College Football
NCAAF News Wire
  • Report: Maryland's McNair didn’t get proper treatment
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    Maryland offensive lineman Jordan McNair, who died June 13 from heatstroke, didn't receive a proper diagnosis or proper treatment from the school's athletic staff when he started suffering symptoms during a May 29 practice, a report released Friday indicated.

    • The report from Walters Inc. to the University System of Maryland's Board of Regents stated "there might have been the opportunity to reverse the patient's core temperature" had the athletic training staff provided adequate care.

      The report determined that there was a delay of 34 minutes between when the 19-year-old athlete first started cramping during the workout and when he was taken off the field. A 911 call was placed 1 hour, 7 minutes after the onset of symptoms. Then, 32 minutes later, McNair was taken in an ambulance to the hospital.

      Rod Walters, hired by Maryland to conduct the investigation, said, "Hindsight is 20/20. I think if we would have identified that earlier, it might have changed things."

      After a closed meeting of the Board of Regents, the results of the investigation were made public at Towson University. It has been more than three months since the investigation, one of two surrounding the football program, began. Walters, a nationally recognized sports medicine consultant, was hired by Maryland on June 19 to investigate what took place during McNair's workout and whether he had received the proper treatment.

      The outcome of the second investigation, involving eight people checking into the football program regarding allegations of verbal abuse and bullying, has not yet been presented to Maryland's Board of Regents, and there's no timetable for when the results will be made available.

      One Maryland football player who was not identified told investigators that head football athletic trainer Wes Robinson "yelled at the interns to drag (McNair) across the field. By then, the player said, McNair "could barely stand."

      "The coaches preach a 'no quit' mentality," the player added. "No one wants to go to the 'Pit' (area of practice for injured players). The 'Pit' is no joke, and players avoid this at all costs."

      Personnel decisions that could involve the coaching staff won't be made until after the conclusion of the second investigation, according to USM Board of Regents Chair James Brady. Head coach DJ Durkin was placed on leave in August following an ESPN report that alleged he fostered a culture of intimidation and humiliation.

      Matt Canada remains the team's interim coach, as the Terrapins have started 2-1.

      --Field Level Media

  • UCLA QB Modster chooses to transfer
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    UCLA redshirt sophomore quarterback Devon Modster announced Friday that he is transferring from UCLA.

    • Modster started the final two games for UCLA last season after Josh Rosen was injured and Jim Mora was the head coach. But Modster finished third in a training camp battle for the job this season under new coach Chip Kelly.

      Michigan transfer Wilton Speight -- sidelined with an injury -- won the job and Dorian Thompson-Robinson opened as the No. 2 quarterback. Thompson-Robinson is currently the starter.

      "First and foremost I would like to thank my teammates for always grinding with me day in and day out, creating memories that I will cherish for a lifetime," Modster wrote on Twitter. "I would like to thank Coach (Jim) Mora for giving me the opportunity to play and attend such a prestigious school! Also I'd like to thank Bruin Fans who continued to support my teammates an I thoughout these years.

      "I'd like to thank Coach (Chip) Kelly and the strength coaches for allowing me to continue to play the game I love, BUT I've decided to leave UCLA and pursue other opportunities. Best of luck to the Bruin Families!"

      Modster passed for 671 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions in five games last season.

      Modster's departure comes just days after Thompson-Robinson's father sharply criticized Kelly for "lousy coaching" and not taking responsibility for the team's 0-3 start.

      --Field Level Media

  • Craig-Myers among 2 more to bolt Auburn program
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    Wide receiver Nate Craig-Myers and his half-brother, defensive back Jayvaughn Myers, have left the Auburn Tigers' football program, coach Guz Malzahn confirmed.

    • "We wish them nothing but the best," Malzahn said on his weekly radio appearance, per "It's a new day, and I think you'll see more of that in the next week or so."

      A new NCAA rule this season allows players to participate in up to four games in a season and still be able to take a redshirt and preserve a year of eligibility.

      "There's a new day in college football with the rule and all that," Malzahn said. was first to report that the 6-foot-2, 214-pound Craig-Myers, who has just two catches for 39 yards this season, was planning to transfer. The former four-star recruit from Dade City, Fla., who chose Auburn over offers from Florida State, North Caroline and Ole Miss, has 22 catches for 394 yards and four touchdowns in 15 games over two-plus seasons.

      Jayvaughn Myers was a 2016 signee who has played sparingly through his first two-plus seasons. first reported that he was not at Thursday's practice.

      A total of five players have now left the Auburn program since the start of the season, including tight end Jalen Harris earlier this week. Cornerback John Broussard Jr. and punter Aidan Marshall left earlier this month.

      --Field Level Media

  • Alabama sticking with dual-QB approach
    By Field Level Media / Friday, September 21, 2018

    Nick Saban is committed to the offensive plan he instituted to start the 2018 season: Play two quarterbacks.

    • Tua Tagovailoa started the first three games for the No. 1 Crimson Tide and is the betting favorite for the Heisman Trophy in Las Vegas.

      Alabama is first in the nation in scoring -- 56.7 points per game -- and has 14 touchdowns and one field goal in 20 possessions with Tagovailoa at the helm.

      For the season, he has completed 36 of 50 passes for 646 yards, throwing eight touchdown passes with no interceptions.

      Saban has found time for Jalen Hurts, the displaced starter who was competing for the starting job in camp, but whispers persist that Hurts might opt to transfer from Alabama. He is 19 of 28 for 248 yards and four touchdown passes after going 26-2 as Alabama's starter the previous two seasons.

      "I understand how unique a situation this is," Saban said in an ESPN interview. "I don't know of any other precedent at any time in college football where a guy started 28 games, won 26 of them and then somebody took his place. That's never happened. So that's hard for Jalen, and it's hard for me. I'm a loyal guy and loyal to the guys who get out there and lay it on the line for you. You want to be fair to all of your players, but you also want to be fair to your team.

      "We needed both quarterbacks last year, and we'll need them both again this year."

      Hurts is on track to graduate in December. He could decide to transfer without sitting out a year, per NCAA grad transfer rules.

      "Every time I've talked to Jalen since the season started, he's said, 'Coach, I want to play,' and has never said otherwise," Saban said. "He's done everything we've asked him to do. He's never asked not to play in a game. He says he's ready to play and has practiced well and prepared well. Jalen's a competitor, and the kids on this team respect him. They respect both quarterbacks. And I think it says a lot about both kids that neither one of them has ever said a bad word about the other."

