NCAA Football News

Marshall DL Recovers Fumble, Dives into the End Zone to Score Fat-Guy TD

Marshall defensive lineman Jarquez Samuel somehow made a fat-guy touchdown look elegant.

Samuel recovered the ball after the Thundering Herd stripped it from Southern Mississippi quarterback Nick Mullens at the goal line and then dove into the end zone with an impeccable amount of grace.

The touchdown helped lift Marshall to a 31-10 lead.


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Daily Fantasy College Football Week 6: DraftKings Value Guide and Top Sleepers

At this point in the season, there aren't a ton of unearthed sleepers. In Week 6, athletes have made their respective intentions known as prominent commodities. 

When selecting a lineup, the money total is a main determiner in deciphering whether a player is a sleeper. Of course, the competition being faced by said players also goes into the selection process. 

As such, here are five potential sleepers for Week 6 action. Each of the players in question should bring value to the table this week. 


QB Seth Collins ($7,100)

The Oregon State Beavers' true freshman signal-caller has proven himself to be a very dynamic player early in his collegiate career. 

Collins has thrown five touchdowns to only one interception through four games. He also has rushed for 306 yards and three touchdowns. Collins' ability to evade pressure with his legs is a special skill, and he's equally adept at executing zone-read opportunities. 

Oregon State plays Arizona this weekend in Tucson. The Wildcats defense has given up 56 points and 55 points consecutively in the last two games. Arizona will also be without Scooby Wright III in the middle. Collins should be able to exploit a beleaguered Arizona defense with both his arm and his legs. 


Taiwan Deal ($5,100)

The Wisconsin Badgers' big running back has had a solid year thus far and has been particularly productive in his last three games—averaging just shy of 100 yards on the ground. 

He'll get a chance to put up a big stat line this weekend, as the Badgers face a shaky Nebraska team. Sitting at 2-3, the Cornhuskers are hurting considerably in the arena of confidence. To make matters worse, Nebraska ranks No. 101 in total defense. 

Against a big and physical Wisconsin offensive line, that isn't a recipe for success. Deal should be able to break the 100-yard barrier with a score or two. 


Qadree Ollison ($5,200)

The Pittsburgh Panthers' starting running back has the look of a future all-ACC performer. 

Only a freshman, the 6'2", 230-pound back out of New York leads the Panthers in rushing touchdowns (three) and rushing yards (427) and has a 7.1 yards-per-carry average. 

The Panthers will be facing a struggling Virginia team in desperate need of a victory. Ollison will try to rush on a defense allowing close to 160 yards rushing per contest. 

Assuming Pitt gets out to an early lead, Ollison can expect to see plenty of carries. 


Amara Darboh ($4,700)

The Michigan Wolverines' athletic and acrobatic receiver leads the team in receptions (23) and receiving yards (269).

His value comes on deep shots down the field from signal-caller Jake Rudock. More so than anyone else on Michigan's roster, he provides Jim Harbaugh with a deep threat vertically. 

The contest versus the Northwestern Wildcats figures to be a tough, physical, low-scoring affair. Northwestern will undoubtedly try to take away Michigan's ground game. As a result, Darboh could see some favorable one-on-one matchups on the perimeter. 

Additionally, his low money total ($4,700) makes him even more attractive from a fantasy standpoint. 


Wayne Gallman ($5,700)

The Clemson Tigers back has been very consistent to begin the 2015 season. 

In four games, Gallman has rushed for 408 yards and three touchdowns on only 75 carries. His biggest game of the year came versus the Louisville Cardinals, when he rushed for 139 yards on 24 carries. 

Against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets on Saturday, Gallman will likely get the rock a great deal of the time. He's averaged 23 carries the past two contests and faces a defense ranked No. 74 nationally against the run. 

Playing at home, Clemson's top rusher should accrue good yardage in this contest. 


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SEC Football: Latest Social Buzz Ahead of Week 6 Showdowns

In a Week 6 featuring four all-SEC matchups, each between a ranked and unranked team, fans and analysts took to Twitter to discuss the marquee men that will be taking part in them.

Whether he be a more legitimate claim, like Leonard Fournette or Nick Chubb, or a less-likely shout-out, such as Will Grier or Alex Collins, at least one perennial Heisman Trophy contender will be featured in all of these contests.

Add to that the heat of the interconference competition, and it's no wonder that the buzz was abound.

Check out the breakdowns, interesting statistics and discussion surrounding Saturday's best SEC games and the players who will make them must-watch worthy.


No. 11 Florida Gators (5-0) at Missouri Tigers (4-1)

Is Will Grier the real deal?

Fans certainly seem to think so!

A week after the Gators quarterback threw for an impressive 271 yards on 24 completions (for an 83 percent accuracy rate) against Ole Miss, the Mizzou defense will challenge him early and seek to find that out, per

In fact, both Florida and Missouri's defenses, ranked No. 36 and 14 respectively, should prove to be a challenge that likely will keep this one a fairly low-scoring matchup.

As ESPN college football analyst Joey Galloway pointed out on Mike & Mike, the Gators' defense in particular makes them troubling foes.

If the Mizzou offense, currently sitting at lowly 107th place, per, can't get something going, it's hard to believe that, even with its stout front, it will find success against a Florida team that is trending up.

That momentum will be key to the Gators' success, but should they get caught dreaming and looking ahead to their big showdown in Baton Rouge against the LSU Tigers, they might be in for a rude awakening.


Arkansas Razorbacks (2-3) at No. 8 Alabama Crimson Tide (4-1)

After finally putting an end to their three-game losing streak via a 24-20 close victory against the ailing Tennessee Volunteers, Arkansas will look to do the same against Alabama on the road.

Will their newfound confidence carry over into this Saturday? Will it be enough?

The Alabama defense, currently ranked No. 10 overall, has carried the team thus far, but the assignment of slowing down Arkansas' Alex Collins, currently sitting with 656 yards and six touchdowns on 113 carries and possibly the best running back not being talked about, will not be so simple.

Fans certainly aren't underestimating his talents, and there's a very good reason for that, considering the company that some of his statistics are keeping. 

In order for Alabama to close this one out in the fashion it is favored to, it will have to make Collins work and make the Razorbacks offense one-dimensional.  

Arkansas would be wise to follow the advice of Sports Talk's Bo Mattingly and get some disruption going early. 

After all, if a team can't beat 'em through conventional formats, it should at least fight tooth and nail. 


No. 19 Georgia Bulldogs (4-1) at Tennessee Volunteers (2-3)

The greatest question surrounding this game is: Will Tennessee play a full 60 minutes of football?

The Vols have lost three of their last four contests by a combined measly 12 points—including losing big leads to both the Oklahoma Sooners and Florida. As all are aware, there are no such things as moral victories in sports, however. Close is not a tally in the left-hand column.

In order to ensure that they won't be having deja vu on Saturday, they'll need to account for the efficient Georgia offense, which, with quarterback Greyson Lambert and running back Nick Chubb leading the way, is churning out around 453 yards a game, per

Slowing Chubb will be a little like trying to slow down a freight train. His resume of dominance is so lengthy that even Vols fans are predicting that he'll have his way.

On paper, the Vols defense, which, thus far in the season has surrendered 414 yards a game, doesn't seem up to the task.

Still, home-field advantage and frustration have produced far crazier outcomes. The Bulldogs are favored, but Tennessee's 37 points per game average should have them on high alert. 


South Carolina Gamecocks (2-3) at No. 7 LSU Tigers (4-0)

Can anyone stop LSU running back Leonard Fournette?

The Tigers' Heisman contender is roaring to a 864-yard, 11-touchdown start to the season, per

To say that he's been dominant is an understatement of the highest degree.

In order to get the W, the Gamecocks will have no choice but to force mediocre quarterback Brandon Harris to beat them, and that will mean trying to slow Fournette down. With a mid-pack rushing defense, however, currently ranked No. 76 with 170 yards on the ground allowed a game, that will be easier said than done.

