Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York on October 18, 2015 · Page D11
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Democrat and Chronicle from Rochester, New York · Page D11

Rochester, New York
Issue Date:
Sunday, October 18, 2015
Page D11
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DemocratandChronicle .com Sunday,October18,2015 Page11D COLLEGE FOOTBALL Quietly undefeated through the first five games of 2015, Memphis made a statement Saturday. Quite a loud one, actually. The No. 22 Tigers fell behind quickly 14-0 but stormed back to beat No. 12 Mississippi 37-24. The Rebels remain alive in the Southeastern Conference East, but its hopes of a storybook season and a berth in the College Football Playo — all very real after an upset of Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Sept. 19 — are dashed. Memphis quarterback Paxton Lynch, on the other hand, might have made himself some money Saturday. Lynch completed 39 of 53 passes for 384 yards and three touchdowns. It marked the fifth consecutive game in which the 6-7, 245-pound redshirt junior has thrown for more than 300 y ards. W hat’s more, Lynch displayed a ll the throws NFL scouts love. H e threw rockets and touch passes, threw across his body safely and launched the deep ball. O n a day when Memphis showed no ability to run consistently until late in the fourth quarter, Lynch kept the chains moving. He was particularly sharp on third down, finding wide receiver Anthony Miller again and again for first downs. Memphis has won 13 in a row and might be the best non-Power Five team in the nation. “Lynch is one of the best-kept secrets in college football,” Ole Miss linebacker Mike Hilton said before the game. Not anymore. OTHER WINNERS Oklahoma: After a shocking loss to a Texas team that appeared in danger of disintegrating, Oklahoma traveled to face a generally tough Kansas State team. Not since 1999, in coach Bob Stoops’ fi rst year in Norman, h ad the Sooners lost back-to-back g ames. They still haven’t. Oklahoma put on a road clinic as quart erback Baker May fi eld threw fi ve t ouchdown passes. The 55-0 fi nal s core sounded like an old-fashioned Oklahoma win from its w ishbone days, which suits Soone r Nation just fine. Florida State: The Seminoles have lost one game in the last three years and still don’t seem to get much respect. They certainly d idn’t earn any in the first half against Louisville when they trailed 7-6 at home. But in the second half the Seminoles showed the kind of explosive offense they had in 2013, when quarterback Jameis Winston won the Heisman Trophy and led them to the national championship. Everett Golson, who last year quarterbacked Notre Dame in Tallahassee and lost a hard- fought game, now wears the garnet and gold. Golson wound up throwing for three touchdowns while Florida State running back Dalvin Cook had another 100- yard game (his fourth this year) and the Seminoles romped 41-21. They will now romp back into the top 10. LOSERS Northwestern: How quickly f ortunes can change in college f ootball. Northwestern was one of the toasts of college football in S eptember. A 16-6 victory in the o pener against Stanford was l ooking better and better as the Cardinal began beating teams h andily. Then the Wildcats went t o Michigan. They limped out after a 38-0 licking and returned home seeking to recharge and keep alive their hopes of winning the Big Ten West. Instead, Iowa c ame in and whipped Northwestern 40-10. The win means Iowa (6-0) should rise in the rankings as Northwestern vanishes, and the Hawkeyes control their destiny in terms of getting to Indianapolis for the Big Ten championship game. Texas A&M: Texas A&M redid Kyle Stadium, turning it into aspectacular venue and the biggest in the SEC. But under coach Kevin Sumlin the Aggies have never beaten a top 20 team in College Station. That ugly streak remains alive after No. 9 Alabama (6-1) came to town and beat previously undefeated No. 10 A&M 41-23. The Aggies boasted one of the best groups of skill-position players in the SEC, and quarterback Kyle Allen seemed to be improving week after week. In the first half Saturday, however, Allen t hrew two pick-sixes