College Football
NCAAF News Wire
  • College football notebook: LSU fires Miles, Cameron
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, September 25, 2016

    LSU coach Les Miles, whose recruiting prowess and quirky but lovable leadership style failed to overcome a stone-age offense and ham-handed clock management, was fired Sunday after the Tigers dropped out of the Top 25 with an 18-13 road loss to Auburn in which LSU's potential game-winning touchdown was nullified because the ball was snapped after time expired.

    • In firing Miles, who won a national championship in 2007 and posted a 114-34 record in 11-plus seasons at LSU, athletic director Joe Alleva promoted defensive line coach Ed Orgeron to interim head coach. Miles was believed to have $12.9 million remaining on his contract.

      Alleva also fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who at $1.2 million was one of the highest paid assistants in college football. Offensive assistant Steve Ensminger will assume Cameron's duties as offensive coordinator.

      Orgeron was USC's interim coach in 2013 and coached Mississippi from 2005 to 2007. His record was 10-25 at the two schools.

      The Tigers began the season ranked fifth nationally.

      "Decisions like this are never easy ones to make," Alleva said. "Coach Miles has done a tremendous job here and he's been a great ambassador for our university, which makes this even more difficult."

      -- LSU's last-second loss sent the Tigers spiraling right out of the Top 25. The Tigers became the second preseason Top 10 team to tumble out of the rankings when Sunday's Associated Press Top 25 poll was released.

      Alabama remained No. 1 followed by Ohio State, Louisville, Michigan and Clemson. The Crimson Tide received 50 of the 61 first-place votes. The Buckeyes received four, Louisville got six and Michigan received the other one.

      LSU (2-2) began the season ranked fifth but has failed to meet expectations. Particularly damaging was a final-play touchdown in Saturday's game against Auburn that was reversed by a review. The loss led the Tigers to fall out of the rankings, joining Notre Dame as preseason Top 10 squads that are no longer ranked.

      -- Notre Dame fired defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder after the Fighting Irish's disastrous 1-3 start.

      Head coach Brian Kelly announced that defensive analyst Greg Hudson will assume VanGorder's responsibilities. VanGorder, 57, was a third-year coordinator.

      The moves came after Notre Dame's shocking 38-35 home loss to Duke on Saturday in South Bend, Ind., with fans chanting during the game for VanGorder to be fired. Notre Dame is 1-5 in its last six games dating back to last season and have given up 35 or more points in all five losses.

      Hudson is a 25-year coaching veteran who has served as a defensive coordinator at Purdue, East Carolina and Minnesota as well as the assistant head coach and linebackers coach at Florida State. Hudson, 49, joined the Irish as a defensive analyst in June. He is a Notre Dame graduate in 1990 and former Irish graduate assistant in 1993.

      --Florida International fired coach Ron Turner after starting the 2016 season 0-4.

      Turner will be replaced by defensive coordinator Ron Cooper on an interim basis.

      The Panthers had a 10-30 record over three-plus seasons under Turner, who replaced Mario Cristobal before the 2012 season.

      --Arizona freshman running back J.J. Taylor suffered a broken left ankle during Saturday night's 35-28 overtime loss to No. 9 Washington.

      Taylor, who was making his first career start, had 97 yards and a touchdown before suffering the injury in the third quarter.

      Taylor rushed for 168 yards the previous week in a reserve role and was showing signs of becoming an impact player. He moved into the starting role because Nick Wilson is out with an ankle injury.

  • LSU fires Miles, Cameron
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, September 25, 2016

    LSU coach Les Miles, whose recruiting prowess and quirky but lovable leadership style failed to overcome a stone-age offense and ham-handed clock management, was fired Sunday after the Tigers dropped out of the Top 25 with an 18-13 road loss to Auburn in which LSU's potential game-winning touchdown was nullified because the ball was snapped after time expired.

    • In firing Miles, who won a national championship in 2007 and posted a 114-34 record in 11-plus seasons at LSU, athletic director Joe Alleva promoted defensive line coach Ed Orgeron to interim head coach. Miles was believed to have $12.9 million remaining on his contract.

      Alleva also fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, who at $1.2 million was one of the highest paid assistants in college football. Offensive assistant Steve Ensminger will assume Cameron's duties as offensive coordinator.

      Orgeron was USC's interim coach in 2013 and coached Mississippi from 2005 to 2007. His record was 10-25 at the two schools.

      The Tigers began the season ranked fifth nationally and are no longer in the Top 25.

      "Decisions like this are never easy ones to make," Alleva said in a written statement. "Coach Miles has done a tremendous job here and he's been a great ambassador for our university, which makes this even more difficult.

      "However, it's apparent in evaluating the program through the first month of the season that a change has to be made. Our commitment to excellence and competing at the highest level is unwavering, and our goals for the remainder of this season haven't changed. We have an obligation to our student-athletes to put them in the best position to have success on the football field each week, and we have great confidence that coach Orgeron will do just that."

      Miles, the second-winningest coach in LSU history, was 12-10 in LSU's last 22 games against power conference opponents and 4-5 in his past nine games overall.

      Miles staved off a firing last season after losing three consecutive games following a 7-0 start that vaulted the Tigers to a No. 2 national ranking.

      Miles appeared ready for the firing line, but when he was carried off the field on his players' shoulders after a 19-7 win over Texas A&M last December at Tiger Stadium, Alleva met privately with Miles in the locker room and told him he had earned a reprieve, with the understanding he would retool an offense that despite the presence of Heisman Trophy candidate Leonard Fournette struggled to score.

      In starting this season 2-2, LSU scored only one touchdown on offense in losses to Wisconsin and Auburn. The Tigers' offense was shut out in the fourth quarter in the first four games. LSU was the only Football Bowl Subdivision team to be shut out this year in the fourth quarter.

      LSU also ranked 119th out of 128 FBS teams in passing yards, 111th in total offense and 110th in scoring offense.

      "It's shocking, but at the same time we understand it's a business," Fournette said Sunday after hearing the official word in a team meeting attended by Miles, Alleva and Orgeron. "At the end of the day, it's just the memories we have of him. It's hard for people."

      Miles told the team the move was "for the best."

      Miles received a standing ovation from his players, whom he encouraged to "run the table" in their final eight games.

      "We're all going to be out there playing for Coach 'O,'" center Ethan Pocic said.

      Safety Jamal Adams said Alleva told players the decision was being made "for the best, for new energy. (I'm) still shocked right now."

      Miles, 62, has a .770 winning percentage, the best among any LSU coach since 1933, and led the Tigers to bowl games every season. He also was 62-28 in SEC games.

      Miles won the BCS national championship in 2007, and LSU won 13 consecutive games to start the 2011 season, including a 9-6 overtime classic on the road at Alabama. But in the BCS title game in January 2012 -- an LSU-Alabama rematch -- the Crimson Tide rolled to a 21-0 victory.

      In that game, LSU failed to cross midfield until late in the game.

      Reaction from former players over the Miles firing was mixed, colored by their deep affection for a coach who was known for his fiery motivational techniques, especially his heartfelt speeches that seemed to hit home despite their often-fractured syntax.

      "My heart hurt for my coach today," former LSU running back Jacob Hester tweeted. "There's nobody in this world that I respect more. You've been a 2nd father to me. I love you coach."

      Fournette, a junior who is expected to be among the top players selected in next year's NFL draft, said he and his teammates would do their best to play hard for Orgeron.

      "Just win out and show everybody the desire," Fournette said. "With everything going on, we still have something more to do. I love (Miles) and wish the best for him. He did most of the talking. We have plenty of memories, from the jokes he always tried to tell us and him just trying to understand our generation and all the songs. We just need to stay focused with everything going on right now. Our job is to stay focused."

      LSU president F. King Alexander called Miles "a good ambassador for the university, both on and off the field."

      "However, we have a duty to our student-athletes, as we do all students, to put them in a position to be successful," Alexander said. "We felt a change was needed to be successful for the remainder of the season, and we look forward to Coach Orgeron leading the team the rest of the season."

  • Kelly, looking for "fire and energy," shakes up staff
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, September 25, 2016

    Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly fumed Saturday about his players' lack of "some damn fire and energy" and promised that no starting position would be safe.

    • But there is only so much you can do about personnel in college football, so his first major move after a disappointing 1-3 start was to fire defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder on Sunday.

      "This is a difficult decision," Kelly said in a press release. "I have the utmost respect for Brian as both a person and football coach, but our defense simply isn't it where it should be and I believe this change is necessary for the best interest of our program and our student-athletes."

      The Irish started the season ranked 10th in the AP poll, but they have lost all three of their games against Power 5 conference teams -- Texas, Michigan State and Duke. Notre Dame has allowed an average of 41.3 points in those losses.

      The defensive problems extend to last season, when the Irish finished by allowing 38 and 44 points in losses to Stanford and Ohio State, respectively.

      The move came less than 24 hours after Kelly said he was OK with the defensive leadership -- "We did what I wanted today in terms of coaching," he said after the loss to Duke, which was a three-touchdown underdog -- but the status quo wasn't a great option.

