Every so often, college football is capable of throwing a curveball. Or, perhaps to borrow an analogy from the sport itself, a duck of a throw when you expect a perfect spiral.
Such was the case out in the desert late on Saturday night as Arizona showed enough on both sides of the ball to secure a badly needed 28-14 win over Texas Tech in the most surprising defensive struggle of the 2019 season so far.
While each side entered the contest ranking in the top 10 in FBS total offense, only the Wildcats could find the end zone with any sort of consistency. Quarterback Khalil Tate showed a few flashes of his old self by topping the century mark rushing (129 yards, 1 TD) and passing (185 yards, 1 TD), including an 84-yard scamper in the second quarter that was far more of the 2017 version of the signal-caller than his injury-plagued 2018 self.
Of course, with some of that good also came some bad on a night where yards were generally hard-fought and hard to come by. That included a pair of interceptions and an early fumble to hold back the Wildcats on a night that otherwise was a highlight for the program. J.J. Taylor added 39 yards rushing while teammate Gary Brightwell looked like the fresher option in the backfield with 85 yards and two scores.
Red Raiders quarterback Alan Bowman wound up with decent numbers himself (311 yards, one touchdown, two picks) but never could keep the chains moving enough against a defense that threw a lot of looks at the youngster making his first road start with the new coaching staff. T.J. Vasher came on late to record 96 yards receiving while Utah transfer Armand Shyne couldn’t get much going (68 yards on 13 carries) against an old Pac-12 South foe.
Perhaps worst of all for Matt Wells and company was the way the defense wilted after three quarters despite playing well early on. That included giving up the nail in the coffin late in the fourth quarter: a 13 play, 99 yard drive that all came on the ground.
Things don’t get any easier after a bye for Tech either as they face Oklahoma in two weeks, a top five team that has their own dual-threat quarterback that can make you pay. Arizona’s path is a little easier with UCLA coming to Tucson after an off date as the Wildcats can take plenty of confidence into the breather next week following a victory in a game that didn’t go quite as expected — in a good way.
Anthony Brown had his redshirt freshman season cut short due to a knee injury, battled back to start all 12 games in 2018 and BC’s first six contests this fall, until yet another knee injury knocked him out for another season.
Boston College head coach Steve Addazio revealed Monday that Brown will miss the remainder of the season with what the school is calling a “lower leg injury.” Brown made a cut avoiding a tackle during BC’s Oct. 5 game against Louisville and immediately clutched his left knee. Boston College lost the game, 41-39, though Brown began the contest 6-of-7 for 193 yards and a touchdown.
“We’re very, very sad for Anthony. He worked hard to get himself where he was. He’s seventh all-time in passing in BC history and heading towards greater things this year. He’s had a great career and he’s prepared and practiced and put so much into it. We’re so proud of him,” Addazio said.
The fourth-year junior from Cliffwood, N.J., finishes his season 81-of-137 for 1,250 yards with nine touchdowns against two interceptions while rushing for 128 yards and two scores.
“It’s a tough deal, but he’s a tough guy and he’ll bounce back,” Addazio said. “We’re gonna love him and support him and get him back to where he was, but his season has come to an end.”
Brown can return as a fifth-year senior in 2020, with two year-ending knee injuries under his belt, literally and figuratively.
Virginia has lost cornerback Bryce Hall for the season, head coach Bronco Mendenhall revealed Monday.
He suffered an ankle injury in Virginia’s loss to Miami on Friday and underwent surgery on Monday, which will spell the end of his college career. The injury came while Hall was blocking on a punt return. Trainers put the injured ankle in an air cast and, while players on both teams gave him good wishes, ESPN decided the injury was gruesome enough that it would not air replays of the play.
“Bryce Hall is in good spirits,” Mendenhall said. “We expect a good recovery, he sustained a left ankle injury and had surgery Monday. We do not expect him back this season. He is an amazing young person, I am thankful for his efforts and to be his coach. On the bus after the game, Bryce was sitting behind me and he said to me, ‘Coach, I’m a human buoy.’ He has been exemplary in everything he has done here.”
Hall is the best player on Virginia’s roster. The Harrisburg, Pa., senior entered the season a Preseason All-American on multiple lists and led the nation in 2018 with 24 passes defended. He also posted two interceptions and 62 tackles, earning him First Team All-ACC honors.
South Carolina pulled the upset of the season on Saturday, knocking off then-No. 3 Georgia 20-17 in overtime, in Athens. And the ‘Cocks left Sanford Stadium with souvenirs, claiming some of Georgia’s famous hedges for themselves.
Some hedges were even seen in the hands of South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp, a Georgia player and former Bulldog.
While some may call it good, old victory fun, Georgia AD Greg McGarity did not have a sense of humor about his shrubbery getting ripped up.
“I don’t like it all,” he told DawgNation. “We sure don’t do that when we win at an opponents’ venue under Kirby’s leadership.”
McGarity also said his South Carolina counterpart, Ray Tanner, apologized for his team’s postgame celebration.
“Ray just apologized for those actions,” he told the site.
UTSA quarterback Frank Harris will miss the remainder of the season with an upper body injury, head coach Frank Wilson announced Monday. The nature of the injury was not disclosed.
Harris has not played since originally suffering the injury in a 45-3 loss to North Texas on Sept. 21. He was on the sideline in a sling during the Roadrunners’ loss to UAB on Saturday.
A second-year player from the San Antonio era, Harris has missed most or all of the last three seasons while dealing with injuries. He appeared in eight games as a senior at Schertz Clemens High School, then missed all of 2018 with an ACL injury.
In three full games this season (he did not throw a pass against North Texas), Harris completed 66-of-91 passes for 486 yards with three touchdowns against two interceptions while rushing for 126 yards.
In Harris’ absence, UTSA has turned to LSU transfer Lowell Narcisse, who went 8-of-19 for 94 yards while rushing for 89 yards and a touchdown in a 33-14 loss to UAB.