Getty Images

No. 19 Texas watches Big 12 title hopes die in walk-off loss to Iowa State

3 Comments

No. 19 Texas went to Ames on Saturday afternoon knowing a win over Iowa State and a No. 10 Oklahoma win over No. 13 Baylor tonight meant a de facto Big 12 semifinal between the Longhorns and Bears next Saturday.

However, a season-high nine punts, eight three-and-outs, a failed fourth down try and a catastrophic offsides penalty conspired to cancel that semifinal before it began, as Iowa State beat Texas, 23-21.

The win is sweet triumph for Iowa State (6-4), whose four losses came by one, two, seven and one point.

Despite the 2-point margin, Iowa State dominated the first three quarters of the game.

It appeared Iowa State would take a 10-0 lead into the break, as Texas took over the ball at its own 25 with 47 seconds left in the first half, having gained 59 yards on their first 24 snaps. Instead, the Longhorns briefly came alive, covering 75 yards in alternating passes to Devin Duvernay and Brennan Eagles, bridging the gap to 10-7 and giving the visitors momentum heading into the break.

That momentum did not last. Brock Purdy found Deshaunte Jones wide open behind the defense on the first play from scrimmage of the second half, putting the Cyclones back up 10. Brayden Narveson then pushed the lead to 20-7 on a 48-yard field goal with 12:09 to go in the third quarter, and Texas answered by registering its sixth and seventh three-and-outs of the day.

The Longhorns finally got off the mat late in the third quarter, moving 80 yards in 10 plays and scoring when Sam Ehlinger hit Keontay Ingram on 3rd-and-10 for a 21-yard touchdown, a play when he leaked out of the backfield and punished a zero blitz.

When the Texas defense forced a punt with 12:20 to play, the Longhorns took over at their own 11 and put together a marathon, miracle 15-play, 89-yard touchdown drive in which Texas overcame a 2nd-and-35 and, later, took the lead when Ehlinger found Malcolm Epps for a 7-yard touchdown on 4th-and-goal, giving Texas a 21-20 lead with 5:37 to play.

Iowa State gained a first down on the ensuing possession, and prepared to go for a 4th-and-5 from midfield, but a delay of game forced Matt Campbell to send the punting unit on the field, giving Texas the ball and the lead for the first time of the game. The Longhorns did nothing with it, running for no gain on first and second down and throwing incomplete on third, marking their eighth three and out of the game. Chris Naggar‘s ninth punt, a season high, sailed and rolled 67 yards, pushing the Cyclones back to their own 18, but they were in Texas territory in two plays thanks to a 15-yard strike to Jones and a 22-yard grab by La'Michael Pettway, while fighting off pass interference.

Jalen Green eventually forced an incompletion on 3rd-and-4, setting up a 44-yard field goal with 2:16 to play. But Narveson’s try never happened, because Texas linebacker Joseph Ossai jumped offside, putting the Iowa State offense back on the field.

Having exhausted all its timeouts to set up the first try, Texas could not stop as Iowa State ran the clock down to just four seconds. This time, Connor Assalley tried from 36 yards, and it was good, clinching Iowa State’s first walk-off field-goal win since 1983.

The loss drops Texas (6-4, 4-3 Big 12) out of Big 12 title contention and will send them back to Austin wondering what might have been. In addition to the Ossai penalty, Texas also blew an opportunity in the second quarter, when D'Shawn Jamison intercepted a Purdy pass at the Iowa State 39 but Texas stubbornly refused to throw the ball on the possession, running sight straight times, including for a 1-yard loss on fourth-and-2 from the Iowa State 22.

For the game, Texas ran for 54 yards on 26 carries, 27 of them by Ehlinger, who completed 22-of-40 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns.

Coronavirus has finally forced Nick Saban to get email

Nick Saban
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Nick Saban is finally taking ‘The Process’ online.

After years and years of being one of the rare worldwide holdouts, the Alabama head coach has apparently joined modern times and gotten an email account. Per 247Sports’ Charlie Potter, Saban jumped on a livestream with ESPN’s Maria Taylor. While chatting about his daily routine at home in light of the coronavirus pandemic, the Crimson Tide overlord revealed a fascinating nugget about his communication habits — including the involvement of his wife Miss Terry:

Incredible.

Saban is often lauded for how he connects to players decades his junior but that has rarely extended to the forms of digital communication he uses. While he does FaceTime recruits or, now, Zoom with his staff, the addition of email is quite the milestone in Tuscaloosa.

Maybe he’ll get a Twitter account next.

Ahh, who are we kidding, the Twitters and the Instas are too much to ask. Still, now we can’t help but wonder what his email address. Did he get creative? Sixringz@UAemail.com? Or was it just a Gmail with a Nick Saban username?

COVID-19 has had a terrible impact on the world at large and college football in general. But it’s good to know that at least in some cases, there are a few silver linings for a few head coaches.

Virginia Tech AD: ‘We would be open to shifting the (CFB) season’

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Virginia Tech doesn’t speak for all of college football but a key figure at the school opened up about massive potential changes coming to the sport as a result of the coronavirus.

