Feed aggregator

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

Behind quarterback Chad Kelly, the No. 22 Ole Miss Rebels defeated the No. 15 LSU Tigers 38-17 on Saturday in Oxford, Mississippi. The junior quarterback recorded 361 total yards and four touchdowns as the Rebels (8-3, 5-2 SEC) bounced back in convincing fashion after a loss to the Arkansas Razorbacks.

The free fall continues for LSU. Just three weeks ago, it was undefeated and ranked No. 2 in the College Football Playoff rankings before consecutive losses to the Alabama Crimson Tide, Arkansas and Ole Miss. 

The Advocate's Scott Rabalais had some questions for the committee:

LSU running back Leonard Fournette had been slowed down in his last two games, recording a combined 122 yards on the ground, including a 31-yard night against Alabama. Before Week 10, the Heisman Trophy candidate had not recorded fewer than 150 yards in a single game. 

He fared better Saturday than he had in the two weeks before, rushing for 110 yards.

Ole Miss went for the jugular to start, setting the tone. On the first play from scrimmage, Kelly hit Quincy Adeboyejo for 51 yards, though the Rebels could come up with only a field goal on the drive. 

The Tigers offense had a slow start, and a sloppy one at that, committing four penalties on its first drive. Fournette didn't do much on the ground early, but he found a way to make a big play with a one-handed catch on a screen pass that went for 46 yards. 

Fox Sports' Stewart Mandel needed a reminder of Fournette's prowess:

Fournette's catch put LSU in field goal range, but kicker Trent Domingue missed his first field goal of the season from 27 yards out. He was 10-of-10 entering Saturday. 

Photographer Brianna Paciorka wasn't happy with the sequence of events as she watched the CBS broadcast put on a classic jinx:

Ole Miss took advantage of LSU's miscues, punching in the first touchdown of the day on a two-yard run from Jaylen Walton that helped the Rebels go up 10-0. 

Rabalais' description of LSU was grim, to say the least:

After forcing another LSU punt, Ole Miss went up by 17 thanks to a five-yard rush from Kelly. The SEC on CBS showed Kelly's touchdown:

With LSU head coach Les Miles on the hot seat, Mandel questioned how long he'd stick around on the Tigers sideline:

LSU's offense couldn't get anything going. With Ole Miss keying in on Fournette, quarterback Brandon Harris wasn't cutting it in the passing game. An interception with less than four minutes left in the first half gave Ole Miss the ball on the LSU 11-yard line.

Country music superstar Charlie Daniels kept it short and simple while describing Ole Miss' performance through the game's first 25-plus minutes:

On the first play of the drive, Kelly hit wide receiver Laquon Treadwell to help put the Rebels up 24-0. One of the top wide receiver prospects for the 2016 NFL draft, Treadwell showed off his physicality and strength while muscling his way into the end zone, as the SEC on CBS showed:

But LSU, out of nowhere, finally got on the board in big fashion when Harris hit Tyron Johnson for a 39-yard touchdown pass.

Ole Miss fans such as AL.com's Alex McDaniel began to get uneasy, even though the team was still up 24-7 at halftime:

Rebels fans grew more uneasy when the team fumbled the kick return after a Domingue field goal and gave the ball back to LSU to start the third quarter.

Fournette settled into a groove, gaining as many yards in the first four minutes of the second half than he did in the entire first half.

Helping the Tigers drive down to the Rebels' goal line after the fumble, Fournette took a handoff on 3rd-and-goal but fumbled it into the end zone. Offensive lineman William Clapp recovered the fumble, though, to help pull LSU within a score at 24-17.

The SEC on CBS showed the touchdown:

ESPN's Dick Vitale couldn't believe what he was watching:

Once Ole Miss got the ball back in Kelly's hands, the Rebels expanded their lead. After five completions and two rushes, Kelly scrambled for 11 yards, flipping into the end zone for his second touchdown of the game. 

NASCAR driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. loved what he was seeing from the Rebels quarterback:

With three minutes left in the third quarter, the lead was back to 21 points after Evan Engram took a screen pass 36 yards for the touchdown. The SEC on CBS showed the replay:

It also caught a shot of Fournette after the score:

LSU's season is all but over, and the attention might start shifting solely to Miles, who went from possibly coaching for the national championship to perhaps losing his job in the span of three weeks. 

Ole Miss kept its slim chances in the SEC West alive entering the final week of the season. At 5-2, the Rebels sit a game behind Alabama, a team they've beaten this season. If Ole Miss defeats Mississippi State in its final game of the regular season and Alabama loses to Auburn in the Iron Bowl, Ole miss will play Florida for the SEC title.

Post-Game Reaction

It didn't take long for Miles to start receiving questions about his job status, according to the Advocate's Ross Dellenger:

But coaching for a program that demands success year in and year out, three-straight losses is something that LSU doesn't encounter often, as Miles addressed his team's recent form per Dellenger:

For Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze, Saturday night's win meant much more than a tally in the win column, per the Ole Miss Spirit's Ben Garret:

For him, it was the play of the defense that sealed the deal for the Rebels:

Freeze will need that defense and a little bit of luck if the Rebels want a chance to play for the SEC title. They have a stiff test to end the regular season with in-state rival Mississippi State and the always dangerous Dak Prescott. 

But they will be rooting hard for Auburn to take down Alabama. However, if Alabama does lose, it will be difficult for an SEC team to make the college football playoff. Ole Miss would have to jump 18 spots in two weeks and Florida currently sits at No. 8. They would have to leapfrog the likes of Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Michigan State for a shot at the top-four.  

Stats courtesy of ESPN.com.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

College Football Scores 2015: Top 25 Teams' Week 12 Results, Key Stats and Stars

No. 9 Michigan State delivered one of the shock results of the year Saturday, beating No. 3 Ohio State 17-14 on a Michael Geiger field goal as time expired.

ESPN's College GameDay provided a look at the winning kick:

The loss ends Ohio State's win streak at 23 games and deals a near-fatal blow to the Buckeyes' chances at another national championship. The Spartans are very much in the College Football Playoff hunt with the win. The defense put in a monstrous effort, holding Ohio State to just 132 yards of total offense.

CFB on ESPN Radio passed along an optimistic comment from Michigan State quarterback Tyler O'Connor after the win:

The result also opens the door for the likes of No. 5 Iowa, who won big over Purdue, and perhaps even No. 6 Oklahoma State and No. 7 Oklahoma, pending their results later Saturday against No. 10 Baylor and No. 18 TCU, respectively.

Several games involving Top 25 teams came down to the wire, including overtime wins for No. 8 Florida and No. 17 North Carolina.