      --Field Level Media

  • Minnesota's Connelly dies at 22
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 20, 2018

    Former Minnesota football player Nick Connelly died at age 22 after a three-month battle with cancer, his family announced Thursday.

    • Connelly retired from football in 2017 because of what he said was his fifth concussion. Connelly's father, Chuck, announced his son's death via Twitter.

      "On Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018, Heaven needed a right tackle and Nick Connelly got the call,'' Chuck Connelly's statement read. "Nick was diagnosed with Burkitt's lymphoma in June 2018. Burkitt's is a very rare, aggressive cancer. Nick was winning the battle through aggressive chemotherapy until the cancer became resistant to all chemo regimens. Nick was a beautiful big strong young athlete with a very kind heart and a great smile.''

      Nick Connelly started five games at offensive tackle in 2017 as a redshirt sophomore. He suffered a concussion on Oct. 7 at Purdue and did not play again. Connelly said that concussion was his third in two years, and doctors told him a sixth career concussion could be life-changing.

      Connelly was a high school star at Red Wing High School, about 60 miles southeast of Minneapolis.

      --Field Level Media

  • Ohio State DE Bosa undergoes surgery (core)
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 20, 2018

    Ohio State defensive end Nick Bosa underwent surgery for a core muscle injury this week, Urban Meyer revealed on his radio show Thursday.

    • Bosa, projected as a top-five selection in the 2019 NFL Draft, suffered what had been identified as an abdominal/groin injury last weekend against TCU.

      Meyer said Bosa won't play against Tulane on Saturday, and he didn't have a projected return date.

      Ohio State (3-0) shouldn't need Bosa against Tulane (1-2), but the Buckeyes have a key Big Ten matchup on Sept. 29 at Penn State.

      "We hope to get him back as soon as possible. We're not sure when that will be," Meyer said Thursday on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus. "A lot of it is the recovery. He's obviously one of the best players in football."

      Bosa leads the Buckeyes with 14 tackles, including six for loss, and four sacks.

      With Bosa out, Jonathon Cooper and Chase Young will start at defensive end. Tyreke Smith, Tyler Friday and Jashon Cornell also are available at defensive end.

      Following the Penn State game, the Buckeyes will host Indiana and Minnesota and travel to Purdue before their bye week the last week of October.

      --Field Level Media

  • Malzahn-Morris friendship highlights No. 9 Auburn vs. Arkansas
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 20, 2018

    Gus Malzahn has considered Chad Morris a close friend for many years.

    • This week has presented a new twist to the friendship. Both men are spending the week trying to outwit one another as No. 9 Auburn (2-1) prepares to host Arkansas (1-2) on Saturday evening at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala.

      Malzahn is 47-23 at Auburn and is looking for his sixth straight winning season.

      "You know, he's one of my buddies," Malzahn said to reporters this week when asked about his bond with Morris. "The challenge we have now is we're in the same conference. In the past, we've shared ideas. He's helped me, too.

      "But now he's in competition. And we both understand that. He's a great competitor, and we'll compete. After the game, we'll shake hands, and everything will be great."

      Not everything has been great for Arkansas, which is undergoing a rebuild under Morris' guidance. The Razorbacks opened the season with a win over Eastern Illinois before dropping back-to-back games against Colorado State and North Texas.

      Arkansas named junior quarterback Ty Storey the starter against Auburn. He will replace sophomore Cole Kelley, who was picked off four times last week.

      "I think that when you look at it, you look at it as how this football team has just got to improve every day," Morris said to reporters this week. "Regardless, no one in that locker room wants to hear the word ‘rebuild,' especially if you're a senior that's invested time in this program.

      "You do want to hear that fact that you've got to get better and improve and find ways to improve. Whatever that means as far as getting players on that field that are going to make plays. I think (De'Jon) Harris had 12 tackles (last week). There are some guys that are playing especially hard. We've just got to continue to develop and, again, you've got to go back and look in the mirror."

      Meanwhile, Auburn is set at quarterback with Jarrett Stidham, who has completed 48 of 75 passes for 584 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions this season. Stidham has also rushed for 36 yards and a score.

      The Tigers are led on the ground by the one-two punch of JaTarvious Whitlow (254 yards, 2 TDs) and Shaun Shivers (149 yards, 2 TDs). Ryan Davis is the top receiving target with 13 catches for 109 yards, while Anthony Schwartz and Darius Slayton each have hauled in receiving touchdowns.

      Devwah Whaley leads Arkansas with 205 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns. La'Michael Pettway is the team's top receiver with 11 catches for 173 yards and three scores.

      Malzahn said Auburn had a chance to start a run toward the College Football Playoff.

      "In my experience, the teams that are playing their best ball in the second half of the season, those are the teams that have a chance," he said. "We've kind of been set up that way, and I think we can do that again, but we got to take it one game at a time."

      --Field Level Media

  • Back in rankings, No. 25 BYU welcomes McNeese
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, September 20, 2018

    Winning football has returned to BYU using a formula that feels polar opposite of what legendary coach LaVell Edwards once did to build the program.

    • The No. 25 Cougars, who play host to FCS team McNeese on Saturday, are employing smash-mouth football to topple opponents these days. BYU has turned from lighting up the scoreboard with dazzling passes to controlling the line of scrimmage and attacking with assorted run plays.

      No one can argue with the results the formula is producing. BYU (2-1) has roads wins over Arizona and Wisconsin and is back in the AP Top 25 poll for the first time in three seasons.

      The Cougars are determined to prevent opponents from pushing them around and wearing them down as often occurred a year ago.

      "The biggest thing is how tough we can be," defensive end Corbin Kaufusi said. "Everyone is tough, football is a tough sport, but it's coming back from last season and translating that into your work ethic."

      An ability to control the line of scrimmage helped BYU greatly in all three games. The Cougars allowed the Badgers to gain just 5.5 yards per play in their 24-21 victory. They previously held Arizona to a meager 4.7 yards per play in a 28-23, season-opening win.

      Even California, which beat BYU 21-18, only managed 5.5 yards and committed three turnovers.

      It has helped the Cougars bounce back from last year's 4-9 campaign where they ranked near the bottom among FBS teams in nearly every major offensive statistical category.

      "The culture of the team is taking form and the players believe," BYU coach Kalani Sitake said. "We talked about developing a strong belief in what we're doing and how we play the game, and we're really pleased with the way the guys are doing it."