Fournette isn't the only concern for South Carolina. The team will be without starting signal-caller Lorenzo Nunez, according to the Post and Courier's Gamecocks reporter David Caravielo.

Given that the Gamecocks will undoubtedly struggle to keep LSU out of the end zone, backup Perry Orth's ability to drive the Gamecocks offense down the field will be crucial.

But LSU by no means has this one in the bag. Looking solely at records, it appears that the Tigers have a monstrous advantage, but in reality, they may be facing their best quality competition this week. A victory would go a long way to proving that they are officially battle tested. 

Regardless of the outcome of this game, however, the sportsmanlike hospitality of LSU in hosting and providing for South Carolina and its fans during the tumultuous times the recent floods have caused is worthy of a hat tip.  

Glenn Guilbeau, New Orleans Saints and LSU reporter, quoted Tigers head coach Les Miles in a great summary of their efforts to step up to the plate. 

When sports so often seem embroiled in negativity, it's always a delight to see respectful competition shine through.

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College Football Predictions: 10 Ranked Teams Most Likely to Lose This Week

With Week 6 of the college football season kicking off in less than 24 hours, it’s time to make some predictions and take a look at some unfavorable matchups coming up for ranked teams. Michigan and Cal, ranked No. 18 and 23, respectively, may be among the schools in trouble as we move into the second half of the season.

It’s been a season of significant surprises thus far, with teams like the Northwestern Wildcats and the California Golden Bears emerging thanks to some young, quality arms. Will these inexperienced teams keep it going through Week 6? How much momentum can they sustain as they take their talents on the road and into hostile stadiums?

Sixteen out of the 25 ranked teams currently have unbeaten records.

We’ll look at in-conference records, home and away splits and impact players to help identify the teams most likely to lose this week.

Honorable mentions: LSU, Michigan State and TCU 

There are plenty of great matchups this weekend, so let’s dive into some previews and predictions for this important week of the season.

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Big Ten Football: Latest Social Buzz Ahead of Week 6 Showdowns

A full slate of Big Ten Football awaits on Saturday as the season enters its sixth week. On the card is a juicy matchup between Northwestern and Michigan, and the West Division’s second- and third-best teams, Iowa and Illinois, go head to head.

Hands up, those who can’t wait.


Illinois (4-1) at Iowa (5-0), 12 p.m. ET, ESPN2

That these two teams are near the top of the West Division is a shock to, well, pretty much everybody. This is Iowa’s first 5-0 start since 2009 and Illinois' best start to a season since 2011. If Northwestern come unstuck at Michigan, then the division will become even more intense.

ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit's remembers the wonderful things that happened the last time the Hawkeyes started 5-0:

How bout Kirk Ferentz and the @HawkeyeFootball program?!? 5-0 for first time since 09 when they went on to win the Orange Bowl! #IOWAvsWIS

— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) October 3, 2015

A new Kirk Ferentz is emerging as head coach in 2015, one that the Big Ten has never seen before. “New Kirk,” as he’s being dubbed, has switched practice times from the afternoon to the morning, has made Thursday the day off instead of Monday and, as the Wisconsin State Journal’s Tom Oates points out, is more bold with his play-calling:

I like the new wild and crazy Kirk Ferentz. The old Kirk Ferentz would never have gone for it on fourth-and-2 at the 8. #Badgers#Hawkeyes

— Tom Oates (@TomOatesWSJ) October 3, 2015

And the changes are clearly paying dividends, as noted by Iowa's official game-day account:

Iowa is the only school in the country yet to allow a rushing touchdown. #Hawkeyes

— Gameday Live (@IowaFBLive) October 4, 2015

Combine that stat with Illinois running back Josh Ferguson’s absence due to a shoulder injury, and it doesn’t look good for the Illini.


Indiana (4-1) at Penn State (4-1), 12 p.m. ET, ESPN

Indiana will look to fix their luck at Beaver Stadium, having lost in each of its last eight trips to the home of Penn State.

Hoosiers quarterback Nate Sudfeld left last week’s loss to Ohio State with an ankle injury, but judging by this tweet from the Indianapolis Star’s Zach Osterman, the 22-year-old is expected to start:

Wilson said Nate Sudfeld was cleared to return last weekend, but was "gimpy," didn't want to risk him. "He's our guy." No controversy. #iufb

— Zach Osterman (@ZachOsterman) October 7, 2015

As for the Nittany Lions, their pregame plans have been more on the humorous side:

Yes, that is Penn Stat alum Keegan-Michael Key impersonating head coach James Franklin. The resemblance is uncanny.


Maryland (2-3) at Ohio State (5-0), 12 p.m. ET, BTN/BTN2Go

Maryland's numbers are wretched. A league-high 17 turnovers. Quarterback Caleb Rowe has 12 interceptions for the season. The defense ranks 13th in the Big Ten, relinquishing 449.4 yards per game.

And soon they’ll be without a head coach, according to’s Joe Schad:

Decision that Randy Edsall will be out has been made, as InsideMDSports and Yahoo! also reported earlier. Discussions now about how/when.

— Joe Schad (@schadjoe) October 8, 2015

Randy Edsall is 57 years old, but he remains hip enough to quote rapper Wiz Khalifa:

"Worrying is stupid. It's like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain."- Wiz Khalifa

— Randy Edsall (@RandyEdsall) October 9, 2015

Apparently Edsall can get down with the players, though maybe that’s the issue.

If this does prove to be Edsall’s last game, he’s in for a tough one. The Buckeyes are on fire, as The Buckeye Nut pointed out:

Ohio State Buckeyes: Longest active winning streak in FBS (18 Games)

— The Buckeye Nut (@TheBuckeyeNut) October 8, 2015

Is anyone playing better football at the moment than OSU running back Ezekiel Elliott? The Mike and Mike Show provided a look a his recent run of form:

NERD NOTES Ezekiel Elliott Rushing in Last 8 Games: • 1,425 yards • 16 TD • 8.1 yards per carry

— Mike & Mike (@MikeAndMike) October 5, 2015

Between Elliott, LSU's Leonard Fournette and Georgia's Nick Chubb, there’s a good chance we’ll see a running back win the Heisman Trophy this year, a feat last achieved by Mark Ingram in 2009.


Minnesota (3-2) at Purdue (1-4), 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU

After he was pulled from last Saturday’s 27-0 drubbing at the hands of Northwestern for freshman Demry Croft, Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner may have feared his starting position was on the line.

However, Gophers head coach Jerry Kill confirmed Thursday that Leidner will start under center this weekend, per Minnesota radio station KFAN:

Kill says Mitch Leidner will start at Purdue this Saturday #Gophers

— KFAN1003 (@KFAN1003) October 8, 2015

Despite their 1-4 record, there’s reason for Purdue to be optimistic, according to college sportswriter Phil Steele:

Jerry Kill said that the Gophers will be missing 8 starters for this weeks matchup with Purdue. OLine and DB's hit hardest.

— Phil Steele (@philsteele042) October 9, 2015

In eight attempts, the Boilermakers are yet to win a Big Ten home game under Darrell Hazell, but after nearly upsetting Michigan State in Week 5, and with Minnesota’s lengthy injury list, Saturday could see an end to that stat.

Jeff Washburn, who covers Purdue for the Associated Press, is assured Purdue will get its first conference win:

Purdue will get its first B10 home victory of the Hazell era next Saturday against Minnesota. Boilers improving, Gophers' offense is awful.

— Jeff Washburn (@JeffWashburnJC) October 3, 2015


Northwestern (5-0) at Michigan (4-1), 3:30 p.m. ET, BTN/BTN2Go

Defense should reign supreme in the showpiece matchup of Week 6. Northwestern’s seven points conceded per game leads the nation, immediately followed by the Wolverines, who have allowed 7.6 points per game.

So this should  be a low-scoring affair. This stat from Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman shows just how dominant Michigan’s defense has been:

More Jim Harbaugh magic: #Michigan has had back-to-back shutouts & outscored its opponents 119-7 in the last 15 quarters.