Here are the scores, key stats and top players from each Top 25 game as of 8 p.m. ET. Rankings are based on the College Football Playoff poll from November 17.

Top Stars from Early Saturday Games

Vernon Adams Jr., QB, Oregon

Senior quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. put together what was easily his best performance of the season Saturday, tossing six touchdown passes in the Ducks' 48-28 win over Pac-12 rival USC. No quarterback has ever been so prolific against USC, per SportsCenter

Adams' accuracy was truly stunning. He threw just five incompletions as he carved up the Trojans secondary. SB Nation's Dan Rubenstein was a particularly big fan of his downfield efforts: 

Check out one of Adams' swoon-worthy touchdown passes, courtesy of the team's official Twitter account: 

Adams has really made his mark in the latter half of the season after recovering from early injuries. He threw four touchdowns apiece against Arizona State and Cal in Weeks 9 and 10. Thanks to his efforts, Oregon is on a five-game win streak and in great shape for yet another Top 25 finish. With performances like these, Ducks fans might be left wondering "what if?" at the end of the season.

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson

Deshaun Watson burnished his Heisman trophy credentials in Week 12, accounting for four touchdowns in Clemson's somewhat pedestrian but entirely predictable 33-13 win over Wake Forest.

As the team's official Twitter account noted, he picked up a good chunk of his numbers in the first quarter:

Watson cooled off after the first quarter, having already dealt the damage necessary to defeat the Demon Deacons. He did throw two interceptions in the game, but they hardly hurt his side. 

With a few other high-profile Heisman contenders doing little to stand out Saturday, the winning, prolific performance from Watson could prove to be a major bump for the sophomore in the race for the stiff-arming prize. He already has at least one high-profile endorsement, per Steve Reed of the Associated Press: 

Derrick Henry had just 68 yards and two touchdowns as Alabama gave everyone time to breathe in a romping win over Charleston Southern. Heisman voters might forgive this game for Henry as his team hardly needed him against a cupcake opponent, but it will limit his year-end totals.

Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott managed just 33 yards and one score Saturday, while LSU's Leonard Fournette went scoreless against Ole Miss, although he did pick up 182 all-purpose yards.

The trophy is still very much up in the air. There is hardly a true front-runner in this race. However, Watson's team is undefeated, and he has done most of his best work in the latter half of the season. If recency bias takes hold, Watson could emerge as the Heisman winner when all is said and done.

Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss

Let's round this out with another top-drawer display from a quarterback. Chad Kelly trounced the LSU Tigers Saturday, throwing for two touchdowns while picking up two more with his feet in a resounding 38-17 Rebels win. Per the SEC Network, Kelly broke a legendary Rebels single-season record on the day:

Ole Miss Football also noted that Kelly now has the single-season record for total yards with 3,713.

He had little trouble moving the chains against an LSU squad that came into the game ranked 28th in total defense. He did well to spread the ball around, with eight different Rebels catching passes. Evan Engram ranked sixth on Ole Miss in receptions coming into the game, but he led the team with five catches for 58 yards and one touchdown.

Standout wide receiver Laquon Treadwell was a major beneficiary of Kelly's passing excellence (no surprise there), picking up 58 yards and a score of his own to match Engram. Bleacher Report's Matt Miller commented on Kelly's play:

Kelly may not be an NFL talent, but he's almost certainly the best quarterback in the SEC. With their gunner in fine form, the Rebels have to like their chances next week against Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Will LSU RB Leonard Fournette Be a 2015 Heisman Finalist?

In a crowded Heisman Trophy field, November momentum matters most. 

LSU running back Leonard Fournette is stuck in neutral and could even be going in reverse.

The superstar sophomore, who was not only the front-runner for the most prestigious individual award in the sport but the shoo-in, has suffered a November fade and allowed other contenders to jump into the conversation.

At this point, he's no longer a lock for the Heisman and isn't even necessarily a lock to make the trip to New York as a finalist for the award.

Fournette finished the day with a decent stat line—25 carries for 108 yards, along with 72 receiving yards—but was rendered as an afterthought due to Ole Miss jumping out to a 24-0 lead in the first half, which led to the 38-17 win.

For the third straight week, a defense came in with the specific game plan of slowing Fournette down, doing just enough to force LSU into a shootout, and the Tigers couldn't hang.

As Ben Love of 103.7 The Game in Lafayette, Louisiana, noted on Twitter, Fournette simply can't carry the Tigers on his back for a full season:

That's enough to knock him out of the top spot on the Heisman rankings, and considering the field that's also in the mix, it will make it difficult for the New Orleans native to get an invite as a finalist.

The ability to vote online allows people to wait until the bitter end to cast their votes for the Heisman, and even a stellar outing next weekend against a hit-and-miss Texas A&M defense won't be enough to reignite Fournette's Heisman flame.

Especially not with Alabama's Derrick Henry getting a national stage during the Iron Bowl against Auburn next week—and perhaps an even bigger stage the following week in the SEC Championship Game—and the emergence of Florida State's Dalvin Cook on the Heisman scene.

Cook ran for 106 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's 52-13 win over Chattanooga, which bumps him up to 1,475 yards and 16 touchdowns on the season. Henry is likely going to get the majority of the running back love from voters down the stretch due to his production and exposure, with Fournette and Cook likely splitting the leftovers.

There's only so much running back love to go around, and that doesn't even factor in the Midwest vote—some of which will go to Ohio State's Ezekiel Elliott, who had his streak of 15 straight 100-yard games snapped in the 17-14 loss to Michigan State.

With Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson a near-lock to go to New York, the resurgence and feel-good story of Oklahoma quarterback and two-time walk-on Baker Mayfield, and the ridiculous season Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman is putting together, there simply won't be enough room for Fournette. 

The number of people invited to New York as Heisman finalists varies from year to year. Last year, only three people were invited to New York—Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota, Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon. That's half as many as were invited the previous year, when Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston took home the trophy over the other five finalists.

Fournette is now the underdog who's not only going to split running back votes but regional votes with Henry, Cook and Watson.

That's a no-win situation.

At this point, simply getting an invitation to New York would be a surprise for Fournette based on how this year's Heisman race has evolved over the final month of the season.


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

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Michigan State vs. Ohio State: How Buckeyes' Loss Impacts Rankings, CFP Picture

The No. 9 Michigan State Spartans pulled off a stunner and defeated the No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes, 17-14, in Columbus on Saturday afternoon thanks to a game-winning field goal from Michael Geiger, which means a rankings shake-up is on the way.

The loss was Ohio State's first of the season, as the Buckeyes dropped to 10-1. Conversely, the Spartans improved to 10-1 and appear to be in the driver's seat for a College Football Playoff berth if they can string together a win over the Penn State Nittany Lions and another victory in the Big Ten Championship Game. 

