It is no secret that the San Francisco 49ers are in a dogfight to make it into the playoffs. The team has already lost Joe Staley, Jimmy Garoppolo, and their upcoming game against Jacksonville will be without Jerick McKinnon who was placed on injured reserve this week. Luckily for them, the return of Nick Bosa will help bolster an embattled roster while also providing hope for late-season momentum
The “49ers postgame live today” is the San Francisco 49ers could get an all-important pro bowler back at the perfect time for a late playoff run. The team’s leading receiver, Pierre Garcon, tore his ACL in Week 6 and will be out for the season.
The San Francisco 49ers are finally reaching their stride. The squad looked to be going in the wrong way, but they’ve now turned things around. With the return of Pro Bowl defensive end Dee Ford, Kyle Shanahan’s team might receive a huge lift shortly.
Ford’s comeback could not have come at a better moment for the Niners, who are on the rise.
Dee Ford was activated off injured reserve by the 49ers.
The San Francisco 49ers’ Dee Ford takes the field before of their game against the Green Bay Packers | Getty Images/Thearon W. Henderson
Dee Ford has shown that when healthy, he can be one of the best pass rushers in the league. He could be able to go back into action sooner rather than later.
The San Francisco 49ers have reinstated the 30-year-old defensive end, along with linebacker Dre Greenlaw, off injured reserve, according to Pro Football Talk. Kyle Shanahan is optimistic that Ford will be able to play against the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12.
“From what he said, I know he’s in terrific shape,” Shanahan added. “All he has to do now is go out there and show us.”
Ford missed San Francisco’s final four games due to a back ailment he sustained early in the season.
During the 2021 season, the Auburn product has five tackles and three sacks in six games. Ford must be expecting to reclaim his form from last season, when he had 13 sacks for the Kansas City Chiefs.
While that is unlikely, Dee Ford’s return to play may be a huge lift for a 49ers squad that is on the rise.
San Francisco is on the rise at the ideal moment.
The San Francisco 49ers dropped to 3-5 after losing to the Arizona Cardinals without Kyler Murray in Week 9. They have, however, won back-to-back games and are on the right track.
The Niners were huge underdogs in their Monday Night Football matchup against the Los Angeles Rams. Instead of Sean Mcvay’s gang trampled on San Francisco, the reverse occurred.
On both sides of the football, the 49ers established control early and frequently, resulting to a stunning 31-10 shock win against LA.
The team’s latest game against the Jacksonville Jaguars continued to build on that momentum. After a great win, San Francisco avoided a letdown by taking care of business against an inferior opponent.
Kyle Shanahan’s offense is settling in lately. Three of the Niners’ previous four games have seen them score 30 points or more. The defense has also been outstanding, allowing just 20 points to their previous two opponents.
Adding Dee Ford to the mix may help the 49ers sneak into the playoffs.
Kyle Shanahan’s job might be saved if the team makes it to the playoffs.
The San Francisco 49ers enter Week 12 against the Minnesota Vikings with a 5-5 record. They would claim the last wild-card playoff place in the NFC if the season ended tonight.
Unfortunately for Kyle Shanahan and his teammates, the 2021 season still has plenty of football remaining. To make it out of a close playoff race, the 49ers will have to keep winning.
Up until now, San Francisco has experienced a roller-coaster season. Given how it seemed at times, it may surprise some that this squad is in great playoff position.
Shanahan’s seat began to heat up while the Niners were struggling. He’s in his fifth season as head coach, and the organization has high expectations for him, which he hasn’t reached in 2021. Despite the slow start, his team seems to be deadly.
Deebo Samuel is a real hottie. Jimmy Garoppolo keeps his starting quarterback position despite George Kittle’s return to health. Dee Ford returns to the defense to partner with Nick Bosa, who is enjoying a fantastic season.
The 49ers have a chance to reach the playoffs with a challenging but winnable schedule down the stretch. If that occurs, Kyle Shanahan will be able to refute the notion that he is overrated.
Pro Football Reference provided all stats.
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Troy Terry’s grin can be heard over the phone.
The Anaheim Ducks forward had just returned home after a post-practice Christmas shopping expedition with his fiancée, Dani, on a cold mid-November day (at least by Southern California standards). Terry’s voice has a bouncy quality to it that extends to his audible smile.
It’s a great day — and a great season — to be him.
Terry has emerged as one of the NHL’s breakthrough players in the last month. And, to be honest, he believes it has been a long time coming.
Terry was selected in the fifth round of the 2015 NHL draft by Anaheim, but it took him until his fourth season to finally take off. He had a 16-game point streak to open the season, which is the second-longest in the NHL after Connor McDavid’s. Terry has already set career highs in goals (12) and points (22) in only 17 games, and is in the top five in both categories in the league.
