NCAA Football News

Miami AD Says ACC Acknowledged 'Multiple Incorrect Calls' in Win vs. Duke

College football fans will likely always remember the eight-lateral kickoff return by the Miami Hurricanes to win Saturday’s game against the Duke Blue Devils, 30-27.

While the return was incredible, even if it should not have counted, the fact that the ACC suspended the officiating crew for two games because of four errors it found during the play will also be a part of history. Miami should never have scored that touchdown, and Duke had a rightful grievance.

However, according to the Associated Press (via ESPN.com), the Blue Devils weren’t the only team that had a right to complain about the officiating.

Miami told season-ticket holders and donors Thursday in a letter from athletic director Blake James that the ACC acknowledged “multiple incorrect calls” against the Hurricanes during the back-and-forth affair. Among the mistakes was “an erroneous pass-interference call on the drive on which the Blue Devils scored a go-ahead touchdown,” per the Associated Press.

The AP noted Miami had a number of issues with the officiating, including the notion that Duke’s touchdown with six seconds remaining should have been reviewed to determine if the ball-carrier reached the end zone. What’s more, the Hurricanes were called for three pass-interference penalties on Duke's final drive, including one that wiped out an interception.

James summed up his overall mindset about the game in the letter: “The eight-lateral, touchdown play which won the game will forever be cemented in college football lore and in our storied history. The fact that the ACC publicly acknowledged officiating errors on the play does not, in any way, take away our victory or our incredible spirit.” 

He is right about one thing: The play will go down in college football lore. However, the missed calls will always be a part of what people remember about it, even if Duke benefited from other whistles earlier in the game. Here it is, one more time, per SportsCenter:

Teams regularly send plays to conference offices for review after games. However, this instance is more public because of how the contest ended and the number of mistakes the officials made throughout the game.

If nothing else, the Hurricanes can point to these apparent missed calls as a counter to those who say they should not have won because of the kick return.

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Mississippi State vs. Missouri: Game Grades, Analysis for Bulldogs and Tigers

The No. 20 Mississippi State Bulldogs (7-2, 3-2 SEC) defeated the Missouri Tigers (4-5, 1-5 SEC), 31-13, on a sloppy, rainy Thursday night in Columbia, Missouri.

MSU quarterback Dak Prescott was fantastic, completing 27 of 40 passes for 303 yards and four touchdowns. On his final touchdown pass, Prescott became the sixth player in SEC history with 100 touchdowns. 

The Bulldogs remain firmly in the race for the SEC West title. 

 

Pass Offense: Prescott was unstoppable. Even in bad conditions, he hit De'Runnya Wilson for a big touchdown. He was efficient all night, and his receivers didn't let him down. Fred Ross caught 11 balls for 115 yards and a score, while Wilson caught two touchdowns.

Run Offense: The Bulldogs had no running game to speak of. Prescott had one impressive run to get a first down, but other than that, the Bulldogs used the short passing game against a stout Missouri defense. Prescott led MSU with 47 yards on the ground. 

Pass Defense: Mississippi State put pressure on Missouri quarterback Drew Lock all night. One pressure created an interception. The Bulldogs were terrific at limiting Missouri's yards after the catch. 

Run Defense: Outside of one drive, MSU did a solid job against the run. That particular drive was the only one of note all game long for the Tigers. However, late in the fourth quarter with the game out of hand, the Bulldogs allowed a 72-yard run, missing several tackles. 

Special Teams: The Bulldogs allowed a blocked punt when the game was close. Fortunately for Mississippi State, it only resulted in three points for Missouri. Kicker Westin Graves hit a field goal into the driving rain late in the second quarter. 

Coaching: Head coach Dan Mullen did a good job of sticking with his game plan against a good defense, even when the rain was making it difficult to pass the football. Defensive coordinator Manny Diaz adjusted nicely after the Bulldogs gave up an easy touchdown drive. 

 

Pass Offense: Lock was 11-of-26 for just 107 yards and two interceptions. He was hurried all night, but when he had time to make throws, he made bad decisions. His play is a major reason for Mizzou's struggles on offense. 

Run Offense: Overall, the Tigers ran for 215 yards. However, about 80 of those yards came on the final drive when the game was decided. The Tigers ran extremely well on their lone touchdown drive. The running game, except for one run, was not consistent after that. 

Pass Defense: The Tigers got pressure on Prescott, sacking him multiple times. Unfortunately, though, Missouri's secondary wasn't up to task. Prescott had his way with Mizzou's defensive backs. 

Run Defense: The Bulldogs didn't have much of a running game. They didn't need one. However, Missouri did a good job of limiting MSU's running backs to just 80 yards on 22 carries. The Tigers are getting terrific play, as usual, from their defensive front four. 

Special Teams: The Tigers blocked a punt, which set up a score. It was Kentrell Brothers' third block of the season. Kicker Andrew Baggett hit two field goals in difficult conditions. 

Coaching: Gary Pinkel needs to do a better job of getting his running game going early in games. If Missouri had tried to run the ball more on its first two possessions, perhaps the Tigers could've come away with more points. 

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Mississippi State vs. Missouri: Score, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

The No. 20 Mississippi State Bulldogs added to the Missouri Tigers' season of misery Thursday with a 31-13 victory at Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri. The win moved Mississippi State to 3-2 in the SEC and 7-2 overall.

Winning the SEC West Division is unlikely, as the LSU Tigers are sitting on top at 4-0 with a victory over the Bulldogs in their back pocket, but finishing in second place is not out of the question for Mississippi State. 

