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College Football 2019 Week 5 What to Watch: A rivalry in the making?

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College Football 2019 Week 5 What to Watch: A rivalry in the making?

Maryland faces its toughest task of the season as it hosts Penn State, Navy looks to stay undefeated, Virginia Tech looks to get on track and UVA heads to South Bend.

Here is a breakdown of all the local action.

Navy at Memphis

When: 8 p.m. Thursday
Where: Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium, Memphis, Tenn.
How to watch: ESPN

Two undefeated teams clash in a game with major AAC West implications. No team has cemented itself as the team to beat in the division, so Thursday's game offers Navy a big opportunity to jump out to a 2-0 conference record. Memphis started the season with an impressive 15-10 win over Ole Miss and they have not been particularly challenged since. They feature a very balanced offensive attack, but their defense is middle of the pack in terms of stopping the run, allowing 116.3 yards on the ground per game. That's good for 40th in the nation. Navy, meanwhile, is averaging a whopping 371.5 rushing yards per game.

Virginia Tech vs. Duke

When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Lane Stadium, Blacksburg, Va.
How to watch: ESPN

What will Virginia Tech's defense look like? The Hokies currently rank 88th in rush defense and 40th in total defense and that's after playing Boston College (who got blown out at home by Kansas), Old Dominion and Furman. They have got to turn things around on that side of the ball and fast. Luckily for them, Duke does not present the biggest challenge offensively as the Blue Devils rank 70th in total offense.

Blue Devils quarterback Quentin Harris presents a matchup problem, however, as a dual-threat quarterback. That has long been the Achilles heel of defensive coordinator Bud Foster, even back when the Hokies featured one of the top defenses in the country.

Penn State at Maryland

When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Maryland Stadium, College Park, Md.
How to watch: FS1

Maryland made the college football world stop and take notice of its high-powered offense in the first two weeks. Then everything came crashing back down to Earth against Temple. The Terps have had to sit on that loss for a week with a bye separating that game from this week's mammoth matchup against Penn State.

Have the Terps truly turned a corner under head coach Mike Locksley or was the loss to Temple more than just a blip on the radar?

Check out the full preview here.

Virginia at Notre Dame

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Notre Dame Stadium, Notre Dame, Ind.
How to watch: NBC

The Hoos survived a scare last week from Old Dominion, but they cannot afford to spot a team like Notre Dame 17 points and hope to pull out a victory. The defense is going to have to keep Virginia in this game for the Cavaliers to have a chance.

Notre Dame is coming off its big game against Georgia and, while the Irish ultimately lost, they certainly acquitted themselves well against one of the top teams in the nation. Notre Dame's rushers and linebackers against Georgia's offensive line looked like a complete mismatch given the size of the Bulldogs' linemen, but the Irish defenders disrupted Georgia's offense all game long. UVA's offensive line is going to have its hands full trying to block Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem.

Virginia quarterback Bryce Perkins has demonstrated big-play potential all season, but he also has thrown four interceptions in the young season. You can bet Notre Dame is going to pressure him in the hopes of forcing bad decisions and turnovers.

The key to this game will be how Virginia's defense is able to do against Ian Book and Co. The Hoos are currently ranked 14th in total defense. It is going to be tough sledding for the Cavaliers' offense so it falls to the defense to keep them in this game.

Game of the week: No. 17 Washington vs. No. 21 USC

When: 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Husky Stadium, Seattle, Wash.
How to watch: FOX

Quarterback Kedon Slovis stepped in and delivered a huge win over Stanford for USC just three weeks ago, but that seems like eons now. Slovis was forced to leave the Trojans' game last week against Utah and he remains in concussion protocol. The good news for USC, however, is that its third-string quarterback Matt Fink stepped in to replace Slovis and similarly delivered a huge conference victory over Utah.

Fink, a redshirt junior, will likely be the team's starter again as it heads to Seattle to take on Washington.

After Oregon's loss to Auburn in the opening week of the season, Washington was looked upon as the team that would have to carry the Pac-12's hopes to reach the playoff. They then promptly lost in a bizarre matchup to Cal. Now the margin of error for the Huskies is gone.

Washington will look to exploit what has been a porous defense for the Trojans who rank 90th in total defense giving up 421 yards per game. Quarterback Jacob Eason leads the Huskies offense which is averaging 270.5 passing yards per game.

