NCAA

Week 12: Virginia Tech reaches bowl eligibility while Navy's Cotton Bowl hopes take a hit

usatsi_13676089.jpg
USA TODAY Sports

Week 12: Virginia Tech reaches bowl eligibility while Navy's Cotton Bowl hopes take a hit

Virginia Tech dominated Georgia Tech to reach bowl eligibility for the 27th straight season, Penn state rebounded from last week's loss to Minnesota and Navy got no luck against Notre Dame.

Here's a recap of the week's local college football action.

Penn State 34, Indiana 27

The Good

Penn State's pass attack was largely inconsistent, but quarterback Sean Clifford still accounted for three touchdowns for the Nittany Lions, one through the air and two on the ground. The ground game was the saving grace for Penn State which got more rushing yards (192) than passing (179).  Running back Journey Brown gained 100 yards on the dot on 21 carries with one touchdown.

The Bad

The strength of the Nittany Lions this season has been the defense but that is two shaky games in a row on that side of the ball. Penn State had not allowed a first-quarter touchdown heading into last week's game against Minnesota. In the last two games alone, the Lions have given up four.

Indiana was able to effectively move up and down the field and outgained Penn State 462 to 371.

Star receiver KJ Hammler left the game in the first quarter due to an injury he suffered on a kickoff return. He would not return. Cameras saw Hammler celebrating the win with Clifford in the endzone tunnel.

With the Ohio State game looming next week, Hammler will be key to Penn State's hopes of pulling off the upset. Head coach James Franklin told the media afterward that he was "hopeful" Hammler would be ready to play.

The Crazy

When a team lines up to punt and calls a timeout, warning bells start going off in the heads of the opposing coaches. If you're planning on faking a punt and you need to call a timeout to make sure everything is set, you should just scrap it altogether. It's not going to work.

Indiana was on their own 44-yard line with a fourth and one upcoming. They lined up to punt and took a timeout. They returned from the timeout and this happened:

It didn't help that Peyton Hendershot bobbled the direct snap, but even if he hadn't you can see Penn State was just waiting for that fake punt. Two players later, Brown ran the ball 35 yards to put Nittany Lions up 27-14.

Notre Dame 52, Navy 20

The Good

After getting obliterated in the first half, Navy rallied somewhat to make the score more respectable, scoring 17 points in the second half. Receiver Mychal Cooper caught three passes for 73 yards

The Bad

Malcolm Perry averaged 130.2 rushing yards entering Saturday's game, but was held to 117 on 25 carries by the Irish. Notre Dame forced three first-half fumbles from him.

Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book torched the Midshipmen's defense with five touchdown passes, four of which went to Chase Claypool. Navy was allowing 310.6 yards per game, but gave up 300 by halftime and 410 total.

This loss hurts Navy's chances for earning the Group of 5's bid to the Cotton Bowl this year a bit. While it does not hurt their chances of winning the AAC, this loss will likely knock the Midshipmen out of this week's College Football Playoff rankings.

The Crazy

Saturday's game was the first non-sell out at Notre Dame Stadium since Thanksgiving Day in 1973. That is a streak of 273 games snapped. That is disappointing considering it came in a rivalry game that has been played every single year since 1927.

Virginia Tech 45, Georgia Tech 0

The Good

The Hokies came into Saturday's game with a chance to earn bowl eligibility for the 27th consecutive season, the nation's longest bowl streak, and they left the outcome in no doubt.

Quarterback Hendon Hooker scored three total touchdowns as Virginia Tech improved to 5-0 in games he has started.

The Bad

Tayvion Robinson took a helmet-to-helmet hit in the second quarter from Georgia Tech safety Christian Campbell. Campbell was ejected from the game for targeting.

The Crazy

Down 31-0 at the half, Georgia Tech elected to go for the onside kick. It failed and Virginia Tech got the ball at the Yellow Jackets' 49. 

Georgia Tech dominated Virginia Tech 49-28 last season. It was a role reversal on Saturday as Bud Foster did a masterful job with the defense. The Yellow Jackets were outgained 299-48 in the first half and held to just 134 total offense for the game. This game marks the first time Georgia Tech has been shut out since Oct. 18, 1997.