      McNeese (3-0) hopes to prove it has the tools to make a run through the FCS playoffs later this season. An upset win over the Cougars certainly would do the trick.

      The Cowboys are definitely no pushover. They have been dominating opponents on defense in opening with three straight wins for the fourth time in seven seasons. McNeese has allowed only 20 first-half points this season -- two touchdowns and two field goals.

      On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys have scored on their opening possession in each of their first three games.

      B.J. Blunt has been a leader in setting a disruptive defensive tone. He tops all FCS players with five sacks through his first three games. Blunt tallied nine tackles, four tackles for loss, three sacks and a fumble recovery in McNeese's 20-10 win over Nicholls last week.

      "He just keeps getting better and better," McNeese coach Lance Guidry said. "He's the pulse of our entire team. I know he is of the defense. He rubs off on everybody with the way he practices and the way he carries himself."

      Guidry told American Press of Lake Charles, La., about facing an FBS-ranked opponent, "I don't ever worry about getting our guys up to play. Our guys think they're going to win. They really do. We as coaches think we're going to win. We think we're just as good of coaches as anybody else, and our players think they're just as good of players as anybody else."

      He added of the Cougars, "They have a good football team. They're hot right now, and they're not going to overlook us by any means. (Sitake) might be telling them about what we did to Nebraska years back. He'll get his team ready to play for us for sure."

      This is the first meeting between the two schools. BYU is 11-0 against FCS teams over the past 20 years and has not lost to a lower division opponent since 1960.

      --Field Level Media

  • Cancellation gives No. 12 WVU extra time for KSU
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    Trends sure have shifted in the West Virginia-Kansas State football series.

    • Coach Dana Holgorsen's program went 0-4 against the Wildcats upon entering the Big 12, but have eked out victories the past two years. Even though the No. 12 Mountaineers (2-0) are 16-point favorites entering Saturday's conference opener at their home field, Milan Puskar Stadium, they haven't forgotten.

      "I don't know how we won the last two games," Holgorsen joked this week.

      In 2016, West Virginia rallied in the fourth quarter to pull ahead 17-16 and held on when Matt McCrane missed a 43-yard field goal.

      Last year in Manhattan, Kan., the Mountaineers were shut out during the second half yet survived 28-23.

      Despite throwing four touchdowns in that win, Will Grier also tossed two interceptions and was flummoxed by his offense enduring a string of three-and-outs. The Heisman Trophy contender pretended his finger was a guy and shot his head this week after reviewing the footage.

      "It was bad - we watched the tape," Grier said. "There's a lot of ways we could have improved in that game. They played a lot harder than us."

      Grier hasn't strained much this season, completing 77 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns against only one interception. He's averaging 380 yards per game passing.

      The Mountaineers are coming off an unexpected off week when Hurricane Florence canceled their game at N.C. State. That created some additional prep time for Kansas State (2-1), which handled UTSA 41-17 on Saturday.

      The Wildcats were starved for some positivity after edging FCS member South Dakota 27-24 in the season opener and losing to Mississippi State 31-10.

      With Skylar Thompson taking over as the quarterback last week, the sophomore threw for a career-best 213 yards. It marked only the ninth time in 29 games that the Wildcats compiled more passing yards than rushing.

      "I think that it was really good for our team. It gave a lot of confidence to our wide receiving corps and gave a lot of confidence to our quarterbacks," said All-Big 12 offensive tackle Dalton Risner. "You guys know how Kansas State football is -- we like to run the ball, everyone knows that. Teams like to bring their safeties down and play the run on us. One thing we maybe might not have had as much confidence in is our ability to throw that ball one-on-one with our wide receivers and beat the DBs on the other team, and that's what we did last Saturday."

      Thompson's first career start came last season against one of West Virginia's worst defenses, yet WVU stopped several K-State drives in plus-territory. This year's defense features more athleticism and has looked solid in beating Tennessee 40-14 and Youngstown State 52-17.

      "A lot of the stuff that Youngstown was doing, run game-wise, is a lot like what Kansas State does with a mobile quarterback that can run a little bit," said West Virginia defensive coordinator Tony Gibson. "So, there's a lot of carryover for our guys right now.

      "They're going to run the ball first and try to take shots. They'll get you one-on-one outside with double moves and different things like that. A lot of that stuff is what we've been preparing for. It's totally different from the rest of the Big 12."

      --Field Level Media

  • On rise, No. 6 LSU faces in-state rival La. Tech
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    No team in the country other than No. 6 LSU has defeated two Top 10 teams in the first three weeks of the season, and the high-flying Tigers will try to remain grounded Saturday night when they host Louisiana Tech at Tiger Stadium (7 p.m. Eastern, ESPNU).

    • LSU (3-0) dispatched then-No. 8 Miami in the season opener and then went on the road last Saturday against then-No. 9 Auburn, jumping out to a 10-0 lead only to fall behind 21-10 and then rallying for a 22-21 victory on Cole Tracy's 42-yard field goal as time expired.

      LSU is the first team in 42 years to defeat a pair of Top 10 opponents in the first three weeks, and the surprising Tigers have moved up in the AP poll from No. 25 to No. 12 to No. 6. Now they have to get back to work, said coach Ed Orgeron.

      "We have to block out the noise," Orgeron said. "We have to be strong. Whether it's way up there or way down there, we can't let it affect us, and right now it hasn't."

      LSU has won by playing complementary football. Despite his 46.2 percent completion rate, transfer quarterback Joe Burrow has made savvy play-calling decisions, shown toughness in running the read option and protected the football, going without an interception in three games.

      LSU is the only FBS school without a turnover, and it has forced seven. The plus-seven margin ranks the Tigers fourth in the nation.

      The defense, coordinated by Dave Aranda, shut out Auburn in the final 25:38 on Saturday and has been fueled by strong play from cornerback Greedy Williams, safety Grant Delpit, linebacker Devin White and defensive end Rashard Lawrence.

      The kicking game, which was such a liability the last two seasons, has been outstanding. Tracy has made all 8 extra points and has gone 8-of-9 on field goal attempts, including 2 of 3 from beyond 50 yards, and Avery Atkins has 15 touchbacks on 18 kickoffs.

      Louisiana Tech (2-0) nipped South Alabama 30-26 to start the season and beat Southern 54-17 in Week 2 before having a bye week last Saturday.

      The game is personal for Louisiana Tech cornerback Amik Robertson, who was also recruited by LSU.

