College football roundup: Arizona State routs Arizona 70-7
D.J. Taylor returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and Arizona State scored twice in the opening 56 seconds to rout rival Arizona 70-7 on Friday night in Tucson.
The Sun Devils (1-2, 1-2 Pac-12 Conference) made a mockery of the annual Territorial Cup game from the opening kick return, capitalizing on a string of Wildcats turnovers to build a 35-0 lead by early in the second quarter.
“I’ve never been part of a game like that in my life,” Arizona State co-defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis said.
Freshman DeaMonte Trayanum converted an opening Arizona fumble into a four-yard touchdown run 43 seconds after Taylor’s touchdown return, and Arizona State piled on one score after another.
Rachaad White ran for 133 yards and three touchdowns, Jayden Daniels accounted for three scores, and Arizona State won its fourth straight in the series for the first time since 1975 to 1978.
The UCLA Bruins and USC Trojans will play in an empty Rose Bowl on Saturday, with both coaches hoping to continue with the progress their teams have made this season.
The Wildcats (0-5, 0-5) might have been thankful there were no fans in the stands after a lackluster performance that could put coach Kevin Sumlin’s job in jeopardy.
Arizona was on its heels after Taylor’s opening kick return and had three fumbles and an interception and twice turned it over on downs in its first six drives. The Wildcats had seven turnovers overall and gave up 70 points for the first time since 1949 to lose their record 12th consecutive game spanning two seasons.
Arizona State lost the previous two games it played on last-minute touchdowns and three more to COVID-19 issues.
“There is no playbook for it,” Sun Devils coach Herm Edwards said. “I was just happy to see these guys win a football game.”
Arizona’s opener was canceled because of the coronavirus, and the Wildcats lost their first four games, most recently 24-13 to Colorado last weekend.
The odd, twisting season came to a conclusion in the desert with the most unique game in the history of a series that dates to 1899.
The Sun Devils quickly turned it into a laugher.
“Everybody’s frustrated, disappointed,” Sumlin said. “Everybody’s not happy right now.”
North Texas 45, Texas El Paso 43
DENTON, Texas — Jaelon Darden had eight catches for 173 yards and a career-high four touchdowns to help North Texas beat Texas El Paso.
On Darden’s fourth touchdown reception, the 2020 Biletnikoff Award semifinalist tied Casey Fitzgerald (2005-08) for the North Texas program record with 229 career receptions as he gave the Mean Green (4-5, 3-4 Conference USA) a 45-28 lead with 9:58 to go in the fourth quarter. He broke Fitzgerald’s record with a minus-two-yard grab with 3:33 to go.
Darden has 19 touchdown receptions — four more than any other player in the nation — in nine games this season.
Here’s a look at how Kedon Slovis and the USC Trojans match up with Dorian Thompson-Robinson and the UCLA Bruins going into Saturday’s rivalry game.
The Miners (3-5, 0-4) closed the gap with a pair of touchdowns, including a two-point conversion. But UTEP needed to recover an onside kick with 26 seconds to go and Deonte Simpson secured it for the Mean Green to allow them to run out the clock for the win.
Pittsburgh opts out of potential bowl game
Six months working inside the confines that came with playing college football in the middle of a pandemic was enough for the Pittsburgh Panthers.
Pitt removed itself from bowl consideration Friday, a day after finishing off the regular season at 6-5 following a 34-20 victory over Georgia Tech. The school became the second member of the Atlantic Coast Conference to opt out of the postseason, joining Boston College, which announced its decision Thursday.
The Panthers voted to decline a bowl invitation if offered, a move that drew the full support of coach Pat Narduzzi and athletic director Heather Lyke. Pitt players arrived on campus in early June and spent months getting tested three times a week while trying to abide by strict COVID-19 protocols, which included isolating themselves from their families.
Utah State cancels game amid protest
Utah State canceled its football game against Colorado State amid concerns voiced about religious discrimination during the search for a new football coach.
Aggies players issued a statement to Stadium on Friday, saying they were opting out of Saturday’s game because of alleged comments made by University President Noelle Cockett about the religious and cultural background of interim coach Frank Maile.
Cockett’s comments were reportedly made during a video call Tuesday with athletic director John Hartwell and the Utah State University Leadership Council to discuss Maile’s candidacy for the permanent head coaching job.
Arkansas State coach Blake Anderson resigned to take over Utah State, a source told the Associated Press on Thursday.
“We want our message to be clear that this has nothing to do with the hiring of Coach Blake Anderson, the recently-named head coach of the program,“ the players said in their statement. “We are sure he is an excellent coach; we look forward to meeting him and his staff. We are highlighting the ongoing problems of inequality and want to create a better future for the community of Logan and Utah State University.”
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