and it l ooked as if Alabama would destroy A&M as the Tide rolled to a 2 8-6 lead. T hat’s what happened last year w hen Alabama waxed A&M in Tuscaloosa 59-0. To its credit, A &M battled back, but the Aggies c ould never make up the lost ground. Last year, Texas A&M lost at home to an LSU team that was coming o consecutive losses. T his year, the Aggies must travel to Baton Rouge and do so with the mantle of pretenders unquestionably hovering on their shoulder pads. Michigan: Once, people would have said everything was coming up roses for Michigan in 2015. The Rose Bowl isn’t the same holy destination it used to be for Big Ten teams, but there wasn’t any question Michigan, back in the rankings and 5-1, was one of the best stories in college football. New coach Jim Harbaugh, a Michigan man, had instilled the team with a ferocity it had lacked for some time. Michigan wasn’t beating people, it was shutting them out week after week. In a nasty miracle for Wolverines fans that won’t soon be forgotten, however, rival Michigan State beat Michigan 27-23 on the l ast play of the game. I t had been a gem between two good teams, but it turned crazy o n the fi nal play: Michigan punt- e r Blake O’Neill fumbled the snap a nd then tried to kick the ball while getting spun sideways, and M ichigan State’s Jalen Watts- J ackson caught the ball and ran it 38 yards into the end zone as time expired. LYNCH, MEMPHIS RISE; A&M, MICHIGAN SINK Tigers make it 6-0 with upset o f Mississippi Jim Varney USA TODAY Sports JUSTIN FORD, USA TODAY SPORTS Memphis linebacker Genard Avery (6) celebrates a turnover against Mississippi on Saturday. No. 1 Ohio State (5-0) vs. Penn State. Next: at Rutgers, Saturday. No. 2 Baylor (6-0) beat West Virginia 62-38. Next: vs. Iowa State, Saturday. No. 3 TCU (6-0) at Iowa State. Next: vs. West Virginia, Oct. 29. No. 4 Michigan State (7-0) beat No. 14 Michigan 27-23. Next: vs. Indiana, Saturday. No. 5 LSU (5-0) vs. No. 11 Florida. Next: vs. Western Kentucky, Saturday. N o. 6 Clemson (5-0) vs. Boston College. Next: at Miami (Fla.), Saturday. No. 7 Utah (5-0) vs. Arizona State. Next: at Southern California, Saturday. No. 8 Florida State (6-0) beat Louisville 41-21. Next: at Georgia Tech, Saturday. No. 9 Alabama (6-1) beat No. 10 Texas A&M 41-23. Next: vs. Tennessee, Saturday. No. 10 Texas A&M (5-1) lost to No. 11 Alabama 41-23. Next: at No. 12 Mississippi, Saturday. No. 11 Florida (6-0) at No. 5 LSU. Next: vs. Georgia, in Jacksonville, Oct. 31. N o. 12 Mississippi (5-2) lost to No. 22 Memphis 37-24. Next: vs. No. 10 Texas A&M, Saturday. N o. 13 Notre Dame (5-1) vs. Southern California. Next: at Temple, Oct. 31. N o. 14 Michigan (5-2) lost to No. 4 Michigan State 27-23. Next: at Minnesota, Oct. 31. N o. 15 Oklahoma State (6-0) did not play. Next: vs. Kansas, Saturday. No. 16 Stanford (5-1) beat No. 18 UCLA 56-35 Thursday. Next: vs. Washington, Saturday. No. 17 Iowa (7-0) beat No. 22 Northwestern 40-10. Next: vs. Maryland, Oct. 31. No. 18 UCLA (4-2) lost to No. 16 Stanford 56-35 Thursday. Next: vs. No. 23 California, Thurs. No. 19 Oklahoma (5-1) beat Kansas State 55-0. Next: vs. Texas Tech, Saturday. No. 20 Boise State (5-2) lost to Utah State 52-26 Friday. Next: vs. Wyoming, Saturday. No. 21 Northwestern (5-2) lost to No. 17 Iowa 40-10. Next: at Nebraska, Saturday. No. 22 Memphis (6-0) beat No. 12 Mississippi 37-24. Next: at Tulsa, Friday. No. 23 California (5-1) did not play. Next: at No. 18 UCLA, Thursday. No. 24 Duke (5-1) did not play. Next: at Virginia Tech, Saturday. No. 25 Toledo (6-0) beat Eastern Michigan 63-20. Next: at Massachusetts, Saturday. TOP 25 How teams i n Amway C oaches Poll fared MCLEAN , VA . His surgically repaired knee intact, Myles Jack has taken his first o cial step on the road to the NFL. “ Very excited to see the hard work finally pay o ,” Jack, who signed Friday with Octagon and will be represented by agent John Thornton, a former NFL player, told USA TODAY Sports. “To get this squared away is a blessing. … My heart is racing. I’m just very excited. I’m a pro!” Jack, 6-1 and 245 pounds, won’t be racing after anyone on a field for some time after tearing his lateral meniscus in practice Sept. 22. Shortly