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No. 3 Georgia defense handles Vanderbilt as Dawgs are clearly team to beat in SEC East

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The No. 3 Georgia Bulldogs (1-0, 1-0 SEC) started their SEC and season opener at Vanderbilt with touchdowns on each of their first three offensive possessions and the defense took care of things from there. Georgia handled Vanderbilt (0-1, 0-1 SEC) from start to finish and left Nashville with a 30-6 victory to start the season.

Georgia scored touchdowns on drives of 75, 89, and 80 yards to start the game but the offense went quiet for most of the remainder of the night. A couple of field goals by Rodrigo Blankenship helped pad the lead and a late Vanderbilt turnover, but there were not a ton of offensive highlights for the Georgia offense to speak of. D’Andre Swift did lead the ground attack with 147 yards as the Bulldogs took advantage of their strength on the ground. As a team, Georgia rolled up over 300 yards of rushing offense, which led Jake Fromm to not have to turn in a big night throwing the football. It was a game that Georgia was fine just dominating on the ground, even if it didn’t lead to much damage on the scoreboard.

Georgia’s victory in the SEC East game came on the same day much of the division had some trouble in Week 1. A week after Florida won an ugly game against Miami in Week 0, Kentucky took a while to take care of Toledo at home, South Carolina lost to North Carolina in Charlotte, and Tennessee was dumped at home by Georgia State. Missouri was in some serious trouble at Wyoming in the same time slot. A couple others in the SEC had some struggles as well. Arkansas had a seven-point win over FCS Portland State at home. Mississippi State had a closer game on the road against Louisiana than expected. Ole Miss lost at Memphis and Auburn was struggling in primetime against Oregon as the Bulldogs were taking care of Vanderbilt. Alabama may have taken a while to get rolling but took care of Duke in Atlanta, and LSU had no concerns against Georgia Southern. All in all, Georgia clearly looked like the best team in the SEC East, and the gap may not have closed much since last season if we are to judge on one week of games.

Regardless of that outlook in the division, Kirby Smart will have plenty of issues to take into practices next week while preparing for Week 2. Georgia was flagged for too many penalties (but Vanderbilt was called for even more), and the offense went into a bit of a lull after their first three possessions went for touchdowns on drives covering at least 75 yards. Third-down conversions were almost impossible to find (1-of-7), which should be another concern to address. There should be credit given to Vanderbilt’s defense for not allowing Georgia’s offense to run away with things on their home field, but it should be at least a sticking point that Smart addresses with the team in the coming days once they begin reviewing the film from this game. And to be clear, Georgia was hardly ever in a stressful situation where the game could have been lost.

The Georgia defense, however, will earn high marks for their season debut. Vanderbilt was unable to be effective on third down for much of the night and scratching together yards was incredibly difficult from start to finish. Georgia has a defense that will be tough for teams to find much room to work this season, and that bodes well for the Bulldogs. It is not often the Georgia offense will be limited as much as they were against Vandy, and expect Smart to clean up a few things moving forward.

Look for the Georgia offense to have some more big numbers in the next couple of games. Georgia is home next week against an FCS opponent, Murray State, and then they host Arkansas State in Week 3. That allows plenty of time to iron out some wrinkles and clean things up a bit as Georgia is set to host Notre Dame in primetime on Sept. 21 before jumping into SEC play for the rest of the season (not counting the Georgia Tech game).

As for Vanderbilt, the defense proved they can hang in there. After giving up long touchdown drives their first three times out, the Commodores were not easy to move on the rest of the night. They’ll look to continue that defensive effort and improve the offensive output next week with a road game in Big Ten territory against Purdue. Both teams will be looking for their first win of the season. Purdue lost their season opener on Thursday night against Nevada.

Starting East Carolina DE Chance Purvis arrested on felony kidnapping charge, suspended

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For the second time this month, this time by way of a member of the East Carolina football program, a college football player is facing some serious off-field allegations.

According to 247Sports.com, Chance Purvis was arrested Tuesday and charged with one count each of second-degree kidnapping and breaking/entering with intent to terrorize or injure.  Both of those charges are felonies.

No details of what led to the arrest and charges have been released thus far.

As a result of the arrest, though, the redshirt junior defensive end has been suspended by East Carolina football head coach Mike Houston.

“We are aware of the situation concerning Chance Purvis and consider these charges as very serious and completely unacceptable,” a statement from the coach began. “Chance has been suspended from all football-related activities until further notice. We will continue to monitor the situation, but since this is a legal matter, any additional comment on our part would be inappropriate at this time.”

Purvis didn’t play at all his first two seasons with East Carolina football.  In 2018, the lineman played in 10 games, starting one of those contests.  This past season, Purvis started all 12 games for the Pirates.  He was second on the team in tackles for loss (12) and sacks (four).

Depending on how the off-field situation plays out, Purvis would be the only returning starting lineman on the defensive side of the ball for East Carolina football in 2020.

Purvis is actually the second East Carolina football player arrested this year.  Last month, Cortez Herrin was arrested on one felony count of possession with the intent to sell or distribute.  He’s also facing a misdemeanor charge of possession of marijuana paraphernalia.

When healthy, Herrin has been a part-time or full-time starter at left guard for ECU the past three seasons.

