NCAA Football News

College Football Picks: Week 5 Predictions for Every Game

Thanks to the willingness of power-conference teams to play each other, the first month of the 2015 college football season provided us with plenty of great games.

But now comes the nitty gritty: conference play, which—after making a few cameo appearances—takes center stage this weekend. Of the 60 games on the Week 5 schedule, 45 of them pit teams from the same league as they begin their quests for conference or division titles.

We've made predictions for every game, delving into the storied histories of series among Mid-American teams as well as breaking down how the wide-open races in the Big Ten West and ACC Coastal divisions will turn out. 

Check out our selections for all 60 games, then weigh in with your picks in the comments section.


All rankings refer to the Associated Press Top 25.


Week 4 record: 41-18 (.695)

Season: 231-58 (.799)

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Texas Football: 7 Longhorns Who Have Surprised Us in 2015

Sitting at 1-3 with two more tough matchups on tap, it's easy to overlook the pleasant surprises that have littered the early part of Texas' season. Especially since one of them is the emergence of a real quarterback.

There are a couple of ways to assess losing teams. Does the team play hard and make fixable mistakes, or is the quality of play just a total train wreck? Also—and this is equally important—does the team have the talent to improve?

Aside from the 38-3 loss to Notre Dame, this Longhorn team has certainly been competitive. Charlie Strong's group played both Cal and Oklahoma State, two veteran Top 25 teams, to the brink of overtime. The kicking gaffes that cost them chances to win those games hurt, but they're rectifiable. 

More encouraging is the performance we're seeing from this team's young players. The current depth chart has seven redshirt or true freshmen in starting roles, and as many as three more should see starter's snaps.

One of those seven is redshirt freshman Jerrod Heard, who has taken command of the wayward quarterback position. He's given the team a real playmaker at the game's most important position, and his emergence has coincided with a team-wide youth movement.

As long as these young players continue to surprise us with their play, it will be worth it to remain patient.


1. QB Jerrod Heard

Texas may be 1-3, but can anyone imagine how bad this team would look without Heard?

Since taking over the quarterback job, Heard has completely reversed the course of the Longhorn offense. In Heard's three starts, the team is averaging over 405 yards and 37 points per game. Contrast that with a 2014 team that put up 337 yards and barely over 21 points an outing last season.

Heard's numbers haven't been overly gaudy. Even with his school-record 527 yards against Cal, he's putting up around 300 total yards per game. For reference, there are 20 quarterbacks who throw for more yardage on a weekly basis.

However, Heard has been extremely efficient with his opportunities. His 10.95 yards per attempt would rank second in the nation (per, while his 102.3 rushing yards per start easily dwarfs the numbers of every other quarterback in the Big 12.

Most of all, Heard's ascension has brought a sense of confidence that Tyrone Swoopes could never quite instill. The Longhorns have stood toe-to-toe with two AP Top 25 teams in the same month Notre Dame pasted them by 35 points. Replacing Shawn Watson helps a lot, but that doesn't happen without a player like Heard.

To put it all in perspective, Heard was a distant backup from the summer through the first game of the season. Now VICE Sports' Mike Piellucci considers him the most important player in college football. 

In Heard, Texas finally has a rising star at quarterback. Before long, he's going to turn these close losses into big wins.


2. LT Connor Williams

One would expect a freshman left tackle to go through some growing pains early on. The amazing thing about Connor Williams is that he's almost completely avoided them.

A spring standout, the Texas freshman left tackle has become the team's best offensive lineman. Williams has twice made Pro Football Focus' list of the top eight freshmen in college football, receiving the following praise after his performance against last week:

Williams returns to the list after another strong outing against Oklahoma State (+3.0 game grade). He remains the only Texas offensive lineman with a positive grade, despite giving up four of his six total pressures last Saturday. Williams has also shown well in the run game with a +2.1 grade, and he’s become one of the few bright spots on the Texas offense.

Williams made it clear he was the real deal over the offseason, but this is a 3-star prospect, per 247Sports. He's just not supposed to be this good, this early.


3. WR Daje Johnson

Through four weeks, Texas' leading receiver is none other than senior Daje Johnson. Yeah, the same Daje Johnson who was almost kicked off the team last season and released a rap single about drug-dealing over the summer.

At long last, Johnson has put his off-field trouble behind him. Drops have still been a problem, but the explosive slot man leads the team in both receptions and receiving yards, has a punt return for a touchdown and ranks 11th in the nation in punt return yardage (per

Between the suspensions and other shenanigans, it was fair to wonder if Johnson would ever live up to his potential. Now, he's gotten it together under Strong and has become an indispensable part of the offense.


4. WR John Burt

While we're on leading receivers, let's discuss true freshman John Burt, Texas' newest big-play threat.

A 4-star recruit out of Florida, Burt was a big recruiting win for the Longhorns. 247Sports gave the Longhorns just a 17 percent chance to land his services last cycle, so his commitment gave them both the big receiver and out-of-state victory the program needed.

