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Daniel Jones has record performance as Duke clobbers Temple in Independence Bowl

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It sure did not feel as though the Temple Owls (8-5) were playing with an interim head coach in the first half of the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl, but the second half proved there was a decided coaching advantage for Duke (8-5). Duke outscored Temple 35-0 in the second half en route to a 56-27 victory. The victory gave Duke the first back-to-back bowl victories in consecutive seasons for the first time in school history.

Temple simply had no answers for Duke, led by quarterback Daniel Jones. After going up 20-7 in the second quarter, Temple allowed Duke to score touchdowns on seven straight offensive possessions as Duke blew by the Owls in all facets of the game. Miscues by Duke helped give Temple a lead at halftime but the inability to move or control the football in the second half did Temple absolutely no favors.

Jones passed for 423 yards and five touchdowns in his final game in a Duke uniform. Both were Independence Bowl records, and Jones also scored a rushing touchdown. T.J. Rahming was a monster in the passing game with 240 receiving yards on 12 receptions as Temple simply could not stop him.

The Blue Devils now have six all-time bowl victories, and David Cutcliffe has won three of them, all since 2015.

Temple was playing the game under interim head coach Ed Foley. Foley generated some buzz with his press conferences leading up to the game and his enthusiasm for leading the Owls in the game following the departure of Geoff Collins to Georgia Tech, but he was no match against Cutcliffe in the second half as Temple just crumbled. Incoming Temple head coach Manny Diaz checked in on the game form New York as he was preparing to coach his final game as defensive coordinator for the Miami Hurricanes. That game was next on the bowl schedule on Thursday. This game alone should not suggest Temple is a complete disaster for Diaz to take over, because Temple was competitive in the second half of the season and showed some good promise down the stretch and almost made a push to potentially play for the AAC title. But this loss will give Diaz something to either completely ignore with a clean slate or offer as a reminder of how much Temple still has to do to move forward.

The loss by Temple was yet another disaster of a bowl result for the American Athletic Conference, a conference who is having a difficult time convincing anyone this bowl season they are truly a power conference. The conference’s only win to date was Tulane’s victory over Louisiana in the Cure Bowl at the beginning of the bowl season. Since then, South Florida was defeated by 18 points in their own stadium by Marshall and Houston gave up 70 points to Army. Memphis also lost to Wake Forest, although that was at least a close game.

Next up for Duke? Alabama in Atlanta to open the 2019 season on Aug. 31, 2019. The countdown is on for the Blue Devils.

No. 20 Boise State soars past Air Force in second half

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It looked as though Air Force (2-1, 0-1 Mountain West) was going to be giving No. 20 Boise State (4-0, 1-0 Mountain West) some absolute fits Friday night in Boise, Idaho, but the Broncos pulled away from the Falcons with a strong second half in a 30-19 win. Hank Bachmeier passed for 263 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win as Boise State opened up conference play on the right foot at home.

Air Force lost some potential to spring an upset of the Broncos with an injury to quarterback Donald Hammond. Without Hammond on the field, Air Force’s option offense lost its ability to pick up some key yards when it needed it the most, but credit should also be given to the Boise State defense. Once again, the Broncos took firm control of a game after halftime, just as they have all season.

The win gives Boise State an early lead in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West Conference. Boise State certainly has the look of the best all-around team in the conference so far too, and few teams appear to be the kind of second-half team Boise State has become. The offense comes alive in the second half and the defense continues to keep opponents down after the half. Air Force managed to pick up a touchdown in the fourth quarter, but the game was well out of reach at that point.

Air Force did rack up 242 yards on the ground, which is to be expected given their offensive style, but Boise State held firm on fourth down attempts by the Falcons (0-for-2 on fourth down). Boise State was also only called for three penalties in the game and went without a turnover. It was a pretty clean game for the Broncos.

Boise State will get a week off before playing again. The Broncos will be on the road on Oct. 5 to play UNLV and return to the blue turf a week later against Hawaii.

Air Force will play next week with a home game against San Jose State.

Matt Fink delivers early spark for USC off bench, Trojans leading No. 10 Utah at half

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Playing with a third-strong quarterback, USC is looking to make a statement at home against No. 10 Utah. The Pac-12 contest has been heated from the start with some chippiness and personal foul penalties, and a couple of notable injuries. At the halftime break in the Los Angeles Coliseum, USC leads Utah 14-10.

Utah blew a chance to trim the lead a little bit more or take the lead just before halftime, but a botched handoff by Tyler Huntley led to a fumble recovery by USC in the final 20 seconds of the half from inside the USC five-yard line.

On the second play of the game, USC quarterback Kedon Slovis was removed from the game and examined for a possible head injury. Matt Fink entered the game and led USC to two touchdown drives in the first quarter. Already with over 200 passing yards, Fink and the USC offense ran into a bit of a wall for the rest of the half. USC went three-and-out on their first possession after taking a 14-7 lead. A fumble by Stephen Carr after a 16-yard gain gave Utah possession at their 20-yard line. USC then went three-and-out on their next possession, after the Utes chipped away at the deficit with a field goal.

Later in the half, Utah wide receiver Zack Moss left the game and was being checked for a possible shoulder injury.

Penalties also became a major factor in the second quarter with a handful of questionable roughing the passer and unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. Utah has already committed nine penalties for 75 yards, while USC has done their part to have laundry thrown on the field with six penalties for 70 yards. The officials have certainly earned their paycheck tonight so far.

Air Force and Boise State reach halftime knotted at 10-10

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A matchup of undefeated Mountain West Conference teams has been everything it was supposed to be. Air Force is giving Boise State a good battle on the strength of their running game. The two teams are tied 10-10 at the break.

After a scoreless first quarter, Air Force and Boise State exchanged touchdown drives in the second quarter. The Falcons opened the scoring with Donald Hammond III running eight yards for a score. Boise State answered with Hank Bachmeier tossing a 36-yard pass to CT Thomas for a score.

After forcing Air Force to punt on the ensuing possession, the Broncos took their first lead of the game minutes later. Eric Sachse booted a 40-yard field goal to give the home team a 10-7 lead.

As expected, Air Force has thrived by chewing up yards on the ground, but a pass completion from Hammond III to Ben Peterson late in the second quarter moved the football to the Boise State 13-yard line and a first down. That late drive ended with a field goal by Jake Koehnke to send the teams to the locker rooms all squared up.

We should have a good finish coming up on the blue turf in the second half.

USC QB Kedon Slovis injured on second play of game vs. Utah

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USC quarterback Kedon Slovis started Friday night’s game against Utah, but he may have been knocked out of the game after just two plays. Matt Fink has replaced Slovis, at least for now, after Slovis headed to the USC locker room early in the first quarter. According to a sideline report on the telecast, Slovis was being treated for a possible head injury.

Utah defensive tackle Leki Fatu came charging at Slovis on a 2nd-and-1 play on the second snap of the game. After Fink got the ball away, Fatu finished off a clean play in the college game (FS1 analyst Brock Huard correctly noted the follow-through to take the quarterback to the ground would be flagged in the NFL). Slovis struggled to get back on his feet as he attempted to get off the ground.

Fink, USC’s third-string quarterback behind Slovis and J.T. Daniels (who was injured and out for the year after the season opener), got right to work to finish off the opening drive. Fink missed on his first throw but then connected on his next three attempts, including a 29-yard pass to Tyler Vaughns for the early lead. Utah cruised down the field on the ensuing possession to tie it up.

This post will be updated with more information on Slovis once it becomes available.