— Bruce Feldman (@BruceFeldmanCFB) October 4, 2015

The Wolverines are seeking a third successive shutout. The last time an FBS team achieved that? 1995, according to’s Josh Moyer

But doesn’t the sporting world want to see more of this?:

Northwestern wins, 27-0. This calls for Macarena and hip thrust.

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) October 3, 2015

No, come to think of it. Probably not.

Northwestern leads the Big Ten with 248.8 rushing yards per game. Unstoppable force, meet the immovable object.


Wisconsin (3-2) at Nebraska (2-3), 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC/ESPN2

Has Nebraska recovered from that third down yet?

The sickening loss to Illinois is likely to stick in Cornhusker memory for a very long time, as the team is off to its worst start to a season since 1959.

There can’t be three more debilitating ways to lose a football game, as detailed by ESPN Stat and Info:

Nebraska’s three losses: -Hail Mary vs. BYU -In overtime at Miami -Gave up winning TD with :10 left at Illinois

— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 4, 2015

Neither Wisconsin nor Nebraska expected to be fourth and sixth, respectively, in the West Division after five weeks.

After last week’s 10-6 loss to Iowa, in which quarterback Joel Stave had four turnovers, the Badgers at least had some good news to announce Friday, per former college coach Jed Hughes:

#UnderArmour signs a 10-year, $96 million deal with Wisconsin. Deal to begin July 1, 2016 via @darrenrovell.

— Jed Hughes (@JedHughesKF) October 9, 2015

If they’re going to play bad football, Wisconsin may as well look good.


Michigan State (5-0) at Rutgers (2-2), 8 p.m. ET, BTN/BTN2Go

Rutgers couldn’t welcome Leonte Carroo back at a better time.

The first-team All-Big Ten receiver had his assault charges dropped by a judge Tuesday and was reinstated to the team Wednesday.

It means Carroo, who served a 25-day suspension, will feature against a team beset with injuries to the defense, as noted by Michigan State reporter Mike Wilson:

MSU now up to three season-ending injuries (Davis, Copeland, Finley) and one long-term (Williamson).

— Mike Wilson (@MikeWilson247) October 4, 2015

Still, the Spartans remain lethal on offense. Connor Cook surpassed Kirk Cousins as the program's winningest quarterback Saturday, notching his 28th win against Purdue, per the team's official Twitter account:

Connor Cook is now MSU's winningest quarterback after notching his 28th in the Spartans' 24-21 victory over Purdue.

— Spartan Football (@MSU_Football) October 3, 2015

However, Fox Sports’ Stewart Mandel isn’t quite convinced by Cook:

If Connor Cook is really a first-round pick someone's going to have to explain why he throws for 139 yards vs. teams like Purdue.

— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) October 3, 2015

Rutgers head coach Kyle Flood had some menacing words for the Spartans after Michigan State attempted a fake field goal while up 35-0 against Rutgers last year, per’s Kyle Austin:

Rutgers coach Kyle Flood told his team last year that MSU would "have to answer" for its late fake field goal

— Kyle Austin (@kylebaustin) October 8, 2015

It’s a shame Flood won’t be on the sidelines to witness the Scarlet Knights try to exact revenge. He’s serving the last of a three-game suspension for violating a university compliance policy.

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Freddie Swain Commits to Florida: What 4-Star WR Brings to Gators

The Florida Gators are on a roll.

Fresh off his fifth straight victory, first-year head coach Jim McElwain collected a key commitment Friday afternoon from coveted in-state wide receiver Freddie Swain:

The 4-star North Marion High School standout selected Florida from dozens of interested college programs. He scooped up a Gators hat that sat alongside others representing USC, Tennessee, LSU, South Carolina and Miami.

Things quickly heated up between him and the team this fall, fueled by a couple campus visits in September.

Swain, rated 29th overall among receivers in 247Sports' 2016 composite rankings, most recently attended Florida's thrilling victory over SEC rival Tennessee. He came away impressed by a young, emerging offensive attack led by redshirt freshman quarterback Will Grier.

“They showed they will throw the ball. They aren’t scared to do that,” he told Luke Stampini of 247Sports.

The Gators also impressed Swain by implementing dynamic newcomer Antonio Callaway. The true freshman has recorded eight catches and two touchdowns during the past two contests, crucial victories over Ole Miss and the Volunteers..

“They show you they are not afraid to play freshmen," Swain told Stampini. "If you do what you do, you’re going to get on the field and play and that’s what happens."

Florida may have gained another immediate-impact playmaker Friday.

Swain is averaging 72 receiving yards per game as a senior, per MaxPreps. He caught 52 passes for 841 yards and six scores least season.

His ability to attack defensive secondaries with polished route running and aggressive pursuit of the football separated Swain from a star-studded pack of prospects this summer at The Opening. He shined at the invite-only showcase, held at Nike's World Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon, raising his stock in the eyes of many national analysts.

Swain drew praise from Opening coach Quincy Avery, who lauded his skills during a discussion with Bleacher Report's Sanjay Kirpalani.

"Freddie is tremendously talented. His level of understanding for routes as a high school player is unmatched," Avery said. "Whether he's using a defender and using his body to lean on defenders, or stemming defenders to get even, he's going to be special."

Florida continues to stockpile impressive players in a 2016 recruiting class that's surged to 13th overall in the composite rankings.

Swain will reportedly still explore alternative collegiate options before national signing day. His upcoming official visit itinerary includes Tennessee and Miami, according to Ryan Bartow of 247Sports. 


Tyler Donohue is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake.

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Daily Fantasy College Football Week 6: DraftKings Optimum Lineup, Matchup Guide

Week 6 offers us a cornucopia of tantalizing and intriguing matchups. 

When trying to select the optimum lineup, there are multiple things to take into account. For one, the current form of the player is paramount. A wise thing to do would be to look back at the recent game logs from a statistical standpoint.

This piece will attempt to select an optimum lineup for Week 6, with analysis as to why these players match up well with their team's opposition for this week. 

As is the case with DraftKings, players are allowed two quarterbacks, two running backs, three wide receivers and two flex players. All nine players must equal no more than $50,000. 


Optimum Lineup for Week 6

QB: Travis Wilson ($7,000), Zander Diamont ($4,600) 

RB: LJ Scott ($5,200), Qadree Ollison ($5,200)

WR: Allen Lazard ($5,400), Britain Covey ($4,900), Jakeem Grant ($6,500)

Flex: Pharoh Cooper ($6,200), Demarcus Robinson ($4,800)


Total Salary: $49,800

Remaining: $200


QB Analysis

Utah's Wilson has a favorable home matchup with Cal this weekend. The stakes for this contest are especially high, considering both teams are undefeated and Utah wants to justify its No. 5 ranking. 

Wilson is completing passes at a staggering 68 percent and has rushed for at least 49 yards in every game he's started this year. At 6'7", he is truly one of the most unique dual-threat quarterbacks we've seen on the collegiate level in quite some time. 

Cal's defense is ranked No. 93 in pass defense and No. 71 in total defense. It's a young unit overall and one that Wilson should exploit with both his arm and legs. 

Diamont might be a surprising choice to some. Although technically the second-string quarterback for Indiana, he flashed his talent this past weekend versus Ohio State. The California native went 6-of-14 for 76 yards in the passing game and also ran for 98 yards and a touchdown on only seven carries against the Buckeyes.

With starting quarterback Nate Sudfeld's health a question mark, Diamont's ability to make plays with his feet likely signals more of a role going forward. 


RB Analysis

For their respective money totals, both Scott and Ollison are potential steals. 

Scott had the best game of his Michigan State career last week, running for 146 yards and two touchdowns versus Purdue. Running backs are often creatures of rhythm, and Scott appears to be getting into a groove in the backfield for the Spartans. 

Up against the No. 79 overall defense in Rutgers this week, the big tailback could be in for another big day. 

