Dr. Saturday - NCAAF

  • Navy has 14 straight wins in its series with Army. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

    Army can put an end to two streaks on Saturday.

    For one, the Black Knights can clinch a winning record for the first time since 2010. But more importantly, Army can put an end to its 14-game losing streak to rival Navy when the two square off for the 117th time in Baltimore.

    [Related: Navy freshman to make debut vs. Army after father’s death]

    After winning a combined six games in the first two years under Jeff Monken, Army is 6-5 this year and headed to the Heart of Dallas Bowl (its first since 2010) to play North Texas. But first, the Black Knights are looking to register their first win over the Midshipmen (9-3, AAC West champions) since 2002.

    Army started the year 4-2, but lost three of five down the stretch. The Black Knights offense, which ranks second nationally in rushing yards per game, is led by junior quarterback Ahmad Bradshaw and sophomore back Andy Davidson. Bradshaw, who has thrown for 622 yards and rushed for 646 yards on the season, missed last year’s Navy game due to injury while the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Davidson (818 yards, 9 TDs) is a converted linebacker.

    Defensively, the Black Knights are led by linebackers Andrew King and Jeremy Timpf, both of whom have 88 total tackles on the season. Those two and the rest of the Army defense have the challenge of defending a Navy offense (third in rushing offense) which has put up big numbers but has recently been depleted by injuries.

    Both quarterback Will Worth (33 total TDs) and slotbacks Toneo Gulley (9.9 ypc) and Darryl Bonner (8.2 ypc) suffered season-ending injuries in Navy’s AAC title game loss to Temple. Worth, who became the starter after Tago Smith was injured in the opener, was replaced by sophomore Zach Abey, who will get his first career start. Abey completed 7-of-13 passes for 104 yards and two interceptions while adding 70 yards on 14 carries in the loss to the Owls.

    Even without Worth and Gulley, the Midshipmen have three other players — Chris High, Shawn White and Dishan Romine — with more than 400 yards rushing. Senior Calvin Cass Jr. could also be in line for more carries.

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    Army gives up fewer than 300 yards per game, including only 124.4 on the ground, and has the benefit of rest of its side. The Black Knights last played Nov. 19 — a 60-3 win over Morgan State. And per the Associated Press, this is the first time Navy hasn’t had more than a week to prepare for Army since 1941.

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    Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

  • Tennessee wore its alternate uniforms vs. Florida earlier this year. (Getty)

    Tennessee’s home-state bowl game will come with a tribute.

    The Vols said Friday the team would wear its gray alternate uniforms in Nashville’s Music City Bowl vs. Nebraska on Dec. 30 to pay tribute to those who have died in wildfires in the Smoky Mountains.

    14 people died in the fires that ravaged east Tennessee. More than 2,400 buildings in the Gatlinburg area have been damaged.

    Two juveniles have been charged with aggravated arson for allegedly starting the fires on Nov. 23 as the fire spread quickly because of dry conditions and high winds in Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

    Tennessee has worn the Smokey Greys as an alternate uniform since 2013.

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    Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

  • New Nevada coach Jay Norvell spent the 2015 season at Texas before a one-year stint at Arizona State. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

    Two weeks after parting ways with Brian Polian, Nevada has officially hired its new head coach.

    The school confirmed Friday that it has hired Arizona State assistant Jay Norvell to lead the football program. Norvell most recently served as the Sun Devils’ wide receivers’ coach and passing game coordinator.

    “I am thrilled to hire Jay Norvell to serve as our head football coach,” athletic director Doug Knuth said. “Coach Norvell is known throughout college and NFL football as a man of great character and integrity. He is highly respected for his knowledge of the game and ability to teach his players. He has incredible relationships and an army of friends in high school, college and professional football. Lastly, and importantly, Coach Norvell is known for his passion and love for his players. He will set a very high standard for excellence and work tirelessly to achieve our goals academically and athletically. I am excited to watch Coach Norvell build Wolf Pack football into a championship program.”

    This is the first head-coaching gig for the 53-year-old Norvell, who has also been an offensive coordinator at Nebraska, UCLA and Oklahoma. He was also an offensive assistant at Texas in 2015.

    “I want to thank University president Marc Johnson and Doug Knuth for this tremendous opportunity,” Norvell said. “Our family is humbled and honored to lead the Nevada football program. It is our charge to make this the flagship program of the Mountain West Conference.”

    After finishing up his playing career as an all-conference defensive back at Iowa, Norvell also had stints as an assistant with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and Indianapolis Colts and at Iowa State, Wisconsin, Northern Iowa, and Iowa.