Terry’s current run is the longest by a Ducks player since Corey Perry scored in 19 consecutive games from October 21 to December 1, 2009. In team history, only Perry and Teemu Selanne (17 games in 1998-99) have had longer streaks than Terry.
Terry has been gaining ground, and the Ducks have been gaining ground as well. Since November 1, Anaheim has gone 7-1-0 in their past eight games, giving them one of the finest records in the NHL.
On their own, the figures seem outstanding. What Terry senses through them is the realization of a long-awaited potential.
“I definitely wouldn’t have believed you if you told me the stats I’d have right now and the point streak,” Terry told ESPN recently. “In my profession, I haven’t progressed as quickly as I would have liked. I don’t recall ever having [more than] one point in the first ten games of a season. It had come to the point where individuals were saying, “Perhaps I’m not the player everyone expected me to be.” I have a chip on my shoulder and a lot of things to prove. It’s been a long and winding road for me.”
It’s been a long time coming.
Terry, 24, was not burdened by the pressures of being a highly regarded draft prospect. He created the buzz that accompanied him to the NHL.
The Denver native’s status started to rise after his exploits for Team USA in the 2017 World Junior Championship. Terry’s position was primarily that of a fourth-line grinder throughout the tournament, but in the semifinal round against Russia, he scored three straight shootout goals, including the game-winner. Terry scored the game-winning shootout goal in the gold medal game to help the United States defeat Canada.
Terry was chosen to the All-Tournament team as a sophomore at the University of Denver, when he helped the Pioneers win their ninth NCAA title.
Terry was inspired to compete for Team USA in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Terry, a college junior at the time, took advantage of the NHL’s refusal to send players that year, placing second on the squad in points (5).
He returned home to sign a three-year, entry-level deal with Anaheim, and finished his tenure with the Broncos with 115 points in 11 games. Terry made his NHL debut on March 27, 2018, with the Ducks, where he appeared in two games before the season ended.
Terry made the Anaheim Ducks’ team out of training camp for the 2018-19 season, but he had a long road ahead of him. He only lasted six games in the NHL before being relegated (for the first time) to the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League. Terry spent the following two seasons hopping between leagues along the I-5, never establishing himself at any level.
Terry now admits, “I had extremely high expectations coming out of college, and it was challenging.” “Whether it was being sent down to San Diego or playing well but not producing, it was a difficult path for me. It has undoubtedly been difficult.”
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“When I was playing well, Ryan used to tell me that it looked like I had a flow to my game,” Terry recalls. “And when I wasn’t, I was nearly attempting to do everything correctly. I was losing my originality, and I seemed choppy and as if I was overthinking everything. ‘Relax and simply flow, flow, flow,’ he used to say. I’m not sure why that’s made the most impact for me, but it’s something to do with not thinking about everything at once and simply playing instinctively.”
Dallas Eakins can vouch to the effectiveness of this strategy. Eakins served four seasons as the head coach of the San Diego Chargers before joining Anaheim in 2019. Eakins approached Terry on the ice when he was first assigned to the Gulls for a conversation. It was the first of many discussions they’d have about how to translate Terry’s abilities to the professionals.
“The first time he came to San Diego, he didn’t have a whole lot of confidence,” Eakins says. “He has, nevertheless, always had the ability. You’d only see him dominate three or four games in a row before he vanished. And I believe Troy has decided to adopt the path of choosing to be confident. It will take some time. Every player is unique; they are human people, not a collection of machines.”
Good prospects do not become great players by chance. Miller’s suggestion to Terry exemplifies this. Terry has been paired with seasoned linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Adam Henrique recently, and Anaheim still has a few eager instructors among their ranks.
That wasn’t by chance; Eakins understands the importance of such connections in Terry’s development.
“Troy [was successful] in college, and in the World Junior tournament, he attracted a lot of attention,” Eakins said. “So Troy enters, thinking to himself, ‘I’m going to tear everything up.’ Then it’s like, “Wowah.” Then he comes to the American League, where he’s been a little battered. These youngsters have such high expectations of themselves. What’s happened to Troy now is that he sits in the dressing room next to Ryan and Adam, and none of them says anything.”
Think of Terry as a sponge.
“When Ryan Getzlaf tells you anything, you listen,” he remarked.
‘He teaches me how to be a better person.’
Terry ponders his response for a long time. He aspires to be a worthy successor to Getzlaf.
Terry’s linemate on the Ducks is more than simply a linemate. Getzlaf has been his mentor and the bearer of difficult realities for Terry.
