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Washington’s leading returning receiver could miss all of 2018

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Washington, the overwhelming favorite to claim the Pac-12 crown, already knew it was coming into the 2018 season having to replace significant lost production in the passing game.  As it stands now, they could very well have to replace even more.

Speculation has been bouncing around social media of late that Hunter Bryant was dealing with what was potentially a significant injury issue.  At the Pac-12 Media Days Wednesday, Chris Petersen confirmed that the Huskies tight end had undergone knee surgery earlier this offseason.

As a result, the head coach further confirmed that Bryant will miss at least the start of the 2018 regular season.  Not only that, but Petersen indicated that Bryant missing the entire year is not out of the question.

From al.com:

He’s not going to be ready at the start of the season,” Washington coach Chris Petersen said at Pac-12 media day. “May end up being his redshirt year, especially with the four games that we can play. But he will not be ready at the start of the season. It will be a month or two before we can even kind of really see where he’s at. The surgery went really, really well.

Last season as a true freshman, Bryant’s 331 yards receiving were second on the team while his 22 receptions were third.  With Dante Pettis and his 761 yards off to the NFL, Bryant was the Huskies’ leading returning receiver in receiving yards.

Aaron Fuller, with 26 and 291, will now be UW’s leading returning receiver in catches and yards to open the upcoming season.

No. 9 Penn State tops No. 11 Washington in Fiesta Bowl as B1G sweeps Pac-12

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No. 9 Penn State burst to a 28-7 lead and held on for a 35-28 win over No. 11 Washington to take the Fiesta Bowl. The triumph clinched back-to-back 11-win seasons for Penn State for the first time since 2008-09 and moved the Nittany Lions to 7-0 all-time in the Fiesta Bowl, but it was hard to limit Saturday’s result strictly to what happened on the field.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 were both left out of the College Football Playoff this winter, and the leagues responded in completely opposite fashions. Penn State’s win lifted the Big Ten to 6-0 with two games still to go, while the Pac-12 completed its postseason with a dismal 1-8 mark, including losses in all four contests against the Big Ten. According to a tweet from ESPN’s Kyle Bonagura, the 1-8 record is the worst bowl season ever by a Power 5 conference.

The Nittany Lions accepted the ball to open the game and promptly moved 83 yards in eight plays, the final 48 on a Trace McSorley dime to DaeSean Hamilton. McSorley fired an interception in the end zone on Penn State’s next possession, but made up for that mistake by piloting an 11-play, 64-yard drive that culminated in a 2-yard Saquon Barkley rush to put the Lions up 14-0 just over a dozen minutes into the game.

Needing a score, Chris Petersen cracked open his book of trick plays. Jake Browning fired a backward pass to wide receiver Andre Baccellia, who then lofted the ball to defensive lineman Will Dissly for a 52-yard gain down to the Penn State 12. Browning put the Huskies on the board two plays later on a 1-yard keeper. 

Though Washington (10-3) was back in the game, that didn’t last long. Penn State pushed the lead back to two scores with a 7-play, 76-yard touchdown drive, then broke it open when Barkley charged for a 92-yard touchdown run to give the Nittany Lions a 28-7 lead at the 9:01 mark of the second quarter.

The Huskies cut back into the deficit with help from Penn State, thanks to a fumbled exchange between McSorley and backup running back Miles Sanders at their own 33. Myles Gaskin pulled the Huskies back within 14 with a 13-yard scoring jaunt with 4:15 to play in the half. Washington then opened the second half with a 13-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that ended on a 28-yard toss from Browning to Aaron Fuller.

Their deficit shrunk to seven points for the first time since it was 7-0, Penn State responded with a 70-yard touchdown drive, culminating in Hamilton’s second touchdown catch of the game and the 212th total grab of his career, setting the Penn State career record. The Nittany Lions had a chance to push their advantage to three scores early in the fourth quarter, marching to the Washington 18, but McSorley’s 2nd-and-5 pass was tipped and intercepted.

Washington could not immediately capitalize but did on its next possession, as Gaskin burst free for a 69-yard touchdown run to cut the deficit to 35-28 with 6:52 to play. Penn State consumed all but 34 remaining seconds on its ensuing drive, setting up a 4th-and-1 that would have clinched the game. However, the Nittany Lions were flagged for a false start and, faced now with a 4th-and-6, Tyler Davis‘s 45-yard field goal sailed wide right, giving Washington the ball back at its own 28.

Armed with no timeouts, Washington attempted a hook-and-ladder play but, playing on the same field as the mythic 2007 Fiesta Bowl, no miracle was in order for Petersen’s team this time. Dante Pettis crossed midfield with the opportunity to go out of bounds and regroup for a Hail Mary, but his lateral attempt back toward the middle of the field was intercepted by Penn State’s Brandon Smith.

