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Desert destruction: Arizona wallops No. 19 Oregon as another ranked Pac-12 team falls

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At the beginning of the season, if you were going down the list of games you would want to watch, Justin Herbert’s Oregon squad playing against Khalil Tate’s Arizona side would be near the top of the list. Exciting offenses, big name quarterbacks and an element of Pac-12 After Dark too would check off a lot of boxes after all.

The season hasn’t quite played out the way we all expected and so Saturday night’s contest between the Wildcats and the No. 19 Ducks wasn’t quite on everybody’s radar like it should have been. It turns out that was probably a good thing as the home team walloped the visitors from Eugene 44-15 in a very one-sided affair that resulted in a third ranked Pac-12 team falling this weekend.

Tate, it should be noted, was actually worth the price of admission to the thousands of Arizona fans in Tucson for homecoming as the once electric signal-caller looked as much like last year’s edition than at any point in 2018. Though he rushed for only 11 yards on the night, he used his legs plenty to set things up as a passer and wound up with 189 yards through the air with three touchdowns and a pick. It was perhaps his best overall effort with the new coaching staff and had to be pretty encouraging to Kevin Sumlin considering he was caught walking into the stadium in a boot.

Add in contributions from running back JJ Taylor (212 yards, two touchdowns), Shawn Poindexter (two TD catches) plus Shun Brown (96 yards, one score) and the offense was finally clicking in the manner UA fans were expecting it to all year long.

The defense wasn’t too shabby either, forcing six 3-and-outs against one of the conference’s best offenses and creating three turnovers. Though they recorded just one sack, there was a constant mix of different looks and pressure, which led to an off night from the visitors.

And by off, we mean way off.

Herbert had a constant barrage of incompletions as he was as inaccurate as he has ever been in a game, completing 24 passes for 186 yards with an interception and two touchdown throws. Maybe as a sign of just how things weren’t going his way, the quarterback was also the team’s leading rusher and there wasn’t much help from CJ Verdell (14 yards) or Travis Dye (23 yards). All told, the Ducks converted just three third downs in what will surely be another disappointing loss for the program after briefly holding out hopes of winning the Pac-12 North following their upset a few weeks ago of rival Washington.

Either way, Oregon figures to miss out on the College Football Playoff rankings next Tuesday after falling to 6-3 on the season and have to be wondering what lies ahead as their once promising campaign has fluttered in late October. Arizona, meanwhile, can look ahead to an easier route to getting bowl eligible as they host a reeling Colorado squad on Friday and then have just two other games the rest of November in their quest for the postseason.

Purdue leads Arizona as Foster Farms Bowl shootout reaches halftime

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Any game matching up Rich Rodriguez and Jeff Brohm figured to turn into a bit of a shootout and that’s exactly what transpired at the Foster Farms Bowl on Wednesday night as Purdue took a 31-14 lead over Arizona into halftime at Levi’s Stadium. The two sides combined for nearly 500 yards of total offense after just two quarters and both averaged over six yards per play in a game where moving the ball came a lot easier than stopping it.

Elijah Sindelar may not have the ability to threaten with his legs like his counterpart on the other team but he turned in a masterful performance with his arm and threw for 244 yards and three touchdowns through the air. Tailback Markell Jones recorded 60 yards rushing but it was the speedy D.J. Knox who managed the only score on the ground for the offense and pulled off an incredible trick play.

Still, the story of the game so far was the top Purdue wideouts seemingly finding open space on every play. Anthony Mahoungou kicked the scoring off when he raced up the sideline 31 yards to the end zone after making a defender miss, finishing the half with a trio of catches for a grand total of 70 yards. That would be impressive if not for his teammate Gregory Phillips, who already topped the century mark with 107 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns. The first of the two scores out of the senior was a 42 bomb that he hauled in before twisting and diving into the end zone for six, following that up with a 22 yarder that was much easier in terms of difficulty.

Arizona’s offense wasn’t quite as prolific as we’ve seen this season but they still had plenty of moments in the half. Star QB Khalil Tate threw for 145 yards and a pair of touchdowns — one a beautiful over the shoulder pass to Tony Ellison — but was bottled up pretty well when it came to rushing the ball. The noted dual-threat had only 37 yards on the ground and never came close to breaking off the big run that he’s been known to rip off if given a sliver of daylight.

Nick Wilson added 16 yards rushing for a rushing attack that should receive plenty of halftime adjustments.

The Foster Farms Bowl has had its share of rather sleepy affairs in front of sparse crowds at Levi’s Stadium in the Bay Area and while that latter point still holds for this game, there’s nothing sleepy about this edition between Arizona and Purdue. That should make for a fun second half — even if the Wildcats do need to put in a little extra work to get back into things against a hungry group of Boilermakers.

