College Football
NCAAF News Wire
  • Thursday, November 27, 2014
    Ohio State DT Karageorge missing
    By The Sports Xchange

    Ohio State senior reserve defensive lineman Kosta Karageorge has been missing since early Wednesday and Columbus Police are continuing to search for him.

    • Karageorge, a walk-on and former Ohio State wrestler, did not show up for practice Wednesday and apparently was absent again Thursday.

      His mother, Susan, filed a missing person's report about 5 a.m. Wednesday. She posted on Facebook that Karageorge has been missing since 2 a.m. Wednesday. Family and friends have been looking for him near campus.

      The family also posted the following on Twitter: "Kosta was last seen around 2 am November 26. His family is asking for prayers & any info regarding his whereabouts. Please call: 614-747-1729."

      Karageorge's roommates, who are Ohio State wrestlers, said he left their apartment to go for a walk about 2 a.m. Karageorge's sister, Sophia, told Cleveland.com that her brother was upset. His last known whereabouts, according to his cell phone, was about 10 miles from the apartment.

      Karageorge, a fifth-year senior, has appeared in one game this season. Sixth-ranked Ohio State faces rival Michigan on Saturday at noon ET in Ohio Stadium.

  • Thursday, November 27, 2014
    Alabama starters 'very questionable' for Auburn
    By The Sports Xchange

    Alabama coach Nick Saban is typically short on details, but he painted a bleak picture for two offensive starters who could miss Saturday's Iron Bowl game with Auburn due to injury.

    • Tight end Brian Vogler and receiver ArDarius Stewart are considered "very questionable" Saban said. Neither player practiced this week.

      Under Saban, players who aren't able to practice during the week are almost always out or very limited in their game-day role.

      Each player "stretched" knee ligaments last week against Western Carolina, Saban said.

      Stewart entered the starting lineup two weeks ago and had five catches last week. Vogler, a fifth-year senior, has started nine of 11 games.

  • Wednesday, November 26, 2014
    Virginia to retain London in 2015
    By The Sports Xchange

    Virginia coach Mike London will go into the final game of the regular season knowing his job is secure for another year.

    • Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage quelled speculation that London's future might be in jeopardy by announcing Wednesday that he will return next season.

      The Cavaliers have improved from two wins in 2013 to five victories this year and would become bowl eligible by beating Virginia Tech on Saturday. London has a 23-37 record near the end of his sixth season at the school.

      "It was important to see improvement in our football program this season," Virginia athletic director Craig Littlepage said. "I've seen signs of progress in many areas. Through the staff changes made over the last two years, we are better at teaching the game and in the overall development of the student-athletes. We also continue to notice the commitment by this group of coaches and student-athletes to their academic and community responsibilities.

      "The staff has refocused its recruiting efforts to emphasize the need to attract student-athletes capable of helping the program compete at a high level in the expanded Atlantic Coast Conference. We are seeing many of these student-athletes on the field right now and the staff continues to have success on the recruiting trail. We will continue to support the program in their efforts to maximize their recruiting success.

      "It's important for each of our sports programs to continue to show progress and follow a plan to compete for conference championships and in postseason competition to support the department's goals. I trust the plan Mike has in place and believe his leadership provides the best opportunity for Virginia football to be successful in the future."

      London's best season came in 2011 when the Cavaliers posted an 8-4 regular-season record and played in the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. Virginia slipped to 4-8 in 2012 and 4-8 in 2013.

  • Wednesday, November 26, 2014
    DE Spence's career over at Ohio State
    By The Sports Xchange

    Ohio State defensive end Noah Spence lost an appeal with the Big Ten for reinstatement from an indefinite suspension and was made permanently ineligible by the university on Tuesday night.

    • Spence's career officially ends without playing a down for the Buckeyes as a junior.

      The All-Big Ten player was first suspended last December before the Orange Bowl for three games and then was suspended indefinitely in September.

      Spence's father told the media that his son failed a drug test. Spence said in September after the indefinite suspension was announced that he would seek treatment.

      "Ohio State junior student-athlete Noah Spence has been declared permanently ineligible from all intercollegiate athletics competition by the Big Ten Conference. The Ohio State University Department of Athletics had assisted Noah and his family leading up to an appeals process that took place today," Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith said in a statement.

      "While we are disappointed in the outcome, we are pleased that Noah has come a long way and we are very proud of the progress he has made with regard to his health. The Department of Athletics will continue to assist Noah through his pursuits and provide the academic resources necessary to help him complete his degree program."

      Spence tweeted his reaction Tuesday night.

      "Not what I wanted but now it's time to get ready for the next level, I've learnt so much in the last couple months that it's all worth it," he said.

      Spence tied for the team lead with 7 1/2 sacks and had 14 tackles for loss as a sophomore last year when he was named All-Big Ten.

      Before running into difficulties at Ohio State, Spence had been projected as a potential high NFL draft pick.

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    Top four unchanged in playoff rankings
    By The Sports Xchange

    The top four spots in the College Football Playoff rankings released on Tuesday were unchanged from last week, with Alabama still holding the No. 1 slot.

    • Few pivotal games took place this past weekend, leaving Oregon at No. 2, unbeaten Florida State at No. 3 and Mississippi State at No. 4.

      The three one-loss teams right behind are No. 5 TCU, No. 6 Ohio State and No. 7 Baylor.

      A number of key games take place this weekend, with conference championship games scheduled for the following week.

      The rankings don't mean much until the 12-person selection committee announces its final rankings on Sunday, December 7. The top four teams at that time will participate in the first college football playoff.

      Mississippi suffered the biggest drop this week, falling from No. 8 to No. 19 after its 30-0 loss to Arkansas.

      Perhaps the most noteworthy aspect of this week's top-25 rankings was the presence of two teams from outside the five power conferences.

      Boise State (9-2) came in at No. 23, and Marshall, the only unbeaten FBS team besides Florida State, was No. 24.

      That is important because the highest ranked team from outside the power five conferences earns an automatic berth in one of the four major bowls not included in the playoffs.

      Only 11 selection committee members took part in the rankings process this week, because former Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese was unable to participate due to an illness.

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    Gophers RB Cobb 'very questionable' vs. Badgers
    By The Sports Xchange

    Minnesota could be without its leading rusher for its biggest game in years on Saturday.

    • Coach Jerry Kill said Tuesday that running back David Cobb's hamstring injury makes him "very questionable" for Saturday's game at Wisconsin.

      The game will determine the Big Ten West Division championship. The winner advances to face East Division champion Ohio State in the Big Ten championship game on Dec. 6 in Indianapolis.