      "It's a huge game, not just for me, but for everyone on the team," Robertson said. "I probably wasn't the only person on my team that not only had an LSU offer, but LSU interest. LSU has passed up on a lot of players on this team, and they also have a point to prove. And not just proving to LSU but proving it to Louisiana Tech that we can play with anybody."

      LSU seems to be relatively healthy. Starting left cornerback Kristian Fulton was the only listed starter missing during the open portion of practice Tuesday afternoon. Starting left tackle Saahdiq Charles, defensive end Glen Logan and backup wide receiver Derrick Dillon all returned to practice after missing Monday's practice.

      --Field Level Media

  • Auburn TE Harris to redshirt, seek transfer
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    Auburn tight end Jalen Harris intends to leave the Tigers as a graduate transfer starting next season.

    • Harris, a senior who graduated in August, has been used mostly as a blocker and on special teams three games into his fourth season. He will take advantage of the NCAA's new rule on redshirting, which allows a player to take part in up to four games without losing a year of eligibility.

      The school granted him his released from his scholarship, Harris said in a tweet.

      Harris joins offensive lineman Tyler Carr, cornerback John Broussard Jr. and walk-on punter Aidan Marshall as players who have left Auburn since fall camp began.

      In his four seasons at Auburn, Harris has four career receptions for 33 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came on trick plays during his sophomore season in 2016.

      As a junior, he started five games, primarily blocking for the Tigers' high-powered ground game. His one catch this season went for 12 yards in Saturday's 22-21 loss to LSU.

      Harris said his lack of use as a receiver went against what head coach Gus Malzahn promised him when he was a three-star recruit from St. James School in Montgomery, Ala.

      --Field Level Media

  • No. 18 Wisconsin opens Big Ten play at unbeaten Iowa
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    This is not the time for another letdown for Wisconsin.

    • After BYU pulled off a 24-21 upset win against the Badgers last Saturday at Camp Randall Stadium, Wisconsin's dreams of a landing a spot in the College Football Playoffs took a severe hit.

      The Badgers (2-1) dropped 12 spots to No. 18 heading into Saturday's Big Ten opener at Iowa (3-0).

      Wisconsin played its first three games at home, so traveling to Kinnick Stadium represents a tough challenge. Even tougher for a team with numerous question marks following a disappointing loss.

      "It was definitely tough," Wisconsin running back Jonathan Taylor said. "We're going to learn from this loss and take those lessons and bring them to practice. We're going to focus on things we need to correct to ensure we're ready to play Iowa."

      The conference opener is an odd time to put too much importance on one game, but the Big Ten West Division might hinge on the outcome of Saturday's game. The winner of the annual showdown between the Hawkeyes and Badgers has won the West Division in each of the last four seasons. Wisconsin has won four straight in Iowa City.

      "There's a lot to play for, but there is a lot to play for every week," Iowa safety Jake Gervase said. "Things didn't go the way we wanted last year up there, but we can't change that. What we can do is make sure that we are ready this week."

      The Badgers are all too familiar with an opponent motivated to avenge a defeat. A year ago, BYU suffered a 40-6 home loss to the Badgers. Iowa forced four turnovers against Wisconsin last season, but managed just 25 rushing yards and lost 38-14.

      "We need to be productive on first and second down and put ourselves in a position on third down where we can either run or pass," Iowa center Keegan Render said.

      The Hawkeyes' offense should receive a boost with the return of three key players, with running back Ivory Kelly-Martin, wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette and offensive lineman Cole Barnwart all set to play after sitting out the Northern Iowa victory.

      The Badgers might be without linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (leg) and tight end Zander Neuville (leg).

      Both teams played relatively easy non-conference schedules, as Taylor enters the game ranked second nationally at 171.1 yards per game. Meanwhile, Iowa's defense is pretty stingy, limiting opponents to eight points and 42 yards rushing per game.

      "We know if we want to achieve our goals and go to the Big Ten championship, it goes through Wisconsin," Render said. "It's proven. It's not something you can debate."

      --Field Level Media

  • Unbeaten Indiana ready to test No. 24 Michigan State
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    Michigan State hopes that an early off week provided a quick reset to the season. Indiana hopes to keep the early momentum rolling.

    • Which theory wins out will be determined Saturday night in Bloomington, Ind., as No. 24 Michigan State (1-1) and Indiana (3-0) open Big Ten play in prime time.

      While many expected the Spartans to contend in the Big Ten East -- something that is still possible -- their confidence took a hit with a Sept. 8 loss at Arizona State. It wasn't so much the loss as the fact the offense produced just 13 points, finding the end zone just once in four trips to the red zone.

      The Spartans believe the extra time to prepare for the Hoosiers will pay off.

      "Nobody likes to lose and when you lose, you want to get back on the other end -- the other side of things," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. "I think our players have had an opportunity to sit on this and dwell on this a little bit and they have also had time to step away from football for a day or so.

      "I'm looking forward to watching our players play on Saturday night. That's all I can tell you."

      The Spartans will need to be much more effective, especially running the ball. They're last in the Big Ten, averaging 114 yards a game on the ground and just 3.3 yards per carry. The offensive line has struggled, with junior left tackle Cole Chewins and fifth-year senior left guard David Beedle battling injuries.

      Add in the difficulty Michigan State has had replacing Brian Allen at center and the front five have yet to come together.

      "Just coming back with the amount of starters we had gave us a little bit of confidence," sophomore center Matt Allen said. "But after the Arizona State game, it's definitely knocked us down. We really just want to prove to everybody this next game what we're about, and that's what we're planning on doing."

      As for Indiana, it knows what it's about to face.

      "They're really a complete team," Hoosiers coach Tom Allen said. "They don't have a weakness. They're very, very solid in all phases, special teams included. Their defense is maybe the strength of their team. When you watch them, there's a lot of similarities (to past teams). Obviously, the scheme always varies, they'll have wrinkles and things they're trying to give to us. A typical Michigan State, Coach Dantonio team -- physical, fundamental, tough. That's what they're going to be."

      It's a team Indiana has had success against. Two years ago, the Hoosiers won at home and last year they led in the fourth quarter in East Lansing before MSU rallied.

      Now, with a perfect non-conference record buoyed by an opportunistic defense and a revitalized running game behind freshman Stevie Scott, the Hoosiers are ready to take another step.

      "Win Big Ten games, period. That's what's next," Allen said. "We got to win Big Ten games. One at a time. That's the way I approach it. I told our team today, they understand how I think. This is the biggest game of the season, the most important game of the season for one reason: It's the next one."