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    Norvell will replace Polian, who mutually parted ways with the school on Nov. 27 after four years as head coach. Polian had a 23-27 record with the Wolf Pack and twice reached a bowl game. The team went 4-8 in his first season before going 7-6 in back-to-back years in 2014 and 2015. This season, the Wolf Pack finished 5-7.

    According to ESPN.com, Eastern Washington coach Beau Baldwin and Vanderbilt offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig were the other finalists for the opening.

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    Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

  • Navy has won 14 straight games over Army, dating back to 2002. Navy won 21-17 in 2015. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

    One Navy player will make his collegiate debut Saturday against Army. And he’ll do it with a heavy heart.

    Per the Capital Gazette, Midshipmen head coach Ken Niumatalolo made the decision to elevate freshman linebacker Paul Carothers to the team’s kick return unit. Carothers has served on the scout team and participated in junior varsity games throughout the year, but now he’ll make his debut on the biggest of stages Saturday in Baltimore.

    The move comes weeks after Carothers’ father, a U.S. Marshal, was shot and killed while trying to serve a warrant to a fugitive in Georgia on Nov. 18.

    “Paul is one of our brothers and we thought this might be a way to help him heal,” Niumatalolo said Wednesday. “Paul is actually a really good special teams player, but it was also our way of trying to help him through a very traumatic deal.

    “This kid can play. This isn’t one of those deals where we’re putting someone out there that can’t handle it. He is one of our best young linebackers. We think he’ll do a good job.”

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    Since the death of Patrick Carothers, the team has worn a sticker with his initials on its helmets. That will continue Saturday against the Black Knights.

    Paul Carothers is focused on “getting the job done,” like his father would have wanted.

    From the Gazette:

    “I’m pretty distracted right now with academics, the military stuff and football. Right now, I’m putting my emotions to the side and focusing on getting the job done,” Paul Carothers said after practice on Wednesday.

    “That’s how my father brought me up, to never freak out. He would say ‘You’re a Carothers and Carothers never quit.’ So I have to keep moving forward with a lot of support and love from family and friends.”

    Navy has won 14 straight games in the series, dating back to 2002. The Midshipmen currently have a 9-3 record. Army is 6-5.

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    Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

  • Major Applewhite served as Houston’s offensive coordinator for the past two seasons. (Getty Images)

    Houston has promoted from within to fill its head-coaching vacancy.

    The school announced Friday morning it has promoted offensive coordinator Major Applewhite to head coach. The school had reportedly narrowed its choices down to Applewhite, defensive coordinator Todd Orlando and Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin before announcing the move.

    Orlando had been UH’s interim head coach since Tom Herman left the Cougars to take the Texas job. Now, the school said in a release, Applewhite’s promotion is effective immediately and he will serve as head coach when the Cougars take on San Diego State in the Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 17. Orlando will continue as the team’s defensive coordinator.

    “When we set out on our search for the new leader of our football program, we wanted a coach with great integrity who believed in our mission and truly believed in our student-athlete experience,” said UH athletic director Hunter Yurachek. “We had our sights set on a focused competitor who has demonstrated success and possesses a deep connection to college and high school football in the great state of Texas. As this process was completed, it was clearly evident the only individual to offer our position to was Major Applewhite and he was indeed the right man to lead our program.”

    Applewhite, a former Texas quarterback, was UH’s offensive coordinator the past two seasons. Before that, he served as an assistant at Texas, Alabama, Rice and Syracuse. He was on Mack Brown’s staff at his alma mater from 2008-2013.

    “My family and I are excited and honored to have the opportunity to lead such a tradition rich program and continue our lives in one of the greatest cities is the nation, a city we love,” said Applewhite. “The student-athletes truly are the backbone of every great program and as they’ve demonstrated over the past few years, we have an exceptional group of young men in our program, and we’ll continue to add men with great character and a competitive drive in our recruiting. Living in the best state for high school football is a true blessing and advantage for our program and I cannot be more thankful for the support of our outstanding high school coaches from throughout the state.”

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    With Applewhite as Herman’s offensive coordinator, UH has won 22 games over the past two seasons. The Cougars’ offense has put up at least 500 yards in 11 games and 600-plus yards in four games over the past two seasons. Applewhite played at Texas from 1998-2001 and was an All-Big-12 selection in 1999.

    Houston choosing Applewhite creates a bit of a ripple effect around college football. In addition to Houston, Kiffin has been connected to openings at South Florida (head coach) and LSU (offensive coordinator). All the while, Kiffin is preparing with Alabama for its College Football Playoff matchup with Washington.

    In addition to Kiffin, ex-Texas head coach Charlie Strong is another reported candidate for the USF job. Strong has also reportedly been offered the defensive coordinator spot at Oregon under Willie Taggart, who just left USF for Eugene.

