John Taylor

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Pac-12 ref suspended for penalizing wrong team in Cal-Wazzu game

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Pac-12 refs gonna Pac-12 ref.

In the third quarter of the Washington State-Cal game Saturday, the Cougars were penalized 15 yards for hands to the face on a kickoff return.  So, instead of starting the drive at midfield, Wazzu was forced to start it at their own eight-yard line.

The only problem?

It was actually the Golden Bears who committed the penalty, which should’ve been tacked on at the end of the return and given the Cougars the ball in Cal territory.

In a statement Sunday night, the Pac-12 “acknowledged an error in officiating” during the game on the return in question. “After the next play was run, the referee informed Washington State that there was an error in application of the penalty,” the conference’s release read. “The penalty was on the kicking team number 15, not the receiving team, and the penalty should have been assessed on California at the end of the play with the ball spotted at California’s 35-yard line.

“The conference confirmed the penalty for hands to the face was correct. However, the mechanics and communication were incorrect in assessing the penalty to Washington State instead of California.”

As a result of the mistake, the referee, listed in the gamebook as Matt Richards, has been given a one-game suspension.  “The remaining members of the officiating crew have been downgraded,” the conference added.

For those curious, the controversial drive that led to the punitive measures ended with a Wazzu field goal to cut Cal’s lead to 20-14 at the time.  The Cougars ended up losing the game 33-20, triggering yet another Mike Leach rant.

Kings of Carolina: Appalachian State knocks off South Carolina, North Carolina in same season

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When it comes to the Power Five Carolinas, Appalachian State reigns supreme.

Back in Week 4, App State jumped out to a 27-17 halftime lead on North Carolina in Chapel Hill and then held on for a 34-31 win in the first-ever meeting between the two Tar Heel state programs.  That win was part of a 7-0 start to the season that had the Mountaineers sitting at No. 20 in the Associated Press Top 25; a three-point loss to Georgia Southern in Week 10 burst the Sun Belt school’s unbeaten bubble.

Next up for an App State squad looking to bounce back from that first 2019 loss was South Carolina, with the Mountaineers and Gamecocks squaring off in Week 11 in the programs’ first meeting since 1977.  At the end of the first quarter in Columbia, it was 6-3 ‘Cocks; after flipping that first-half script and taking a 20-9 lead deep into the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers held on to take a 20-15 win back home to Boone.

The win marks App State’s second over South Carolina and first since 1975.  That was part of a stretch in which the schools played in six straight years from 1972-77; they hadn’t played since, and Week 11 of 2019 provided an example of why.

At 8-1 overall, and with a second Power Five win on its résumé, Appalachian State has put themselves back into, at least, the periphery of the Group of Five’s New Year’s Six discussion.

For South Carolina, the loss drops them to 4-6 on the season and, with games against Texas A&M and Clemson left, almost certainly assures that they won’t be bowling in 2019.  It will also almost certainly assure that the seat underneath Will Muschamp, who is now 26-23 in his fourth season with the program, will crank up a few more degrees.

College GameDay to make third trek to Waco for Oklahoma-Baylor

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Waco, they’re coming to your city once again.

Saturday afternoon, No. 12 Baylor barely took care of business as TCU extended the Bears to triple overtime as BU held on and remained unbeaten through nine games.  Saturday evening, and as of this posting, Oklahoma is taking care of its business against Iowa State (28-7 in the middle of the second quarter).

If OU maintains the current status quo score-wise, it will set up a showdown next week between the Sooners and Bears at McLane Stadium for control of the Big 12 heading into the last couple of weeks of the regular season.  After Week 11, Baylor sits at 6-0 in conference play while Oklahoma should be at 5-1 heading into their matchup.

With that as a backdrop, ESPN has already announced that its College GameDay pregame show will set up shop on BU’s campus for the huge Big 12 showdown.

This will mark the third time that Baylor has played host to GameDay, with the first two coming in 2014 (vs. Kansas State) and 2015 (vs. Oklahoma). They were also Oklahoma State’s opponent in 2013 when the pregame show showed up in Stillwater.

Oklahoma has an extensive history with GameDay, having made 36 appearances as part of the popular program (seven times as hosts).  That total number of appearances trails only Alabama (47), Ohio State (45) and Florida (41).

Day after AD says Mark Dantonio is safe, Michigan State blows 21-point fourth-quarter lead in loss to Illinois

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Well, that’s one way to thank your boss for his very public vote of confidence, I guess.

Friday afternoon, amidst speculation about his head coach’s hold on the job, Michigan State’s athletic director made it very clear that the seat on which Mark Dantonio sits isn’t even remotely warm let alone hot.

That is not even a discussion,” Bill Beekman said when asked if a dismissal was a possibility. “Mark’s our head coach, there’s no question about that.”

Less than 24 hours later, and after going up 28-3 early in the second quarter, Michigan State held a 28-10 halftime lead on Illinois that the Spartans stretched to 31-10 at the start of the fourth quarter.  Over the next 15 minutes, however, Sparty was outscored 27-3, with the Fighting Illini heading back to Champaign with a stunning and historic 37-34 win.

The last of those 27 points came on a five-yard pass from Brandon Peters, who threw for a career-high 369 yards in the win, to Daniel Barker with just five seconds remaining in the contest.

As mentioned in the tweet above, the Illini are now 6-4 and bowl-eligible.  It’s the first time they’ve hit six wins in Lovie Smith‘s four seasons and the first time they’ll go bowling since 2014.

For MSU, it continues a disturbing downward spiral for the program under Dantonio, regardless of the positivity coming from the head of the athletic department.

In February of 2016, MSU announced that it had reached an agreement on a revamped contract for Dantonio, currently in his 13th season in East Lansing, that pushed his annual guaranteed compensation to north of $4 million. Since that extension, which came off of three straight 10-win seasons and four in five years, the Spartans have gone 24-23, including a 4-5 record thus far in 2019.

Per that contract signed nearly four years ago, Dantonio will be due a $4.3 million bonus if he’s the Spartans head coach on Jan. 15 of next year.

After the game, though, the 63-year-old Dantonio had a very interesting response to a question about his future.

Jarren Williams sets Miami record with six TD passes in rout of Louisville

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Think of all of the great college quarterbacks that have been produced by The U.  Saturday, Jarren Williams became the greatest of them all — at least in one category.

Following a much-discussed quarterback competition, Williams began the season as Miami’s starting quarterback.  After starting the first five games, a shoulder injury knocked the redshirt freshman out for the next two; a non-football issue sidelined him for another.

Williams regained the job in the week leading into last Saturday’s game against Florida State, helping the Hurricanes to its most lopsided win over its rival since 2001 and triggering the fire of FSU’s head football coach.  A week later, Williams led Miami, 2-3 at one point this season, to its third straight win and fourth in five games as The U overwhelmed Louisville 52-27.

It was a historic performance for Williams personally as he tossed six touchdown passes in just 21 attempts.  The half-dozen scoring tosses set the football program’s single-game record.

Even better than Williams’ record-setting performance is that Miami remains in the hunt in the ACC Coastal.

With a win over Georgia Tech earlier Saturday, Virginia sits atop the division at 5-2 with one conference game remaining (Virginia Tech).  While Miami is at 4-3, they won the head-to-head tiebreaker over Virginia as they dropped the Cavaliers 17-9 earlier this season.  With one league game left (at Duke), Miami could claim the division if they win that game and Virginia loses their rivalry game — maybe, as four other teams are still a part of the divisional equation.

Tech (3-2), Pitt (3-2), North Carolina (3-3) and even Duke (2-3) all have varying degrees of a shot at the Coastal.