In 2018, Houston started all 12 games for the Pirates.  He made five starts in 2017 as well.  A knee injury in 2019 helped limit him to five starts.

Michigan State investigating allegations of NCAA violations committed under Mark Dantonio

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Mark Dantonio may have retired as the Michigan State football head coach, but his impact on the program will continue. On and off the field.

In May of 2017, Michigan State confirmed that the university had “parted ways” with Curtis Blackwell after opting not to renew the football staffer’s contract.  Blackwell, whose official title with the program was director of college advancement and performance, was suspended with pay February 9 of that year, the same day three unidentified Spartan football players were suspended in connection to sexual assault allegations.  While Blackwell was a part of the police investigations into the allegations, he was not accused of participating in the alleged sexual assault but rather failing to disclose information he knew about the incident.

In a lawsuit filed in November of 2018, which named Dantonio, among others, as a defendant, Blackwell alleged that his employment contract was violated when it wasn’t renewed by the university. According to recent court filings connected to that ongoing suit, Blackwell and his attornies are also alleging that NCAA violations were committed by Dantonio.

From ESPN.com:

The mother of current Notre Dame defensive end Daelin Hayes said in an affidavit that Blackwell attended an in-home visit at their house in Michigan along with former head coach Dantonio and assistant coaches Harlon Barnett and Mike Tressel. LaKeshia Neal, Hayes’ mother, also provided a photo of the coaches and Blackwell on that visit.

The NCAA has reached out to Hayes to ask about the incident, a source said. Per NCAA rules, Blackwell was not allowed to be part of off-campus recruiting during that time at Michigan State because he was not one of the program’s on-field coaches.

In documents filed two weeks ago, Blackwell alleged that Dantonio helped arrange jobs for the parents of an unnamed, high-profile recruit as well. The day after those documents were submitted, Dantonio abruptly announced his resignation.

Dantonio has claimed that the allegations had nothing to do with his decision to step down. One of Dantonio’s lawyers labeled the claims as “false, scandalous, and wholly unsupported accusations.”

As a result of the allegations made by Blackwell, the university — and the NCAA — is in the process of investigating the claims.

“We are aware of the allegations made by Curtis Blackwell as part of his litigation,” an MSU spokesperson stated. “As with any allegation concerning NCAA compliance, MSU is investigating and working with the NCAA and Big Ten. We have fully complied with our self-reporting obligations to the NCAA throughout this case.”

Feb. 12, Colorado’s Mel Tucker was hired by Michigan State football to replace Dantonio. As part of Tucker’s six-year contract, there is a clause that protects the new coach should Michigan State football be sanctioned by the NCAA for the actions of the previous coaching staff. The language of the deal calls for an additional year to be added to the length of the contract “as of the date the sanction takes effect or, if such sanction lasts more than one year, the six-year term will be extended to match the length of the sanction period.”

Colorado QB Blake Stenstrom heading to transfer portal

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Citing “circumstances beyond his control,” Colorado quarterback Blake Stenstrom has announced he is entering the transfer portal.

“[Due] to recent events and circumstances beyond my control, I have made the difficult decision that it is time for a new chapter in my football journey,” Stenstromg said in a statement posted to his Twitter account on Wednesday afternoon.”

While Stenstromg doesn’t say exactly what those circumstances beyond his control are, it could very well be the second head coaching and staff change in Boulder in the past two years. Stenstrom originally signed in Colorado’s Class of 2018 for former Buffs head coach Mike MacIntyre. MacIntyre was relieved as head coach in 2018 and replaced by Mel Tucker. But after just one season in Boulder, Tucker has already moved on to become the new head coach at Michigan State. A third head coach and an entirely new staff in as many years makes for a tough situation for any college football player.

By entering the transfer portal, Stenstrom is free to have contact with any college football program. As is the case for all players entering the transfer portal, Stenstom may also withdraw his name from the portal at any time and remain at Colorado.

Stenstrom appeared in four games in 2019, in which he attempted three pass attempts and completed one for 12 yards. He was intercepted on one of his two other attempts. Stenstrom will have to sit out the 2020 season if he ends up transferring to another FBS program. After sitting out the 2020 season, Stenstrom will have two years of eligibility remaining. Of course, that could change very soon with the NCAA moving toward making it easier for players to have immediate eligibility with an approved waiver in their favor.

TCU grad assistant and former QB Kenny Hill promoted to offensive analyst

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Former TCU quarterback Kenny Hill is taking the next step up within the Horned Frogs family this year. Hill is being promoted from his role as a graduate assistant to the position of offensive analyst.

As an analyst, Hill will not be doing any direct coaching of TCU football players, but he will help break down film and prepare game plans for the offense. Analysts are not permitted to have any direct coaching interactions with players, but having a handful of analysts preparing game plans and breaking down film is never in short demand. This is especially true with power conference programs that can afford to pay a few more analysts to do the work.

Hill originally joined the TCU football family as a transfer quarterback from Texas A&M. After being granted a release from his scholarship by Texas A&M in early 2015, Hill officially joined TCU later that spring. After sitting out the 2015 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Hill led the Horned Frogs on an 11-3 campaign in 2016.

Hill returned to TCU after trying to land a job in professional football in 2018. Hill signed with the Oakland Raiders in 2018 but was released that summer. He later signed with the Montreal Alouettes of the CFL.