Brandon Wimbush

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UCF QB McKenzie Milton released from hospital after fifth surgery on right knee

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With all of the quarterback transfer news flooding the headlines this past month, it might have been easy to forget that UCF has their own little offseason quarterback story to pay attention to. After completing his fifth surgery to repair damage to his right knee from the regular season finale last fall, McKenzie Milton has been released from the hospital and is now beginning the arduous rehab process.

Milton’s mother shared the latest update on Milton’s progress on Sunday via Twitter, saying the star UCF quarterback was being released from the hospital after a successful surgical procedure.

Milton’s latest surgery was to focus on improving nerve activity in the right knee. It still remains unknown when or if Milton will return to play for the Knights in 2019, although Milton is clearly not ready to suggest it to be off the table. Perhaps to play it as safe as possible, UCF is already embracing the possibility of not having Milton back for the 2019 season. During this offseason, UCF added former Notre Dame quarterback Brandon Wimbush to the roster via transfer. Wimbush is a graduate transfer, which makes him available to play right away this fall. If Milton is not able to be a part of the plan for UCF this season, Wimbush would likely take over as the starting quarterback.

Milton has passed for 8,683 yards and 72 touchdowns in his past three years at UCF, including the last two seasons as the starting quarterback without losing a single game. Milton has finished in the top 10 in the Heisman Trophy voting each of the past two seasons and will be difficult to replace in terms of productivity for UCF’s offense. Although the rehab process for him will certainly keep him out of action this spring, there could still be a chance a rehabbing Milton potentially gets on the field in the fall, even if late in the year or for a bowl game.

Brian Kelly says Ian Book will start for Notre Dame vs. Syracuse

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Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book will be back in the starting lineup this week when the Fighting Irish take on Syracuse, Notre Dane head coach Brian Kelly announced on Sunday.

Book sat out of Saturday night’s home game against Florida State, which meant the Irish turned to Week 1 starting quarterback Brandon Wimbush to get through Week 11 without putting Notre Dame’s playoff hopes in jeopardy. Book had suffered what had previously been reported as “multiple injuries to his midsection” during a game against Northwestern two weeks ago. Wimbush was intercepted twice by Florida State, but he also threw three touchdown passes and rushed for 68 yards to contribute on offense in a 42-13 win to improve the Irish to 10-0 with just two games to play.

Although Notre Dame managed to not be hurt by two interceptions thrown by Wimbush against Florida State, having Book back for a tougher matchup against Syracuse should be comforting for Kelly and the Irish. Syracuse has won four straight games with double-digit margins of victory in each of the last three.

Notre Dame and Syracuse will play their Week 12 contest in Yankee Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

No. 8 Notre Dame moves to 3-0 after avoiding upset bid by Vanderbilt

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No. 8 Notre Dame (3-0) won once again, but concerns about the offense are not about to go hiding just yet. Fortunately for Notre Dame, the defense and running game remain strengths as they managed to hold off Vanderbilt (2-1) in Notre Dame Stadium on Saturday, winning 22-17.

Looking to push their lead to eight points in the fourth quarter, Notre Dame called on kicker Justin Yoon for a 32-yard field goal. After knocking down his three previous attempts for nine points, Yoon saw his fourth field goal try bounce off the bar, no good. Vanderbilt took over at their 24-yard yard line, needing a touchdown to win in the final moments.

Two plays later, Vanderbilt reached midfield with a 26-yard pass from Kyle Shurmur to Jared Pinkney. But the drive stalled soon after that with a run for no gain and two straight incomplete passes to set up a fourth down with 10 yards to go. A defensive penalty on Notre Dame allowed the drive to continue after an incomplete pass on fourth down. Three plays later, it was once again fourth down for Vandy. Shurmur connected for a big play to Kalija Lipscomb, but Lipscomb was unable to maintain possession of the football as he fell to the ground on the leaping catch.

Lipscomb had 11 catches for 89 yards in the game, but it will be what could have been the 12th that will haunt him after this one. Notre Dame managed to run off a good chunk of the clock after taking over on downs.

Brandon Wimbush was 13-of-23 for 122 yards with no touchdowns thrown, although this week he avoided throwing an interception. Ian Book got some opportunities in certain situations and cashed in on one with a touchdown pass to Nic Weishar to put the Irish up 12 in the fourth quarter. The pass came at the end of a drive with Wimbush leading the offense, but it was Book who ended it with a score and took a shot at a two-point conversion (which was no good). Book was effective in extreme moderation, and it remains to be seen if Kelly will begin giving him more opportunities. Wimbush had success running the ball, however. Wimbush rushed for 84 yards and a touchdown.

