NCAA Football

Owners Dress Dog Up as Michigan Head Coach Jim Harbaugh

Sometimes, people go overboard with their dogs on Halloween. Other times, the owners give that hound a legendary costume.

This would fall under the latter category.

It’s safe to say these owners are Michigan fans, and instead of dressing their pooch as a Wolverine (hashtag lame), they went all out.

Behold, the “Har-dog."

If the dog embraces the costume, it absolutely will go after the first referee it sees and even toss the nearest clipboard in disdain:

[Twitter, YouTube]

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USC vs. Cal: Score, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

The USC Trojans picked up their second win in a row under interim head coach Clay Helton, defeating the California Golden Bears 27-21 on Saturday in Berkeley, California.

While Helton's specialty is the offensive side of the ball, defense is quickly becoming the hallmark for his USC team, as the Trojans intercepted Jared Goff on two occasions and limited the high-powered Cal attack to 389 yards, down from its season average of 505 yards per game entering Saturday.

Goff went 23-of-31 for 272 yards, two touchdowns and two picks—the second game in a row in which he was held to under 300 yards through the air.

Defense played a big role for the Trojans in the win, but the running game was equally vital. Coming into the game, USC ranked 105th in time of possession (27.3 minutes per game). The Trojans held the ball for 35 minutes, eight seconds Saturday. 

USC gained 185 yards as a team on 50 carries. The trio of Ronald Jones II, Tre Madden and Justin Davis helped control the clock and keep the Golden Bears offense off the field.

The Trojans haven't started well in any of their last three games, but in what's becoming a trend under Helton, they have started to find their footing once the second quarter kicks off, per Reign of Troy:

Goff helped put the Golden Bears ahead 7-0 with a six-yard TD pass to wideout Bryce Treggs early in the first quarter, but USC reeled off 24 unanswered points to take control.

Jones got the Trojans on the board with a 13-yard touchdown run to help tie the game 1:33 into the second quarter. Alex Wood then gave USC a slim 10-7 lead with a 22-yard field goal as halftime approached.

Madden added to the lead at the 9:46 mark of the third quarter after finding the end zone on a two-yard run. USC did a great job of wearing down the Golden Bears defense, eating up 67 yards in a little over five minutes on 13 plays.

For Chris Dufresne of the Los Angeles Times, the drive echoed the same trademarks that made the Trojans successful in the past:

While it wasn't a knockout blow for Cal, the next play from scrimmage was disastrous for the Golden Bears and potentially the biggest moment of the game.

Goff is one of the top quarterback prospects for the 2016 NFL draft, but the Golden Bears signal-caller did nothing to bolster his stock with this throw on Cal's first drive of the second half, per the Pac-12 Networks:

Goff gifted Adoree' Jackson the interception, but the star defensive back demonstrated his athleticism by weaving his way to the end zone. SB Nation's Brian Floyd noticed that Goff suffered further indignity on the play in addition to the pick-six:

Neon Tommy's Paolo Uggetti highlighted how the USC front seven played a big role in causing the turnover:

Goff rebounded after the interception and led Cal on a 10-play, 81-yard drive that culminated in a six-yard touchdown run by running back Daniel Lasco to help get the home side within two scores, 24-14.

But Wood nailed his second field goal of the game to provide USC with more breathing room. Then, as the Golden Bears looked poised to trim the deficit, Goff threw his second interception of the game. Goff was looking for Kenny Lawler on the sideline but only found Trojans defensive back Kevon Seymour.

SB Nation's Spencer Hall found the silver lining for the junior QB:

Not to be deterred, Goff completed a critical fourth-down throw on Cal's next drive, and the Golden Bears scored on a nine-yard touchdown pass to tight end Stephen Anderson:

Cal head coach Sonny Dykes eschewed an onside kick, opting instead to rely on his defense. With 3:52 left in the game after Anderson's TD grab, you couldn't blame Dykes for his decision.

The strategy nearly paid off after the Golden Bears looked to stuff Madden on 3rd-and-1, but the senior somehow bounced outside and gained 14 yards.'s Arash Markazi provided a great look at how the play was developing before Madden found the open field:

USC picked up another first down, which enabled the Trojans to run out the rest of the clock and secure the victory.

As bad as things looked for USC following its loss to Washington on Oct. 8, the Trojans' hopes of winning the Pac-12 South aren't dead. They're just a game behind Utah, which still has to play Arizona on the road and UCLA, both of which could be tricky games.

USC shouldn't book those tickets for Santa Clara, California, for the Pac-12 Championship Game yet; the Trojans still need some pieces to fall in their favor. Still, fans have to feel better about the team now than they did with former head coach Steve Sarkisian on the sidelines.

For Cal, the defeat all but eliminates the Golden Bears as contenders in the Pac-12 North. With a 2-3 conference record, they need too many teams ahead of them to slip up in order to secure first place.


Post-Game Reaction

"We're 2-0 in the second half of the season and dang proud of it," said Helton in his post-game interview with FS1's Molly McGrath (via Markazi).

An injury to playmaker JuJu Smith-Schuster put a small damper on the win for USC, though. According to Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News, Smith-Schuster has a fracture in his hand, which may require a cast for the immediate future.