      Kelly will move defensive analyst Greg Hudson into VanGorder's role for the rest of the season. Hudson joined the program this summer after spending the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Purdue.

      Hudson is a former player at Notre Dame and was an Irish graduate assistant in 1993. Before Purdue, he was Florida State's assistant head coach and linebackers coach from 2010 to 2012.

      Notre Dame can't fully recover this season. There will be no run to the College Football Playoffs. The Irish have an NFL-caliber quarterback in DeShone Kizer, but they seem to be staring at maybe a seven-win regular season, which is not a good look for ND.

      The Irish still have to play Stanford, Miami and Virginia Tech (although all in South Bend) and go to USC to end the regular season.

      Kelly, in his seventh season, is running out of helium from Notre Dame's undefeated and magical run to the 2012 national championship game. Including a lopsided loss to Alabama in that title game, Notre Dame has merely split its past 34 games against major conference teams.

      Firing the defensive coordinator seems like a potential act of self-preservation for the guy who hired VanGorder in the first place.

      Hudson will pay dividends if he can strike a match and light a fuse.

      "There's no passion. There's no passion for it," Kelly said after Saturday's game.

      "It looks like it's hard to play. Like we're pulling teeth. You're playing football for Notre Dame. It looks like it's work. Last I checked they were getting a scholarship to play this game. There's no fun, there's no enjoyment, there's no energy. We got to look for the guys that want to have fun and play this game with passion and energy. ...

      "I must be doing a poor job. I've got to do a better job of finding out what those things are that are putting our football team in that position."

      Changing his defensive coordinator was a start.

  • LSU falls out of AP poll after devastating loss
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, September 25, 2016

    LSU's last-second loss sent the Tigers spiraling right out of the Top 25.

    • LSU became the second preseason Top 10 team to tumble out of the rankings when Sunday's Associated Press Top 25 poll was released.

      Alabama remained No. 1 followed by Ohio State, Louisville, Michigan and Clemson. The Crimson Tide received 50 of the 61 first-place votes. The Buckeyes received four, Louisville got six and Michigan received the other one.

      LSU (2-2) began the season ranked fifth but has failed to meet expectations. Particularly damaging was a final-play touchdown in Saturday's game against Auburn that was reversed by a review.

      The loss led the Tigers to fall out of the rankings, joining Notre Dame as preseason Top 10 squads that are no longer ranked.

      Michigan State and Georgia also suffered significant drops in the poll. The Spartans slipped to No. 17 (from eighth) after being routed by Wisconsin and Georgia is now No. 25 -- falling 13 spots after losing to Ole Miss.

      Wisconsin's victory allowed the Badgers to move up to No. 8 -- behind No. 6 Houston and No. 7 Stanford. The ranking is Wisconsin's highest since being No. 4 in Oct. 2011.

      Texas A&M and Washington round out the Top 10.

      Tennessee checks in at No. 11 after breaking an 11-game losing streak against Florida.

      Florida State is No. 12, followed by Baylor, Miami and Nebraska.

      Ole Miss moved up seven spots to No. 16 after its impressive victory over Georgia.

      Utah rose to No. 18 after a last-minute rally to beat USC. San Diego State is No. 19 and Arkansas is No. 20.

      TCU is back in the poll at No. 21, followed by Texas and Florida.

      Boise State cracked the poll for the first time this season at No. 24. The Broncos are ranked for the first time since last October.

      Oklahoma (1-2) joined LSU in falling out of the rankings. The Sooners had a bye on Saturday.

      FCS program North Dakota State received 58 points -- one week ago after receiving 74 votes, the most ever by an FCS school -- after beating Iowa.

  • Florida International fires Ron Turner
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, September 25, 2016

    Florida International fired head coach Ron Turner after starting the 2016 season 0-4.

    • Turner will be replaced by defensive coordinator Ron Cooper on an interim basis.

      The Panthers had a 10-30 record over three-plus seasons under Turner, who replaced Mario Cristobal before the 2012 season.

      The fourth loss of the season Saturday came at the hands of Central Florida, 53-14, and Florida International plays rival Florida Atlantic this week.

  • Notre Dame fires defensive coordinator
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, September 25, 2016

    Notre Dame fired defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder on Sunday after the Fighting Irish's disastrous 1-3 start.

    • Head coach Brian Kelly announced that defensive analyst Greg Hudson will assume VanGorder's responsibilities. VanGorder, 57, was a third-year coordinator.

      The moves came after Notre Dame's shocking 38-35 home loss to Duke on Saturday in South Bend, Ind., with fans chanting during the game for VanGorder to be fired.

      "This is a difficult decision," Kelly said in a statement. "I have the utmost respect for Brian as both a person and football coach, but our defense simply isn't where it should be and I believe this change is necessary for the best interest of our program and our student-athletes.

      "It's never easy to make a change on your staff, but I'm confident in Greg's ability to lead our defense. As a former player at Notre Dame and an experienced defensive coordinator, he not only understands the expectations necessary to compete at the highest level, but he'll bring a fresh perspective to our sideline, practice field and meeting rooms."

      Notre Dame is 1-5 in its last six games dating back to last season and have given up 35 or more points in all five losses.

      Hudson is a 25-year coaching veteran who has served as a defensive coordinator at Purdue, East Carolina and Minnesota as well as the assistant head coach and linebackers coach at Florida State.

      Hudson, 49, joined the Irish coaching staff as a defensive analyst in June. He is a Notre Dame graduate in 1990 and former Irish graduate assistant in 1993.

      "Obviously, this is a difficult day for our coaching staff, but I'm excited and honored about the opportunity that Coach Kelly has afforded me," Hudson said in a school release. "We've got to improve on defense, without a doubt, and I'm confident that we will. We have great student-athletes and a tremendous defensive coaching staff. I can't wait to get started with our group."

      Notre Dame plays against Syracuse (2-2) in East Rutherford, N.J., on Saturday.

  • On Wisconsin: Badgers might be real deal
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, September 25, 2016

    Wisconsin has snuck up on the college football world. Because that's what Wisconsin does.

    • They run the ball. Mostly have game-managing quarterbacks. Play solid defense.

      Win 10 games a year.

      That's what the Badgers have averaged in the past seven seasons, under three different coaches, going to three Rose Bowls. But Urban Meyer, Jim Harbaugh and the rise of Michigan State are the shiny objects that have distracted many from Wisconsin's quiet competence.

      It didn't seem like an outrage when Wisconsin started the season unranked.

      But then the Badgers, playing fifth-ranked LSU at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, opened the season with a 16-14 upset of the Tigers, allowing just 257 total yards. And on Saturday, they smothered No. 8 Michigan State 30-6 in East Lansing, getting a win for a first-time starting quarterback, redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook.

      The last time a Big Ten team beat two Top 10 opponents before October? Penn State in 1999.

      "I think this win is big for our team," Hornibrook said. "And we can get a lot better, too."

      Wisconsin had the nation's top scoring defense a season ago, which is why LSU backed up the Brinks truck and lured coordinator Dave Aranda to Baton Rouge. New coordinator Justin Wilcox, fired from USC last December, has quickly remade the secondary (and his reputation). And he is getting big plays from a former tight end whose last name is Watt.

      J.J.'s brother T.J. has 4.5 sacks from his outside linebacker position.

      "I think the best of this defense," said linebacker Vince Biegel, "is still to come."

      Wisconsin is 12th nationally in total defense (277.0 yards allowed per game), but it won't be easy to hold that position.

      The victory over Michigan State was just the start of a brutal five-game stretch for the Badgers. They are at No. 4 Michigan this weekend. Then they get No. 2 Ohio State at Camp Randall after a bye week. Then it's off to Iowa and back home for No. 15 Nebraska.

      Hornibrook replaced senior Bart Houston, and second-year Paul Chryst is more interested in the redshirt freshman's accuracy than he is concerned about the lack of experience. Just keep moving the chains, kid. Don't make the killer mistake. Complete the passes that are there.

      Let Corey Clement and the rest of the running backs do the heavy lifting.

      "He's got a skill-set that's pretty good," Chryst said of Hornibrook. "The thing I love about him is he's consistent."

      Not a big arm. Not great legs. Consistent.

      On an offense this boring (uh ... effective), it's funny that Wisconsin's leading receiver is named Jazz.

      Jazz Peavy.

      The Badgers rarely turn the volume up to 11, but they are still hitting all the right notes. They are this season's biggest risers in the AP poll, going from unranked to No. 8.

      The season might yet come crashing back to earth, but Wisconsin checks all its usual boxes: Running game. Steady quarterback. Defense.

      Ignore the Badgers at your own peril.

  • First and 20: October decides if Texas A&M is for real
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, September 25, 2016

    There's nothing quite as intoxicating as Texas A&M in September.

    • The air crackles with big victories, scented with Heisman candidates, and you can see all the way over the horizon to the College Football Playoff.

      Oh, the Aggies are at it again.

      They were 5-0 in 2014. They finished 8-5.

      They were 5-0 in 2015. They finished 8-5.