In (probably) the final game for college football’s best backfield tandem, McSorley and Barkley were as good as ever. McSorley completed 32-of-41 passes — including a perfect 12-of-12 on third down — for 342 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing 12 times for 60 yards, and Barkley rushed 18 times for 137 yards and two scores while catching seven passes for 38 yards. Hamilton added five grabs for 110 yards and two touchdowns. Facing a defense that ranked in the top five nearly across the board, Penn State gained 545 yards on 6.9 yards per play with 25 first downs and 13 third-down conversions on 17 tries.

Browning completed 18-of-28 passes for 175 yards and a score, while Gaskin led the Huskies with 14 carries for 98 yards and two touchdowns.

AP All-American Team highlighted by Mayfield and Sooners on First Team

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The Oklahoma Sooners will bring three AP First Team All-Americans into the College Football Playoff this year, including Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. Mayfield was named a First Team All-American by the Associated Press on Monday, and he is joined by fellow Sooners offensive tackle Orlando Brown and tight end Mark Andrews.

Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, and Clemson defensive end Clelin Ferrell were also named to the AP’s First Team to combine to match Oklahoma’s First Team total. Other First Team All-Americans included Heisman finalist and Doak Walker Award winner Bryce Love of Stanford, Biletnikoff Award winner James Washington. Lombardi Award winner Saquon Barkley of Penn State was named to the First Team as an all-purpose player, and the nation’s leading rusher, Rashaad Penny of San Diego State joined Love as a First Team running back.

FIRST TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Baker Mayfield, senior, Oklahoma.

Running backs — Bryce Love, junior, Stanford; Rashaad Penny, senior, San Diego State.

Tackles — Orlando Brown, junior, Oklahoma; Mike McGlinchey, senior, Notre Dame.

Guards — Quenton Nelson, senior, Notre Dame; Braden Smith, senior, Auburn.

Center — Billy Price, senior, Ohio State.

Tight end — Mark Andrews, junior, Oklahoma.

Receivers — James Washington, senior, Oklahoma State; Anthony Miller, senior, Memphis.

All-purpose player — Saquon Barkley, junior, Penn State.

Kicker — Matt Gay, junior, Utah.

DEFENSE

Ends — Bradley Chubb, senior, North Carolina State; Clelin Ferrell, sophomore, Clemson.

Tackles — Hercules Mata’afa, junior, Washington State; Maurice Hurst, senior, Michigan.

Linebackers — Roquan Smith, junior, Georgia; Josey Jewell, senior, Iowa; T.J. Edwards, junior, Wisconsin.

Cornerbacks — Josh Jackson, junior, Iowa; Denzel Ward, junior, Ohio State.

Safeties — Minkah Fitzpatrick, junior, Alabama; DeShon Elliott, junior, Texas.

Punter — Michael Dickson, junior, Texas.

———————-

SECOND TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Lamar Jackson, junior, Louisville.

Running backs — Jonathan Taylor, freshman, Wisconsin; Kerryon Johnson, junior, Auburn.

Tackles — Mitch Hyatt, junior, Clemson; Isaiah Wynn, senior, Georgia.

Guards — Cody O’Connell, senior, Washington State; Will Hernandez, senior, UTEP.

Center — Bradley Bozeman, senior, Alabama.

Tight end — Troy Fumagalli, senior, Wisconsin.

Receivers — David Sills V, junior, West Virginia; Michael Gallup, senior, Colorado State.

All-purpose player — Dante Pettis, senior, Washington.

Kicker — Daniel Carlson, senior, Auburn.

DEFENSE

Ends — Sutton Smith, sophomore, Northern Illinois; Nick Bosa, sophomore, Ohio State.

Tackles — Ed Oliver, sophomore, Houston; Christian Wilkins, junior, Clemson.

Linebackers — Malik Jefferson, junior, Texas; Ogbonnia Okoronkwo, senior, Oklahoma; Dorian O’Daniel, senior, Clemson.

Cornerbacks — Jalen Davis, senior, Utah State; Carlton Davis, junior, Auburn.

Safeties — Derwin James, junior, Florida State; Justin Reid, junior, Stanford.

Punter — Johnny Townsend, senior, Florida.

———————-

THIRD TEAM

OFFENSE

Quarterback — Mason Rudolph, senior, Oklahoma State.

Running backs — Ronald Jones II, junior, Southern California; Devin Singletary, sophomore, Florida Atlantic.

Tackles — David Edwards, sophomore, Wisconsin; Jonah Williams, sophomore, Alabama.

Guards — Beau Benzschawel, junior, Wisconsin; Tyrone Crowder, senior, Clemson.

Center — Frank Ragnow, senior, Arkansas.

Tight end — Jaylen Samuels, senior, North Carolina State.

Receivers — Steve Ishmael, senior, Syracuse; A.J. Brown, sophomore, Mississippi.

