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.
A self-created hole has suddenly, but not unexpectedly, opened up on Willie Taggart‘s Florida State coaching staff.
In a statement sent out by the university, Taggart announced that he has decided to part ways with one of his assistants, Greg Frey. Frey, who was a member of FSU’s 1993 national championship team, spent this past season, his first, as the Seminoles’ offensive line coach while also holding the title of run-game coordinator.
Below is the head coach’s statement, in its entirety:
This morning I informed Greg Frey that we are moving in a different direction with our offensive line coaching position. I appreciate the hard work and expertise Greg brought to our program and understand how important it was for him that FSU be successful. I wish Greg and his family the best as he continues his coaching career. We are working to fill this position quickly.
This past season, FSU’s line surrendered 36 sacks, a total that was 12th in the ACC and tied for 16th-worst nationally. Even worse, the Seminoles’ 2.8 yards per rushing attempt was 129th out of 130 teams at the FBS level.
Frey came to Tallahassee after spending one season as the run-game coordinator/offensive tackles coach/tight ends coach at Michigan. Prior to that, he was the line coach at Indiana for six seasons.
Those of you who had Penn State in the “Next Power Five Program to Lose an Assistant to the NFL” pool, collect your winnings.
While nothing is official from his new employer, 247Sports.com has reported Friday morning that Penn State assistant Phil Galiano is leaving James Franklin‘s coaching staff to pursue an opportunity in the NFL. The specific NFL club for which Galiano is leaving wasn’t divulged.
Penn State subsequently confirmed Galiano’s departure from the program.
“We are excited for Phil and his family. This is a tremendous opportunity for Phil to return to the NFL,” the statement from the school read. “We are very appreciative of Phil and everything he has done for our program over the last two years. We wish him nothing but success moving forward.”
Galiano has been with the Nittany Lions for two seasons, first as a defensive consultant in 2017 and then as special teams coordinator and assistant defensive line coach this past year. Prior to that, he was the special teams coordinator at both Miami (2016) and Rutgers (2015).
From 2012-13, Galiano was an assistant special teams coach on Greg Schiano‘s Tampa Bay Buccaneers staff.
Galiano would be the second change to Franklin’s staff this offseason. Wide receivers coach David Corley was dismissed in early January and replaced a couple of weeks later by Gerad Parker.
The next step in Maurice Washington‘s legal odyssey has been taken.
Thursday, the Omaha World-Herald reported, a Santa Clara County (Calif.) judge signed a warrant filed earlier in the week that seeks the arrest of the Nebraska running back for alleged violation of that state’s revenge-porn law. It’s alleged that Washington sent a sexually-explicit 10-second video, recorded two years prior by someone other than Washington, involving a then-15-year-old female and two other boys, neither of whom was Washington, to that same female in early March of 2016. The female has claimed she is being sexually assaulted in the video, which shows the teenager performing oral sex on one boy while another masturbates.
Washington has already been charged with a felony count of possessing a video or photograph of a person under 18 who is engaging in or simulating sexual conduct and a misdemeanor count of posting a video or photograph of a person engaging in or simulating sexual conduct without consent, leading to the person suffering emotional distress. Washington had dated the alleged victim prior to the video being recorded.
With the arrest warrant signed, Washington is now expected to turn himself in to California authorities at some point in the not-too-distant future.
From the World-Herald:
Washington’s attorney, John Ball, released a statement Thursday saying Washington will “continue to move forward with a self-surrender” and will voluntarily appear in court in California. Ball said a time frame for that first court appearance is still to be determined.
“We expected this, and were prepared for it,” Ball said. “… Mr. Washington will remain fully cooperative in this matter.
While the university and the NU football program were aware that authorities in California as well as the Nebraska Attorney General’s Office were actively seeking to speak to Washington, and were made aware of some type of situation involving the player in mid-September of last year, they have steadfastly maintained that they were not privy to the details of the situation until Feb. 8 of this year.
After some academic uncertainty throughout the offseason, Washington was cleared to join the Cornhuskers football team in early August of last year. As a true freshman, and despite the off-field cloud hanging over him from the start of the season, Washington rushed for 455 yards and three touchdowns, numbers that were both good for third on the team. His 24 receptions were also third-best, while his 221 receiving yards were fourth.
So much for that bit of uncertainty.
Earlier this week, Coastal Carolina defensive end Jeffrey Gunter tweeted that he had decided to continue his collegiate playing career at Syracuse. A bit of consternation ensued in Orange Nation, however, as the lineman deleted not only the tweet announcing his move to the ACC school but his Twitter account as well.
Fears were allayed Thursday, though, as Syracuse confirmed Gunter’s addition to Dino Babers‘ roster.
Gunter will be forced to sit out the 2019 season in order to satisfy NCAA transfer rules. He’d then have two years of eligibility he could use beginning with the 2020 season.
After totaling 14 tackles for loss and five sacks this past season, Gunter was named first-team All-Sun Belt Conference. In addition to Syracuse, Gunter had also considered NC State, North Carolina and Oregon.