All it can do is focus on the task at hand, and for Dak Prescott, that meant dominating one of the best defenses in the conference Thursday night. The quarterback led the way for the Bulldogs, tying a career high with four passing touchdowns and reaching a milestone in the process, per ESPN College Football:

However, that was not the only milestone he surpassed on the night, according to the SEC Network's Twitter account:

Prescott's play and the final score made it look like an easy win for the Bulldogs, but that wasn't the story in the first half, when they led 14-13. Some nasty weather helped keep the game close, and the Missour fans who toughed out the downpour were treated to an entertaining first half, per ESPN College Football:

Before the weather took a turn, Prescott exposed the normally stellar Missouri defense on a play-action pass and found Fred Ross for a 36-yard score on the first drive of the game. Here's the receiver's wide-open catch, per ESPN:

Leading 7-6 in the second quarter, Prescott connected with De'Runnya Wilson for his second touchdown pass in what looked like a monsoon, and it appeared as though the rout was on. Here is the incredible catch by Wilson, per ESPN College Football:

The big story coming into the game was the fact that Missouri had not scored a touchdown since a 24-10 victory Oct. 3 against the South Carolina Gamecocks. ESPN College Football put the touchdown drought into perspective:

The silver lining for the Tigers is the fact that they did finally score a touchdown with one minute, 50 seconds left in the second quarter on a 14-yard run by Russell Hansbrough. The SEC Network captured the special moment:

Gabe DeArmond of PowerMizzou.com overlooked the ineptitude and pointed out that, at the time, Missouri had a shot at winning the game:

Then the third quarter came, and Prescott put the game out of reach. He found Wilson from five yards out at the 12:20 mark. Then he found a wide-open Fred Brown nine minutes later for the 100th touchdown of his career, helping the team take a 31-13 lead.

The lead held, and the 31 points were the most scored against the Tigers this season. It wasn't just a season high in points allowed for Missouri, either, per Brandon Kiley of KTGR's The Sports Wire:

Prescott would finished with 303 yards, but more worrisome for Missouri was the fact it was a fourth-straight loss. Despite a 3-0 start to the season, the Tigers are now 4-5 and in jeopardy of missing out on a bowl for just the second time since 2004.

Mississippi State has won four in a row and could grab a statement win next week on the road against the No. 4 Alabama Crimson Tide. It will be easier said than done, but a win against the SEC powerhouse would erase the memory of a 1-2 conference start.

Prescott has now played himself back into the Heisman Trophy race, according to ESPN analyst Jesse Palmer (via Michael Carvell of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution):

LSU running back Leonard Fournette and his 1,352 yards and 15 touchdowns may have something to say about that, but Prescott was undoubtedly the reason the Bulldogs won Thursday. He also remains the key to Mississippi State turning what once looked like a mediocre season into a memorable one.

 

Postgame Reaction

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen didn't mince words after the game, per ESPN: "I'm juiced, man," Mullen said. "We work hard to try and get some wins and when you get them, I love it."

Mullen's counterpart at Missouri, Gary Pinkel, didn't make excuses after a fourth-straight loss, per the school's Twitter account:

For all the love Prescott received after the game, he was quick to praise his wide receiver Wilson, who finished with four receptions for 102 yards and the two touchdowns, per ESPN: "I've said it year-round. "I'll take him vs. any cornerback one-on-one, at any time."

 

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Baylor vs. Kansas State: Game Grades, Analysis for Bears and Wildcats

The Baylor Bears survived a scarier trip to Manhattan, Kansas, than they imagined, surviving a late rally by the Kansas State Wildcats by a score of 31-24. 

The Bears, who are among the first two teams out of the College Football Playoff in the season's first poll, were led by receiver Corey Coleman, who helped ease the transition for new starter Jarrett Stidham. 

With that, let's check out the game grades for both teams' positional units. 

 

Kansas State Wildcats

Rush Offense: A-

Joe Hubener set a career high with 153 yards on 29 carries, while the Wildcats as a whole racked up 258 yards on 48 touches. The Wildcats front line got great push against a highly touted Baylor defensive line, all but solidifying K-State fans' belief that the Wildcats should have relied on the run game more often earlier this season. 

 

Pass Offense: C

The Wildcats didn't go to the air often, with Hubener finishing 12-of-21 for 151 yards with one touchdown and one pick. Kody Cook added the game-sealing interception on one of his two pass attempts. The Wildcats simply don't have the quality downfield threat they had last year with Tyler Lockett nor the quality arm like they did in both Collin Klein and Jake Waters. 

 

Rush Defense: B

The Bears had 103 yards total on the ground, with Shock Linwood racking up 72 on 13 carries. K-State's defensive front bent but didn't break throughout the game, at least forcing a freshman starter to have a stellar night. 

 

Pass Defense: F

The K-State secondary was toasted for 419 yards on the night, as the soft coverage the Wildcats played with a depleted secondary proved too vulnerable. The Wildcats' ability to defend the pass has been a liability all season, and it showed against America's most prolific offense on Thursday night. 

 

Special Teams: A

No mistakes here. The Wildcats converted all their kicks and didn't allow any big returns. 

 

Coaching: B

Beating Baylor is a tough task, but Bill Snyder showed on Thursday night why he's still got the capability to be one of the best head coaches in the country. He utilized time of possession and good old-fashioned hardball to grind away at Baylor, nearly doing so enough to tie the game late. Snyder has been highly maligned this season for his team's play-calling, although that issue appeared to be solved. 

 

Baylor Bears

Rush Offense: C-

Shock Linwood was limited to 72 yards, while the Bears as a whole gained just 103 yards on the ground. Baylor isn't known as a stellar running team—it loves to air it out—but K-State's front line still required that a freshman signal-caller rise to the occasion.

 

Pass Offense: A+

It was the coming-out party for freshman starter Jarrett Stidham, filling in for the injured Seth Russell. The gunslinger finished 23-of-33 passing for 419 yards and three scores with no interceptions. His favorite target—and everybody else's, essentially—was Corey Coleman, who hauled in 11 balls for 216 yards and two touchdowns. 