On the other sideline, Dykes will have to deal with keeping his players in the right frame of mind after a third consecutive loss, with the defeats to USC and Utah coming by six points apiece.

"It's not good right now. We're disappointed," Dykes said of the mood in his locker room, per Cal football's Twitter account. "We've felt like we've played good enough to win two games. We certainly have played well enough against two teams that have at one time or another been in the top 10 this year. For us to go into the 4th quarter and be in it to win, we want to do it and that's the next step for us."

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Tennessee vs. Kentucky: Live Score and Highlights

The Tennessee Volunteers have gone to bed happy 29 of the past 30 game days against Kentucky, but the ramifications of slipping up against the Wildcats on Halloween night are scary.

Win out, and UT can get to eight wins and a strong bowl game. Lose, and the grumbles that echoed off Rocky Top during the early season will be loud and clear again. Kentucky needs a win to inch closer to bowl eligibility.

Keep it right here for all the live-blogging action!



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JuJu Smith-Schuster Injury: Updates on USC WR's Hand and Return

USC Trojans' playmaking wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster suffered a fractured hand during Saturday's game against California. His status going forward is unknown at this time.

Continue for updates.

Smith-Schuster, Helton Comment on Injury Saturday, Oct. 31

"It'll be a pain tolerance thing for him," USC head coach Clay Helton said of Smith-Schuster's fracture, per Dave Lombardi of

Smith-Schuster said he expects to get a cast on his injured hand but thinks he can keep playing, per Scott Wolf of the Los Angeles Daily News. 

That right hand has been the stuff of legend recently, as ESPN College Football noted:

The sophomore wide receiver has developed into quarterback Cody Kessler's most productive target this season. He leads the Trojans with 52 receptions for 956 yards and boasts blazing speed and a reliable set of hands.

He and Kessler have been clicking on all cylinders, as Smith-Schuster has been a menace down the field. The Pac-12 Networks highlighted his 50-yard touchdown reception against Idaho earlier this season:

Other than Smith-Schuster, though, USC does not have much depth at wide receiver. While he has 52 receptions, the next leading receiver, Adoree' Jackson, had just 17 going into Saturday. 

Kessler will have to find a new favorite target if he wants his offense to continue to thrive. Losing a player of Smith-Schuster's caliber could be damaging to an already lost season. 


Stats courtesy of

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Michigan vs. Minnesota: Live Score and Highlights

Michigan 14, Minnesota 13—Late 2nd Quarter

The No. 15 Michigan Wolverines and Minnesota Golden Gophers are battling for the Little Brown Jug at TCF Bank Stadium.

ESPN is broadcasting the Big Ten tilt. Bleacher Report is providing scoring updates, highlights and analysis. Feel free to join the conversation in the comments.

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Texas vs. Iowa State: Live Score and Highlights

Iowa State 7, Texas 0—2nd Quarter

Freshman standout Mike Warren gives the Cyclones the early lead over the Longhorns.

Tonight's Big 12 action can be found on Fox Sports 1. Follow this page throughout for live updates and analysis. We'll also have grades for Texas' positional units after the game.

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Kyler Murray vs. South Carolina: Stats, Highlights and Reaction

Freshman Kyler Murray took full advantage of his first career start Saturday against South Carolina. 

Leading Texas A&M to a 35-28 victory over the Gamecocks, he went 20-of-28 for 223 yards and a touchdown through the air, adding 156 rushing yards and another touchdown on the ground. 

It was a history-making day for Murray, as SportsCenter pointed out:

His first touchdown of the game came with 6:42 left in the first quarter, a 10-yard touchdown pass to Josh Reynolds, as ESPN College Football showed:

While he was efficient through the air, completing over 71 percent of his passes, Murray was a menace on the ground, carving apart the South Carolina defense. Corbett Smith of the Dallas Morning News highlighted one of his longest runs of the day, a 28-yard scramble for a first down that brought the Aggies into the red zone:

His second and final touchdown came on a 4th-and-1 in the third quarter with the game tied at 21. It was a big play call for the freshman, who all but walked in for the go-ahead score, as ESPN College Football showcased:

For Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin, the coaching staff and Murray coexisted well Saturday, according to Battalion Sports:

This explosive start was just the kind of confidence boost both Murray and Texas A&M needed. The quarterback has been struggling to find playing time behind regular starter Kyle Allen, while the Aggies have struggled to stay inside the Top 25 rankings and in the hunt for the SEC West. 

If Allen can continue to bring this kind of dual threat to the Texas A&M offense, the Aggies are going to be a formidable group to play against for the next few years. 


Stats courtesy of

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Gus Malzahn's Poor Play-Calling Limiting an Already Struggling Auburn Offense

Through all the offensive turnover Auburn had entering 2015, the Tigers still could feel confident in the strategic advantage of innovative head coach Gus Malzahn.

But on Saturday, in Auburn's 27-19 loss to Ole Miss, writers and fans alike were left wondering what exactly is going on inside Malzahn's patented visor. 

Auburn's offense went 2-of-15 on third downs against the Rebels. It turned three red-zone trips into a grand total of nine points. It also scored just three points off two interceptions from Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly.

