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Tua Tagovailoa takes shot to the leg as No. 1 Alabama shuts out No. 16 Mississippi State

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Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has only played in one fourth quarter all season long — last week in the team’s 29-0 win against LSU in Baton Rouge. Most of the time that has been by design as his team has had comfortable leads in just about every game they’ve played in.

That was definitely not the case on Saturday afternoon in Tuscaloosa as the Heisman Trophy front-runner took a helmet to the leg late in the third quarter and did not return for the final 15 minutes of a 24-0 win over No. 16 Mississippi State that moved the team one step closer to the College Football Playoff… even if it might have come at a cost.

The CBS broadcast said Tagovailoa’s quad “locked up” after the hit and that understandable from both the impact of a helmet above the knee and the fact that it was a little chilly down in T-Town as well. Nick Saban said after the game that he would be “fine” and was just “beat up” but the scare was enough to draw muffled murmurs throughout the crowd at Bryant Denny Stadium with plenty of worry about how healthy he might be for the Iron Bowl in two weeks.

The signal-caller wound up finishing the game 14-of-21 for 164 yards and a touchdown in a relative uneven performance before the hit that also saw him throw his second interception of the year and get sacked a career-high four times. Needless to say, the offensive line certainly had their issues with pass protection against one of the best front seven groups in the country.

Backup Mac Jones came into the game in the final quarter in relief (Jalen Hurts remains sidelined himself after a small operation a few weeks ago) and threw six passes for -1 yards while nursing that four score lead. Naturally the entrance of the backup QB led to plenty of emphasis on running the ball and Josh Jacobs finished with 97 yards and a score, followed closely by Damien Harris with 53 yards and a touchdown of his own.

Everything is relative playing a team as dominant as Alabama and if you’re Joe Moorhead, you have to be at least happy with the way the MSU defense played in limiting an explosive offense to well below their season averages and making a goal line stand in the final two minutes. Despite it very much being a game for three quarters (or so) though, the Bulldogs did allow three touchdowns after coming into the game with just nine allowed all season.

Offensively, there was not a ton to write home about for the visitors as they converted just one 3rd down conversion all game long. Nick Fitzgerald completed 11-of-1920passes but they went for only 125 yards on a rough outing for the dual-threat quarterback that saw him also take five sacks. Kylin Hill led the way on the ground with 47 yards — most of which came on a 38-yarder that was one of the few standout plays on that side of the ball.

Still, it wasn’t enough to make a dint in the now 10-0 Crimson Tide, who recorded back-to-back shutouts for the first time since 1980. They remain on a collision course with Georgia in the SEC Championship Game down in Atlanta but first two more home games against The Citadel and Auburn. Mississippi State, meanwhile, still have a shot at eight (or more) wins this year with Arkansas and the Egg Bowl upcoming in November.

Autopsy results inconclusive in determining cause of death of Georgia Tech football player

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As the Georgia Tech football community continues to mourn the passing of Brandon Adams, who passed away on Saturday, the search for answers continues. According to a local report in Atlanta, the autopsy of the body of Adams failed to draw any definitive conclusions on what caused the young man’s death.

According to a report from WSB-TV in Atlanta, the results from an autopsy conducted by the Georgia Bureaus of Investigation were inconclusive. As a result, more tests will be conducted as medical examiners attempt to determine what caused the sudden passing of the 21-year old defensive tackle.

Georgia Tech will reportedly move forward by starting up spring football practices as scheduled on Tuesday. It will be the first spring practice under new head coach Geoff Collins.

“Our entire Georgia Tech football family is heartbroken by the news of Brandon’s passing,” Collins said in a released statement on Sunday. “In the short time that I have had the privilege and honor of knowing Brandon, I admired and respected him, first and foremost as a terrific human being, but also as an outstanding teammate and leader. Jennifer and I offer our thoughts, prayers and unconditional support to his parents, Lisa and Reginald, his sister, Rian, and all of his family and friends, especially his brothers in our football program.”

Here’s hoping there is some closure on this unfortunate situation for the sake of those around Adams and the Georgia Tech community.