Your 2017-2018 college football bowl schedule

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The matchups have been set. The dates have been reserved. Here is your full bowl schedule and pairings for this bowl season, starting with the College Football Playoff. All times are Eastern.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

Rose Bowl Game: No. 2 Oklahoma vs. No. 3 Georgia
January 1, 2018, 5:00 p.m., ESPN

Allstate Sugar Bowl: No. 1 Clemson vs. No. 4 Alabama
January 1, 2018, 8:45 p.m., ESPN

CFB National Championship Game: TBD vs. TBD
January 8, 2018, 8:00 p.m., ESPN

NEW YEARS SIX

Goodyear Cotton Bowl: No. 5 Ohio State vs. No. 8 USC
December 29, 8:30 p.m., ESPN

PlayStation Fiesta Bowl: No. 9 Penn State vs. No. 11 Washington
December 30, 4:00 p.m., ESPN

Capital One Orange Bowl: No. 6 Wisconsin vs. No. 10 Miami
December 30, 8:00 p.m., ESPN

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl: No. 7 Auburn vs. No. 12 UCF
January 1, 2018, 12:30 p.m., ESPN

THE REST

DECEMBER 16, 2017

R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl: Troy vs. North Texas
1:00 p.m., ESPN

AutoNation Cure Bowl: Georgia State vs. Western Kentucky
2:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network

Las Vegas Bowl: No. 25 Boise State vs. Oregon
3:30 p.m., ABC

Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Colorado State vs. Marshall
4:30 p.m., ESPN

Raycom Media Camellia Bowl: Arkansas State vs. Middle Tennessee
8:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 19, 2017

Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl: FAU vs. Akron
7:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 20, 2017

Frisco Bowl: SMU vs. Louisiana Tech
8:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 21, 2017

Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl: Temple vs. FIU
8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN

DECEMBER 22, 2017

Bahamas Bowl: Ohio vs. UAB
12:30 p.m., ESPN

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl: Wyoming vs. Central Michigan
4:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 23, 2017

Birmingham Bowl: USF vs. Texas Tech
12:00 p.m., ESPN

Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl: Army vs. San Diego State
3:30 p.m., ESPN

Dollar General Bowl: Appalachian State vs. Toledo
7:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 24, 2017

Hawai’i Bowl: Houston vs. Fresno State
8:30 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 26, 2017

Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl: Utah vs. West Virginia
1:30 p.m., ESPN

Quick Lane Bowl: Duke vs. Northern Illinois
5:15 p.m., ESPN

Cactus Bowl: UCLA vs. Kansas State
9:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 27, 2017

Walk On’s Independence Bowl: Florida State vs. Southern Mississippi
1:30 p.m., ESPN

New Era Pinstripe Bowl: Iowa vs. Boston College
5:15 p.m., ESPN

Foster Farms Bowl: Purdue vs. Arizona
8:30 p.m., FOX

Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl: Missouri vs. Texas
9:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 28, 2017

Military Bowl: Navy vs. Virginia
1:30 p.m., ESPN

Camping World Bowl: No. 19 Oklahoma State vs. No. 22 Virginia Tech
5:15 p.m., ESPN

San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl: No. 16 Michigan State vs. No. 18 Washington State
9:00 p.m., FS1

Valero Alamo Bowl: No. 13 TCU vs. No. 15 Stanford
9:00 p.m., ESPN

DECEMBER 29, 2017

Belk Bowl: Texas A&M vs. Wake Forest
1:00 p.m., ESPN

Hyundai Sun Bowl: No. 24 NC State vs. Arizona State
3:00 p.m., CBS

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl: No. 21 Northwestern vs. Kentucky
4:30 p.m., ESPN

NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Utah State vs. New Mexico State
5:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network

DECEMBER 30, 2017

TaxSlayer Bowl: No. 23 Mississippi State vs. Louisville
12:00 p.m., ESPN

AutoZone Liberty Bowl: Memphis vs. Iowa State
12:30 p.m., ABC

JANUARY 1, 2018

Outback Bowl: Michigan vs. South Carolina
12:00 p.m., ESPN2

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl: No. 14 Notre Dame vs. No. 17 LSU
1:00 p.m., ABC

Alabama QB Jalen Hurts gets advice from Tom Brady over FaceTime

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Alabama may have fallen just shy of a second straight national championship last January, so why not emulate some of the plays used by a Super Bowl champion? The hiring of a former New England Patriots assistant coach as offensive coordinator was bound to make that a possibility.

Brian Daboll is busy working with the Alabama offense this spring as he takes over as offensive coordinator following the departures of Lane Kiffin (FAU) and Steve Sarkisian (Atlanta Falcons), and he has been sprinkling in some plays that have helped contribute to the recent success in New England. Daboll has been taking advantage of his connections from his previous job by setting up instant conversations over FaceTime between Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts and Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.

“We’re running some of the same stuff they’ve ran, so he’ll call Tom Brady and ask him what his top five plays are,” Hurts said, according to ESPN. “It’s cool because we’re running the same plays he’s ran.”

As if Alabama needed much help winning, now they’re getting professional advice from a future hall of fame quarterback and an all-pro tight end and more. The rich get richer.

And don’t forget, Brady is 1-0 in his career against Alabama. He led Michigan to an Orange Bowl victory over the Crimson Tide with 369 pasing yards and four touchdowns at the end of the 1999 season. Of course, that was before Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa.

UTEP’s Theron Aych named new receivers coach at Arizona

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Spring practice is already underway in Tucson but it took until the end of this week for Arizona to finally have a complete offensive coaching staff.

The Wildcats announced on Saturday that Theron Aych would be taking over as the team’s new receivers coach, filling a vacancy created when Tony Dews left for West Virginia.

Aych helped provide a nice boost to the Miners’ passing game in his one season in El Paso and spent five seasons at Division II Angelo State prior to that. He served as the offensive coordinator and assistant head coach with the Rams during his five-year stint before moving up to the FBS level.

The Pac-12 is no new experience for Aych though, as he served as a graduate assistant at Washington over a decade ago.

Aych should have his work cut out for him this spring with the team featuring plenty of young players at the receiver position while also dealing with the loss of standouts like Trey Griffey and reliable veteran Nate Phillips both gone.