Some of those woes come down to execution. Auburn's offensive line took a step back. The wide receivers have struggled with drops since the dismissal of the sure-handed Duke Williams.

Health became a factor Saturday, too. Redshirt freshman quarterback Sean White, who was a game-time decision due to a knee injury, played through obvious pain to deliver some clutch passes.

But a lot of Auburn's offensive troubles on Saturday purely came down to Malzahn's play-calling, which has regressed from brilliant to baffling this season. 

Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee had a harsher word for it:

Granted, Malzahn dialed up a couple of successful deep passes to flip the field against the Rebels—including a gadget play in which backup quarterback Jeremy Johnson completed a risky bomb to Tony Stevens in double coverage.

But what happened after those big plays received plenty of valid criticism.

In the third quarter, with Auburn trailing by three points, White hit Melvin Ray for a 44-yard gain. Auburn followed that up with a 22-yard run and an 11-yard run from a now seemingly healthy Jovon Robinson.

But after Robinson was stuffed in the backfield on 1st-and-goal at the Ole Miss 4-yard line, the Tigers never went back to him. Johnson came in for a short quarterback draw, and White was sacked on third down on a play that started at the 3-yard line.

After a field goal, a similar scenario happened for Auburn on its next drive, when the Tigers were now down by seven points.

White connected on a long pass play to Ricardo Louis, and Robinson combined for 17 yards on back-to-back runs to get Auburn into the red zone. After Robinson went for no gain on the next play, the Tigers threw two incompletions, got called for a blatant holding call and settled for another short field goal.

When another scoring opportunity presented itself off a Kelly interception near midfield, Auburn did the same thing—long pass to get into the red zone, followed by a stopped run and back-to-back incompletions inside the Ole Miss 5-yard line.

To recap, Auburn only handed the ball off three times to its running backs on 10 offensive plays in the red zone. White went 1-of-5 through the air and was sacked on a third down.

Malzahn offenses of seasons past would have hammered the ball at its opponents deep in the red zone instead of abandoning the running game after one negative play.

Former Auburn lineman Chad Slade, who played on those offenses, voiced his frustrations on Twitter:

But this isn't the same kind of Malzahn offense this season—both in execution and play-calling.

In terms of turning red-zone conversions, Auburn is lining up more for field goals than extra points than it has in years past.

Outside of the 20s, Malzahn had a few more head-scratching decisions.

A few plays after Blake Countess picked off Kelly inside Auburn territory, Auburn surprisingly went to Johnson on an ill-advised running play with just before halftime.

"Johnson nearly fumbled the ball on a critical play with 11 seconds remaining in the first half that could have been returned for a touchdown by the Rebels," Brandon Marcello of wrote. "He was down on the play, but the decision to go with Johnson at quarterback was baffling in the first place."

Questions were also asked on Auburn's two failed fourth-down conversions. 

Malzahn elected to throw the ball on 4th-and-2 near midfield midway through the second quarter. While the aggressive decision to go for it would have been a welcome sight for Auburn fans, throwing the ball in a short-yardage situation with a banged-up quarterback couldn't have been one.

Ole Miss took advantage of the good field position by tying the game on the next drive.

Later, with Auburn trailing by eight points late in the fourth quarter, White chunked an aimless deep ball on fourth down when the Tigers just needed nine yards to keep the drive alive.

The bottom line is Auburn's offense was nowhere near the usual Malzahn standard Saturday against an Ole Miss team that, while putting up 558 yards of total offense, gave the Tigers opportunities to stay in and perhaps win the game.

A redshirt freshman quarterback whom no one expected to start this season had to take over the offense and now battle a knee injury. What was supposed to be a deep running back corps continues to struggle with nagging injuries.

Those backfield issues, combined with inconsistent play from the wide receivers and offensive line, are handicapping an offense for a team that already has one of the SEC's worst defenses. 

And on top of all that, Auburn's offensive guru of a head coach is making questionable at best decisions with his underwhelming offense.

As Jerry Hinnen of CBS Sports tweeted, Saturday's SEC West game came down to which team could convert the most with their scoring opportunities:

Shaky decision-making from Malzahn played a huge role in that disadvantage for the Tigers, who missed yet another big-time opportunity in a season that increasingly looks like it will end with a losing record.

And that would be even more shocking for Auburn than a handful of baffling play calls.


Game statistics courtesy of StatBroadcast. Unless otherwise noted, other statistics courtesy of

Justin Ferguson is a college football writer at Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter @JFergusonBR.

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Kyler Murray Flashes Johnny Manziel Like Skills, Proves He's Texas A&M's Best QB

One year ago Sunday, the Texas A&M Aggies moved to address its future at quarterback.

Saturday afternoon, the Aggies and Kevin Sumlin finally got it right.

One day short of the one-year anniversary of Kyle Allen’s first start as the Aggies quarterback, Kevin Sumlin turned to true freshman Kyler Murray as A&M’s starter.

Given how the Aggies’ 35-28 victory over South Carolina unfolded, Sumlin and A&M should never look back.

The 5-star recruit was excellent in his first career start and simply looked like a better fit for Sumlin’s wide-open offense. With A&M out of the College Football Playoff picture, why wouldn’t Murray be the man the rest of the way for the 6-2 Aggies?

