Sep 17, 2022; Auburn, Alabama, USA; Auburn Tigers quarterback T.J. Finley (1) throws a pass against the Penn State Nittany Lions during the first quarter at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: Auburn QB T.J. Finley out for LSU game

Auburn quarterback T.J. Finley is expected to miss the Tigers’ home game on Saturday against LSU due to a shoulder injury, multiple media outlets reported on Wednesday.

The junior also was sidelined last week as Auburn edged Missouri 17-14 in overtime.

Finley is dealing with a Grade 2 AC sprain to his right (throwing) shoulder, according to AL.com.

Robby Ashford replaced Finley in the second half on Sept. 17 as the Tigers fell 41-12 to then-No. 22 Penn State. Finley, a transfer from LSU in his second season at Auburn, started the first three games of the 2022 season, completing 62.3 percent of his passes for 431 yards and one touchdown with four interceptions.

In the victory over Missouri, Ashford was 12 of 18 for 127 yards while also producing 46 yards rushing and a touchdown on 15 carries.

Finley was active and in uniform for the Missouri game but didn’t see action.

Auburn coach Bryan Harsin said before practice on Wednesday regarding Finley, “He was out there with those guys yesterday. We’ll see how he goes today and what he looks like.”

Auburn’s depth at quarterback took another hit last week when Zach Calzada, a Texas A&M transfer, decided to have season-ending shoulder surgery, according to AL.com.

On Saturday, Auburn (3-1, 1-0 Southeastern Conference) will attempt to beat LSU (3-1, 1-0) for the third year in a row. That would be Auburn’s longest winning streak in the series since taking four in a row from 1989-94.

–Field Level Media

Jul 21, 2022; Atlanta, GA, USA; Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher shown on the stage during SEC Media Days at the College Football Hall of Fame. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Top 10 recruit David Hicks commits to Texas A&M

Five-star defensive lineman David Hicks, the ninth best overall recruit in the nation in the Class of 2023, committed to Texas A&M over Oklahoma on Wednesday.

The 6-foot-4 Texan said staying close to home was part of his motivation to choose the Aggies.

“They have a really great coaching staff and I have a really great relationship with everyone on staff,” Hicks told ESPN. “They’ve been recruiting me since eighth grade and I can stay close to home.”

Hicks is also the No. 1 defensive lineman and top prospect out of Texas, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.

Hicks chose A&M over Oregon, Michigan State and Miami among his 39 offers, in addition to the Sooners.

Hicks plays for Paetow High School in Katy, Texas.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Louisville, Kentucky, USA; South Florida Bulls quarterback Gerry Bohanon (11) runs the ball against the Louisville Cardinals during the second quarter at Cardinal Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

USF, ECU look to rebound from tough losses

South Florida enters unfamiliar territory for its American Athletic Conference opener against visiting East Carolina on Saturday in Boca Raton, Fla.

The game was scheduled to be played in Tampa on the same day, but due to the approach of Hurricane Ian, South Florida moved the game to FAU’s football stadium and changed the kickoff time to 2:30 p.m. ET.

Making matters more difficult for the Bulls (1-3, 0-0 AAC) is that they’re still picking up the pieces from a 41-3 thrashing at the hands of Louisville last week.

Baylor transfer quarterback Gerry Bohanon had his worst outing of the season, going 9 for 17 for 62 yards and two interceptions. In four games with the Bulls, Bohanon has thrown for 569 yards and six picks without a touchdown.

Jeff Scott removed Bohanon from the game with the Bulls behind 31-0 in the third quarter, a benching the coach said was partly about Bohanon’s health.

“I didn’t want to lose our starting quarterback before we played our first conference game,” Scott said. “He was banged up coming out of the Florida game and wasn’t able to throw as much during the week in practice, but we felt like he could go. Once it got to that point, you’ve got to think about your entire season.”

The Bulls take on East Carolina (2-2, 0-1) as it comes off a disappointing double-overtime loss in its AAC opener.

The Pirates took Navy to overtime after a back-and-forth fourth quarter. East Carolina could not score in the second overtime as it fell 23-20 at home.

East Carolina missed a game-tying extra point to lose to then-No. 13 NC State by one point in the season opener, then beat Old Dominion and FCS Campbell.