But, as InsideTexas' Ian Boyd notes, Burt was considered more of an athlete than anything. While the physical talent was obvious, Burt's route-running and overall polish needed some work.

That hasn't stopped Burt from becoming one of Texas' most explosive players through four games. Second on the team with 186 yards, Burt has receptions of 48, 69 and 43 yards, and was a debatable illegal forward pass away from a 53-yard score against Oklahoma State. Had it stood, he would be on pace for almost 1,000 yards.

Even without that play, Burt's 26.6 yards per catch would rank in the top five in the nation, according to With plus size, sprinter speed and great hands, Burt's future is exceptionally bright as Texas' X receiver.


5. The Freshmen Cornerbacks

Joining Williams on PFF's list of standout freshmen is Holton Hill, who leads a tremendous trio of young cornerbacks.

Hill got off to a slow start because of a leg injury, but he's been tremendous since busting into the rotation. The true freshman has seven tackles, two passes defensed, one breakup and one interception that he returned for a touchdown. His breakout performance against Oklahoma State vaulted him into the national spotlight, per Pro Football Focus:

A huge game against Oklahoma State vaults Hill onto the list, as he picked off a pass and defended one more. He played a season-high 60 snaps on his way to a +3.7 grade that has seen him play well both against the run (+2.0) and in coverage (+2.5).

Hill made the splashy play, but Kris Boyd and Davante Davis have been just as impressive. These two helped Hill essentially take control of Texas' defensive backfield last week, working to hold the Cowboys to 16 points over the final three frames.

It's easy to see the similarities between Hill and Davis. With each coming in at over 6'2", they can body up and run with bigger receivers on the outside, which is exactly what Strong said he wants on signing day:

You like those big corners because they can body up the wide receiver, so when jump balls come, you hope they can go up and defend. [Hill] can cover and he's long. You are looking for those long guys instead of those shorter ones. I like big defensive backs because I know he can be physical enough where he can make tackles.

Boyd's a little different. At 6'0", he's not as big as his classmates, but he makes up for it with good instincts and a physical style of play. Already he's proven himself to be a special teams ace, and his aggressiveness in the backfield forced the fumble that Malik Jefferson returned for a touchdown.

These three will have their moments against Big 12 passing attacks, but they're collectively way ahead of schedule. This time next season they'll be downright suffocating the opposition.


6. TE Caleb Bluiett

Though he's been quiet in the box score, Caleb Bluiett has established himself as a name to watch over the final eight games of the season.

Since switching from defensive end in the fall, Bluiett has been making his presence felt at tight end. 247Sports' Jeff Howe already considers him one of the best perimeter blockers on the team, and he showed off his hands on a tough 29-yard catch against Oklahoma State.

That one catch gave Bluiett more yardage than "starter" Andrew Beck has for his entire career. Wide receivers coach Jay Norvell will certainly take some note of that and begin to treat Bluiett as the every-down tight end he should be. 


7. LB Malik Jefferson

Nobody should be surprised that Malik Jefferson, who runs a 4.38 40-yard dash at 230 pounds, is really good. But the way he's taken to the middle linebacker position has been something to behold.

Through four games, Jefferson's been Texas' most consistent defender. The true freshman is second on the team with 29 tackles, is tied for the team lead with 3.5 tackles for loss and easily leads the Horns with five quarterback hurries.

This comes from a player who's playing the middle linebacker position for the first time. And it's been a treat to see how naturally Jefferson's taken to the job. Just watch him (courtesy of SB Nation's Ian Boyd) drop into coverage, read the quarterback's eyes and break up an otherwise easy completion.

At the rate he's going, Jefferson has a chance to exceed the hype.


Unless otherwise noted, all stats and information courtesy of

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Tennessee Football: 7 Players Who Have Surprised Us in 2015

Surprises come in good and bad packages, and though it goes without saying that Tennessee's football season has been a disappointment in the early stages, there have been unexpected performances from several players.

From the baffling lack of production in the passing game to some positive flashes in special teams and on the back end of the defense, some Volunteers are separating themselves from others on the depth chart. Then, there are some who are relied upon to produce who haven't lived up to standards.

Unfortunately for the Vols, there are more of the latter thus far. But the biggest frustration so far for UT fans lies in the coaching staff.

Head coach Butch Jones has made his fair share of puzzling calls, including time mismanagement, a misuse of the chart that tells when a team should go for two, timeout blunders and conservative play-calling.

Offensive coordinator Mike DeBord and defensive coordinator John Jancek shouldn't go without scrutiny at this early juncture, either.

Even so, execution is at the very least as important as coaching, and the Vols have struggled everywhere but at running back, where Jalen Hurd is proving to be a budding star.

This is a team with the talent to be 4-0 but sits at 2-2 thanks to blowing a 17-point lead against Oklahoma and a 13-point lead over Florida.