Murray looked like anything but a first-time starter against the Gamecocks. He completed 20 of 28 passes for 228 yards with a touchdown, and was A&M’s leading rusher, carrying 20 times for 156 yards with a touchdown.

He was the first A&M quarterback to rush for 100 yards in a game since Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel did so in 2013 and the first to pass for 200-plus yards and rush for 150-plus yards in a game since Manziel. 

And perhaps even more importantly, he was a changeup from Allen. Allen seized the starting role entering this spring by performing well in A&M’s final six games, throwing for 2,649 yards with 23 touchdowns against eight interceptions after relieving inconsistent Kenny Hill.

But he simply hasn’t been the same quarterback this season. Through seven starts, Allen had thrown for 1,625 yards with 14 touchdowns against six interceptions, completing 56.8 percent of his passes.

He threw for just one touchdown against four interceptions in A&M’s last two games, losses to Alabama and Ole Miss, and he was particularly awful in the 23-3 loss at Ole Miss.

Allen completed just 12 of 34 passes for 88 yards with an interception, and eyebrows were raised when Jake Hubenak, not Murray, replaced him in the fourth quarter with the game out of hand.

Saturday, Murray looked poised, composed and played a controlled game while stretching South Carolina’s defense with his arm and legs, which Manziel did regularly in his two-year Aggie tenure.

“He was relaxed,” Sumlin told SEC Network’s Laura Rutledge on the game telecast. “I thought he ran smart, slid, got on the ground and made plays when they were there, really didn’t force anything. That’s the biggest thing with a young guy, let the game come to him.”

Sumlin was noncommittal when asked about his quarterback situation going forward, but he said Murray “let the game come to him and hopefully we can increase the offense.”

November will provide an opportunity for Murray to prove himself, with SEC games against Auburn, Vanderbilt and LSU ahead. If he keeps flashing Manziel-like skills, there’s no reason for Sumlin to use anyone else under center for the next three years.

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Ole Miss vs. Auburn: Game Grades, Analysis for Rebels and Tigers

It wasn't pretty, but the No. 19 Ole Miss Rebels escaped Jordan-Hare Stadium with a 27-19 victory over the Auburn Tigers on Saturday.

Auburn had a chance to launch a Hail Mary near midfield as time expired, but Ole Miss put enough pressure on strong-armed Jeremy Johnson and affected a throw that fell 25 yards short of the end zone.

Pass Offense: Chad Kelly shredded Auburn for 381 yards and two scores, throwing one bad interception and another pick that wasn't his fault. Damore'ea Stringfellow carried the receivers during the first half, but top NFL prospect Laquon Treadwell finished with seven receptions for 114 yards and a touchdown.

Run Offense: The Rebels didn't have many explosive plays, but Jaylen Walton led the Rebels with 78 yards. Kelly picked up three first downs on the ground, while Akeem Judd tallied 54 yards, including a gorgeous 25-yard touchdown run.

Pass Defense: Although Auburn only completed 13 passes in 32 attempts, Ole Miss often surrendered chunk yardage. A breakdown in coverage led to Ricardo Louis' 47-yard score, and four receptions gained 40 yards or more. Tony Conner is dearly missed in the secondary.

Run Defense: Of all the offensive and defensive units, the run-stoppers were the Rebels' best group. Ole Miss limited the Tigers to an average gain fractionally above three yards. Additionally, Auburn had just eight yards on six red-zone carries.

Special Teams: Gary Wunderlich handled his responsibilities well, connecting on a pair of field goals and a trio of extra points. Will Gleeson's first punt was poorly executed, though it nearly resulted in a turnover. He recorded 40.8 yards per punt.

Coaching: According to Hugh Kellenberger of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said Dan Werner called "80 percent" of the plays. Werner did an admirable job overall. Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack had a decent day, but the coverage errors must be addressed.

Pass Offense: Starting quarterback Sean White was a game-time decision, and the knee injury evidently limited him. Nevertheless, the freshman capitalized on some gifted opportunities, ended with 258 yards on 12-of-28 passing and threw his first career touchdown pass in college.

Run Offense: Whether it was due to 37 carries last week or an odd game plan, Peyton Barber wasn't a big part of the offense and managed just 17 yards. While Jovon Robinson returned from injury and posted a career-high 91 yards, the inability to run in the red zone certainly hurt Auburn.

Pass Defense: Kris Frost made an excellent diving interception, Cassanova McKinzy registered a sack and Carl Lawson disrupted Kelly on multiple occasions. However, Lawson and the Tigers failed to finish a few sacks that could've ended drives.

Run Defense: Excluding Judd's 25-yard scamper for a touchdown, Auburn put together a respectable day against the run. The Tigers ceded an even four yards per carry and nine first downs, both of which were the third-lowest marks of the season.

Special Teams: Some people might think it's bad luck to say a kicker is automatic, so let's compromise: Daniel Carlson, one of the best kickers in Auburn history, was automatic on Saturday. He drilled four field goals, also burying his fourth attempt of 50 or longer. Kevin Phillips added 45.6 yards per punt.

