Josh Harris

The Fifth Quarter: Week 13 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.

HISTORIC REPEAT
As it turns out, while Samaje Perine made history, the timeframe in which he did it wasn’t historically unprecedented.

In Oklahoma’s win over Kansas, Perine set the FBS single-game rushing record with 427 yards.  That performance broke the record of 408 set a week ago by Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon.  Most assumed Perine’s breaking of a rushing record that was a week old had never happened before; Anthony Thompson would point out what the word “assume” makes out of all involved.

Back on Nov. 11, 1989, the Indiana running back’s 377 yards broke the previous mark of 357 yards.  That record was first set by Washington State’s Rueben Mayes in 1984 and tied by Cal State Fullerton’s Mike Pringle on Nov. 4, 1989, exactly one week before Thompson broke it.

Below is how the FBS rushing record has progressed over the past four-plus decades:

347 — Ron Johnson, Michigan, 1968
350 — Eric Allen, Michigan State, 1971
356 — Eddie Lee Ivery, Georgia Tech, 1978
357 — Rueben Mayes, Washington State, 1984
357 — Mike Pringle, Cal State Fullerton, 1989
377 — Anthony Thompson, Indiana, 1989
386 — Marshall Faulk, San Diego State, 1991
396 — Tony Sands, Kansas, 1991
406 — LaDainian Tomlinson, TCU, 1999
408 — Melvin Gordon, Wisconsin, 2014
427 — Samaje Perine, Oklahoma, 2014

Perine was also second to Thompson in something else — percentage increase of the previous record.  Thompson bested the old mark by 5.6 percent;  Perine, meanwhile, topped Gordon’s week-old record by 4.7 percent.

Some would say, though, the most impressive record belongs to Gordon.  The Badger back did his record-setting damage in three quarters of work and on just 25 carries; the only other players on that list with less than 30 carries were Ivery (26) and Allen (29).  Gordon’s 16.2 yards per carry is easily the best mark among the group, with only Ivery (13.7) within three yards.   Perine did average 12.6 ypc, the third-best among that group of 11 players.

At the opposite end of the yards-per-carry spectrum were Thompson and Sands, who averaged 7.25 yards on 52 carries and 6.8 yards on 58 carries, respectively.

Of course, Perine is the only true freshman to break the record… and he did it in three quarters plus two fourth-quarter plays after not starting a game played in the rain… and he is the only player to rush for 200-plus yards in both halves of a game, all of which makes his performance arguably the greatest of all-time regardless of how you attempt to parse out the numbers.

PROJECTING CFP TOP FOUR
Unlike previous weeks, there was no upheaval around the top of the College Football Playoff Top 25 in Week 14.  The highest-ranked team to lose was No. 8 Ole Miss, and, with two losses, it’s unlikely the Rebels were a realistic playoff option to begin with.

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Former OSU QB doesn’t want Braxton Miller to be a ‘glorified Denard Robinson’

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Troy Smith knows what it takes to be a successful, Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback at The Ohio State University. He also makes sure to take every opportunity to slam that team up north.

When asked about current Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller, Smith told Cleveland.com, “I don’t want him to be a glorified Denard Robinson. I want to see him be a quarterback. I know he loves to be a quarterback, regardless if when he runs the football he looks like a superhero. I think he loves to throw the football, but that takes time.”

During Robinson’s career with the Michigan Wolverines, the quarterback was as much of a running threat as he was a passer, if not more so. Robinson was eventually drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars to serve as a hybrid running back/wide receiver.

Smith is concerned with Miller’s development as a passer and how effective the senior can be at the NFL level.

“With this spread offense, I think hopefully he gets a chance to understand what he really needs to do as a quarterback to still be a quarterback,” Smith said. “Sometimes, to me, when I watch Braxton, his athleticism is his downfall at times. He’s so athletic, he’s so fast, he’s so strong, I think he takes away, sometimes, from being that guy that can just understand and maintain that the pocket is your savior.

“I didn’t get the whole gist of what happened with Braxton and his shoulder, but to me, it’s a product of the hits over the years, possibly. I truly believe in his ability to throw the football, his decision making and I know he’s the guy to lead us to a national championship.”

While Smith had a tremendous career at Ohio State — he was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame Friday — he didn’t exactly have the type of professional career to critique Miller’s potential. Smith spent four uneventful seasons in the NFL as a backup quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers. He’s been a part of the CFL’s Montreal Alouettes since 2013.

