NCAAF: Week 8 News and Notes

NCAAF: Week 8 News and Notes

AP top 25: Texas takes the top spot
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

NEW YORK (AP) -Texas rode its resounding Red River Rivalry upset right to No. 1.

The Longhorns leapfrogged No. 2 Alabama on Sunday and sit atop The Associated Press Top 25 in the regular season for the first time in 24 years after beating Oklahoma 45-35.

Texas' jump to No. 1 is the largest since Miami went from No. 6 to No. 1 on Aug. 29, 1988, after beating preseason top-ranked Florida State 31-0 to start the season.

Texas received 39 first-place votes and 1,599 points from the media panel. Alabama received the other 36 first-place votes and 1,582 points.

''Being ranked No. 1 shows respect for what we've accomplished through the early part of the season, but nobody really knows who is No. 1 at this point,'' Texas coach Mack Brown said Sunday.

It certainly has been a fluid situation.

The Longhorns are the fourth No. 1 team this season, following Georgia, Southern California and Oklahoma. So it's just more of the same following an unpredictable 2007 season that had four No. 1 teams and eight different teams ranked second.

For the second time this season, three of the top four teams in the country lost on the same weekend. While the losses by the previously top-ranked Sooners, Missouri and LSU weren't stunning, they did a number on the rankings.

Unbeaten Penn State moved up three spots to No. 3. The Sooners dropped three spots to No. 4 after their first loss. Florida jumped six spots to No. 5 after pounding LSU 51-21 on Saturday night.

No. 6 Southern California is followed by Big 12 rivals Texas Tech and Oklahoma State, which upset Missouri 28-23 and has its highest ranking since November 1985 when the Cowboys were seventh.

No. 9 BYU and Georgia round out the top 10.

Missouri dropped eight spots to No. 11. The Tigers could vault right back up the polls when they play Texas in Austin on Saturday.

''Our team has just played well for six weeks and we know more about where we are today than we did last Sunday, but we have a long way to go and a lot of room to improve,'' Brown said. ''Every week, we're seeing teams learn the hard way that the only poll that matters, or lasts, is the final one. No one remembers who was No. 1 after six weeks last year. If we're No. 1 in late January, it becomes a statement.''

Brown and the Longhorns made that kind of statement in 2005. They won the national title after spending the entire regular season ranked No. 2 behind USC, then beating the Trojans 41-38 in the Rose Bowl.

Ohio State is 12th and LSU is 13th, a nine spot drop after getting drubbed in the Swamp.

No. 14 Utah, No. 15 Boise State and No. 16 Kansas all held their spots. No. 17 Virginia Tech was followed by North Carolina, which jumped four spots after beating Notre Dame 29-24.

South Florida and Michigan State completed the first 20.

The final five were Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, which lost its first game of the season at Mississippi State on Saturday and dropped eight spots, Pittsburgh, Ball State and California.

The Golden Bears were the only team to move into the rankings this week. It's their second time in the Top 25 this season.

Auburn dropped out after losing its third game of the season.

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Re: NCAAF: Week 8 News and Notes

UNC's Tate lost for season with injury
October 13, 2008

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) -North Carolina receiver Brandon Tate is out for the season because of a knee injury, ending his college career and leaving the No. 18 Tar Heels without a big-play threat and kick returner.

Coach Butch Davis said Monday that an MRI on Sunday night confirmed an earlier diagnosis of torn anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments.

``You never know until you get the X-rays and MRIs,'' Davis said.

Tate injured his right knee while returning a punt in the first quarter of the 29-24 win against Notre Dame on Saturday. He walked off the field and into the locker room under his own power, and did not return, and the injury initially was announced as a sprain.

``I made a quick move to my left, moved to the right and saw a gold helmet hit my leg,'' Tate said. ``I thought it was like a bruise or something, real sore on the inside part of my knee. The MRIs told me everything.''

Tate scored five touchdowns this season and was leading the Atlantic Coast Conference with 163.7 all-purpose yards per game. He had 376 yards receiving, 143 yards rushing, 305 kickoff return yards and 158 punt return yards.