      Cobb was injured in the fourth quarter of last week's 28-24 victory at Nebraska.

      The senior is No. 9 nationally in rushing yards with 1,430. If he is unable to play, the Gophers would turn to backup Berkley Edwards, who has run for just 140 yards this season. Quarterback Mitch Leidner is the team's second leading rusher with 407 yards.

      The game was expected to feature two of the nation's backs with Cobb and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, who has 2,109 yrads and 25 touchdown this season.

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    College football roundup: UCLA's Hundley eyes draft
    By The Sports Xchange

    It appears that quarterback Brett Hundley won't be sticking around for his senior season at UCLA. The fourth-year junior told radio host Jim Rome this week that he'll most likely enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

    • "The conversation keep coming up. I've got my degree. I've done everything I wanted to do here," Hundley said.

      The 21-year-old still has until January to officially declare his draft intentions. But it's clear that he's planning to leave college. NFLDraftScout.com lists Hundley as the No. 3 quarterback prospect behind Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Florida State's Jameis Winston. In 11 games this season, Hundley has passed for 2,873 yards and 20 touchdowns with five interceptions.

      ---The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference suspended 21 players who took part in a brawl on Saturday in the Norfolk State-South Carolina State game.

      Eleven unnamed players from Norfolk State and 10 from South Carolina State will serve the suspensions by sitting out the 2015 season opener. Seniors with no remaining eligibility who took part in the altercation were not included in the suspensions.

      The benches-clearing fight interrupted the game for 25 minutes in the fourth quarter after a South Carolina State touchdown. Players began shoving each other during the extra-point try and then started throwing punching and kicking. The skirmish apparently was touched off when Norfolk State assistant coach Pete Adrian head-butted a South Carolina State player.

      ---Stanford wide receiver/kick returner Ty Montgomery will sit out the regular-season finale against No. 9 UCLA on Friday because of a shoulder injury.

      Montgomery sprained his right shoulder during last week's 38-17 win over Cal when he was tackled after a 14-yard reception. He had shoulder surgery after last season.

      Montgomery is Stanford's leading receiver this season with 61 catches for 604 yards and three touchdowns and is one of the nation's top special teams players with two punt returns for touchdowns this season. The All-American kick returner ranks third in the Pac-12 with a 25.2-yard kickoff return average and has rushed for an additional 144 yards on 23 carries.

      ---Minnesota could be without its leading rusher for its biggest game in years on Saturday. Coach Jerry Kill said Tuesday that running back David Cobb's hamstring injury makes him "very questionable" for Saturday's Big Ten West Division title game at Wisconsin.

      Cobb was injured in the fourth quarter of last week's 28-24 victory at Nebraska. The senior is No. 9 nationally in rushing yards with 1,430. If he is unable to play, the Gophers would turn to backup Berkley Edwards, who has run for just 140 yards this season. Quarterback Mitch Leidner is the team's second leading rusher with 407 yards.

      The game was expected to feature two of the nation's backs with Cobb and Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon, who has 2,109 yrads and 25 touchdown this season.

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    Stanford's Montgomery to miss game against UCLA
    By The Sports Xchange

    Stanford wide receiver/kick returner Ty Montgomery will sit out the regular-season finale against No. 9 UCLA on Friday because of a shoulder injury.

    • Montgomery sprained his right shoulder during last week's 38-17 win over Cal when he was tackled after a 14-yard reception. He had shoulder surgery after last season.

      Montgomery is the Cardinal's leading receiver this season with 61 catches for 604 yards and three touchdowns and is one of the nation's top special teams players with two punt returns for touchdowns this season.

      The All-American kick returner also ranks third in the Pac-12 with a 25.2-yard kickoff return average and has rushed for an additional 144 yards on 23 carries.

      Backup receivers Michael Rector, Jeff Trojan and Francis Owusu are expected to step in for Montgomery this week against the Bruins.

      Stanford coach David Shaw is hopeful that Montgomery could return for a bowl game.

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    MEAC suspends 21 players after brawl
    By The Sports Xchange

    The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference suspended 21 players who took part in a brawl on Saturday in the Norfolk State-South Carolina State game.

    • Eleven unnamed players from Norfolk State and 10 from South Carolina State will serve the suspensions by sitting out the 2015 season opener. Seniors with no remaining eligibility who took part in the altercation were not included in the suspensions.

      The benches-clearing fight interrupted the game for 25 minutes in the fourth quarter after a South Carolina State touchdown.

      Players began shoving each other during the extra-point attempt and then started throwing punching and kicking. The skirmish apparently was touched off when Norfolk State assistant coach Pete Adrian head-butted a South Carolina State player.

      MEAC commissioner Dennis Thomas said "we don't tolerate that kind of behavior."

      "It was just a very unfortunate situation," Norfolk State athletic director Marty Miller said. according to The Virginian-Pilot. "But the idea is we don't need to be engaged in those type of activities on the field."

      South Carolina State won 30-20.

      Adrian retired from his job on Monday after 10 years at Norfolk State, but he had made the decision long before the brawl.

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    UCLA's Hundley leans heavily toward draft
    By The Sports Xchange

    It appears that quarterback Brett Hundley won't be sticking around for his senior season at UCLA.

    • The fourth-year junior told radio host Jim Rome this week that he'll most likely enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

      "There's a really good chance that was my last game against USC," Hundley said. "The conversation keep coming up. I've got my degree. I've done everything I wanted to do here. I've left something really, truly great, and I feel good. That's probably my last one against USC."

      The 6-foot-3, 227-pound Hundley led the Bruins to a 38-20 victory over rival USC on Saturday night in Pasadena, Calif., throwing for 326 yards and three touchdowns.

      The 21-year-old still has until January to officially declare his draft intentions. But it's clear that he leaning heavily toward leaving college.

      NFLDraftScout.com lists Hundley as the No. 3 quarterback prospect on the board behind Oregon's Marcus Mariota and Florida State's Jameis Winston.

      In 11 games this season, Hundley has passed for 2,873 yards and 20 touchdowns with five interceptions.

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    Wolverines keep emotions in check with Ohio St. ahead
    By The Sports Xchange

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. - When it came to discussing the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry, Wolverines center Jack Miller dished from the heart.

    • "I'm not a fan of Ohio State," said Miller, an Ohio native. "I never have been, ever since they beat Miami for the 2002 national championship. I don't like the Horseshoe, and I don't like Carmen, Ohio. That's about how I feel."

      Yet his sentiments toward Ohio State were about the only emotional response in regards to the annual rivalry game between the Buckeyes and the Wolverines on Saturday in Columbus.

