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No. 7 Michigan avoids major upset in double overtime vs Army

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No. 7 Michigan (2-0) saw the defense come up huge in a double overtime victory over Army (1-1). After taking a 24-21 lead to begin the second overtime, the Wolverines celebrated a gritty victory over the Black Knights when they recovered a fumble on Army’s last effort.

On 3rd and 11 form the Michigan 26-yard line, Army quarterback Kelvin Hopkins dropped back to pass and was sacked by Carlo Kemp and Aidan Hutchinson for a loss of 10 yards. To make matters worse, Hopkins had the ball knocked out of his hands, and Josh Uche came up with the loose ball for the victory.

Jake Moody gave Michigan a 24-21 lead to start the second overtime on a 43-yard field goal after the offense sputtered on three consecutive pass attempts by Shea Patterson. Patterson had a rough afternoon with a pair of lost fumbles and completing 19-of-29 passes for 207 yards. But the missed passes, at times, were infuriating for the Wolverines as he missed some wide open receivers for what could have been big plays. Michigan’s new-look offense showed it still has some work to do to become the improved unit that had been hyped going into the season.

Michigan had a chance to take a lead on Army in the first half thanks to the defense pouncing on a fumble, but a return by Josh Metellus was ruled down on the field on the recover. Video replay confirmed Metellus was not down when he recovered the football, shortly before he returned the loose ball for what should have been a touchdown. The play was not reviewable by officials, so the play stood.

Jim Harbaugh will certainly face the music for a pair of fourth-down decisions in the second half that backfired. The first was inside the red zone, with the game tied at 14-14 in the fourth quarter. the second came later around midfield with under three minutes to play. The later led to what was nearly a last-second field goal victory for Army, but the 50-yard attempt by freshman Cole Talley (his first field goal attempt of his collegiate career) didn’t quite have the leg or the angle to sail through posts.

Army came agonizingly close to scoring its first win against a top 10 opponent since 1963, when Army knocked off No. 9 Penn State. A year after losing to Kyler Murray and Oklahoma in overtime, Army knows it can give some of the best programs a good battle, but that won’t make anyone at Army feel any better after a tough loss at Michigan. Army will look to some of their own miscues that haunted them in this one. Midway through the third quarter, with a 14-7 lead in their favor, Army stalled on the door step of a possible touchdown with a false start penalty on 2nd & Goal form the one-yard line and Hopkins throwing an interception two plays later on 3rd & Goal form the five by Lavert Hill. Michigan seized the opportunity off the Army turnover by marching right down the field to tie the game at 14-14 on a Zach Charbonnet run form the Army one-yard line. Patterson did have a big third down pass for an 18-yard gain when he needed nine on third down, and a 25-yard pass to Ronnie Bell on 3rd & 7 moved Michigan to the two-yard line.

Michigan will now get a week off before taking the field again. The Wolverines hit the road in two weeks for their Big Ten opener against Wisconsin. That will give Michigan some time to refine the offense after having plenty of issues pop up against Army (and last week against Middle Tennessee). Wisconsin will also get the bye week to prepare for Michigan.

Army is back in action next week in San Antonio when they face UTSA.

LSU students will go to class on Saturday to make up for national title game

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LSU students who got to skip class for the national title game (and the ensuing celebrations…) were hit with a dose of reality returning to Baton Rouge on Friday.

According to an announcement from the university, classes that were cancelled on Monday and Tuesday for the championship game have been rescheduled. As a result, students will have to go to class on Saturday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Feb. 8.

So yes, Saturdays in the fall have resulted in a few Saturdays of work in the spring.

The school had received a bit of criticism when it was announced that classes were cancelled on the dates surrounding the championship game. While the practice has happened elsewhere, the nature of the game being less than an hour from campus in New Orleans certainly made things unique for the Tigers and their large fan base.

While some students no doubt had hoped that the classes at the time were indeed cancelled, it turns out they were in fact just being rescheduled. Going to school on a Saturday probably isn’t what many had in mind when signing up for the spring semester but there’s probably not a soul in purple and gold will take issue with the change given that it comes as a result of hoisting the ultimate football trophy on Monday night in the Big Easy.

Virginia safety Chris Moore enters transfer portal

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The transfer portal has claimed another name.

As first noted by ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg, Virginia safety Chris Moore has entered his name into the database as he explores a move out of Charlottesville.

Moore started five of his nine appearances for the Cavaliers in 2019 and wound up recording 42 tackles. While he was in line to become one of the key members in the secondary going forward, a prior  suspension for violating team rules back in November may have wound up playing a role in his departure and standing with the team.

The safety had previously missed all of the 2018 season with an injury as well.

Moore was originally a three-star recruit out of Ashburn, Va. in 2016 and, assuming the redshirt senior has a degree, likely has a season remaining as a grad transfer.

DL Jay Tufele, WR Tyler Vaughns skipping draft to stay at USC

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Clay Helton has a lot of issues to deal with at the moment. Having a talented USC football team is not one of them.

The Trojans received a rare bit of good news on Thursday evening as two key players announced they were skipping the 2020 NFL Draft. In back-to-back announcements, defensive lineman Jay Tufele and wideout Tyler Vaughns confirmed they would remain in Los Angeles for the 2020 season.

Tufele is one of USC’s best defensive players. He recorded 42 tackles and 4.5 sacks last season as a redshirt sophomore despite dealing with a handful of injuries. With leading sacker Drake Jackson also back, there’s a nice tandem up front for whoever the team hires as defensive coordinator to work with going forward.

Vaughns returning also makes a dangerous receiving corps that much deeper. Michael Pittman Jr. was lost to graduation but the next three top wideouts are set to be back in 2020. Add in a group of solid tailbacks and both J.T. Daniels and Kedon Slovis at QB and USC will once again have one of the top offenses in the Pac-12.

Whether it will all help save Helton’s job again remains to be seen. If nothing else though, there’s at least there’s some positive news for the cardinal and gold this offseason with Tufele and Vaughns back in the fold going forward.

Nebraska and OC Troy Walters “mutually agreed to part ways”

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A year after significantly falling short of expectations, an offseason of change has commenced at Nebraska.

In one of the first big moves since Scott Frost took over at his alma mater, the Cornhuskers and offensive coordinator Troy Walters announced on Friday that they had ‘mutually agreed to part ways.’

“Troy has been a valued member of our coaching staff for the past four years,” Frost said in a statement. “Troy is a good mentor for his players, provides great energy on and off the field, and carries himself with a presence off the field that will be missed. I want to thank him for his work on our coaching staff, and wish him and his family all the best going forward.”

The duo first came together when Frost was hired at UCF and led a number of prolific offenses, including the undefeated 2017 team for the Knights. Walters was a finalist for the Broyles Award that same season though has not called plays for either team.

Walters had a distinguished career as a player at Stanford that included All-American honors and a Biletnikoff Award in 1999. He spent several years in the NFL before going into coaching during stops at Texas A&M, N.C. State and Colorado.

The departure of Walters could interestingly lead to a reunion between Frost and a familiar name in Mark Helfrich. The latter was head coach at Oregon when Frost was elevated to offensive coordinator for the Ducks and is in search of a job after being let go by the Chicago Bears from a similar role.