``If (he's) not the most explosive player in college football, he's really close,'' quarterback Cameron Sexton said. ``To replace a kick returner, punt returner and receiver of his caliber, you just can't do it. But we're going to find somebody who's going to play really well in his place.''

Now Davis is hunting for a replacement for his most versatile player beginning this week at Virginia, where the Tar Heels (5-1, 1-1 ACC) haven't won since 1981. But stepping in for Tate - who finishes his career as the NCAA's all-time leader with 3,523 combined kick return yards - might be too much for one person, Davis said.

``There won't be one guy this week,'' Davis said. ``There may be one guy three weeks from now, or two guys two weeks from now, but it may take a committee of two, three, four, five guys that can come in and do some things for us.''

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UK's top receiver Lyons out for season
October 13, 2008

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -Dicky Lyons Jr. was supposed to be the vocal veteran leader to bridge the gap between a dynamic passing attack that won two straight Music City Bowls and a cast of young but talented replacements.
   
But that plan was derailed Monday morning with an MRI that showed Lyons tore two ligaments in his right knee while making a catch during the Wildcats' 24-17 loss to South Carolina.

The prognosis was grim both for Lyons himself and a Kentucky team that has failed to find the offensive magic to approach that of the two last two seasons, when quarterback Andre Woodson, receivers Keenan Burton and Steve Johnson, and tight end Jacob Tamme joined Lyons as playmakers.

Lyons' season and collegiate career are over. Surgery to repair the posterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments will keep him sidelined for eight months to a year, coach Rich Brooks said.

``He's devastated,'' Brooks said. ``You know what kind of personality he is, how much this all meant to him. Tough thing. It's not how anybody envisioned this would end for him at Kentucky.''

Lyons, son of former Kentucky superstar Dicky Lyons Sr., finished his career with 141 catches for 1,752 yards and 18 touchdowns. This year, his 33 receptions equaled those of the next two highest totals combined, and he had a team-high 264 receiving yards and two touchdown catches. He also handled 20 of the team's 23 kickoff returns.

``Dicky was the most consistent thing probably we had going on offense, the most consistent receiver we've up to this point,'' linebacker Micah Johnson said. ``You easily rely on if you get the ball in his vicinity, he'll catch it. Somebody else is going to have to step up. He's not the only receiver we've got on scholarship.''

Kentucky (4-2, 0-2) hosts Arkansas on Saturday, coached by former Louisville coach Bobby Petrino, before a brutal stretch of games against Southeastern Conference powerhouses Florida, Georgia and Tennessee along with much-improved Vanderbilt.

As for Lyons' chances of catching on with an NFL team despite the injury, Brooks said it's too early to tell. Lyons' 5-11, 190-pound frame is smaller than most pro teams consider optimal for a receiver, but his coach said he thinks Lyons could still man an impact as a return man.

``There's a resume on tape everyone can evaluate,'' Brooks said.

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Vandy swaps starting quarterbacks to help offense
By ASSOCIATED PRESS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -Bobby Johnson wants to wring more production out of Vanderbilt's offense, so he is switching quarterbacks following the 22nd-ranked Commodores' first loss of the season.

Mackenzi Adams, who came off the bench and rallied Vandy to a win over Auburn on Oct. 4, will start Saturday at No. 10 Georgia unless something unusual happens. But Johnson said Adams will get most of the work in practice this week instead of Chris Nickson and hopefully give a fresh start to the offense.

''Mackenzi has demonstrated he can sit in the pocket and figure things out and see who's open and do a good job of hitting them,'' Johnson said Monday.

''I don't think there's a big dropoff when you start running the quarterback draws and the options and things like that. Mackenzi's a good athlete and can run and actually made some very fine runs. Just another way to see if we can get better.''

Adams was not available Monday on the players' day off. Center Bradley Vierling said the change would not affect the offense adversely.