 

Rush Defense: D-

There wasn't anything gimmicky about K-State's rushing attack—it was mostly just quarterback runs with Hubener. Regardless, the Baylor defensive front gave up 258 yards on the ground to the Wildcats, who constantly wore down the likes of Shawn Oakman and Co. 

 

Pass Defense: B

The Bears faltered at times in their secondary but ultimately weren't tested much. Hubener dropped back to pass just 21 times and completed 12 attempts. Meanwhile, Baylor had two crucial interceptions, including the game-clincher in the final minute to squash K-State's rebellion in the fourth quarter. 

 

Special Teams: B-

A missed field goal by Chris Callahan in the game's waning moments nearly allowed K-State a chance to tie the game. He was bailed out by his defense, but that special teams blunder was nearly catastrophic. Other than that missed kick, however, the Bears had no cracks. 

 

Coaching: B

Beating Bill Snyder on the road isn't easy. But head coach Art Briles, who had a chip on his shoulder with the Bears currently out of the playoff picture, did just that despite K-State playing its best game since the TCU outing. 

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Baylor vs. Kansas State: Score, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

In his first collegiate start, Jarrett Stidham didn't need to do too much.

He did more than enough and then some. 

The true freshman quarterback threw for 419 yards and three touchdowns as the No. 6-ranked Baylor Bears (8-0, 5-0 Big 12) narrowly edged the Kansas State Wildcats (3-5, 0-5), 31-24, on Thursday in Manhattan, Kansas, to keep their College Football Playoff hopes alive.

Although Kansas State came into Thursday night losers of four in a row, head coach Bill Snyder's group clawed back from an 18-point third-quarter deficit to make it a seven-point game with four minutes to go. Wildcats quarterback Joe Hubener found Deante Burton for a 10-yard touchdown to make it 31-24.

Baylor drove down the field on the ensuing possession and got inside the 10-yard line. After a holding call and a sack on Stidham, Bears kicker Chris Callahan missed a 41-yard field goal that would have iced the game.   

Kansas State, with no timeouts and starting on its own 36, called a double-pass play on the first play of the drive. Wide receiver Kody Cook threw a deep ball with pressure coming toward him, but Terrell Burt picked off the pass to end the game.

Hubener single-handedly kept Kansas State in the game, amassing 304 total yards and totaling all three of the Wildcats' touchdowns, with two coming on the ground.

But it was the true freshman Stidham who put on a show in relief of Seth Russell, whose season ended on Oct. 26 because of a neck injury that required surgery. Stidham got a huge boost from receiver Corey Coleman, who had 11 catches for 216 yards and two touchdowns, including an 81-yard touchdown grab with 7:06 left in the second quarter. ESPN CollegeFootball provided a clip of the game-changing play:

KD Cannon also had 108 receiving yards and a touchdown for Baylor, who now improve to 37-8 under head coach Art Briles when ranked. The Baylor Football account also had video of Cannon's 55-yard touchdown. The receiver went on a post route over the middle and used his speed to get to the end zone:

The first step in life after Russell couldn't have gone any better for Baylor. Although Kansas State has seen its share of struggles, Stidham looked anything but a freshman quarterback against the Wildcats.

Tougher tests lie ahead for Baylor, but the Bears have to feel comfortable knowing Stidham not only played well on the road in a usually raucous environment, but he didn't turn the ball over. Baylor still has some work to do in order to jump the other unbeaten teams in the polls, but this was a good start against a game Kansas State team that almost pulled off the upset.

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Jarrett Stidham Ready to Lead Baylor's Playoff March as He Shines vs. K-State

All eyes were going to be on Baylor's true freshman quarterback, Jarrett Stidham, as he made his first collegiate start Thursday night on the road against Kansas State. 

And did Stidham ever open those eyes.

By going 23-of-33 for 419 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-24 win over the Wildcats, Stidham proved he's more than capable of leading the No. 6 Bears in a playoff run.

It was the Bears defense—not the freshman quarterback—that was the liability. Baylor had what appeared to be a comfortable 31-10 cushion in the fourth quarter but gave up two quick touchdowns and nearly coughed up the lead. Style points can be hard to come by in Manhattan, Kansas, and that held true once again.

As for Stidham, he wasn't perfect by any stretch. There were some misreads and forced throws. But this was as solid a starting debut as head coach Art Briles could have asked for.

Stidham got the ball to his playmakers, but he didn't simply "do enough" to win, either. His 40-yard completion to receiver KD Cannon late in the fourth quarter was bigger than any other play in the game. It showed how much confidence Baylor has in its young quarterback, who was replacing the injured Seth Russell, who's out for the year with a neck injury.

The win gives Stidham a good starting point and room to grow. A bad performance would have sounded much louder, scarier-sounding alarms.

Baylor didn't hurt its reputation as a plug-and-play offense, either. That's not a bad thing. Stidham's 19 years old, has been in the program for less than a year and just played his first meaningful game from start to finish two-thirds of the way through the season.

Of course Baylor wants to plug-and-play with success. If it can maintain a base offense that breeds big numbers regardless of the quarterback, it becomes a much smaller rebuilding project for the coaching staff.

And Baylor's staff did an excellent job building Stidham's confidence early with short throws on the opening drive. Almost everything right away was horizontal, including Stidham's first pass to Corey Coleman for 36 yards. In fact, the only pass downfield Stidham attempted on his first drive was an incompletion intended for Jay Lee.

The opening drive, which resulted in a one-yard touchdown run by Stidham, went seven plays for 81 yards and took less than two minutes to complete.