As Yahoo Sports' Dan Wetzel noted, Saturday's triumph over the defending national champions should have vaulted Michigan State into the Top Four conversation:

Furthermore, FiveThirtyEight.com's Nate Silver indicated Michigan State's CFP odds increased to 46 percent after the win, while Ohio State's dropped to 29 percent as a result of the loss. 

With that said, Silver provided a rough blueprint for the Buckeyes to sneak into the playoff with a crucial showdown against Michigan on the horizon: 

Beyond win-loss scenarios in the weeks ahead, logic appears to dictate that the Buckeyes are in for a drop in the Associated Press Top 25 and CFP rankings based on the context surrounding Saturday's painful loss. 

Not only did the Buckeyes lose to Michigan State at home, but they also did so against a Spartans team that was without starting quarterback Connor Cook (shoulder). Furthermore, Ohio State managed to pick up only 132 yards in the loss—162 fewer than MSU posted.

According to College GameDay's Chris Fallica, OSU's 132 yards were the 10th-fewest in a game by an FBS team this season and the fifth-fewest among Power Five schools. 

"Oh boy," head coach Urban Meyer said in regard to his team's chances of earning a spot in the playoff, according to Bleacher Report's Ben Axelrod. "We have to get some first downs and find some ways to complete some passes and beat our rivals."

After snapping Ohio State's 23-game winning streak, Michigan State has now defeated the Buckeyes five times when they've been undefeated and ranked in the AP Top Five, per ESPN Stats & Info

Ohio State has myriad problems to correct on the offensive side of the ball if it wants to have any hope of beating Michigan's sixth-ranked scoring defense next weekend. And if the Buckeyes can't, they'll be out of the CFP conversation entirely.

Michigan State, meanwhile, needs to avoid a letdown against a Penn State squad that will be trying to get back on track following two straight losses. But if Cook can return to the lineup and give the Spartans a steady presence under center, head coach Mark Dantonio's team should be one win away from a CFP berth.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Michigan State vs. Ohio State: Score, Highlights and Twitter Reaction

Playing without their starting quarterback, the Michigan State Spartans ended the Ohio State Buckeyes' 23-game winning streak and undefeated season with a come-from-behind 17-14 victory in Columbus, Ohio, on Saturday.

Michigan State kicker Michael Geiger ended the game with a 41-yard field goal to cap off an eight-play, 25-yard drive that took the final four minutes and seven seconds off the clock.

The big story coming into Saturday's matchup was whether Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook would play. He wound up sitting out while battling right shoulder problems, though ESPN's College GameDay noted the senior star warmed up before the game. 

Despite Cook's absence, Michigan State never looked overmatched against a ferocious Buckeyes defense. Backup Tyler O'Connor wasn't asked to do much through the air, throwing just 12 passes, as head coach Mark Dantonio used 51 running plays to slow things down. 

Sticking with Dantonio, ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg put Michigan State's head football coach on par with another East Lansing legend:

For evidence of that, Bruce Feldman of Fox Sports noted Dantonio has won five of his last six games against teams ranked in the Top 5.

The run-heavy attack worked well when the Spartans tied the game at 14 with a 13-play, 75-yard drive early in the fourth quarter. That march included O'Connor converting a 4th-and-3 from Ohio State's 30-yard line. It would have been a 4th-and-8 attempt, but defensive end Joey Bosa was called for an offsides penalty to give the Spartans a better chance to convert. 

Both teams relied heavily on the running game, attempting 32 combined passes compared to 80 rushes. Michigan State racked up 203 yards on the ground with its 51 carries. 

Ohio State's offense had no rhythm, though quarterback J.T. Barrett was able to improvise at times. This Tim Tebow-esque six-yard touchdown pass to Jalin Marshall gave the Buckeyes a 14-7 lead, per College GameDay:

That was as good as things would get for Barrett. He finished with 43 passing yards and nine completions in the loss.

The biggest surprise of the game was Michigan State's swarming defense, especially against Ohio State star running back Ezekiel Elliott. The potential Heisman Trophy finalist had run for at least 100 yards in every game this season before Saturday, but Michigan State held him to 33 yards on 12 carries. 

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer seemed to lose faith in Elliott, as Sports Illustrated's Pete Thamel noted late in the fourth quarter:

Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports was not impressed by Meyer's approach to the game:

It seemed to be an unusual strategy. ESPN.com's Joe Schad noted before the game that Meyer said Barrett had to "be a playmaker" and not just "a distributor." Ohio State finished the game with 132 yards of total offense. According to ESPN Stats & Info, it was the lowest mark ever for a team coached by Meyer.

Perhaps Dantonio has discovered the right formula against Meyer's Buckeyes, as this stat from CBS Sports' Dane Brugler suggests:

Weather conditions weren't ideal for either side, but Dantonio was making a point to get the ball in the hands of running backs Gerald Holmes and LJ Scott down the stretch to wear down Ohio State's defense.

While Michigan State's defensive effort played a role, Meyer's offense was so vanilla that it limited Barrett and Elliott. He may have overthought things, with the Spartans not having Cook, but it was an uninspired offensive game plan. 

B/R's Ben Axelrod was critical of Meyer's offensive strategy:

This was a dramatic reversal of fortune for the Spartans defense, which has struggled against the pass this season, per Ari Wasserman of the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

Ohio State had been flirting with disaster all season, particularly in its close wins against Northern Illinois and Indiana, but its first real test of 2015 proved to be its downfall. The Buckeyes are likely out of the College Football Playoff mix after the defeat, though a win against Michigan next week and a Michigan State loss to Penn State would give the Buckeyes the Big Ten East title and a glimmer of playoff hope. 

Michigan State, on the other hand, has vaulted back into the playoff conversation two weeks after being upset by Nebraska. The Spartans have wins over Michigan and Ohio State, both on the final play of the game.

A victory over Penn State next week would give the Spartans a berth in the Big Ten Championship Game against a potentially undefeated Iowa team. It would be hard for the selection committee to overlook a resume featuring wins over Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa, especially with one coming as Cook was on the sidelines. 


Post-Game Reaction

In the Ohio State locker room, tensions seemed to spill over for Elliott. The junior was not shy about hiding his displeasure at how things played out, with Tim Moody of Scout.com quoting him as saying the play calling didn't put the Buckeyes "in the right situations to win this game."

Per Rick Pizzo of the Big Ten Network, Elliott also said that Michigan State is "a team we should beat." Following up on that, per Eric Seger of Eleven Warriors, Elliott didn't need to wait until after the season to make his intentions known:

According to Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports, Elliott did lobby Meyer for more touches while on the sidelines to no avail. 