“More than just as a hockey player, he’s meant a lot to me. He’s become a dear buddy of mine “Terry said. “We’ve become close over the years, even though I haven’t always lived up to my potential as a hockey player. He’ll be the first to inform me when I make a play that I shouldn’t be attempting to make. He is quite outspoken with me and always tells me what I should and should not do. He instructs me on how to improve.”
Last summer, Getzlaf briefly considered free agency before committing to a one-year deal with the only NHL franchise he’s ever known.
Terry may not be enjoying the season he is having if Getzlaf had gone somewhere. Getzlaf, on the other hand, would not.
Getzlaf’s personal revival has been aided by establishing a line with Terry. He has 19 points in 18 games this season, compared to 17 points in 48 games last season. Getzlaf also became the first player in Ducks history to collect 1,000 points earlier this month.
On the milestone play, Terry was riding shotgun with Getzlaf, scooping up an assist of his own.
“It’s been extremely meaningful for me to be going through this year with him and seeing how successful we’ve both been,” Terry added. “I know he’s been around a long time and has seen a lot, but it’s been a lot of fun for me. And I believe he’s had a lot of pleasure returning to hockey.”
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Shaw could see Terry’s evident skill when he came to Denver the following season. Structure and an awareness of how to manipulate his body were what the adolescent need. Terry returned to work with Shaw and a group of local skaters every summer, and the two built a strong bond that continues to this day.
“I believe he came in just around 160 pounds his freshman year,” Shaw said. “Then, this summer, he began at 180-182 pounds and added another eight to ten pounds, putting him just at 190. He’s spent a lot of time over the past five or six years concentrating on his physical growth and improving his eating habits and work ethic. Even among NHL players, he was one of the strongest pound-for-pound athletes we had by the time he departed this summer. He’s really strong and explosive.”
Last summer, Terry was very frustrated and came to Shaw for help. His output in 2020-21 was poor, with just seven goals and 20 points in 48 games. Terry has yet to achieve the heights he had envisioned after three seasons as a pro. It was time to get down to business.
“I had a problem with consistency,” Terry acknowledges. “I’ve always felt the urge to improve my strength, and I was inspired to do so. I felt I had the potential to make an impact in this league, but I needed to grow stronger in order to do so. I spent more time in the gym than on the ice. To become a goal scorer, I had to learn to shoot pucks off the pass, which I did by just working out and one-timing pucks from various angles.”
Shaw emphasised velocity-based training, such as resisted sled pushes, loaded leaping, and lateral force generation routines, to help Terry gain strength without compromising speed and agility. Terry would only skate for 30-40 minutes a couple of times a week and then spend up to 90 minutes with Shaw five times a week. At least so far, the outcomes speak for themselves.
“Troy went into every day with a competitive mindset,” Shaw said. “If there was a lift, he made sure he lifted more weight or moved it quicker than the rest of the group. And it was evident. I believe his sense of humour and the energy he gives show that he enjoys the work. This offseason, he had a lot of fun with the surroundings and attacking.”
So, what’s next?
Terry was well aware that the question will be asked at some point.
Has he considered making Team USA’s Olympic roster again, this time among other NHL players, given how well he’s started the season?
“It’s certainly something I’ve considered,” Terry responded after another contemplative pause. “But I believe that a large part of our team’s success, as well as my personal success, is due to the fact that I’ve been taking things game by game. Having objectives is undoubtedly beneficial, and making the [Olympic] squad would be amazing. I’m not going to lie to you and say that I wouldn’t be completely honored or that it wouldn’t be incredible. It would be an amazing honor if I kept doing what I’m doing and ended up on the team.”
Terry competed for the United States at the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. Will he be a part of the team for the 2022 Olympic Games in Beijing? Getty Images/Bruce Bennett
This year, Eakins has a slogan for the Ducks: Win today. And he emphasizes that ego is merely a hindrance to growth. Terry seems to be genuinely committed to both ideas. He’d rather follow Getzlaf’s guidance than confess to taking inspiration from Anaheim’s freshmen class. Everywhere there are lessons to be learned.
Terry added, “We have a player like [rookie] Trevor Zegras who simply radiates confidence.” “That is evident in the way he performs. He makes me nearly envy. The way he conducts himself, it’s as if he knows he’ll make his moves and attempt new things. That’s something I’ve been anticipating taking a long time to do.”
Terry isn’t alone in having a difficult start to his career. Adversity, if anything, has enhanced the significance of his entrance this season. And all eyes will be on Terry as he attempts to maintain his point streak. There is some pressure, but not as much as in the past. Terry no longer aspires to be someone else.
It’s enough to be Troy Terry.
“It’s a lot of joy to see this kid ride a roller coaster up and down and then see how he’s begun the season here,” Eakins said. “Will Troy be able to keep this up? I’m not sure. Perhaps he’ll improve even more. Or maybe he’ll hit a snag along the way. And that’ll be OK as well. He’ll park it and be ready for the following day if that occurs. That’s all there is to it.”
7 a.m. ET
Number one Georgia defeated Charleston Southern of the FCS by a score of 56-7. Meanwhile, Ohio State handled a top-10 Michigan State squad like an FCS team, winning by the same score.
Week 12 of the college football season provided Heisman Trophy moments, shocking shocks, and spectacular plays, laying the groundwork for what is likely to be an exciting rivalry week.
Our correspondents put the previous week into context.
The Pac-12’s prospects of having a national champion were virtually dashed with Oregon’s devastating 38-7 defeat to Utah. Getty Images/Chris Gardner
The Pac-12 has struck out again again.
For the sixth consecutive season, the so-called Conference of Champions will be denied not just the championship, but also the chance to have one of its clubs participate in a final game. The conference’s sole chance for a playoff berth vanished in an unceremonious manner after Utah exposed an Oregon squad that had battled to appear dominating in previous weeks. So, what’s next?
Though Oregon coach Mario Cristobal made it clear that the Ducks still have a lot to play for, the evident disappointment highlights a hard reality: despite how well the Ducks have recruited and performed in recent years, the Pac-12 is still not competitive with the best teams in the nation. In recent years, what might have been regarded as depth has devolved into mediocrity across the board. Teams with a.500 record keep beating each other not because they’re all excellent, but because none of them are exceptional.
Oregon has unquestionably been the top team in the league in recent years, but its potential remains untapped. It’s why, this summer, all eyes will be on USC, which will have its sixth head coach (interim or full-time) since Pete Carroll’s departure.
In comparison to its conference counterparts, USC still has unequaled potential due to its location, player name, image and likeness prospects, history, and name brand. It can and should be a recruiting force that can and will equip a group worthy of defeating SEC and Big Ten powerhouses, not only in California. To say the least, tapping into that potential has been difficult, but with the proper choice, the Trojans might shock their program and the league. Both of them, it’s fair to say, are in desperate need of each other.
Sure, the shortest way to a playoff place for Pac-12 commissioner George Kliavkoff is to press for the long-awaited expansion of the playoff system, which seems to be almost complete. However, a change in structure may just shift the debate rather than solve the issue. Making the playoffs will no longer be the issue for the conference; it will be winning it. Paolo Uggetti (Paolo Uggetti)
Would a two-loss Alabama team have a stronger CFP resume than Cincinnati’s undefeated AAC title? USA TODAY Sports-Gary Cosby Jr.
Alabama isn’t a sure thing to make the playoffs.
Georgia is in, appears to be the general consensus on the present condition of the College Football Playoff. Alabama will be admitted. The winner of the Ohio State-Michigan game will advance. Depending on how the last games play out, the final berth might go to Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Cincinnati, or Notre Dame.
Given the committee’s rankings over the last four weeks, it makes sense, but there’s one large red elephant in the room that we may not be discussing enough: Alabama.
Are we positive the Tide will make the playoffs?
This isn’t meant to be taken as a severe condemnation of Alabama. Men don’t make fun of Nick Saban and then survive to tell the tale. Doubting the Tide is a tragedy waiting to happen. But this isn’t about evaluating Tuscaloosa’s true talent. It’s all about analyzing the next playoff scenarios.
First and foremost, Alabama’s resume is impressive (convincing wins over Ole Miss and Mississippi State, both ranked, as well as Miami, Tennessee and Arkansas). However, that record includes a defeat to a Texas A&M team that was in disarray (and unranked) at the time and still has three losses on the season. A&M has scored less than 22 points in five of its six games this season, but it scored 41 against Alabama, its second-highest total against an FBS opponent. And then there’s Alabama’s dreadful victory against Florida, which looks even worse in hindsight. It was a fortunate escape from an LSU squad that had all but given up on the season.
On Saturday, Alabama came within a whisker of losing to Arkansas, with only the heroics of their Heisman-candidate quarterback, Bryce Young, saving the Tide. There have been games in which the Tide’s defense has struggled, games in which the O-line has looked shaky, and games in which the running backs have had little freedom to roam — all of which is typical of any team’s season. It’s simply one-of-a-kind in a state like Alabama.
This isn’t meant to smear the Tide’s resume. But, if we’re going to pick on Cincinnati, it’s only fair.
But there’s a greater stumbling block in the way: the future. There’s the Iron Bowl, which seems to be a foregone conclusion for Alabama, but odd things have occurred in this game in the past. Then there’s the SEC title game, where a matchup against No. 1 Georgia could easily result in a second defeat for Alabama.
