The Swamp was rocking, Tim Tebow was being honored, the national championship trophy was in the building and Florida football, at least on Saturday afternoon, was great again. The No. 22 Gators used a stifling defense and a few late offensive drives to deliver a 27-19 knockout blow to No. 5 LSU and give Dan Mullen his biggest win at the school as head coach.
Defense was the name of the game though as expected whenever these two programs square off. UF linebacker Vosean Joseph was making plays from sideline-to-sideline with 14 tackles (3.5 TFL) plus a pair of sacks. Defensive end Jachai Polite was also quite active as his group held LSU to just 4-of-15 on third down and saw Brad Stewart record a pick-six that all but sealed the deal with under two minutes to go.
On the other side of the ball, every yard was earned on the ground against that stout Tigers front. Tailbacks Lamical Perine (two touchdowns) and Jordan Scarlett combined for 150 yards and picked up numerous first downs between the tackles. Their efforts took some of the pressure off quarterback Feleipe Franks, who flashed some nice touch on key throws down the field on his way to a solid 161 yard, one touchdown (one interception) day. Perhaps his biggest asset was his athleticism though, rushing for 42 yards and catching a 15 yard pass on a trick play that setup a second half touchdown.
Even with that kind of performance and a huge win on the scoreboard though, the day belonged to another quarterback in blue as the school inducted Tebow into the Swamp’s Ring of Honor and honored the national title team from a decade ago that included a 51-21 win over LSU back in the day. As you could expect, the famous signal-caller-turned-broadcaster, gave a rousing speech to the crowd and seemed to spark a nice jump in energy for his team heading into the second quarter.
Nick Brossette led the way for the visitors with 95 yards and two touchdowns rushing but it was another one of those ugly-looking offensive performances for the Tigers that did enough to keep the game close but ultimately proved to be their undoing. Quarterback Joe Burrow picked a bad time to throw his first ever interception (it was returned for a touchdown) and he was sacked five times in the game and tossed another pick to seal the loss. He did make a few clutch throws to extend drives and managed 191 yards through the air but it just wasn’t enough as his team took a loss for the first time this season.
That result will not only knock the team out of the top five in the polls but also puts them a tick further behind Alabama in the SEC West race. With Florida’s loss to Kentucky not looking quite as bad in retrospect, perhaps it’s the Gators, after a special day in the Swamp, who are now back on the right course and a threat to be taken quite seriously heading into that game against Georgia in a few weeks.
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.
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.
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.
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.