That's how you get a quarterback into rhythm.

Briles wasn't surprised by Stidham's performance, per Craig Smoak of 1660 ESPN:

Every new signal-caller's best friend is a solid running game. The difference in Baylor's offense from a traditional power unit is that short throws behind, at or near the line of scrimmage are essentially running plays.

Guys like Coleman are out there doing the work, but Stidham just happens to get—or share in—the stats.

Once it was clear Stidham was comfortable with the short throws, Baylor was more willing to let him push the ball downfield. If the pass wasn't there, Stidham would often run and pick up what he could.

Understandably, he was more successful with the intermediate passes than he was with the deep ball. However, this 55-yard touchdown strike to Cannon was as accurate as anything he threw all night:

USA Today's George Schroeder liked what he saw from Stidham: 

Things were simple, though. Stidham was hitting his first reads on practically every play. That was due to a combination of Baylor's wide receivers getting open and K-State's poor pass defense. The Wildcats already had the 82nd-rated pass defense in yards per attempt allowed (7.5) entering Thursday.

As freelance journalist David Ubben tweeted before the game, though, injuries in the secondary have been an issue for the Wildcats as well:

In that sense, K-State was the right opponent for Stidham to face first. Baylor's schedule goes from one of the easiest in the Football Bowl Subdivision to one of the hardest, and quickly. But Stidham has been brought along as well as possible, given the circumstances. He's gained experience in mop-up duty, had a bye week to prepare for his first start and didn't face his toughest opponent right away.

Coming off the bench cold against a top-tier Big 12 opponent would have been the worst thing for Stidham's development.

How Stidham plays going forward will be one of college football's most compelling storylines. Oklahoma and Oklahoma State allow fewer than five yards per play, and TCU isn't that far behind at 5.13. Those teams are Baylor's next three opponents.

For the second straight game, too, Baylor got sleepy in the second half. The Bears have been able to get away with moments of complacency so far, but that won't be the case against teams that are a combined 14-1.

How will Stidham respond during tough moments?

There weren't many against Kansas State, but he showed great poise and maturity when things were tight. Clearly, Baylor trusts Stidham to make big throws down the field. Here's guessing Thursday won't be the last time he's asked to do that.

Stidham grew up a lot, and quickly, against the Wildcats. If Baylor's defense is going to struggle like it did Thursday, this team will need more of that from one of its youngest players.

  

Ben Kercheval is a lead writer for college football. All quotes cited unless obtained firsthand. All stats courtesy of cfbstats.com.

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Notre Dame Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for the Month of November

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — A somewhat surprising No. 5 ranking in Tuesday’s initial College Football Playoff poll elicited similar responses from the Notre Dame football team this week.

“We could be ranked five or 55,” Irish middle linebacker Joe Schmidt said. “It doesn’t really matter until the last week of the year. We have a game this week.”

“The rankings can do whatever they want,” Irish defensive tackle Sheldon Day said. “It’s all about what happens in this building. We have to focus on each and every day here.”

“As long as we go 1-0 each week, we’ll see where we end up at the end,” Irish quarterback DeShone Kizer said.

So let’s do just that: go week by week and evaluate Notre Dame’s chances in each of the four remaining regular-season games.

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Ohio State Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for the Month of November

The Ohio State Buckeyes debuted at No. 3 in the initial College Football Playoff rankings that were released on Tuesday, but if Urban Meyer's squad takes care of business in November, it'll have a great shot at landing the No. 1 overall seed in this year's playoff.

The schedule is absolutely back-loaded this season as the Buckeyes have their two toughest games—home against No. 7 Michigan State and on the road versus No. 17 Michigan—to close out the regular season. When games against a feisty Minnesota team and the improved Illinois Fighting Illini are thrown in, Ohio State's path to the Big Ten title game and a potential berth in the playoff looks daunting.

Can the Buckeyes keep the nation's longest winning streak alive long enough to make it through the regular season? 

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Pac-12 Releases Statement Regarding ASU Sign-Stealing Allegations

The Arizona State Sun Devils football team has agitated its opponents over the past couple of weeks by allegedly stealing play-calling signals, but the Pac-12 does not seem to be particularly concerned about any illegal actions.

Doug Haller of AZCentral Sports passed along the conference’s comments regarding the Arizona State controversy:

While many frown upon stealing signals and consider it to be cheating, the statement highlights the fact that it is not technically against any NCAA rules. That is the most important thing, although it is fair to question the sportsmanship involved.

Arizona State head coach Todd Graham pointed to the legality of it in recent comments, per Haller: "Do we steal signals? Yeah, we do. Do people steal our signals? Yeah, (they) do. ... We are definitely going by the rules. There’s not anything illegal about looking at somebody’s signals or...somebody’s groupings."

According to Graham Watson of Yahoo Sports, Utah was concerned that Arizona State stole its signals when a Sun Devils coach made a passing motion right before the Utes attempted a pass. Oregon used sheets to cover its assistant coaches who were sending in signals out of fear that the Arizona State sideline would attempt to steal their signals.

Next up for the Sun Devils is a game against Washington State, and Cougars head coach Mike Leach thinks the league should investigate his next opponent, per Watson. “I mean, you've got two straight schools with concerns over it, back to back, and they have a reputation for it that extends beyond that," Leach said. "The conference probably ought to investigate them and see what they’re doing, make sure nothing is illegal.”

Arizona State may be stealing signals, but it’s not doing a good job of converting that to effective play on the field. It gave up 61 points to Oregon in a triple-overtime loss and dropped the Utah game, 34-18.