With James Conner out, Ollison has completely taken the reins as the starting running back for Pitt. The freshman out of New York is averaging an eye-popping 7.1 yards per carry. He leads the Panthers with 427 yards rushing and three rushing touchdowns and has rushed for at least 120 yards in two of his four games in 2015. 

Pitt gets a struggling Virginia team this weekend. The Cavaliers allow nearly 160 yards per contest on the ground. Should the Panthers get out to an early lead, expect a heavy dose of Ollison running the football.


WR Analysis

Lazard is Iowa State's unquestioned top receiver. He may possess the most innate talent of anyone on the roster. At 6'5", he's a terror on jump balls and on any play in which he's asked to climb the proverbial ladder and make the grab. 

The Cyclones will be at Texas Tech this weekend. This matchup looks favorable for a number of reasons. For one, Kliff Kingsbury's team will likely put up a ton of points. It averages 50 points per game. This will force Iowa State to abandon the run and throw the football a ton. 

Second, the Red Raiders rank No. 125 out of 127 teams in total defense. There will be yards to grab for Lazard and the passing game. 

Masquerading as Utah's version of Wes Welker, freshman Britain Covey is the leading receiver for the Utes with 17 grabs for 182 yards and two touchdowns. He's slippery when placed in the slot and can beat players over the top with his speed. 

Utah's opponent this weekend is Cal. While the Golden Bears will likely put up some points, Sonny Dykes' team ranks tied for 93rd in pass defense. With Covey being Wilson's favorite target in the early goings of the season, he could produce a good chunk of points. 

On the other side of the Iowa State-Texas Tech matchup, the Red Raiders' best receiver should also have a big day. The 5'7" senior receiver can line up all over the field. Grant is the leading receiver for Texas Tech (by a wide margin) with 35 grabs for 482 yards. The next-best catch total on the roster is Devin Lauderdale with 16 receptions. As one can see, Grant is targeted early and often.


Flex Analysis

On first glance, neither of these matchups appears to be great. 

LSU and Missouri both possess good defenses, ranking No. 16 and No. 8, respectively. However, both Cooper and Robinson are focal points of their team's passing attack. 

Cooper in particular is the main threat for South Carolina. He leads the team with 26 catches and accounts for more than one-third of the total receptions on the team. The South Carolina signal-caller (whether it's Perry Orth or Lorenzo Nunez) looks for Cooper on every first read. 

With LSU likely to win this game comfortably, South Carolina will need to throw the football to stay in it. In other words, Cooper will get plenty of chances to make plays. 

Robinson is also the leading receiver for the Gators. Florida's passing game has started to hit its stride in recent weeks, with Robinson and quarterback Will Grier forming a nice partnership. Robinson has accumulated 28 catches and 251 yards receiving. He's effectively become Mr. Reliable within the Gators' passing game. 


*All defensive statistics are courtesy of Offensive statistics are courtesy of

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Adam Searl Arrested on Suspicion of Rape: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

A significant off-field issue arose Friday for UCLA, as sophomore punter Adam Searl was arrested on suspicion of rape, according to CBS Los Angeles.  

Continue for updates.

Searl Arrested, Suspended Indefinitely By UCLA Friday, Oct. 9

After news of Searl's arrest was made public, UCLA announced the specialist had been suspended indefinitely, although it declined to make any further comments, per Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News.

Joey Kaufman of the Orange County Register tweeted a statement from Bruins head coach Jim Mora:

According to CBS Los Angeles, the accuser claims she awoke to find Searl sexually assaulting her in a house in the Westwood area of L.A. on the night of Oct. 19, 2014. They allegedly attended a party at a different residence earlier in the night.

Searl was released on $300,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Oct. 29, per CBS Los Angeles.

The second-year player from Irvine, California, is behind senior Matt Mengel on the depth chart and has attempted five punts this season at an average of 39 yards per kick. As a freshman in 2014, he punted 11 times at a clip of 39.1 yards per attempt.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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Wisconsin, Under Armour Agree to Contract: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

The University of Wisconsin will have different-looking sports apparel in the near future after agreeing to a deal with Under Armour. According to Benjamin Worgull of Scout, Wisconsin's pact with the sports apparel power will pay the school $96 million over 10 years, starting with the 2016-17 season. 

Speaking to Andy Baggot of about the Under Armour agreement, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez touched on a few of the things that went into the deal.

“Our brand is very important,” Alvarez said. “We took 25 years to build this brand and I think we have a very valuable brand. I do not want to go away from the brand. It’s something that we have earned and what we want to build off of.”

Apparel deals involving colleges have become part of the big business in sports, with the Badgers becoming the latest to get in on the action. This also marks the second major loss for Adidas among Big Ten schools. Michigan signed a pact with Nike that will pay it $169 million over 15 years—the richest apparel deal in college sports—starting next year in July.

While Wisconsin's agreement doesn't quite reach those financial heights, it's still an impressive amount of money for a school that has just recently become a consistent national power in basketball and is not often a national championship contender in football. 

Under Armour continues to build its brand in unique, interesting ways. The company signed athletes like Stephen Curry and Jordan Spieth before they became superstars, making the decision-makers appear to be geniuses. 

Adding Wisconsin, a school with a passionate Midwest fanbase, to the rotation gives Under Armour another major public relations boost and an attempt to craft a new, unique identity for the Badgers. 

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How the Red River Rivalry Lost Its Luster

The Red River Showdown—still known as the Red River Shootout by anyone who actually cares about the game—still means something. The pageantry of the annual rivalry between Oklahoma and Texas, played in front of a split crowd in the old-school Cotton Bowl nestled in the heart of the bustling Texas State Fair in Dallas, is there. It's always been there, and it will always be there. 

"It's unlike any other game I've ever been in," said J.D. Runnels, a former Sooners fullback from 2002-05. "I've been at Chicago against Green Bay—it doesn't compare. The fans split down the middle, coming into the fair, there's nothing like it."

The event remains unlike any other. The game itself, though, used to mean something more. 

Oklahoma-Texas used to be the top game in the Big 12 South, back when the conference actually had 12 teams and two divisions. 

(Ironically, though Oklahoma and Texas won the South 13 out of 15 years before the Big 12 dropped to 10 teams in 2011, the winner of the Red River Shootout only went on to represent the division in the conference championship game nine times.)

The Red River Shootout used to be one of the top games in college football as well, with as many future NFL players in the stadium as corn dogs outside of it. Its most recent peak, which also marked the beginning of the downfall, was 2008's brilliant 45-35 quarterback battle between Sam Bradford and Colt McCoy. A meeting between Top Five teams that would later result in a tiebreaker controversy? Who could ask for more?

Now? It's just another game in the Big 12 and national landscapes. Baylor-TCU has surpassed the Red River Shootout in terms of relevancy. The Nov. 27 meeting between the Bears and Horned Frogs in Fort Worth has been circled in red ever since the 2015 schedule was announced. The Red River Shootout barely moves the meter—and not just for national interest but local interest. 

"Last year was emblematic of what this game has become," said David Ubben of Sports on Earth. "It was played in the morning, and it was the third-biggest game in the state behind Ole Miss at Texas A&M and TCU at Baylor." 

The decline in one of college football's most spirited rivalries is nothing short of astonishing and raises a simple question with a difficult answer.

What happened?


Where's the Star Power?

The Cotton Bowl and Texas State Fair made the Red River Shootout unique. The Texas bond between blue-chip players on both sides made it personal. Former Oklahoma quarterback and wide receiver Paul Thompson, who grew up in the Austin suburb of Leander, knows that as well as anyone. 

"As long as I've been here, Texas has been a bigger rival than Oklahoma State because of that," Thompson said of the Texas connection Oklahoma had in recruiting. "I grew up in Austin. Most of my friends back home are Longhorn fans. I have relatives who are Longhorn fans.

"Growing up, playing against a lot of those guys [on Texas] who played at Westwood High School, Round Rock High School and Pflugerville High School. Re-competing against those guys, it was far more personal."