      They end this September with a 4-0 mark, with an opening victory over UCLA and Saturday's manly 45-24 victory against Arkansas in Arlington, Texas, where Texas A&M pounded the Hogs for 366 rushing yards.

      "Just like all the years we've been undefeated at this time, we can't get relaxed on it," said junior free safety Armani Watts. "We've got to keep improving."

      It would be natural to remain skeptical of the Aggies as the calendar flips to October. But maybe these guys are different.

      Unlike the past two seasons, coach Kevin Sumlin has an experienced quarterback at the helm -- Oklahoma graduate transfer Trevor Knight. He had touchdown runs of 42 and 48 yards against Arkansas, and he hit receiver Josh Reynolds for a 92-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter to break a 17-17 tie.

      That came after the Aggies' defense came up with a goal-line stand, which brings us to the other thing that might be different about this outfit.

      The Texas A&M defense is coalescing in its second season under defensive coordinator John Chavis, and it helps to have potential No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Myles Garrett at defensive end. And, oh yeah, Daeshon Hall is at the other end.

      "Our two ends are a great tandem, as good as there is in college football," Sumlin said.

      "But I don't think our safeties get enough credit. And I said it before the season and kind of put it up on the wall -- our coaches' preseason All-SEC team didn't have (defensive backs) Donovan Wilson, Armani Watts or Justin Evans on it. And I think it bugs them.

      "So I keep pointing that out to them every week. And I think they're trying to make a point every week, because those three guys fly around back there."

      Texas A&M has emerged as No. 1 Alabama's biggest challenge in the SEC West. The Tide already has taken care of Ole Miss, LSU is directionless at quarterback, and Auburn's offense drove into a ditch.

      The Aggies, with no shortage of elite athletes, should push to 5-0 this week against South Carolina. Then, it gets real in a hurry again -- home for Tennessee and then at Alabama after a bye week.

      After that, A&M could be in position for a November to remember.

      5 things to watch

      1. Les Miles' clock management -- Another chapter was added to the Mad Hatter's history of late-game clock blunders as LSU tick-tocked its way into an 18-13 loss at Auburn, unable to get off the final snap in time. Now, a different kind of clock is ticking. That pitchfork-carrying crowd that wanted Miles' job late last season is almost certain to get it after this latest gaffe, more substandard quarterback play, a boring offense and a 2-2 start.

      2. The Pac-12 South -- USC is 1-3. UCLA is 2-2. Arizona State can't play defense. Arizona scared Washington on Saturday but isn't built for the long haul. Utah, tough as nails, has limited explosiveness on offense. Colorado? The Buffaloes were 2-25 in the conference in coach Mike MacIntyre's first three seasons, but they won at Oregon on Saturday and look like cellar-dwellers no more. Who wins this thing? Who knows.

      3. Auburn's play-calling -- Citing the need to "be the head coach," Gus Malzahn gave offensive coordinator Rhett Lashlee the green light to call plays, which has been Malzahn's baby. The results were mixed -- no touchdowns -- but the Tigers got in position to kick six field goals and beat LSU 18-13.

      4. Targeting -- Anyone know what this is? Or isn't?

      5. A rivalry renewed -- Tennessee rallied to swamp Florida, beating the Gators for the first time since 2004. Pump the brakes on this being the Vols' get-over-the-hump moment -- this injury-plagued team still has more flaws than originally thought -- but it will be nice to get more smack talk about ducks pulling trucks in a hot-again rivalry.

      5 Heisman candidates

      1. QB Lamar Jackson, Louisville: It's not even close. Jackson has accounted for 25 touchdowns in four games, which means he has more points than 88 teams. And he's only played in 11 quarters of football because he hasn't been needed late in three blowout victories. That's fantastic. But nobody is handing out a stiff-armed trophy for being college football's player of the month for September.

      2. RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford: UCLA bottled him up, relatively speaking, on Saturday night. McCaffrey rushed for 138 yards, none longer than 13 yards, and did not find the end zone. That's yawn-inducing by his standards, but the Bruins' defense is pretty good and Stanford pulled out a late victory, so McCaffrey stays near the front of the Heisman parade.

      3. LB Jabrill Peppers, Michigan: The athletic freak is tied for second nationally with 2.4 tackles for loss per game and is third in punt returns with 22.7 yards per attempt. Best player, pound-for-pound, in America?

      4. QB J.T. Barrett, Ohio State: He has 10 touchdown passes, just one interception, and is fifth nationally in passing efficiency with a rating of 184.4. He's the steadying -- and sometimes spectacular -- influence on a young Buckeyes team poised again for the biggest prizes.

      5. QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson: He hasn't yet played like one of the top five players in the country, but everyone knows he can, and it doesn't seem right to ignore him with the showdown against Louisville on tap for Saturday.

      5 coaches on the hot seat

      Les Miles is duly noted above. Moving on to the rest ...

      1. Brian Kelly, Notre Dame: The Irish are 1-3 and have lost their past five games against Power 5 conference teams, giving up 38, 44, 50, 36 and 38 points in those defeats. "You better have some damn fire and energy in you," Kelly said after Saturday's 38-35 home loss to Duke, which was a three-touchdown underdog. "We lack it. We lack it. Severely."

      2. Mark Helfrich, Oregon: When you're losing at home to Colorado, wearing uniforms that splendidly resemble actual ducks is no longer cool, it's a punch-line. Oregon is 2-2, the injuries are piling up, and a previously must-see program is becoming the worst thing of all -- kinda boring.

      3. Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State: The Bulldogs were up 31-0 in the second quarter to Tulsa and still found a way to lose 48-41 in double overtime. That's the latest indignity for fifth-year coach DeRuyter, who was rolling in 2013 with a 10-win season but has just four victories in his past 18 games.

      4. James Franklin, Penn State: The Nittany Lions have challenges in their post-scandal era, but the school can only tolerate the sin of non-competitiveness for so long. Franklin dropped to 0-7 against the Big Ten East's Big Three -- Ohio State, Michigan State and Michigan -- with a 49-10 loss to the Wolverines on Saturday. Penn State lost by an average of 26.3 points to those teams last season.

      5. Clay Helton, USC: Good thing the Trojans would never fire a coach at midseason. Oh, wait ...

      5 games to watch in Week 5

      1. Louisville at Clemson (8 p.m. ET) -- Lamar Jackson vs. Deshaun Watson. What else is there?

      2. Stanford at Washington (Friday, 9 p.m. ET) -- The Huskies have lost nine of their past 11 to Stanford, but they are now big enough and physical enough, to handle the Cardinal challenge in a spotlight game. One more thing: While the nation raved over UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen, Washington's fellow true sophomore Jake Browning quietly became better.

      3. Wisconsin at Michigan (3:30 p.m. ET) -- The Badgers punished Michigan State on the road Saturday, winning 30-6 in quarterback Alex Hornibrook's first start. Encore in the Big House.

      4. Tennessee at Georgia (3:30 p.m. ET) -- The Vols took the first leg of their win-the-SEC-East strategy, finally knocking off Florida. The Bulldogs will be trying to put the wheels back on after suffering a 45-14 loss at Ole Miss.

      5. Oklahoma at TCU (5 p.m. ET) -- Could these still be the best two teams in the Big 12? We think so

      NFLDraftScout.com: Film Room Review

      Analyst Rob Rang's prospect takeaways for this week. Players listed including position, school, year (Height, weight and current NFLDraftScout.com overall rating and by position).

      --WR Bryce Bobo, Colorado, 6-1, 195, rJr. (#48 WR in Class of 2018): Bobo came up with one of the catches of the young season with a twirling one-handed reception in the corner of the end zone that proved to be the game-winner. On the play, he sold the slant before accelerating upfield on a classic "sluggo" route, fooling Oregon defensive back Ugo Amadi.

      --DE Solomon Thomas, Stanford, 6-2, 275, rSo. (No. 4 DE in Class of 2019): He's only a redshirt sophomore, but Thomas springs out of his stance with powerful hands and is likely the best player on Stanford's defense. (Dane Brugler)

      --LT Ryan Ramczyk, Wisconsin, 6-5, 314, rJr. (#21 OT in Class of 2018): The well-traveled former Division III star is an emerging name on the radar of NFL scouts. He supplied several of the key blocks on the Badgers' 41 carries against Michigan State, showing terrific initial quickness when asked to block at the second level as well as good power and pad level to knock defenders off the ball.

      --QB DeShone Kizer, Notre Dame, 6-4, 230, rSo. (#5 overall, #2 QB): Despite the Irish's stunning loss to Duke, Kizer continued to show why he's the top prospect on the board for many NFL scouts with impressive downfield accuracy. (Dane Brugler)

      --CB Chidobe Awuzie, Colorado, 5-11, 205, Sr. (#168, #19 CB): Awuzie shadowed Oregon star Darren Carrington II and provided his typical lockdown coverage, with Carrington's two touchdowns coming against other defenders. Oregon quarterback Dakota Prukop largely avoided Awuzie, other than a 48-yard reception by Charles Nelson. Even on that well-executed play, Awuzie showed terrific awareness and closing speed.

