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Stanford upends No. 15 Washington to keep Huskies winless on the Farm the last decade

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If you can make sense of the Pac-12 season, by all means takes yourself to the desert and place a few wagers. Because in the league where there’s no elite program at the moment, just about anything could happen and it wouldn’t be surprising at all.

Case in point came Saturday night on the Farm, where Stanford’s one-time dormant offense came alive in a 23-13 win over No. 15 Washington that is bound to shake up the Pac-12 North further than it already is.

The Cardinal set the tone early with three straight scoring drives to open the game and jump out to a lead they would never relinquish. Despite injuries to key offensive linemen and starting quarterback Davis Mills (293 yards, one touchdown), David Shaw’s group still kept ticking in one of their most impressive games of the season when they were pretty much backed into a corner at 2-3 coming into the weekend.

Cameron Scarlett rushed for 151 yards and a touchdown to help take the pressure off third string QB Jack West, who entered down the stretch in the second half after Mills was relegated to the sidelines for an undisclosed injury. Up to that point the offense was averaging nearly eight yards a play and putting up their best numbers of the season despite facing off against one of the best defenses, statistically, on the West Coast.

While that unit let Chris Petersen down with occasional penalties, blown coverages and third down conversions, it was the offense that seemed to be unusually stuck in neutral all night. Jacob Eason threw for just 206 yards with a touchdown and an interception but was under 50% passing and moved the sticks on third down just twice. Tailback Richard Newton rushed for 64 yards but left with a significant injury and Salvon Ahmed seemed limited as well (six carries, 28 yards) on the ground.

Aaron Fuller did have nine catches for 171 yards as one highlight for the purple and gold but that was balanced out by top threat Hunter Bryant standing on the sidelines with one catch for eight yards as the team remains winless on the Farm dating back to a rare victory in 2007.

Add it all up and the Pac-12’s already thin College Football Playoff hopes are basically down to a Hail Mary that Oregon, which struggled against Cal and their own backup QB earlier in the night, running the table. The Ducks and Huskies still have to play in Seattle in two weeks but that once marquee matchup is not quite as big on the league slate after this loss.

As for Stanford, they badly needed a victory to even their record at 3-3 on the year. While they still seem tough to truly take serious in the North Division race, their chances of making a bowl game have improved significantly after looking a little questionable after blowouts to USC and UCF. They’ll be able to rest up on an off week before hosting a lackluster UCLA squad and then play Pac-12 South leading Arizona after that at home.

Up is down and down is up sometimes in the Pac-12 and that appears to be the case again this weekend as yet another bizarre result shakes things up after dark on the West Coast.

Highest-rated signee in Texas A&M Class of 2018, Leon O’Neal, enters transfer portal

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For nearly the dozenth time this cycle, a Texas A&M football player is looking to leave College Station.  And this one was a huge 2018 get.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday evening, Leon O’Neal announced that he has decided to leave the Aggies and continue his playing career elsewhere.  No reason for his decision to enter the NCAA transfer database was given.

“I want to thank Texas A&M for everything,” the defensive back wrote. “Every game was one I’ll never forget. Win, lose or draw The 12th Man never lost [their] spirit. I want to thank my brothers for the love and support. Our bond will last forever.”

A four-star member of the Texas A&M football Class of 2018, O’Neal was the No. 8 player at any position in the state of Texas.  He was also the No. 8 safety in the country.  Most notably, O’Neal was the highest-rated member of the Aggies’ class that year.

O’Neal was part of Jimbo Fisher‘s first recruiting class after taking over as the A&M football head coach in December of 2017.

As a true freshman, O’Neal appeared in all 13 games for Texas A&M football.  Most of that action came on special teams.  This past season, the safety started eight of the 12 games in which he played.

Boise State DB DeAndre Pierce opts to enter transfer portal

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The playing career of one injury-plagued Boise State football player has come to an end.  At least, in Idaho it has.

According to 247Sports.com, DeAndre Pierce has made the decision to move on from the Boise State football program.  A BSU football official subsequently confirmed overnight that the defensive back’s name is listed in the NCAA transfer database.