Coaching: Red-zone and money-down woes are a reflection on the coaching staff, and the Tigers were horrendous at both against Ole Miss. Three red-zone trips resulted in field goals, while Auburn was a combined 2-of-17 on third and fourth down. Gus Malzahn needs playmakers, and Will Muschamp needs a secondary.


Follow Bleacher Report college football writer David Kenyon on Twitter: @Kenyon19_BR.

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Why Ole Miss Rebels Are Difficult Contender to Trust

Another week, another step closer to Ole Miss winning out, playing for the SEC title and potentially blocking the SEC from a College Football Playoff berth.

The Rebels (7-2, 4-1 SEC) survived a scare from Auburn in a 27-19 road win on the Plains.

Any road win in the SEC is a good win, but make no mistake, there were enough red flags for the Rebels in this game to fill the city of Oxford.

As Dan Wolken of USA Today noted on Twitter, head coach Hugh Freeze's play-calling was quite suspect.

This was an Auburn team that boasted a quarterback in Sean White who was a game-time decision after being knocked around last week in the four-overtime loss to Arkansas, was clearly slowed by a knee injury, suffered from perhaps the worst play-calling of head coach Gus Malzahn's career and has a defense like a sieve.

Despite that, Auburn had a chance at the end to potentially tie it up if Jeremy Johnson's Hail Mary connected and the Tigers converted the two-point conversion.


Standard Ole Miss football, which makes the Rebels difficult to trust.

Freeze's crew managed just 156 rushing yards against an Auburn defense that came into the game allowing 199.86 yards per game on the ground. It couldn't convert on several key 3rd- and 4th-and short yardage situations and struggled with an Auburn defensive line that, while better thanks to the return of "Buck" Carl Lawson, hardly strikes fear in the hearts of opposing offensive linemen.

As Jon Solomon of noted on Twitter, that's the reason Freeze has been forced to get creative in short-yardage situations and put players like defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche and offensive lineman Jeremy Liggins in at running back throughout the year.

That futility is par for the course for Ole Miss. 

It came in averaging 3.43 yards per rush against conference opponents, and that's after it ripped off 4.51 per carry last week in the win over Texas A&M.

Is Ole Miss really going to win out against Arkansas, LSU and Mississippi State?

Not if it can't run the football, and certainly not if it hands the ball over as consistently as it has thus far. 

Quarterback Chad Kelly threw for 381 yards and two touchdowns but also tossed two interceptions, bringing his total to 12 on the year—the most in the conference.

Ole Miss is one-dimensional, and it makes consistent mistakes within that one dimension.

Kelly has thrown nine touchdowns and eight picks versus conference opponents, hasn't had a game without a pick since the win over Alabama in Week 3 and, while explosive, is far too mistake-prone.

Despite those issues, Ole Miss seems to find a way. That's commendable and what quality teams should do. 

But Freeze's crew is living dangerously this year, and those Rebels have to get better in those two areas if they are going to play in their first-ever SEC Championship Game.


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted. Statistics are courtesy of

Barrett Sallee is the lead SEC college football writer and national college football video analyst for Bleacher Report, as well as a host on Bleacher Report Radio on SiriusXM 83. Follow Barrett on Twitter @BarrettSallee.

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Bigger Mistake for Nebraska: Firing Bo Pelini, or Hiring Mike Riley?

When Nebraska fired Bo Pelini following the 2014 season, NU athletic director Shawn Eichorst told reporters that “we weren’t good enough in the games that mattered.”

As Mike Riley’s first season as head coach hits the home stretch, the Cornhuskers simply aren’t good enough, period. An ugly 55-45 loss to Purdue dropped Nebraska to 3-6, and NU must win its last three games to avoid missing a bowl for the third time since 1969. Given that Top 10 foes Iowa and Michigan State are on the docket, spending Christmas at home is a real possibility.

While Nebraska wanted to take its program to a nationally elite level, the Huskers may have dealt themselves a serious blow by hiring Riley away from Oregon State. Eleven years ago, Nebraska fell into a funk after firing Frank Solich, Tom Osborne’s successor, despite a 58-19 record over six seasons, including a trio of seasons with at least 10 wins.

Since then, Nebraska has only three 10-win seasons and no national titles or BCS-level bowl berths, and firing Pelini seems to have only deepened that funk. Pelini was 66-27 at Nebraska and won at least nine games in each of his seven seasons (a streak that is tied with Oregon for second-longest in the FBS), with a pair of 10-win seasons.

Following his firing, emotional Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. tweeted that Pelini’s firing was "the biggest mistake" Nebraska ever made, which looks prophetic:

Pelini’s teams struggled against good teams (Nebraska was 8-17 against teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 under his watch) and lost 10 games by 20 points or more, including an embarrassing 70-31 loss to Wisconsin in the 2012 Big Ten title game.

Pelini’s volatile temper and sideline outbursts were negatives, and Deadspin leaked a recording(Warning: NSFW) of him ripping Nebraska fans before his weekly radio show when the Huskers struggled in September 2013. But there’s no mistaking his consistency—something that has been sorely missing under Riley’s watch.

When Nebraska hired Riley away from Oregon State, the move was hailed as a culture change. Riley is one of the nicest coaches in college football and is widely respected by news media. But he is 62 years old, hardly young by modern standards, and brought a 93-80 record from 14 combined years at Oregon State (1997-98 and 2003-14).