  • Arizona RB Taylor suffers broken ankle
    By The Sports Xchange / Sunday, September 25, 2016

    Arizona freshman running back J.J. Taylor suffered a broken left ankle during Saturday night's overtime loss against No. 9 Washington.

    • Taylor, who was making his first career start, had 97 yards and a touchdown before suffering the injury in the third quarter.

      Taylor rushed for 168 yards the previous week in a reserve role and was showing signs of becoming an impact player.

      "Extremely frustrating," Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said after the 35-28 loss. "I mean, J.J. Taylor breaks his ankle. This guy's going to be lights out -- is lights out -- and will be whenever he comes back."

      Taylor moved into the starting role because junior Nick Wilson is out with an ankle injury. His opportunity to play arose after Arizona dismissed sophomore Orlando Bradford from the team earlier this month after his felony arrest on domestic-violence charges.

      The Wildcats recently began using kick returner Tyrell Johnson at running back to help with depth issues at the position. Junior Zach Green was the only remaining healthy scholarship back when the Washington game concluded.

      "We hate to see a guy go down, but we look at it as the next man up," sophomore quarterback Brandon Dawkins said. "It's their opportunity."

      Arizona visits UCLA on Saturday.

  • Missouri State and Kansas State delayed by lightning
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 24, 2016

    The game between Missouri State and Kansas State is in a weather delay at halftime, with Kansas State ahead 35-0 at Bill Snyder Family Stadium.

    • Lightning in the area caused the delay.

      The game was delayed 55 minutes at the start because of rain and the threat of severe weather.

      Kansas State jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on a touchdown run by Charles Jones and a deflected touchdown reception by Byron Pringle.

      By halftime, the Wildcats had increased the lead to 35-0, on fullback Winston Dimel's two touchdowns and quarterback Jesse Ertz' second touchdown pass, this one to Dominique Heath.

  • Saturday Spin: Tennessee riding high with rally versus Florida
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 24, 2016

    Talking Point: Tennessee needed that one

    • You might not know it from looking at the 38-28 final score, but the first half of this game was all Florida.

      The Gators were up 21-3 at the break, quarterback Joshua Dobbs had started the game 1-for-8 passing, and it looked like the most emblematic play of the game would be Tennessee failing to get points out of a recovered muffed punt at the Florida 3-yard line.

      The narrative was falling neatly into place: Florida's 11-game winning streak over Tennessee was still untouchable, maybe it's still not Tennessee's year, maybe Butch Jones isn't the answer after all, maybe it's time to give up on Dobbs. ...

      One third-quarter Tennessee touchdown and a quick three-and-out was all it took to whip the packed crowd at Neyland Stadium into a frenzy, though, and it set off one of the most ferocious, cathartic second-half beatings imaginable.

      Dobbs obliterated the vaunted Florida secondary and set career highs in yards and touchdowns, the Vols' defensive line stymied everything the Gators' offense wanted to do, Tennessee scored 35 straight points in the second half and Florida couldn't even muster a first down after halftime until eight minutes and change were left in the game.

      When the smoke cleared, Smoky was smiling, and Tennessee had exorcised about as many demons as there are seats in Neyland.

      There's still a lot that Tennessee needs to fix. Dobbs' role as a dropback-first quarterback still isn't putting him and the offense in the best position to succeed. The defensive intensity ebbs and flows far more often than it should. That schedule's only getting worse over the next three weeks with Georgia, Alabama and Texas A&M awaiting. Yes, yes, all in due time. For 30 raucous, Rocky Top-filled minutes in Knoxville on Saturday afternoon, Tennessee was back, baby.

      Florida's going to be all right. Backup quarterback Austin Appleby was in over his head for the situation, and when Luke Del Rio returns from injury, the Gators' offense will be better-equipped to protect a lead. The Gators have three games against ranked foes left, and only one -- at Arkansas, the ultimate agent of chaos in the SEC -- is a true road game. So they didn't need this game the way Tennessee did.

      The loss still stings, and Florida will need to get past it quickly, but this game just mattered more to the Vols.

      Talking Point: Ole Miss is the second-best team in the SEC

      It was easy to let the jokes fly once Ole Miss took a 24-0 lead over No. 12 Georgia early in the second quarter, and most of those jokes were of the "Here we go again" variety. Hey, blow 20-point leads against Florida State and Alabama, and that's just what to expect. Instead, Ole Miss kept the intensity up for as long as it wanted and scored the game's first 45 points en route to a 45-14 laugher over the Dawgs in Oxford.

      If those September collapses were just a hiccup for Hugh Freeze's Rebels, that's extraordinarily bad news for the rest of the SEC, because Ole Miss has the talent to beat everyone else left on the schedule, even with three road games against ranked division foes still looming.

      Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly dropped 282 yards and a pair of scores on 18-for-24 passing, and added another 53 yards and a score on the ground. Most importantly, Kelly protected the football, committing no turnovers and giving Georgia no opportunity for a shortcut back to a competitive game.

      Those two early losses will haunt Ole Miss when it comes to its postseason plans, but the Sugar Bowl would be a fine consolation prize.

      Georgia quarterback Jacob Eason had an utterly miserable Saturday, especially in the first half when the game was in any semblance of doubt. By halftime, he was 7-for-21 throwing the ball, with 64 yards, one sack and one pick-six that started the Ole Miss parade into Georgia's end zone.

      Eason finished with 137 yards; that's not a lot better. He's young and he'll have an opportunity to grow into his spot under center, but his 113.8 passer efficiency rating is far less than ideal, especially for a team that still ostensibly harbors a goal of winning the SEC East.

      Talking Point: Wisconsin is the most dangerous team in the Big Ten

      There aren't many teams who had a better September than No. 11 Wisconsin, which just erased No. 8 Michigan State in East Lansing 30-6. The Badgers now have two wins over Top 10 foes, and the season-opening win over LSU doesn't look like much of a surprise anymore.

      On Saturday, the Badgers looked ready to take on anybody in the Big Ten -- which is good, because their schedule isn't getting any easier until November.

      The Badgers' defense was stout and opportunistic, forcing four turnovers (and jumping on a fumbled punt snap) and allowing just four third-down conversions.

      The touchdown safety Brian Musso scored off of an L.J. Scott fumble early in the third quarter effectively put the game out of reach at 20-6 and with the ensuing extra point, it single-handedly outscored the Spartans' offensive output for the entire day.

      Wisconsin probably won't go through its upcoming stretch of Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska undefeated, even with the bye week awaiting after the trip to Ann Arbor.

      But now, after the dominating victory at Michigan State, Wisconsin does look capable of ruining at least one team's hopes of an undefeated season, and these next four teams should be extremely concerned about Wisconsin -- not just the other way around anymore.

      Talking Point: Dalvin Cook is back in the Heisman race

      Let's get it out of the way right now: South Florida's defense is not the toughest that Florida State or running back Dalvin Cook will see all year. He probably won't be able to replicate a performance like that against an ACC defense, except maybe Syracuse's. Maybe.

      That all said? Dalvin Cook sure had himself a day, didn't he? Cook racked up 339 yards from scrimmage against the hapless Bulls defense, including 28 rushes for 267 yards and a pair of scores.

      Only 38 players in college football had 267 rushing yards for the entire season coming into Week 4 action -- Cook himself only had 228.

      Now that he's back to averaging over a hundred yards per game, he's finally got more than 2015 to base his Heisman candidacy on. Good thing, too. After Louisville's Lamar Jackson and Stanford's Christian McCaffrey, the field was beginning to look a little sparse.

  • Lightning halts Baylor-Oklahoma State game in first quarter
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 24, 2016

    WACO, Texas -- Lightning in the vicinity of McLane Stadium caused a delay early in the first quarter of 16th-ranked Baylor's Big 12 game against Oklahoma State.

    • Once the lightning cleared, play was set to resume at 8:15 p.m. CT.

      Baylor had just scored on Terence Williams's 23-yard run with 13:22 remaining in the first quarter when game officials announced that the teams would be sent to the locker room because of a lightning strike within 10 miles of the stadium.

      The touchdown counted and Baylor led 6-0, but the players were sent off the field before the extra-point attempt.

      The game began at 6:30 p.m and was stopped at 6:40.

  • Top 25 roundup: No. 11 Wisconsin routs No. 8 Michigan State
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 24, 2016

    AUBURN, Ala. -- For a moment, it appeared that No. 18 LSU had stunned Auburn on a touchdown pass as time expired.

    • But the score was nullified after the play was reviewed and it was determined the ball was not snapped before the time expired, giving Auburn an improbable 18-13 victory Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

      On the previous play, LSU completed a pass for a first down at the Auburn 2-yard line. The first down would have stopped the clock with one second left until the down marker could be set. But LSU was called for an illegal shift, pushing the ball back to the 15-yard line.

      Referee Hubert Owens announced that the clock would start on his motion. The ball was snapped and LSU quarterback Danny Etling scrambled right and bought enough time to find D.J. Clark open in the back of the end zone.