Per Wasserman, Elliott added that the poor play-calling is something that's plagued the Buckeyes all year. 

"It is kind of something we've seen all season, honestly," Elliott said. "We'll have some momentum, we're calling plays that work and then we kind of try to get away from it and try to get cute and run some other stuff."

One possible reason for Elliott's limited use, per Moody, was the running back confirming he spent three days in the hospital earlier this week with an infection.

On the winning side, O'Connor made his case for Michigan State as one of the four playoff teams to Schad, per College Football on ESPN Radio:

Speaking to ABC's Heather Cox after the victory, per Justin Dacey of MLive.com, Dantonio said everything between the ears is where his team shined:

We talked about it -- just be mentally tough -- and we said coming into this year we needed to reach higher and this was the day we had to do that. The one thing that made a difference (is we've) been chased all year long so far in 10 games and this game we got to be the chaser. So we could chase this game. We could play on emotion.

Dantonio also touched on Cook's status in the post-game press conference, included in Dacey's report, saying "we think he'll be back" in time for next week. 

Given the way Michigan State is closing the season, adding a fully-functional Cook will only make the Spartans more dangerous. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

UCLA vs. Utah: Score Highlights and Twitter Reaction

The UCLA Bruins continue to claw their way toward their first Pac-12 Championship Game appearance in three years, remaining alive in the South Division race following their 17-9 win Saturday over the No. 18 Utah Utes, who were officially eliminated from contention.

The Bruins’ regular-season finale next week against the USC Trojans will serve as the de facto Pac-12 South title game, courtesy of SportsCenter:

No team has faced more injury attrition this year than the Bruins, but the Utes were missing their best player Saturday. Tailback Devontae Booker, third in the Pac-12 with 157.9 all-purpose yards per game, suffered a torn meniscus against the Arizona Wildcats and is out for the season.

Backup Joe Williams was decent, finishing with 121 rushing yards on 26 carries while adding another 31 yards through the air, but showed limitations. He lost a fumble midway through the first quarter and was stopped on a goal-line stand at the UCLA 2-yard line early in the third quarter.

The Bruins defense wasn’t daunting, but it made big plays when it needed to—never allowing a touchdown—as noted by Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News:

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen threw for 220 yards and completed just 50 percent of his pass attempts—his worst performance since Week 3—but gave enough to help the Bruins secure the win.

The standout freshman hasn’t thrown an interception since Week 7 against Stanford and wasn’t sacked until late in the third quarter Saturday.

Receiver Jordan Payton accounted for nearly half of Rosen’s passing yards, 105, on seven receptions. The senior is already drawing acclaim as an NFL prospect, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter:

The Bruins will head into the regular-season finale against USC riding a three-game winning streak over their crosstown rivals. During that stretch, UCLA has outscored the Trojans 111-62.

If the Bruins reach the Pac-12 Championship Game, they’ll likely meet the No. 11 Stanford Cardinal in a rematch of Week 7’s pummeling 56-35 loss.

And they’ll also have a chance to fulfill Rosen’s bold declaration of redemption following the loss.

"I really wanted to beat this team,” Rosen said after that contest, per Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times. "I really wanted to make a statement. But, uh, we'll face them again in the Pac-12 Championship Game."

With one more win, they’ll have a second shot—a remarkable feat given the slew of injuries and spotty defense this year.

The Pac-12’s College Football Playoff hopes may have been dashed, with each team blemished by at least two losses, but the Bruins may represent the conference in a high-profile bowl game if they can secure the conference crown.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

TCU vs. Oklahoma: Live Score and Highlights

TCU Horned Frogs - 7

Oklahoma Sooners - 13

5:00 2nd Quarter


The Oklahoma Sooners have turned into a charging dark-horse College Football Playoff contender down the stretch this season, and now they'll look to have their resume bolstered by a victory over the TCU Horned Frogs. 

TCU will be without the services of both Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson today, so the task at hand for Oklahoma may be less stressful. Nevertheless, in this highly anticipated Big 12 matchup, the Sooners and Horned Frogs are battling for conference title hopes. 


Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Texas A&M vs. Vanderbilt: Live Score and Highlights

Texas A&M 6, Vanderbilt 0, Mid-2nd Quarter

The Texas A&M Aggies and Vanderbilt Commodores will square off tonight at 7:30 p.m. ET, and we're here to help you enjoy the game. 

The Aggies are not enjoying the type of success they had in mind with a 7-3 record, but they still have the opportunity to make a good bowl game with two wins to finish the season. Head coach Kevin Sumlin announced this week that the quarterback job was once again open for competition, and a starter will be named before tonight's game. 

The Commodores have shown a ton of improvement from a season ago, and at 4-6, they have a chance to become bowl eligible with two consecutive wins. Vanderbilt's defense has been the biggest reason for the improvements this season. That unit was tied for No. 10 in the country in scoring defense (17.4 points per game allowed) coming into Saturday's games. 

The game can be watched on the SEC Network, but come back here for live updates and analysis. 

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Boston College vs. Notre Dame: Live Score and Highlights

Notre Dame 10, Boston College 0—HALFTIME

Notre Dame's Shamrock Series continues tonight as the Irish "host" the Eagles of Boston College in the Eagles' home city of Boston at historic Fenway Park.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Baylor vs. Oklahoma State: Live Score and Highlights

Baylor 24, Oklahoma State 14—Halftime

The No. 10 Baylor Bears are attempting to ruin the perfect season of the sixth-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys in Stillwater.

Fox is broadcasting the conference matchup. Bleacher Report is providing scoring updates, highlights and analysis.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Tennessee vs. Missouri: Live Score and Highlights

It's not quite the Ice Bowl, but Tennessee and Missouri will battle Saturday night in what is expected to be bitter-cold conditions at Faurot Field in Columbia, Missouri.

That may make what was never going to be a beacon of offensive fortitude anyway even more of an ugly, grind-it-out slugfest. That type of game seems to favor the Tigers, who've won three consecutive games against the Volunteers since joining the SEC.

Keep it right here for all your live-blogging action.


Tennessee 19, Missouri 0 3rd Quarter

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Mississippi State vs. Arkansas: Live Score and Highlights

Mississippi State and Arkansas are facing off in Fayetteville in a SEC West clash.

Stay tuned for live updates from Fayetteville. 


Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

North Carolina vs. Virginia Tech: Game Grades, Analysis for Tar Heels and Hokies

If Frank Beamer had to go out with a loss, there probably wasn't a more exciting loss possible. Just when you thought UNC was going to roll away with this game, Beamerball came roaring back one last time at Lane Stadium, and the Hokies came back from a 14-point deficit late in the fourth quarter to force overtime.