    On top of all that, UH choosing Applewhite could pave the way for Orlando to join Herman’s staff at Texas.

    For more Houston news, visit CougarsDen.com.

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    Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

  • Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson has won two of the three player of the year awards. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)

    Two major awards down, one to go.

    Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson won the Walter Camp Player of the Year Award and the Maxwell Award during Thursday’s Home Depot College Football Awards Show. Both awards are given to the nation’s best player. The only remaining player of the year trophy yet to be awarded is the Heisman.

    Last year, Alabama running back Derrick Henry swept the player of the year awards during the awards show and claimed the Heisman Trophy a couple days later.

    The only difference between Jackson and Henry is that Henry also won the award given to the top player in his position. Jackson lost out on that award — the Davey O’Brien — to Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, who won the award for the second consecutive season.

    But overall, the night belonged to Jackson, who has been the nation’s most dynamic player since the beginning of the year. Jackson is the first player in FBS history to have 3,300 passing yards and 1,500 rushing yards in a season and he also became just the sixth player in FBS history to rush and pass for 20 touchdowns in the same season.

    Jackson’s ACC and school records also are numerous. He set an ACC record by accounting for 51 combined touchdowns. He broke the ACC record for rushing yards (1,538 yards) and rushing touchdowns (21) by a quarterback, and his rushing yards were a Louisville record as well.

    It’s easy to understand why Jackson is considered the nation’s best player considering he accounted for 73.4 percent of his team’s total offense this season.

    Jackson has just two days to wait to see if he is also the Heisman winner. The Heisman Trophy will be presented on Saturday and Jackson is competing against Watson, Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers, and Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Dede Westbrook.

    Other notes from the award ceremony:

    • Dede Westbrook the first Oklahoma player to win the Biletnikoff Award. Six of the last nine Biletnikoff Awards have gone to Big 12 players.

    • Utah punter Mitch Wishnowsky won the Ray Guy Award, which makes it three straight Ray Guy Awards for Utah. Utah is the first school to have three-straight Ray Guy Award winners.

    • Probably the most touching part of the awards show was when Pittsburgh running back James Conner was awarded the Disney Spirit Award after beating Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the offseason and returning to rush for 1,060 yards and 16 touchdowns. Award presenter and ESPN sideline reporter Holly Rowe cried as she recalled seeing Conner running sprints with his team following a chemotherapy treatment. Rowe is currently undergoing treatment for cancer.

    Here is the complete list of Thursday’s college football award winners:

    Maxwell Award (Player of the Year):

    Walter Camp Award (Player of the Year): Lamar Jackson, Louisville

    The Home Depot Award (Coach of the Year): Mike MacIntyre, Colorado

    Davey O’Brien Award (Quarterback of the Year): Deshaun Watson, Clemson

    Doak Walker (Premier Running Back): D’Onta Foreman, Texas

    Biletnikoff Award (Outstanding Receiver): Dede Westbrook, OKlahoma

    John Mackey Award (Best Tight End): Jake Butt, Michigan

    Rimington Trophy (Best Center): Pat Elflein, Ohio State

    Chuck Bednarik Award (Defensive Player of the Year): Jonathan Allen, Alabama

    Bronko Nagurski Trophy (Best Defensive Player): Jonathan Allen, Alabama

    Butkus Award (Top linebacker): Reuben Foster, Alabama

    Outland Trophy (Most Outstanding Interior Lineman): Cam Robinson, Alabama

    Ted Hendricks Award (Defensive End of the Year) Jonathan Allen, Alabama

    Jim Thorpe Award (Best Defensive Back): Adoree’ Jackson, USC

    Paul Hornung Award (Most Versatile Player): Jabrill Peppers, Michigan

    Lou Groza Award (Outstanding Placekicker): Zane Gonzalez, Arizona State

    Ray Guy Award (Punter of the Year): Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah

    Frank Broyles Award (Top Assistant Coach): Brent Venables, Clemson

    Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award (Outstanding Senior Quarterback): Deshaun Watson, Clemson

    Campbell Trophy (Top Scholar Athlete): Zach Terrell, Western Michigan

    Disney Spirit Award (Inspirational Individual): James Conner, Pittsburgh

    Wuerffel Trophy (Community Service): Trevor Knight, Texas A&M

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    Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

  • After four seasons at USF, Willie Taggart has landed at Oregon. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr. /Getty Images)

    Oregon’s defense was very bad this season.

    Under first-year defensive coordinator Brady Hoke, the Ducks allowed 41.4 points and 518.4 yards per game, both of which ranked 126th of 128 FBS teams across the country. So when school president Michael Schill introduced the Ducks’ new head coach, Willie Taggart, he offered a bit of advice:

    “Go find a great defensive coordinator.”

