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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.

Suspension stands: LSU’s Devin White to miss first half of Alabama game

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Right or wrong (mostly the latter), LSU will be missing a significant piece of its defense for the first half of its huge Week 9 matchup with Alabama.

In the second half of LSU’s win over Mississippi State this past Saturday, Devin White was ejected after being called for targeting on MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald.  As a result, White, one of the top linebackers in the country, would be in line to miss the first two quarters of next Saturday’s game against the Crimson Tide.

The subsequent outrage over what was, at best, an asinine targeting call — a call that was inexplicably upheld upon further review — led to a GoFundMe page being created to funnel donations toward billboards that would be erected in and around SEC headquarters in Birmingham, Ala.  Those billboards would’ve carried the hashtag #FreeDevinWhite, an attempt to get the conference to bend to public pressure and rescind the half-game suspension.

Additionally, LSU athletic director Joe Alleva very publicly looked to put pressure on the SEC to reverse what was seemingly an irreversible punishment.  In the end, we’re right back where we were three days ago — White will be watching from the sidelines when the LSU-Alabama game kicks off and will continue doing so until the second half kicks off.

“Discussions with the SEC made clear there is no process for appeal,” LSU senior associate athletic director Robert Munson told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “The suspension will stand.”

White currently leads the Tigers in tackles with 76, and is tied for second on the team in tackles for loss with seven.  Additionally, he leads the team with six quarterback hits and two fumble recoveries.  His four pass breakups are tied for second as well, while his four passes defensed are tied for fourth.

Michigan losing four-star 2017 signee James Hudson to transfer

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For the second time in less than a week, Michigan has lost a four-star member of its 2017 recruiting class.

Amidst speculation regarding James Hudson‘s future with the football program, a U-M spokesperson has confirmed that the offensive tackle has decided to transfer from the Wolverines. The move away from Ann Arbor comes a couple of days after Hudson, the No. 2 right tackle, did not enter the win over Michigan State when starter Juwann Bushell-Beatty went out with an injury.

Instead, redshirt freshman Andrew Stueber took over on the right side of the line. After the game, Jim Harbaugh explained that Hudson has been dealing with a dislocated finger sustained the week before and that’s the reason Stueber entered the game.

That turn of events was also the likely trigger for Hudson’s decision to transfer.

A four-star member of the Wolverines’ recruiting class last year, Hudson was rated as the No. 13 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Ohio. Only one other defensive tackle in that class, Aubrey Solomon, was rated higher than Hudson, although he was moved to the other side of the ball this offseason.

After redshirting as a true freshman, Hudson played in three games this season.

In the middle of last week, another four-star 2017 signee, linebacker Drew Singleton, asked for and was granted a release from his U-M scholarship.

‘Mutual agreement’ sees RB Trelon Smith, Arizona State ‘part ways’

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A coach’s decision had kept Trelon Smith on the sidelines for the first half or so of the 2018 season. A player’s decision, in concert with the football program, will now keep the running back sidelined permanently, at least at Arizona State.

Both 247Sports.com and the Arizona Republic have reported that Smith has decided to transfer from the Sun Devils. The former website tweeted that Smith is “no longer a part of the team… [after] a mutual agreement [was reached],” while the latter wrote that “Smith and the ASU football program are parting ways” for unspecified reasons.

Smith did not play the first three games this season because of a coach’s decision/violation of unspecified team rules.

Smith was a three-star 2017 signee who played in nine games as a true freshman, carrying the ball just once for four yards. This season, after climbing out of his head coach’s doghouse, he carried the ball 11 times for 56 yards. Eight of those attempts and 45 of the yards came in his first game back, a loss to Washington Sept. 22.

Because he played in just four games and hasn’t yet used his redshirt, he’ll be able to keep a year of eligibility thanks to the new NCAA rule that has played a significant role in roster attrition this season. Including next season, Smith will have three years of eligibility at his disposal.

Injury issues force Ohio State DE Malik Barrow to medically retire

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Coming off an embarrassing on-field beating over the weekend, Ohio State’s roster depth has taken a bit of a hit as well.

On his personal Twitter account Sunday, Malik Barrow announced that, “due to unfortunate circumstances throughout my football career, I found it was in my best interests to medically retire.” The redshirt sophomore defensive tackle will remain on scholarship, but won’t count against OSU’s 85-man limit.

Barrow tore the ACL in one knee as a senior in high school, then, in the fourth game of the 2017 campaign, tore the ACL in the other knee during his redshirt freshman season with the Buckeyes. His rehab of the second serious knee injury extended on into spring practice this year, and the lineman hasn’t played at all during the 2018 season.

A four-star member of the Buckeyes’ 2016 recruiting class, Barrow was rated as the No. 32 defensive tackle in the country and the No. 42 player at any position in the state of Florida. He played in two games last season before going down with the injury.

According to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Barrow’s departure, along with Nick Bosa withdrawing from school in order to get healthier and prep for the 2019 NFL draft, leaves the Buckeyes with 84 scholarship players.