There has never been a two-loss team in the College Football Playoff. Would Alabama be a good bet to be the first to do so?
On the one hand, one might argue that losing to Georgia isn’t a big deal. It’s something that everyone does. On the other hand, we’d already have evidence that Alabama couldn’t defeat Georgia, so why should we give the Tide another chance?
What if it comes down to 13-0 Cincinnati vs. 11-2 Alabama for the last playoff spot? Yes, strength of schedule is important, but would the committee go so far as to overlook an undefeated Bearcats squad in favor of a two-loss Tide squad?
Of course, there’s still the possibility that Alabama easily defeats Auburn and shocks Georgia in Atlanta in two weeks, and all of this will be for nothing. Doubt Alabama at your risk once again.
However, if the playoff picture becomes clearer, Alabama’s place may not be as safe as it seems at first glance, and if the Tide are in the midst of that last argument, it might wind up being the largest issue the committee has ever had to answer. ‘David Hale’
Treylon Burks of Arkansas has eight receptions for 179 yards and two scores against Alabama. Getty Images/Kevin C. Cox
In the 2022 draft, the top wide receivers put up massive statistics.
In their first year in the NFL, rookie wide receivers may have an instant impression. Consider Ja’Marr Chase, a former LSU standout. Several prospective first-round wideouts in the 2022 NFL draft class put on a display on Saturday that put them ahead of the competition.
As he entered Bryant-Denny Stadium to face the Alabama secondary, Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks faced one of his toughest challenges of the season. Burks showed to be a high-end danger in a seven-point setback. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound receiver ended with eight receptions for 179 yards and two scores, including a 66-yard run that showcased his speed.
Alabama’s Jameson Williams produced another outstanding performance on the other side of the field. After transferring from Ohio State, he has flourished with greater possibilities. He had eight catches for 190 yards and three touchdowns, becoming the only athlete in school history to have four 75-yard touchdown grabs in a single season.
In a top-10 battle against Michigan State, Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson, the Ohio State combination who stood atop Williams’ depth chart previous to his promotion to Alabama, both dominated. Olave topped all receivers in receiving yards and touchdowns with 140 yards on seven receptions and two scores. Wilson was not far behind, with seven receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns. The explosive tandem has established themselves as the most dangerous corps in the country, coupled with outstanding sophomore Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Overall, the wide receiver class of 2022 seems to have a bright future. NFL clubs looking for fresh perimeter weapons will be in luck, as the incoming class of prospects is loaded with talent. Jordan Reid, author
This season, Matt Corral has passed for 3,100 yards, 552 yards on the ground, and 29 total touchdowns. Matt Bush is a sports reporter for USA TODAY.
This year’s Egg Bowl is the SEC’s flagship rivalry game.
Forget about the Iron Bowl. The Egg Bowl will be the SEC rivalry game to watch this week, with Auburn on a three-game losing run after its defeat to South Carolina and Alabama predicted to be a big favorite.
You’ll have a hard time finding a stronger quarterback matchup than Ole Miss’ Matt Corral and Mississippi State’s Will Rogers. This season, the two have combined for 63 touchdowns.
However, although Corral has been a well-known product for some time, Rogers is not. He was still playing high school football in Brandon, Mississippi, two years ago. By big-time college football standards, he was an unknown three-star recruit with scholarship offers from Troy and Tulane.
Rogers has emerged as one of the most effective quarterbacks in the nation after an up-and-down rookie season in 2020. In last Saturday’s victory against Tennessee State, he broke school records for passing yards and touchdowns in a single season, which were previously held by Dak Prescott, perhaps the finest player in program history.
Rogers, the first Mississippi State quarterback to pass for 4,000 yards in a season, said he had admired Prescott since he was in elementary school and “never really anticipated” being in the same company as him.
“I’m not really shocked,” Mike Leach, his coach, said.
The reason for this is because, like many other young athletes, learning the Air Raid offense takes time. More repetitions equals faster processing and more consistency.
Not only has Rogers improved steadily, but so has the offense as a whole, setting up a potential shootout on Saturday against Lane Kiffin’s high-powered Ole Miss outfit. Makai Polk equaled Fred Ross for the most catches this season with 88, while Austin Williams set another school mark with three touchdowns in a single game against Tennessee State.
State was averaging 24.7 points per game during its first six games this season, which placed 12th out of 14 SEC teams.