      The questions instead focused on the future of Michigan coach Brady Hoke, who nears the close of his fourth year in Ann Arbor.

      Michigan interim athletic director Jim Hackett said Saturday he would evaluate both Hoke and the state of the football program at the conclusion of the season.

      The Wolverines have been under fire this season for various reasons, including last week's arrest of Frank Clark on charges of domestic violence and assault, the program and athletic department's handling of quarterback Shane Morris after he sustained a concussion during a game in September, as well as a subpar season in which Michigan faces the prospect of finishing 5-7 and without a bowl bid for the third time since 2008.

      When asked to make an argument for returning next season, Hoke declined to offer further details or a rebuttal.

      "I appreciate the question, but that's something I'd talk to Jim about," Hoke said, referring to Hackett. "I don't think this is the right venue to do it. This is a venue to talk about the great rivalry that's coming up. There's always an evaluation and I respect those evaluations. I'm sure you have them, and I'll have them."

      Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison offered a passionate defense of Hoke, pointing out player development and the program’s graduation rates as proof of Hoke's progress as a head coach -- even with a cumulative record of 31-19 at Michigan.

      "When it all comes down to it, why should he be here you say?" Mattison asked. "Because he's a winner. He's won everywhere he's been. The guy is a winner."

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    Buckeyes locked in on Michigan
    By The Sports Xchange

    COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Normally, when a team clinches a championship with games still to play in the regular season, there's a tendency to turn its attention to the postseason.

    • That won’t be a problem this week at Ohio State.

      The Big Ten East Division champion Buckeyes face archenemy Michigan on Saturday (noon ET, ABC) at Ohio Stadium in the 111th edition of the storied rivalry.

      Ohio State (10-1, 7-0) clinched the division title and a trip to the conference championship game for the second straight year with its 42-27 victory over Indiana last week. The Buckeyes will face West Division champion Wisconsin or Minnesota in Indianapolis in Dec. 6.

      "We are very pleased to represent the Big Ten in the championship game, but we put that aside now because this is our rivalry game," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said.

      The game lacks the national luster usually associated with this matchup because of Michigan's struggles.

      The Wolverines (5-6, 3-4) are nearing the end of another down year, needing a win just to become bowl eligible. Embattled coach Brady Hoke could be on the way out -- win or lose -- after four rocky seasons at the helm.

      The apparent mismatch doesn't diminish the stature of the game for the Buckeyes, who have hopes of not only winning the Big Ten title but being selected as one of four teams for the first College Football Playoff.

      Meyer, who refers to the Wolverines as That School Up North, expects them to hit the Buckeyes with their best shot -- just as underdog Michigan did last year before Ohio State escaped with a 42-41 victory after quarterback Devin Gardner's two-point conversion pass was intercepted by safety Tyvis Powell with 32 seconds left.

      "We just make a huge deal out of rivalry games," Meyer said. "I want the players to take ownership in the program, part ownership in the game. This is not another game. This is The Game."

      The Buckeyes talk about his game throughout the year, And this week, there’s extra emphasis. LL Cool J’s “It’s Time for War” is playing nonstop inside the football facility.

      In last year’s game, a fight broke out during the second quarter and Ohio State guard Marcus Hall and H-back Dontre Wilson were ejected. Hall also was suspended for the Big Ten championship game, which the Buckeyes lost to Michigan State.

      “That's not the way we play the game and I think a lot of lessons were learned,” Meyer said. “We went without one of our key linemen in the championship game the following week and we played a game without two or three good players.”

      Meyer warned his players not to get into any scuffles on the field this year. There’s too much to play for Saturday and down the road.

      "(Meyer) said he wants the game to be very intense, but if anybody throws a punch they're dismissed," Ohio State linebacker Curtis Grant said. "He pretty much put it out there. There's no telling what will happen if we get in a fight this year."

      In spite of the Wolverines' subpar record, Meyer anticipates a hard-fought battle simply because it's Michigan.

      Asked what he expects Saturday in the Horseshoe, Meyer said, "Their best game. There are great players there."

      SERIES HISTORY: Michigan leads 58-46-6, but Ohio State has dominated the rivalry in recent years, winning 11 of the last 13 meetings and the last six games between the teams in Ohio Stadium. Urban Meyer is 2-0 against the Wolverines as Ohio State's coach. The Buckeyes' last Big Ten loss came against Michigan in 2011.

      NOTES: Junior Noah Spence hasn't played all season because of a suspension, but Bucknuts.com reported that the All-Big Ten defensive end would have his appeal heard by the Big Ten this week.

      Coach Urban Meyer told reporters that he didn't have any information on Spence's status.

      "I think there is an appeal. I'm not involved in the appeal. I think there is," Meyer said. "I can't confirm or deny it because I don't really know the specifics of it. I think there is."

      Spence last played in the 2013 Big Ten championship game. He was suspended before the Orange Bowl after testing positive for ecstasy.

      -- Running back Ezekiel Elliott had his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the season against Indiana with 107 yards on 13 carries, highlighted by a 65-yard touchdown run. Elliottt has 1,061 yards -- the 30th 1,000-yard rushing season in Ohio State history. Carlos Hyde and Braxton Miller both ran for more than 1,000 in 2013.

      -- H-back Dontre Wilson's foot injury forced the Buckeyes to rely more on freshman Jalin Marshall and he has responded in a big way. Marshall's four touchdowns rallied Ohio State past Indiana last week.

  • Tuesday, November 25, 2014
    QB questions emerge for Arizona
    By The Sports Xchange

    TUCSON, Ariz. -- Arizona, for the first time since joining the Pac-10 in 1978, heads into the final week of the regular season with a chance to win the conference.

    • The Wildcats are 9-2 overall and 6-2 in the Pac-12, needing two things to happen to win the South division and advance to play Oregon in the league championship game at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

      First, they have to beat rival Arizona State, also 9-2 and 6-2, on Friday at Arizona Stadium. And, secondly, Stanford has to win at UCLA in a game that kicks off at the same time. The Bruins will take the South with a victory. If they lose, then the Arizona-ASU winner is the champ.

      One potential slight problem for Arizona.

      It might not have its starting quarterback.

      Redshirt freshman Anu Solomon, battling a right ankle injury for about a month, tweaked the injury late in the first half of last week's game at Utah. He couldn't go after halftime, giving way to redshirt senior Jesse Scroggins, a former USC quarterback who spent a year at junior college before joining the Wildcats in the spring of 2013.

      Solomon recently has spent time between games with the foot in a walking boot.

