Boston College’s Ryan Day joins Philadelphia Eagles staff

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Boston College head  coach Steve Addazio must find a new offensive coordinator as National Signing Day approaches.

After three stints in Chestnut Hill, the Philadelphia Eagles announced former Boston College offensive coordinator Ryan Day will serve as their new quarterbacks coach.

Day served as Boston College’s offensive coordinator during the last two seasons, its wide receivers coach from 2007-11 and a graduate assistant for the 2003-04 seasons.

During his time between those stops, Day squeezed in two stops at Temple, a short stay at Florida under Urban Meyer and even began his coaching career as tight ends coach for Chip Kelly at New Hampshire in 2002.

Day’s experience with Kelly goes beyond a single season as an assistant coach, though. The current coach used to be a record-setting quarterback under Kelly at New Hampshire. He’ll now replace Bill Musgrave as  Kelly’s quarterbacks coach in Philadelphia.

Last season, Boston College finished as the nation’s 14th-best rushing attack. In 2013, Eagles running back Andre Williams was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Whoever steps into Day’s shoes will likely have a strong pedigree in running the football.

Wide receivers coach Todd Fitch previously served as the team’s passing game coordinator alongside Day. He was as an offensive coordinator during previous stops at South Florida and East Carolina. If Addazio decides to promote from within, Fitch is the most likely candidate to replace Day.

(Photo courtesy of Boston College’s athletic department)

The FBS single-season rushing record is within sight for Melvin Gordon, if Wisconsin beats Minnesota

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Melvin Gordon became the fastest player to 2,000 yards in Wisconsin’s 26-24 win over Iowa on Saturday, hitting the 2k mark on just his 241st carry of the season. Gordon rushed 31 times for 200 yards on the day, brining his season totals to 2,109 yards on 254 attempts.

And that brings a much bigger record into play.

The fleet-footed junior is currently in 10th place on the FBS all-time single-season rushing list, sitting 519 yards away from tying Barry Sanders‘ record of 2,628 yards.

The last two weeks have brought Gordon’s average up to 191.7 yards per game on the season. Three more games at that average would put Gordon at 2,684 yards on the year – breaking the record by 56 yards. Of course, the catch is that Wisconsin doesn’t have three games guaranteed left to play.

Wisconsin hosts Minnesota Saturday with a spot in the Big Ten title game on the line. A victory extends the Badgers’ season by a game, and puts Sanders’ record within reach.

Gordon would have to have outstanding games against not only Minnesota, but Ohio State in the Big Ten title game and a quality bowl opponent as well. That said, Gordon has been up to the task against top competition this season.

Here’s how Gordon stacks up among the best single-season rushing performances thus far:

1. Barry Sanders, Oklahoma State (1988) – 2,628
2. Kevin Smith, Central Florida (2007) – 2,567
3. Marcus Allen, USC (1981) – 2,342
4. Troy Davis, Iowa State (1996) – 2,185
5. Andre Williams, Boston College (2013) – 2,177
6. LaDanian Tomlinson, TCU (2000) – 2,158
7. Mike Rozier, Nebraska (1983) – 2,148
8. Matt Forte, Tulane (2007) – 2,127
9. Ricky Williams, Texas (1998) – 2,124
10. Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin (2014) – 2,109

Barring injury (knock on every piece of wood within a 10-mile radius) or an NCAA waiver allowing 14 defenders on the field, Gordon should be in fourth place by the end of the day Saturday and figures to finish no worse than third regardless of whether or not the Badgers beat the Gophers.

Doak Walker semifinalists headlined by B1G contingent

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For pretty much the entire 2014 season, four Big Ten running backs have been among the top 10 rushers yardage-wise at the FBS level.  For three of them, their in-season production has the potential to be rewarded in the postseason.

Of the 10 semifinalists for the 2014 Doak Walk Award, three came from the Big Ten: Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon, Indiana’s Tevin Coleman and Nebraska’s Ameer Abdullah.  Those three are first, second and ninth, respectively, in  rushing yards.

That conference could actually make a case that it was gypped as Minnesota’s David Cobb, seventh nationally in rushing, wasn’t named a semifinalist.  The only other conference outside of the B1G with more than one semifinalist was the ACC with two (Pittsburgh’s James Conner, Miami’s Duke Johnson).

Another fair gripe would be Western Michigan true freshman Jarvion Franklin, who is sixth in rushing and second in rushing touchdowns.  The same could be said for San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey, fifth in rushing.  Cobb, Franklin and Pumphrey are the only players in the top 10 in rushing not named as semifinalists.

There are six junior semifinalists, with two each for the senior and sophomore classes.

Gordon and Abdullah are the only 2013 semifinalists named again in 2014.  Neither were finalists for the award won by Boston College’s Andre Williams.

Gordon and Johnson were also named as semifinalists for the prestigious Walter Camp Award Wednesday as well.