The Sun Devils had conference title aspirations heading into the season, and some even saw them as darkhorse contenders for the College Football Playoff. They now sit at 4-4 with work to do just to be bowl-eligible, and this serves as something of a distraction in a disappointing season.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Leonard Fournette's Family Reportedly May Have Violated NCAA Rules

LSU Tigers running back Leonard Fournette is the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, and frankly, bigger and better things are on the horizon for the transcendent future NFL prospect. Unfortunately, potential NCAA violations may mar Fournette's tremendous sophomore season.

Josh Peter of USA Today reported Thursday that a family associate named Paul Price and Fournette's parents had set up a website to sell merchandise and build the prodigy's brand before he even set foot on the college gridiron.

The website shut down approximately 24 hours after it launched ahead of LSU's 2014 season opener once the NCAA learned of its existence. As Fournette's mother, Lory, explained, "There's certain rules that just can't be broken."

But the damage may have already been done, since the website was selling T-shirts and hats that stood to capitalize on Fournette's name, image or likeness—which is a direct NCAA violation.

Lory Fournette described Price as a family manager who reportedly paid $10,000 for the website to be built. Three companies that were supplying the Fournette team with merchandise offered a total discount of $20,000 in anticipation of a huge profit that never materialized.

Furthermore, IWD Agency owner Joe McFerrin indicated Price never paid back an owed amount of $14,682. McFerrin developed the website, and both he and merchandise creator Chris Hanley stated Price had cleared the project with the NCAA.

The merchandise featured the text "BUGA Nation," with the acronym standing for "Being United Generates Attitude."

Unfortunately, the actions of those close to Fournette may have him in hot water with the NCAA.

Whether LSU faces sanctions from major college sports' governing body or only Fournette does as an individual, it is a scary situation for the Tigers. They are currently 7-0 and have ridden Fournette to immense success, as the 20-year-old wunderkind has amassed 1,352 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns.

The timing of Thursday's report is especially difficult, with LSU traveling to Tuscaloosa to take on Alabama on Saturday in its biggest challenge of the season to date.

To have any hope of preserving their undefeated record, the Tigers must have Fournette fully focused on the task at hand. The reported website incident threatens to loom as a distraction as Fournette prepares to face a Crimson Tide defense that is yielding only 2.6 yards per carry this year.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Mississippi State vs. Missouri: Live Score and Highlights

The No. 20 Mississippi State Bulldogs travel to Columbia, Missouri, Thursday night to play the struggling Missouri Tigers.

The Bulldogs (6-2, 2-2) enter Thursday right in the thick of things in the competitive SEC West. The Tigers (4-4, 1-4), meanwhile, are on a three-game losing streak and have scored just 12 points total in their last three games. 

Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott is enjoying another successful season. He is completing 67 percent of his passes with 14 touchdowns and only one interception. He's also run for 371 yards and seven more scores. 

Both teams play terrific defense, specifically the Tigers. MSU ranks No. 18 in scoring defense, while Missouri is No. 6 in total defense. 

This is only the third meeting between the two schools, with the last meeting coming in 1984. The Tigers won both previous meetings. Obviously, this is the first meeting since Missouri entered the SEC in 2012. 

You can watch live on ESPN at 9 p.m. ET, but make sure to stay right here for the latest news, notes, analysis and the best postgame coverage around.

The official box score is available at NCAA.com

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Matthew Dayes Injury: Updates on NC State Star's Recovery from Foot Surgery

North Carolina State Wolfpack running back Matthew Dayes suffered a foot injury during Week 9 against Clemson.

Continue for updates.

Dayes Out for Season Thursday, Nov. 5

Wolfpack head coach Dave Doeren announced Dayes will undergo surgery Friday and miss the final four games of the season.

"I'm disappointed for Matt because he was having a really good year," Doeren said. "But in football you've got to have a 'next man up' mentality, and I'm confident that his teammates will be ready to take on bigger roles and be successful."

Dayes trails only FSU’s Dalvin Cook and Clemson’s Wayne Gallman among ACC running backs with 865 yards, and leads the conference with 12 rushing scores. The junior’s 108.1 rush yards per game this year are the most in school history since Joe McIntosh's 119 average in 1981, according to NC State.

The Wolfpack will lean on sophomore Dakwa Nichols and freshman Reggie Gallaspy, who’ve combined for a respectable 411 yards and nine touchdowns on 59 carries. But Dayes’ absence will assuredly handcuff a team already low in the ACC Atlantic totem pole.    

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Baylor vs. Kansas State: Live Score and Highlights

Baylor - 7

K-State - 0 

TV: FS1

12:00 1st Quarter

The Baylor Bears, who recently were pegged as one of the first two teams out of the playoffs in the inaugural 2015 College Football Playoff poll, look to continue their undefeated season on the road against Bill Snyder and the Kansas State Wildcats, a team they secured a share of the Big 12 title against last season. 

The Bears will be led by new starter Jarrett Stidham, who is replacing Seth Russell after Russell was lost for the year with a neck injury. He'll look to keep the momentum going in The Little Apple, a place notorious for giving visitors a tour of Hell. 

Stay plugged in below for continued updates of this Thursday night Big 12 showdown. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Most Important College Football Recruiting Visits of Week 10

The 2015 college football season rolls into November with building excitement after an initial release of playoff rankings. This month's first slate of games provides plenty of compelling storylines, complete with crucial recruiting visits across America.

The colossal SEC clash between Alabama and LSU in Tuscaloosa will draw enough high school talent to build a title-contending roster at any university. Meanwhile, matchups at Clemson and Ohio State are among other contests that carry potential recruiting implications.

Here's our weekly look at pivotal player visits to keep tabs on during days to come.

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How CFB's Most Unlikely Undefeated Team Became a Playoff Contender

We're past the halfway point of the college football season, and against all odds, Oklahoma State remains undefeated and in the thick of the playoff race.

What have been the keys to the Cowboys' success so far?