      Coach Rich Rodriguez isn't likely to say much about Solomon's status before kickoff. The school issues a weekly injury report that could provide a semblance of guidance (but do not expect anything definitive).

      Even Solomon basically shrugged his shoulders after Monday's practice.

      "Who knows?" he said. "I don't even know. ... When it's game time and the lights turn on I should be ready."

      It's reasonable to assume he'll at least give it a go. He has been very good in his debut season, completing 264 of 458 passes for 3,216 yards, with 25 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He's not a big running threat like a typical Rodriguez quarterback, but he makes the majority of his throws while on the move, so he needs that ankle to feel good so he can be at mobile against an attacking ASU defense.

      If Solomon can't play, or has to come out of the game, then Scroggins, at the end of his career, will finally take center stage in the biggest Territorial Cup matchup in nearly three decades. Arizona and ASU haven't met as ranked teams since 1986.

      Heck, it could be the biggest game in UA history if it results in a South division title.

      "It's definitely a crazy feeling," Scroggins said. "But you have to keep your head."

      SERIES HISTORY: Arizona leads the series 47-39-1, but the Sun Devils have won both meetings between UA coach Rich Rodriguez and ASU coach Todd Graham. Arizona State won 58-21 in Tempe last season.

      --QB Anu Solomon missed the second half of last week's game at Utah because of a right ankle injury. His availability for Friday's game against Arizona State was not known early in the week.

      --LB DeAndre' Miller has missed seven games because of a shoulder injury.

      --RB Terris Jones-Grigsby, who missed the Washington game because of ankle injury, was able to return last week in backup role to Nick Wilson.

  • Monday, November 24, 2014
    College football roundup: Northwestern loses starting QB
    By The Sports Xchange

    Northwestern will be without starting quarterback Trevor Siemian when it hosts Illinois on Saturday with bowl-eligibility on the line.

    • Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald announced Monday that Siemian tore his ACL in Saturday's game against Purdue and will miss the rest of the season.

      Northwestern's season will extend beyond Saturday if the Wildcats beat the Illini. Both teams are 5-6 and need one more win to become eligible for a bowl.

      Junior Zack Oliver is likely to be Northwestern's quarterback for Saturday's game.

      --Alabama tight end Brian Vogler is questionable for this weekend's Iron Bowl game against Auburn.

      Vogler strained a knee ligament in Saturday's win over Western Carolina.

      Freshman wide receiver ArDarius Stewart also is questionable with a strained nee ligament.

      --University of North Carolina officials have apologized to their Duke counterparts and have promised to pay for damage done by Tar Heels players after Thursday's win over the Blue Devils on the gridiron.

      After beating Duke 45-20 and knocking their rival out of the ACC championship game, Tar Heels players caused "significant" damage to the visiting team locker room as well as an adjacent practice field.

      --Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong is expected to return to the field when the Sun Devils play rival Arizona on Friday.

      The redshirt junior, who leads ASU with 71 catches for 982 yards and nine touchdowns, was held out of the Sun Devils' 52-31 win over Washington State on Saturday because of a concussion suffered in the previous game against Oregon State.

      ---University of Washington linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha heads the list of the five finalists for the Butkus Award, which is given to the top linebacker in college football. The award will be given out Dec. 9.

      UCLA's Eric Kendricks, Miami's Denzel Perryman, Michigan's Jake Ryan and Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith round out the finalists.

  • Monday, November 24, 2014
    Alabama TE Vogler quesitonable for Iron Bowl
    By The Sports Xchange

    Alabama tight end Brian Vogler is questionable for this weekend's Iron Bowl game against Auburn.

    • Vogler strained a knee ligament in Saturday's win over Western Carolina.

      Vogler is not much of a threat to catch the ball but is a physical presence in the run game and a solid pass protector.

      Freshman wide receiver ArDarius Stewart also is questionable with a strained knee ligament.

      "We'll see how they progress throughout the week, but they would be listed as questionable for the game right now, not that everyone will practice today," Saban told Al.com Monday. "As the week progresses, we're hopeful that everybody will respond and be able to get back and contribute in the game."

  • Monday, November 24, 2014
    Northwestern QB Siemian out for season
    By The Sports Xchange

    Northwestern will be without starting quarterback Trevor Siemian when it hosts Illinois on Saturday with bowl-eligibility on the line.

    • Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald announced Monday that Siemian tore his ACL in Saturday's game against Purdue and will miss the rest of the season.

      Northwestern's season will extend beyond Saturday if the Wildcats beat the Illini. Both teams are 5-6 and need one more win to become eligible for a bowl.

      Siemian, a senior, was injured on a quarterback sneak on a fourth-down play on Saturday. He completed 58.2 percent of his passes for 2,214 yards, seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions this season.

      Junior Zack Oliver is likely to be Northwestern's quarterback for Saturday's game. He took over when Siemian was injured against Purdue.

      Oliver played in three games this season, completing seven of 19 pass attempts for 146 yards and one touchdown.

      Freshman Matt Alviti also appeared in three games this season, completing his only pass attempt for 3 yards.

  • Monday, November 24, 2014
    ASU WR Strong expected back vs. Arizona
    By The Sports Xchange

    Arizona State wide receiver Jaelen Strong is expected to return to the field when the Sun Devils play rival Arizona on Friday.

    • The redshirt junior, who leads ASU with 71 catches for 982 yards and nine touchdowns, was held out of the Sun Devils' 52-31 win over Washington State on Saturday because of a concussion suffered in the previous game against Oregon State.

      The Sun Devils (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) can earn a second straight trip to the Pac-12 championship game if they beat Arizona and UCLA (9-2, 6-2) loses to Stanford on Friday.

  • Monday, November 24, 2014
    North Carolina apologizes to Duke for damage
    By The Sports Xchange

    University of North Carolina officials have apologized to their Duke counterparts and have promised to pay for damage done by Tar Heels players after Thursday's win over the Blue Devils on the gridiron.

    • After beating Duke 45-20 and knocking their rival out of the ACC championship game, Tar Heels players caused "significant" damage to the visiting team locker room as well as an adjacent practice field.

      According to the Herald Sun (Durham, N.C.), damage will exceed $25,000. As is tradition, North Carolina players began spray painting the Victory Bell in their school's color on the field as soon as the game ended.

      The celebration continued as the bell was wheeled across the practice field and into the locker room, causing the damage with paint.

      The paint on the practice field wasn't discovered until the Blue Devils arrived for a scheduled practice on Sunday night.

  • Monday, November 24, 2014
    Washington LB tops Butkus Award list
    By The Sports Xchange

    University of Washington linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha heads the list of the five finalists for the Butkus Award, which is given to the top linebacker in college football. The award will be given out Dec. 9.