The Vols have to fix an awful lot to turn around the psyche and turn around the season, but there's a lot of football left to play. Let's look at some individual (good, bad and ugly) surprises so far in 2015.

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Heisman Trophy 2015 Stock Watch: Who Is Rising and Falling Post-Week 4

It's true—no one wins the Heisman just because of what he did in September.

But several of college football's top players have already gotten off to a great start this month on the road to winning the sport's most famous award.

Through the first four weeks of the regular season, the game has had a running back revolution, which has many thinking this could be the first year a non-quarterback will take home the Heisman since former Alabama running back Mark Ingram did it in 2009.

But several signal-callers, including two stars in Texas, made a strong push in the early Heisman race last weekend with some outstanding performances in close conference victories. A few others saw their early buzz take a hit in Week 4, including the nation's breakout star of the season's first two Saturdays.

Let's take a look at five players whose Heisman stock rose the highest and five whose stock dropped the most after Week 4's action. These rises and falls are mostly based on the Heisman odds from Odds Shark, which are updated and archived every week to show the biggest changes.

You'll notice top contenders such as Georgia running back Nick Chubb, Baylor quarterback Seth Russell and Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliott aren't on this week's stock watch. That's because their odds didn't fluctuate too much from last week to this week.

Discuss the early-season Heisman race and tell us your favorite to win the award in the comments below.

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College Football 2015 Week 5: Locks of the Week

Week 5 of the college football season is officially upon us.

Which underdogs will cover the spread? Which favorites will prove Las Vegas wrong and blow out their opponents?

Watch as Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Adam Kramer breaks down his Locks of the Week for teams going against the spread in the video above.

Point spreads via Odds Shark.

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Rapid-Fire Predictions for College Football's Biggest Games in Week 5

Week 5 of the college football season is right around the corner, and we at Bleacher Report have made big predictions for this weekend's games.

Who will shine in the biggest game this week? Who will emerge as a Heisman Trophy favorite?

Watch as Bleacher Report college football analysts Adam Kramer, Barrett Sallee and Michael Felder discuss their various predictions for Week 5 in the video above.

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Nick Chubb vs. Derrick Henry: The SEC's 1st Big Running Back Showdown

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It has that feel of a showdown, worthy of an old-style poster promotion.

When Alabama visits Georgia on Saturday afternoon, the year of the running back in the Southeastern Conference will see its first marquee matchup. Although it’ll really be the offenses squaring off against two physically imposing defenses, Derrick Henry vs. Nick Chubb is what all the talk will be about.

This is like college football’s version of the golden era of heavyweight boxing, when names likes Ali, Frazier, Norton, Spinks, Holmes and Foreman were not just dominating, but competing for headlines in the 1970s. The showmanship won’t reoccur with this group, but their running styles are sort of like those contrasting personalities.

“I don’t try to compare myself to another running back,” Henry said when asked about Chubb. “He’s a great running back, does a great job for the team and has had a heck of a season.”

Chubb has topped the 100-yard mark in 12 straight games, one shy of Herschel Walker’s school record of 13 (including the 1981 Sugar Bowl). Perhaps the only thing that’s surprising during that streak is that Georgia lost two of those games (to Florida and Georgia Tech) last season.

He also has a lot of help in his corner. Sophomore Sony Michel, who has scored a touchdown in each game this season and made eight receptions, and junior Keith Marshall provide depth. The veteran line is more than stout, with seniors John Theus and Kolton Houston at the tackle spots, and the group arguably gets better the closer you get to center.

“They have a very good offensive line, they have three backs, those two guys have been the most productive, as good as backs as any duo in the country, there’s no question in my mind about that,” Nick Saban said.

While LSU’s Leonard Fournette has established himself as an early favorite for the Heisman Trophy and averaged 201.3 yards in three games, Chubb is close to his 8.6 yards-per-carry average at 8.4. He’s tallying 149.8 rushing yards per game and has six rushing touchdowns.

Only Henry has matched Fournette’s eight rushing touchdowns. Due to Alabama falling behind to Ole Miss and being limited against Louisiana-Monroe following tonsillitis, he’s had the fewest carries among the SEC rushing leaders with 67, which sort of goes against his M.O.

“He usually plays better as the game goes on in terms of workhorse-type guy,” Saban said.

Over his last six games, including the end of the 2014 campaign, Henry’s amassed 658 rushing yards and 105 receiving with 11 touchdowns, but he hasn’t really had that grind-it-out game so far this season. The closest he’s come was against the opponent that was most similar to Georgia, Wisconsin in the season opener, when he had 147 rushing yards and three touchdowns on just 13 carries.

The buildup for that game centered on the running backs as well. Corey Clement had a career 7.0 average per carry, and Wisconsin’s top running back had topped 1,600 rushing yards in each of the past four seasons.

Limited by a groin injury, he managed just 16 rushing yards on eight carries.