      Clark caught the ball and LSU (2-2, 1-1 SEC) stormed off the sidelines thinking it had won the game. But replays clearly showed the ball was not snapped before the clock hit 0:00.

      Then Auburn (2-2, 1-1) stormed off the field victoriously as the thunderous roar from the crowd drowned out Owens' words that the play did not count. Daniel Carlson kicked six field goals on six attempts to account for the Tigers' scoring.

      No. 1 Alabama 48, Kent State 0

      TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- Alabama pounded Kent State in its final tune-up before SEC play begins.

      The top-ranked Crimson Tide moved to 4-0 while Kent State dropped to 1-3.

      Alabama's offense drove the ball down field with Jalen Hurts back in at quarterback to open the second half. Hurts capped the drive with a 1-yard touchdown pass to linebacker Lyndell "Mack" Wilson. Wilson was lined up in the fullback spot to make it 48-0.

      It was the Crimson Tide's only score of the second half. Alabama took a 41-0 lead into halftime.

      No. 3 Louisville 59, Marshall 28

      HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Heisman Trophy front-runner Lamar Jackson had 479 yards of total offense and accounted for seven touchdowns as No. 3 Louisville rolled past Marshall.

      The super sophomore quarterback has accounted for 25 touchdowns after four games. Jackson had 417 passing yards with five touchdowns and 12 carries for 62 yards and two rushing scores against the Thundering Herd (1-2).

      Louisville (4-0) built a 52-7 lead before the starters were replaced and Marshall scored two touchdowns at the start of the fourth quarter. Cardinals coach Bobby Petrino put his first team offense back into the game, including Jackson, and the Cardinals tacked on another touchdown with 6:36 left.

      No. 4 Michigan 49, Penn State 10

      ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- De'Veon Smith ran for 112 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries to lead No. 4 Michigan to its fourth consecutive lopsided home win to start the season in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

      Smith wasn't the only running back that stood out for the Wolverines, who rushed for a season-high 327 yards and saw five different running backs score touchdowns. Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight went 21-of-33 passing for 189 yards and one touchdown.

      Penn State (2-2) scored its lone touchdown of the game with 11:22 remaining on an 8-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Trace McSorley to junior wideout Chris Godwin to cut Michigan's lead to 35-10.

      No. 6 Houston 64, Texas State 3

      SAN MARCOS, Texas -- Greg Ward Jr. passed for 289 yards and two touchdowns in just over a half of play and freshman D'Eriq King accounted for three touchdowns -- receiving, passing and on a 99-yard kickoff return -- as No. 6 Houston roared past Texas State.

      Ward was 20-of-26 passing and had 39 yards on the ground and another score while guiding the Cougars (4-0) to a 43-3 lead at halftime. He played the first series of the third quarter and left with Houston well in command and with a 50-3 lead.

      King opened the second half with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown after hauling in 48-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and passing for a 15-yard score in the second. King amassed 234 all-purpose yards and added 15 passing in what is Houston's largest margin of victory since a 73-3 win over Louisiana Tech on Aug. 31, 1991.

      Tyler Jones was 17 of 30 passing for 100 yards for the Bobcats (1-2), who have managed just six total points the past two games against ranked teams after beating Ohio on the road 56-54 in triple overtime in their season opener.

      No. 7 Stanford 22, UCLA 13

      PASADENA, Calif. - Quarterback Ryan Burns completed an 8-yard touchdown pass to receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside with 24 seconds left to give No. 7 Stanford its ninth straight victory over UCLA in a Pac-12 game.

      Burns' touchdown pass put the Cardinal (3-0, 2-0) ahead 16-13. Stanford defensive lineman Solomon Thomas capped the scoring by returning a fumble for 58 yards for a touchdown after UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen lost the ball while he was sacked as time expired.

      Burns' high lofting pass to Arcega-Whiteside on a fade pattern was completed over cornerback Fabian Moreau. The score capped a 10-play, 70-yard drive that included Burns completing five of eight passes for 66 yards against the Bruins (2-2, 0-1).

      Rosen completed 18 of 27 pass attempts for 248 yards with one touchdown pass and no interceptions. UCLA's rushing game was held to only 77 yards.

      No. 9 Washington 35, Arizona 28 (OT)

      TUCSON, Ariz. -- Washington wide receiver Dante Pettis caught a 4-yard touchdown pass in overtime, running back Lavon Coleman ran for a career-high 181 yards and the No. 9 Huskies beat Arizona in a Pac-12 game.

      The Huskies (4-0) scored on the opening possession of overtime, aided by Coleman's 24-yard run on the first play.

      The Wildcats (2-2) reached the 11 on its possession, but a bad snap on fourth-and-10 threw off the timing of the play and quarterback Brandon Dawkins threw incomplete into the end zone.

      Dawkins rushed for 176 yards and two touchdowns, including a 79-yard score.

      No. 11 Wisconsin 30, No. 8 Michigan State 6

      EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook passed for 195 yards and a touchdown in his first start and safety Leo Musso scored on a 66-yard fumble return as No. 11 Wisconsin surprised No. 8 Michigan State.

      Hornibrook, who led a fourth-quarter comeback against Georgia State in the Badgers' last game, completed 16 of 26 passes. Corey Clement, who missed the Georgia State game with an ankle injury, rushed for 54 yards on 23 carries and scored twice for Wisconsin (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten).

      The Spartans (2-1, 0-1), coming off a road win at Notre Dame, committed four turnovers and also bungled a punt attempt in the Big Ten opener for both teams. Senior quarterback Tyler O'Connor threw three interceptions and was sacked four times.

      No. 10 Texas A&M 45, No. 17 Arkansas 24

      ARLINGTON, Texas -- Four touchdowns from Trevor Knight and three crucial defensive stands carried No. 10 Texas A&M past No. 17 Arkansas in SEC play.

      Knight passed and ran for two touchdowns each in totaling 382 yards of offense, with 157 yards coming on the ground, as the Aggies (4-0, 2-0) outscored Arkansas 28-7 in the second half. Josh Reynolds caught four passes for 141 yards, including a 92-yard touchdown that gave the Aggies their first lead, and Trayveon Williams scored twice and ran for 153 yards on just 12 carries.

      Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen stood up to constant pressure, as well as several big hits, to compete 28 of 42 throws for 371 yards and two scores. Rawleigh Williams III had 79 yards rushing and a touchdown for the Razorbacks (3-1, 0-1).

      No. 23 Ole Miss 45, No. 12 Georgia 14

      OXFORD, Miss. -- Domination, pure and simple. Mississippi's win over No. 12 Georgia (3-1, 1-1 SEC) certainly qualified.

      A crowd of 65,843 -- the second-largest home attendance in school history -- watched the No. 23 Rebels (2-2, 1-1) pile up 509 yards of offense, most courtesy of quarterback Chad Kelly, who completed 18 of 24 passes for 282 yards and two touchdowns. The senior also rushed three times for 42 yards, 41 coming on a touchdown run in the third quarter.

      All total, five different players scored for the Rebels, including tight end Evan Engram, who led all receivers with six catches for 95 yards and one score.

      No. 13 Florida State 55, South Florida 35

      TAMPA, Fla. -- Dalvin Cook rushed for a career-high 267 yards and two touchdowns to lead No. 13 Florida State (3-1) over South Florida (3-1).

      Cook, who had just 228 yards and two touchdowns through the first three games of the season, looked like the Heisman Trophy contender he was expected to be before the start of the season. His previous career best was 266 yards against South Florida last year.

      The game started off with fireworks on the first play of the game as quarterback Quentin Flowers connected with Rodney Adams on a 84-yard touchdown pass to give the Bulls a 7-0 lead.

      No. 14 Tennessee 38, No. 19 Florida 28

      KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -- Joshua Dobbs threw four second-half touchdown passes as No. 14 Tennessee ended its 11-year losing streak against 19th-ranked Florida in dramatic, emphatic fashion.

      Dobbs helped the Volunteers (4-0, 1-0 SEC) erase a 21-0 first-half deficit. Booed off the field at halftime with the Gators leading 21-3, Tennessee flipped the script behind Dobbs, whose passing has come under criticism during his career.

      Dobbs started the second-half rally with a 23-yard scoring strike to running back Jalen Hurd with 7:29 left in the third quarter, followed by a 20-yard touchdown reception by tight end Ethan Wolf with 59 seconds remaining that drew the Vols within 21-17. Dobbs then hit wide receiver Jauan Jennings for a juggling 67-yard score down the right sideline with 12:45 left in the game, giving Tennessee its first lead of the day.

      The Gators (3-1, 1-1) didn't manage a first down in the second half until an 86-yard touchdown march concluded with a 10-yard pass from Austin Appleby to Freddie Swain with 4:17 left.

      No. 16 Baylor 35, Oklahoma State 24

      WACO, Texas -- Baylor quarterback Seth Russell passed for 387 yards and four touchdowns to propel No. 16 Baylor past Oklahoma State in Big 12 action.

      Russell teamed up with wide receiver Chris Platt for an 89-yard touchdown to give Baylor (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) a 28-21 lead and the Bears protected the lead. Russell finished by hitting Platt for a 15-yard touchdown and a double-digit lead for the first time.

      Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph passed for 279 yards and Justice Hill rushed for 122 and a touchdown on 20 carries. The Cowboys (2-2, 0-1) gave up four turnovers to Baylor's two.

      No. 20 Nebraska 24, Northwestern 13

      EVANSTON, Ill. -- Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. threw for one touchdown and set up two others as No. 20 Nebraska opened Big Ten play with the victory at Northwestern.

      The Cornhuskers (4-0, 1-0) had their lowest point production of the season, but still piled up 556 yards to the Wildcats' 388. Armstrong was 18-of-29 for 246 yards and also rushed 13 times for a game-high 132 yards.

      Quarterback Clayton Thorson scored on a 42-yard run and combined with Austin Carr on a 24-yard touchdown pass for the Wildcats (1-3, 0-1). Running back Justin Jackson rushed for 84 yards on 20 carries while Carr had a career-high eight catches for 109 yards.

  • Alabama RB Harris carted off field with leg injury
    By The Sports Xchange / Saturday, September 24, 2016

    Alabama sophomore running back Damien Harris was carted off the field after sustaining a leg injury on the opening drive in Saturday's game against Kent State.

    • Harris sat out the rest of the contest, which Alabama (4-0) convincingly won, 48-0.

      "He has an ankle sprain, so he'll be day to day," Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban said of Harris. "I don't know what his status will be (next week versus Kentucky)."

      Harris came into Saturday's contest with 327 rushing yards, averaging 9.1 yards per carry. On Saturday, he had four carries for 18 yards.

      Freshman Joshua Jacobs took over at running back and capped both of Alabama's ensuing first-quarter possessions with rushing touchdowns.

  • Seminoles DE Sweat to miss time after knee surgery
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 22, 2016

    Florida State defensive end Josh Sweat underwent surgery Thursday for a meniscus tear in his left knee.

    • Seminoles coach Jimbo Fisher told reporters that Sweat will miss Saturday's game versus South Florida and is expected to be sidelined 1-2 weeks.

      "He had a little piece of cartilage in there that they clipped out. It was very clean," Fisher said per the Orlando Sentinel. "He wanted to play with it, and couldn't do it so we went to clean it out."

      Sweat initially suffered the injury in practice prior to last week's drubbing at Louisville but played in the game. He practiced Monday and Tuesday before the knee swelled, prompting the decision to have the surgical procedure.

      The 6-foot-5, 250-pound sophomore registered 41 tackles with two sacks and an interception as a freshman.

  • Buckeyes' Schiano hits cyclist with car
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 22, 2016

    Ohio State defensive co-coordinator Greg Schiano was driving a car that struck a student riding a bicycle near campus Thursday morning.

    • A 26-year-old male student sustained a head injury but is expected to survive, a Columbus police spokesman said.

      "We are very concerned about the young man who was injured," university spokesman Chris Davey said. "Our concern lies with supporting him in every way we can."

      The crash, which occurred at 6:50 a.m., remains under investigation.

      Schiano is in his first season with the Buckeyes after not coaching for the past two years. He was named national coach of the year in 2006 after he guided Rutgers to a 11-2 record and a ranking as high as No. 6. He also posted two nine-win seasons and a pair of eight-win campaigns as he elevated the Scarlet Knights to national prominence in his 11 seasons as head coach.

      Schiano was 11-21 in two years as coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before he was fired after the 2013 season.

      Schiano, a friend of Ohio State coach Urban Meyer, shares coordinator responsibilities with Luke Fickell.

  • College football notebook: Wisconsin changes quarterbacks
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 22, 2016

    No. 11 Wisconsin will have a new starting quarterback when it faces eighth-ranked Michigan State, in East Lansing, Mich., on Saturday.

    • Alex Hornibrook will make his first collegiate start on Saturday after replacing Bart Houston as the Badgers starting quarterback, the school announced Thursday on its website.

      Houston, a fifth-year senior, started the first three games of the season, but the offense struggled against Georgia State last week.

      Hornibrook, a redshirt freshman, came off the bench in the second half and provided an offensive spark. The Badgers led 6-3 when Hornibrook entered the game, and he led two touchdown drives that helped Wisconsin to a 23-17 victory.

      Houston was 10 of 18 for 91 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions in that game, while Hornibrook was 8 for 12 for 122 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

      --Kentucky quarterback Drew Barker could miss the rest of the season due to the back injury he sustained during Saturday's victory over New Mexico State.

      Wildcats coach Mark Stoops said doctors don't believe Barker will require surgery. The short-term plan is for the sophomore to rest the back and then be re-evaluated.

      Stoops is unwilling to say Barker will return this season.

      Junior-college transfer Stephen Johnson replaced Barker against New Mexico State and will start this Saturday's contest against South Carolina.

      --Georgia Tech has appointed former football player Todd Stansbury as its new athletic director.

      Stansbury was Oregon State's athletic director for the past year. He was also Central Florida's AD from 2012-15.

      Stansbury, 55, was a middle linebacker at Georgia Tech from 1980-84. He also was the university's assistant athletic director for academics from 1988-95.

      Stansbury replaces Mike Bobinski, who recently departed to become Purdue's athletic director.

  • Wisconsin tabs QB Hornibrook to start vs. Michigan St.
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 22, 2016

    No. 11 Wisconsin will have a new starting quarterback on Saturday (Noon, ET) when it faces eighth-ranked Michigan State in East Lansing, Mich.

    • Alex Hornibrook will make his first collegiate start on Saturday after replacing Bart Houston as the Badgers' starting quarterback, the school announced Thursday on its website.

      Houston, a fifth-year senior, started the first three games of the season, but the offense struggled against Georgia State last week.

      Hornibrook, a redshirt freshman, came off the bench in the second half and provided an offensive spark. The Badgers (3-0) led 6-3 when Hornibrook entered the game, and he led two touchdown drives that helped Wisconsin to a 23-17 victory.

      Houston was 10 of 18 for 91 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions in that game. By comparison, Hornibrook was 8 for 12 for 122 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

      "I thought that when we were in fall camp, I told both quarterbacks that we've got to get them both ready to play and that they both would play," Badgers coach Paul Chryst told the Big Ten Network. "Sure enough, both have played. I thought Alex did some really good things and helped us. I thought he earned the opportunity to get more snaps and to get the start.

      "It really wasn't as much what Bart did or didn't do. I just thought Alex has earned the opportunity to get the start. Looking forward to seeing him play and know through this season - heck, we don't even know how the game's going to turn out - that Bart still will play and be significant to our team."

      Hornibrook has completed 13 of 17 passes for 183 yards, two touchdowns and one interception this season.

      Houston has completed 44 of 71 passes for 527 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in 2016.

  • Back injury could sideline Kentucky QB Barker
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 22, 2016

    Kentucky quarterback Drew Barker could miss the rest of the season due to the back injury he sustained during Saturday's victory over New Mexico State.

    • Wildcats coach Mark Stoops said doctors don't believe Barker will require surgery. The short-term plan is for the sophomore to rest the back and then be re-evaluated.

      Stoops is unwilling to say Barker will return this season.

      "You don't know how the back's going to respond at this point," Stoops said at a press conference. "So we will re-evaluate it, but we're certainly not going to re-evaluate it for at least three weeks or so. And so I have no idea whether he'll be able to come back and play this year or not."

      Stoops said Barker began experiencing back pains this summer.

      Junior-college transfer Stephen Johnson replaced Barker against New Mexico State and will start this Saturday's contest against South Carolina.

  • JACOBI: East division jousting begins in Big Ten, SEC
    By The Sports Xchange / Thursday, September 22, 2016

    Here are the storylines to watch this weekend in college football:

    • CAN'T SPELL AWESOME CONFERENCE BATTLES WITHOUT S-E-C

      The hands-down best slate of games this week resides in the SEC, which heads into conference play with a trio of ranked-on-ranked matchups.

      The nation's eyes will probably be fixed on No. 19 Florida's trip to No. 14 Tennessee, a tailor-made Verne-and-Gary battle on CBS. Both teams are swimming in equal parts trepidation and optimism, sensing both the evident flaws in their teams and the unmistakable win-ability of the SEC East despite said flaws. A loss here with Georgia still looming changes that equation substantially for one of these two teams, and even the built-in excuse of missing QB Luke Del Rio won't help Florida if the Gators come up short.

      For pure bonkers potential, though, nothing compares to No. 17 Arkansas going to No. 10 Texas A&M, with a, um, well-lubricated Aggie crowd in attendance and noted chaos harbinger Joe Tessitore on the call for ESPN. Bret Bielema and Kevin Sumlin's teams can do many things, but "playing boring fourth quarters" doesn't appear on the list. Expect this one to hang in the balance as the clock flies past midnight on the east coast.

      WINNER GETS LAKE MICHIGAN

      This week marks the first meeting between No. 11 Wisconsin and No. 8 Michigan State since 2012, and that's a rivalry that has been on the shelf for far too long. The two teams gave us not only the two best games of the Big Ten season in 2011, but arguably two of the best in all of college football that year, full stop.