    • Kikaha's 17 1/2 sacks is the most in the FBS, as his 23 1/2 tackles for a loss.

      UCLA's Eric Kendricks, Miami's Denzel Perryman, Michigan's Jake Ryan and Notre Dame's Jaylon Smith round out the finalists.

      The top high school linebacker also will be recognized by the Butkus Award. Two Ohio State verbal commits, Jerome Backer and Justin Hilliard top that list.

      Ole Miss verbal Leo Lewis and two uncommitted linebackers, John Houston and Malik Jefferson are the other finalists.

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014
    Fisher: Winston's contact with official harmless
    By The Sports Xchange

    Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher and quarterback Jameis Winston defended the contact the Heisman Trophy winner had with an official during Saturday's game against Boston College on Saturday.

    • The Atlantic Coast Conference later released a statement on Sunday saying the contact was insignifiant and did not warrant a penalty.

      Winston used his left arm to move the official away while trying to get off a quick snap with 5:20 left in the third quarter with the score tied 17-17.

      An official is instructed to stand over the ball to prevent the offense from snapping it until the defense has sufficient time to counter the offense's substitutions. The official stood between Winston and center Cam Erving to prevent the Seminoles from running the play until the Eagles made their defensive substitutions.

      Winston and Fisher said there was nothing malicious about the contact the quarterback made with the official.

      "He was just holding me because he said we had a substitution," Winston said of the official. "It was actually a fast-tempo play, so I was trying to get up under there and let it ride."

      After Winston tried to move the official out of the way, the official retreated to his regular spot on the field.

      Fisher said the play was designed to be run quickly after the following play, but the official tried to delay the play from being run because he ruled the Seminoles were making a substitution at running back.

      "I don't think (Winston) realized it. He was caught up in the excitement of the moment," Fisher said. "Hey, you get emotional. He didn't realize. He thought he could snap the ball. ... He knew that was his job -- get out there and set and snap the ball."

      Fisher said he did not talk to Winston about the contact he made with the official. He defended it as harmless.

      "He doesn't even remember (when he came to the sideline)," Fisher said. "When I yell at players, five minutes later, I don't remember who I yelled at. You move on to the next thing."

      No penalty was called on the play. Florida State later took the lead and won 20-17.

      "(The officials) did a good job on that from that standpoint," he said. "I think they understood what was going on. Those guys handled that part of the game. They managed the game itself and that part, I thought, very good. They did a very nice job."

      Doug Rhoads, the ACC's coordinator of officials, said in a statement Sunday: "The center judge's positioning, which was due to the experimental year of having an eighth official, combined with the late substitution and by rule the need to allow the defense to matchup, led to contact between himself and the player. The official believed the contact was incidental and insignificant and did not rise to the level of unsportsmanlike conduct and automatic disqualification."

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014
    Seminoles, Alabama atop polls
    By The Sports Xchange

    The top four teams in the Associated Press top 25 remained the same this week as Florida State, Alabama, Oregon and Mississippi State continue to lead the poll.

    • It is the first time since late September that the top four went unchanged.

      While Florida State was again No. 1 in the AP media poll, Alabama was ranked No. 1 in this week's USA Today coaches poll. Florida State was No. 2 in that poll, and Oregon and Mississippi State are No. 3 and No. 4 in both polls.

      Florida State received six fewer first-place votes in the AP poll than last week. The Seminoles received 37 votes, while the No. 2 Crimson Tide got 21 and the No. 3 Ducks picked up two.

      Baylor is No. 5 in the AP poll and TCU No. 6. They are reversed in the coaches poll.

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014
    First and 20: Silent Saturday prelude to CFB feast
    By The Sports Xchange

    Not much changed on a sleepy Saturday in college football, which was just an appetizer to Rivalry Week.

    • The top seven teams in the College Football Playoff selection committee's ranking all won -- some more easily than others -- so there wasn't much to talk about other than "game control."

      That was the phrase of the week in college football, an instant flash point among fans, as the committee tried to explain/rationalize how and why it ranked teams as it did. Yeah, we get it. "Game control" is basically another way of saying margin of victory, or a certain team "passes the eye test," but, as always, the only control of the game that really matters is the one that happens when the clock turns from 0:01 of the fourth quarter to 0:00.

      Teams are built to win in different ways. Florida State of 2013 left no meat on the bone as it devoured opponents. Florida State of 2014 toys with its food before leaving the table satisfied.

      The Seminoles did it again Saturday, needing a 26-yard field goal from Roberto Aguayo to escape with a 20-17 win over visiting Boston College. That was FSU's fifth game decided by a touchdown or less; the Seminoles didn't have any of those last year, until beating Auburn in the national championship game.

      "We're undefeated," said coach Jimbo Fisher. "We finish every game. Everybody else in the country has not finished at least one game. We've finished every one of them. Isn't that the object? Isn't that the object?"

      We can't deny that margin of victory has some predictive value, but winning the close ones, having the ability to mount comebacks, is a mighty valuable skill as well. If you want to mark down FSU for its strength of schedule, that's fair, but leave off the demerits for its otherwise lack of "game control" -- a sticky, subjective matter better left to sports talk radio.

      Anyway, the top teams in the selection committee poll are dying for any kind of victory this week against old rivals.

      No. 1 Alabama plays the mother of all Iron Bowl revenge games against Auburn. No. 2 Oregon is at Oregon State. No. 3 Florida State plays host to a Florida team with nothing to lose (having already lost its coach, Will Muschamp, after this game). No. 4 Mississippi State goes to Ole Miss in only the third Egg Bowl to feature ranked teams on both sides.

      Elsewhere, No. 5 TCU is at a surging Texas team on Thanksgiving, and No. 6 Ohio State will try to avoid being a victim of a last gasp from visiting Michigan.

      There are some mismatches here, but the only surprise would be if there are no surprises this week.

      Five things we think we learned in week 13

      1. Can't count out UCLA. The Bruins stomped on rival USC and will be no worse than eighth in the new selection committee poll. Brett Hundley looks like Brett Hundley, the Bruins defensive front has finally come to play, and the Bruins are riding a five-game winning streak into their regular-season finale against Stanford. If that streak gets to seven, which would include a win over Oregon in the Pac-12 title game, UCLA would have a playoff case, especially if the committee values how a team is playing right now.

      2. Jim Hackett has an easy decision to make. Hackett, Michigan's new interim athletic director, will have to make a call on head coach Brady Hoke before a full-time AD is hired. Hackett was non-committal when he met with reporters Saturday ... and then Michigan went out and lost at Maryland. Enough said?