However, it has averaged 40.4 points per game in its last five games, which ranks third in the league after Georgia and Alabama. Alex Scarborough’s remark
Stopping C.J. Stroud and the Buckeyes will be Aidan Hutchinson and the Wolverines’ most difficult challenge in Week 13. Getty Images/Greg Fiume
The rivalry between Michigan and Ohio State is significant.
We’ve all wondered whether Ohio State and Michigan were on the verge of colliding for a place in the Big Ten title game and a berth in the College Football Playoff.
We don’t have to make any more educated guesses. It’s occurring right now.
Both teams are ranked in the top five for the first time since 2016, when No. 2 Ohio State defeated No. 3 Michigan 30-27 in double overtime. The argument over whether Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett was short on a fourth-down run that led to the game’s winning touchdown remains engraved in Michigan supporters’ brains.
It’s been a long time since this game meant anything to either team, and it’s also been a long time since Michigan won in this rivalry. Ohio State has won eight of the last 16 encounters, including 15 of the last 16. Jim Harbaugh is 0-5 versus Ohio State, and the Wolverines will have to do a lot to shut down the Buckeyes’ attack.
Quarterback C.J. Stroud is coming off a game against Michigan State in which he threw for 393 yards and six touchdowns in the first half alone. Stroud only threw three interceptions on the day and could have thrown for 600 yards if he hadn’t been benched for the backups.
It would be an understatement to say the Ohio State offense is clicking right now. Stroud has five throwing touchdowns and no interceptions in four games this season, which is tied for the most by any FBS quarterback in the last 20 years.
Smith-Njigba, Wilson, and Olave, his receivers, are the only Big Ten trio in the last 25 years to each have 100 receiving yards in multiple games.
The game against Michigan State was expected to be much closer, but it ended up being the largest margin of victory between two top-seven teams since 1945, when No. 1 Army defeated No. 6 Penn 61-0.
Because the game was such a rout, Ohio State coach Ryan Day stated that his attention rapidly shifted to Michigan.
“We have a major game coming up just around the bend — everything is riding on this,” Day remarked. “I wasn’t even halfway through the game when I started thinking about it. The Wolverines are the center of attention.”
Michigan’s offense has been strong as well, but maybe more crucially for this game, the defense hasn’t let up more than 18 points in the last three games. The Wolverines’ defense allows the eighth-most pass yards per game and the tenth-most overall yards per game.
To stop Ohio State’s passing assault, its secondary will have to play its finest game of the season. Michigan is coming off a win against Maryland in which it limited quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa to 178 yards, one score, and one interception.
“Everything that was planned, constructed for, all of the energy that has been put in since early 2021, January, February, all of the things that the boys have done, all of the things that the coaches have done has placed us in this position,” Harbaugh said. “We wanted to be in that position, and we want to stay there. We’d want to take home all of the marbles. As a result, we’ve arrived at the point where we want to be. We’ve been preparing for this for the better part of a year, and now we’re putting it all together this week to play for it all.” Tom VanHaaren (Tom VanHaaren)
Jordan Addison and Pitt have secured a berth in the ACC championship game, which will be played against Wake Forest, NC State, and Clemson. Keith Srakocic/AP Photo
Pitt is the one (in the Coastal)
Nobody could have predicted that Pitt would be the first team to secure a position in the ACC championship game at the start of the season. However, nothing about this season has followed a predictable pattern.
Pitt is one of them.
People assumed it was the same ol’ Pitt following a 44-41 setback to Western Michigan, which was made worse by the circumstances — a week after an outstanding 41-34 victory over Tennessee. Coach Pat Narduzzi told ESPN on Sunday that he was concerned about his players’ sideline attitude during the Western Michigan game, to the point that he spoke to them about how they looked to shy away from the toughness required to win an unexpectedly tight game.
Since then, particularly in the last two must-win games, it hasn’t been an issue. They’ve all been heart-stopping affairs, because this is Pitt, and nothing comes easily for him (or, as conditioned Pitt fans will say, without thinking the worst is about to happen). The Panthers surged out to a fast 17-0 lead against North Carolina in the rain two weeks ago, only for the Tar Heels to tie the game late and send it to overtime.
Kenny Pickett won the game with an 11-yard touchdown throw to Lucas Krull, demonstrating why he has received so much praise during the season. Pitt was in a nail-biter versus Virginia on Saturday, with the game slingshotting back-and-forth until the Pickett-to-Jordan Addison connection proved too tough to stop.
“Our kids have been completely unaffected,” Narduzzi added. “They’re confident in what they’re doing and where we’re headed. Nobody ever seems to flinch in front of me. That’s one of the qualities of a championship team: they discover new ways to win. The whole game had us on the tip of our seats, but the players continued playing and sticking together.”