Ohio State receiver suffers serious knee injury

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The college football season is still months away from getting started, but Ohio State wide receiver Kamryn Babb is already questionable to play a single down in the fall. As first reported by Lettermen Row on Monday, Babb suffered a serious knee injury in a non-contact mishap. His status for the upcoming season is now officially in jeopardy as a result.

A serious knee injury is always a reason for concern for any player. This is even more the case when that player has experienced a previous knee injury. Babb is no stranger to a torn ACL or knee injury, as he has suffered two torn ACL injuries the past two years, and his fourth potentially season-ending injury since playing high school football.

Babb was considered one of the players to watch as he worked his way back from injury last season to be a possible contributor to Ohio State’s passing game as a target for transfer quarterback Justin Fields. Now, the focus will once again be on rehabbing and working on a timeline for a possible return to action.

Babb was a four-star member of Ohio State’s Class of 2018 from St. Louis, Missouri.

Pac-12 reportedly turned down offer from ESPN to distribute Pac-12 Network

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Given a chance to let ESPN take care of the distribution of the Pac-12 Network alongside the ESPN family of networks that includes the SEC Network and will soon include the ACC Network, the Pac-12 opted to pass. According to a report from Sports Business Daily reporters John Ourand and Michael Smith, ESPN approached the Pac-12 about working out a deal that would extend the media rights package deal between ESPN and the Pac-12 for the better part of the next two decades, but the Pac-12 rejected the offer in hopes of securing a more rewarding media rights deal in the next round of rights negotiations.

The Pac-12 has constantly struggled with getting the Pac-12 Network in as many homes as they likely hoped when the network launched in 2012. Unlike other conference-branded networks, the Pac-12 has retained total ownership of the network, which seemed like a good idea at one point in time. But considering the massive windfall of cash that schools from the Big Ten and SEC get with their conference-branded networks as partnerships with FOX Sports (Big Ten Network) and ESPN (SEC Network) while the Pac-12 continues to have issues getting some carriers to get on board with the Pac-12 Network, perhaps total ownership and decision-making with regard to operating and distribution should be on the table for discussion for the Pac-12.

The Pac-12’s current media rights agreement with ESPN and FOX will expire in 2024, and a consultant has already been hired to help out with the negotiations to come. What exactly the media landscape will look like at that point remains difficult to predict. As more and more consumers are choosing to cut the cord, the oversaturation of streaming platforms leaves plenty of possibilities for what the future holds, including a brand new announcement from Apple today about their future Apple TV plans. The Pac-12  holding off and taking their shot in the next few years appears to be a gamble, but it may work out in their favor anyway. Even though the Pac-12 backed away from secure financial and distribution stability that would surely come with the helping hands of ESPN, the media rights numbers continue to increase every year.

The Pac-12 is still going to make out a pretty rewarding deal, but it will be compared against what the schools in other conferences receive from their various media rights deals. Some within the Pac-12 have grumbled about the payout the Pac-12 Network has yielded thus far, so this is a pretty interesting decision by the conference to not take the ESPN money now and run. This is the same conference that is hoping to get investors to shell out some cash to be a part of the conference as well.

The biggest question may be whether or not Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott will be around to see the new media rights deal be settled.

Syracuse to add grad transfer offensive lineman Ryan Alexander from South Alabama

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Syracuse is adding graduate transfer offensive lineman Ryan Alexander to the roster, providing a nice boost to the depth on the line for the ORange heading into the 2019 season. As reported by Cuse Nation the other day, Alexander has decided to transfer to Syracuse over offers from Big Ten programs Rutgers and Purdue.

Alexander will transfer to Syracuse from South Alabama, and he brings a good amount of playing experience with him. Alexander has started 24 games for South Alabama the last two seasons. He will have one final year of eligibility to use this fall at Syracuse, where he will hope to provide some stability on the line that loses a couple starters from last year’s improved unit.

As a graduate transfer, Alexander will be eligible to play this fall for Syracuse. He is expected to slide right into a starting role given the state of the line that loses two starters from last season and his own experience he brings with him to the Orange. After the Syracuse offense took off as Dino Babers continues to improve the offensive identity of the Orange, Syracuse hopes to keep things moving forward after coming off a 10-win season.