Shurmur passed for 315 yards and a touchdown with one interception for Vanderbilt. Notre Dame running back Tony Jones Jr. led all players with 116 rushing yards.

Notre Dame will go on the road next week to play at Wake Forest. Games against Stanford at home and at Virginia Tech follow.

Vanderbilt opens their SEC schedule at home against South Carolina in SEC East action.

Notre Dame defense dropping anchor on Vanderbilt offense

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Notre Dame scored on their first two possessions of the game for a 10-0 lead and the Irish have tacked on a could of field goals since to take a 16-3 lead on Vanderbilt into the locker rooms at halftime in South Bend, Indiana.

Brandon Wimbush has rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown while having a less-than-stellar day throwing the football against the Commodores. Kicker Justin Yoon has converted all three of his field goal attempts in the game so far.

The defense has been the story of the half for both teams, but the Irish have been having a bit more success as the score would indicate. Vanderbilt has also been hurt by costly penalties and an inability to get a running game going. Vanderbilt was forced to punt on each of their first four punts.

If you need visual evidence of just how difficult it has been for Vanderbilt, take a look at this play that went down in the second quarter. The best scoring opportunity fo the half for the Commodores exploded when Kyle Shurmur completed a pass to Randall Haynie down to the one or two-yard line, but the ball was stripped loose by Alohi Gilman and flew straight up into the air, and a mad scramble for the football resulted in a touchback for the Irish. Julian Love recovered the football at the back of the end zone for Notre Dame.

Down 16-0 without any offense is making for a tricky second half ahead for Vanderbilt on the road. But Notre Dame isn’t exactly putting this one out of reach with their offense. A couple of scoring drives after halftime, if they can find them, would put Vanderbilt right back in this one.

J.K. Dobbins races past Bryce Love as Bovada’s updated Heisman favorite

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Remember yesterday when we shared the initial 2018 Heisman Trophy odds from Bovada? Well, scrap that already because the people have come in with enough bets to warrant some quick changes to the Heisman odds. Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins soared up four spots to climb into the top spot on Bovada’s board after just 24 hours.

Dobbins was initially given 12/1 odds to win the Heisman Trophy, and the bettors went scrambling for those odds. Bovada’s updated odds see Dobbins as the way-too-early favorite with 6/1 odds. Tied for the best odds with Dobbins is another Big Ten running back, Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor. Taylor didn’t move up quite as dramatically to 6/1 after having 8/1 odds a day ago. The short-lived preseason favorite from Bovada and 2017 Heisman Trophy runner-up, Stanford running back Bryce Love, has slipped into third on the board with 7/1 odds. Alabama’s national championship hero, quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, tied Love with 7/1 odds.

Some other notable dramatic changes include the addition of Missouri quarterback Drew Lock (25/1). Lock, the SEC’s top passer returning in 2018, was initially left completely off the board. He is the only newcomer to the updated odds from Bovada at this moment. The most notable drop in the odds was from Houston defensive lineman Ed Oliver, who fell from 55/1 odds to 66/1. Most other drops were just by a few spots, including Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate falling from 9/1 to 14/1, West Virginia quarterback Will Grier falling from 12/1 to 16/1 and Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley dropping from 18/1 to 20/1.

Here are the updated Heisman odds as relayed by Bovada:

J.K. Dobbins (RB Ohio State) 6/1
Jonathan Taylor (RB Wisconsin) 6/1
Bryce Love (RB Stanford) 7/1
Tua Tagovailoa (QB Alabama) 7/1
Jake Fromm (QB Georgia) 12/1
Khalil Tate (QB Arizona) 14/1
Will Grier (QB West Virginia) 16/1
Jarrett Stidham (QB Auburn) 16/1
Kelly Bryant (QB Clemson) 18/1
Justin Herbert (QB Oregon) 18/1
Trace McSorley (QB Penn State) 20/1
Cam Akers (RB Florida State) 25/1
Rodney Anderson (RB Oklahoma) 25/1
Jake Browning (QB Washington) 25/1
Ryan Finley (QB NC State) 25/1
Drew Lock (QB Missouri) 25/1
McKenzie Milton (QB UCF) 25/1
Travis Etienne (RB Clemson) 35/1
Nick Fitzgerald (QB Mississippi State) 35/1
D'Andre Swift (RB Georgia) 35/1
Brandon Winbush (QB Notre Dame) 35/1
David Sills (WR West Virginia) 45/1
Ed Oliver (DL Houston) 66/1
Nick Bosa (DL Ohio State) 75/1