      Russell Wilson and Kirk Cousins have moved onto immensely profitable NFL careers, as have many of their teammates from those great games, but the stakes are as high in this year's game as any meeting between the two teams. Michigan State can't afford any letdowns while its sharing a division with rivals Ohio State and Michigan, and Wisconsin can start its ferocious five-game stretch of the season with a huge road win--and leave no doubt that it's a Top Ten team.

      Don't expect a ton of points here on Saturday; both teams have ferocious defenses to lean on, and Wisconsin's giving redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook his first start over senior signal-caller Bart Houston. Twenty points just might win this one.

      A DAWG-GONE CLASSIC IN THE MAKING

      The week's marquee interdivisional matchup in the SEC is No. 12 Georgia at No. 23 Ole Miss, a matchup that'll give Bulldog fans their first glimpse at how the team handles hostile road environments.

      There's no shame in the mere fact of the Rebels' 1-2 record, with the losses coming to top-ranked Alabama and then-No. 3 Florida State, but the "how" will haunt this team for years. Ole Miss blew leads of 20 or more points in each game, and did so with astonishing swiftness. FSU would end up winning the game by double digits, and it took a furious fourth-quarter rally by Ole Miss to even bring the game within five points at the final gun. Head coach Hugh Freeze needs to have his guys ready to play 60 minutes on Saturday, and that starts with mercurial QB Chad Kelly, who has the uncanny talent of putting both teams in position to win any given football game.

      There's another dynamic at play here, and one worth noting. The SEC East has been the decidedly inferior division for years now, and Georgia's inability to capitalize on that relative weakness was a major factor in Mark Richt being shown the door after 2015. If Smart can start to turn that (ahem) tide by walking into Oxford and taking the W home, he'll earn himself years of political capital among the notoriously grumpy fans in Athens.

      ANYONE? ANYONE? BUELLER?

      Nobody wins a Heisman Trophy in September, but Louisville QB Lamar Jackson is currently lapping the field, especially after exploding Florida State's collective face last Saturday in the 63-20 rout. Expect Jackson's path of destruction to continue as the Cardinals head to Marshall under the lights this weekend.

      The question, then, is who exactly will provide the first serious challenge to Jackson's supremacy this season. If it's going to be anybody among the preseason favorites, look for Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey to make that push this week as his Cardinal goes to UCLA in a prime-time matchup. McCaffrey logged 238 yards from scrimmage and a pair of scores in his team's easy victory over USC last Saturday; another win on national television for the big-game all-purpose back, and we just might have ourselves a Heisman race.

  • Indiana K Del Grosso arrested
    By The Sports Xchange / Wednesday, September 21, 2016

    Indiana junior kicker Aaron Del Grosso was arrested early Wednesday morning on charges of criminal trespassing and public intoxication.

    • Bloomington (Ind.) Police Department officers arrived at an apartment about 2:30 a.m. to find two people arguing over ownership of a dog. Del Grosso called the police because he wanted his dog back from his ex-girlfriend.

      Officers asked Del Grosso to leave the ex-girlfriend's property, which he initially did. Police then received a second call from a roommate of the ex-girlfriend who said an intoxicated man had forced his way into their apartment, at which point officers arrested him.

      Del Grosso was booked into the Monroe County Jail at 3:33 a.m.

      "We are aware of the situation concerning Aaron Del Grosso, we will continue to monitor it as details become available and will take appropriate action," the Indiana athletic department said in a statement.

      Del Grosso was the Hoosiers' primary kicker as a freshman in 2014, but he lost the starting job and did not appear in any games in 2015. He appeared on a kickoff in Indiana's win over Ball State in the 2016 home opener on Sept. 10.

  • No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 8 Michigan State rekindle rivalry
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, September 20, 2016

    It's hard to believe that two teams from the same conference haven't played in four years, but that's the reality these days with unbalanced schedules, expansion and realignment.

    • For the No. 8 Michigan State Spartans and the No. 11 Wisconsin Badgers, this weekend's meeting at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich., will be the first since 2012. There is hardly anyone around the Big Ten that will be complaining about the fact the once-budding rivalry gets a chance to be rekindled.

      Prior to the hiatus, the Badgers and Spartans were busy playing in some of the most exciting games with some fairly important consequences. In 2011 alone, the teams met twice with the Spartans winning the regular season on a 44-yard Hail Mary from Kirk Cousins to Keith Nichol on the final play of the game for a 37-31 victory.

      A few weeks later, the Badgers got the last laugh when they beat the Spartans in the inaugural Big Ten Championship game behind the play of quarterback Russell Wilson. It was a back-and-forth battle that wasn't decided until Michigan State's punt return inside the Wisconsin five in the final two minutes was negated by a running into the kicker penalty.

      The year before, Michigan State beat Wisconsin, 34-24, with a late fourth-down touchdown pass from Cousins to B.J. Cunningham sealing the deal. There was controversy at the end of the season when the Badgers got the nod for the Rose Bowl over the Spartans despite identical records and MSU holding the head-to-head advantage.

      Back then, Paul Chryst was Wisconsin's offensive coordinator. Now the Badgers' head coach, Chryst remembers those matchups fondly.

      "I always felt going into those game, 'Here's a really good football team with good players and well coached,'" Chryst said of Michigan State. "It was a good football team and you knew it and the kids knew it. It was fun to play those games because you knew you had to be on and you knew you'd be challenged. I think we knew each other well.

      "I think what it was mostly, or as much was those games meant something."

      It will mean something again this time as Michigan State (2-0) and Wisconsin (3-0) are both ranked in the top 11.

      The Spartans (2-0) are riding high after last week's win over Notre Dame and relish the chance to get off on the right foot in the conference against a highly ranked opponent.

      "You should get excited for the opportunity," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "I think the storylines around it -- being the Big Ten opener, the history with Wisconsin, the fact that of where we're at as a program right now, where they're at -- it all points towards this being a very, very big game, probably bigger than last week. No doubt bigger than last week."

      It's bigger because a loss in the Big Ten can make it much tougher to get to the conference championship game. That's especially true for Michigan State, which must get the best of Ohio State and Michigan in the East Division, though Wisconsin has no easy road, either. After taking on the Spartans, the Badgers get Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska in successive weeks.

      That means there's little margin for error beginning this week.

      "I think the out-of-conference schedule is just what it is," Dantonio said. "You can lose them, still recover and play and win a Big Ten championship. You start playing a little bit more for real I think in terms of understanding that these are the things that lead you to rings, big bowl games, playoffs, those type of things.

      "When you're playing in-conference, you get into your division, the chips just get a little bit bigger. But that's the way it's always been here. The more you win, the higher the chips get, the more it's on every single game. It's just the nature of it."

      Michigan State will play for the bigger stakes with an offense that is riding high while Wisconsin (3-0) comes in with plenty of questions.

      The Badgers have had trouble scoring consistently and could be without senior running back Corey Clement (ankle) for a second straight game. And Chryst hasn't committed to a starting quarterback after replacing fifth-year senior Bart Houston in the second half against Georgia State with redshirt freshman Alex Hornibrook.

      "Both have to be ready to play, to be sure," Chryst said. "I'm positive of that. Both have to go. I told them there are going to be games where they're both going to play.

      "We need both of them to keep growing and go for us. I'll let the week determine all this stuff, with who's going to play running back, who's going to play left guard, who's going to play quarterback, who's going to play receiver, who's going to be the nickel corner."

  • No. 6 Houston not looking past Texas State
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, September 20, 2016

    The Houston Cougars survived Cincinnati on a short week thanks to a stellar performance from quarterback Greg Ward Jr.

    • Unlike the last big Cougars' win, however, Ward won't be following that with a week on the sidelines when they travel to San Marcos, Texas, to take on Texas State at Jim Wacker Field at Bobcat Stadium on Saturday night.

      Ward, who finds himself in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy after passing for 321 yards and two touchdowns in Houston's 33-23 season opening upset of then No. 3-ranked Oklahoma, took a lot of hits in the 40-16 win over the Bearcats last Thursday night.

      The No. 6 Cougars won despite struggling most of the way, and the lopsided final score doesn't reflect how the game was played. Houston trailed 16-12 early in the fourth quarter before scoring the final 28 points on two Ward touchdown runs and two defensive scores.

      "Credit to the leaders on the team," Cougars coach Tom Herman said. "We were down by four points in the fourth quarter, and there wasn't a difference on the sideline as if we were up by 16 on Oklahoma."

      Ward sat out the Lamar game two weeks ago to rest his shoulder after the victory over Oklahoma. But as Herman noted in his weekly press conference, this week's opponent, Texas State (1-1), is not Lamar. It's a quality foe that the Cougars can't look past, so Ward will take it easier in practice during the week in order to be ready to go on Saturday.

      "He's one of the best competitors I've ever been around, and he's taken a lot of big hits in his day," Herman said. "Once he got hit in the shoulder, yeah it hurt, but did his arm fall off? No. Was he able to throw another pass? Yes. That kind of gave him some confidence, like 'hey what these doctors and coaches have been telling me is true.'"

