Virginia Tech rolls over Austin Peay for easy win


Virginia Tech rolls over Austin Peay for easy win

By Larry O'Dell
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- With the offense struggling, Virginia Tech turned to its old friend -- special teams -- for a pair of big plays to spark a 42-7 victory over Austin Peay on Saturday. Kyshoen Jarrett reeled off a 46-yard punt return to set up the No. 15 Hokies' first touchdown, and Tony Gregory's punt block led to their second score before Virginia Tech -- playing its second game in six days after a season-opening overtime win over Georgia Tech -- finally got untracked. The Hokies (2-0), long noted for their special teams play, finally put together a 71-yard drive in the closing 1:32 of the first half. That was followed by an 80-yard scoring march on their second possession of the second half for a 28-0 lead, and the rout of an overmatched FCS opponent was finally on. The Governors (0-2) responded with a six-play, 78-yard drive of their own to extend their string of consecutive games without being shut out to 75. Wes Kitts had a 32-yard run on the drive to go over 100 yards for the second consecutive week, and Terrence Oliver scored on an 8-yard run. Virginia Tech promptly reasserted control, though, with a 72-yard drive capped by Logan Thomas' 13-yard pass to Randall Dunn to make it 35-7, and by late in the third period Thomas was done for the day. He finished 15 of 23 for 212 yards and also scored on a 1-yard sneak after the second-quarter punt block. The Hokies undoubtedly would have liked to get more out of their running game against a team that lost its opener 49-10 to Western Kentucky and wasn't expected to put up much resistance. The Hokies are looking for someone to replace first-round draft pick David Wilson, but the duo of J.C. Coleman and Michael Holmes couldn't find much running room against the Governors -- especially early. The 260-pound Thomas usually is one of the Hokies' biggest rushing threats, but that wasn't the case Saturday as Virginia Tech focused on trying to get the tailbacks going. They fared a little better late, as the Governors began to wear down against the bigger and deeper Hokies, who finished with 419 total yards, 187 on the ground. Holmes scored on a 2-yard run after Jarrett's first-quarter punt return, Thomas threw a 30-yard TD pass to Corey Fuller, and Tony Greory had an 18-yard touchdown run for the Hokies. After completing just 2 of 10 passes for 11 yards in the season opener, Austin Peay quarterback Jake Ryan fared only marginally better against the Hokies. He finished with 62 yards passing and was intercepted twice, including a pick in the end zone by Kyle Fuller on the Governors' first possession of the second half. The Governors finished with 221 total yards.

Heisman Hopefuls: Does Donnel Pumphrey have a real chance?


Heisman Hopefuls: Does Donnel Pumphrey have a real chance?

San Diego State running back Donnel Pumphrey is the nation's leading rusher. In just six games, he already registered 1,111 rushing yards for an average of 185.17 yards per game.

What's more, he has been consistently great in his career and he now ranks 10th overall in career rushing yards among FBS players.

So does the Aztec running back have a realistic chance of winning the Heisman?

No, next question.


Sorry to be blunt about it, but the answer is no. The reason? Competition.

The level of competition seems to matter more to Heisman voters than the stats. That makes it very hard for players of non-power conference teams to even rank among the finalists.

Take Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds who was not even given an invite to New York last year despite his historic season last year. If you need more evidence that stats don't matter, how about Christian McCaffrey? McCaffrey broke Barry Sanders' record for all-purpose yards last season and still came in second in the Heisman ballots to Derrick Henry.

That's not to say that Henry wasn't deserving, he had a phenomenal season, but statistically he came nowhere near McCaffrey.

The question you must ask yourself is what would Pumphrey's numbers look like if he was playing against SEC teams every week? Would he still be having the same kind of season?

That's an impossible question to answer and an unfair one to ask. The fact is, Pumphrey is running all over Division 1 athletes. He's been phenomenal and would do much better if he was placed on the roster of a SEC or a Big Ten team than many may think. I certainly think he is deserving, but I don't vote for the Heisman.

Based on recent history, when the finalists gather in New York, Pumphrey will very likely not be among them.

Who will? Find out here in the updated Heisman Hopefuls.

College Football Playoff projections: Contenders survive close calls


College Football Playoff projections: Contenders survive close calls

The race for the College Football Playoff was on the verge of chaos this week.

Multiple top contenders received scares and, while they all ended up coming out on top, it's fun to think about what the conversation would be this week had those teams fallen.

CLICK HERE FOR the updated WEEK 7 College Football Playoff projections

The week started off with Louisville struggling to put away pesky Duke. Even Lamar Jackson looked human with only two total touchdowns on the night.

Ohio State was held to six points in the first half against Wisconsin. It took a late field goal from the Buckeyes to force overtime where they eventually overcame the Badgers. Quick side note on Wisconsin: They won't make the playoff and may not even win their division with two losses already, but the Badgers are for real. They just happen to be in a conference with two top 10 teams in Ohio State and Michigan.

Clemson flat out should have lost to NC State. The Wolfpack missed a 33-yard field goal as time expired that would have won the game. They should have lost.

But they didn't.

Last week's games stand as a stark reminder of the fragility of the playoff projections. For now, there remain no real surprises in the top four. As the season goes on, however, certain teams are starting to make you wonder if they can stay on course.

CLICK HERE FOR the updated WEEK 7 College Football Playoff projections