Virginia survives triple-OT thriller: 5 takeaways


Virginia survives triple-OT thriller: 5 takeaways

The first ACC matchup between Virginia and Syracuse was one to remember as the Cavaliers put together a critical fourth-quarter drive to setup a game-tying field goal and force overtime. Both teams traded punches in overtime until Virginia walked away with the 44-38 win.

Here are five takeaways from UVa's first ACC win of the season:

The drive: Down by 3 in the fourth quarter, Virginia put together their best drive of the season thanks to some timely plays and a little luck.

Facing a 3rd and 15, Virginia was given a first down thanks to a face mask penalty. On 4th and 3, Johns dumped the ball off to Taquan Mizzell who weaved his way 11 yards for the first down. In all, Virginia drove 88 yards in 18 plays to setup a game-tying 25-yard field goal as time expired to force overtime.

Slow start: Virginia's fourth quarter drive was made all the more remarkable by the offense's horrific start to the game. The Cavaliers had nine yards in the first quarter and did not get a first down until about four minutes in to the second. Two plays after they did register a first down, Syracuse returned a Mizzell fumble 44 yards for a touchdown.

In their first four drives, Virginia had 26 yards, one first down and no points. Who would have expected them to be able to pull off that tremendous fourth-quarter comeback?

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Goal line stand: While things were ugly for the offense early, Virginia's defense did not allow Syracuse to take advantage thanks in large part to a key goal line stand to close out the end of the first quarter.

Syracuse had a 1st and goal at Virginia's 2-yard line, but the Cavaliers forced a nine-yard loss on the play. Dontae Strickland took it back down to the goal line on second down, but the Cavaliers stuffed two runs from their own 1 to force a turnover on downs and keep the Orange off the board.

Fake punt fakes out UVa: Fake punts are nothing new for Syracuse's Riley Dixon. The only thing that was surprising when he took off for a first down on a fake punt against Virginia was how much it seemed to catch the Cavaliers off guard.

Dixon threw a game-winning touchdown pass on a fake field goal in Syracuse's season opener last year and also added a 42 -yard fake punt run against Notre Dame. He made highlight reels across the nation for hurdling an LSU cornerback earlier in the season and Saturday was the third-straight game in which he ran a fake punt.

So, when Dixon took the field on a 4th and 4 on Syracuse's 44-yard line with 2:49 remaining in the first half, why oh why did Virginia look lost when Dixon pulled the ball in and took it 15 yards for the first down?

Syracuse was able to take the ball the remaining 42 yards for the touchdown just six plays later. In what became a very close game, these kind of plays can make all the difference between winning and losing. The key to a successful fake punt is surprise. At his point, how could anyone be surprised by the fake from Syracuse?

Leap of faith: One of the plays of the year took place in this game and it is one that safety Quin Blanding would like to forget.

After an interception put the Orange on Virginia's 26-yard line, quarterback Eric Dungey took off for the end zone. The last man in his way was Blanding, one of the best tacklers in the ACC. Rather than trying to run around him or through him, Dungey instead decided to hurdle over the 6-foot-2 sophomore on his way for the touchdown.

It may have come at the expense of the Cavaliers, but one couldn't help but be impressed at the athleticism of the freshman quarterback.

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Howard's Caylin Newton, Cam's younger brother, is carving out his own legacy on the gridiron

Howard's Caylin Newton, Cam's younger brother, is carving out his own legacy on the gridiron

In the heart of our nation's capital sits the renowned, private and historically black Howard University. 

Leading the school's football team inside William H. Greene Stadium is a familiar name in the sport of football. 

Caylin Newton, younger brother of Carolina Panthers star Cam Newton, is a sophomore stud quarterback for the Bison and has wasted no time bursting onto the scene. 

In September 2017, during his first week as a college football player, Newton led Howard to a historic win, defeating 45-point favorite UNLV, 43-40. This marked the biggest point-spread upset in the history of college football. 

Talk about putting yourself on the map as a true freshman. 

Newton was responsible for 330 total yards and three touchdowns. Like his older brother, he's a dual threat who likes to leave the pocket. 

Head coach Mike London describes his quarterback as a "selfless leader who wants the team to win," and has given the 19-year-old the keys to his Bison offense under center. 

The 2015 NFL MVP's presence and success have obviously followed his younger brother, but haven't hindered him. 

"Cam has said on multiple occasions that he wants his brother to be his own man, to forge his own identity. He does a great job allowing Caylin to be Caylin and get the accolades that he deserves. And Caylin does the same thing," London said. 

Jackie and Cecil Newton Sr. raised three boys in a football family. Sr.'s closest shot at a NFL roster came in 1983 and 1984 when he was cut as a safety from the pre-season rosters of Dallas and Buffalo respectively. The oldest, Cecil Newton Jr., had brief stints with several teams in the NFL but ultimately never found a home. He last played for the Baltimore Ravens' practice squad in 2011. 

10 years separate Cam and Caylin, but that hasn't stopped younger brother from looking up to older brother. 

"It's been amazing. To see his work ethic to how much time he puts in...all I have to do is watch him. It's almost like a blueprint," Caylin Newton said. "That's what I try to mold my game after, as far as mentally and physically."  