Pitt earned a trip to Charlotte for the ACC championship game for the second year in a row, winning the Coastal Division for the first time since 2018. Pitt is the first Coastal Division team to win two division championships since 2013. Both have been brought under Narduzzi’s control.
“It tells a lot about the program’s status,” Narduzzi said. “Coming from the Big East and into the ACC takes time to get there and accomplish what you want. We’ve done an excellent job of recruiting, and we’re not simply taking men for the sake of taking them. We’re looking for men that we believe will fit in well and can help us achieve our goals.”
The next week will be more difficult. Pitt finishes the season against Syracuse, but since the Atlantic title will not be determined until Saturday afternoon, Wake Forest, NC State, and Clemson must first settle their differences so Pitt can focus on the championship game. Andrea Adelson’s remark
This season, Tennessee has scored 34 points seven times. Jeremy Pruitt’s Tennessee Vols only done it five times throughout his tenure. Bryan Lynn is a sports reporter for USA TODAY.
Heupel and Beamer’s first-year gems
Josh Heupel at Tennessee and Shane Beamer at South Carolina are outstanding instances of first-year coaches entirely transforming the culture with the way they interact with everyone in their school, and doing it in a positive manner.
People in such programs often use words like “positivity,” “belief,” and “accountability.”
Nobody anticipated much from the Tennessee Volunteers or South Carolina Gamecocks this season, but they’re both bowl eligible and have built a wave of momentum heading into the playoffs — and, more crucially, the next recruiting period.
When Vanderbilt comes to Knoxville on Saturday, the Vols will be widely favored to make it seven victories. Heupel’s lightning-fast approach has thrown opponents off, delivered a slew of huge plays, and proven as enjoyable to watch. Tennessee has scored 34 points seven times this season, compared to just five times in Jeremy Pruitt’s three seasons as head coach.
For most of this season, South Carolina’s offense has been a challenge. Three different quarterbacks have been used by the Gamecocks, including Zeb Noland, who was a graduate assistant coach over the summer. Most recently, it’s been FCS transfer Jason Brown, who has seven touchdown throws in the last three games, including five in victories over Florida and Auburn. Clemson is coming to town on Saturday night, and after seven consecutive defeats to the Tigers, it’s not unreasonable to believe that the Gamecocks have a chance to pull off an upset and reach seven victories.
Heupel and Beamer should also be commended for not allowing their teams’ disappointments to demoralize them. Tennessee was shut out in the second half of a September loss to Florida and received the short end of several officials’ calls in a home loss to Ole Miss, but the Vols continued to develop and, despite a team decimated by transfers, defeated nationally rated Kentucky on the road two weeks ago.
Tennessee and Texas A&M blew away South Carolina on the road. But it didn’t give up, winning two of its biggest games of the season in November against Florida and Auburn.
Both the Vols and the Gamecocks will rely heavily on the next two or three recruiting classes since they are currently behind in terms of manpower. They do, however, have a handful of first-year head coaches who have breathed fresh life into fan bases desperate for anything to cheer about. Chris Low (c)
Keep an eye on this coaching prospect.
Many coaches are being tossed about as prospective possibilities at the top of different lists around the sport now that the coaching carousel is in full gear. Top players like James Franklin, Dave Aranda, and Mario Cristobal, to mention a few, are well-known.
Doug Belk of Houston is someone you may not be familiar with. After two seasons as the cornerbacks coach at West Virginia, Belk was appointed as the co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach in January 2019. Belk was promoted to assistant head coach in January 2020, then to defensive coordinator in January 2021.
If you want to connect Belk to a renowned coaching tree, he worked as a defensive graduate assistant coach at Alabama from 2014 to 2016, where he worked directly under Nick Saban, Kirby Smart, and Jeremy Pruitt.
Houston’s defense is ranked sixth in the FBS this season under his leadership, allowing just 293.4 yards per game. He was instrumental in Houston’s first 10-game winning run since 2015, when they began 10-0.
Belk’s defense limited a Memphis attack that had scored 28 points or more in every game this season to just 13 points while forcing two turnovers this week.
So, whether or not he gets a head-coaching job this year, keep Belk’s name in mind in the future. His time will come. Harry Lyles Jr., Harry Lyles Jr., Harry Lyles Jr., Harry
EVE Online is ensuring that it is ready for the hardware future while also warning those who are stuck in the technology past. The game will no longer support DirectX 9 by Tuesday, January 11th, and all players will be required to play with DirectX 11.
“Maintaining DirectX 9 compatibility has become a substantial development expenditure, limiting our capacity to increase EVE Online’s graphical quality. “With DirectX 9 being used by fewer than 1% of gamers, the timing is appropriate to remove support in 2022,” CCP Games writes in the release.