“When the lights come on, he’s going to go out there and be productive for us,” junior tight end O.J. Howard said about Henry’s growing reputation for playing well in big games. “He’s one of those guys. You can’t really say enough about him when the lights come on.”

Overall, Alabama outgained the Badgers on the ground 238-40.

Perhaps still a little sore from giving up 230 rushing yards to Ohio State’s Ezekiel Elliott in the Sugar Bowl, Alabama’s run defense has been outstanding so far. It leads the SEC and is fourth in the nation, having yielded just 56.8 yards per game.

“The whole goal in running the football, up front anyway, is to get movement,” Georgia head coach Mark Richt said about Alabama’s run defense. “Get those guys moved back, sideways, or something to get them off their spot, get them out of their gap. These guys are very big and strong, physical and good fundamentally. It’s hard to move them. It’s hard to get them where you create a little space for the backs. That’s what everyone’s having trouble with.

“It’s super impressive”

Since Saban arrived in 2007, only 10 running backs have had 100-yard games against the Crimson Tide, although one of them was Georgia’s Todd Gurley in the 2012 SEC Championship Game.

This front seven has the potential to be better than that group, though.

“I think we've got two great linebackers in Reggie (Ragland) and Reuben (Foster),” said cornerback Cyrus Jones when asked Chubb vs. Henry hype. “Our front seven, it goes without saying how good they are. I think we just have to be ready to go out there and play.

“We can't make this more than what it is. It's a football game, and we have to be ready to execute.”

Regardless, while it may be an oversimplification to say that the running back who posts the best numbers will likely be on the winning side, that doesn’t mean that isn’t true as well.

The bell rings at 3:30 p.m. ET (CBS).


Quotes were obtained firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Christopher Walsh is a lead SEC college football writer. Follow Christopher on Twitter @WritingWalsh.

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Isaiah McKenzie Will Not Face Charges for Alleged Terroristic Threat

Georgia wide receiver and return man Isaiah McKenzie will not face any charges after allegedly making a "terroristic" threat in a Chili's on Monday night.

“The victim declined to prosecute so the case is closed as far as we are concerned,” Hilda Sorrow, the Athens-Clarke County police spokesman, told Seth Emerson of Dawg Nation on Wednesday. 

On Monday evening, a female Georgia student accused McKenzie of making “terroristic threats or acts," according to Taylor Denman of Georgia's student newspaper, the Red & Black. The police report noted that the alleged victim claimed that McKenzie "said he was going to call some friends and they were going to come out and he was going to kill her.”

Police on the scene did not charge the player at the time, and the investigation was officially closed Wednesday. It remains unclear if he will face any disciplinary action from the team.

McKenzie, a sophomore, has five catches for 89 yards and two rushes for 32 yards this season. He's made a name for himself on special teams, however, as he has three punt returns for touchdowns and one kick return for a touchdown in his career. 

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Most Important College Football Recruiting Visits of Week 5

The 2015 college football season reaches October with contenders attempting to separate themselves. Things are also growing contentious on the recruiting trail, as national signing day is getting closer for 2016 prospects.

This latest Saturday of game action is expected to attract several top-tier athletes to universities across America. Here's a glimpse at players who are on the move, ready to spend time exploring campus environments.

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Byron Marshall Injury: Updates on Oregon WR's Leg and Recovery

The problems for Oregon's football team continue to get worse, as star wide receiver Byron Marshall could miss the rest of his senior season with a leg injury.   

Continue for updates. 

Marshall Reportedly Undergoes Surgery Wednesday, Sept. 30

According to Aaron Fentress of Comcast Sportsnet Northwest, Marshall had surgery Tuesday, and one source said the wideout is "done" for 2015 after being carted off of the field during Saturday's loss to Utah.

Fentress did note the specifics of Marshall's injury have not been revealed yet, making it impossible to definitively report whether or not he will return to the field before Oregon's season ends. The report mentions Oregon could provide details "as soon as today."

Given the quarterback problems Oregon has had to start this season, Marshall's production at wide receiver doesn't look great. He has just nine catches for 121 yards and two touchdowns in four games, coming off of his first 1,000-yard season with Marcus Mariota at quarterback last year. 

However, Marshall's value on special teams cannot be understated. He's become the primary kickoff returner for the Ducks, racking up 385 yards on 14 returns (27.5 yards) thus far. 

Because quarterbacks Vernon Adams Jr. and Jeff Lockie haven't clicked running the offense yet, Oregon finds itself at a crossroads entering Saturday's game against Colorado. Losing Marshall's playmaking skills, whether it's for most of 2015 or the rest of 2015, leaves another void for head coach Mark Helfrich to fill. 

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College Football Picks for Week 5: B/R Experts' Predictions for the Top 5 Games

The Pac-12 was in the spotlight in Week 4 and delivered narratives that shook up the landscape of the conference and college football as a whole. Utah's statement win in Oregon vaulted the Utes squarely into the playoff conversation, while UCLA's dismantling of Arizona was one of the most complete performances of the entire season. 