''It's good that we still have Chris. I'm glad he's not hurt. I don't know why there was a change. I have no idea. ... I just block for the guy whoever's behind me. I would be excited no matter who's behind me,'' Vierling said.

Johnson pulled Nickson in last weekend's 17-14 loss at Mississippi State after the quarterback was intercepted early in the fourth quarter. But Vanderbilt (5-1, 3-1) did not pick up a first down in either the first or third quarter with Nickson and finished with only 107 yards total offense in a loss that dropped the Commodores from No. 13 to 22nd.

Nickson completed only 3 of 10 passes for 15 yards against the Bulldogs. But the senior hadn't completed more than nine passes in any game this season or thrown for more than 91 yards. That is a key reason why Vandy ranks 116th out of 119 Bowl Subdivision teams in passing offense.

His biggest threat has been with his legs as Vandy's second-leading rusher. The Bulldogs had a defender assigned to the quarterback, and Nickson ran 12 times for 7 yards.

Johnson said part of the Commodores' struggles at Mississippi State were due to the Bulldogs using a defense they had shown rarely this season, catching Vanderbilt by surprise. The Commodores didn't adjust well either at halftime, and Johnson said they didn't take advantage of their chances.

''We had to make a change. Mackenzi came in and did a good job. Looking to see what he can do with it,'' Johnson said of the 6-foot-3 redshirt junior. ''He's a motivated young man, a go-getter, and we think he maybe can provide a spark and hopefully we can get some things going on offense. We weren't very good against Mississippi State.''

Adams had his best passing performance last season against Kentucky when he threw for 193 yards. He also came off the bench cold when Nickson aggravated a shoulder injury against Auburn and threw for 153 yards and two touchdowns for Vandy's best passing performance of 2008.

He went in against the Bulldogs and was 5-of-9 for 47 yards in driving the Commodores to a touchdown to pull within 17-14 midway through the fourth quarter. But the offensive line couldn't protect him late as Mississippi State sacked Adams on third down to end one threat.

Now Vanderbilt is heading to Georgia where the Commodores won 24-22 in 2006. They lost 20-17 in Nashville last season after losing a fumble on their way into the end zone for a clinching touchdown.

Johnson is preaching patience for a program that hasn't won six games in a season since 1982 - a string of 25 straight seasons. Their final six opponents are a combined 23-11 starting with Georgia and including No. 5 Florida.

''Right now we just can't panic. We're 5-1. If I could start off 5-1 every year, put me down,'' Johnson said

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Re: NCAAF: Week 8 News and Notes

Miami RB James set to return
October 14, 2008

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) -Miami running back Javarris James is expected to play Saturday against Duke after missing four games with a high left ankle sprain.
   
James, the Hurricanes' first-string tailback entering the season, had 84 total yards and two touchdowns in the season-opening win against Charleston Southern. He got hurt after just two carries for four yards the following week at Florida and hasn't played since.

``All indications are he should be full-go,'' Miami coach Randy Shannon said Tuesday.

James practiced with tape over the outside of his cleat Tuesday, helping to protect him from rolling the ankle again, but said he was nearly back to full strength.

``Being on the sidelines so much, it helped me be able to read defenses a little more,'' James said. ``It helped my game mentally a lot.''

The ankle is still a bit sore at times, but James said some stiffness after being off for more than a month was expected.

``It's nothing I can't push through,'' James said.

The Hurricanes will also get offensive linemen Reggie Youngblood and Chris Barney back from various leg injuries this week, Shannon said.

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2 Toledo players arrested won't start Saturday
October 14, 2008

TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) -Two Toledo players arrested outside a bar just hours after the Rockets beat Michigan on Saturday will not start this weekend against Northern Illinois.
   
Wide receiver Nick Moore, who caught 20 passes for 162 yards in the 13-10 victory over the Wolverines, was charged with misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Police said the senior and team captain was involved in a fight.

Defensive end Albertson Alexandre was charged with obstructing official business, also a misdemeanor.

According to a police report, officers had to use mace to break up a rowdy crowd of about 40 people outside a Toledo bar Saturday night.

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