      --Field Level Media

  • Texas guns for elusive win against No. 17 TCU
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    Both No. 17 TCU and resurgent Texas, two of the top teams in the Big 12, look to put the immediate past behind them when they square off to open their conference seasons on Saturday at Darrell K Royal-Memorial Stadium in Austin.

    • The Horned Frogs (2-1) are still smarting from mistakes made in a 40-28 loss to No. 4 Ohio State last week in a neutral site contest at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. They want desperately to clean that taste out of their mouths.

      TCU coach Gary Patterson was quick to say after the defeat that his team was already moving on to preparations for the Longhorns, and that he thought beating Texas would ultimately carry more weight since it's a league game.

      TCU defensive end Ben Banogu said he and his teammates quickly dispatched the loss to the Buckeyes and are only looking forward.

      "One of the things that coach preaches to us is that things are going to go good and things are going to go bad, but it's how we react from that," Banogu said.

      "For us, it's a new week and a new opponent and we are going to make sure that we are ready for this upcoming game. We are looking forward to playing [Texas] -- it's something I am excited about."

      Texas (2-1) upset No. 22 Southern California 37-14 at home last week behind a run of 34 unanswered points, but the Longhorns are determined not to let that victory go to their heads.

      Texas coach Tom Herman did say the win gave the Longhorns some much-needed swagger.

      "There's a lot of things that come from winning a game like that that are positive for your program and positive for the psychology of your players," Herman said. "We've been so close for so long that to finally break through the close barrier and actually finish gives us energy and some validation of the fact that the way we do things will and can lead to success."

      The fact that TCU has owned the Longhorns over the past four seasons -- beating them by an average of 30 points per game -- helped Texas forget about the Trojans and focus on the Frogs.

      Since Mack Brown's final year as coach in 2013, Texas has defeated every team in the Big 12 ... except TCU. Herman shrugged off the Horned Frogs' recent domination.

      "The motivation of the previous four -- it's inconsequential," Herman said. "I don't think there is a guy on this team (that thinks about that). They care about this year and they care about this week and they care about going 1-0 this week and that's all the motivation they need, really."

      Texas and TCU are meeting for the 89th time, with the Longhorns holding a 62-25-1 advantage. Texas owns a 33-14-1 all-time edge against the Horned Frogs in Austin, although the Longhorns' most recent victory there was in 2007.

      The Longhorns won 24 straight meetings from 1968-91, while the Horned Frogs' current four-game streak is tied for their longest ever against Texas.

      --Field Level Media

  • No. 21 Miami expects emotional game with FIU
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    Miami coach Mark Richt expects an emotional game when his No. 21 Hurricanes return home for their final non-conference outing of the season Saturday against Florida International.

    • He just hopes it's not quite as emotional as the first meeting of the two South Florida neighbors 12 years ago.

      Richt wasn't around for that 2006 meeting in the old Orange Bowl, a game that erupted into a huge, ugly brawl in the third quarter. Not only did fists fly, so did helmets and feet in a bench-clearing melee that resulted in the immediate ejections of 13 players -- eight for FIU, five for Miami -- and eventual suspensions of 31 players.

      Although this meeting of the Hurricanes (2-1) and Golden Panthers (2-1) at Hard Rock Stadium is meaningful, it should not approach that level of intensity.

      "There will be guys getting their blood pumping, which should happen in the game of football," Richt said. "It's a game of adrenaline and a game of guys physically getting after each other.

      "But everybody knows you do something stupid then you don't get to play. That's the way football is and the way it ought to be. I don't really anticipate anything foolish."

      Richt said he hasn't talked about the 2006 incident with his team.

      "I've not mentioned one thing," he said. "I remember watching it on TV, but that was a long time ago."

      FIU coach Butch Davis recognizes the extra level of excitement.

      "I think the last time they played, it was obviously embarrassing for both programs," he told the Miami Herald. "But you know, these kids, a lot of them know each other, they played against each other, maybe even played with each other and I'm sure there will be a lot of competition.

      "It's not too different when Miami plays Florida or Florida State. Any time you play people in your own backyard, there's some added excitement about it."

      Davis knows the Sunshine State rivalries quite well. He spent five years as the coach at Miami in the late 1990s before joining the Cleveland Browns, building the foundation for a Hurricanes team that won the 2001 national championship.

      Davis is in his second season with the Panthers, who have rebounded from a season-opening loss to Indiana with back-to-back wins against Old Dominion and Massachusetts.

      "They're fast," Richt said of the Panthers. "There's no doubt they're fast. When you're recruiting South Florida, you're going to get fast guys. They absolutely have great team speed. They'll match up well."

      --Field Level Media

  • No. 3 Clemson ready for Georgia Tech's option attack
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    For more than a decade, Georgia Tech has boasted one of the nation's most productive running games. But rarely have the Yellow Jackets faced an opponent with as much defensive strength as No. 3 Clemson, which visits Atlanta's Bobby Dodd Stadium on Saturday.

    • It's the conference home opener for Georgia Tech (1-2, 0-1 ACC). The Yellow Jackets are coming off back-to-back road losses, including last week's 24-19 setback to Pittsburgh.

      Clemson (3-0) plays its first ACC game of the season. The Tigers rolled over Georgia Southern 38-7 last week in Death Valley.

      Georgia Tech will once again feature a spread option offense, the same attack they introduced when coach Paul Johnson arrived at the school 11 years ago.

      The Yellow Jackets have a quarterback in TaQuon Marshall who would rather pass than throw. He leads the team with 293 yards rushing and four touchdowns.

      They have two B-backs -- their version of a fullback -- and Jordan Mason (274 yards) and Jerry Howard (90 yards) have been solid in replacing 1,000-yard rusher KirVonte Benson, who is out for the season with a knee injury.

      So which weapon in the Georgia Tech offense are the Tigers likely to face Saturday?

      "[Clemson] is going to determine who has the ball," Johnson said.

      Tech's task is daunting, particularly with a couple of their top offensive linemen either out or gimpy. And the job is even more difficult given the nature of Clemson's front four of Austin Bryant, Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence and Clelin Ferrell, who were all named preseason All-ACC.

      "They've got three or four guys who could be first-round draft picks," Johnson said.

      The Tigers have made it a mission to be ready for the Georgia Tech option, the only attack like it they'll see all season. They prepared for it during spring camp, summer camp and in regular intervals during practices.