Watch Bleacher Report College Football Analyst Michael Felder drop some knowledge in the video above.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Florida Continues Pursuit of Playmakers as 4-Star Eli Stove Visits This Weekend

Despite having four receivers already committed, one of the biggest areas of focus down the stretch for the Florida Gators' 2016 recruiting class is at the wide receiver position.

While head coach Jim McElwain is hot on the trail of stud pass-catchers such as 4-stars Nate Craig-MyersBinjimen Victor and Tre Nixon, another prospect committed to an SEC power has emerged on the Gators' radar.  

According to ESPN’s Derek Tyson, Auburn Tigers pledge and 4-star wideout Eli Stove will take a visit to Gainesville this weekend:

What does this development mean for the Gators and for Stove’s recruitment?

For Florida, it signifies that McElwain and his staff are leaving no stone unturned in their quest to add more talent and depth to a receiver unit that has five upperclassmen among its top eight players on the current depth chart, as noted by Ourlads.

In Stove’s case, the fact that he’s bringing his parents along for the trip means that his plan to check out the Gators is more than simply a courtesy visit. According to GatorBait’s Luke Stampini, the Gators will have to work on his parents—who seem to be in favor of their son sticking with his original commitment.

It will be tough to flip Stove—who was on Auburn’s campus last weekend and left the Plains stating that he was firm in his pledge, according to Keith Niebuhr of AuburnUndercover.

However, McElwain and his staff have consistently been recruiting Stove, and the visit is a payoff for their continued efforts.

Niebuhr also notes that in addition to his unofficial visit this weekend, Stove plans to take an official visit to Gainesville later in the process.

Given the momentum of the Gators program, especially when compared side-by-side to what’s going on with the Tigers, Stove’s recruitment has the potential to get interesting in the coming weeks and months.

The Gators' success this season has given receivers, even those who weren’t high on the program coming into the season, reason to start believing in McElwain and his offense.

"They're doing a great job putting receivers in spots where they can make plays," Nixon told Bleacher Report’s Tyler Donohue. "Even with the transition to another quarterback, Florida has a system that's still successful. They're spreading the ball around." 

With the Gators involved with so many receivers, it gives their chances of adding to a receiver haul that already includes 4-stars Freddie Swain and Joshua Hammond and 3-stars Rick Wells and Isaiah Johnson a boost.

 

Sanjay Kirpalani is a National Recruiting Analyst for Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained firsthand and all recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

 

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Alabama Stopping Leonard Fournette More Crucial Than LSU Stopping Derrick Henry

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Derrick Henry doesn’t smile very often in front of reporters, but the University of Alabama running back couldn’t help himself when asked about his opposing counterpart this week.

Specifically, he was told that LSU’s Leonard Fournette admitted that he wouldn’t want to try to tackle him. Needless to say, the feeling’s petty much mutual.

“That’s a big boy to bring down,” Henry said about the possibility—and he does play on some special teams units. “I probably wouldn’t, but he runs the ball the right way.”

Whenever No. 4 Alabama hosts No. 2 LSU, it’s seemingly always the most physical game in college football, but this year’s matchup might be as tough as any due to the running backs who will be featured.

They don’t just run, but often try to turn defenders into football roadkill.

Alabama defensive end Jonathan Allen calls Fournette an “angry running back” because he’s “aggressive, engages in contact instead of shying away from it.”

“It makes me angry. So we love that. Especially with the D-line and the front seven of the defense we play for; we love this. We love physical backs.”

They’ll need to be fired up for the challenge, because based on how the teams use their “angry” running backs, it’s a lot more important for Alabama to stop Fournette if it wants to win this game.

For the season, LSU’s offense had executed 454 plays for 3,262 yards. Between carries and receptions Fourtnette has 183 offensive touches and 1,410 yards. That works out to 40.3 percent of LSU’s plays and 43 percent of its yards.

Having played an extra game, Alabama has executed 597 plays for 3,375 yards. Henry has 188 touches for 1,113 total yards. That’s just 31.5 percent of the plays and 33 percent of the yards—approaching the statistics posted when Mark Ingram carried the Crimson Tide offense in 2009 and Trent Richardson did so in 2011. 

That’s a big difference.

Fournette’s also been able to post big numbers despite the way defenses have keyed in on him, and LSU has used that to make plays in the passing game. It’s been so effective that quarterback Brandon Harris hasn’t thrown an interception this season.

"They've made a lot of explosive plays in the passing game, and I think they've taken advantage of what people are trying to do to stop the run, whether it's eight-man fronts and middle-of-the-field throws in coverage, when you have single coverage outside,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban said. “I think the key to the drill is, you have to be able to stop the run, but you can't give them big plays.”

More than that, it needs to try to contain Fournette without having to take away from its passing defense, which is even harder to do than it sounds, but Alabama was able to do so earlier this season at Georgia. Nick Chubb was finally able to break a big gain off a missed assignment and post his usual impressive numbers, but not until after the game’s outcome had already been decided.

Similar to that game a month ago on Oct. 3, rain is in the forecast for Saturday.

“I think that you have to mix it up a little bit, because if you always put extra guys in the box, they’re probably going to hurt you with the pass, and obviously the more guys you put into the box if he breaks the line of scrimmage, you’re going to have fewer guys to squeeze him, be able to tackle him,” Saban said.

Statistically Alabama is third in the nation against the run at 78.5 yards allowed per game, while LSU is sixth (93.7), which means that these are the best defenses the running backs have faced this season.

But Fournette has seen only one defense ranked in the top 50, Florida, and its average opponent is ranked 77.8, which actually matches its last opponent, Western Kentucky. The seven teams it’s faced on average give up 192.4 rushing yards, which would rank 98th (Auburn’s ranking).

