For the second time in a month, a current FBS head coach is crediting medical personnel for saving their life.
Shortly after New Mexico beat Sam Houston State in its season opener, it was reported that head football coach Bob Davie had experienced some type of “heart trouble” and was taken to a local hospital for treatment. Shortly thereafter, UNM athletic director Eddie Nunez released a statement in which he confirmed that Davie “was taken to the hospital as a result of what appeared to be a serious medical incident” and asked “that you keep the Davie family in your prayers.”
Subsequent updates from the school indicated that Davie was doing well and is expected to make a full recovery, although not well enough to make the trip back to South Bend for the Week 3 game against Notre Dame.
As of yet, neither the coach nor the football program has described specifically what health event triggered the series of events that have transpired over the past week and a half. Tuesday, Davie indicated that, whatever the specific issue, it was very serious and very much life-threatening.
“I’m not being too dramatic by saying they saved my life and my family will forever be appreciative,” Davie was quoted as saying by the Associated Press when discussing those who tended to him in the hours after the “serious medical incident.” Davie went on to add that “there’s no permanent damage and I will be able to go on to live a nice, healthy life.”
A timetable for Davie’s return to the sidelines has not yet been determined.
The 64-year-old Davie is in his eighth season as the head coach at New Mexico. He was also the head coach at Notre Dame from 1997-2001 before taking what turned out to be a decade-long sabbatical from the coaching profession. The Fighting Irish went 35-25 during Davie’s tenure, including losses in all three bowl appearances.
Davie served as the Irish’s defensive coordinator from 1994-96 before taking over for the retiring Lou Holtz.
With Davie out, offensive line coach/running-game coordinator Saga Tuitele will serve as acting head coach and be in charge of game management.
A quick primer on who, what and where to look for/at as we head into Week 2 of the 2019 college football season.
WEEK 1 STORYLINES
- Let’s face it: Week 1 was, by and large, a scheduling dud, with just one ranked-on-ranked game — and zero Top 10 matchups — on the opening weekend docket. This week, though, college football fans will feast on the likes of No. 12 Texas A&M-No. 1 Clemson and the first Top 10 tilt of the season in No. 6 LSU-No. 9 Texas. Toss in Army and its 10-game winning streak traveling to the Big House to face No. 7 Michigan; a Cincinnati squad that took care of UCLA in the opener heading up I-71 to No. 5 Ohio State; and No. 25 Stanford vs. USC in what is now the Backup Bowl, and Week 2 is setting up to be a much more palatable Saturday of football. Oh, and there is also…
- No. 25 Nebraska making its way to Colorado to take on the Buffaloes. The Men of Corn vs. Ralphie. The former Big 8/12 rivals have played 69 times previously, but just once (2018) since NU bolted to the Big Ten ahead of the 2011 season. The Cornhuskers will be making their first trek to Boulder since the 2009 season, with what some would call memories of dirty pool still fresh in the Blackshirts’ minds.
- What can Jalen Hurts do for an encore? In making his Oklahoma debut, all the former Alabama quarterback did was set career-highs with 332 passing yards (previous best was 248), 176 rushing yards (154), and three rushing touchdowns (two). The three passing touchdowns tied his previous career-best set against FCS Mercer in November of 2017. With FCS South Dakota on tap, don’t expect to see Hurts on the field for more than a half of action — but do expect some additional video game-like numbers.
- Can the Mountain West Conference even remotely come close to matching its Week 1 success? Four teams from the MWC scored wins over Power Five schools last weekend — Nevada over Purdue, Boise State over Florida State, Wyoming over Missouri, Hawaii over Arizona. In Week 2, four more MWC schools will square off with Power Five teams — Hawaii-Oregon State, Nevada-Oregon, San Diego State-UCLA, Fresno State-Minnesota. According to the Westgate sportsbook, three more upsets are certainly within the realm of possibility as the Bulldogs, Rainbow Warriors and Aztecs are 3-, 6½- and 7½-point underdogs, respectively. The Wolf Pack upending the Ducks, on the other hand, would be a significant upset as the latter is set as a 24-point favorite.
- In two-plus seasons, Jonathan Taylor has averaged 156 yards rushing per game. A year ago, Central Michigan was 104th nationally in giving up 204.7 yards per game on the ground. No. 17 Wisconsin will play host to CMU Saturday as Taylor continues his climb toward becoming the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher (Taylor has 4,306, record-holder Donnell Pumphrey had 6,405) in just three seasons.
- Owners of the second-longest Power Five losing streak in conference play — Rutgers is first at 12 straight — Arkansas hasn’t won an SEC game since beating Ole Miss in late October of 2017, a string of 11 losses in a row. Saturday, the Razorbacks go on the road to face… the Rebels in Oxford. Just throwing that out there.