But Smith does have a point about Urban Meyer‘s offensive scheme. Previous quarterbacks under Meyer — Bowling Green’s Josh Harris, Utah’s Alex Smith and Florida’s Chris Leak and Tim Tebow — didn’t exactly make a big impact at the NFL level. Only Alex Smith is still in the league leading a team.

The key for Miller at this point in his career is getting healthy. The Ohio State quarterback required a second surgery on his throwing shoulder in August. Miller still has eight months before the 2015 NFL draft to get healthy and continue to work on his throwing mechanics and footwork in the pocket if he decides to leave Columbus.

The injury may have been exactly what Miller needed to improve in the areas Troy Smith identified.

CFT Predicts: the ACC

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As the 2013 season draws near, we peek into our crystal ball and guess project how each of the five major conferences will play out. Today, we examine the ACC.  

While we’re at it, be sure to check out our other conference predictions: SECBig Ten, Pac-12

Atlantic Division

1. Clemson (Last year: 11-2; beat LSU in Chick-fil-A Bowl) 
What happened last season?
The Tigers shook their ‘Clemsoning’ curse and previous Orange Bowl loss to West Virginia by going 11-2 and beating LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

So why are they ranked here?
Offense, offense, offense. And some offense sprinkled in. Quarterback Tajh Boyd is a legitimate Heisman candidate and he’ll have Sammy Watkins to throw to for a third straight year. Watkins had a bit of a sophomore slump in 2012 — at least by his standards — because of a variety of issues, from a suspension to injuries, but he still finished second on the team in receiving yards. His touchdown production should rise again after getting in the end zone just four times.

Anything else?
The defense improved under first-year coordinator Brent Venables. With as good as the Tigers offense projects to be, there’s more wiggle room on that side of the ball. Also, can Clemson finally beat South Carolina after dropping four straight games?

2. Florida State (Last year: 12-2; beat NIU in Orange Bowl) 
What happened last season?
The ‘Noles won the ACC and beat NIU in the Orange Bowl. They also pulled their annual head-scratcher by losing to North Carolina State. The circle never ends, it seems.

So why are they ranked here?
Talent isn’t a question Tallahassee, but there are a lot of new faces. Redshirt freshman Jameis Winston has a ton of upside at the quarterback spot, it just remains to be seen at this point how he handles his first year as starter. Wide receiver depth is becoming an issue too. The defensive line loses two pass rushers in Tank Carradine and Bjoern Werner, but that’s an area stacked — almost unfairly — with capable players.

Anything else?
Florida State had a whopping 11 NFL draft picks in April, but Jimbo Fisher also had to replace roughly half his coaching staff. That’s a lot of turnover and it’ll be interesting to see how players and coaches jell this year.

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Wake’s leading rusher reinstated, will play in ’13

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A week after Wake Forest received some rather disheartening news, the Demon Deacons are on the other end of the emotional spectrum when it comes to the same player.

In a tweet posted to his Twitter account Friday, Wake’s Josh Harris announced that “[t]he NCAA has approved my appeal” and he will be reinstated to play football in 2013.  The school subsequently confirmed the news in a release.

On the first day of August, it was announced that the running back had been declared ineligible.

“I am happy that the appeal was approved,” said head coach Jim Grobe in a statement. “I am excited to get Josh into camp.”

No reason was given for the initial eligibility issue or why the appeal to the NCAA was successful.  Regardless, though, it’s a significant boost for the Deacons’ running game headed into 2013.

Last season, Harris lead the team in rushing (615 yards) and rushing touchdowns (five).  He also added 19 receptions coming out of the backfield, a total good for fifth on the team.

Wake Forest’s leading rusher from ’12 ruled ineligible

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Wake Forest has lost an important piece of their offense for 2013. Assuming he isn’t given a special waiver from the NCAA, that is.

The university confirmed to the AP on Thursday that Josh Harris, the team’s leading rusher from 2012, is ineligible. Wake Forest has asked the NCAA for a waiver to restore Harris’ eligibility and a final decision should come in the next couple of weeks.

The school did not expand on why Harris was ineligible, but Demon Deacons coach Jim Grobe told the Winston-Salem Journal on Wednesday that it was related to academics.

“This is disappointing because it could be his (college) career,” Grobe told the paper. “Usually, you aren’t shocked when young guys do stuff, but when the old guys get in this position you feel more because they’re out of time. There’s no wiggle room left. So that’s what’s disappointing.”

Harris, a senior, rushed for 608 yards and five touchdowns last year.

Additionally, linebacker Zach Allen is ineligible for academic reasons. The school has also applied for a special waiver to get him cleared to return.