But this week, the action returns down South, as the slate of the week's best features three high-profile SEC matchups.

The biggest of them sees Georgia host Alabama in Athens. It's a chance for the Bulldogs to prove that they belong in the upper echelon of the SEC. If they can get past the Tide, they will have a very real shot to run the table the rest of the regular season. Alabama will look to hold onto its playoff hopes as well in its first true test since being upset by Ole Miss in Week 3. 

Speaking of the Rebels, they visit the Swamp to play a pesky Florida squad that still sits unbeaten after a dramatic comeback win over Tennessee on Saturday. Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly will get to test out his high-powered offense against arguably the best defensive back in college football, Florida's Vernon Hargreaves III. The Rebels better bring it too, or they'll find what so many other teams have found this season—your seat on top of the world often only lasts until your very next game. 

Elsewhere in the SEC, Texas A&M will look to stay unbeaten as it hosts Mississippi State. This is a revenge game of sorts for the Aggies. Last season, they stood at 5-0 and a lofty Top 10 ranking before heading to Starkville and getting thumped 48-31. It was the start of a slide that saw them lose five of their next seven games. Mississippi State is hoping to keep itself in the conversation in the brutal SEC West and needs a great performance from QB Dak Prescott to have a shot at pulling the upset. 

Perhaps the most intriguing game of the week sees Notre Dame travel to Clemson to face the Tigers, where one of these as-yet-unbeaten teams will see their playoff hopes take a hit. Can Notre Dame's running game continue to carry it forward against a stout Clemson defense? Or will Tigers quarterback Deshaun Watson grab the national spotlight and lead Clemson to a win in what is the biggest game of his young career?

The final game on the slate should keep the scoreboard operator busy, as Texas Tech visits Baylor in a Big 12 showdown. The Red Raiders, who lost a heartbreaker to TCU in the waning seconds last week, rank third in the nation in total offense. They'll face a Bears team that ranks fifth in the category and leads all of FBS with an astounding 64 points per game this season. 

Who will emerge as the week's best performer, and whose picks do you disagree with? Be sure to sound off in the comments section below about who you think will win in Week 5. 

*All picks made straight up. Spread is not a factor.

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Herschel Walker Comments on Leonard Fournette's Heisman Chances, NFL Future

Many have compared LSU running back Leonard Fournette to legendary collegiate star Herschel Walker, but the former University of Georgia standout believes the Heisman Trophy hopeful is even better than he was.

According to TMZ, the 1982 Heisman winner tabbed Fournette as the Heisman Trophy favorite and paid him the ultimate compliment, as an argument can certainly be made for Walker being the greatest college running back of all time.

Walker—who went on to play for the Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants in the NFL—is particularly impressed by Fournette's hard-charging running style, per TMZ.

"He's like a fullback because he can take punishment and keep on going," he said.

The 230-pound sophomore has rushed for 631 yards and eight touchdowns through just three games, and he has almost single-handedly led the Tigers to a 3-0 start.

In addition to his Heisman candidacy, Fournette has been a hot topic due to the fact that he is NFL ready but cannot declare for the draft after the 2015 season since he is only a sophomore.

ESPN's Mike Greenberg is among those who believe Fournette shouldn't be held back based on the rigid rules laid forth by the NFL and NCAA:

Walker, on the other hand, feels as though Fournette and others should focus on the great things he is doing at the collegiate level, per TMZ.

 "It's a bad idea to talk about leaving early, just wait and your time will come," he said.

Every indication is that Fournette will be a stud when he does ultimately make his way to the NFL, but until then, he has a chance to break a string of quarterback dominance with regard to the Heisman Trophy.

Of the past 15 Heisman winners, 13 of them have been signal-callers, but Fournette is undoubtedly standing out above the passers thus far in 2015.

Hype is a big part of the drive toward the Heisman Trophy, and with Walker firmly behind him, Fournette is well on his way to capturing the honor.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter.

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10 Craziest Stats from First Month of 2015 College Football Season

The month of October is almost here. By Week 5, September will officially be in the past. But that doesn't mean it'll be forgotten. On the contrary, September brought the 2015 college football season some memorable moments. 

And, thanks to several cupcake games, September skewed some national stats in a major way. For other teams and/or players, September exposed some blemishes perhaps not previously seen. 

In the following slides, we examine and rank the good, the bad and the generally ridiculous numbers that made the month of September so special. Stats listed can be either individual game performances or month-long trends for both players and teams. In some instances, stats are compared to previous years for context. 

Got any other crazy stats that we missed? Feel free to share them in the comments section below. 

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Kendall Fuller Injury: Updates on Virginia Tech Star's Knee and Return

After attempting to battle through a knee injury for the first three games of the 2015 season, Virginia Tech junior cornerback Kendall Fuller's year has come to an end.

Continue for updates. 