thereafter, he made the unusual choice to withdraw from UCLA and focus on preparing for the draft. Although the decision was largely fueled by his football future, Jack said aca- d emic considerations also weighed heavily. “I didn’t want my GPA to suffer,” said Jack, who was injured two days before he was to begin the fall quarter of his junior season at UCLA. “I definitely want to come back and get my degree. That’s for sure going to happen.” After he had surgery and began rehabbing the knee while dealing with his temporary immobility, Jack quickly fell behind in his anthropology classes. He also worried that his eligibility for the Bruins’ 2016 season could be jeopardized as he attempted to juggle responsibilities. So he took t he books o his plate. “I’d rather be playing right n ow, honestly. I’d rather be play- i ng and be with my teammates and my brothers,” said Jack, who hopes to “chip away” at his degree again next summer. “ But this is how my life went, and this is my situation.” It might not be a bad one in the long run. Jack was widely considered a first-round prospect entering the season. Sure, he loses a year to impress scouts. But now his grades won’t su er, he’ll have extra time to rehab — he’s scheduled to report to the Fischer Institute in Phoenix on Nov. 1 and turn his rehab over to Brett Fischer, the physical therapist for the Arizona Cardinals — and the rest of his body should be fresh for 2016. Many rookies hit a wall as they go from their final college season to combine training and t hen into the NFL. And since Jack isn’t coming back from a more serious injury, such as a torn anterior cruciate ligament — which St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley dealt with last year while coming out of Georgia — his draft stock isn’t likely to su er much, if at all. Asked if Jack would still go in t he first round, draft analyst Rob Rang told USA T ODAY Sports, “Absolutely, even with the injury.” Rang regards Jack as “just a phenomenal talent, one of those players that is just a unique athlete.” That kind of ability allowed Jack to play linebacker (inside and outside), nickel corner, safety, running back and even kick re- t urner for UCLA. It’s a skill set similar to the Carolina Panthers’ S haq Thompson, who was a two- way player at Washington before being drafted in the first round this year as a linebacker. Rang foresees a similar path for Jack, who he says is a superior athlete to Thompson, especially given the devaluation of running backs in the NFL. “You’re looking for more de- fensive players who have the versatility not only to be able to a ect the quarterback and stop the running game but also drop into coverage,” Rang said. “And that’s one of the areas I think that Jack stands out. I believe he’s one of the game’s defensive erasers.” J ack projects as an outside linebacker for a 4-3 team but like- l y would play inside in a 3-4 s cheme. His athleticism and instincts likely mean he’ll be a three-down player. He doesn’t care where he plays as long as he i s playing. “I’m open to anything. I’ll leave it up to everybody else. I’m flexi- ble and can do anything. Defense is my preference, but I wouldn’t say a specific position.” For now, Jack is content to continue getting healthy — he said the knee was doing well — and enjoy the company of his former teammates in Los Angeles for the rest of the month. Then it’s on to serious business with Fischer, with the goal of being ready to participate fully in the scouting combine and UCLA’s pro day early next year. After that? Hopefully he’ll be making a splash with his new t eam similar to that of Gurley (305 rushing yards the last two weeks). “Guys like that give me hope. He took a similar route to me, and he’s doing just fine,” Jack said. “I feel like I made the right decision, because if they can do it, Ican do it as well.” With eye on NFL draft, Jack begins life as pro Versatile player likely to retain fi rst-round status Nate Davis @ByNateDavis USA TODAY Sports JAYNE KAMIN-ONCEA, USA TODAY SPORTS Myles Jack withdrew from UCLA after a season-ending injury so he could concentrate on preparing for the NFL draft.

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