But a lackluster offense only yielded four yards and three points in overtime, and North Carolina came away with the 30-27 win and the Coastal Division title in the process.

Here is the box score from Saturday's game, via NCAA.com.

Tar Heels Pass Offense

One of the things that make Marquise Williams such a threat is his ability to beat you with his arm and his feet. He didn't find a great deal of consistent success against the Hokies, completing just half of his throws (13-of-26) for 205 yards and one touchdown.

That lone touchdown, however, came in overtime and won the game for the Tar Heels.

The star in the receiving game was Brandon Fritts, but as if to highlight the Tar Heels' often middling passing attack, he led the team with just 63 yards.

We're going to give some credit to the Virginia Tech defense in a bit, but for now, Williams and company will need to work on their efficiency before facing off against Clemson in the ACC title game.


Tar Heels Run Offense

Williams was just a hop, skip and jump away from the all-time UNC record for rushing yards by a quarterback, but he went up against a tough Tech defense.

The Hokies limited Williams to 74 yards on 18 carries. He also found the end zone once on the ground, but it was the three fumbles that really made this game close. Coming into this game, Williams had lost just two fumbles all season. When he walked out of Lane Stadium, he had five on the year.

Luckily for the Tar Heels, Elijah Wood made his presence felt, rattling off 17 runs for 115 yards and two scores.


Tar Heels Pass Defense

It's difficult to say that giving up 273 yards and two touchdowns is a successful day for a passing defense, but for the better part of three quarters, UNC seemed to have the Hokies' number in the passing game.

Virginia Tech relied on some great field position and late heroics to send this game into overtime, and we're definitely not going to reward the Tar Heels for that, but we're also not going to ignore the three quarters of solid defense displayed by UNC.

We're also going to hand out a few bonus points to Des Lawrence and M.J. Stewart for their pivotal interceptions. Without those two takeaways, this game would have had a very different result.


Tar Heels Run Defense

If you spend your week in practice defending against Williams' running ability and Hood's power and speed, you're probably going to develop into a solid run defense. That's exactly what UNC showed against Virginia Tech.

UNC limited the Hokies to 130 yards on 47 carries, for an average of less than 2.8 yards per rush. That's good no matter who you're playing.

The UNC front seven was plugging holes all afternoon, and the Hokies were never able to establish their typical ball-possession game. Third-and-long was the rule of the day, and UNC's run-stifling defensive line forced Virginia Tech into six punts.


Tar Heels Special Teams

It's usually a good day when your special teams units don't make headlines. UNC's Nick Weiler connected on his only field-goal attempt of the day, and Joey Mangili averaged just over 40 yards on his eight punts.

The return game never really got into the act Saturday, as UNC was credited with zero kick returns and four punt returns that combined for minus-four yards.


Tar Heels Coaching

For the most part, we are strong believers in coaches making the calls and players needing to execute those calls. But every once in a while, a coach makes some decisions that simply leave us scratching our heads.

For Larry Fedora's part, we were left wondering why UNC called a timeout after the Tar Heels were stopped short on third down with less than a minute to go in the fourth quarter and the score tied. Why not just let the clock run out?

OK, so it didn't cause any major disasters as the punt went off without a hitch and Virginia Tech took a knee to send the game to overtime. But why risk it? Did Fedora not watch the end of the Michigan-Michigan State game? Did he not know he was playing a team coached by Beamer?

Anyway, it's hard to penalize a winning coach too much, but UNC can't afford these little chinks in the armor if it wants to impress the thus far unimpressed College Football Playoff committee.


Hokies Pass Offense

Michael Brewer finished with 273 yards on 20-of-35 passing with two touchdowns. But he also tossed a pair of interceptions, and as is usually the case, those turnovers proved costly down the stretch.

Virginia Tech had a difficult time getting much momentum going (outside of the last five minutes of the fourth quarter), and Brewer never really found a string of completions to build that momentum.

In fact, Tech had just one drive that lasted 10 plays; none was longer than that.

Isaiah Ford had a career day, hauling in eight receptions for 155 yards and a crucial touchdown with 1:07 left in the fourth quarter to tie the game.

Unfortunately, as overtime began, Virginia Tech reverted to its old ways of inconsistency and settled for four yards and a field goal in what ended up being a losing effort.


Hokies Run Offense

The Hokies struggled with running the ball against UNC. The Tar Heels simply schemed too well against the Hokies for Tech to find much room on the ground. That forced the Hokies into passing situations, and UNC was able to dictate the play-calling for much of the game.

Travon McMillian, as expected, got the lion's share of the carries but only notched 3.8 yards per rush on his 21 attempts (80 yards).

Virginia Tech was unable to find any big plays in the ground game, and the team's longest run was an 18-yard scamper by Sam Rogers. Take that and McMillian's long of 10 away, and the Hokies averaged less than 2.3 yards per carry.


Hokies Pass Defense

If you're a Virginia Tech fan, you have to be pleased with the effort put forth by the defense, particularly in defending the pass.

Williams never really looked comfortable in the pocket, and although Corey Marshall was the only Hokie credited with a sack, it forced a critical fumble—and it was far from the only time Tech hit Williams in the backfield.

As the game wore on, a lack of offensive production doomed the Hokies. The defense stood tall about as long as one could expect without much support from the offense, and it was the pass defense that eventually gave up UNC's game-winning touchdown in overtime.

Still, the VT secondary performed well enough to earn some respect.


Hokies Run Defense

The front of the Virginia Tech defense was just as stout as the back end. The defense even managed a critical goal-line stand in the second half that held UNC to a field goal rather than a touchdown we were all sure was coming.

Of course, that goal-line stand might not have been necessary were it not for Dadi Nicolas slapping referee Ron Cherry while Cherry was announcing a penalty against him.

It didn't look accidental at the time, as Nicholas was clearly heard yelling at Cherry through Cherry's mic, and the replays didn't do anything to convince us that it was accidental. We'll probably hear from the ACC on this one.


Hokies Special Teams

It's hard to look at a missed field goal in the first half as a game-defining moment at the time, but add three more Virginia Tech points to the score at the end of the fourth quarter and Beamer's sendoff would have had a different feel to it.

Yes, Joey Slye did make two of his three field-goal attempts, but that early miss is sticking out in our minds after the fact.


Hokies Coaching

It's Beamer. It was his final game at Lane Stadium as head coach. Yes, the Hokies lost, but Virginia Tech truly won having him as its leader for the last 29 years.

We could go into the ins and out of this game or discuss what Beamer should or shouldn't have done in any given situation. We can second-guess the knee at the end of the fourth quarter instead of trying to pull out the miracle when Tech had all of the momentum.