On NBC Sports Washington

Pitt vs. Delaware

When: 12:30 p.m.
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pa.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington

Elizabeth City State vs. Fayetteville State

When: 4 p.m.
Where: Rocky Mount Athletic Stadium, Rocky Mount, N.C.
How to watch: NBC Sports Washington Plus

Other local teams

Georgetown at Columbia, 1 p.m. Saturday on ESPN+
Richmond at Fordham, 1 p.m. Saturday
Bethune-Cookman at Howard, 1 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3
Wofford at VMI, 1:30 p.m. Saturday on ESPN+
James Madison at Elon, 2 p.m. Saturday
William & Mary at Albany, 3:30 p.m. Saturday
Towson at Florida, 4 p.m. Saturday on SECN
Florida A&M at Norfolk State, 4 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3
North Carolina Central at Morgan State, 6 p.m. Saturday on ESPN3

Former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill joins Hokies football staff to help Justin Fuente, not replace him

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Former Minnesota coach Jerry Kill joins Hokies football staff to help Justin Fuente, not replace him

Virginia Tech is coming off a come-from-behind victory over FCS opponent Furman, they have an opening loss against Boston College which was just blown out by perennial punchline Kansas and, because they are playing two FCS opponents this year, they have to find a way to earn five more wins this season to keep the vaunted bowl streak alive. That was the background for Monday’s announcement from head coach Justin Fuente.

Former Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill has been added to the Virginia Tech football staff as a special assistant to the head coach, Fuente announced. With the lackluster start to the season, Monday’s announcement led to plenty of speculation from Hokie nation as to what this meant for Fuente’s future.

Make no mistake, however, Kill is headed to Blacksburg to assist Fuente, not replace him.

"Jerry Kill will serve as a tremendous resource for our football program," Fuente said in a statement. "Coach Kill possesses over three decades of expertise and will be great addition to our staff. In addition to over 20 years of experience as collegiate and high school head coach, he's served as a coordinator on both sides of the ball. He can dissect the game from virtually every angle and will be able to provide his unique perspective on everything from recruiting, to personnel and facilities.

"After Coach Kill spent some time with our staff during preseason camp, it was apparent that he possesses a passion for being involved with a football program on a daily basis," Fuente continued. "I have all the respect in the world for Coach Kill. I'm excited that he'll be an integral part of our program at Virginia Tech and can't wait for him to get on campus."

Kill was the head coach of Minnesota from 2011 to ‘15 and took the team to three bowl games. He also was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2014. His epilepsy, however, forced him to step down. The rigors of coaching consumed Kill to the point that he was not taking care of himself or adequately managing his condition. He suffered multiple seizures while at Minnesota, many of which came during games.

Since then, Kill has served as an associate athletics director at Kansas State, the offensive coordinator at Rutgers and the athletics director for Southern Illinois.

During this time, however, the desire to coach and be involved with a football team never went away. That was really the genesis of how he ended up at Virginia Tech.

According to Andy Bitter of The Athletic, Fuente invited Kill to watch a few of the team’s August practices and Kill provided feedback on what he saw. Originally , his relationship with the Hokies was not expected to go beyond that and Fuente did not intend for a job to come from that, but Kill’s desire to get back into football was enough for him to leave his job as an AD to join Virginia Tech.

"While it was a difficult decision to leave so many wonderful friends and colleagues at Southern Illinois, I am thrilled for the opportunity to join Coach Fuente and his staff at Virginia Tech," Kill said in a statement. "I've long appreciated and admired Justin as a coach and teacher of the game. I respect his penchant for identifying talent and helping young men reach their potential. He has assembled a fabulous coaching staff and roster of talented players at Virginia Tech. I can't wait to help the Hokies in any way I can."

The timing of this announcement may lead to speculation, but Kill’s health will not allow for him to get back into coaching. This is just a situation in which Fuente had the opportunity to help a fellow coach follow his passion and, in turn, Kill will help the Hokies.

Week 3: Ugly games lead to ugly wins and losses

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Week 3: Ugly games lead to ugly wins and losses

There's no way to sugarcoat it, Week 3 was an ugly one with a lot of ugly football games being played. Penn State defeated rival Pitt thanks to questionable playcalling, Maryland lost one of the most bizarre games ever played, Virginia Tech rallied from a double-digit deficit against FCS Furman and Virginia squeaked out a win in a penalty-filled slugfest with Florida State.

Here's a recap of the week's action.

Penn State 17, Pitt 10

The good: Journey Brown

The Nittany Lions finished with 167 rushing and 389 total yards. Brown accounted for 109 of those rushing yards alone.

The bad: The offensive line

Penn State quarterback Sean Clifford completed only 14 of his 30 passes as he faced relentless pressure from the Pitt defense that the offensive line struggled to keep contained. The Panthers sacked Clifford three times and hurried him on several other plays 

The ugly: Pitt not going for the touchdown in the fourth quarter

This is the story of the game.

Pitt trailed 17-10  with the ball at Penn State's 1-yard line and less than five minutes on the clock. Instead of going for the game-tying touchdown, the Panthers lined up to kick a chip-shot field goal which kicker Alex Kessman ultimately missed. Afterward head coach Patt Narduzzi tried to justify the call saying the team needed two scores to win the game "unless you guys are playing for overtime."

Yes, somehow Narduzzi tried to claim going for the field goal instead of the touchdown was actually the bolder move.