Fuller Out for Season After Undergoing Knee SurgeryWednesday, Sept. 30

According to Virginia Tech football's official Twitter account, both head coach Frank Beamer and Associate Athletics Director for Sports Medicine Mike Goforth confirmed that Fuller will miss the remainder of the season after undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus suffered in August:'s Chase Goodbread offered his take on Fuller's prospects as a player moving forward and what his loss means to the Hokies:

The brother of former Virginia Tech players Vincent, Corey and Kyle Fuller, Kendall has emerged as one of the nation's most polished defensive backs despite battling a fractured wrist throughout his sophomore season. 

In 13 appearances as a sophomore, Fuller tallied 54 total tackles—including 32 solo—and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. As a junior, he's racked up seven tackles and one sack, but he has been limited.

Fuller didn't play in Virginia Tech's loss to East Carolina on Saturday due to a knee sprain, although Hokies defensive coordinator Bud Foster revealed he initially intended to fight through ailment, per Mike Barber of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

"I didn't know until the beginning of the game. We were planning on playing him," Foster said. "They injected him this week. He was feeling pretty good in the morning but when we went out on the field, it just didn't feel very good."

Unfortunately for Fuller and Virginia Tech, the injury got to the point where he simply couldn't deal with it any longer.

With Fuller now officially out of the picture, the Hokies must rely even more heavily on fellow starting cornerback Brandon Facyson, as well as nickel corner Greg Stroman.

Virginia Tech has some depth at the cornerback position, but since most of it is fairly inexperienced, the 2-2 Hokies are likely to feel the sting of Fuller's absence.

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Shadrach Thornton Arrested: Latest Details, Mugshot, More on NC State RB

NC State running back Shadrach Thornton was arrested late Tuesday after reportedly striking a pedestrian while riding a scooter near the school.  

Jodi Leese Glusco of WRAL reports police tracked down Thornton at his apartment after he left the scene of the accident. He was charged with failure to stop and render aid and failure to provide information. He posted $500 bond and returned home.

ABC11 Eyewitness News provided the player's mugshot:

The victim, Jimmie Woodard, suffered only minor injuries, including lacerations to his lip that required stitches, his mother told Joe Giglio of the News and Observer.

"I'm just grateful it wasn't worse than it could have been," Sharon Woodard said.

The News and Observer report notes Thornton also faces charges of operating a motor vehicle on a sidewalk and for operating an unregistered motor vehicle.

Jerry Hinnen of passed along information about Thornton's previous issues. He was suspended for the first two games of this season for a violation of team rules. He also missed games during the 2013 season for charges of misdemeanor assault against a female and misdemeanor marijuana and paraphernalia possession.

The senior out of Georgia has thrived when on the field. He's racked up 203 yards and three touchdowns on just 30 carries this season since returning from the suspension.

NC State didn't immediate release a statement on the situation, so it's unclear whether or not the running back could face further punishment for the latest incident.



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Is Missouri Doomed vs. South Carolina Without QB Maty Mauk?

Losing an experienced starter ahead of a conference game is usually bad news.

But the feeling around Missouri seems different this week as junior quarterback Maty Mauk will miss the Tigers' home matchup this Saturday against South Carolina.

According to Dave Matter of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Missouri announced on Tuesday that it has suspended Mauk and backup left tackle Malik Cuellar for the South Carolina game "for disciplinary reasons related to a violation of team policies."

The Missouri quarterback's suspension comes during a time of great frustration for the entire Tigers offense.

Through the first four games of the season, Missouri is ranked near the bottom nationally in several major categories and is coming off a 21-13 loss to division foe Kentucky.

Mauk has been at the center of that offensive inefficiency for Missouri, which had to replace its top four wide receivers heading into 2015. The junior has only completed 51.8 percent of his passes for 654 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions.

According to Matter, Mauk's completion percentage and efficiency rating (112.5) are the lowest for a Missouri quarterback in a four-game stretch since the 2001 season.

By comparison, those two figures for Mauk are both worse than those of Auburn's Jeremy Johnson, who was benched after three games in favor of redshirt freshman Sean White.

While Missouri's situation is different because of Mauk's suspension, these Tigers will also have to go with a freshman at quarterback for their SEC home opener.

True freshman Drew Lock has played in all four games this season for Missouri, getting at least one second-quarter series in each. Lock also played in the fourth quarter against Southeast Missouri State and Connecticut.

According to Tod Palmer of the Kansas City Star, Missouri head coach Gary Pinkel opted not to use Lock in the second half of road games against Arkansas State and Kentucky. Against Kentucky, Lock's only drive pushed the Tigers into field-goal range before a 15-yard sack on third down.

So far this season, Lock has completed 15 of 25 passes for 225 yards, one touchdown and one interception, giving him a pass efficiency rating of 140.8.

While Lock will presumably be forced into his first career start this weekend against South Carolina, the new blood should be a good thing for the Tigers offense.

Bill Connelly of Rock M Nation writes that Lock represents something different for Missouri—potential.