SIX-PACK OF MUST-SEE GAMES
- No. 6 LSU (-6) at No. 9 Texas — Who would’ve thought that an LSU game would feature a two-sided battle of the quarterbacks? That will be the case this week as the Tigers’ Joe Burrow tossed five touchdowns in a half’s work of work, while the Longhorns’ Sam Ehlinger was very efficient in throwing four touchdowns of his own in their opener.
- No. 12 Texas A&M at No. 1 Clemson (-17) — As evidenced by one pregame guarantee, this will be a revenge game for A&M as an Aggies failed two-point conversion late in the fourth — which was preceded by a critical fourth-quarter fumble and two missed first-half field goal attempts — allowed the Tigers to escape College Station with a 28-26 win en route to the 2018 national championship.
- Army at No. 7 Michigan (-22) — ‘Merica’s Team is riding a 10-game winning streak, the second-longest in the country. Conversely, the Black Knights are on a staggering 45-game losing streak against ranked teams, with Army’s last win coming against then-No. 19 Air Force in November of 1972. Michigan’s last loss to a service academy? October of 1967 to Navy.
- No. 25 Stanford at USC (-1) — The Trojans knew early on that they would be without their starting quarterback as J.T. Daniels suffered a torn ACL in the season opener. The Cardinal, after a week’s worth of theirs dealing with a head injury that had him officially listed as questionable, will officially be without their starter, K.J. Costello, as well. As a result, both schools will have first-time starters under center (redshirt sophomore Davis Mills for the Cardinal, true freshman Kedon Slovis for the Trojans).
- Cincinnati at No. 5 Ohio State (-16) — Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell returns to The Horseshoe to face the Buckeyes, where the Columbus native once served as a player (1993-96), assistant coach (1999; 2002-10; 2012-16) and interim head coach (2011). OSU has played 41 games versus in-state schools; they have won each one, including all five against UC.
- Miami (-4) at North Carolina — There’s a bit of a past between the two head coaches in this matchup as Miami’s Manny Diaz served as North Carolina’s Mack Brown‘s defensive coordinator at Texas before Brown fired him in September of 2013 after giving up 550 yards rushing in a Week 2 loss to BYU. More importantly, The U will be looking to avoid its first 0-2 start since 1978.
BEST/WORST WAGERS OF WEEK 2
- BEST: Cal (+14) at Washington. I’m taking Cal’s defense and running with the points as Washington’s offense is still a work in progress after losing the school’s all-time leading passer, rusher.
- WORST: Nebraska (-3½) at Colorado. Nebraska barely escaped against South Alabama in the opener, and actually opened as an eight-point favorite over Colorado before the (smart) money started flowing in on the home team.
- COVER SPECIAL: Nevada (+24) at Oregon. The MWC school won’t beat Oregon outright, but the team that knocked off Purdue in Week 1 will cover.
HEISMAN TROPHY WATCH
- Jalen Hurts, QB, Oklahoma (Last week: No. 3) — Six touchdowns and 500-plus yards of offense in the opener earns you the top spot.
- Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama (No. 2) — The junior had almost as many touchdowns (four) as incompletions (five) vs. Duke.
- Travis Etienne, RB, Clemson (unranked) — Etienne had 205 yards and three touchdowns on just a dozen carries.
- Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin (No. 5) — After zero receiving touchdowns his first two seasons, Taylor had two in the opener (plus two on the ground).
- Justin Fields, QB, Ohio State (No. 4) — Five total touchdowns (four passing, one rushing) in first career start.
- Sam Ehlinger, QB, Texas (No. 6) — Four passing touchdowns, 169.4 pass efficiency rating.
- Trevor Lawrence, QB, Clemson (No. 1) — Lawrence had four interceptions as a true freshman; he had two in the opener.
- Joe Burrow, QB, LSU (unranked) — Burrow’s five first-half touchdown tosses set the school’s single-game record.
- Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon (No. 8) — Performed reasonably well (242 yards,1 TD, 0 picks) against one of the best defenses he’ll face in 2019.
- Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama (unranked) — I’ve decided to put a non-QB/RB in the 10th spot moving forward, and the Tide junior (10-137-1) is a good start.
(DROPPED OUT: Nebraska QB Adrian Martinez (No. 7), Georgia QB Jake Fromm (No. 9), Ohio State RB JK Dobbins (No. 10))
WEEK 2 BOLD PREDICTIONS
BRYAN FISCHER (@BryanDFischer): Arkansas (+6½) upsets Ole Miss for their first SEC win in 679 days. The Razorbacks were uninspiring — to say the least — in their opener against Portland State, but they move to 2-0 with a last-minute win at the Rebels as Chad Morris breaks through and Matt Luke‘s hot seat turns to lava.
ZACH BARNETT (@zach_barnett): Tennessee drops to 0-2. The Vols didn’t lose to Georgia State because they were dehydrated, a la Florida State. They lost because Georgia State was a better football team. BYU is, too.