But we're not going to do that.

Instead, we're going to simply leave you with this: In a game where negative headlines are becoming all too commonplace, Beamer spent 35 years as a college football head coach doing all the right things. He's not only a winner of eight conference champions (one Ohio Valley, three Big East and four ACC), he's not only a coach who finished 21 of his 35 seasons with a team ranked in a final Top 25 poll, he's not only a man with (currently) 277 wins to his credit, but he's a man who made a difference off the field at Virginia Tech.

Beamer ran his program with class and dignity, and he also extended that class and dignity to Virginia Tech at large. The school, Blacksburg and college football as a whole are better places because he was around.

Although his coaching days are over, we hope he sticks around for a long time to come.

Unless otherwise noted, quotes or references to quotes were obtained firsthand by the writer.

Follow Bleacher Report's National College Football Featured Columnist David Luther on Twitter.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Michigan Has Much to Improve on Before Challenging Ohio State

If you would have told Michigan fans that they'd be 9-2 with a shot the Big Ten East title entering the Ohio State game before Jim Harbaugh's first season as head coach began, they'd have taken that bargain. But anyone who watched the Wolverines' 28-16 win over Penn State Saturday knows Michigan has plenty of flaws to fix before thinking about taking down the Buckeyes. 

The defending national champions stand between the Wolverines and a surprising Big Ten East title in Harbaugh’s first season, and Michigan is certainly capable of ruining Ohio State's College Football Playoff dreams. But between now and Saturday, the Wolverines must improve significantly. 

Michigan led the Nittany Lions throughout the second half, but was never really secure. Three times Saturday, Penn State got inside the Michigan 10-yard line only to be held to a field goal. In a 12-point game, that’s gigantic.

The Wolverines outgained Penn State 343-207, but it felt much closer. Senior quarterback Jake Rudock outperformed heralded PSU passer Christian Hackenberg, completing 25-of-38 passes for 256 yards while Hackenberg was 13-of-37 for 137 yards.

But Michigan’s run game was largely nonexistent, compiling 87 yards on 30 carries with De’Veon Smith being the leading rusher with 39 yards on 13 carries. The Wolverines need much better balance against the Buckeyes’ nasty defense; they’ve been average on the ground this season, entering Saturday ranked No. 67 nationally in rush offense.

They also need much better discipline. Michigan piled up an eye-popping 13 penalties for 117 yards Saturday, which won’t fly against a more talented Ohio State team. The Wolverines have shown they can hang with elite teams, but mistakes (like Michigan State’s final-play blocked punt touchdown for a stunning victory) have clearly hurt them.

That goes for the turnover battle as well. The Wolverines committed two turnovers to Penn State’s one, continuing a season-long trend. They entered the game ranked No. 96 nationally in turnover margin.

Rudock in particular must be more careful with the ball. He now has 16 touchdowns against nine interceptions this season, but Saturday marked only the third time (albeit the third consecutive time) he’s thrown for more touchdowns than interceptions against a Big Ten foe.

Michigan’s margin for error against Ohio State will be razor-thin, and Harbaugh’s bunch can’t afford critical mistakes from Rudock’s arm.

Finally, Michigan’s run defense has been outstanding (103.2 yards per game, No. 7 nationally entering Saturday), but containing Ohio State standout back Ezekiel Elliott will be crucial. Michigan held Penn State’s Saquon Barkley to 68 yards on 15 carries, but that did include a 56-yard run.

Coupled with a 48-41 double overtime win at Indiana (which saw Jordan Howard gash the Wolverines for 238 yards and two touchdowns on 35 carries), Harbaugh has serious reasons for concern over the last two games, particularly on the ground.

Does Michigan have a chance at ruining the Buckeyes’ season? Absolutely. But there’s a lot to clean up in seven days.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Clemson OT Daniel Stone Proposes to GF Before Kickoff on Senior Day

Clemson offensive tackle Daniel Stone was getting ready to take the field at Memorial Stadium for the final time in his career as a Tiger, but he had one last thing to do: pop the question.

Stone ran over to his girlfriend, who was standing on the sideline for the team's Senior Day game against Wake Forest. Then he dropped to one knee.

Cue the awes.

[YouTube, h/t For The Win]

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Wisconsin Cheerleaders Pelted with Snowballs Thrown by Their Own Fans

Madison, Wisconsin, didn't get the same eight to nine inches of snowfall that blanketed Iowa's Kinnick Stadium, but there apparently was enough for fans in the stands at Camp Randall Stadium to wad up some snowballs to throw...at their own cheerleaders.

Yep. Wisconsin cheerleaders had to be escorted off the field during Saturday's game against Northwestern after being pelted by a shower of snowballs.

The UW-Madison Police Department issued a warning to fans via Twitter, saying if any student was caught throwing any snowballs at the field they would be "cited and ejected":


Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Do the Florida Gators Stand a Chance Against the Rival Florida State Seminoles?

2015 has already been an excellent season for the Florida Gators, no matter the measure.

Saturday, the Gators looked positively mortal, pushed to overtime by 2-9 Florida Atlantic before pulling out a 20-14 overtime victory in Gainesville.

Was it ugly? Sure. But for a program that lost to FCS Georgia Southern in the Swamp two short years ago, it was a thing of beauty.

"They took it to us," Florida coach Jim McElwain told SEC Network’s Laura Rutledge in a postgame interview on SEC Network. "We’ve got to get a lot better, and we have a week to get better to our next game. They probably deserved to win, but our guys are finding a way to win, and that’s really important."

McElwain became the first UF coach ever to win 10 games in his first season with the Gators. Florida is 10-1 and has already clinched the SEC East.

But the season isn’t complete. Far from it. To continue toward a truly special campaign, Florida must conquer perhaps its biggest nemesis: Florida State. The Gators still have hopes of making the College Football Playoff, but it won’t happen without defeating the Seminoles next Saturday in Gainesville.

Does Florida have a chance of beating the Seminoles and taking Sunshine State supremacy from their grasp? Absolutely.

Florida State hasn’t slipped much from a three-year run that saw Jimbo Fisher’s program collect three ACC titles, a BCS National Championship and qualify for the College Football Playoff in 2014. But the Seminoles have certainly slipped enough to be vulnerable against the Gators, especially on the road.

If Florida competes with FSU, it will do so with defense. The talented unit, led by All-American cornerback Vernon Hargreaves III, has propped up an offense that has struggled following quarterback Will Grier’s Oct. 12 NCAA suspension for a positive test for performance-enhancing drug use.

Following a 35-28 loss to LSU in the first post-Grier game Oct. 17, Florida’s defense hasn’t allowed more than 14 points to any opponent. The Gators allowed a combined 10 points to Georgia and Vanderbilt, a huge factor in the SEC East victories.

