DeSean Jackson

Kaelin Clay takes responsibility for premature TD celebration

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Utah wide receiver Kaelin Clay had 152 receiving yards on five catches against Oregon. He had zero touchdowns in the game.

Clay had a costly DeSean Jackson moment against Oregon last night. After appearing to haul in a 78-yard touchdown pass, Clay instead dropped the football just before crossing the goal line. As he proceeded to celebrate the touchdown, which looked to give Utah a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter, Oregon’s Erick Dargen walked up to the football, sitting at the goal line with the play still live. Dargen picked it up but quickly lost control as a Utah player, seeing what was unfolding, attempted to gain control of the ball. Dargen’s fumble was recovered by Oregon teammate Joe Walker, who then made his way down the left sideline with a handful of blockers. Walker returned the fumble 100 yards and it was Oregon that would celebrate a touchdown on the bizarre sequence.

Clay, who earlier this season struck a Desmond Howard Heisman Trophy pose in Michigan Stadium, took to Twitter to take full responsibility for the play.

That’s good, because there really was nobody else to blame for this one particular bonehead play. Did it ultimately cost Utah a chance to upset Oregon? This is hard to say as the play happened early in the game and Oregon still went on to score enough points to win the game even without the quick 14-point swing.

Just a recommendation to any football player out there. If you want to avoid allowing something like this to happen, it might be a good idea to just hand the football to the official after you think you scored a touchdown. Odds will be much better you just scored a touchdown.

ECU receiver Hardy proof small guys can still attract the NFL

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When it comes to building the perfect NFL wide receiver, having the size and hands of a guy like Calvin Johnson is certainly a nice luxury to have in the field. Before Johnson came along, Terrell Owens in the peak of his career was considered the elite physical specimen to have at wide receiver (or perhaps in the driveway). Michael Irvin before Owens was another example of the prototypical wide receiver, mixing size with speed and steady hands. Offenses around football have evolved at the NFL and college level, but it is still good to have receivers with good size running plays in the field. East Carolina wide receiver Justin Hardy may be just clear the six-foot mark with his height, in cleats, but he still has what it takes to take his game to the next level.

Today’s quick-tempo offenses are using more and more plays that allow smaller receivers to break big plays. Take DeSean Jackson for example, most recently in Philadelphia under former Oregon head coach Chip Kelly. Jackson was a home run threat waiting t happen in Kelly’s offense and he had a career year with a number of explosive plays in the new-look Eagles offense. Kelly brought many of his college techniques to the NFL and hopes to prove it can work on Sundays as well as it did on Saturdays. At East Carolina, Hardy is one of the next examples of a player that can make up for his supposed lack in size with his ability to break big plays.

Hardy gave South Carolina trouble over the weekend by racking up 133 receiving yards on 11 catches. Although East Carolina left Columbia with a loss, Hardy made a bit of a name for himself. He should continue to put up good numbers as East Carolina gets started with conference play in the American Athletic Conference. But first, Hardy will have to help his Pirates find a way to move the ball and score some points against a suddenly surging Virginia Tech team. The Hokies are coming off the big win at Ohio State to vault into the top 25 rankings. Defensive coordinator Bud Foster and defensive secondary coach Torrian Gray will surely be spending his time looking for ways for his terrific secondary to avoid allowing Hardy to run loose.

This should be a fantastic match-up.