All-purpose player — D.J. Reed, junior, Kansas State.

Kicker — Eddy Piniero, junior, Florida.

DEFENSE

Ends — Austin Bryant, junior, Clemson; Mat Boesen, senior, TCU.

Tackles — Vita Vea, junior, Washington; Harrison Phillips, senior, Stanford.

Linebackers — Micah Kiser, senior, Virginia; Tremaine Edmunds, junior, Virginia Tech; Devin Bush, sophomore, Michigan.

Cornerbacks — Andraez Williams, redshirt freshman, LSU; Jack Jones, sophomore, Southern California.

Safeties — Armani Watts, senior, Texas A&M; Quin Blanding, senior, Virginia.

Punter — Mitch Wisnowsky, junior, Utah.

Paul Hornung Award names Saquon Barkley its 2017 winner

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He may have been snubbed in the eyes of some when it came to the Heisman Trophy voting, but Saquon Barkley will still be taking home at least one piece of national hardware this awards season.

It was announced Wednesday morning that the Penn State running back has become the second straight player from the Big Ten to win the Paul Hornung Award.  Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers was the winner of the 2016 award.

There were three other finalists for this year’s award — North Carolina State running back Nyheim Hines, Iowa State linebacker/quarterback Joel Lanning and Washington wide receiver Dante Pettis.

“It is an honor to win an award like the Paul Hornung Award for the most versatile player in college football,” Barkley said in a statement. “I am so appreciative of Mr. Hornung and the Louisville Sports Commission for selecting me for this very special honor. I have to give a lot of the credit to my teammates and coaches, they are the reason that I am in position to win this award and I could not have done it without them. I also want to thank our amazing fans at Penn State. We Are!”

“I am thrilled for Saquon to join this elite list of Paul Hornung Award winners,” said Barkley’s head coach, James Franklin. “I couldn’t be more proud of Saquon and everything he has accomplished at Penn State. In my 22 years of coaching, I have never coached or seen a player who can affect the game the way Saquon Barkley does. The Hornung Award is not only honoring the most versatile player in college football, but is also recognizing one of the best people in college football.”

Barkley, who’s expected to leave Penn State early for the NFL, is currently second in the country in all-purpose yards.  Not only does Barkley lead the Nittany Lions in rushing, but he’s third in both receptions and receiving yards and is the team’s top kick returner.

Myles Gaskin, No. 17 Washington runs away with Apple Cup to deny No. 13 Washington State the Pac-12 North title

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No. 13 Washington State had everything to play for, including a division title, a trip to the Pac-12 Championship Game and the slim hopes of sneaking into the College Football Playoff on a chaos-filled weekend. Predictably, for fans on both sides of this rivalry, the Cougars barely showed up to play on a rainy Saturday night in Seattle and lost the Apple Cup 41-14 in a runaway for No. 17 Washington.

The result gave the Huskies double-digit wins on the year for the first time since the dawn of the 1990’s and was perhaps the team’s most complete effort of the season, especially when considering the stage, the opponent and the weather. Quarterback Jake Browning didn’t need to throw the ball much given the sub-par conditions, managing just 93 yards though the air and finding the end zone only off a short keeper past the goal line.

Of course it’s not like he needed to do much when he could just turn around and hand it off to Myles Gaskin. The junior, who very well could have played his final game at Husky Stadium, was terrific from the opening whistle and finished with 192 yards and four scores to pace an offense that wasn’t quite hitting on every cylinder but was fairly efficient once it found its legs. Backup Salvon Ahmed added another 82 yards as two of the team’s biggest weapons (tailback Lavon Coleman and wideout/return man Dante Pettis) both left in the first half with leg injuries.

Such offensive numbers weren’t bad but they were overshadowed quite a bit by the phenomenal performance from UW’s defense. They recorded four turnovers in the game, five sacks and didn’t allow a third down conversion until late in the fourth quarter. Defensive linemen Vita Vea was a constant presence in the backfield all night despite double-teams and the secondary seemed to have no issues with Mike Leach’s Air Raid offense.

That played a big role in record-setting quarterback Luke Falk looking even less than pedestrian against his rival to go 0-fer in his Apple Cup career against the Huskies. He wound up throwing for 369 yards and a touchdown but had three interceptions and a fumble on a night where not much could go right for the Cougs. Even worse, the team’s best defender — defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa — was called for targeting in the third quarter and will miss the first half of their bowl game next month.

He will not miss the Pac-12 Championship game next week though because the team will be sitting at home in Pullman watching on. By virtue of Stanford’s win over Washington a few weeks ago, the Cardinal got the result they needed on Saturday to book their ticket to face USC at Levi’s Stadium on Friday for the league title.

That wasn’t how Wazzu wanted things to play out of course after controlling their own destiny in the conference but it was one that their rivals at Washington were happy to give them in order to keep the Apple Cup in Seattle yet again.