KEVIN MCGUIRE (@KevinOnCFB): There is a lot of speculation that Army and Cincinnati will give Michigan and Ohio State, respectively, some good battles. I don’t see it happening. After some slow starts in the first quarter, both the Buckeyes and Wolverines romp at home this week.
JOHN TAYLOR (@CFTalk): Joe Burrow set a school record with five touchdown passes in the season opener a week ago; that benchmark will last exactly seven days as Burrow will break his own record by tossing six in LSU’s win over Texas in what will be an unexpectedly high-scoring affair.
NFL DRAFT PROSPECT WATCH
Wide receiver vs. cornerback battles in games such as Texas-LSU, Stanford-USC, Nebraska-Colorado and Texas A&M-Clemson are the flavors of the week as our buddies over at Rotoworld place their weekly spotlight on next-level players. For the entire extensively-detailed piece, click HERE.
It may mean more in the SEC, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s more better*. And, most certainly, the conference has had better weekends than what Week 1 wrought.
Somewhere in the neighborhood of 17-point favorites entering Saturday’s opener against Wyoming, Missouri looked every bit the part as they jumped out to a 14-0 lead on the home-standing Cowboys after one quarter of play. A 27-point offensive explosion in the second quarter, though gave the Mountain West Conference school a 27-17 lead heading into halftime; that lead was stretched to 34-17 at one point before the Cowboys held on for a 37-31 upset win over the Tigers.
Regardless of how you spin it, the Mizzou loss was a continuation of what has been a rough opening weekend for the SEC, especially the East Division of the league. How rough? Let us count the ways:
- First and foremost, Tennessee suffered arguably the worst loss in program history as they fell to 26-point underdog Georgia State in the school’s first home-opening defeat since 1983 and first loss to a Group of Five school since 2008 against… Wyoming, of all teams.
- South Carolina lost to a North Carolina team that won two games in 2018.
- Ole Miss lost to Memphis, although at least that loss came against a quality Group of Five foe.
- Again, Mizzou.
- Mississippi State needed a very late field goal to put away what was a 10-point win over a Louisiana team that entered the game as a 20-point underdog.
- TENNESSEE LOST TO A 26-POINT UNDERDOG AT HOME.
Yes, there was Alabama steamrolling Duke as expected… and Auburn outlasting Oregon in the only ranked-on-ranked matchup of Week 1… and LSU, unlike Tennessee, easily handling its business against a Georgia Group of Five school… but still, damn, that was a harsh weekend for The Best Damn Football Conference in the Land.
While we’re here talking about conferences, how about that Mountain West? In addition to the SEC courtesy of Wyoming, that league has collected Power Five pelts from the ACC (Boise State over Florida State), the Big Ten (Nevada over Purdue) and the Pac-12 (Hawaii over Arizona) in Weeks 0 and 1.
(*Yes, grammar dolts, I know. I’ll take literary license whenever I damn well please.)
Maybe the third time, this time in the Mountain West, will be the charm for John Humphrey.
Jay Norvell confirmed Monday that Humphrey has decided to transfer into his Nevada football program and continue his collegiate playing career with the Wolf Pack. As a graduate transfer from Arizona State, the wide receiver will be eligible to play immediately in 2019. There’s a possibility he could petition for a sixth year that could be used in 2020 as well.
Humphrey comes to Nevada with a personal connection as Norvell was one of his recruiters prior to signing with Oklahoma.
“He’s a kid that I’ve known for a long time,” the head coach said according to NevadaSportsNet.com. “He’s a skill player. He’s a defensive back/wide receiver, excellent special teams kid with great speed. We’re excited to have him on our roster.”
Humphrey was a three-star member of Oklahoma’s 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 61 wide receiver in the country and the No. 67 player at any position in the state of Texas. In April of 2016, he announced his decision to transfer from OU; a month later, he announced his decision to transfer to ASU.
After sitting out the 2016 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Humphrey put up huge numbers in his Sun Devils debut, catching seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown in ASU’s season-opening win over New Mexico State. In large part because of a knee injury sustained in the opener, however, he finished that season with just 13 catches, 177 yards and the one touchdown.
A torn Achilles tendon sustained in March of last year cost Humphrey the entire 2018 season as well.
Another starting quarterback decision has been made. Nevada is moving on with redshirt freshman Carson Strong, according to Brett McMurphy of Stadium via Twitter. Former Florida State quarterback Malik Henrey will be the backup quarterback.
Strong appeared in one game for the Wolfpack last season, in which he didn’t throw a single pass but did rush for four yards. The former three-star recruit was a part of Nevada’s Class of 2018.
Henry walked on at Nevada in January after two seasons at Independence Community College in Kansas, which was featured on “Last Chance U” on Netflix. Henry landed at the JUCO program after leaving the Florida State program.