    Ouch.

    The comment came after Schill said he was not one to get involved in giving out advice for the football program, so he was being a bit self-deprecating. Still, it makes it pretty clear that Taggart, who took the Oregon job after four years at South Florida, won’t be bringing Hoke back for another season.

    Hoke was brought in by recently-fired Ducks coach Mark Helfrich to fix a defense that has been porous in recent years. Hoke installed the 4-3 defense he implemented during his time as head coach at Michigan and other schools. There were a ton of growing pains as the Ducks endured a 4-8 season.

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    Despite the team winning 10 games, USF’s defense wasn’t a whole lot better. The Bulls allowed 482 yards per game (120th nationally) and 31 points (86th nationally). To address those defensive concerns, Taggart had a simple approach.

    For more Oregon news, visit DuckSportsAuthority.com.

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    Sam Cooper is a writer for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

  • South Carolina offensive line coach Shawn Elliott was 1-5 during his stint as South Carolina’s interim coach. (Getty)

    South Carolina offensive line coach Shawn Elliott has been hired as the head coach at Georgia State. Elliott will take over for Trent Miles, who was fired in early November.

    Miles was 9-38 in his four seasons with the Panthers. In 2015, he led them to Cure Bowl, but they lost and finished 6-7. Other than a 5-3 Sun Belt season in 2015, the Panthers had just one league win.

    Elliott was the interim head coach at South Carolina for six games last season after then-coach Steve Spurrier abruptly retired. Prior to that, he was either the run game coordinator or co-offensive coordinator from 2010-2015. He was retained by the Gamecocks when Will Muschamp was hired as head coach.

    Elliott has put South Carolina’s offensive line on the NFL’s radar. During Elliott’s time with the program, five offensive linemen have been drafted. Prior to that, five offensive linemen had been drafted in the previous 17 years.

    Elliott was 1-5 during his brief stint as the Gamecocks’ head coach.

    Georgia State will make a formal announcement on Friday.

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    Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

  • South Carolina offensive line coach Shawn Elliott was 1-5 during his stint as South Carolina’s interim coach. (Getty)

    South Carolina offensive line coach Shawn Elliott will be the next coach at Georgia State, according to multiple reports. Elliott will take over for Trent Miles, who was fired in early November.

    Miles was 9-38 in his four seasons with the Panthers. In 2015, he led them to Cure Bowl, but they lost and finished 6-7. Other than a 5-3 Sun Belt season in 2015, the Panthers had just one league win.

    Elliott was the interim head coach for six games last season after then-coach Steve Spurrier abruptly retired. Prior to that, he was either the run game coordinator or co-offensive coordinator from 2010-2015.

    Elliott has put South Carolina’s offensive line on the NFL’s radar. During Elliott’s time with the program, five offensive linemen have been drafted. Prior to that, five offensive linemen had been drafted in the previous 17 years.

    Elliott was 1-5 during his brief stint as the Gamecocks’ head coach.

    Georgia State will make a formal announcement on Friday.

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    Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter!

  • Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze will have two new coordinators in 2017. (Getty)

    Ole Miss will have two new coordinators in 2017.

    The school said Thursday that offensive coordinator Dan Werner would no longer be a part of the coaching staff. The news of Werner’s departure comes after defensive coordinator Dave Wommack said he would retire at the end of the season.

    “I am grateful to Dan for his contributions to our program,” Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze said in a statement. “His leadership and experience were invaluable in the development of our quarterbacks. These are always very difficult decisions, but at this time, I believe it is best for our program to have a fresh approach. We wish Dan and his family the very best.”

    Buried in the Werner announcement was the news that assistant athletic director Barney Farrar would not have his contract renewed. Farrar, the program’s assistant athletic director for high school and junior college relations, was reportedly on administrative leave. He was mentioned by first name in text messages that referenced the paying of bills between former offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil and another member of the athletic department.

    The Oxford Eagle said in November that Farrar was a “key figure” in the NCAA’s investigation into Ole Miss and potential illicit benefits to players and recruits.

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    OIe Miss’ offense was No. 31 in the country in 2016 and averaged 6.16 yards per play as quarterback Chad Kelly missed the final three games of the season after suffering a torn ACL vs. Georgia Southern. The team averaged 6.7 yards per play in 2015 and scored nearly 41 points per game. Ole Miss averaged 32.6 per game in 2016.

    The Rebels finished the season 5-7 and 2-6 overall and missed out on a bowl game after going to the Sugar Bowl in 2015.

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    Nick Bromberg is the assistant editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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