"We didn't prepare for anybody like we prepared for Texas," Runnels added.

There was good reason to prepare. Texas had a legitimate claim to be "Defensive Back U." The Horns had players such as safeties Michael Griffin and Michael Huff, and cornerback Aaron Ross—legitimate studs in the secondary and future first-round draft picks. 

And then there was linebacker Derrick Johnson, now with the Kansas City Chiefs. 

"Johnson was another guy, coming out of Waco, I played against in high school at Leander," Thompson said. "One year, I ran an option play, and he lit me up. It was one of the hardest, most solid tackles I've ever been involved in.

"We popped up, and he looked right at me and said 'Should of pitched it.'" 

The question now is, where's the next Derrick Johnson? Where's the next Jordan Shipley? How about the next Adrian Peterson or Gresham? Where's the next Vince Young, Bradford and McCoy?

"When you had guys like [Oklahoma defensive back] Roy Williams going against [Texas running back] Cedric Benson, these were guys who went on to play in the NFL—and some for a lengthy amount of time," said Runnels. "These were guys who were the top recruits in the country at the time."

"You're watching the game now, and you don't know a whole bunch of the names," Thompson added. 

The biggest star in Saturday's Red River Shootout is Sooners linebacker Eric Striker—and he could be a man without a position at the next level. In fact, the biggest play that stands out over the past several years in this game comes from the feared pass-rusher:

Where did all the star power go? Regardless of whichever event came first, the end of the Big 12 monopoly by Texas and Oklahoma has coincided with the rise of other programs such as Baylor, TCU and Texas A&M in the SEC. "The Big 12's recruiting has slid in general," said Ubben. 

Thompson describes the ascent of other programs as a "rich getting richer" philosophy. Quarterback Robert Griffin III was a program-changer for Baylor. Once RG3 took over, Baylor coach Art Briles no longer needed to enter the living room of major in-state high school recruits and pitch hope. He could sell results. Texas could not. 

Similarly, TCU can now sell fun, high-flying offenses that get results to prospects who ran the same system in high school. Texas A&M head coach Kevin Sumlin can recruit the Houston area better than anyone. "He knows Houston," said Runnels of Sumlin, who was OU's tight ends coach from 2003-05. "I don't think that's an area anyone's going to be able to conquer like he has."

It used to be that Texas and Oklahoma swept up 4- and 5-star prospects by the truckload. Now, Texas' best prospects have more choices than ever. And they're using them. 


Meanwhile, at Texas...

In true rivalry fashion, fingers are being pointed. "It's Texas' fault," said Ubben. "It really is that simple."

The Longhorns have imploded in truly remarkable fashion. Things may be getting worse before they get better, but it's almost unimaginable how much worse it's actually been. 

Against Notre Dame and TCU this season, Texas has been outscored 88-10. If Texas loses to Oklahoma on Saturday, it will be off to its worst start since 1956, according to Jeff Howe of 247Sports. National outlets are already wondering whether second-year head coach Charlie Strong, who is 7-11 through 18 games, is the long-term answer

This isn't entirely Strong's problem, however. Texas' decline began in the final years of the Mack Brown era from 2010-13. But identifying a 30-21 record in four seasons is much like the Titanic's lookouts identifying the tip of an iceberg, which means the Longhorns were destined for a drop-off years before. 

It started along the offensive line, where zero players have been drafted since 2008. As far as player-development gaffes go, there's no excuse for Texas to be as poor at player development in the trenches as it has been. 

The struggles continued with recruiting misfires, the most infamous of which were at quarterback. Texas put all its stock into blue-chip prospect Garrett Gilbert for 2010 and beyond, but it turned out to be a pairing that never took off as expected (Gilbert eventually transferred to SMU). David Ash's career was injury-riddled, and Tyrone Swoopes was replaced by Jerrod Heard as the starter.

Now, with the 2016 NFL draft approaching next spring, it's entirely possible Texas gets shut out for the second time in three years. (In 2014, the Longhorns were shut out of the draft for the first time since 1937.) 

Strong has recruited well on defense, which is what one would expect from a coach with a defensive background. This year's impact freshman is linebacker Malik Jefferson, formerly the No. 1 player in Texas coming out of high school according to 247Sports composite rankings. Through five games, Jefferson is second on the team with 31 tackles. What's missing, though, is a game-changer on offense. 

"If you're Texas, you have to find your Vince Young," said Runnels. "You have to find the guy you're going to rally your team around.

"In this league, you need a quarterback and an offense that can score 40 points a game." 

Texas currently ranks ninth in the Big 12 in scoring offense, ahead of only Kansas, at 24.6 points per game. 


Blowouts and Disinterest

Texas' decline is more noticeable, but the reality is neither the Sooners nor the Longhorns are as dominant as they used to be. From 2002-08, the Sooners and Longhorns entered the Red River Shootout undefeated and ranked in the Associated Press Top Five three times. On three more occasions, both teams were ranked in the AP Top 20. Only once, in 2005, did one of the teams have multiple losses (Oklahoma was 2-2). 

Since 2009, one team has entered the game with multiple losses four times (Oklahoma in 2009 and Texas in 2013, '14 and '15). 

"When both of these teams are in the Top 20, that's when the game kicks into another gear," Ubben said. 

That hasn't happened since 2012, and Oklahoma won that game 63-21. It was practically a mirror image of 2011 when the Horns and Sooners entered the Red River game ranked No. 11 and No. 3, respectively. Oklahoma won that game, too, 55-17. 

More often over the past six meetings, the hype simply hasn't been there. In '09, Oklahoma suffered from major injuries to tight end Jermaine Gresham (knee) and Heisman-winning quarterback Sam Bradford (shoulder). Bradford originally suffered his injury in Week 1 against BYU and reinjured it against the Longhorns, knocking him out for the year.  

2010 was the start of Texas' downturn. Oklahoma's 28-20 win gave Texas its second loss of the season, and the Longhorns would win just two games the rest of the year to finish 5-7. 

2013 was Brown's final year as an embattled head coach, but a 36-20 stunner over the Sooners wasn't enough to keep his job. He resigned at the end of the season. 

But this year could very well be a low point for the rivalry. The Sooners are a 16.5-point favorite, according to There are reports of internal struggles in the Longhorns locker room, per the Dallas Morning News. Tickets on the Texas side are still available—so many so that the game's signature 50-50 divide is in jeopardy. "This is probably going to be as heavily weighted to OU for a fanbase as it's ever been," said Thompson. 


A Return to Relevance?

When asked what needs to happen for the Red River Shootout to regain its relevancy on a national scale, Runnels was blunt. 

"We need Texas back," he said. 

Ideally, the Big 12 needs Texas and Oklahoma to play at the levels they used to, back when they were competing and winning national championships in the 2000s. It'll happen in time. That much seems to be the consensus. "Baylor and TCU—their success is spawned by Art Briles and Gary Patterson. They're special coaches," Ubben said. "But they're not going to be there in 25 years. Oklahoma and Texas will be." 

Until then, the necessary formula for Texas, which has suffered the most, goes as follows, according to Runnels: "Quarterback play and develop NFL talent, especially along the offensive line."

That may not be as simple as it sounds. Runnels recalled his own recruitment, in which he didn't have much initial interest in Oklahoma until the arrival of head coach Bob Stoops in 1999. The 1990s were a difficult time for the program, much like now is a difficult time for the Longhorns.

Whether Strong will be that type of program-changer remains to be seen. Given the state of things, Strong likely needs at least four years for a fair evaluation. In the meantime, Texas needs a big showing against Oklahoma. Win or lose, there has to be some sense of progress.

"It can be a step in the right direction. This can prolong some jobs for some coaches. This can give Texas a spark," Runnels said. "They've had a tough first five games. Pretty much everyone they've played is undefeated. This game can be a point where they can look back and say this is where it all changed."


Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise. All stats courtesy of

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Red River Showdown: Does Texas-Oklahoma Still Matter in Recruiting?

The AT&T Red River Showdown pitting longtime rivals the Texas Longhorns and Oklahoma Sooners has become that proverbial tree in the forest.

If it happens, but no one's watching, does it truly make a sound?

As both teams prepare for Saturday morning's annual event at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, the luster of the event remains in question. Gone are the days when two nationally ranked teams are going head-to-head not only for conference supremacy and border bragging rights but also for the right to see which team will continue playing for a potential national championship.

Taking away last year's 31-26 Oklahoma win, the game hasn't been decided within seven points since 2009, when Texas won, 16-13. To some now, Texas-Oklahoma is just another football game played on Saturday.

But to others, there's still prestige and intrigue to this rivalry. Several 2016 targets have mentioned that while the oddsmakers are picking Oklahoma to beat Texas comfortably, the atmosphere and overall "what if" of the rivalry still has a place in college football.

Fortunately in recruiting, one game does not make or break how a target views a program. Texas, one win in five tries this season, still has a lot of interest from 2016 and 2017 players. Oklahoma, unbeaten in four games, is the team that starts slow in recruiting and seems to flourish late—which could be huge with the help of a big win against its hated rival Saturday.

"It's still very relevant. As long as there's a football program at UT, I believe there will always be relevance surrounding the program," said 5-star defensive back Jeffrey Okudah, the nation's top-ranked safety in the 2017 class.

"It's one of the best rivalries in college football," added 2016 receiver Audie Omotosho, who has 30 reported offers, one of them being Oklahoma. "Taking it away is taking out a part of history."

Omotosho said he wouldn't be at the Cotton Bowl, but rather he would be watching the game on television, which is what a few athletes plan on doing. Texas target Jordan Elliott, a 4-star defensive tackle, said he wanted to be at the game but is in the middle of homecoming weekend at his high school. Cornerback Eric Cuffee, a 4-star athlete and a 2016 target for both schools, added that he'll be tuned in.

One player who said he will be there is Jean Delance, a 4-star offensive tackle once committed to Oklahoma but now with Texas in his top five. For Delance, Saturday is more than just wins and losses.

"This rivalry can set the tone for the Texas Longhorns pulling off this win," he said. "Also, [for] guys looking to play on the next level, I'm sure this is a game an NFL scout will go to pull and see how well a player conducted himself in such a rivalry game or [see] the pressure on them to perform with high standards."

Records wise, there are other games with a bigger draw. From a rivalry standpoint throughout the Big 12, the current matchup of TCU playing Baylor—which will happen on Nov. 27—has more appeal from a national scale.

But when it comes to Texas and Oklahoma, records tend to take a back seat. It's still a game featuring two of college football's storied programs. It's still an event that fans are drawn to.

It's also still a game that's polarizing enough to where nonfans will watch just to talk about each team.

"It's relevant because tradition never graduates," said 4-star hybrid defensive end Marvin Terry, who considers Oklahoma one of his favorites in the recruiting process. "Even though Texas may be having a down year, it's a rivalry that could go any way, any year. Some kids go to those schools for that moment."

This game, however, may be of more importance to the 2017s than the 2016s. The juniors are still shaping their opinions on programs, and the Sooners and Longhorns both are highly respected programs on and off the field.

Okudah said he'll be in attendance. Marvin Wilson, the nation's top-ranked defensive tackle, and Anthony Hines III, the nation's No. 2 inside linebacker, are two other high-profile 2017 targets who said they'll be tuning in.

Running back Eno Benjamin and cornerback Chevin Calloway, two 4-star talents, said they'll be at the game. Wide receiver Camron Buckley, another 4-star athlete, said he will try to make the game after morning film sessions with his team. He added that if he doesn't make the Cotton Bowl, he'll watch the game on TV.

While the game may not have the big-ticket feel it once had, it's still has its followers.

And after the game, regardless of the outcome, expect nothing to change among targets.

"I just think it's gonna be a great game to watch because of the rivalry," Buckley said. "To me, [the name of the game] is just a title. Both teams are going to play hard."

Benjamin added: "It's a rivalry. Anything could happen."


Damon Sayles is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All quotes were obtained firsthand. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Damon via Twitter: @DamonSayles


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Breaking Down the Huge Recruiting Weekend at Florida State

Florida State is set to host far more than simply the Miami Hurricanes this Saturday; the program has compiled a list of anticipated visitors that features several of America's premier college football recruits.

The Seminoles will welcome a collection of talent from across the country, ranging from standout high school seniors to coveted underclassmen. Set against the backdrop of a classic Sunshine State showdown, it's likely to be one of the most expansive recruiting events we'll witness all season. 

Searching for 5-star studs? At least five such prospects should be on campus, along with many athletes who also warrant consideration as top-tier talent, according to Bud Elliott of Tomahawk Nation.

While Florida State takes center stage on home turf, this is also an opportunity for Miami to distance itself from a disheartening defeat at Cincinnati in front of mutual recruiting targets. Another ugly loss, especially if the game gets out of hand, would push the Hurricanes closer to the brink of a potential coaching change. 

An 8 p.m. kickoff allows prospects and their families ample travel time and sets the stage for a packed sideline during pregame action. Here's a rundown of what to watch for during a busy weekend in Tallahassee.


Elites Come to Town

Plenty of programs would be content to welcome this volume of 5-star recruits during the entirety of a season. Florida State takes care of it in one fell swoop, welcoming the No. 1 overall prospects at three positions.

Seminoles cornerback commit Levonta Taylor and UCLA weak-side defensive end pledge Oluwole Betiku each sit atop 2016 composite rankings at their respective positions, while Auburn commit Calvin Ashley is considered the best among 2017 offensive tackles. Ashley is an in-state product, while Taylor (Virginia) and Betiku (California) are traveling from outside the area.

Betiku, a 6'3 ½", 240-pound senior, will make the trip with Junipero Serra High School teammate and 4-star safety Brandon Burton. The Nigerian-born defender has been a phenomenon since his 2013 emigration, racking up 90 tackles—39 for loss—and 19.5 sacks in just 17 varsity games, per MaxPreps.

“I feel like nothing is stopping me from being the No. 1 player,” Betiku told Bleacher Report's Sanjay Kirpalani. “I’m strong, I’m fast. I’m just not versatile. Even though last year was my first year playing, I’m still hard on myself."

Florida State will also welcome a pair of long-pursued local blue chips. Defensive tackle Shavar Manuel and wide receiver Nate Craig-Myers, both 5-star recruits from the Tampa area, have well-established relationships with the Seminoles coaching staff. 


Homecoming for Several Seminoles Commits

Taylor is hardly alone as a Florida State pledge previewing his future home environment. Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher can count on seeing plenty of familiar faces Saturday, several of whom will be counted on to contribute immediately as collegiate playmakers. 

Quarterback Malik Henry, who's transferred high schools from California to Florida and back again since committing, is expected on campus. A few of his future offensive weapons will join him, including wide receiver D.J. Matthews, running back Amir Rasul and tight end Naseir Upshur

Seminoles fans should be especially excited to see Upshur, a Philadelphia playmaker who quickly filled the void left behind by top-ranked tight end Isaac Nauta in September by committing to Florida State over Michigan. He's already put immense expectations upon himself for a bright future in Tallahassee.

"I'm going to be the best tight end and win another Mackey Award for the team," Upshur told Bleacher Report.


Linebackers Taking a Closer Look

Florida State carries a high value for linebackers in the 2016 cycle, and some of the nation's finest will be on hand. Current Seminoles commits Josh BrownJamal Couch and Emmett Rice each fill slots at the position and return to campus this weekend to reassess their situation.

They'll be joined by a pair of high-profile undecided prospects from beyond state borders. Dontavious Jackson (Texas) and Keion Joyner (North Carolina) are considered top-10 talents at inside and outside linebacker, respectively, in composite rankings.

Jackson visited UCLA and LSU earlier this season, while Joyner announced a top-three list featuring Florida State, LSU and North Carolina last month.