Henry has played against five defenses ranked in the top 50, with the average ranking 51.5. Ranked Nos. 51-53 are Ohio State, Army and Southern California, respectively.

During last year’s showdown, Fournette had 21 carries for 79 rushing yards against the Crimson Tide, the longest gain being 13 yards. He also returned kicks, with Reuben Foster trying to knock him into another time zone just before the end of regulation with the score tied.

“It gave us momentum going into overtime,” senior linebacker Reggie Ragland said. “It was big. Everybody got hyped up and was ready to go.”

Obviously Fournette has upped his game since then and is the front-runner for the Heisman Trophy, but going back to something Ragland said before the season started provides a better understanding of what this game means to the Crimson Tide.

"Guys aren't scared to play us anymore—it’s as simple as that," Ragland said. “We've got to get that back."

For Alabama’s defense to be considered one of the best ever, it has to keep Fournette from beating it—pure and simple.

So that’s the key matchup, with Fournette aided by an impressive offensive line and Alabama’s deep front seven now backed by a ball-hawking secondary. Ether Fournette will essentially lock up the Heisman, or Alabama’s defense will be feared again.

Actually, both could happen.

 

 

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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The 10 Most Terrifying Players in College Football Today

It's OK to be afraid. It's natural, and when it comes to dealing with some of the most terrifying players in college football, it makes complete sense.

We get to watch from a distance as these guys run around, over, past and through other players. Those on the field who are tasked with defending, stopping or at least slowing down the game's scariest don't have that luxury, and we feel their pain. We're also glad we don't have to experience it firsthand.

Being a terrifying college football player isn't just a matter of physical appearance, though in some cases that adds to the fear. It's more a matter of how much that player's skills and abilities strike fear in the hearts of his opponents, knowing they're very likely to end up on a highlight reel as the players getting steamrolled or juked out of their cleats.

Taking into account how they've performed this season and how much they've terrorized their foes in 2015, here's our look at the 10 scariest college football players. They're listed alphabetically rather than as a ranking, since everyone's fears are different.

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Ranking the Best ACC Matchups of Week 10

Week 10 of ACC action is arguably the best we've had to date in 2015. 

It's chock-full of intriguing matchups, including one between the two prohibitive favorites in the conference. A very significant rivalry game between two upstart programs will take place, as well as another top-ranked squad going on the road in what should be a hostile environment. 

While it's not a heavy schedule from an actual games standpoint, the six contests all should provide terrific entertainment. 

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Previewing the Upcoming Crazy College Football Coaching Carousel

There were 15 head coaching changes among FBS schools last offseason, and it’s entirely possible we blow by that number before Thanksgiving this season. There are already 10 openings across college football right now, a number that nearly matches the amount of openings from a decade ago.

While there’s little doubt that the win-now mentality and increase in money in college athletics has contributed to a more unstable job market, this season could bring an unprecedented level of turnover to the coaching carousel.

As one administrator pointed out to Bleacher Report recently, it doesn’t help things when you normally have, at most, one head coach retirement during the offseason and we’re already up to four before the calendar had turned to November. Throw in two midseason firings a level above in the NFL and the number of open jobs is anybody’s guess at this point, but it continues to move higher and higher with each passing week.

Agents, athletic directors, search firms and even head coaches are already bracing for a wild and crazy 10-plus weeks of rumors, contract discussions and even more openings. Here’s a bit of a look ahead at what could happen in college football.

 

ACC

Open: Virginia Tech, Miami

South Carolina will provide plenty of competition for a number of the ACC openings and will likely be able to pay as much as a million dollars more than others. That said, the two current openings in Miami and Blacksburg are very attractive to coaches and will draw plenty of interest.

Alabama assistant Mario Cristobal is the odds-on favorite to land in South Florida and may be an option at UCF if the Hurricanes pass on him. Virginia Tech is cited by many industry sources as the top non-USC job right now due to a combination of salary, facilities, fanbase, recruiting and the fact that athletic director Whit Babcock is well respected.

 

Likely open: Syracuse, Virginia

The Orange are very likely to finish 3-9 for the second straight season, and that doesn’t bode well for Scott Shafer with a new athletic director taking over earlier this year. The best case for keeping him might be the number of openings in the same part of the country, but it might not matter. As for the Cavaliers, the only question is when, not if, Mike London is let go.

 

Dominoes that could fall: North Carolina

Larry Fedora took over in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, with the program under NCAA probation and faces the prospect of more uncertainty when it comes to the NCAA investigation into the school’s academic scandal going forward. He’s on the lower end of the pay scale in the ACC and could be a prime candidate to leverage a division title this season into a better job with more stability. Defensive coordinator Gene Chizik will be mentioned a lot as well.

 

Big 12

Potentially open: Iowa State, West Virginia, Kansas State

Beating Texas just might have saved Paul Rhoads' job. Iowa State’s early schedule was brutal (teams it lost to have a combined 35-5 record) and getting to a surprising five wins isn’t completely out of the question. A change still could be made at Iowa State but that’s less certain than before.

West Virginia could also make a move (it has a new athletic director) if Dana Holgorsen doesn’t get out of town for another job first. The Mountaineers are 3-4 right now, but finishing 8-4 is very possible. If that doesn’t happen, then things could get interesting.

Bill Snyder retirement watch will continue until he gives an answer as to what he wants to do. Former assistant Brent Venables (Clemson’s defensive coordinator) will get mentioned a lot if there’s an opening in Manhattan, Kansas.

 

Dominoes: Texas

After another humiliating loss, it almost makes too much sense for the Longhorns and Charlie Strong to part ways at this point and have him head to a job that fits much better (Miami). The Dallas Morning News reported there is no buyout if Strong wanted to leave (as opposed to getting fired), but it will be tough for him to leave a $5 million a year position unless he gets something similar from another place. Miami won’t be able to pay that but South Carolina possibly could.