Virginia Tech spoils halftime lead, falls to No. 10 Duke

landersnolley_usat.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Virginia Tech spoils halftime lead, falls to No. 10 Duke

BLACKSBURG, Va. -- Tre Jones was pleased that when No. 10 Duke fell behind early at Virginia Tech, the Blue Devils showed composure and gradually worked their way back.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski was glad he had Jones to lead the way.

“They follow his lead,” Krzyzewski said after Jones scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half as Duke rallied to beat the Hokies 77-63 Friday night.

On a team with many prominent freshman, the sophomore point guard said seeing his teammates respond in the right way was “huge for us tonight just like on Tuesday" when the Blue Devils won 87-75 at Michigan State. “Another big road game. A big crowd. In past years we've struggled here.”

Freshmen Vernon Carey Jr. and Wendell Moore Jr. added 12 points each for the Blue Devils (9-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who had lost three in a row in Cassell Coliseum. They used runs of 12-2 just after halftime and 12-3 a short time later to take command after trailing for almost the entire first half.

“We played an outstanding 18 minutes in the second half,” Krzyzewski said, “although I'll say this: We played an outstanding 12 minutes in the first half to stay in the game.”

P.J. Horne scored 15 points to lead the Hokies (6-3, 1-1), who lost their third in a row and ended their three-game home winning streak against the Blue Devils. Wabisa Bede and Tyrece Radford added 12 points each.

The Hokies made 10 of their first 14 shots and led by 12 early, but Duke slowly climbed back. The early 12-2 run in the second half gave them their first lead, 50-47, since the opening minute. After Virginia Tech pulled even at 52 on Horne's 3-pointer with 11:10 remaining, the Blue Devils scored 12 of the next 15 points and gradually pulled away.

Jones had four in that latter burst, which ended with the Blue Devils ahead 62-55.

“Tre Jones is so disruptive. He's made great progress with his game offensively but he is a mean dude defensively,” Hokies first-year coach Mike Young said.

BIG PICTURE

Duke: The Blue Devils came in averaging seven 3-pointers and had three by the time Carey scored his first point (9:24 into the game) and six by halftime. Virginia Tech had 10 field goals before the game was 10 minutes old, and it took Duke 15 minutes to make 10 shots. Five of them were 3s, though, to keep the score close.

Virginia Tech: Landers Nolley II is the Hokies' leading scorer (20 ppg) and is second on the team in assists. He had three first-half assists, each time feeding a teammate for an easy lay-in when the defense came toward him. But Nolley had an otherwise pedestrian night, finishing with seven points, eight rebounds, four assists and nine of their 14 turnovers. He also was called for a flagrant foul with the Hokies trailing 66-57 with 4:34 to play.

“I think they got up under his chin, and I didn't think he handled it very well,” Young said.

STREAK ENDS

Carey arrived on a streak of seven double-doubles but played just 15 minutes and grabbed only five rebounds as Duke went with a smaller lineup.

UP NEXT

The Blue Devils don't play again until Dec. 19 at home against Wofford.

The Hokies are at home against next Wednesday against Chattanooga.

MORE NCAA NEWS:

Howard football coach Ron Prince resigns amid investigation into verbal abuse allegations

ncaafootballs.jpg
USA TODAY Sports Images

Howard football coach Ron Prince resigns amid investigation into verbal abuse allegations

Ron Prince resigned from his position as head coach at Howard University on Friday. Prince had been on administrative leave since November after allegations of verbal abuse and mistreatment of players.

“Coach Ron Prince has resigned as head coach of Howard’s football program, effective immediately,” Howard athletics director Kery Davis said in a statement to ESPN. “The university and Coach Prince have agreed to mutually part ways. A national search for a replacement will begin immediately."

The allegations came to light after HBCU Gameday reported that Davis received a letter from a parent with the accusations against Price. The university put Price on administrative leave and launched an investigation into the matter.

Four Howard players joined the transfer portal in October, the most notable being quarterback Caylin Newton, the brother of former NFL MVP Cam Newton. Prince joined Howard after the 2018 season and has had 17 players enter the transfer portal during his tenure.

Price's previous experience includes coaching in the NCAA for Rutgers University and Michigan University, and in the NFL for the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and Indianapolis Colts. He was the head coach at Kansas State from 2006-08. 

Howard assigned interim responsibilities to director of football operations Aaron Kelton, who will continue on in that role until a new coach is hired.

MORE NCAA NEWS: