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No. 13 LSU claims another top-10 upset victim, this time No. 2 Georgia

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No. 13 LSU claimed upsets of (at the time) No. 8 Miami and No. 7 Auburn, but neither of those teams are ranked in those spots now and surely the trend would end Saturday, when No. 2 Georgia came to Baton Rouge for the first time since 2008.

But the Tigers were the tougher and more prepared team, shutting down the Bulldogs’ explosive attack for a 36-16 win.

The Tigers opened the scoring with a 33-yard Cole Tracy field goal, and Georgia appeared ready to try for the equalizer on the ensuing drive, but Kirby Smart called a fake field goal on a 4th-and-9 from the LSU 14. The play never had a chance, and the LSU defense held.

LSU (6-1, 3-1 SEC) immediately took advantage, dinking and dunking down the field until Clyde Edwards-Helaire broke free on a 3rd-and-1 for a 47-yard gain to set up a 1st-and-goal. Burrow plunged in on a 1-yard keeper on 4th-and-goal, staking LSU to a 10-0 lead at the 13:34 mark of the second quarter.

After forcing a three-and-out, Burrow hit a wide open Justin Jefferson for a 50-yard gain on LSU’s next play after the touchdown. The drive stalled, but Tracy’s 33-yard boot pushed the lead to 13.

Another Georgia (6-1, 4-1 SEC) three-and-out lead to another long LSU drive, this one a 15-play, 50-yard push set up Tracy for his third boot of the half, a 39-yarder at the 5:09 mark of the first half.

Georgia accepted the ball to open the second half and moved 52 yards in 12 plays, but Fromm was sacked on a 3rd-and-9, setting up a 40-yard Rodrigo Blankenship field goal to get the Bulldogs on the board.

The Bulldogs forced a punt on LSU’s first drive, but another Fromm mistake — this time an interception deep in his own end to Kristian Fulton — gave the Tigers the ball at the Georgia 23, and a fourth Tracy field goal erased Georgia’s progress 12 minutes into the third quarter.

Trailing 19-3, Georgia inserted freshman quarterback Justin Fields, whose presence sparked the first good drive of the day — seven plays, 75 yards and a 10-yard Elijah Holyfield touchdown. Georgia’s 2-point try failed, but the Bulldogs were within 19-9 with seven seconds left in the third quarter.

The teams traded three-and-outs, and LSU put the game away with its running game and a 36-yard pass to Jefferson. Burrow’s second 1-yard scoring run of the day pushed the Tigers up 26-9 with 9:31 remaining, and a fourth Tracy field goal pushed the lead to 20.

The Bulldogs again knifed 75 yards in five plays, scoring on a 27-yard strike from Fromm to Riley Ridley, but LSU answered yet again. On a first down from his own 37, Burrow took off for a career-long 59-yard run to the Georgia 4, and Nick Brossette added the capper one snap later.

Fromm threw all 34 passes for Georgia, hitting 16 of them for 209 yards with a touchdown and two picks. Holyfield and D’Andre Swift combined to rush 19 times for 128 yards and a touchdown.

Burrow, meanwhile, hit 15-of-30 passes for 200 yards while rushing 13 times for 66 yards and two scores. Clyde Edwards-Helaire led all runners with 126 yards on 15 carries, while Brossette added 44 yards and two scores on 10 carries.

Concussions force Baylor’s Bralen Taylor to retire

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Concern over his long-term health has prompted one Baylor football player to step away from the sport.  Permanently.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday, Bralen Taylor announced in a statement that he is “medically retiring from the game I love.” The wide receiver-turned-tight-end-turned-defensive end stated that he has “suffered from a number of concussions while playing” football.  Taylor didn’t specify when and at what level those concussions occurred.

“This is the game that I grew up playing and loving. [T]his game has [given] me everything I have ever asked for and more,” Taylor wrote. “The brain is nothing to mess around with. [W]hile some won’t understand, [God] has already made a plan.”

Taylor was a three-star member of the Baylor football Class of 2018.  He was rated as the No. 90 player regardless of position in the state of Texas.

During his brief time in Waco, Taylor played in six games.  Four of those appearances came this past season.  In that limited action, he was credited with three tackles and one-half of a sack.

Baylor football has gone from 1-11 in Matt Rhule‘s first season with the Bears in 2017 to 11-3 this past season.  The 2019 campaign included a berth in both the Big 12 championship game and the Sugar Bowl.