      3. Can't count out Kansas State. The Big 12 debate is which team should be ranked higher -- Baylor or TCU -- but the Wildcats are the third wheel. Each of these teams is 6-1 in the conference, with K-State, coming off a win at West Virginia, finishing the regular-season against Kansas and at Baylor. The Wildcats will be rooting hard for Texas to beat the Horned Frogs on Thanksgiving.

      4. This is the year of the running back. Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon's FBS single-game rushing record lasted one week, broken by Oklahoma freshman Samaje Perine, who went for 427 yards against Kansas. Don't feel too badly for Gordon, who reached 2,000 yards in a season faster than anyone in FBS history -- on his 241st carry. That's a record he'll hold for more than a week.

      5. Virginia Tech remains Ohio State's anchor. The Buckeyes' case for the College Football Playoff is undermined by that early home loss to Virginia Tech, which looks worse all the time. Tech dropped to 5-6 after losing to Wake Forest 6-3 in double overtime. It was the first scoreless regulation game since 2005. The 5-6 Hokies, who have been bowling for 21 consecutive years, need to beat Virginia to make it 22.

      Five top Heisman candidates

      1. Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon. He just keeps rolling on, with 323 passing yards and 73 rushing yards against Colorado. He accounted for four touchdowns -- three through the air -- to set the Pac-12 season record with 42 total touchdowns.

      2. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin. He has 2,109 rushing yards, with potentially three games to play -- vs. Minnesota, Big Ten title game, bowl game. The FBS single-season record is 2,628 yards, held by Oklahoma State's Barry Sanders. This is doable.

      3. Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State. The dual threat is back in the picture, not because the Bulldogs rebounded against overmatched Vanderbilt, but because he can further impress this week against Ole Miss, and, perhaps, in the SEC title game.

      4. J.T Barrett, QB, Ohio State. He's third nationally in passing efficiency (even with 10 interceptions) to go with his 771 rushing yards. Directing the Buckeyes to the Big Ten title certainly will get him to New York City.

      5. Tevin Coleman, RB, Indiana. His numbers are just a tick below Gordon's -- 241 carries, 1,906 yards, 15 touchdowns -- and maybe it's more impressive that, you know, he's doing it at Indiana.

      Five players to watch

      1. Markus Golden, DE, Missouri. He's healthy again, with four sacks in the past two weeks, and just in time as the SEC East is on the line Friday vs. Arkansas, which has defeated LSU and Ole Miss via shutout in each of the past two weeks. With a win, the Tigers advance to the conference title game for the second consecutive season; otherwise, Georgia wins the East.

      2. Nick Wilson, RB, Arizona. He's healthy again, too, rushing for a career-high 218 yards against a tough Utah defense and becoming the first freshman in school history to gain 1,000 yards in a season. He'll be a prime focus Friday against Arizona State.

      3. Jalin Marshall, WR/PR, Ohio State. The speedy redshirt freshman had a 54-yard punt return and three fourth-quarter receiving touchdowns in a difficult win over Indiana, playing the hero after nearly being the goat (two fumbles) a week earlier against Minnesota.

      4. Patrick Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech. The true freshman passed for 328 yards and four touchdowns, including one on a late game-winning drive to win at Iowa State. He'll make his fourth start this Saturday at home against Baylor, able to influence the chase for the Big 12 and national titles.

      5. Tyler Lockett, WR/RET, Kansas State. Was brilliant at West Virginia, with 10 catches for 196 yards and a 43-yard punt return for a score. That was his second punt return TD of the season, to go with four career kick return scores.

      Five best week 14 games

      1. Auburn at Alabama, Saturday, 7:45 ET (ESPN). The Tide has waited all year for a chance to pay back the Tigers for the Kick Six, but can Alabama stop QB Nick Marshall? Amazingly, this is the seventh consecutive Iron Bowl that has national championship implications for at least one of the teams.

      2. Florida at Florida State, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. ET (ESPN). The Gators have the athletes on defense to keep it close. Sure, that's how the 'Noles like it this season, but you know what happens when you play with fire one too many times.

      3. Arizona State at Arizona, Friday, 3:30 p.m. (FOX). There will be plenty of scoreboard watching as Stanford at UCLA kicks off at the same time. If Stanford pulls off the upset, the winner of the Territorial Cup wins the South. This is the first time since 1975 that each team enters the game with at least nine wins -- and that was back when Arizona and ASU were in the WAC.

      4. Mississippi State at Ole Miss, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (CBS). The Rebels have lost three of their past four games, and really miss their best offensive player, WR Laquon Treadwell. The ending to the season hasn't gone as planned for Ole Miss, but not much would be better than spoiling the Bulldogs' playoff plans.

      5. TCU at Texas, Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET, (FOX Sports 1). The Longhorns have won three in a row and are playing some mean defense for coach Charlie Strong. But it won't be easy to resist TCU QB Trevone Boykin and the Frogs' now-dynamic attack in a key Big 12 game.

      Bonus: Minnesota at Wisconsin, Saturday, 3:30 p.m. (Big Ten Network). Winner takes the Big Ten West and plays Ohio State in the league title game.

      NFLDraftScout.com: Film Room Review

      Analyst Rob Rang's five prospect takeaways for this week. Players listed including position, school, year (Height, weight and current NFLDraftScout.com overall rating and by position).

      1. OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame, rSo. (6-6, 318, #5 OT in 2017 class): As he has virtually all season, the left tackle stood out against an athletic Louisville defense, demonstrating the balance, strength and aggression that screams first-round pick.

      2. RB D.J. Foster, Arizona State, Jr. (5-11, 205, #18 RB in 2016 class): Bottled up much of the day by Washington State, Foster showed off his big-play ability, zipping through the defense for a 17-yard touchdown in the first quarter and an 18-yard score in the fourth. He was often targeted as a receiver, as well, demonstrating the versatile skill set that has led scouts to compare him to the Patriots' Shane Vereen.

      3. WR Tyler Lockett, Kansas State, Sr. (5-11, 175, #89/#14): He wins with size, strength and hand-eye coordination, frequently beating defenders this season on jump-balls. He was the big winner in the Wildcats' win at West Virginia, piling up 321 all-purpose yards as a receiver and returner.

      4. DT Marcus Hardison, Arizona State, Sr. (6-4, 298, #299/#25 DT): Sent up the middle and on a variety of stunts, Hardison showed burst, agility (including a spin move) and strength to rip through blocks and pull down ballcarriers.

