No. 17 UCF has hosted a lot of big games in recent years but the number of Power Five opponents that have made the trip to Orlando have been few and far between. Judging by the results of the Knights’ latest effort, there might be a reason for that.
The AAC banner-carriers trounced the visitors from the opposite coast in Stanford on Saturday afternoon, winning 45-27 in a contest that was far more lopsided than even that scoreline indicated.
True freshman Gabriel Dillon made the most of his first start in the friendly confines of the Bounce House, throwing for 347 yards and four touchdowns against a secondary headlined by All-Pac-12 first team corner Paulson Adebo. The young signal-caller’s rapid release made it easy for the Knights offense to roll up 545 yards and kept the Cardinal linebackers guessing on nearly every snap. Tailbacks Greg McCrae and Adrian Killins combined for nearly 200 yards on the ground, with the latter breaking off a 73-yarder and scoring a short touchdown to boot.
While everything seemed to go right for the home side — including four first quarter touchdowns to take the lead and never look back — the opposite was true for the one-time Pac-12 dark horses. QB K.J. Costello had a rough return to action after missing last week with a head injury, throwing for 199 yards and a touchdown while nearly tossing a pick-six as well. The Cardinal ground game was lackluster at best too, barely topping the century mark on the ground and being abandoned for the most part in the second half given the large deficit.
The loss was especially disappointing for the school’s most famous local alums as golfer Tiger Woods was visibly upset for most of the sweltering afternoon on the sidelines as his Stanford football team failed to keep up with their opponents from the AAC.
As for those Knights, the victory is certainly a nice feather in their cap given the rarity of Power Five victories on their slate over this incredible run the past few seasons. They will likely have a shot to move up in the polls come Sunday and have another crack at a win against a major conference when they travel to Pitt next weekend. All told it was their 27th straight victory in the regular season and one of their most impressive yet given the destruction they left in their wake between the lines.
That’ll teach him. They hope.
In the third quarter of Clemson’s 35-point win over Louisville Saturday night, Tigers cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. was involved in a punt-return kerfuffle with Cardinals defensive back Trenell Troutman that ended with Booth, after he had taken him to the ground, punching Troutman. The fracas resulted in Booth being ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Following the game, head coach Dabo Swinney apologized to his UofL counterpart, Scott Satterfield, for what he described as unacceptable, disappointing behavior.
Sunday, Swinney stated that the punishment phase for Booth commenced almost immediately, and commenced in a very unique way.
“He had a long bus ride home last night and plenty of time to think about it,” Swinney said, confirming that Booth rode the managers’ bus back to Clemson instead of flying home with the rest of his teammates.
For those keeping score at home, it’s a roughly seven-hour drive from Louisville to Clemson via an automobile, and likely longer if you’re taking a bus. Taking a plane, it’s somewhere in the neighborhood of an hour and a half.
In addition to the bus ride, Swinney also stated that Booth will be subject to additional, unspecified in-house sanctions.
At least publicly, Alabama is putting a positive spin on the most talked-about ankle in college football.
Late in the first half of Alabama’s win over rival Tennessee, starting quarterback and Heisman front-runner Tua Tagovailoa went down with an apparent ankle injury. After spending time in the sideline medical tent, Tagovailoa went into the locker room for further observation.
Not long after that, Tagovailoa was seen exiting the stadium and getting into the back of an ambulance; he would ultimately return to the sidelines but not the game as Mac Jones finished out the win. Immediately following the game, Nick Saban stated that Tagovailoa suffered a high-ankle sprain, a similar injury he worked through a season ago, and will “probably be out a week or two.” In the postgame press conference, the head coach all but ruled the junior out for next weekend’s home game against Arkansas.
In a statement Sunday, the football program confirmed that Tagovailoa underwent a surgical procedure on the ankle earlier in the day. It was also confirmed that the junior will not play in this Saturday’s game against Arkansas.
Tua Tagovailoa suffered a high-ankle sprain last night against Tennessee. Our physicians performed a successful tight-rope procedure on his right ankle this morning. This is the same injury, but the opposite ankle that Tua injured last season. Tua will miss next week’s game against Arkansas, but we expect a full and speedy recovery.
As for that TightRope procedure, which significantly cuts the recovery time from a high-ankle sprain?
This technique is used to stabilize an ankle after injury. It can be used to repair a high-ankle sprain, which damages the soft tissue structures between the tibia and fibula and causes these bones to separate. It can also be used to stabilize a fracture of the fibula. The TightRope system anchors the ends of the tibia and fibula together with a braided polyethylene cord, rather than with a rigid surgical screw, to restore the original position of the bones and to allow for proper healing.
Following next Saturday’s game, top-ranked Alabama will be on a bye in Week 10 before its huge showdown with No. 2 LSU in Tuscaloosa Nov. 9. Tagovailoa’s availability for that game is uncertain, even as he told teammates that he’ll “be back for LSU.”
The combination of nearly three weeks from the time of the surgery to the LSU game and the TightRope procedure itself lends credence to the private optimism coming from Tuscaloosa regarding Tagovailoa being healthy enough to take the field for a game that could very well determine one of the four College Football Playoff participants.
Bob Diaco may no longer be the head coach at UConn but his legacy of trying to build a rivalry with UCF lives on in the form of a seven-figure check.
The Hartford Courant reports that the soon to be independent Huskies have agreed to a 2021 game in Orlando with the Knights and that the program will receive a $1 million check as a result of the trip South for the non-conference meeting.
The two teams have played seven times since becoming fellow members of the AAC dating back to 2013, with UCF holding a 5-2 edge overall in the series. The Knights won the meeting in late September 56-21 and have dominated the Huskies the last few years.
Fans of both programs know there’s not much of a rivalry given the lopsided nature of the results but there have been attempts to stir things up, most notably by Diaco when he ran UConn and created a semi-serious (and unacknowledged in Orlando) trophy and named the game the ‘Civil ConFLiCT.’
At least things won’t end with September’s contest as the two teams continue to fill out their schedules. UConn will now have UCF on the docket in 2021 in addition to home games against FCS Holy Cross and Purdue plus road trips to UMass and Clemson. The Knights, meanwhile, host Boise State and travel to Louisville in the non-conference slate in addition to their regular rotation of AAC opponents.
Lane Kiffin has made headlines again and it has nothing to do with his team’s play on the field.
Conference USA announced on Sunday that they’ve fined the Florida Atlantic head coach $5,000 and publicly reprimanded him for violating the league’s sportsmanship policy after he posted a tweet on Saturday night that was critical of officials.
“Conference USA has specific rules and standards regarding sportsmanship which have been adopted by our membership,” CUSA commissioner Judy MacLeod said in a statement. “We have an obligation to enforce our rules including the prohibition of public criticism of officiating.”
Kiffin’s expensive tweet came in the heels of a 36-31 loss to Marshall on Friday.
The Owls and their social media-loving head coach will travel to Old Dominion on Saturday to continue conference play.