If Narduzzi is scoffing at the notion of playing for overtime, then score the touchdown and go for two instead of the extra point. The fact is, the Panthers started that drive needing a touchdown. Even if they had made the field goal, the next time they got the ball, if at all, they would still need a touchdown. The problem was not that Pitt missed the field goal, it's that they should not have been trying to kick it at all. The Panthers were on the road playing a fierce and highly ranked Penn State team in the last game between these two rivals for the foreseeable future and Narduzzi went as conservative as possible. This game deserved bolder action from Narduzzi.

Temple 20, Maryland 17

The good: Anthony McFarland

The Terps are loaded with a strong running back core and McFarland has established himself as the dominant force through which this offense runs. He had 26 carries for 132 yards and a touchdown against Temple, as he tried to carry a sputtering offense to the win.

The bad: The playcalling

Going for it on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line in the first quarter? I get it. The Terps' strength is their rushing game, you want to be aggressive and push the Owls around up the middle, fine. But when you do that and then attempt a fake field goal on the very next drive, it came off as desperate. The score was 7-2 in the second quarter. There was no need for the Terps to chose points at that moment in the game and it cost them. Three extra points for Maryland certainly would have been significant in this game.

The ugly: Everything

Unless you watched, I am not sure it is possible to describe this game in a way that can adequately capture how unbelievably ugly and crazy it truly was.

This game featured a muffed punt, a goal-line stand, a safety off a bad snap on a punt, a fake field goal, a missed field goal, an interception negated by a penalty, seven Maryland players failing to pick up a fumble, a defensive holding call on third down which ultimately led to the go-ahead touchdown, a punt return to the 4-yard line that led to a second goal-line stand and seven-yard punt that gave Maryland one final opportunity to win the game .

Virginia Tech 24, Furman 17

The good: Tre Turner's second half

Down 14-3 at halftime to an FCS opponent, the Hokies needed someone to step up and take back control of the game. Turner scored a pair of touchdowns in the second half which took a 14-10 deficit and put the Hokies up 24-14.

The wide receiver proved a versatile weapon on Saturday with five carries for 68 yards on the ground and four catches for 29 yards.

The bad: Turnovers

Virginia Tech simply cannot hold onto the football. The Hokies entered Saturday's game tied for last among all FBS programs in turnover margin. Furman turned the ball over twice, but so did Virginia Tech which now has eight total turnovers through the first three games of the season.

The ugly: The first half

There was outright panic in Blacksburg after the first half as Furman took a 14-3 lead into halftime. That's not supposed to happen against an FCS opponent.

Virginia Tech had only 107 yards of offense in the first half with one made field goal, one missed field goal, two punts and two turnovers.

Navy 42, East Carolina 10

The good: Malcolm Perry's six touchdowns

Perry ran for four touchdowns on the ground and threw for another two touchdowns for six total scores. Six is the most a single player has scored for Navy since Keenan Reynolds scored six on Nov. 15, 2014.

The bad: Three wins

Navy is 2-0 on the season, already pulling them within one win of last year's total of three. Their dominance in the early season is a reflection of how much this team hasa improved and is ready to put an ugly 2018 behind them.

The ugly: The pass attack

Who would have thought you would be reading about the passing offense from Navy? If you can't even keep the Midshipmen from passing, it is going to be a long day for you. That proved true for ECU on Saturday.

Perry completed five of seven passes on Saturday for 151 yards and two touchdowns showing a different dimension of the Navy offense most would have assumed they did not have.

Virginia 31, Florida State 24

The good: Bryce Perkins

Florida State linebacker Leonard Warner said earlier in the week of Perkins, “I don’t think we are going to have too much trouble with him. We have a good game plan built up. I think we have pretty good plan for controlling him.”

Perkins ended up throwing for 295 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 46 yards. He did throw two picks, but he also had perhaps the play of the game.

When Virginia scored the go-ahead touchdown with 2:34 remaining in the game, they lined up to go for 2. Left with no one to pass to, Perkin danced around in the backfield desperately trying to find an open receiver. He stepped into the pocket, retreated back, scrambled right, put on the breaks and turned back left, set to throw, pulled the ball in again, then turned the corner on the defense to the left and knifed through the stunned defense into the end zone.

The bad: A missed extra point

A one-yard touchdown run from Taulapapa pulled UVa within one at 24-23 with just over six minutes left to play. Brian Delaney stepped up for the extra point...and missed. At the time, given how much time was left in the game, it felt like a significant blunder for Virginia. Luckily for the Cavaliers, it did not end up costing them.

The ugly: Penalties

Just about everything is going wrong for Florida State in the Willie Taggart era, but one issue that was staggering on Saturday was the Seminoles' total lack of discipline. Florida State was flagged 10 times for 83 yards in this game including four fourth-quarter flags. Two of those flags were personal fouls.

As undisciplined as the Seminoles looked in the fourth, Virginia was just as bad with four penalties late in the game, all of which came with less than three minutes remaining to give Florida State a chance to tie the game.