“They’re sitting here two plays from being 4-0. It’s tough,” ECU coach Mike Houston said. “I’m proud of our kids. I’m proud of our leadership, because they’ve been the ones that have brought us here and kind of given us these opportunities and they continue to lead with a lot of maturity and determination.”

The Pirates rank fourth in the AAC in scoring defense (18.8 ppg), while the offense is led by running back Keaton Mitchell and veteran quarterback Holton Ahlers. Mitchell’s 386 rushing yards rank second in the conference, and Ahlers has thrown for 1,067 yards, nine touchdowns and three interceptions.

South Florida owns the all-time series lead 9-3, but East Carolina has won the past two meetings.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Pullman, Washington, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Bo Nix (10) is stopped short of the goalie by Washington State Cougars linebacker Travion Brown (82) in the second half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Ducks won 44-41. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

No. 13 Oregon carries winning streak into hosting Stanford

After a wild comeback win over previously undefeated Washington State on the road last week, No. 13 Oregon is on a three-game winning streak with Stanford coming to Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore., on Saturday night.

The Ducks (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) trailed 34-22 more than halfway through the fourth quarter, but ended up scoring 22 points in the final four minutes to stun the Cougars.

After a rough start to his Oregon career in the team’s 49-3 loss to Georgia, quarterback Bo Nix has been the signal caller the Ducks hoped they were getting when he transferred from Auburn. Nix completed 33 of 44 passes for 428 yards and three touchdowns, and also ran for 30 yards against Washington State.

The 33 completions and 428 passing yards were both career highs.

“To respond the way he responded, and for our team to respond to Bo the way they responded, I think that shows the ultimate confidence that this team has in Bo,” Oregon head coach Dan Lanning said after the game.

Oregon has a 21-game winning streak at Autzen Stadium that started in 2018. It’s the third-longest active home win streak in the FBS. The Ducks have also won their last 15 home conference games, which is just one win away from matching the program record.

Oregon’s offensive line has played well, and the Ducks have yet to allow a sack, while every other team in the country has. Oregon leads the nation with a 94.2 pass-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus.

However, Stanford (1-2, 0-2) leads the overall series between the two Pac-12 rivals with a 47-34-1 record. The Cardinal, though, are coming off a 40-22 loss to then-No. 18 Washington in Seattle last weekend.

“We play up to our ability, we’ll have an opportunity to win,” Stanford head coach David Shaw said Tuesday. “This is another team you can’t give chances. You can’t turn the ball over against these guys. Our defense is in for a battle, but offensively we’ve got to live up to our abilities as well.”

Shaw isn’t happy about when kickoff is, at 8 p.m. local time, and suggested that game start times should be no later than 7 p.m. on a Saturday, and 6 p.m. on a weeknight.

Shaw’s concern revolves around the difficulty for student-athletes to get rest and get schoolwork done on the day after a game if the athletes don’t get back to the Bay Area until early morning.

Oregon will be the third straight Top-25 program Stanford will face, after losses to then-No. 10 USC on Sept. 10 and Washington last week.

Running back E.J. Smith will miss the rest of the season, due to an unspecified injury, Shaw announced Tuesday. Smith had 206 rushing yards in two games for Stanford.

Casey Filkins, who started in place of Smith, had 20 carries for 100 yards and added two catches for 29 yards against the Huskies. Shaw said Filkins will be the lead running back going forward.

–Field Level Media

Auburn Tigers head coach Bryan Harsin  looks on during warm ups before Auburn Tigers take on Missouri Tigers at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022.

Power 5 Hot Seats: Auburn’s Bryan Harsin vaults to top

A trio of Power 5 football coaches have already lost their jobs and the calendar hasn’t hit October.

With Scott Frost (Nebraska), Herm Edwards (Arizona State) and Geoff Collins (Georgia Tech) handed their pink slips — or “mutually parting ways” with their schools — who is next in line?

The day after Collins was fired, SportsBetting.ag opened the market on Tuesday with Colorado’s Karl Dorrell and Auburn’s Bryan Harsin the co-favorites at +200. The public quickly jumped on Harsin, pushing the embattled Tigers coach to +100 within a few hours.