However, he had only one nine-win season and a pair of losing seasons in his final six seasons at Oregon State. Under Riley’s watch, the Huskers have simply been unable to close. BYU’s game-winning Hail Mary in the season opener set the tone for a year of frustrating defeats.

Before Saturday, each of Nebraska’s five losses have come by five points or less, including a 36-33 overtime loss at Miami and a 23-21 loss at Wisconsin that saw the Badgers kick the game-winning field goal with four seconds left.

Losing to Purdue was just the latest indignity.

The Boilermakers entered 1-6, with their only win over FCS foe Indiana State, and had largely been non-competitive. Injuries to key offensive cogs like quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. and wide receiver De’Mornay Pierson-El hurt, but there’s no excusing building a 42-16 hole against the Boilers or giving up 55 points to a team that had scored 41 points combined in losses to Michigan State, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

Firing Riley after one season would be harsh, and Nebraska has historically shown significant patience with its coaches. (Even Bill Callahan got four seasons.) But it’s clear that the Huskers have taken a significant step back in their first post-Pelini season. If this was the best they could do, firing him was a big mistake.

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Texas Tech's Jakeem Grant Weaves Through Oklahoma State Defense for 90-Yard Gain

After his team got pinned at its own 3-yard line by an Oklahoma State punt, Texas Tech receiver Jakeem Grant turned a short catch into a big gain with some incredible vision.

On a 1st-and-10 early in the first quarter, Grant caught a pass at the Red Raiders' 5-yard line and went to work. He made a defender miss almost immediately with a nice move before reversing course and running up the opposite sideline. With the help of some nice blocks by teammates, the 5'7" receiver managed to weave through the Cowboys defense and go back across the field, where he had a ton of open space.

Grant was not able to finish the play with a touchdown, as he was eventually brought down at the Oklahoma State 7-yard line. It's hard to blame him if he just ran out of gas. Not only did he run 90 yards down the field, but he also ran quite a bit from sideline to sideline.

Texas Tech scored a touchdown a couple of plays later to take a 14-0 lead just more than five minutes into the game.

About six minutes of game time later, Grant gave the Red Raiders a 24-7 lead with a 100-yard kickoff return:

Two plays, 190 yards. Not a bad quarter.

[Yahoo Dr. Saturday]

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Ole Miss vs. Auburn: Score, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

No. 19 Ole Miss scored an important SEC road victory over Auburn, 27-19, at Jordan–Hare Stadium on Saturday.

The Rebels (7-2, 4-1) recovered from a sluggish start to put up 558 total yards of offense. Star receiver Laquon Treadwell led the charge with seven catches for 114 yards and a touchdown. Ricardo Louis had four grabs for 137 yards and a score in a losing effort for the Tigers (4-4, 1-4).

Here's a look at the quarter-by-quarter scoring recap:

Although Auburn was off to a rocky start in conference play, Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze fully expected to receive the Tigers' best shot, per Wesley Sinor of noted.

"Knowing Gus [Malzahn] like I know him, they'll be ready to go," Freeze said. "They'll have a great plan, and they'll be hungry for success at home. There's nothing like returning home in front of your people to help give you that boost of energy that you may need.

"I expect we're going to see the best Auburn team of the entire year."

It didn't take long for the Tigers to prove Freeze correct. Auburn came out flying on the defensive side of the ball, which made life difficult on Rebels quarterback Chad Kelly and Co.

The Tigers scored the game's first touchdown early in the second quarter after the sides traded field goals in the opening 15 minutes.

Sean White, who was battling an injury, made two key throws on the scoring drive. First, he connected with Roc Thomas for 23 yards, and then, on third down near midfield, he found Louis wide open for a 47-yard touchdown.

It marked the first touchdown of the freshman's collegiate career. John Zenor of the Associated Press noted the importance of getting that monkey off his back:

Ole Miss managed to level the score about four minutes before halftime after Malzahn decided to go for it on fourth down from his own 49-yard line. White's pass bounced off the hands of Marcus Davis, which gave the Rebels the ball in terrific position.

Six plays later, they were in the end zone. Kelly kept the drive alive with a fourth-down completion to Evan Engram. Two plays later, Akeem Judd scampered 25 yards to pay dirt.

ESPN passed along video of the touchdown:

Ole Miss' Gary Wunderlich and Auburn's Daniel Carlson again traded field goals in the third quarter.

But then the Rebels jumped ahead with a touchdown. Kelly found Derrick Jones between two Tigers with a nice deep ball, and the wideout did the rest, juking both defensive backs to complete the score from 45 yards out.

Jones' first touchdown of the year led Bleacher Report's Barrett Sallee to comment on the state of the Mississippi offense:

Auburn clawed back within one point three minutes into the final quarter after two more field goals by Carlson. His fourth and last of the day came following Kelly's second interception. The quarterback has done a lot right this season, but his propensity to turn the ball over remains an issue.

Kelly responded in a major way, though. He led the Rebels on a six-play, 75-yard drive that took less than two minutes and put them up 27-19.