Below are the 10 semifinalists for the 2014 Doak Walker Award.

Ameer Abdullah (Sr.) Nebraska
Jay Ajayi (Jr.) Boise State
Javorius Allen (Jr.) USC
Cameron Artis-Payne (Sr.) Auburn
Matt Breida (So.) Georgia Southern
Tevin Coleman (Jr.) Indiana
James Conner (So.) Pittsburgh
Melvin Gordon (Jr.) Wisconsin
Devon Johnson (Jr.) Marshall
Duke Johnson (Jr.) Miami

The Fifth Quarter: Week 3 Rewind

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As is the case each and every season, each and every week, any omission below is not on purpose, it’s merely intentional.

(Writer’s note: I’m “playing” very severely under the weather this weekend, so I apologize in advance for any errors and/or typos you may come across.  Well any more than normal I should say.  Thanks in advance.)

THUMBS UP

Turn that Top Dozen upside down
Heading into Week 3, the schedule wasn’t looking too promising on paper.  Exiting it? To steal from the imitable Ron Burgandy, boy, that escalated quickly… I mean, that really got out of hand fast — especially in the Top 12 of the rankings. Two teams in that rarefied air lost outright — No. 6 Georgia, to South Carolina; No. 9 USC, to Boston College — while No. 12 UCLA barely escaped against a fair-to-middlin’ Texas team and looked unimpressive for a third straight game.  The first two will certainly tumble out of the Top 10, while the Bruins could slip a bit as well despite the win.  So, which teams will replace UGA and USC?  No. 11 Notre Dame is a mortal lock.  The second is murky as No. 12 is, of course, UCLA while No. 13 is one-loss Michigan State.  My guess would be No. 14 Ole Miss slides into the Top 10, just ahead of the Spartans.

Livin’ the hug life
Instead of another one of the bigger stories in Week 3 appearing above the cyber fold, how about we toss in a really cool example of sportsmanship*?  Yeah, didn’t think you’d mind.  UMass, 2-27 since early November of 2011, jumped out to a quick 14-o lead on Vanderbilt in Nashville and took a 31-20 lead into the fourth quarter.  Two Commodore touchdowns, however, gave them the lead with just over a minute to play.  The Minutemen would roar back, driving into position to kick a game-tying field goal and send the non-conference contest into overtime.  As time expired, though, UMass kicker Blake Lucas missed the chippy 22-yard attempt.  Then, this happened.

 

Yes, that would be Vandy defensive lineman Adam Butler giving Lucas a brief hug — and pat on the back — after the really bad miss.  Bravo, young man, for your short but welcome show of sportsmanship.

Loss puts UGA in SEC East driver’s seat?
If those in and around the Georgia football program aren’t nearly as upset and distraught over a divisional loss as you think they should be, don’t worry.  There’s a method to the apparent madness.  Yes, UGA was out-physicaled in its loss to South Carolina.  Yes, USC and UGA are now tied atop the SEC East at 1-1, with the former holding the head-to-head tiebreaker.  However, based on recent precedent, the Bulldogs have the rest of the division right where they want ’em.  You see, the last two times UGA has qualified for the SEC championship game as the East’s winner (2011 and 2012), the Bulldogs lost to the Gamecocks the first month of the season. Yep, the Dawgs have ’em right where they want ’em.

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Boston College runs over No. 9 USC Trojans in first half

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The USC Trojans appear to be experiencing jet lag after flying across the country to face the Boston College Eagles at Alumni Stadium in Chestnut Hill, Mass. USC trails Boston College 20-17 at halftime.

Boston College played to its strengths, while a weakness within the Trojans’ defense has been exposed.

The Eagles are a run-first program. The entire identity of the team is built around being physical at the line of scrimmage and running down hill. It was able to do so against the Trojans. Boston College accumulated an impressive 197 rushing yards through two quarters of play.

And the Eagles haven’t simply relied on a single workhorse to gain all of the yards as they did a year ago with Andre Williams in the backfield. Sophomore Myles White serves as the traditional tailback, and he leads the team with 65 yards on five carries.

Boston College has also been able to exploit a lack of discipline on the edges of USC’s defense. Diminutive wide receiver Sherman Alston has carried the ball twice for 59 yards, including a 54-yard touchdown on a reverse with 1:27 remaining in the first half.

The Eagles also have one of the top running quarterbacks in college football with senior Tyler Murphy. Murphy can exploit a defense if he’s not asked to be a consistent passer. The signal caller added 36 rushing yards.

USC has been able to move the ball through the air with 170 passing yards, but the Trojans’ inability to stop the run and ineffectiveness running the football makes it difficult to play against a hard-nosed Boston College team. If the Trojans want to maintain their national ranking and status, they’ll have to tighten up on defense while trying to establish something on the ground in the second half.