Harsin kept his job following an inquiry over the offseason, but the critics have remained loud despite the Tigers’ 3-1 start. Auburn eased into the season with wins over a pair of non-Power 5 teams before a blowout loss to Penn State and a narrow overtime win over Missouri — all at home.

Colorado’s 0-4 start has been much rougher with the Buffaloes being outscored a combined 173-47. Dorrell, who went 35-27 in five seasons at UCLA, is now 8-14 in his third season in Boulder.

The third-shortest odds belong to Stanford’s David Shaw. He opened at +300 on Tuesday but those odds lengthened to +500 despite the Cardinal coming off another decisive loss to Washington.

Next Coach Fired Odds
Bryan Harsin, Auburn: +100
Karl Dorrell, Colorado: +200
David Shaw, Stanford: +500
Jeff Scott, South Florida: +600
Ken Niumatalolo, Navy: +900
Eliah Drinkwitz, Missouri: +1400
Steve Sarkisian, Texas: +1400
Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: +1600
Jimbo Fisher, Texas A&M: +2000
Scott Satterfield, Louisville: +2200
Mack Brown, North Carolina: +3300

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Pullman, Washington, USA; Washington State Cougars quarterback Cameron Ward (1) throws a pass against the Oregon Ducks in the second half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Ducks won 44-41. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

After dispiriting loss, Washington State aims to rebound vs. Cal

In the southeast corner of Washington State, where Pullman is located, they have a phrase for what happened to the Cougars last weekend against Oregon.

They “Couged it.”

Their fans hope it doesn’t happen again when Washington State plays host to Cal (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) on Saturday afternoon for their homecoming game.

Washington State (3-1, 0-1) blew a double-digit lead in the final four minutes against the then-No. 15 Ducks, allowing 22 unanswered points in a span of less than three minutes. The host Cougars scored a meaningless touchdown in the final seconds to lose 44-41.

“We need to make sure we’re going into every single game ready to go four quarters,” Cougars edge rusher Brennan Jackson said. “We had some great goal-line stands early in the game. That’s kind of the embodiment of finishing.”

Instead, the Ducks scored 29 fourth-quarter points.

“We gotta finish the game out … I think we did that in the first two or three games, but we gotta do it consistently, every single week,” Jackson said. “There’s going to be some great teams. This is a hard schedule, it’s a hard conference.”

Washington State’s Cameron Ward completed 37 of 48 passes for 375 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a score in the fourth quarter.

“You saw the best of Cam Ward,” Cougars coach Jake Dickert said. “He has magic with the ball in his hands. …

“(But) you’re not going to win a lot of games giving up 600 yards of offense. … It was them out-executing us in the fourth quarter.”

The Golden Bears opened Pac-12 play with a 49-31 victory against Arizona as freshman Jaydn Ott ran for 274 yards and three touchdowns.

It was the third-highest single-game mark in school history, behind Jahvid Best’s 311 against Washington in 2008 and Jerry Drew’s 283 against Oregon State in 1954.

“Every time I touch the ball, I feel like I’m going to score,” said Ott, who had touchdowns on runs of 73, 18 and 72 yards. “That’s my mentality.”

Jack Plummer added three touchdown passes for the Golden Bears.

Cal leads the all-time series with Washington State 48-29-5.

–Field Level Media

Sep 24, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats quarterback Ben Bryant (6) throws against the Indiana Hoosiers in the third quarter at Nippert Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/Cincinnati Enquirer via USA TODAY NETWORK

High-scoring offenses, Cincy and Tulsa meet in AAC opener

Cincinnati and host Tulsa likely will keep heads on a swivel Saturday as their respective high-octane offenses clash in the American Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

The defending AAC-champion Bearcats (3-1) are averaging a conference-best 42.5 points per game, while the Golden Hurricane (2-2) are right behind them at 39 points per contest. Tulsa, however, ranks first in the conference in both total offense (507 yards per game) and passing offense (358.5).

Cincinnati, which ranks third in the conference in passing offense (328.3), got off to a fast start last Saturday. Ben Bryant threw three of his four first-half touchdowns to Tyler Scott to fuel the Bearcats to a 45-24 victory over Indiana.

Bryant completed 24 of 40 passes for a career-high-tying 354 yards, marking his third 300-yard passing performance since joining the program as a transfer from Eastern Michigan.