"Me and (defensive ends) Coach (Brad) Lawing have had a very good bond there ever since he was at Florida,” Joyner told Ryan Bartow of 247Sports in September. “Coach Lawing is recruiting me the hardest. He wants me to come down and see what I would like there." 

Even if the Seminoles ultimately go 1-of-2 on national signing day with Joyner and Jackson, it's a victory.

Florida State also looks further into the future Saturday with 4-star 2017 linebacker pledge Vandarius Cowan joining the crowded bleachers.


An Abundance of Uncommitted Stars for 2016 and Beyond

Less than four months shy of signing day, 2016 prospects certainly take precedence at this point. Several high school seniors will carry Saturday's experience with them while working toward the conclusion of hotly contested recruitments.

Freakish Louisiana running back Devin White, a 6'1", 258-pound battering ram with sub-4.5 speed, is among them. So is dominant North Carolina offensive lineman Landon Dickerson

Cornerback Trayvon Mullen, wide receiver Keith Gavin and defensive end Antonneous Clayton are among other notable 4-star 2016 prospects to monitor.

Florida State's staff is also focused on younger athletes. Highly regarded high school juniors such as running back Anthony Davis and cornerback Shaun Wade will be in attendance, along with lauded 2018 quarterback Joey Gatewood, per Elliott.


Tyler Donohue is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. All player ratings are courtesy of 247Sports' composite ratings. Follow Tyler via Twitter: @TDsTake.

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Virginia Tech Football: 5 Ways the Hokies Must Improve in 2015

The Virginia Tech Hokies sit at 2-3 on the season after last week's embarrassing home loss to Pittsburgh. It wasn't as if losing to the Panthers was bad—the Hokies have lost to Pitt in six of their past seven meetings. It was the matter in which Tech lost.

Tech finished with just 100 yards of total offense, including nine rushing yards, and the quarterback was sacked seven times.

Onto the next one.

Virginia Tech still has seven games left in the 2015 season and the Coastal Division crown is anyone's for the taking. Last year's champ, Georgia Tech, is already 0-2 in conference play this season. 

If the Hokies want and expect to turn their season around, some good things need to happen. Here are five ways Tech must improve during the remainder of this season to get back on track. 

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Who Is the Real No. 1 in College Football?

Fans usually wonder who the No. 1 team is in their favorite sports, and we here at Bleacher Report are no different. 

Who is the No. 1 college football team? Why do we consider it the best? 

Find out in the above video as Stephen Nelson asks the question everyone wants answered.

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Keegan-Michael Key Nails Impression of Penn State Coach James Franklin

Comedian Keegan-Michael Key is a graduate of Penn State who also happens to be head coach James Franklin’s doppelganger.

Key, who is serving as the grand marshal for Penn State's homecoming parade, absolutely nailed his impression of Franklin during a team meeting Thursday.

Are we surprised, though? This is what the guy does for a living.

The players went nuts, and rightfully so.


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Breaking Down How to Stop LSU RB Leonard Fournette

Of all the potential assignments in college football, none has proved harder this season than stopping LSU running back Leonard Fournette.

Only a true sophomore, Fournette has rushed for 864 yards in four games—a cool average of 216 yards that by far ranks No. 1 in the country. The closest player to Fournette, San Jose State senior Tyler Ervin, averages 160 yards per game, while the closest power conference player, Georgia sophomore Nick Chubb, averages 149.

Despite this, however, stopping Fournette is not impossible. It's next to impossible, but can be done with the right combination of scheme, personnel, discipline, execution and, frankly, dumb luck.

Here are three keys for slowing down the nation's best runner.


Hold and Wait For Backup

The key to stopping Fournette is limiting yards after contact. According to Steve Palazzolo of Pro Football Focus and ESPN Insider, the sophomore leads the country with an average of 4.9 yards after being hit.

The best way to stop Fournette's yards after contact is to tackle him, but that goes without saying. It's just a tall order for anybody, even an FBS linebacker, to meet Fournette in the hole or on the edge and bring him down on their own. Fournette is 6'1", 230 pounds and built like a heavyweight UFC fighter. Defenses can't rely on making one-on-one plays.

What they can hope for is gang tackling. They can hope defenders who do get caught on an island with Fournette will grapple him, slow his momentum and wait for reinforcements. Acknowledging that Fournette is the best player on the field, and therefore requires different treatment than other running backs, is the first step to containing him.

Here's a great example from Syracuse linebacker Marqez Hodge:

Hodge is 5'11", 221 pounds. He's standing in place while Fournette is running downhill. He knows there's no way to drive him back and plant him, to execute a proper form tackle, but he engages Fournette and holds firm until his teammates arrive.

Here's what happened when former Texas A&M safety Howard Matthews did not hold and wait for backup:

Bad idea.


Force Him Off His Line

Fournette is shifty for his size, but not an overall outlier in shiftiness.

He's a one-cut, downhill runner whose best work comes when he stays the course, explodes through the hole and rips through arm tackles in the secondary.

He's less successful when defenders knock him off his line in the backfield, forcing him to improvise with agile cuts and vision. Of course, that's true with any running back, but because Fournette is so good running in a straight line, the difference here is more pronounced.

He can still make plays out of nothing, as he proved on multiple runs against Mississippi State, but forcing Fournette off his line, especially by setting the edge on tosses and stretches, is the best way to keep him from getting downhill cleanly.

Here's an example of Syracuse doing a good job:

Fournette wants the edge, but defensive end Luke Arciniega gets a push on left tackle Jerald Hawkins. Slot receiver Malachi Dupre misses a seal block on the blitzing defender, so Fournette has to cut inside. He breaks a tackle and gains positive yards, but by setting the edge, Syrcause kept Fournette off his line and minimized his impact.

Here's an example of what happens when Fournette does keep his line (and also when tacklers try to cut his legs instead of wrapping up and waiting for teammates in the open field):

Also a bad idea.


Pitch a Clean Game

Notice how Syracuse was featured in both of the above "good examples?" That's because the Orange, by and large, played Fournette as well as they could have. They fought hard and executed their keys.

Or at least they did on most of their defensive snaps. Excluding his two longest runs, Fournette rushed 24 times for 134 yards in the Carrier Dome. Those are solid numbers, but almost any defense in the country would accept them.

The problem? Fournette's two longest runs went for 48 and 62 yards. The first came on a broken play off a pitch from quarterback Brandon Harris, and the second came on a mad dash through the middle.

And that's how Fournette tallied 244 rushing yards at Syracuse. The Orange held him below his batting average but allowed two big home runs. Against the Mike Trout of college football, you have to pitch a near-perfect game.

"All it takes is one guy out of his gap and another guy not fitting and replacing for a great football player like [Fournette] to make a big play and he did," Syracuse head coach Scott Shafer told reporters after the loss. "If you want to win these games, then you’ve got to survive the big play opportunities and we didn’t do that today."

So far, no team has.

But that doesn't mean no team can.

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College Football Assistants Making Strong Cases for Head Coaching Jobs

We just started October, but it’s never too early for the college football coaching carousel to start spinning.

Before the 2015 season even began, Illinois fired coach Tim Beckman following an external investigation regarding his treatment of players. On Thursday, Jeff Ermann of Inside Maryland Sports reported that Maryland coach Randy Edsall is expected to be fired soon, perhaps as early as next week, following the Terrapins’ visit to No. 1 Ohio State.

And that’s likely only the beginning. Last winter, high-profile programs like Florida and Michigan replaced their coaches.

Who will ride the carousel as 2015 flips to 2016? More than two programs, to be certain. Those programs will need new leaders, and looking at their coordinators is an excellent place to start a search (Athlon Sports' Steven Lassan wrote a great piece about coordinators on the rise for 2015).

Which coordinators have earned a look at a head coaching position? Let’s examine the field of coordinators who are making differences on the field early on this season and will be strong candidates when athletic directors start making moves later this fall. 