      "Those little 5-, 10-minute periods go a long way in the grand scheme of things," Bryant said. "So I'd definitely say that helped a lot."

      Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney hasn't forgotten what happened when he was an assistant coach for the Tigers in 2008. Georgia Tech, then in its first season under Johnson, rushed for 207 yards and beat Clemson 21-17.

      "I learned real quick that if we're going to have a chance, we're going to have to make this a part of what we do," Swinney said. "If you don't, you're going to be behind the eight ball."

      The defense is elite, but Swinney said Clemson still has work to do on offense.

      Quarterback Kelly Bryant will start for the Tigers. He ranks first on the school's all-time list for fewest interceptions (2.17 percent) and second behind Deshaun Watson for the highest completion percentage (66.3 percent).

      His favorite target has been wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, who has caught passes in 31 straight games. Running back Travis Etienne has averaged 7.29 yards per carry for his career.

      "They've got a lot of weapons around him," Johnson said.

      --Field Level Media

  • No. 5 Oklahoma stacks Air Raid against Army's triple option
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    On the surface, the Air Raid offense made popular by Hal Mumme and Mike Leach and the triple option don't have much in common.

    • Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley said when he was at Texas Tech with Leach, the coaches often compared their offense to the scheme used by Army.

      "There were a lot of years when we thought, offensively, they were the team we were the most similar to in distributing the balls and not having a thousand different plays and just trying to get good at a few things," Riley said this week as his No. 5 Sooners prepare to face the Black Knights on Saturday. "It looks radically different, but the core beliefs are very similar."

      After facing pass-heavy offenses in the first three games of the season, Army's option will present a completely different challenge for the Sooners.

      "It's unique for anybody who doesn't face it," Army coach Jeff Monken said. "That's maybe one advantage that we have - having an offense they haven't seen."

      Oklahoma and Army haven't played since 1961 and the Sooners haven't faced a true triple option team since Air Force in 2010.

      "We think we have a pretty good plan with it," Riley said. "The good thing is when you play a team like this, what we do offensively is probably fairly difficult for them to simulate as well. Both teams are dealing with that."

      A big key in Oklahoma's offense -- which hasn't missed a beat with Kyler Murray taking over at quarterback this year -- has been the growth of receiver Marquise Brown.

      Brown is No. 6 nationally with 412 receiving yards through three games.

      "He's open a lot," Riley said. "He's just so fast, and he's really - on top of being so fast - he's really become a good player, too. He's running well after the catch."

      The Black Knights haven't beaten a ranked team since 1972 -- a streak of 45 such games -- and haven't beaten a top 10 team since 1963.

      "Every one of our guys in this room that plays football here are here because they want to play football at the highest level," Monken said. "When you think of football at the highest level, certainly a team like Oklahoma comes to mind. As long as these guys have been playing football, these are the kinds of teams you dream of playing. The opportunity to do that and measure themselves against the best teams and the best players in the nation -- Oklahoma is one of those teams."

      --Field Level Media

  • Nebraska looks for breakthrough at No. 19 Michigan
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    Nebraska's first-year head coach Scott Frost never imagined his team would get off to such a slow start.

    • The Cornhuskers (0-2) dropped two home non-conference games to unheralded opponents. Colorado, picked to finish fifth out of six teams in the Pac-12 South, pulled off a 33-28 surprise. Then they were blindsided by Troy, which collected its first-ever victory over a Big Ten school with a 24-19 upset.

      It won't get any easier on Saturday as Nebraska travels to Ann Arbor to face No. 19 Michigan (2-1) in the Big Ten opener for both teams.

      "We hoped at the beginning of the season to go into this game with a good record," Frost said. "Hasn't turned out that way. This one's going to be more of a challenging game than the two we've played so far. This is a huge task and we're going to have to play a perfect game and get a lot better in a week to come out on top."

      The Huskers' chances of doing that would increase if No. 1 quarterback Adrian Martinez can play. Martinez, a freshman, sat out the Troy loss with a knee injury. He rushed for 117 yards against the Buffaloes in his debut. Walk-on Andrew Bunch filled in last weekend and was picked off twice.

      "It was close last week but he wasn't ready and we didn't want to put him in that situation," Frost said of Martinez. "We need him for the rest of this year and the rest of his career."

      Michigan bounced back from an opening-night loss to Notre Dame with two easy victories at home. The Wolverines followed up a 46-point pounding of Western Michigan with a 45-20 thumping of SMU.

      They have some injury concerns, too, as their top two running backs are nursing leg ailments. Karan Higdon (228 rushing yards, two TDs) missed the SMU game and Chris Evans (172 rushing yards, two TDs) limped off on Saturday.

      "Chris is working with through something new now," coach Jim Harbaugh said. "Karan Higdon has been working through something. No real status to give. ... Day-by-day."

      Ole Miss transfer Shea Patterson has settled in at quarterback. He has completed 70.8 percent of his passes with six touchdowns and two interceptions. Patterson hooked up with wideout Donovan Peoples-Jones for three scores against the Mustangs.

      "Overall, Shea has been seeing the field really well," Harbaugh said. "Making accurate throws, on time, getting good protection for the most part. Receivers across the board have been catching the football, getting separation, getting open and then finishing plays. That's been a real positive."

      There's renewed optimism for Michigan with some other Big Ten programs stumbling this month. The Wolverines open the conference schedule with three unranked opponents.

      "Very motivated," Harbaugh said of competing for a Big Ten title. "Daily, weekly, yearly."

      Nebraska holds a 2-1 lead in the series since joining the conference, but the teams haven't met since 2013.

      --Field Level Media

  • No. 2 Georgia braces for red-hot Missouri QB
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    Second-ranked Georgia and Missouri have similar concerns when it comes to Saturday's SEC showdown at Memorial Stadium in Columbia -- making sure they don't get burned by the pass.

    • For Georgia (3-0, 1-0 SEC), it's all about getting a handle on Tigers quarterback Drew Lock, who is looking for his first win in four tries against the Bulldogs.

      A senior, Lock is arguably the top quarterback in the SEC, averaging 354 yards passing with 11 touchdowns and one interception through three games. He figures to give a young Georgia secondary its toughest test so far.

      Missouri (3-0, 0-0 SEC), meanwhile, is coming off a game in which it allowed 572 passing yards last week to Purdue.

      "It was a little frustrating because we knew what we were about to get and we couldn't do anything about it," Tigers coach Barry Odom said. "That's not a very good feeling."

