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Former Golden Flash makes sure his Crimson shows compassion

Nick Saban

Did Coach Nick Saban and his behemoth Alabama players take it easy on Kent State? Seven second-half points suggest so.

(Brynn Anderson / Associated Press)

The 48-0 final score might indicate that Alabama Coach Nick Saban showed little mercy for his alma mater, Kent State.

Au contraire.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide led, 41-0, at the half, scored a touchdown in the third quarter and went scoreless in the fourth. Alabama used three quarterbacks, nine players ran the ball and 12 receivers caught passes.

Saban not only played football and graduated (in 1973) from Kent State, he also launched his coaching career there, as a graduate assistant for Don James.

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However, Kent State also disappointed him. In 1988, Saban was up for the head coaching job there, having just helped Michigan State win the Big Ten championship and the Rose Bowl, 20-17 over USC, as defensive coordinator. Instead, Kent State hired Dick Crum, who had just been fired by North Carolina.

Two years later, Mid-American Conference rival Toledo hired Saban, and went 9-2 and won a conference championship in his first season. Included was a two-touchdown win over Kent State — which fired Crum at the end of the season.

James, the man who talked Saban into coaching, didn’t do bad for himself, either. After four seasons at Kent State, he spent the next 18 at Washington, winning 153 games, including four Rose Bowls and an Orange Bowl.

Right on target

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Mitch Trubisky is a North Carolina hero after his touchdown pass with two seconds on the clock defeated Pittsburgh by a point. The junior from Mentor, Ohio, is also one of the more accurate passers in college football.

He connected on 35 of 46 passes for 453 yards and five touchdowns against Pitt. He started the game by completing his first 12 passes, building on a streak that saw him complete his last 18 passes the week before against James Madison.

Which is not to say the game started out great for him. His first connection went for a five-yard loss, and a safety.

 

Close encounters

Brigham Young hasn’t played a game this season that was decided by more than three points.

The Cougars opened with an 18-16 win over Arizona and now have dropped consecutive games against Utah, 20-19; UCLA, 17-14; and West Virginia, 35-32.

 

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Duck and cover

For the first time, the Oregon Ducks football team dressed for a football game trying to look like actual ducks.

(And we’re thinking, with all the different Nike-fueled outfits the program has modeled, there is a good reason this wasn’t tried before.)

For its home game against Colorado, the Ducks wore orange leggings and cleats, white helmets with orange face masks, white pants, and green jerseys with gold trim and the words “Once a Duck” on one side of the neckline and “Always a Duck” on the other.

And then they laid an egg, losing 41-38.

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Speaking of ducks

Tennessee ended an 11-game losing streak to Florida, meaning Gators cornerback Quincy Wilson proved a great quote but not a very good prognosticator when he said last week of Tennessee’s chances of winning: “You ever seen a duck pull a truck? A duck don’t pull a truck.”

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Again the foil

South Florida might want to steer clear of Florida State in the future. The Bulls were off to a 3-0 start this season and were 10-2 since getting routed, 34-14, by the Seminoles last season. South Florida was also averaging 49.7 points and 518.7 yards a game, with running back Marlon Mack averaging nearly a first down (9.6 yards) every carry.

Then came Saturday’s game.

Not only did the Bulls suffer another rout, 55-35, but two of its touchdowns and a good chunk of its yardage came in the fourth quarter, after Florida State had the game well in hand. And Mack? He finished with 42 yards in 12 carries, a 3.5-yard average.

The flip side: Dalvin Cook ran for a career-high 267 yards — 185 in the first half — for Florida State. That was one yard better than his previous best —  against South Florida last season.

 

Getting offensive

Quarterbacks put up big numbers in Coach Dino Babers’ offenses, and Syracuse’s Eric Dungey is the latest example.

Dungey, a sophomore from Lake Oswego, Ore., completed 26 of 40 passes for 407 yards and two touchdowns in a win over Connecticut. He has passed for 1,367 yards already this season.

One of Babers’ other proteges, from his days coaching at Eastern Illinois, is New England Patriots quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.

Garoppolo passed for 8,873 yards and 84 touchdowns in two seasons under Babers.

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Mr. Dependable

There are certain things you can count on. Nebraska sells out home football games, the swallows return to Mission San Juan Capistrano,  Vin Scully has a smile and story to tell, and De’Angelo “Hop” Henderson finds the end zone.

Henderson is a running back for Coastal Carolina, and he holds the NCAA Division I record for consecutive games scoring a touchdown. He caught an eight-yard scoring pass less than two minutes into Saturday’s game against Furman, extending his streak to 30.

Coastal Carolina plays at the Football Championship Subdivision level, but give “Hop” credit where it’s due. The FCS (used to be Division I-AA) touchdown record previously was 20, held by running back David Sinisi of Monmouth, whose accomplishment spanned the 2006-07 seasons. The top-level (FBS) record was 27 by Lee Suggs of Virginia Tech, established from 2000-02.

The NCAA all-division record of 38 lies ahead. It’s held by injured San Diego Chargers running back Danny Woodhead, who played for Division II Chadron (Neb.) State from 2004-08.

Times wire services contributed information used in this report.

mike.hiserman@latimes.com

Twitter: @MikeHiserman


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