The 5-11, 195-pound QB is as mild-mannered as it comes, at least away from the football field. Much like older bro, he has a way with words. 

"My personality is cool, calm and collected. I try not to get too hot or too low, regardless of what's going on in my life. I try to give people this image of me as a man of god, a person who's trying to do everything the right way,” Newton said. 

With Cam and his Carolina Panthers coming to town Sunday to play the Redskins at FedEx Field, Caylin commented on how he sees things shaking out on the gridiron. 

"I expect a win, by any means necessary. I know he's gonna pull it out and I can't wait to celebrate with him after the game, Newton said. 

Loyalty at its finest. 

The Redskins square off against the Panthers at 1 p.m. Sunday. Tune in to Redskins Kickoff Live at noon on NBC Sports Washington. 

Virginia Tech keeps bouncing in and out of AP top 25 poll, back out after Notre Dame loss


Virginia Tech keeps bouncing in and out of AP top 25 poll, back out after Notre Dame loss

Notre Dame moved into the top five, Texas and UCF reached the top 10 and the Southeastern Conference placed a season-high eight teams in the latest Associated Press college football poll.

After three teams in the top eight and eight ranked teams overall lost on Saturday, there was significant movement throughout the AP Top 25 , except in the first four spots.

Alabama stayed No. 1, with 59 first-place votes and Georgia remained No. 2. No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Clemson each received a first-place vote from the media panel.

Notre Dame reached a season-high fifth after beating Virginia Tech on Saturday night. Texas jumped 10 spots to No. 9 after beating Oklahoma. The Longhorns are in the top 10 for the first time since Sept. 19, 2010, when they reached No. 7.

No. 10 UCF has never been ranked higher during the regular season. The Knights, who have the nation's longest winning streak at 18 games, finished last season unbeaten and at No. 6.

The SEC's eight teams are the most by a conference since the SEC had eight on Oct. 16, 2016. The record for most teams in the AP Top 25 for one conference is 10 by the SEC on Sept. 8, 2015.


1. Alabama 6-0 (59 first-place votes, no change from last week)

2. Georgia 6-0 (No change from last week)

3. Ohio State 6-0 (1 first-place vote, no change from last week)

4. Clemson 6-0 (1 first-place vote, no change from last week)

5. Notre Dame 6-0 (No. 6 last week)

6. West Virginia 5-0 (No. 9 last week)

7. Washington 5-1 (No. 10 last week)

8. Penn State 4-1 (No. 11 last week)

9. Texas 5-1 (No. 19 last week)

10. UCF 5-0 (No. 12 last week)

11. Oklahoma 5-1 (No. 7 last week)

12. Michigan 5-1 (No. 15 last week)

13. LSU 5-1 (No. 5 last week)

14. Florida 5-1 (No. 22 last week)

15. Wisconsin 4-1 (No. 16 last week)

16. Miami 5-1 (No. 17 last week)

17. Oregon 4-1 (No. 18 last week)

18. Kentucky 5-1 (No. 13 last week)

19. Colorado 5-0 (No. 21 last week)

20. NC State 5-0 (No. 23 last week) 

21. Auburn 4-2 (No. 8 last week)

22. Texas A&M 4-2 (Not ranked last week)

23. South Florida 5-0 (Not ranked last week)

24. Mississippi State 4-2 (Not ranked last week)

25. Cincinnati 6-0 (Not ranked last week)


For the first time this season, every unbeaten FBS team is ranked. After LSU, Oklahoma and Kentucky lost on Saturday, there are 11 undefeated teams left. The new unbeatens to join the rankings were both from the American Athletic Conference: No. 23 South Florida (5-0) and No. 25 Cincinnati (6-0).

The Bulls finished each of the last two seasons ranked, but for the Bearcats 2018 has been a turnaround season for second-year coach Luke Fickell. Cincinnati is bowl eligible for the first time since 2015 and ranked for the first time since Oct. 14, 2012.

Including UCF, the American has three ranked teams, as many as the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 and Pac-12.

Re-entering the rankings were No. 22 Texas A&M and No. 24 Mississippi State from the SEC.


-- Stanford lost for the second straight week and dropped out for the first time this season.

-- Michigan State's second loss sent it out of the rankings for the first time.

-- Virginia Tech and Oklahoma State both lost for a second time and dropped out again after re-entering just last week.


SEC -- 8 teams (1, 2, 13, 14, 18, 21, 22, 24).

Big Ten -- 4 (3, 8, 12, 14).

ACC -- 3 (4, 16, 20).

American -- 3 (10, 23, 25).

Big 12 -- 3 (6, 9, 11).

Pac-12 -- 3 (7, 17, 19).

Independent -- 1 (5).


No. 2 Georgia at No. 13 LSU. The Bulldogs have had a smooth ride so far, but this is the first of three games in four weeks that will likely determine if they can repeat as SEC East champions.

No. 7 Washington at No. 17 Oregon. The Ducks get another chance to make a statement after fumbling away the Stanford game.

No. 15 Wisconsin at No. 12 Michigan. The loser gets relegated from contender to playoff spoiler.