Unfortunately for BU, Rhule left to take the head job with the NFL’s Carolina Panthers.

USC makes hiring of Virginia’s Vic So’oto official

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The massive renovation of Clay Helton’s USC football coaching staff has taken another official step.

Last week, it was reported that USC was expected to poach Vic So’oto from Virginia.  As Clint Sintim‘s hiring as So’oto’s replacement was announced a few days later, the latter’s move to the Trojans was a mere formality.

Tuesday, USC football confirmed So’oto’s addition to Clay Helton’s staff.  As he did with the ‘Hoos, So’oto will serve as the Trojans’ defensive line coach.

The 32-year-old So’oto was the line coach at Virginia for the past three seasons.  Prior to that, he was a defensive graduate assistant at the ACC program.

So’oto played his college football at BYU, ending his four-year career in 2010.  After his NFL career ended, So’oto began his collegiate coaching career as a football intern at his alma mater.

For those unaware, So’oto is the second cousin of USC football legend Junior Seau.

LSU confirms hiring of Scott Linehan as new passing-game coordinator

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LSU football has officially replaced one of the hottest young coaches in the sport.

Not long after LSU football claimed the 2019 national championship, Joe Brady left to take over as the offensive coordinator for the NFL’s Carolina Panthers. Earlier this month, it was reported that Scott Linehan was expected to be hired as Brady’s successor.

Tuesday, LSU confirmed that Linehan has indeed been named by Ed Orgeron as the Tigers’ new passing-game coordinator. The 56-year-old Linehan has spent the past 17 seasons he’s been a coach at the NFL level.

Linehan was out of coaching this past season.

“Scott brings a wealth of knowledge to our offense,” the LSU football head coach said in a statement. “We wanted to bring in someone who will expand our passing game and with Scott’s experience as an NFL head coach and offensive coordinator we feel this is the best move for our offense. After talking to numerous people with NFL experience and interviewing Scott we knew he was the right fit for the LSU Tigers.”

In 13 of those seasons in the NFL, Linehan served as an offensive coordinator.

  • Dallas Cowboys, 2015-18
  • Detroit Lions, 2009-13
  • Miami Dolphins, 2005
  • Minnesota Vikings, 2002-04

In the other four NFL seasons in which he wasn’t a coordinator, Linehan was the head coach of the St. Louis Rams (2006-08) and passing-game coordinator for the Cowboys (2014).

Linehan’s last job at the collegiate level came as the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Louisville (1999-2001). From 1996-98, he was the coordinator at Washington.

American announces 2020 schedule

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The American Athletic Conference will again play football in 2020, the conference confirmed on Tuesday.

The American revealed its 2020 conference schedule, a 44-game slate that completes the 88 total games AAC teams will play in 2020. As a reminder, UConn is no longer an American member, meaning the conference will have 11 football-playing members for the foreseeable future. All 11 teams will still play an 8-game league schedule, and the conference will still hold a title game.

The 2020 season will also be the conference’s first under the new rights agreement it struck with ESPN in March. As such, at least 40 American home games will be shown on the ESPN family of networks, and at least half of those will be on ABC, ESPN or ESPN2. The conference will play a total of 12 games on Thursday or Friday nights.

“We are excited to announce our 2020 schedule as we enter the next phase of our longstanding relationship with ESPN,” said commissioner Mike Aresco. “With the continued success our schools have had, I have no doubt that we will once again provide our fans, and ESPN, with compelling matchups throughout the season in both conference and nonconference play. We look forward to another outstanding season of American Athletic Conference football.”

The season will begin on Saturday, Aug. 29 when Navy “hosts” Notre Dame at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland. That game will be shown on ESPN with College GameDay in tow as part of the network’s season kick-off effort. While the full schedule can be viewed here, highlights include:

  • North Carolina at UCF, Sept. 4 (Friday)
  • South Florida at Texas, Sept. 5
  • Temple at Miami, Sept. 5
  • Houston at Washington State, Sept. 12
  • Cincinnati at Nebraska, Sept. 26
  • TCU at SMU, Sept. 26
  • Memphis at SMU, Oct. 1 (Thursday)
  • UCF at Memphis, Oct. 16 (Friday)
  • Memphis at Cincinnati, Oct. 31
  • Memphis at Navy, Nov. 14
  • Cincinnati at UCF, Nov. 21
  • UCF at South Florida, Nov. 27 (Friday)

The 2020 American season will conclude with the sixth annual American Championship on Saturday, Dec. 5.