Treadwell notched a 33-yard reception early in the drive and then made an over-the-shoulder grab for a touchdown from 21 yards out.

ESPN showcased the scoring play:

Auburn couldn't rally again as it was forced to punt and then turned the ball over on downs with three minutes remaining.

Ole Miss Football provided a note about a first-time feat for the program:

Chris Fowler of ESPN explained the importance of the Rebels' win and lamented some missed opportunities by the Tigers:

Freeze expected to take Auburn's best shot, and for the most, part he got it. His team responded with a strong effort in the second half. The victory keeps Ole Miss in the mix for the SEC West crown with a Nov. 21 showdown against LSU looming. The Rebels can't overlook Arkansas next week, however.

The Tigers put up a serious fight for all four quarters. They just couldn't come up with the necessary plays in the final 10 minutes in order to pull off the upset. Next up is a clash with Texas A&M, and they still have a chance to shake up the SEC when they face Alabama on the last Saturday of the regular season.


Postgame Reaction

Freeze discussed the critical victory with ESPN:

Malzahn is still confident in his roster despite a .500 record. He said it comes down to getting over the hump, per Matthew Stevens of the Montgomery Advertiser:

Ultimately, it wasn't Ole Miss' best performance of the campaign, and it will need to play better down the stretch to win the division. That said, the Rebels earned a road victory to keep their season alive for at least another week.


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Syracuse vs. Florida State: Game Grades, Analysis for the Seminoles

Despite a slow start in the first half, the Florida State Seminoles were able to, without Everett Golson and Dalvin Cook nonetheless, rout the Syracuse Orange 45-21, with the third Syracuse score coming on a late, meaningless punt return. 

Sean Maguire put himself into a serious conversation as to who should actually be the starting quarterback for the Seminoles in his 2015 debut start, while freshman running back Jacques Patrick impressively filled in for Cook. 

With that, let's check out the game grades for the Seminoles, who bounced back nicely from the heartbreaking Georgia Tech loss.


Rush Offense: A- 

Jacques Patrick racked up 162 yards and three touchdowns, while Johnathan Vickers added 64 on eight late carries. The Seminoles relied primarily on their aerial assault, but Patrick made a statement in his coming out party in Cook's absence. Once Cook, as well as Mario Pender, return from injury, expect those two plus Patrick to form a formidable three-headed monster in Tallahassee. 


Pass Offense: A 

Sean Maguire may very well have stolen the starting job from Everett Golson, as the Notre Dame transfer sat out with concussion issues. Maguire was 23-of-25 passing for 348 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. He was great and probably better than Golson has been this season. Maguire became the first FSU quarterback to throw for 300 yards in a half since Chris Weinke and is the only ACC quarterback to do so all season. 


Rush Defense: B 

The Orange did rack up 173 rushing yards, but that's essentially because they had no luck at all in the pass game. Still, the Seminoles allowed 4.1 yards per carry and allowed both of Syracuse's offensive touchdowns on the ground. 


Pass Defense: A 

Eric Dungey never quite got going, as the FSU secondary forced him into 11-of-24 passing for just 120 yards with no scores or picks. Florida State's ability to limit the big play over the top has been a staple of Jimbo Fisher's program. 


Special Teams: C 

After having one of the biggest special teams blunders in program history last week, there were still some kinks this week. The Seminoles gave up a punt return touchdown and Roberto Aguayo missed a field goal. Perhaps the brightest star this week was punter Cason Beatty, who somewhat surprisingly was required to boot the ball six times. He averaged 46.5 yards per punt, had one go 64 yards and didn't have any catastrophes. 


Coaching: A 

Syracuse is by no means a juggernaut in the ACC. But FSU was shaken to its core last week, and rather than wilting, they responded with fury. That takes good leadership, which Fisher showed on Saturday. Should FSU be able to upset Clemson down the road, the Seminoles could still have a shot at making some noise for a College Football Playoff berth, and that will largely be thanks to Fisher's efforts. 

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South Carolina vs. Texas A&M: Game Grades, Analysis for Gamecocks and Aggies

Texas A&M ended its two-game losing streak in a gutsy fashion, overcoming a first-half deficit to take down the South Carolina Gamecocks at home 35-28. 

The two teams combined for nearly 1,000 yards of total offense, so don't expect very favorable grades defensively for either unit. Take a look below for grades and analysis of both teams.


Texas A&M Game Grades

Pass Offense: The starting debut of Kyler Murray provided more than Aggies fans could have asked for. He went 20-for-28 through the air for 223 yards and a score, showcasing his big arm to complement his running abilities. Most importantly, he didn't turn the ball over. noted what the team thought of Murray's play:

Run Offense: We saw firsthand just how dangerous the Aggies can be on the ground with Murray at the helm. He ran for more than 150 yards, adding to Texas A&M's 321 ground yards. Tra Carson also surpassed the century mark with 122 yards, one of three Aggies to score on the ground.

Pass Defense: The Aggies couldn't help but give up timely third-down conversions to South Carolina quarterback Perry Orth early on but stiffened up when it mattered most. They held the Gamecocks to under 200 yards passing and forced two interceptions that helped seal the deal.

