 thrashing of North Carolina on Thursday night at Hard Rock Stadium.

Perry, who took over under center from senior Malik Rosier last week, had a solid first half before trailing off a bit as the game wore on against the Tar Heels. The redshirt freshman finished the night with 125 yards passing in limited action with a touchdown and an interception, along with 26 yards on the ground. The electric playmaker also fumbled while trying to avoid a sack but generally picked up where he left off in helping the team move the chains without top receiver Ahmmon Richards for the third straight week.

Just the threat of Perry taking off with the ball and running seemed to open a few things up on the ground too as DeeJay Dallas recorded 114 yards rushing and a touchdown, while Travis Homer added another 88 yards of his own.

The story of the night for Mark Richt, outside of the QB position, was the Canes defense though. While it was a little concerning to see them give up 182 yards rushing, the team responded by breaking out the Turnover Chain six times to raucous applause from the relatively strong mid-week crowd at home. All told, Miami scored the most points (33) in the first half of a conference game in over a decade and their defense alone outscored the Tar Heels with 21 points of their own (tying a school record).

Defensive end Jonathan Garvin kicked things off with a scoop-and-score off a fumble in the first quarter and he donned the Turnover Chain again in the second half with another fumble recovery. Fellow end Joe Jackson wasn’t one to get left out either as he took a pick-six 42 yards not long after to turn the game into a rout. Romeo Finley’s 83 yard interception return for a touchdown just as the fourth quarter began was a cherry on top of the effort Thursday night.

If there was one negative defensively for Miami it was that star linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, who forced the Garvin fumble that was returned for a score, missed most of the second half with what was reported to be an ankle injury.

As for the Tar Heels, just about everything that could go wrong offensively, did. Nathan Elliott got the start at quarterback but threw for only 104 yards and also fumbled. He was replaced by Chazz Surratt under center in the sophomore’s first game back from suspension for selling Air Jordan shoes. It probably would have been better had he actually sat this one out after completing four passes to his own team and three more to the Hurricanes. At least Surratt did find success running the ball with a nice 69 yards rushing and a score in about the only bit of positive film for Larry Fedora to take back to Chapel Hill as his team dropped to 1-3 on the year.

The win, even against a lackluster UNC squad, should give Miami plenty of confidence going into next week’s rivalry game against Florida State. Given Josh Jackson’s injury at Virginia Tech and the rest of the ACC Coastal division looking somewhat shaky, it wouldn’t be surprising at all to see the Canes become the favorite once again to make it to Charlotte and face off against Clemson yet again at the end of the year. The jury is still out on Perry at quarterback long-term but he’s shown enough flashes and will certainly be able to benefit from leaning on one of the most opportunistic defenses in the country.

After pulling out of transfer database, Auburn WR Kolbi Fuqua no longer with Tigers

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Never mind that initial never mind.

In early April, it was reported that Auburn wide receiver Kolbi Fuqua had entered the NCAA transfer database; nearly a month later, that first never mind arose as it was reported that Fuqua had pulled his name from the portal, seemingly signaling a desire to remain with the Tigers. Monday, however, an AU official confirmed that Fuqua is no longer a part of Gus Malzahn’s squad.

247Sports.com‘s Brandon Marcello writes that “Fuqua did not return to the Auburn football program following the conclusion of spring practices, a source close to the team tells Auburn Undercover. The circumstances surrounding his departure are not clear.”

The development comes a little over a week after Auburn added a commitment from Zach Farrar, a wide receiver who began his collegiate career at Oklahoma but heads to The Plains from the junior college level. Farrar comes to the Tigers with two years of eligibility he can begin using immediately this coming season.

A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2018 recruiting class, Fuqua was rated as the No. 28 player at any position in the state of Alabama. Fuqua played in one game this past season, and didn’t catch a pass in that very limited action.

JUCO next step for LSU transfer Dominic Livingston

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When Dominic Livingston announced in mid-February that he would be transferring from LSU, the defensive tackle indicated that the move was being made so as to be closer to his home in Texas because of unspecified family issues.  Monday, Livingston followed through on that plan of attack.

Speaking to 247Sports.com, Livingston confirmed that his collegiate playing career will continue at Kilgore College.  A community college in Kilgore, Texas, Livingston’s new college football home is roughly 200 miles from his hometown of Houston; his old home of Baton Rouge is roughly 270 miles from that same hometown.

Not surprisingly, Kilgore told the same website that he “will play a semester at Kilgore and go from there,” an obvious indication that he expects to be back at the FBS level in 2020.

If that is indeed the case, Kilgore would have three years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2020 season.

A three-star member of the Tigers’ 2018 recruiting class, Livingston was rated as the No. 38 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 74 player at any position in the state of Texas.  As a true freshman, Livingston appeared in exactly one more game than I did.

Illini DE who suffered severe spinal injury speaking, eating and sitting up

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There is some positive news when it comes to a distressing situation that developed over the weekend.

Illinois true junior defensive end Bobby Roundtree sustained what was described as a severe spinal cord injury in a swimming accident Saturday and underwent surgery a day later.  According to the Associated Press, Roundtree is progressing well following the surgery and, while he remains hospitalized, is speaking, eating and sitting up.

Several members of the Illini football program, including Lovie Smith, traveled to Mease Countryside Hospital in Safety Harbor, Fla., to be with the injured player.

“Bobby Roundtree is exactly what you want in a student-athlete,” a statement from the head coach began. “He is a hard worker, dependable, a dedicated student and a leader.

“This is devastating to his teammates, the entire Fighting Illini family and his family and friends. We will give Bobby all the support possible as he battles through his recovery. Please keep Bobby and his family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Roundtree, who played his high school football in Largo, Fla., has started 20 games the past two seasons since coming to the Illini as a three-star member of their 2017 recruiting class.  This past season, the 6-5, 245-pound end led the Illini in tackles for loss with 12.5 and pass breakups, and was second in sacks with 7.5 and quarterback hits with four.

For that, the media named Roundtree honorable mention All-Big Ten for the 2018 season.

Iowa State officially adds Arkansas’ leading receiver

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Matt Campbell has officially added an experienced and productive piece to his Iowa State passing attack.

La'Michael Pettway revealed via Twitter in mid-January that he would be transferring from Arkansas; nearly four months later, he used the same social media vehicle to deliver the message that he would be continuing his collegiate playing career at Iowa State.  Monday, it was confirmed by the football program that the wide receiver has officially enrolled in classes at the university.

As a graduate transfer, Pettway will be eligible to play immediately for the Cyclones in 2019.

“I think the biggest thing he brings is he gives a veteran presence to this receiver group,” the head coach said according to the Des Moines Register. “[T]he opportunity to get a guy that’s done it at a very high level against really high-end competition can just add some veteran-ness to a group where there’s a lot of youth.”

This past season, Pettway led the Razorbacks in receiving yards with 499 and receptions with 30.  His four receiving touchdowns were good for second on the team.

Prior to 2018, Pettway had totaled 102 yards and a touchdown on seven catches.