Speaking on a conference call Wednesday, athletic director Walt Babcock told reporters that the entire calendar for CFB could be moved back just to get a full season in.

“Everyone wants to try to play a football season if it’s safe,” Babcock said, according to Richmond Times-Dispatch’s Mike Barber. “We would be open to shifting the season, even if it overlapped with other sports.”

That comment isn’t just some AD speaking either. Babcock is a member of the NCAA Division I Football Oversight Committee, a key decision-making body. While he doesn’t speak for the committee as a whole, the fact that he is even bringing up the topic is notable.

It goes without saying that nobody knows just how the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic will play out over the coming months. Some, like Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundyhave advocated for bringing players back to campus as early as May. Most others are far more pessimistic.

Babcock also noted that he would rather wait to make things are safe enough for fans to return to stadiums as well. That is in line with other AD’s, with Texas A&M’s Ross Bjork noting the financial impact of playing in empty stadiums to go along with the eerie feeling.

Hokies head coach Justin Fuente was also on the call and was asked for his thoughts on a potential return to the gridiron. He seemed to indicate that while it’s not ideal, he may need as little as a month of camp prior to taking the field for a live game:

That is a bit of a contrast to USC’s Clay Helton, who indicated he would need four weeks just to get ready for fall camp — so roughly two months before the season starts. Such conflicting views should underscore how difficult it will be for everybody to gather in support for one unified start date to the 2020 season.

Leaders in college athletics will have plenty of time to work through all that in the coming days, weeks and months. The good news, at least, is that there are far fewer questions about if college football gets played again and far more comments about when it gets played again going forward.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history

college football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on April 8, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Who will be the next first-time college football national championship coach?
THE SYNOPSIS: As it turned out, we didn’t have to wait long for that answer.  Ed Orgeron claimed his first national championship as a head coach as LSU dropped Clemson in the 2019 College Football Playoff title game.

2018

THE HEADLINE: UCLA’s Jaelan Phillips vows ‘MAJOR comeback’ after ‘minor setback’ in recovery from scooter accident
THE SYNOPSIS: In a twist, Phillips’ comeback will happen at Miami.  The nation’s top 2017 recruit transferred to the Hurricanes in July of last year.  After sitting out the 2019 season, he has two years of eligibility remaining.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Jimbo Fisher on Deondre Francois: He is a big-time player, he can lead
THE SYNOPSIS: Eight months later, the head coach left Florida State to take the same job at Texas A&M.  A little over a year after that, the quarterback was dismissed by FSU amidst an off-field imbroglio.

2016

THE HEADLINE: NCAA shuts down satellite camps for good
THE SYNOPSIS: Remember this storyline?  Remember how it engulfed the sport of college football for a year?  Yeah, that was awesome.  Or not.

2015

THE HEADLINE: LSU’s most-improved offensive player? It’s (gulp) Leonard Fournette
THE SYNOPSIS: “You’d be hard-pressed to have me tell you anybody other than Leonard is the most-improved player on our offense,” then-offensive coordinator Cam Cameron stated at the time.  So, how did it play out on the field?  Let’s go to the Tale of the Statistical Tape:

Freshman Fournette: 1,034 yards, 5.5 yards per carry, 10 touchdowns in 13 games
Sophomore Fournette: 1,953 yards, 6.5 ypc, 22 touchdowns in 12 games

2014

THE HEADLINE: Notre Dame, Georgia talking future series
THE SYNOPSIS: Nearly three months later, a home-and-home between the college football bluebloods was formally announced.  The Bulldogs won both of those matchups, in 2017 and 2019.  UGA athletic director Greg McGarity said in September of last year that he’s open to adding games to the series.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Bobby Petrino support group planning Monday rally
THE SYNOPSIS: This headline makes me laugh every time I see.  Every.  Single.  Time.

2010

THE HEADLINE: Lacerated kidney latest setback for ‘Cocks’ LeCorn
THE SYNOPSIS: “‘Cocks.” The 12-year-old in me still giggles.  As does the current-day me, actually.

Nick Saban will reportedly add Shiloh Keo as an Alabama football staffer

Alabama football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The sport may have hit the pause button, but The Process for the Alabama football program continues.

According to Matt Zenitz of al.com, Nick Saban is expected to add Shiloh Keo to his extended Alabama football staff. No specific job description for Keo was given, with Zenitz writing that he will work “in a support staff capacity.”

Thus far, Alabama has not addressed any new additions to Saban’s football staff.

The 32-year-old Keo played his college football at Idaho from 2006-10. The Idaho native earned first-team Freshman All-American honors that first season with the Vandals. A four-year starter — he took a redshirt in 2008 because of injury — the defensive back was first-team All-WAC (remember that conference?) as a redshirt junior and second-team honors as a fifth-year senior.

The Houston Texans selected Keo in the fifth round of the 2011 NFL Draft. Keo played six seasons for four different teams. In addition to the Texans, Keo spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals, Denver Broncos and New Orleans Saints.

Alabama is set to open the 2020 college football season against USC Sept. 5 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. It will be the 14th season under Saban. The Crimson Tide will also be coming off missing the College Football Playoff for the first time since the system to determine a national champion was instituted for the 2014 season.