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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.

Arizona State confirms Boise State’s Zak Hill as new OC

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At the end of the regular season, Herm Edwards fired the bulk of Arizona State’s offensive staff. Nearly two weeks later, the reshaping of the assistants on that side of the ball has commenced in earnest.

Following up on speculation that had been growing in recent days, ASU on Saturday announced that Zak Hill has been hired as Edwards’ new offensive coordinator. Hill will replace Rob Likens, who was a part of the post-regular-season purge.

“Zak is very well versed in offensive football,” the head coach said in a statement. “He comes from winning programs and he played the quarterback position. I like that. He’s good at building an offense around the personnel that he has available to him. He will force the defense to adjust with multiple formations and personnel groups. His style fits the DNA of what we want on our coaching staff. He’s an excellent teacher.”

The past four seasons, Hill served as the coordinator at Boise State. Prior to that, and aside from a one-month stop at Hawaii, Hill spent seven seasons as the passing-game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at FCS power Eastern Washington.

“I am really excited about this opportunity and I truly believe it is a great situation for me at ASU,” Hill said. “I appreciate Coach Edwards believing in me and having the trust to bring me on and I am thankful to Ray Anderson and the Sun Devil administration for their support in making this happen. I am really excited to get down there and I know we have some exciting weapons on offense. I look forward to putting together an explosive, fun offense that our fans will love to watch.”

“I am humbled at this opportunity. I also want to thank everyone at Boise State for a great four years and I am grateful for all the support I have received from Bronco Nation,” he added. “I would especially like to thank Coach Harsin for his leadership and my years at Boise State and the opportunity he afforded me to grow as a coach.”

In addition to Hill’s, uhhh, addition, ASU also confirmed Derek Hagan and Prentice Gill as offensive assistants. Their specific titles and responsibilities were not detailed.

Hagan, who played wide receiver for the Sun Devils and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2015, was an offensive analyst at ASU this past season. Gill served in the same role at Oregon.

Dabo Swinney lays out new responsibilities for offensive staff

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Jeff Scott spent a dozen years at Clemson, including the last five seasons as co-offensive coordinator, before taking the head job at USF earlier this month. Despite his importance to Dabo Swinney‘s success, there won’t be too much change for the defending national champions moving forward.

Friday, Swinney confirmed that he will not be filling Scott’s co-coordinator position and will instead allow Tony Elliott to serve as the sole coordinator. Elliott and Scott have shared coordinating responsibilities each of the past five seasons.

Quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter will maintain his current responsibilities as well as add the title of passing-game coordinator.

Additionally, Tyler Grisham, who played for the Tigers from 2005-08, has been promoted to wide receivers coach, a responsibility previously held by Scott. Grisham had been serving as an offensive analyst for the program.

“We have a good plan for all that stuff and have a great group of people here,” the head coach said. “We’re excited about getting it all settled out.”

Swinney also reiterated that, as had previously been laid out, Scott will return to the team next Thursday and will remain through however long the Tigers’ postseason run lasts. Clemson will face Ohio State Dec. 28 in one of the two College Football Playoff semifinals.

Ohio State’s Justin Fields the way-too-early 2020 Heisman favorite

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You say the tears aren’t even dry yet from Joe Burrow‘s acceptance speech and we’re already looking ahead to 2020?  You’re damn right we are.

Saturday night, Burrow claimed the 2019 Heisman Trophy in record-smashing fashion, with the quarterback becoming just the second LSU Tiger to claim the most prestigious trophy in the sport.  Quarterback Justin Fields finished third in the voting, one of three Ohio State Buckeyes to land in the top six in the voting.

Speaking of Fields, one online sportsbook has the sophomore listed as a 5/2 favorite to win the 2020 Heisman Trophy.  Fellow sophomore Trevor Lawrence of Clemson is right behind him at 3/1.

The next closest is Alabama quarterback Mac Jones at 7/1.

A handful of the players who finished in the Top 10 in the voting — Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, Ohio State running back JK Dobbins, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa — have eligibility remaining, but are expected to leave early for the NFL draft.  If any of them opt to remain in school, that would obviously change the odds moving forward.

USC transfer QB Jack Sears appears headed to San Diego State

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Jack Sears may have left USC, but it doesn’t appear he’ll end up leaving the state of California.

After finding himself fourth on the quarterbacking depth chart, Sears announced on his personal Twitter account in late August that he had decided to enter the NCAA transfer database.  A little over three months later, and after a flirtation with Oregon State, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that “Sears has committed to San Diego State as a graduate transfer who would enroll during the spring semester.”

As a graduate transfer, Sears would be eligible to play for the Aztecs in 2020.  He would also have another season of eligibility he could use in 2021 as well.

As of yet, the Mountain West Conference school hasn’t confirmed Sears’ intentions.

Sears was a four-star member of the Trojans’ 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 4 pro-style quarterback in the country.  After redshirting as a true freshman, Sears completed 20-of-28 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown the following season.