      5. WR Vince Mayle, Washington State, rSr. (6-3, 219, #160/#22): He frequently beat Arizona State with slants and posts, using his broad shoulders to shield defenders from the ball. Mayle doesn't possess elite speed but he accelerates fluidly, which helps him separate just enough on verticals. Mayle recently accepted an invitation to participate in the East-West Shrine Game.

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014
    Hundley leads UCLA past USC, 38-20
    By The Sports Xchange

    PASADENA, Calif. -- UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as the Bruins defeated crosstown rival USC 38-20 on Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

    • The game was close throughout most of the first half, but UCLA scored a late second-quarter touchdown and two more on its first two possessions of the second half.

      "Those were big," Hundley said. "To come out in the second half and go up 31 and then 38-14 said a lot about us tonight."

      The victory keeps the Bruins' hopes for a spot in the Pac-12 championship game alive. If the Bruins (9-2, 6-2 Pac-12) can defeat Stanford next Friday, they will play Oregon, which beat UCLA 42-30 in October, in the title game.

      "This was a good win that just sets us up to chase our dreams," UCLA coach Jim Mora said. "But Stanford has beat us three times in a row, so we can't gloat."

      As is usually the case with the Bruins, their success depended greatly on the skills of Hundley, who began the year as a Heisman hopeful. Hundley had been particularly effective in three games leading up to Saturday, rushing for more than 100 yards twice. But Saturday he mostly picked apart the Trojan defense from the haven of a clean pocket, completing 22 of 31 passes for 326 yards and touchdowns of 10, 57 and 13 yards.

      "The keys to the ballgame were pretty clear," USC coach Steve Sarkisian said. "Their ability to extend drives, their third-down efficiency, 9-for-16, and then their efficiency in the red zone, 5-for-6. Over time that took a toll on us."

      The game was supposed to be a matchup of two of the Pac-12's most efficient and consistent quarterbacks. Hundley and USC's Cody Kessler entered the game completing better than 70 percent of their passes. But Hundley was clearly better Saturday night, controlling the game throughout, although he did throw an interception for a touchdown and lost a fumble near the USC goal line. By the time the latter turnover occurred, UCLA was comfortably ahead.

      Kessler, who completed 22 of 34 passes for 214 yards and a touchdown, spent most of the evening running from or being swallowed up by the UCLA defensive line. Coming into the game, much had been made of USC's front four on defense, something that UCLA's linemen took a bit personally.

      "I think they saw this game as an opportunity to show who had the better defensive line," UCLA defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich said.

      On Saturday, it was clearly UCLA, which sacked Kessler six times, compared to just two sacks of Hundley by USC.

      Hundley began the game quickly, completing four of his first five passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Well, three if you count an interception he threw to USC linebacker Anthony Sarao, who returned the ball 17 yards for the game's first score with 11:53 left in the first quarter.

      Hundley responded with two quick scoring drives, completing a 10-yard scoring pass to wide receiver Devin Lucien after the Bruins recovered a muffed punt.

      The next time Hundley touched the ball, he completed a short pass to sophomore wide receiver Thomas Duarte in the middle of the field. With no defenders around, Duarte ran straight downfield, 57 yards untouched, for the score.

      USC (7-4, 6-3) tied the score with its first offensive touchdown early in the second quarter, on Kessler's 2-yard pass to running back Justin Davis.

      After a field goal put the Bruins ahead 17-14, the Trojans seemed poised to tie the score or go ahead, driving to the Bruins' 30-yard line. But Kessler's pass was tipped and intercepted by senior linebacker Eric Kendricks with little more than five minutes to go in the half.

      Hundley then drove his team down the field and, with 14 seconds left, completed a 13-yard touchdown pass to freshman wide receiver Eldridge Massington. The extra point gave UCLA a 24-14 lead at halftime.

      The Bruins started the second half by driving 84 yards on nine plays to score on running back Paul Perkins' 10-yard run.

      UCLA took a 38-14 lead when Hundley capped another drive with a 15-yard touchdown run.

      "They score right at the end of the half, then they came right back out and got another seven to start the second half," Sarkisian said. "Then we go three and out and they get seven more. That really was the entire ballgame."

      NOTES: At the end of the first quarter, UCLA retired Jackie Robinson's No. 42 in all sports. Robinson was a four-sport athlete for the Bruins from 1939 to 1941. ... This was the 84th meeting between USC and UCLA. The rivalry started in 1929, when USC beat UCLA 73-0.

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014
    Mississippi State mauls Vanderbilt
    By The Sports Xchange

    STARKVILLE, Miss. -- A week after Mississippi State's first loss of the season, the Bulldogs got back to their winning ways with a 51-0 victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday night.

    • "We're 7-0 at home," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. "We talked about it and if you want to compete in the SEC and compete for championships, you have to win home games. We were able to do that this year."

      No. 4 Mississippi State (10-1, 6-1 SEC) got to double-digit wins for the first time since 1999 by gaining 502 yards, with 283 coming on the ground. The defense forced three turnovers to provide the first SEC shutout in 15 years.

      The 51 points were the most scored in an SEC game by the Bulldogs since their 55-31 win over LSU in 1980. It was Mississippi State's first SEC shutout since a 17-0 win over South Carolina in 1999.

      The Commodores (3-7, 0-6) managed just 228 yards -- 49 on the ground. They were also held to 4 of 15 third-down conversions while allowing the Bulldogs to convert 11 of 15.

      "Hats off to a really good Mississippi State football team," Vandy coach Derek Mason said. "I thought they played hard and played physical and they showed why they are a top four team."

      The Bulldogs didn't seem to have any rust from their loss in Tuscaloosa last week. Mississippi State came out in a big way as the Commodores managed just 28 first-quarter yards and minus-5 yards rushing.

      Mississippi State took a 13-0 lead thanks to touchdown passes from quarterback Dak Prescott to senior tight end Malcolm Johnson and junior wide receiver Joe Morrow.

      At the start of the second quarter, Mississippi State senior linebacker Christian Holmes stripped the ball loose on a first-down completion, picked up the ball and ran it back 48 yards for a touchdown and a 20-0 lead.

      The Bulldogs added two more touchdowns from Prescott -- on a 13-yard pass to junior running back Josh Robinson and a 3-yard rush. They ended the half with a 41-yard field goal from Evan Sobiesk and led 37-0 at halftime.

      Mississippi State dominated the half, compiling 280 yards to Vanderbilt's 109.

      The Commodores were plagued by three turnovers as the Bulldogs got interceptions from sophomore linebacker Beniquez Brown and sophomore defensive back Tolando Cleveland in addition to Holmes' fumble recovery.