      Ward, who owns a nation's best streak of 16 straight wins as a starter, went through a full practice Sunday, including a 7-on-7 session that he "threw a bunch and threw it well.

      "It's a volume thing, not what kinds of throws," Herman added. "If he feels like it's too much then we'll settle down, and if he feels like he can handle it we'll give him everything he can handle."

      It will be a challenging week for the Cougars, and not just because Texas State opened with a victory over Ohio before dropping a decision to Arkansas. Former Houston director of football recruiting Adrian Mayes is now the offensive line coach for coach Everett Withers at Texas State.

      "That will be a big challenge for us," Herman said. "We are having to change every signal, call and check. We are trying to get ready to win a game, and yet we are having to spend this amount of time to mask what we are doing. It's not a matter of only changing the plays. It's a matter of what we are calling our plays, how we are communicating and signaling them."

      Herman and Withers have their own history together, at previous coaching stops at Texas and Ohio State.

      "(We worked together) two years (at Ohio State), and way back when I was a graduate assistant at Texas he was a DB coach there, Herman said. "I consider him a close friend. My wife and his wife are really close friends. They got to know each other quite a bit in Columbus and continue to talk to this day. We were excited when Everett got the opportunity to move back to the great state of Texas and excited to see him off to a good start."

      Texas State opened the season and the Withers era with a 56-54 triple overtime win at Ohio. The Bobcats fell behind 35-0 at halftime in an eventual 42-3 loss at Arkansas last week.

      Although Ward gets most of the national attention, Houston's defense has been a major reason for the hot start. The Cougars lead the nation in rushing defense, allowing an average of just 38.3 yards per game, and held Oklahoma's potent ground game to just 70 yards. Senior linebacker Steven Taylor leads the unit and has 5.5 sacks through three games, as well as an interception return for a touchdown.

  • No. 3 Louisville aims to continue rolling vs. Marshall
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, September 20, 2016

    After blowing out then-No. 2 Florida State 63-20 last week, the third-ranked Louisville Cardinals suddenly finds themselves not only in the hunt for an Atlantic Coast Conference title, but are also being looked at as a strong national championship contender as they travel to Huntington, W. Va., to take on the Marshall Thundering Herd at Joan C. Edwards Stadium on Saturday night.

    • The Cardinals (3-0), who opened last spring with 100-to-1 odds to win the national title, are all the way down to 5-to-1 after last weekend's nationally televised smack-down of the Seminoles. And quarterback Lamar Jackson, not exactly a household name a few weeks ago, adorns this week's cover of Sports Illustrated and is leading a number of Heisman Trophy polls.

      But as coach Bobby Petrino made clear to his team in the following days, it's time to move on and focus on the rest of the schedule, beginning with Saturday's road trip to Marshall.

      "We did a great job and it was a great win for us, but we haven't reached our goals," Petrino said. "We're only three games into the season and we have to get back to work."

      That focus isn't going to be easy. The Cardinals handed the vaunted Seminoles one of the most lopsided losses it its history. Dalvin Cook was held to 54 yards on the ground, while Deonte Francious was sacked five times and threw for just 101 yards.

      "Our plan going in was to set the edge and get guys playing gaps ... don't give guys many seams," Petrino said. "For the most part, we did a great job with that, and that put them behind the sticks."

      "I'm going to tell you what my team told me," Jackson said. "They were like, we aren't taking our foot off the gas. You know that goes for anybody we are playing -- trying to score every time we get the ball."

      Jackson is putting up video game like numbers so far this season. He has 10 rushing touchdowns through three games, including four each in the victories over Syracuse and Florida State. He's averaging 9.5 yards per carry. Oh, and he's also a dangerous pocket passer, as his 411 yards against Syracuse two weeks ago can attest. He's also third in the country in yards per pass attempt at 11.1.

      It's hardly a one-man show, however. Running back Brandon Radcliff had another 100-yard game against Florida State, with 118 yards and a touchdown. He's averaging 11.4 yards per carry in 2016, and his 22 career rushing touchdowns are ninth all-time at Louisville. And wide receiver James Quick had seven catches for 122 yards against the Seminoles and now has five career 100-yard receiving games, one of only 12 wide receivers to hit that mark in program history.

      Marshall enters the week 1-1 after a 65-38 loss to Akron at home last week. Quarterback Chase Litton threw for 413 yards and four touchdowns in the setback.

      "Just know, this Marshall team is not done," Litton promised on the way out of the post-game press conference.

      The Herd surrendered 379 passing yards, including seven completions of 20 or more yards, had four turnovers and also had a punt blocked. That should bode well for a Louisville offense that's excelled at creating big plays, both on the ground and through the air.

      Still, Petrino expects the road crowd to be ready to do its best to sway the game in Marshall's favor, remembering his last trip to the university.

      "It was in the second round of the (1987) I-AA playoffs, when I was coaching for Weber State," Petrino said. "They were cranked up and ready to go. I remember getting off the bus, and all these people running up to the fence and started yelling at us. So I imagine it'll be a pretty good atmosphere. I think it's great. It's what we like to do."

      The Thundering Herd defeated the Cardinals 17-13 in the last meeting between the two schools in 2011 -- the first career start for current Minnesota Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Louisville has dropped the last four meetings with the Thundering Herd and is looking for its first win in the series since a 36-0 victory in 1981.

  • QBs on display as No. 10 Texas A&M faces Arkansas
    By The Sports Xchange / Tuesday, September 20, 2016

    Texas A&M and Arkansas will present an interesting contrast in quarterbacks on Saturday (9 p.m. ET) when they clash at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

    • Graduate transfer Trevor Knight, who had 15 starts in his first two years at Oklahoma before losing his job to Baker Mayfield in 2015, will lead the No. 10 Aggies (3-0, 1-0 SEC).

      Junior Austin Allen, the understudy to his brother Brandon the last two seasons, will be behind center for the 17th-ranked Razorbacks (3-0, 0-0).

      Both seem to be exactly what their respective teams have needed in the early going.

      Knight, who won the starting job in the spring after coming to College Station in January, has passed for 830 yards and five touchdowns despite completing only 52.9 percent of his passes.

      Part of the reason for Knight's low completion percentage is that he was on target on only half of his 40 attempts against Auburn last week. But Knight was the victim of some drops and also had a long completion to Ricky Seals-Jones nullified when the wide receiver had a foot land inches out of bounds.

      When it counted, Knight was 8 of 11 after falling behind at Auburn to help the Aggies take a 10-7 lead. He ended up passing for 247 yards and rushing for a net 42 against the Tigers.

      "He was really good early," Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin said of Knight. "For him to play the way he did really gave us a chance to get ahead."

      Knight also has rushed for 151 yards in the three games on 28 carries.

      "I think he's a deceptive big man with speed," Arkansas coach Bret Bielema said. "He's got good size. They list him at 6-foot-1 and 215. To me he looks a lot taller than that, and moves."

      Allen has been the straw that stirs the drink for Arkansas.

      In the win over TCU in Week 2, he was named SEC Player of Week after passing for 233 yards and three touchdowns on 17-of-29 passing. Allen's 5-yard run in the second overtime gave the Razorbacks a 41-38 victory.

      He wasn't all that pressed last week in the 42-3 rout of Texas State, but still was 16-of-21 passing for 241 yards and two more touchdowns.

      Allen has completed 67.1 percent of his passes for the year for an average of 218.3 yards a game with seven touchdowns against two picks.

      He is just the fourth quarterback to go 3-0 in his first three collegiate starts for Arkansas since it joined the SEC in the 1992 season. The others were Tyler Wilson in 2011, Mitch Mustain in 2006, and Robby Hampton in 2000. His seven touchdown passes over that span are tied with Ryan Mallett (2009) and Mustain for the high in that category over that same span.

      "Austin does a lot of things very well," Bielema said. "I think he throws on the move very well, and he throws well to the left and to the right which you've seen a little glimpse of.

      "He can run the football, but I wouldn't say we want to make a heavy dose of it. That jump cut he gave to his left wasn't quite as good as our running backs, but it sufficed. I'm just excited to watch him continue to grow."

      The Aggies, however, will be the toughest test yet for Allen when it comes to facing pressure.

      "They have two perimeter rushers that are as good as anybody in the country," Bielema said.

      That would be ends Daeshon Hall, a 6-foot-6, 270-pound senior, and Myles Garrett, a 6-5, 270-pound junior. Together, they averaged 1.5 sacks a game in 2015 with Garrett leading the SEC with 12.5 total. Garrett also had 10 quarterback hurries. Hall had 7.0 sacks and another four hurries.

      This season, Garrett has three sacks and four hurries. Hall is looking for his first sack, but has been credited with three hurries.

      The two teams will be meeting in Arlington for a third consecutive season and seventh time overall. The first meeting in Arlington was way back in 1906 when the Aggies won 6-0.

      So far, the five games at AT&T Stadium have gone the way of streaks. Arkansas won the first three from 2009-11. The Aggies have won the last two in Arlington and the last four meetings overall.