      Odom's fears are well placed.

      Georgia hasn't had to throw the football a lot through three games, but when they have, Jake Fromm and Justin Fields have been very efficient, combining to complete 80.6 percent of their throws (54 of 67) for 649 yards and eight touchdowns.

      Last year, the Bulldogs topped the Tigers 53-28 in a game that saw Fromm throw for a season-best 326 yards.

      Lock certainly has the attention of Georgia head coach Kirby Smart, whose Bulldogs will look to win their second conference game after beating South Carolina two weeks ago.

      "He can make every throw. He threw the ball outside of the stadium last year on us. I think the biggest thing is his maturity level, his confidence. He's seen the coverages. He's seen the checks. He understands where he wants to go with the ball. He's got as fast of release as I've ever seen," Smart said.

      "He can get the ball out so quick, and he does such a good job of keying your defenders and knowing where to go with the ball. You can tell they really work hard on it, and I think he's just more mature."

      Odom is certainly impressed with what he has seen from the Bulldogs, who through three games lead the SEC in total defense, allowing 258.7 yards per game.

      "You can't talk about the top teams in college football without Georgia coming up in the conversation," Odom said. "You always want to find mismatches ... there's not many out there."

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Meyer's suspension cost him more than $570,000
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    Ohio State coach Urban Meyer's three-game suspension cost him more than $570,000, USA Today reported Wednesday.

    • The newspaper said the amount he forfeited is equal to about one-sixth of the cash compensation he receives as part of his annual income.

      Athletic director Gene Smith was suspended from Aug. 31-Sept. 16 and lost nearly $61,000, USA Today reported, citing documents the newspaper obtained.

      The suspensions for both men were announced on Aug. 22 and had to do with their handling of former wide receivers coach Zach Smith amid allegations of domestic violence.

      The Buckeyes were 3-0 under acting coach Ryan Day, and Meyer will be on the sideline for the first time this season Saturday against Tulane.

      USA Today also reported Wednesday that the university's senior associate general counsel, Julie D. Vannatta, sent a letter to Smith and his attorney that said the fired coach was "not owed any severance or buy-out" because his full contract extension had not been fully executed.

      --Field Level Media

  • UCF suspends freshman LB after arrest
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    Freshman linebacker Demetreius Mayes has been suspended by the University of Central Florida following his arrest Tuesday by campus police on a sexual battery charge.

    • Mayes is accused of raping an intoxicated person after an off-campus party over the weekend. The alleged victim reporting waking up undressed, with Mayes in the act of penetration. Mayes also blocked the door to keep the person from leaving, the alleged victim claims.

      Mayes told police that the person consented to sex but that he stopped when the person said to him, "I can't do this."

      The police report said some of Mayes teammates relayed that they tried to talk him out of taking the person into his room and that they later saw the alleged victim leave the room crying.

      "The UCF Police Department is committed to a thorough, professional investigation of all criminal incidents reported to us, and we're dedicated to a culture of care that starts by believing the brave survivors who seek our assistance," a statement from UCF Police Chief Carl Metzger on Wednesday read. "This survivor's well-being will continue to be a priority for our department and our university."

      Head coach Josh Heupel announced that Mayes was suspended indefinitely, adding that he was "upset and disappointed."

      "This has no place in our program," Heupel said, per the Orlando Sentinel. "Demetrius Mayes is suspended from all UCF football activities indefinitely. We are focused on ensuring that we provide compassion and support for everyone outside our program that has been affected by this."

      --Field Level Media

  • Fisher, Saban square off again as No. 22 Aggies meet No. 1 Alabama
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    Texas A&M committed $75 million to Jimbo Fisher this offseason to win big games. No coach has won more big games than Alabama's Nick Saban.

    • From the Aggies' view, the games don't get any bigger than Saturday's Southeastern Conference matchup between 22nd-ranked Texas A&M and No. 1 Alabama.

      "Alabama has an outstanding team as we all know, defending national champions and all that," Fisher said this week. "They're playing outstanding this year. [It's] going to take three phases - offense, defense, special teams. They're sound and they're dynamic."

      That pretty much sums up the season so far for Alabama (3-0, 1-0 SEC), which has outscored its opponents 170-28 and is the nation's 14th-ranked offensive team. Alabama is averaging more than 56 points per game.

      But the No. 22 Aggies (2-1, 0-0 SEC) can put up the points, too.

      Sophomore quarterback Kellen Mond comes into the game with 824 passing yards and six touchdown passes in leading an offense that averages 596.3 yards a game - fifth-best in the country.

      "I think it's important that our players understand that we're playing a really good team this week in Texas A&M," Saban said. "Jimbo's done a really good job there. They've got really good players in a lot of positions on both sides of the ball and special teams. Obviously, that was pretty much the indication when they played Clemson [a 28-26 loss in Week 2]. Probably had, arguably, a lot of opportunities to win the game and at the end, it didn't really work out for them.

      "They're fifth in the country in total offense. Their quarterback is playing really, really well. ... They've got great balance."

      This game pits two of the four active NCAA coaches to have won a national championship - Ohio State's Urban Meyer and Clemson's Dabo Swinney are the others - and matches mentor vs. protege.

      Fisher served as offensive coordinator on Saban's staff at LSU from 2000-04. Several assistants on the Saban coaching tree have gone on to lead their own teams, and Saban is 12-0 against them.

      Last season, Alabama beat Fisher's then-No. 3 Seminoles in the season opener and Kirby Smart's Georgia Bulldogs in the national title game.

      Fisher is aware of all the teacher dominating his students. Fisher doesn't seem intimidated by the Crimson Tide. They are just one of the many teams in the conference the Aggies will have beat to achieve their goal of becoming, well, Alabama.

      "You've got to beat everybody in this conference," Fisher said. "I was in this conference for 13 years at Auburn and LSU. If you get caught up in one [program], there's about three more that will tear both legs and an arm off. You can't get into that."

      --Field Level Media

  • No. 14 Bulldogs, unbeaten Kentucky face physical clash
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    Thirteen. That's the number of times the opposing coaches used the word "physical" to describe Saturday's battle between unbeaten Kentucky and unbeaten and 14th-ranked Mississippi State.

    • "They're as physical as anybody you're going to play in this league, if not more," Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said. "So you have to match it. It starts there."

      "It's another team, like us, that prides themselves on their physicality, their effort and how hard they play," Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead said. "I think that's something that you see across the board with Kentucky."

