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No. 7 Oregon pulls away from USC to stay perfect in Pac-12 play

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This weekend was the final chance to leave an impression before the College Football Playoff Selection Committee releases their first set of rankings and No. 7 Oregon wound up making quite the statement on Saturday night. The Ducks used touchdowns in all three phases to overcome a slow start and pull away from what had been a division-leading USC team, scoring a 56-24 win at the L.A. Coliseum that left no doubt as to who is the Pac-12’s best hope of crashing the postseason’s final four.

Mario Cristobal had to be happy with the complete effort his team put forward after falling in an early 10-0 hole, taking the lead over an eight minute stretch of the second quarter that included just one offensive drive but three touchdowns via a pass, a pick-six and a 100-yard kickoff return. That helped take pressure off an offense that took awhile to get going before eventually opening up the floodgates. QB Justin Herbert tossed an early interception but bounced-back to throw for an efficient 225 yards and three scores (rushing for another) attempts. His strong arm helped make up for a ground game that was surprisingly ineffective after rushing for over two bills last week, with Travis Dye posting the high-water mark of 75 yards on the ground.

All told it was a 56-14 run for the Ducks over the final three quarters of the game, emptying out a rather sparse Coliseum to begin with for a Trojans squad that had been undefeated at home this season. Freshman QB Kedon Slovis had to pretty much carry the offense and finished with 264 yards and three touchdown passes on a whopping school-record 57 attempts, solid numbers were it not for a fumble in the red zone and three interceptions (all of which wound up as points the other way). That put the USC defense behind the ball most of the night and they simply weren’t up to the task against one of the more balanced units in the conference.

As a result, Clay Helton’s team finally found themselves knocked out of first place in the Pac-12 South when combined with No. 9 Utah’s earlier win over Washington up in Seattle. The final score may also have been the final nail in the coffin for their embattled head coach, who will wake up at some point next week with the school officially naming a new athletic director and rumors of Urban Meyer lurking in the weeks continuing to swirl.

Those are concerns that Oregon AD Rob Mullens won’t have to focus on as he catches a plane to Dallas on Sunday morning to begin his duties as the chair of the Selection Committee. Though he won’t be able to make his case for his team as part of the recusal process, it’s not like he’ll need to after the kind of performance on Saturday night that the Ducks put forward just as the chase for the final four heats up across the country.

Dave Doeren not impressed with Xavier Lyas’ decision to transfer from NC State

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We didn’t start the day with a portal post, but you knew the odds were favorable that we’d get one in sooner rather than later.

On his personal Twitter account over the weekend, North Carolina State’s Xavier Lyas announced that he has “decided to enter the transfer portal in order for me to reach my full potential both academically and football.”

The defensive end’s head coach, though, didn’t seem very impressed with Lyas’ decision. From Dave Doeren‘s Monday press conference, via Rivals.com:

When did you find out about Xavier Lyas and what does his departure kind of do to depth?

“He came in and see me saw me on Sunday. Wish him luck, rather talk about the guys that are here. Somebody put a great screenshot out today, though, that their girlfriend was in the portal, I thought that was pretty funny. It’s life, some of these kids don’t play as much as they want and how it goes.

“So as far as our depth will be fine. We got enough defensive ends we’ll be good.

Lyas was a three-star member of the Wolfpack’s 2017 recruiting class.  This season, Lyas is currently third in sacks with four and tied for third in tackles for loss 4½.  Additionally, his two forced fumbles are tops on the team.

Three Power Five WRs added to Biletnikoff watch list

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For the fourth time in a little over a month, a major college football honor is adding to its watch list.

This week, the Biletnikoff Award announced that it has added five wide receivers to its watch list, including three from Power Five schools and two from Group of Five programs.  Those included this go-around are Louisville’s Chatarius Atwell, Western Kentucky’s Lucky Jackson, Syracuse’s Trishton Jackson, Tennessee’s Jauan Jennings and San Jose State’s Tre Walker (pictured).

Below are each players’ statistical particulars for the 2019 season:

  • Atwell: 46 receptions for 810 yards, eight touchdowns
  • L. Jackson: 62-839-2
  • T. Jackson: 51-780-8
  • Jennings: 50-771-7
  • Walker: 59-896-1

Walker is currently 13th in the nation in receiving yards, Lucky Jackson 17th. The latter is also tied for 25th in receptions per game.

The Biletnikoff Award is handed out annually to the nation’s most outstanding FBS receiver. The Tallahassee Quarterback Club Foundation, which oversees the honor, stresses that “[a]ny player, regardless of position (wide receiver, tight end, slot back and running back) who catches a pass is eligible for the award.”

Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy was the 2018 winner of the award.  A wide receiver has won the award every year since it was first handed out in 1994, and all of the players added this week are listed as receivers.

Texas Tech intends to redshirt QBs Alan Bowman and Maverick McIvor

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A season that was derailed early on by injury concerns will now end with Alan Bowman redshirting the 2019 season. Texas Tech head coach Matt Wells confirmed on Monday Bowman will redshirt the remainder of the 2019 season to preserve a year of eligibility. The decision is not much of a surprise given the current status of the Red Raiders offense and Bowman’s injury history. Maverick McIvor, who has not appeared in a game this season due to an offseason foot injury, will also redshirt the remainder of the season.

In mid-September, Bowman was said to miss “several weeks” due to a shoulder injury. Although Bowman has now been medically cleared to play for the Red Raiders, the situation in Lubbock appears to be a good opportunity to protect the shoulder a little more unless absolutely needed. The decision to redshirt was Bowman’s, according to multiple reports, and Wells agreed that was in the best interest of all involved.

Bowman appeared in three games this season for the Red Raiders, leaving him one more game to play without jeopardizing a year of eligibility. Texas Tech could still play Bowman in one more game and not have this season count against his redshirt year under the NCAA’s revised redshirt rules from a year ago.

In his three games played, Bowman has completed 101 of 154 attempts for 1,020 yards and six touchdowns with three interceptions. Jett Duffey has led the offense in Bowman’s absence, and he has performed admirably with 1,774 yards and 10 touchdowns to just two interceptions over seven games.

McIvor is a freshman, so he will still have four years of eligibility beginning with the 2020 season.

Houston cornerback Ka’Darian Smith charged with aggravated assault

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Houston cornerback Ka’Darian Smith has been suspended by the football program after he was charged for aggravated assault for an incident occurring last week. Smith admitted to the assault to police and was released from jail after posting bond.

“We are aware of the serious allegations regarding Ka’Darian Smith,” a UH Athletics spokesperson said, according to The Daily Cougar. “He has been suspended indefinitely from the Houston football program. We will have no further comment at this time.”

According to police records, the incident leading to the charge occurred last Wednesday, Nov. 6. The alleged victim was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for injuries to the upper body and the head.

Smith responded to a tweet from Houston Chronicle reporter Joseph Duarte, there was more to the story about the alleged victim. According to Smith, the man broke into his room and was stealing from Smith.

How long Smith remains suspended may depend on how long the legal process takes to play out, which is fairly standard for incidents like these.