They entered Saturday No. 5 nationally in total defense, allowing 280 yards per game and 4.44 yards per play. The Gators were ninth nationally in rush defense and No. 10 in pass defense, as well as fourth nationally in scoring defense (allowing 14.5 points per game).

Florida State’s offense has looked more active recently, averaging 39.5 points per game in wins over N.C. State and Syracuse. But on Nov. 7 the Seminoles struggled against Clemson’s talented defense, which was ranked No. 7 nationally in total defense entering Saturday. FSU got a 75-yard touchdown on the game’s second play thanks to Dalvin Cook but managed just two field goals the rest of the way.

The key to stopping Florida State is stopping Cook, who entered Saturday with 1,369 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns despite being less than 100 percent for much of the season with hamstring and ankle injuries.

Florida’s run defense has been tough but has allowed four 100-yard rushers in 11 games. LSU’s Leonard Fournette went for 180, Tennessee teammates Joshua Dobbs and Jalen Hurd went for 136 and 102, respectively, and Vanderbilt’s Ralph Webb went for 118 yards.

Post-Jameis Winston, Florida State has vacillated between Everett Golson and Sean Maguire at quarterback but has settled on Maguire, who threw for 348 yards against Syracuse but has been inconsistent at best.

If Florida’s front seven can contain Cook, that’s great news for Hargreaves and the secondary. The Gators defense has shown the ability to cause havoc against opposing quarterbacks, as Antonio Morrison showed by forcing a fumble that Taven Bryan picked up for a 48-yard return, setting up a key touchdown early in the second half vs. Florida Atlantic.

Sophomore quarterback Treon Harris is a liability against Florida State’s improving defense. Since Grier’s suspension, he has only two 200-yard passing games and has six passing touchdowns against four interceptions. Saturday, he was stripped on a scramble, which FAU turned into a defensive touchdown. 

But if Florida can avoid crucial offensive mistakes and get continued solid running from Kelvin Taylor, the Gators can compete with the Seminoles. Last fall, a dead-man-walking team in Will Muschamp’s final game as head coach pushed an unbeaten FSU to the wire before falling, 24-19, so this team will have a chance to emerge victorious next week.

Florida has only one win over Florida State in its last five tries, a 37-26 victory in 2012. But McElwain and Co. have a good chance to improve that record and head into Dec. 5's SEC title game at the Georgia Dome the new kings of the Sunshine State.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

Michigan vs. Penn State: Game Grades, Analysis for Wolverines and Nittany Lions

The 12th-ranked Michigan Wolverines controlled the Penn State Nittany Lions en route to a 28-16 victory on Saturday at Beaver Stadium.

Penn State tallied 70 yards on its opening drive but managed just 138 over the final 11 possessions. Michigan scored a touchdown in each quarter.

Pass Offense: Jehu Chesson, Amara Darboh and Jake Butt each recorded between 66 and 69 receiving yards, helping quarterback Jake Rudock become the first player in program history to throw for more than 250 yards in three straight games, per Chad Shepard of UM. Darboh and Butt scored one touchdown apiece.

Run Offense: Once again, the Michigan offensive line struggled in the running game. Average is an improvement over 2014, but it's still not good. De'Veon Smith managed 39 yards on 13 carries, though he and Sione Houma both notched one-yard touchdown runs.

Pass Defense: The secondary wasn't perfect, evidenced by the 25-yard touchdown and pair of pass-interference penalties. However, the Wolverines held Christian Hackenberg to a 41.9 completion percentage and sacked him five times.

Run Defense: When Saquon Barkley's first carry went 56 yards, Michigan fans may have worried the freshman running back was bound to duplicate Jordan Howard's 238-yard day last week. Following that long run, though, the defense surrendered just 14 yards on 21 attempts.

Special Teams: Despite a blocked punt, Michigan won the game on special teams. Chesson recovered a muffed punt, and the takeaway turned into Houma's touchdown. Jourdan Lewis' 55-yard kick return set up Smith's game-sealing score.

Coaching: Defensive coordinator D.J. Durkin constantly dialed up pressure, and the Wolverines disrupted Hackenberg in the pocket throughout the day. But the coaching staff must address the penalty problem, as Michigan had a season-worst 14 flags.

Pass Offense: In what was perhaps the final home game of Hackenberg's college career, he finished 13-of-31 for 138 yards and one touchdown. The junior tossed a couple of NFL-caliber passes but mostly looked erratic and uncomfortable.

Run Offense: Barkley managed 68 yards, which ordinarily would be decent against the Michigan defense. Unfortunately, his 14 carries after the 56-yard scamper brought a meager 12 yards. Penn State failed to reach 100 rushing yards for the fourth time this season.

Pass Defense: Although Carl Nassib started the game, he exited early and didn't return. The Nittany Lions, who have one of the nation's most imposing pass-rushing units, managed two sacks but regularly failed to disrupt Rudock with the senior, Nassib, standing on the sideline.

Run Defense: Penn State basically shut down the Wolverines' running game, limiting Michigan to 87 yards on 30 carries. However, Saturday marked the first time Michigan didn't top the 100-yard mark in a game that it still managed to win.

Special Teams: DeAndre Thompkins muffed a punt, which led to what ultimately became the deciding score. Tyler Davis connected on a trio of field goals, while Daniel Pasquariello averaged an unimpressive 37.3 yards per punt.

Coaching: The Nittany Lions ventured inside the Michigan 10-yard line three times but came away with a field goal on each possessions. The inability to finish drives with touchdowns cost Penn State the victory and is a reflection on the coaching staff—and that's not good.


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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

FAU vs. Florida: Game Grades, Analysis for the Gators

The Florida Gators were taken to the brink by a two-win Florida Atlantic team Saturday afternoon at the Swamp, needing overtime and a defensive stand post-blocked extra point to survive a 20-14 scare.

As if a nine-point output in a narrow win against Vanderbilt and a 24-point game over a South Carolina team that lost to The Citadel this weekend weren't enough warning signs, the Gators offense was atrocious yet again. 

The Gators mustered just 252 yards of offense against the nation's 92nd-ranked defense, averaged just 4.1 yards per play, turned it over twice and went two for 13 on third-down conversions. Time after time, the UF defense put its teammates in position to make plays, but quarterback Treon Harris and crew couldn't take advantage.

Still, with the game on the line, Florida got away with some tight defense in the end zone and made two plays in overtime to come away victorious in a late downpour in Gainesville.

Let's take a look at some game grades for the Gators in what should be a forgettable game. If you want to head back and revisit a fun live blog, head here.