      It's the ground game where these two titans will collide. Mississippi State (3-0) ranks fifth nationally, and first in the Southeastern Conference, with 311.7 rushing yards per game. Kentucky (3-0) ranks 10th, and second in the league, at 282.3 yards. State has 12 rushing touchdowns, UK has nine.

      For Mississippi State, it's the quarterback who does most of the damage in the run game. Nick Fitzgerald ran for four touchdowns against Louisiana last weekend. In his career, he now has 37 rushing and 43 passing TDs. Only two other SEC players have topped 35 in both categories - Tim Tebow and Dak Prescott. Fitzgerald also needs just 196 yards to break Tebow's SEC career record of 2,957 rushing yards by a quarterback.

      For the year, Fitzgerald, who missed the season opener, has 266 yards rushing. Running back Kylin Hill has 293. They combine for seven of the Bulldogs' 12 rushing touchdowns.

      "You put together a physical offensive line, a dynamic back and a big beast at quarterback, that's a lot of good things," Stoops said. "They're big, they're strong and they're explosive. They just put a lot of pressure on you."

      Kentucky's running game is paced by Benny Snell. He has 375 rushing yards and three touchdowns through three games. Quarterback Terry Wilson is second at 223 yards and two scores.

      "Benny Snell. His talent production kind of speaks for itself," Moorhead said. "Like with any great back, you got to make sure you have great gap integrity, make sure you do a great job with your gang tackling and getting a bunch of hats to the ball. With this guy and how physical he is and guys bounce off tackles, you can't be on the edge of him. If you're going to arm-tackle him, he's going to run through it."

      While both teams are strong on the ground, Kentucky's defense allows just 123 rushing yards per game. Likewise, the Bulldogs' rushing defense gives up just 85 yards per game and allows a paltry 8.7 points per game. Something's gotta give.

      "They're very good defensively," Stoops said. "As always, seems like when you talk about them, they're very long, they're big, they're physical and they're experienced."

      "Kentucky's mindset is toughness, physicality, aggressiveness and explosiveness," Moorhead countered. "And right now, they're playing with a ton of confidence."

      --Field Level Media

  • No. 20 Ducks look for statement against No. 7 Cardinal
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    After three straight lopsided wins, No. 20 Oregon opens Pac-12 play against seventh-ranked Stanford on Saturday.

    • Are the Ducks ready for a tougher test?

      "I think it's time to go find out, that's what I think," first-year Oregon coach Mario Cristobal said. "We've done all the right things from January up until this point. Our players, they can't do more than we've asked them to do. They've done all the right things, they've worked extremely hard. And now we go into conference play with enough momentum to go and play Oregon football. We are ready and eager to attack."

      Oregon (3-0) ranks eighth in the nation in scoring at 51.7 points per game, but that came in victories over Bowling Green, Portland State and San Jose State. The Ducks rank ninth in the nation in rush defense by allowing 77 yards per game, but Stanford's Bryce Love will create a bigger challenge than Oregon has seen all year.

      "We are just focused on Stanford and playing a great game," Oregon junior linebacker Troy Dye said. "Our goal is to win the Pac-12, so we just have to go out there and start off on a great foot and get a win."

      The Cardinal (3-0) opened with wins over San Diego State - which last week picked up a Pac-12 win over Arizona State - and USC before defeating UC Davis 30-10 on Saturday.

      "It wasn't perfect, but we played well," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "I told the team we are not going to act like we lost because we didn't win by as much as we wanted to. We're going to act like we won."

      Love missed last week's game due to an undisclosed injury, but is expected to return to face the Ducks. The 5-foot-10, 202-pound senior has run for only 165 yards in two games this year after finishing with 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns while placing second in the Heisman Trophy race as a junior.

      Stanford quarterback K.J. Costello has completed 61.4 percent of his passes for 729 yards and seven touchdowns in three games while receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside has 13 catches for 324 yards and five scores.

      Oregon junior quarterback Justin Herbert has thrown for 840 yards and 12 touchdowns as the Ducks are tied for the national lead with a dozen players who have scored at least one touchdown on offense.

      ESPN's College GameDay will be on site for the Top-20 matchup at Autzen Stadium where Oregon has won 23 of its past 25 games as a ranked team.

      --Field Level Media

  • No. 13 Virginia Tech rested, ready for Old Dominion
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, September 19, 2018

    No. 13 Virginia Tech and Old Dominion are both trying to get back to normal this week.

    • They meet Saturday in Norfolk, Va, a week after they took cover facing the threat from Hurricane Florence.

      The Hokies' game against East Carolina was canceled and no makeup has been scheduled. The teams do not share an open date, making it likely the game won't be played. The Monarchs game at Charlotte was moved up two days to Thursday to avoid Florence.

      Tech, whose last game was a 62-17 victory against William & Mary on Sept. 8, is enjoying its first normal week. Its season opener at Florida State was played on a Monday night, creating a short week before the game against William & Mary.

      "I am anxious to get into a little bit of a routine," Tech coach Justin Fuente said. "I'm a creature of habit as much as anybody. We still have a team that doesn't know what it's like to go through a normal week of preparation."

      Fuente tried to use last week's practices as an opportunity for player development after the decision to cancel the game was made early in the week. He wasn't completely satisfied with his players' approach to the work.

      "We let the emotion of not playing a game get in the way of our preparation and our improvement," Fuente said. "We are not just doing this to put a checkmark in a box. We have deliberate practice. We have things we are trying to accomplish and we need to take advantage of those opportunities."

      ODU, 0-3 after a 28-25 loss to Charlotte, tinkered with its approach to practice. Coach Bobby Wilder threw several starting positions open to competition to try and get the team headed in the right direction. The Monarchs opened the season with a 52-10 loss at Liberty and fell at home to Florida International, 28-20.

      "We've got a number of positions right now where there will be competition this week in practice," Wilder said. "We're not getting enough consistent performance from the guys that we are starting. We're going to compete and we know by competing for the jobs it should create more confidence within our team and that's the goal we have for our team.

      "There is a lot of excitement around our university in the area to play this game. We're looking forward to it but the number one thing were focused on right now is playing better football at Old Dominion. It's so much more about us this week right now than it is about Virginia Tech."

      Wilder called the second-ever meeting between Virginia Tech and Old Dominion "clearly a historic game."

      It's the first time the Monarchs have played a team ranked in the AP Top 25.

      --Field Level Media