Players that are able to run EVE in DX11 should go to the launcher’s Game Client settings and uncheck the option that says the game runs in DX9. Existing players will be migrated to the DX11 version on Tuesday, November 30th, assuming their GPU supports it; nevertheless, players may continue to utilize DX9 until January 11th. CCP is “highly recommending” that anyone who manually switch to the previous version contact customer service to figure out why. It’s also worth noting that this only affects PC users since the Mac version uses Metal rather than DirectX.
The update is being hailed as a net good for players since it would let the developers to construct “a stronger foundation to offer great aesthetics to all EVE pilots.” If you’re still behind the hardware curve and want to continue playing in this space sandbox, you have about a month and a half to catch up.
What a week it’s been for the Chicago Bears’ organization. After the Thanksgiving game against the Detroit Lions, reports surfaced that head coach Matt Nagy had been fired.
Then came allegations that such claims were incorrect, and Nagy called a practice cancellation only days before a game. On Thanksgiving, the Bears almost survived the winless Lions courtesy to a last-second Cairo Santos field goal.
Despite the triumph, Nagy’s departure is a foregone conclusion.
The Bears recently beat a Lions club that had no victories and was without D’Andre Swift.
In addition to the defeat, the Lions lost their standout running back D’Andre Swift to a shoulder injury late in the first half. The Lions will face the Vikings on Sunday.
November 25, 2021 — Stephania Bell (@Stephania ESPN)
For the first time since their reunion, Jared Goff and Josh Reynolds connected on a touchdown throw to give the Lions an early lead. However, Dan Campbell’s task was made much more difficult when running back D’Andre Swift injured his shoulder and was forced to leave the game.
So, despite Detroit’s offensive limitations, the Bears came out on top by two points. Sure, Justin Fields was absent, but that’s no excuse.
The Lions are a bad club, plain and simple, and the Bears struggled to develop any kind of rhythm throughout the game. Andy Dalton threw for 317 yards, one touchdown, and one interception, but the rushing game was non-existent, with David Montgomery gaining just 46 yards on 17 runs.
After scoring 13 points in the second quarter, Chicago was kept scoreless until Santos’ right leg made the game-winning field goal. That is a significant worry.
Matt Nagy won the game, but he didn’t help himself in the process.
Matt Nagy’s offense is the only one in the NFL capable of making the Lions’ defense look good.
Ryan Fedrau (@the fed 23) (@the fed 23) (@the fed 23) (@the fed_ 25 November 2021
It’s hardly a good omen that the Bears scored just 16 points against the NFL’s weakest club. It’s also perplexing that the Bears only scored one touchdown and went almost two quarters without scoring.
With Dalton as the starter, Nagy finally got his wish, as the Red Rifle threw for more over 300 yards. However, he averaged just over eight yards per throw attempt, indicating that his yardage total isn’t as outstanding as the box score suggests.
Matt Nagy is having a good day. In the grand scheme of things, you’ll still need more than 16 points against the Lions, but he should appreciate receiving the game ball. #Bears https://t.co/SMlU96wsyS
November 25, 2021 — Anthony Herron (@BigAntHerron)
This Bears team should have annihilated the Lions, particularly after Detroit’s first-half loss of Swift. Despite being far from 100% healthy, Goff led for virtually the entire second half.
The Bears would have been the first team this season to lose to the Lions if it hadn’t been for the Lions’ dreadful play, and Nagy would have seen the door slam shut behind him on his way out.
At some time, the Windy City will undergo changes.
Chicago Bears head coach Matt Nagy | Nic Antaya/Getty Images
Can you believe this Bears club was in the playoffs only one season ago?
Mitch Trubisky and Nick Foles were hot-and-cold quarterbacks who bungled their way into the playoffs before falling in the first round.
This time, though, that will not be the case. Nagy deserves to be fired, and he will most likely be at the conclusion of the season. However, there is a case to be made for Ryan Pace, the general manager, to be fired as well.
Start again, recruit new faces all around, and trust Fields and this youthful bunch of weapons to turn over Chicago’s troubled period.
Ryan Pace is more to blame than Matt Nagy for the #Bears’ present predicament. He’s been terrible at his job for a long time and can’t be allowed to appoint his third #NFL coach (yep, he’s the one who hired John Fox).
November 24, 2021 — Herb Lawrence (@Ecnerwal23)
After the season, the Bears may part ways with both Pace and Nagy. Sure, a victory is a win, but edging out the NFL’s poorest team isn’t reassuring.
It’s just a matter of time until Nagy and Pace are fired, and the Thanksgiving win gives them some time at Halas Hall.
Pro Football Reference provided the statistics.
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