Run Defense: Texas A&M's run defense problems cropped up again. Brandon Wilds rushed 17 times for 128 yards and a score to help the Gamecocks surpass 250 rushing yards, but Orth was held to negative yardage in the second half after more than 80 rushing yards in the first.

Special Teams: Punter Drew Kaser didn't have his best day, but the stats don't show it after a booming 71-yard punt. Kicker Taylor Bertolet shanked a 25-yard field goal on the game's opening drive, which forced the Aggies to be more aggressive on fourth-down situations from there on.

Coaching: The offensive coaches put Murray in a great spot to succeed and deserve a lot of credit for his great debut. The same can't be said on defense, but that had more to do with personnel issues than John Chavis' play-calling.


South Carolina Game Grades

Pass Offense: Perry Orth gave the Gamecocks a much-needed dimension through the air early on but couldn't make the plays when it mattered most. He had two late interceptions, one of which resulted in an Aggies touchdown and the other sealing the loss.

Run Offense: Wilds ran wild (I couldn't resist) on the ground with 128 yards to help the Gamecocks surpass 250 yards on the ground. His success established their offense in a big way early on. It eventually dried up as the Aggies put more bodies in the box.

Even amid the loss, head coach Shawn Elliott couldn't deny his team made some strides, per David Cloninger of The State:

Pass Defense: South Carolina's secondary improved throughout the game but started behind the eight-ball by allowing Murray to settle in through the air. They couldn't make big plays in the second half when it was needed.

Run Defense: The Gamecocks defense was gashed on the ground, giving up 321 rushing yards. A&M's quarterback surpassed the 150-yard plateau. Need I say more?

Special Teams: Punter Sean Kelly pinned the Aggies inside their 20 three times, but six punts was way too much against a team like Texas A&M. Otherwise, South Carolina's special teams unit had no impact on the game.

Coaching: Brilliant play-calling on offense allowed the Gamecocks to find their mojo early on, but the defense couldn't find an answer for Murray. That has to go down to the coaches, who failed to dial up any real pressure for Murray all game long.

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Faton Bauta Announced as Georgia's Starting QB vs. Florida

Georgia rolls into Week 9 with a new look. Before the Bulldogs' game against No. 11 Florida on Saturday afternoon, junior quarterback Faton Bauta was announced as the starter on the scoreboard at EverBank Field, according to the Athens Banner-Herald's Marc Weiszer:

In a game that will decide the top spot in the SEC East, Georgia looks like it is through with the inconsistencies of normal starter Greyson Lambert for now. Lambert has had five games in which he's thrown for under 200 yards and three games without a touchdown. 

Bauta last attempted a pass in a Georgia uniform last season, going 4-of-5 for 48 yards in three games. This season, he has seen action only as the holder for extra points, according to

If he can manage to orchestrate a win and nab first place in the SEC East, then Georgia fans should expect to see plenty more of him throughout the remainder of the season. 


Stats courtesy of

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Keenan Reynolds Ties Montee Ball's NCAA Record for Most Rushing Touchdowns

Navy senior quarterback Keenan Reynolds has moved into the history books after scoring his 77th career rushing touchdown Saturday against South Florida. 

According to's Adam Rittenberg, Reynolds tied the FBS mark set by former Wisconsin running back Montee Ball in 2012. 

Per the American Athletic Conference's official Twitter, this is what Reynolds' record-tying score looked like:

As impressive as Reynolds' mark is, the touchdown came at a critical moment on a 4th-and-goal with Navy up by five points and less than two minutes to play. It sealed the victory for Navy, moving the Midshipmen's record to 6-1 and making them bowl eligible for the fourth consecutive season. 

Under head coach Ken Niumatalolo, Navy has become one of the nation's premier rushing programs. Reynolds is a vital part of that success, running for over 1,100 yards and 54 rushing touchdowns the past two seasons. He finished Saturday's game with 116 rushing yards and two touchdowns. 

Reynolds isn't asked to do much in the passing game, finishing with 16 yards in the air against South Florida, so being able to create plays with his legs is essential to the team's success.

Now, the fourth-year star is able to take a moment in the spotlight and can celebrate breaking Ball's record as soon as next week in a huge AAC showdown against 16th-ranked Memphis.

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Florida State Marching Band Takes the Field on Halloween as Zombies

With the Florida State Seminoles hosting the Syracuse Orange on Halloween, it only made sense for the Florida State marching band to get in the spirit...and dress up as zombies.

It's just what you do on Halloween, right?

The band's halftime show featured Michael Jackson's "Thriller":

[Twitter, YouTube; h/t SB Nation]

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Ole Miss DT Robert Nkemdiche Shows off Strength, Overpowers Auburn OL into QB

Ole Miss defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche didn't record a sack on this play, but he certainly deserves credit for one.

On a 3rd-and-12 in the third quarter of Saturday's game against Auburn, Nkemdiche went up against left guard Alex Kozan. It was no contest.

The 6'4", 296-pound Nkemdiche powered his way through the line of scrimmage, pushing the 6'4", 300-pound Kozan all the way back to the quarterback. It was Joey Bosa-esque.

Auburn's pass fell incomplete, leading to a punt. Hopefully, the Tigers learn from this and double-team Nkemdiche the rest of the game.


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