Scott was named AAC Offensive Player of the Week after recording personal-best totals in catches (10) and receiving yards (185).

“Ben Bryant played his butt off,” Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell said. “Tyler Scott had three touchdowns in the first half, there are some really great things. They are going to give us a chance to win a lot of football games.”

Cincinnati’s Ivan Pace Jr. was named AAC Defensive Player of the Week after registering 15 tackles — including 4.5 for loss — and 2.5 sacks against the Hoosiers.

The transfer from Miami (Ohio) will look to provide a disruptive presence versus Tulsa, which squandered an early lead in a 35-27 setback against Ole Miss last Saturday.

“I was proud of our football team in a lot of different ways,” Golden Hurricane head coach Philip Montgomery said. “I thought we played a full 60-minute game, fought through some adversity, gave ourselves a chance to win late.”

Davis Brin threw for a touchdown and rushed for another before exiting midway through the second quarter with an injured right ankle. Receiver Keylon Stokes was briefly knocked out of the game following a helmet-to-helmet hit.

Stokes has 31 receptions for 507 yards and three scores this season.

Montgomery said Tuesday that Brin is day-to-day.

–Field Level Media

Sep 23, 2022; Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA; Air Force Falcons running back Brad Roberts (20) carries the ball in the second quarter against the Nevada Wolf Pack at Falcon Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Air Force puts dominant rush attack against rival Navy

Air Force’s dominant rushing attack has guided the academy to a hot start to the season. The Falcons will aim to keep that going when they host rival Navy on Saturday outside Colorado Springs, Colo.

Air Force (3-1) embarrassed Nevada by gaining 461 rushing yards on 75 attempts in a 48-20 victory last week. Fourteen different Falcons took at least one carry, but Brad Roberts did most of the damage with 20 touches for 123 yards and three touchdowns.

The Falcons completed just one pass, but it went for an 80-yard touchdown as Ben Brittain connected with David Cormier in the first quarter. Then, the run game fully settled in. The Falcons average 412.2 yards per game to lead the Football Bowl Subdivision. Second on the list is Minnesota, far lower than Air Force at 294.5 yards on the ground per game.

Now the Falcons’ minds will turn to the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy. Air Force leads the three-way series with 20 trophies to Navy’s 16 and Army’s nine, but it has not claimed one outright since 2016.

Air Force won 23-3 in Annapolis, Md. last year to improve to 32-22 all-time against Navy. But after Army defeated Air Force and Navy upset Army, the C.I.C. was split for the first time since 1993.

“It’s the level of respect that’s involved, again, not only for the football part of it, but beyond the football,” Air Force head coach Troy Calhoun said. “There’s some resemblances for both squads in terms of what you’ll see. Both squads want to play well up front, offensively and defensively. You want to do a good job of handling the ball. And yet there are going to be sometimes where you also want to try to have some larger-gain plays without completely sacrificing a bunch of series.”

Navy (1-2) is coming off its first win of the year, a 23-20, double-overtime victory on the road over American Athletic Conference foe East Carolina. Daniel Davies, a backup filling in for injured kicker Bijan Nichols, made critical field goals in both overtime periods.

While Navy is a run-heavy team like its fellow service academies, the Midshipmen had success through the air in beating the Pirates. Tai Lavatai completed 7 of 10 passes for 152 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to Vincent Terrell Jr.

“We’re an option team and obviously we run the ball first and foremost, predominantly,” head coach Ken Niumatalolo said. “But they were so aggressive, East Carolina, they were just playing so aggressive. … Obviously, Tai can throw the football and we have some good receivers, but it’s not who we are. But the way the game was going, it dictated that.”

Navy hasn’t beaten Air Force on the road since 2012. Air Force hasn’t won three straight in the series since its six-game streak from 1997 to 2002.

–Field Level Media

Sep 23, 2022; Syracuse, New York, USA; Syracuse Orange wide receiver Devaughn Cooper (7) catches a pass against the Virginia Cavaliers during the second half at JMA Wireless Dome. Mandatory Credit: Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Syracuse hosts Wagner in search of first 5-0 start since 1987

After heart-thumping wins in each of the last two weeks, Syracuse wouldn’t mind a more relaxing victory Saturday when FCS foe Wagner comes to town.