 

Big Ten

Open: Maryland, Minnesota, Illinois

Fox Sports’ Bruce Feldman reports that Gophers interim head coach Tracy Claeys has a lot of support to get the job full time and that makes a lot of sense, especially because the school is in the middle of a search for an athletic director. Bill Cubit has done a solid job leading the Illini through adversity, and reaching a bowl game could keep him in the mix even as the school likely looks to tap another up-and-coming MAC head coach.

It remains to be seen what Maryland will do (no, not Philadelphia Eagles head coach Chip Kelly nor Houston Texans head coach Bill O’Brien) but somebody like Bowling Green’s Dino Babers makes a lot of sense. The Terps also could do a lot worse than hiring Greg Schiano.

 

Potentially open: Rutgers, Indiana

The level of dysfunction at Rutgers means it’s unlikely Kyle Flood gets another season in charge, but where the school goes from there is anybody’s guess. As for Indiana, it could follow Purdue’s lead in avoiding an active market and keep Kevin Wilson.

 

Pac-12

Open: USC

The Cadillac of openings right now, USC is one of the top jobs in the country for a reason, and the recent success of the team’s young stars will only enhance that. Chip Kelly is a pipe dream, and other NFL head coaches are unlikely to actually be in the mix either. Interim coach Clay Helton has a very, very slim shot at the full-time gig and would need a win over UCLA if he wants any chance of keeping the big office at the McKay Center. There are a lot of talkative boosters in Los Angeles, but it’s still a bit murky who athletic director Pat Haden is really targeting.

 

Dominoes: Cal, Utah, UCLA, Arizona

Outside of the Trojans, the Pac-12 should be relatively stable. But there’s also lots of potential turnover that has nothing to do with firing coaches. Cal’s Sonny Dykes has a contract situation worth watching, and his success this season could make him a candidate elsewhere. Utah’s Kyle Whittingham won’t leave Salt Lake City, but he’ll be mentioned quite a bit for the USC opening. Jim Mora is very comfortable at UCLA but an NFL franchise could always make him an offer he couldn’t refuse.

As for Arizona, it’s an open secret in the industry that Rich Rodriguez has had an eye on going back East, and he’ll be a name that fits with what Virginia Tech and South Carolina are looking for. If he does leave, look for Wildcats AD Greg Byrne to quickly snap up Utah State’s Matt Wells.

 

SEC

Open: South Carolina

The Gamecocks are the second-best program in their own small state and the fourth- or fifth-best job in their division, but they still can offer a lot as an SEC program flush with cash, fans and facilities. AD Ray Tanner is a former coach himself so he knows what to look for, but this is his biggest move yet since being elevated to the top of the department. If they can’t lure an already-established head coach, don’t be surprised if some hot-name coordinator (such as Alabama’s Kirby Smart) winds up taking over for Steve Spurrier.

 

Potentially open: Georgia

It’s no secret that Georgia is dysfunctional right now, and that shows no signs of slowing down. Atlanta-based USA Today reporter Dan Wolken wrote that athletic director Greg McGarity wanted to fire Mark Richt last year but was overruled. That doesn’t bode well for the staff’s job security going forward.

A loss in any of the remaining regular-season games would probably be the final nail in the coffin for Richt, but the flip side for Bulldogs fans is Georgia would be the best job in the country to come open this year (yes, even over USC). There would be immense interest in such an opening, and that in turn could create a dozen other moves around the country.

 

Dominoes: Kentucky, Mississippi State

The early-season shine has come off Mark Stoops a bit but his name will still get tossed around for a few openings, and it’s always possible he leaves for a more football-centric school. Dan Mullen’s name comes up every offseason and while he could stay put once again, he does make a lot of sense at USC, Virginia Tech and Georgia if it came open.

 

Group of Five

Open: UCF, North Texas, Hawaii

Central Florida does not have an athletic director yet so that complicates the search a bit, but it remains the most attractive "Group of Five" opening in the country thanks to the level of support the program gets and its location. There may be more coaches interested in the Knights job than some Power Five programs according to one industry source. Hawaii sounds like a nice job in theory, but former coach June Jones is probably the odds-on favorite because the school won’t be able to afford any kind of top-level hire.

 

Potentially open: Idaho, Georgia State, New Mexico State

The bottom of the Sun Belt could see a lot of turnover for performance-based reasons.

 

Dominoes: Temple, East Carolina, Houston, Memphis, Marshall, Western Kentucky, Bowling Green, Western Michigan, Toledo, Northern Illinois, Utah State, Air Force, Georgia Southern

The up-and-coming coaches in the Group of Five like Memphis’ Justin Fuente and Houston’s Tom Herman will get mentioned for nearly every opening this year for good reason. Both would succeed just about anywhere they go, but Fuente will likely be looking for the right fit and can afford to be choosy. That means Virginia Tech is more likely than, say, a Miami.

As for Herman, he can be patient in pursuit of a bigger job, but a one-and-done season for the right opportunity shouldn’t be ruled out. If USC comes calling or Texas surprisingly opens up, then he could be firmly in the mix.

Outside of those two names, any number of successful Group of Five coaches are primed to move up to a bigger program, hence the long list of dominoes that could fall this year. That's also not even counting some coaches sitting out (Brady Hoke, Butch Davis and even CBS commentators Rick Neuheisel and Houston Nutt), who could get in the mix somewhere too.

It’s going to be a crazy final few months on the field, and that’s not even getting to what can happen off it. Buckle up, folks, we’re in for one wild ride.

Bryan Fischer is a national college football columnist for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter at @BryanDFischer.

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