"When you are devoid of proven playmakers, you look first for consistency, then for potential," Connelly wrote. "Even in his best days, Maty Mauk isn't particularly consistent ... At this point, there's no question that the player with the most potential on this offense is Drew Lock. Or, more specifically, Lock's right arm."

Before the news of Mauk's suspension broke on Tuesday, former defensive star Michael Sam voiced his opinion on Missouri's quarterback situation on Monday, favoring Lock because of what he's showcased through the first few games of the season.

"I think you start Drew Lock in (this week’s South Carolina game)," Sam said, per Brendan Marks of "See how he does, then he might be the guy. ... I played against Maty. He’s a great talented quarterback. But I don’t know where his mind is right now."

Lock will be in a tough situation on Saturday, as Missouri is looking to stay alive in the SEC East race and avoid the 0-2 start in the conference. 

But Missouri is far from doomed without Mauk because South Carolina's defense will give Lock plenty of opportunities to show what he's capable of doing with a full workload.

After all, these are the same Gamecocks who allowed Georgia's Greyson Lambert to bounce back from a rough start against Vanderbilt and break an all-time completion percentage record in a 330-yard, three-touchdown performance.

Kentucky's Patrick Towles completed 72.4 percent of his passes against South Carolina, while North Carolina's Marquise Williams broke the 60 percent mark despite three bad interceptions in the Gamecocks' season opener.

If there's any ideal SEC East opponent against which to break in a first-time starting quarterback, it's probably South Carolina.

While Missouri hopes to improve through the air with this change, a major question mark will be how the Tigers replace the rushing talents of their former starting signal-caller.

Through his passing struggles, Mauk is Missouri's second-leading rusher with 145 yards on 36 carries, and he's the only Tiger to find the end zone on the ground this season.

A former 4-star, pro-style quarterback, Lock hasn't had the chance to run the ball yet this season for Missouri. However, he's not completely stationary in the pocket.

According to 247Sports, Lock rushed for 282 yards and six touchdowns in his senior season of high school. Those numbers aren't outstanding, but they should give the Tigers some confidence as they try to figure things out with a rushing attack that is among the worst in the FBS this season.

If Lock can continue to be a more precise arm for Missouri and help open things up in the running game, he might be exactly what the Tigers need to snap out of this cold start to 2015.

As the numbers show, things can only go up from here for this Missouri offense.


Recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports. Unless otherwise noted, statistics courtesy of 

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

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College Football Winners and Losers from September

As September fades into October, we’ve officially finished the first month of the college football season. All of the speculation and hype surrounding the 2015 season has turned into a month’s worth of evaluation, with all teams playing at least three games (and most four), giving their fans multiple chances to evaluate them.

There have been surprises and disappointments, just as there are every season. Those glossy preseason magazines that flew off the stands at $7.99 a pop in June and July look more dated by the day as teams evolve and improve.

Let’s take a look at the biggest winners and losers from the first month. These are teams that either exceeded or failed to meet expectations during September.

While there’s plenty of time left to turn around a struggling season or lose the positive vibes carried into October, these winners and losers begin the second month of the season on opposite ends of the spectrum.

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Why Michigan Might Be Too Good, Too Soon for the Big Ten

Following his team's 31-0 victory against No. 22 BYU—his first signature win as Michigan's head coach—Jim Harbaugh knew the headlines that were coming.

So as one would expect a quarterback-turned-head-coach like Harbaugh to do, he took the offensive in an attempt to warn his Wolverines of the pitfalls that can come with reading one's own press clippings.

"It’s a little early to start patting ourselves on the back too much," Harbaugh said after the game.

That very well may be the case, but Harbaugh can rest assured that whether he wants it or not, the positive press is coming. While Michigan may not be reading it, the rest of the Big Ten is, as the Wolverines look like one of the league's more pleasant surprises through the first month of the 2015 season.

After all, it's never a bad thing for a conference to add another ranked team to its resume, with Michigan ranking 22nd in the latest Associated Press Top 25 poll following its shutout of the Cougars.

Considering that Michigan hasn't been relevant when it's come to poll discussions for the better part of the past eight seasons, it's a safe bet that the Big Ten is more than happy to have one of its blue-blood programs seemingly back on track.

But when it comes to the other teams in the conference and not the league itself, the Wolverines' resurgence might be coming a bit too soon—especially at the top of the Big Ten, which happens to be the home of the country's top two teams in both major polls in No. 1 Ohio State and No. 2. Michigan State.

The Buckeyes and Spartans also happen to reside in the Big Ten East and have dates with Harbaugh and Michigan already circled on their respective schedules.

And while both teams have long considered the Wolverines to be their chief rivals, Ohio State and Michigan State's annual meetings with Michigan now each appear to possess a higher degree of difficulty than they have for the better part of the past decade.

That could prove especially troubling for the Spartans, who have won six of their past seven matchups with the Wolverines and will head to Ann Arbor on Oct. 17 for their next one.