The Orange are trying to improve to 5-0 for the first time since 1987. They trounced Louisville and UConn in their first two games before slipping past Purdue in the final seconds and then getting by Virginia 22-20 in the waning minutes last Friday.

Looking forward, this could be a “trap game” for the Orange, as they face ranked opponents in five of their next six games. The only matchup in that stretch against a non-ranked foe comes against Notre Dame, which was ranked as high as No. 5 earlier in the season.

“This game is, to me, a tricky game for us. Our team has to really stay locked in,” Syracuse head coach Dino Babers said.

He especially wants his team to focus on cleaning up its offensive execution. The Orange were thrilled to win against the Cavaliers despite committing four turnovers.

“We’re really fortunate to come out with the win. We’re excited about that,” Babers said after defeating Virginia. “The play was not perfect, that’s for sure. But the record is.”

The Seahawks’ record, meanwhile, is far from perfect. Wagner has lost its first three games by a combined 96 points. They have scored a total of 14 points in their last two games and are coming off a 27-7 loss to St. Francis (Pa.).

But the Seahawks are coming off a bye week, so coach Tom Masella is hoping the extra rest gives his team an advantage.

“I thought we had a good week of practice last week,” Masella said on the Wagner College TD Club Coaches Show. “We got some young kids some reps, but we had to get better fundamentally, and I thought our kids had a good week last week.”

The Orange, on the other hand, are averaging 33.3 points per game behind quarterback Garrett Shrader (eight touchdowns, one interception) and wideout Oronde Gadsden II (19 catches, 300 yards, three TDs).

That said, Syracuse already has lost four starters to season-ending injuries, so their depth could be challenged as the season moves along.

“We’re averaging losing a starter per game,” Babers said. “Backups who are now starters have done a really, really good job based off the people we’re playing, but starting with this week, if we’re gonna continue losing one a game, I don’t know how that’s gonna look. I don’t know how that crystal ball looks in the end.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 17, 2022; Durham, North Carolina, USA; Duke Blue Devils head coach Mike Elko reacts during first half against the North Carolina A&T Aggies at Wallace Wade Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jaylynn Nash-USA TODAY Sports

First-year coaches clash when Duke hosts Virginia

Duke will try to snap a seven-game losing streak to Virginia in an Atlantic Coast Conference contest on Saturday night in Durham, N.C.

The Cavaliers (2-2, 0-1 ACC) have not lost to the Blue Devils (3-1, 0-0) since 2014 and won last season’s meeting 48-0 behind 528 yards of offense and four takeaways.

Duke limped to a 3-9 finish last season, but is off to a much better start this season under first-year coach Mike Elko. The Blue Devils are coming off their first loss of the season though, a 35-27 setback at unbeaten Kansas last Saturday.

Virginia has alternated wins and losses so far, including last Friday’s 22-20 defeat at Syracuse.

The programs are led by first-year head coaches with experience in the ACC. Elko was the defensive coordinator at Wake Forest from 2014-16, while UVA’s Tony Elliott coached the Clemson offense from 2015-21.

“We have crossed paths a lot over the years,” Elko said. “… They are an exceptionally talented offense. I know it hasn’t completely clicked for them like they would like yet, but they have a lot of weapons.”

Virginia quarterback Brennan Armstrong has more interceptions (four) than touchdown passes (three) this season after throwing 31 TDs and 10 picks last season. Perris Jones has rushed for 273 yards (5.5 per carry) and Keytaon Thompson has 26 catches for 290 yards.

“Defensively, I think (Duke is) one of the most improved defenses in the country,” Elko said. “They are doing a really good job with their scheme … and the kids are playing really fast and physical.”

Linebacker Nick Jackson, the Cavaliers’ leading tackler, will miss the first half Saturday after a targeting penalty against Syracuse.

Without him, Virginia will have its hands full with Duke quarterback Riley Leonard. He leads the ACC in completion percentage (71.3), ranks second in passing yards (1,047) and is one of three Blue Devils with more than 200 yards on the ground.

The Cavaliers hurt themselves with 12 penalties and two missed field goals against Syracuse.

“We’ve got to make sure that we’re putting precision and technique with the effort and we’re not just going out there trying to have sweat equity,” Elliott said. “We’ve got to have achievement and not just activity.”

–Field Level Media