Passing Offense

The suspension of quarterback Will Grier for using performance-enhancing drugs was a huge hit for the Gators offensively. Though they've won 10 games, the offense simply isn't there.

Harris made a couple of big plays Saturday, tossing two touchdowns, but he also struggled to consistently move the ball downfield and find targets. He also turned the ball over twice. Harris wound up 8-of-17 for 122 yards, threw a pick and also fumbled. It was a forgettable performance, and the offense is stagnant with him under center.

This team needs Grier, and it won't get him back until the seventh game in 2016.


Rushing Offense

Kelvin Taylor wound up with 98 yards on 25 carries and scored a touchdown, so this poor grade is definitely not his fault. He ran with drive and purpose all game, much of the time willing himself to positive yardage despite zero push from the UF offensive line. Even on his touchdown run, two FAU defenders had him lassoed in the backfield, but he simply drove through and made the score.

Since a big win over Georgia, the Gators offensive line has struggled, and they had their worst effort against the Owls. Taylor had a valiant effort, but he alone couldn't save the running game.


Passing Defense

Jalen Tabor was a force throughout the game, and a couple of handsy plays by the Gators in the end zone didn't get called, so, on paper, that winds up being chalked up to good defense. Florida was without star corner Vernon Hargreaves III for most of the game, but the team still got the job done.

Even so, FAU quarterback Jaquez Johnson's 148 passing yards all seemed big. He made some plays, but he didn't make enough. The Gators got one interception when Tabor ripped the ball away from an FAU receiver, and made another big play when safety Keanu Neal stuffed Johnson in the hole and forced a fumble that UF recovered.

Big plays were the name of the game.


Rushing Defense

On one of FAU's scoring drives, the Owls ran the ball at will through the Gators defense, but that was far from a consistent thing. The Gators are blessed with one of the best defensive lines in the nation, and they lived up to that billing for most of the day. They were consistently blowing up plays in the backfield, and they didn't allow anything big in the run game. All in all, it was a stellar day for UF against the run. The defense did its job all day.

Afterward, Tabor got in a little jab at Florida State just in time for next week's rivalry game, according to Gator Country's Nick de la Torre:

The Gators are going to have to play much better and prove it on the field.


Special Teams

Antonio Callaway's 52-yard punt return and elite punter Johnny Townsend's strong performance weren't enough to bring up this grade thanks to Austin Hardin's struggles in the kicking game.

Hardin missed field goals of 33 and 34 yards that could have put the game out of reach in regulation. Then, after UF scored the go-ahead touchdown in overtime, Hardin's extra point was blocked by FAU star defensive end Trey Hendrickson. Head coach Jim McElwain shared his thoughts on Hardin's struggles after the game, per Gator Country's Nick de la Torre:

Those plays almost made it a disastrous day for Florida, so, yes, Townsend was massive in the field-position game all day, but the other kicker nearly led to a UF embarrassment.



McElwain must not have any confidence in backup quarterback Josh Grady, because if he did, he would have pulled Harris at some point in the game.

The Gators are in a really bad spot at the signal-caller position right now, and offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier's play-calling was hamstrung all day because of it. But Florida didn't do anything to try to get out of that funk. The defense was strong, yes, but anytime you nearly lose to a 2-9 FAU team when you're the eighth-ranked team in the nation, it's a poor coaching job.

No matter how much McElwain preached all week about responding with a resounding performance against a bunch of Owls with chips on their shoulder, Florida played awful. 


All stats gathered from NCAA.com and cfbstats.com unless otherwise noted. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted.

Brad Shepard covers SEC football and is the Tennessee lead writer for Bleacher Report. Follow Brad on Twitter @Brad_Shepard.

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com

South Carolina's Loss to Citadel Shows Gamecocks Could Be in for Rough Future

For 60 minutes inside Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday afternoon, South Carolina put on a show. 

A horror show.

The Gamecocks fell 23-22 to The Citadel out of the FCS, dropped to 3-8 on the season and made it abundantly clear to the college football world that the man who will permanently take over for former head coach Steve Spurrier—who retired in October—has a nearly impossible task.

Interim head coach Shawn Elliott was straightforward on what went wrong for the Gamecocks, according to David Cloninger of the State:

Take nothing away from The Citadel. The Bulldogs are a solid FCS team out of the Southern Conference and have a lot going for them at that level.

But they simply man-handled the Gamecocks at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball, and that is not something that a new coach can fix overnight.

Not even if that coach is named "Nick Saban," "Urban Meyer" or "Vince Lombardi."

The new coach's first job is to get bigger and better players up front. If that means hitting the junior college ranks hard, working to flip committed players or convincing current players to bulk up and change positions, do it.

The Gamecocks' 2016 class currently has just one lineman on either side of the ball with four or more stars—defensive end Jordan Smith. What's more, he's one of only two commits who have that designation in the entire 15-player class.

That's before the recruiting attrition that is inevitable once the new staff is in place.

It's one thing to be shocked by a triple-option team, since, aside from Georgia Tech and the service academies, Power Five schools typically don't see much of that. But Carolina's offensive line got absolutely mauled, which was a big reason the Gamecocks managed just 72 rushing yards as a team.  

The only other 4-star player in the 2016 class is dual-threat quarterback Brandon McIlwain, and he's an absolutely critical piece of the puzzle, regardless of who takes over. 

South Carolina clearly has a quarterback problem. Perry Orth threw for 367 yards in the loss, but he aired it out all afternoon without the help of a running threat and benefited from a couple of long catch-and-runs from star wide receiver Pharoh Cooper.

Could McIlwain be the guy?

Maybe, but as SB Nation's recruiting page pointed out on Twitter, he's keeping his options open.

This comes on the heels of another one of South Carolina's highest-rated prospects—4-star wide receiver Bryan Edwards—decommitting earlier in November.

South Carolina has no skill players outside of Cooper—who's eligible for the draft after this season. It is severely lacking in the trenches, and it has no running back that it trusts in the future and no direction due to Spurrier's sudden resignation.

The future looks bleak for the Gamecocks, and whoever takes over in 2016 will have his work cut out for him. 

In the landscape of coaching vacancies this offseason, South Carolina is included in a pool of open jobs that includes Virginia Tech, Miami, Missouri, Maryland and potentially others. They all have positives and obvious negatives, and potential candidates will likely judge all of them based on feel and fit more than anything else.

The Gamecocks have a proud fanbase, good facilities and a down division going for them. But from a talent, recruiting-base and momentum perspective, it's hard to consider the program overly attractive.

South Carolina has to get this hire right and be patient because the eventual new head coach has an uphill climb to get back into contention.


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

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

Read more College Football news on BleacherReport.com