No specific reason for the parting of ways was given.

If Pierce follows through and transfers away from Boise State football, he would do so as a graduate transfer.  That would allow him to play at another FBS school immediately in 2020.  If that’s the tack he chooses, of course.

Pierce was a three-star member of the Broncos’ Class of 2016.  The California native took a redshirt as a true freshman.  In 2017, Pierce started 11 of the 14 games in which he played.  He earned honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference honors for that season.

Then, the injuries hit.

The safety started four of the first five games in 2018 before a lacerated spleen sidelined him for the rest of the season.  In 2019, Pierce started five games… but missed the other nine because of various injuries.

When healthy, Pierce was credited with 144 tackles, seven tackles for loss, six passed defensed, one sack and one interception.

Even with legal case (mostly) settled, WR Joshua Moore’s status at Texas won’t be determined until closer to start of 2020 season

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Even as the off-field aspect was cleared up for one member of the Texas Longhorns football program, there’s still no clarity as it relates to him getting back onto the field.  And likely won’t be clarified for a few months.

In August, Joshua Moore was arrested on a charge of unlawful carrying of a weapon. Thursday, the wide receiver pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor weapons charge. Moore avoided jail time with the plea, with the Austin American-Statesman writing that “[t]he deferred adjudication agreement states [Judge Nancy] Hohengarten will not enter a guilty finding if Moore stays out of further legal trouble over the next year, completes 60 hours of community service and fulfills any counseling conditions the probation department recommends.”

Because of the off-field situation, Moore was not permitted to play in games for Texas Longhorns football last season. He was, though, allowed to practice with the rest of his UT teammates.

A Texas Longhorns football official stated after the player’s plea that a decision on whether Moore will be permitted to play in games in 2020 won’t be determined until closer to the season kicking off.

A four-star 2018 signee, Moore played in the first six games as a true freshman before going down with a season-ending shoulder injury. In that half-season of work, the 6-1, 180-pound receiver totaled 53 yards and a touchdown on seven receptions.

If he’s cleared to play in games — the odds are very much in his favor, provided he doesn’t violate the terms of his plea agreement — Moore is expected to take on a bigger role in the Texas Longhorns football passing game in 2020.

New Colorado head coach Karl Dorrell retains four of Mel Tucker’s assistants

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Karl Dorrell‘s first Colorado football coaching staff will have a decidedly Mel Tucker feel to it.

Feb. 12, Tucker left Colorado football to take over as the head coach at Michigan State.  Eleven days later, Dorrell was the surprise hire as Tucker’s replacement.  Dorrell’s first hirings four days his official hiring will actually be retentions as the program announced that four of Tucker’s former assistants will remain as part of the new coaching staff.

Those four are:

  • Darrin Chiaverini (wide receivers coach/assistant head coach under Tucker)
  • Darian Hagan (running backs coach)
  • Brian Michalowski (outside linebackers)
  • Tyson Summers (defensive coordinator/safeties)

According to the release from Colorado football, the holdovers’ “exact responsibilities will be determined once the remaining six assistant positions are filled, which Dorrell hopes to conclude sometime early next week.” It’s believed that Chiaverini will serve as Dorrell’s offensive coordinator, although, obviously, that hasn’t yet been confirmed.

“It’s always important if you can maintain some continuity during a coaching change,” the new Colorado football head coach said in a statement. “I’ve been around enough college and professional teams where doing so offers some stability. I had great conversations with all four and while I haven’t determined their exact roles as of yet, I am excited that we share the same goals and vision for the program. I am excited about all four and am looking forward to working with them.”

Both Chiaverini and Hagans have been a part of the Colorado football program for the past four seasons.  Both Summers and Michalowski were in their first years in Boulder.

Prior to his departure for East Lansing, Tucker had just completed his first season in Boulder, going 5-7.  Since a 10-4 2016 season, the Buffaloes have gone 5-7 each of the past three seasons.  That 2016 season is the program’s only winning record since 2005.