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Notre Dame Football: How Max Redfield Builds off Best Game with Irish

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Sprinkled between Max Redfield’s 14 tackles in Notre Dame football’s two-point loss to Clemson on Saturday was a mix of hard hits, finished plays and, of course, the safety’s customary trash talking.

“I’ll talk trash until the day I stop playing,” Redfield said this week. “I feel like it’s a necessary part of the game. I love it. And they can expect it.”

As exemplified by his jawing, Redfield played with emotion and passion against the Tigers in the heartbreaking loss. Irish head coach Brian Kelly called the performance Redfield’s best in a Notre Dame uniform.

“That’s the kind of football he’s capable of,” Kelly said of Redfield, a former 5-star recruit who made one start as a freshman in 2013 before logging 11 starts last season.

“He was just focused. He was playing possessed,” Irish fifth-year captain and defensive back Matthias Farley said. “He was all over the field. He made plays way down the field. He made plays in the backfield. He was really, really locked in. When the lights shine bright, Max plays really, really well.”

Redfield agreed he elevated his play and matched the stakes of the marquee matchup in Death Valley, his high point so far this season.

“I saw the Max Redfield that we all know,” junior cornerback Cole Luke said. “Certain people are different ways. The hype of the game could calm somebody down or it could actually bump them up like it did for Max.”

The athletic safety turned in an “outstanding camp,” Kelly said, but suffered a broken thumb in the first defensive series of the season opener against Texas. Redfield underwent surgery and started the next week against Virginia, playing with the massive cast still encrusted on his right hand. Against Georgia Tech’s triple-option, Redfield did not play.

“I felt like there was a noticeable difference between Virginia and UMass and then Clemson as well,” Redfield said of his now-sizeable right hand. “It’s mostly mental, just a little bit of pain, getting past it and having to do your job regardless of what’s on your hand or not.”

Redfield did say a hand injury isn’t too problematic, comparatively, for a safety. Farley, drawing on what former Irish safety Zeke Motta once told him, advised Redfield that the bone was already broken.

“They’ll just put some more screws and plates in it, so you can’t think about it,” Farley quipped.

Redfield played without hindrance against Clemson. He piled up four tackles, including a takedown of Tigers standout wideout Artavis Scott, on Clemson’s game-opening touchdown drive that ignited a highly flammable crowd.

“It was just the emotion and the type of game it was,” Redfield said. “Obviously we want to play consistently week in and week out, but you definitely play up to opponents who demand a little bit more attention or a little bit more aggression.”

Despite some inconsistencies in games during his Irish career, Redfield said he doesn’t think his practice performance and effort have wavered. So, asked what he takes from the Clemson game moving forward, Redfield pointed to the mental side.

“Just being aware of the mindset I had during that game and make sure I just continue that mindset throughout because obviously it helped me be successful being locked in play to play,” Redfield said. “I feel like because of who the competition was I tried to elevate my game and play up to the competition. Just understanding our play can’t waver based on our competition.

“It has to be at the highest level throughout the season, every game.”


Unless otherwise noted, all recruiting stats and information courtesy of, and all quotes obtained firsthand. Star ratings reflect 247Sports composite rankings.

Mike Monaco is the lead Notre Dame writer for Bleacher Report. Follow @MikeMonaco_ on Twitter.

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Michigan Football: 5 Ways the Wolverines Must Improve in 2015

Despite a 4-1 beginning to the 2015 college football season, the Michigan Wolverines have five noticeable ways to improve.

Michigan could hardly ask the defense to perform any better after two consecutive shutouts. However, if the unit could finish the job at the quarterback more often, the Wolverines would make the opponent's task increasingly difficult on later downs.

On the other hand, the Michigan offense is the ugly stepsister of the team right now. Penalties, turnovers and slow starts could doom head coach Jim Harbaugh's squad during Big Ten play if not corrected.

The Wolverines have work to do, but the progress must arrive quickly because No. 13 Northwestern (Oct. 10) and No. 4 Michigan State (Oct. 17) loom on the schedule.

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Georgia Football: 5 Ways the Bulldogs Must Improve in 2015

The Bulldogs need a win on Saturday against Tennessee if they want to have any shot at winning the SEC title. However, after the 38-10 loss to Alabama last week, there might be some doubts about whether the Bulldogs will be able to pull it off.

The loss to Alabama was disappointing and embarrassing because the game was over as soon as the second quarter began. But it was also a good way to learn about what the Bulldogs need to improve on as they move forward into the rest of the SEC part of the 2015 schedule.

So here are five things the Bulldogs must improve on this season.


Passing Offense

The Bulldogs strength on offense has been the ground game led by Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. They average close to 245 rushing yards per game, and Chubb is second in the SEC in rushing yards and touchdowns.

However, the passing game has struggled at times. The Bulldogs rank ninth in the SEC in passing offense, averaging 208 yards per game. The reason for the lack of the air attack has been the play at quarterback.

Greyson Lambert has had his ups and downs this season. He looked great against South Carolina as he completed 96 percent of his passes and threw for three touchdowns. But he was the polar opposite in the Alabama game, going 10-of-24 for 146 yards and one interception.

The Bulldogs should never go away from the run game, but they need to find a way to throw the ball downfield more so they can be more balanced.


Special Teams

Special teams have been a weakness for Georgia over the years. And it was on full display against Alabama as the Bulldogs allowed a blocked punt for a score.

Combine that with the Bulldogs only making over 60 percent of their field goals and being ranked near the bottom in kickoff return coverage, and it has not been a great start for the Bulldogs special teams.

Blocked punt TD!! FitzMagic

— BamaVine (@BamaVine) October 3, 2015

The one good thing the Bulldogs have going for them on special teams is Isaiah McKenzie, who already has a punt return for a touchdown. But the Bulldogs won’t have McKenzie on Saturday due to a hamstring injury, and he has been ruled as doubtful, according to Seth Emerson of


Getting Another Receiver Involved

Malcolm Mitchell is having a great start to the 2015 season, catching 23 passes for 371 yards and one touchdown. However, there needs to be another receiver to take pressure off Mitchell as well as Lambert.

#UGA has a number of plans to get the ball to 5-Star wide receiver Terry Godwin

— (@UGASportscom) September 10, 2015

Mitchell is the only wide receiver on the roster that has caught a touchdown pass this season. The other players that have caught touchdown passes this season are Chubb, Michel and Jeb Blazevich. If there is one player that can be that next great receiver, it would be Terry Godwin, who has 10 catches for 106 yards. But if the Bulldogs want to be a real threat on offense, there needs to be another on the roster that becomes a playmaker this year.


Run Defense

Defensively, the Bulldogs have been solid this year as they rank fourth in the conference in total defense and fifth in the conference in scoring defense.

If there is one glaring weakness, it would have to be the run defense, as the Bulldogs are giving up 123 rushing yards per game.

I liked a @YouTube video Derrick Henry Long TD vs UGA

— Garrett (@AnimatedGamers1) October 4, 2015

One of the biggest reasons for the struggles at run defense is the way the defense is built. The Bulldogs rely on speed more than size, and when a team like Alabama runs at them like it did last week, that wears them down as the game progresses.

Alabama gashed the Bulldogs run defense with 189 yards rushing last week. The Crimson Tide ran at the Bulldogs consistently, which is why they were able to control the clock and come away with a win.


Quarterback Pressure

Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins have proven they are one of the two best linebackers in the game, averaging six sacks per season. And they are on their way to having strong 2015 seasons, as Jenkins has three sacks on the year while Floyd has two.

But the Bulldogs only have eight sacks this season, which ranks 10th in the conference. And another reason Alabama was able to beat Georgia last week was the fact the defensive front seven for Georgia did not lay a finger on Alabama quarterback Jacob Coker.

Going forward, the Bulldogs will need to find more ways to apply pressure on quarterbacks. They have to get Lorenzo Carter involved—he has yet to record a sack—and the defensive line needs to win more of its battles in the trenches.

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