Despite its status as the nation's second-ranked team, Michigan State already finds itself being counted out by some in its upcoming battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy. According to ESPN's Joe Schad, the ESPN Football Power Index now favors the Wolverines to win their next seven games—including their showdown with the Spartans.

A loss to Michigan would undoubtedly put a dent in Michigan State's goal of crashing the College Football Playoff, especially with a matchup with the defending national champion Buckeyes looming about a month later.

"We can’t think that just because we beat a ranked team that we’re one of the best teams in the Big Ten yet. We still have to work at it," Wolverines defensive lineman Ryan Glasgow said, per's Brian Bennett. "But you can’t think you've made it, because we haven’t."

Maybe not. But with the way it's playing at the moment, Michigan could very well be on its way to playing the role of spoiler to the Spartans' season.

The same could also eventually be said in Columbus, where despite all of the talk of Ohio State's seemingly subpar schedule, the Buckeyes suddenly find themselves facing a hellacious three-week stretch to close the 2015 season.

After going through what could be 10 consecutive games without a game against a ranked opponent, Ohio State may need to beat three in as many weeks to make the College Football Playoff for the second straight year.

On Nov. 21, the Buckeyes will host the currently second-ranked Spartans, before heading to Ann Arbor to take on the now-No. 22 Wolverines.

Assuming it survives its Great Lakes State two-step, Ohio State would then play in the Big Ten Championship Game against the league's representative from the West Division, which currently contains two ranked teams in No. 16 Northwestern and No. 19 Wisconsin.

Even though the Buckeyes would likely possess a significant talent advantage against either team, three consecutive games against ranked opponents could ultimately take their toll on Ohio State.

And as the Buckeyes have looked sluggish through the first month of the season while the Spartans and Wolverines have shined—Michigan's lone loss came by seven points to a now-10th-ranked Utah team that just throttled Oregon—making it back to Indianapolis for the third straight season suddenly looks easier said than done.

Ohio State is still favored to repeat as national champions, with Bodog (h/t Odds Shark) currently giving the Buckeyes 7-4 odds to capture college football's crown, but there's still a lot of football left to be played between now and December.

That line of thinking, however, could work both ways, as there's no telling what Michigan will look like in two weeks against Michigan State, let alone two months from now against Ohio State.

The play of Wolverines quarterback Jake Rudock has been inconsistent through the first four weeks of the season, and Harbaugh isn't yet ready to crown a defense that currently ranks second overall nationally.

"We’re not getting out in front of our headlights and all patting ourselves on the back yet," Harbaugh said of his defense. "It’s been good."

Perhaps a little too good for the rest of the Big Ten's liking.

In previous years, both the Buckeyes and Spartans would have welcomed the opportunity to take on another quality opponent in order to boost their respective resumes when it comes to postseason considerations.

But this year, Ohio State and Michigan State have each other, in a game in the second-last week of the regular season that at one time appeared to be the culmination of a collision course between the country's top-ranked teams.

With the Wolverines' sudden emergence, that may no longer be the case. Besides each other, there's now another legitimate threat to knock off one or both of the Big Ten's top-ranked teams this season.

Although if that proves to be the case, the conference may not find itself with one fewer playoff contender—perhaps just one that it didn't expect to be a part of the conversation in Michigan.


Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Big Ten lead writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes were obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of Recruiting rankings courtesy of 247Sports.

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Winners, Losers from College Football Recruiting Trail for Month of September

With the college football season in full swing, teams across the country are also jockeying for position with the nation’s top recruits in hopes of landing an elite class in February. 

While things slowed down a bit in September recruiting-wise, there were still some developments that made headlines—good and bad.

Some teams landed commitments while others were dealing with decommitments.

Meanwhile, a handful of schools benefited from large visit weekends while other programs lost momentum they had built up in the offseason.

Which schools represented the biggest winners and losers on the recruiting trail over the first full month of the season?

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Ranking the Best SEC Matchups of Week 5

The SEC stars continued to shine in Week 4 as LSU and Ole Miss survived sluggish patches to dispose of Syracuse and Vanderbilt, respectively, and hold onto their spots atop the league.

Texas A&M passed a major test against a reeling Arkansas in overtime, and Florida used some fourth-quarter heroics to remain undefeated against a Tennessee team that had stormed to a 13-point lead.

Those were just warm-ups for this week, though.

This is when the big-time battles begin, starting with what may be the league's regular-season game of the year between Alabama and Georgia. A week after the Swamp played nasty host to the Volunteers, Ole Miss must travel to the lowland.

Then, there's Mississippi State and Texas A&M dueling in yet another battle between two ranked conference teams. Finally, Tennessee and Arkansas will try to stop early-season slides in Neyland Stadium.

Marquee matchups dot the slate this weekend, more than making up for a blah bottom end of the schedule.

Let's take a look at the conference's games, ranking them from the ones you should pass on to the ones you can't miss.

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