      "We definitely had our fair share of mistakes and miscues," Mason said. "We didn't do a good enough job for us. It started on defense and we just didn't do a good enough job getting off the field."

      The second half was much of the same, though it took three possessions before Prescott and company could get in the end zone. Sophomore running back Ashton Shumpert capped a nine-play, 72-yard drive with a 3-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 44-0.

      In two-and-a-half quarters, Prescott led the Bulldogs with 16-of-21 passing for 192 yards and three touchdowns. He rushed six times for 28 yards and another score.

      With Prescott out the rest of the way, sophomore Damian Williams took over and led Mississippi State into the fourth quarter with a nine-play drive. It ended with Morrow's second touchdown catch of the night, from 9 yards, and Mississippi State took a 51-0 lead. Morrow had a career day with five catches for 79 yards and the two touchdowns.

      Vandy got 156 yards on 15-of-31 passing from freshman quarterback Johnny McCrary, who threw an interception. He also led the team with eight carries and 20 yards.

      Both teams get set for rivalry games this week, with Vandy hosting Tennessee and the Bulldogs traveling to Oxford to play Ole Miss.

      NOTES: Mississippi State's 37-point lead was its largest against an SEC opponent at halftime in school history. ... Vanderbilt's minus-5 yards rushing was the lowest total surrendered in the first quarter by the Bulldogs under defensive coordinator Geoff Collins. ... The 51-point win was the largest victory in SEC play for the Bulldogs since they beat former SEC member Sewanee 68-0 in 1936. ... The Bulldogs have 10 wins for just the third time in school history and the first time in the regular season.

  • Sunday, November 23, 2014
    Mariota leads Ducks to rout of Buffs
    By The Sports Xchange

    EUGENE, Ore. -- It was Senior Day for No. 2 Oregon, but the biggest ovation was reserved for junior quarterback Marcus Mariota.

    • In what was likely his final home game, the Oregon junior quarterback passed for 323 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for 73 yards and another score as the Ducks defeated Colorado 44-10 on Saturday in front of 55,891 at Autzen Stadium.

      "If this was my last game at Autzen, it was truly special," said Mariota, who is projected to be a first-round NFL Draft pick if he leaves school early. "I will hold it close to my heart for all of my life."

      Mariota helped the Ducks improve to 10-1 as they prepare to close out the regular season at Oregon State on Saturday.

      Oregon is 7-1 in the Pac-12 Conference and has clinched the North Division.

      Mariota remains the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy after completing 24 of 32 passes for 323 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran eight times for 73 yards and a score while improving to 33-4 as Oregon's starting quarterback.

      Mariota has thrown at least one touchdown pass in all 37 games in his career. He has 32 touchdown passes, nine touchdown runs and one touchdown catch to break the Pac-12 record with 42 total touchdowns in one season.

      "I can't do that without all the guys in that locker room," Mariota said. "The guys up front, the receivers making plays. It's funny, to me that is a number. I'm sure some guy will come along and break it in a few years. It is one of those things for the entire offense, not just me."

      Mariota was pulled from the game early in the fourth quarter to a large ovation from the sellout crowd.

      Freshman running back Royce Freeman ran 17 times for 105 yards and two scores for the Ducks, who finished with 597 yards of total offense. Byron Marshall led Oregon with four catches for 65 yards.

      "It was solid," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich said. "We didn't play extremely well in any phase, but that is a good thing. We can definitely improve. We need to play smarter, but I am proud of the effort."

      Colorado made a switch at quarterback and started Jordan Gehrke, who completed 9-of-18 passes for 64 yards in the first half. Sefo Liufau, the usual starter who sustained a concussion in Colorado's last game, replaced Gehrke for the second half and went 7-for-14 for 41 yards and a touchdown.

      "It is obviously different coming in the second half than starting the game, but every time you go out there you want to try and get better," Liufau said. "Obviously, it was a rough day but there are things we can learn from it."

      Christian Powell had 51 yards rushing to lead the Buffaloes while top receiver Nelson Spruce was held to two catches for 16 yards.

      "Oregon is a very good football team," CU coach Mike MacIntyre said. "I thought our kids played hard. I said it and I mean it, I think we're getting better. Last year, this team took a knee and could have beaten us by 70. I thought we battled hard."

      Colorado (2-9, 0-8) opened the game with an onside kick and the Buffaloes recovered it, but went three-and-out and were forced to punt.

      The Ducks responded with a touchdown drive that culminated with a 20-yard scoring run by Freeman, but the two-point conversion failed and Oregon took a 6-0 lead with 10:48 left in the first quarter.

      Colorado drove to the Oregon 23-yard line on its next possession, but kicker Will Oliver missed a 46-yard field goal attempt.

      The Ducks pushed the lead to 13-0 when Mariota ran 46 yards for a touchdown late in the first quarter.

      The Buffaloes got on the scoreboard when Oliver hit a 23-yard field goal midway through the second quarter to cut the lead to 20-3.

      Oregon responded with a scoring drive that lasted less than two minutes before Mariota found wide receiver Charles Nelson for a 31-yard touchdown pass that gave Oregon a 27-3 lead with just over five minutes before halftime.

      Kicker Matt Wogan made a 25-yard field goal in the final minute of the second quarter to put Oregon ahead, 30-3, at halftime.

      Mariota completed 14-for-20 passes for 176 yards and a touchdown in the first half and ran six times for 74 yards and a score.

      Oregon drove to the Colorado 3-yard line on its first drive of the second half, but Mariota threw an incomplete pass in the end zone on fourth down.

      Mariota bounced back to throw a 15-yard touchdown pass to tight end Evan Baylis, his first career touchdown catch, to make it 37-3 in the third quarter.

      Liufau led Colorado on its first scoring drive, culminated by a 5-yard touchdown pass to Donovan Lee, to get the Buffaloes to within 37-10 late in the third quarter.

      Mariota threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Nelson at the end of the third quarter as Oregon went ahead, 44-10.

      NOTES: Oregon all-conference senior C Hroniss Grasu, who started the first 50 games of his career, missed his first game because of an ankle injury. Guard Hamani Stevens moved to center and Doug Brenner got his first career start at guard. ... Evan Baylis made his second career start at tight end for the Ducks in place of Pharaoh Brown, who is out for the season because of a leg injury. ... Oregon QB Marcus Mariota ran for nine yards on his first carry to become the fifth player in NCAA history with more than 9,000 passing yards and 2,000 rushing yards in his career. ... Colorado senior CB Greg Henderson made his 44th career start to set the school record for a defensive back.