Getty Images

No. 13 Oregon survives three turnovers to top pesky Cal in rough Pac-12 rock fight

2 Comments

Oregon entered this week with just two turnovers on the season. It didn’t take them two quarters to exceed that total on Saturday night in Eugene as the No. 13 Ducks needed to overcome a sloppy start to sneak out of Autzen Stadium with a 17-7 win over a very pesky Cal team that hung around all game long.

Justin Herbert was guilty of one of those turnovers for the home team as the quarterback threw his first interception of the year on an under thrown pass that was snagged by star corner Ashtyn Davis. The signal-caller bounced back from the early mistake to wind up with 214 yards and a touchdown pass but it was far from the kind of tape he wanted to put on for NFL scouts hoping he’d torch one of the best secondaries in the country.

Of course it was hard for Oregon to do much of anything on offense considering how lackluster their run game was. C.J. Verdell (46 yards) went out early in the game with a lower leg injury and backup Travis Dye fumbled twice in the first half. The latter eventually put up 81 yards on the ground but every play felt like a battle for middle earth given the stout defenses involved.

Though Cal forced all those turnovers, they failed to do a whole lot with them. The Bears mustered just 256 yards of offense and quarterback Devon Modster, making his first start in place of the injured Chase Garbers, completed less than half of his passes in throwing for 178 yards, a touchdown and two picks. There was much of a running game to lean on either as Chris Brown Jr. paced the effort with 42 yards and added a scoring reception to his total. Penalties were also an issue for the visitors from Berkeley, with 11 flags for 98 yards really putting a damper on Justin Wilcox’s rare return to his alma mater as they have now dropped 10 of their last 11 games to the division rivals.

The result does keep the Ducks undefeated in conference play however and atop the Pac-12 North standings ahead of a Friday night game next week against Colorado. Win that one and Oregon will setup a huge matchup that could have College Football Playoff implications against bitter rival Washington down in Seattle. Mario Cristobal’s club still hasn’t played but one complete game this season on both sides of the ball but he’ll have to be happy with moving to 5-1 on the year after gutting out the ‘W’ on Saturday.

Kirby Hocutt says Big 12 acknowledged botched call at end of Texas Tech-Baylor game

Getty Images
Leave a comment

We’ll never know how the game would have ended, but we can say with a high degree of statistical certainty that Texas Tech would have won the game. Instead of taking the ball in the bottom of the first overtime knowing any score would win the game, the Red Raiders had to remain on defense and eventually lost to No. 18 Baylor, 33-30 in double overtime.

The turning point came on a snap by Baylor center Jake Fruhmorgen, which hit off his own rear end and was subsequently recovered by Texas Tech defensive tackle Jaylon Hutchings. However, Brad Van Vark‘s Big 12 officiating crew ruled Fruhmorgen committed an illegal snap, assessing a five-yard penalty and nullifying Hutchings’ fumble recovery.

“It is important to state that we have been in constant communication with the Big 12 Conference office from the immediate end of the game and throughout Sunday regarding the illegal snap call in the first overtime,” Hocutt said in a statement Sunday night. “It has been confirmed that the ruling on the field of an illegal snap was incorrect.

“The play is not reviewable by rule because it is a dead ball judgment call by the official. I am confident that the Big 12 Conference will deal with the matter internally as they complete the review of the game in its entirety. While this is a very unfortunate circumstance, I could not be more proud of our team and the competitive fight and effort with which they competed.”

NCAA rules state an illegal snap must consist of the center moving the ball up or forward before hiking the ball, neither of which Fruhmorgen did.

Regardless, Texas Tech will have to move forward with the loss, dropping the club to 3-3 overall and 1-2 in Big 12 play in Matt Wells‘ first season.

Nebraska, Illinois to open 2021 season in Ireland

Getty Images
3 Comments

Nebraska and Illinois will open their 2021 seasons in Dublin, Ireland, the programs jointly announced Monday.

“The University of Illinois, our football program, our alumni and fans, and the entire Fighting Illini family are in for a once-in-a-lifetime experience on the Emerald Isle,” Illini AD Josh Whitman said. “When first approached about this game almost two years ago, we had immediate interest. This game will provide an incredible educational opportunity for our football student-athletes who, because of their schedule, generally do not receive the same international experiences as many of our other student-athletes. For our fans, I hope they will journey with us across the Atlantic for a wonderful trip and a major football game, all set against the beauty of Ireland.”

The game will take place Aug. 28, 2021 at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, the same site that hosted Notre Dame vs. Navy in 2012 and will host the Irish and Midshipmen again in 2020. College GameDay will broadcast from the Notre Dame-Navy game in 2020. Penn State and UCF played in Ireland in 2014, and Georgia Tech and Boston College did the same in 2016.

“It is a privilege to be here at the University of Illinois for the announcement of the teams for the 2021 Aer Lingus College Football Classic,” Dublin mayor Paul McAuliffe said. “I welcome the news that both the University of Illinois and University of Nebraska teams and fans will travel to Dublin in 2021 and I look forward to seeing the colour and energy that they will bring to the city of Dublin. Dublin and Ireland are ready to welcome you! This fixture is an important date in our calendar and showcases Dublin as a destination for hosting major international sporting events.”

The game was originally scheduled to be played Nov. 13, 2021 in Champaign, and likely will not be the last in Ireland, as the nation works to make Dublin the European capital of American college football.

Clemson moving forward with $70 million renovation for Death Valley

Getty Images
3 Comments

Clemson’s building spree around campus for the football program isn’t slowing down anytime soon thanks to the Tigers winning two of the last three national titles.

The school’s Board of Trustees on Friday approved a massive $68.7 million renovation of Frank Howard Field at Clemson Memorial Stadium — better known as Death Valley — and a further $7 million devoted to expanding the already impressive football operations building.

“We haven’t had a major redo of the west end since 2006 so it’s time to pay some attention to that side [after] we redid the suites on the north side and created the south club on the south side,” Athletic Director Dan Radakovich told WNCT.

The stadium renovations are pretty typical of schools nowadays as it will add premium seating (i.e. suites), a new video board and upgraded LED lighting that peers like Georgia and Alabama have used to rave reviews in recent years.

New locker rooms at the stadium are also set to be the first thing accomplished in the project, which officials hope will be completely wrapped up prior to the 2021 season.

Given everything the school is doing for the program lately, ‘If you win it, they will build it’ might just be the unofficial motto at Clemson nowadays. Sure seems more accurate in 2019 than ‘BYOG.’

Thanks to alcohol sales, UNC made over $1 million from concessions in just three home games

Getty Images
5 Comments

The state of North Carolina opening up beer and alcohol sales at sporting events has had a big impact on the flagship university’s bottom line so far this year.

According to WTVD ABC 11, UNC sold over 43,000 “units” of alcohol (beer/wine/hard seltzers) in the Tar Heels’ first three home games of the year. The end result to all those purchases? The team took in over $1 million in concessions in games against Miami, Appalachian State and Clemson, with all three contests selling more alcohol than soda (and nearly as much booze as water).

The school confirmed a number of figures, including roughly $325,000 in concession sales for the home opener against the Hurricanes and $393,000 against the in-state rival Mountaineers. The defending national champions’ visit on Sept. 28 was the high point however, with $416,000 worth of goods sold and some 15,737 units of alcohol bought.

WRAL reports that all three games exceeded the previous record amount UNC took in from concessions, set back in November 2016 against local rival N.C. State.

Kenan Stadium will host three more home games in 2019 against Duke, Virginia and FCS Mercer. Safe to say all three can already get counted as wins for the bottom line regardless of the result on the field for Mack Brown’s team.