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College football report: New coaches in high profile jobs are struggling

Chip Kelly is not off to a good start. Harry How/Getty Images

Willie Taggart and Scott Frost may have been two of the most high profile hires coming into the 2018 season. Unfortunately for Florida State and Nebraska, offseason hype isn’t transitioning to on-field success. The two blueblood programs are a combined 1-4 through the first three weeks of the season.

Taggart’s team is dealing with injuries and a talent deficit on their offensive line and was nearly shut out by a bad Syracuse defense on Saturday while Frost’s Nebraska team lost its second straight one score game at home. Losing to Colorado in your first game isn’t a complete disaster. That Troy loss is probably sitting differently with the Nebraska faithful. Winless going into the start of Big Ten play was not the beginning Huskers fans had in mind. Playing a walk-on quarterback likely wasn’t on the agenda either. The health of freshman quarterback Adrian Martinez will likely determine the fate of Frost’s first season with Big Red.

I didn’t forget about Chip Kelly

It has been nothing short of brutal in Westwood for the biggest offseason hire not named Jimbo Fisher. Losing to Cincinnati in the first week was bad. Dropping one to Oklahoma was expected. Even the margin of defeat wasn’t considered outrageous.  Getting beat by Fresno State at home might have the most reactionary starting to question whether Kelly has lost it. Fresno State under former Cal coach Jeff Tedford isn’t a bad program but getting dominated at home by an in-state Group of Five school isn’t the best way to maintain any semblance of off-season momentum. Throw in the father of the freshman starting quarterback taking you apart on twitter and the Chip Kelly era couldn’t have started worse.

I’m actually writing about Kansas Football

I don’t normally think about Kansas football. Hell, I don’t ever think about the state of Kansas. This will probably be the only time Kansas gets any space in one of my writeups to be honest. Just a friendly reminder that Kansas has a real shot to go 3-1 as they travel to Waco to play Baylor. The only reason the Jayhawks aren’t 3-0 right now is because they somehow lost to Nicholls State at home in Week 1. That is a very Kansas football thing to do by the way. Kansas hasn’t won a Big 12 game since they effectively ended Charlie Strong’s tenure at Texas in 2016. The Jayhawks go on the road to face a Baylor team who just lost at home to a Duke team who was starting their backup quarterback. Waco is as good a place as any to end their losing streak to Power 5 teams.

Hate Watch Game of the Week:  Notre Dame vs Wake Forest

There is never a bad time to root against Notre Dame but when they’re in the top 10 and look vulnerable it is even better. The Fighting Irish go on the road to face a Wake Forest team that is a little salty. Throw in a noon start and an inept Notre Dame offense and you have a chance for a rush the field moment in Winston Salem. Do college kids still rush the field?

Hate Watch Record 2-1: LSU beats Auburn

It took Auburn pooping down their own leg to ruin my perfect record. War Eagle blew a double-digit lead at home to team who’s quarterback finished the game 15-of-34. LSU got their second top-10 win of the year to become one of the early season darlings. Gus Malzahn got himself that contract extension after beating Alabama and Georgia in 2017 and is now 1-3 against ranked teams since.


 

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Yuli Gurriel had a monster night at the plate Friday. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images.

Although they lost the series 2-1, the Astros ended their road trip with a nice win over the Yankees to head home on a positive note. On Friday, they welcomed in the Toronto Blue Jays and former teammate George Springer, currently on the IL, to start a three-game series and long homestand. They had an excellent night at the plate, along with a strong start from Jose Urquidy, cruising past the Blue Jays to take the opener.

Final Score: Astros 10, Blue Jays 4

Astros' Record: 17-15, third in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Jose Urquidy (3-2)

Losing Pitcher: Ross Stripling (0-2)

Jays strike first, then Houston responds and never looks back

It first appeared that Urquidy may be in for a long night, giving up two solo home runs early in Friday's game, one to Bo Bichette in the top of the first with one out to put Toronto up 1-0, then another to Danny Jansen in the top of the third. However, Urquidy would lock-in, and his offense would back him up strongly.

Houston ended up sending nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the second, getting two runs on a homer by Carlos Correa, then later loading the bases to set up an RBI walk by Alex Bregman. In the bottom of the fifth, with a one-run lead at 3-2, Yuli Gurriel expanded the lead to three runs on a two-run shot.

Gurriel went on to have a fantastic night, going 4-for-4 at the plate with 4 RBI. His third of those came in the bottom of the seventh, extending the lead again with an RBI single to make it 6-2. Kyle Tucker made it a five-run game that same inning with an RBI double, then more insurance came in the bottom of the eighth. They reached double-digits that inning, with Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez, and Yuli Gurriel, his fourth of the night, all getting an RBI to make it 10-2.

Urquidy finishes seven, then Emanuel finishes it off

Those gave Urquidy plenty of support, though he would bounce back after the two early homers and have a nice night on the mound. He allowed just two other hits, working around both, en route to a seven-inning two-run performance to earn him the win. His final line: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 2 K, 2 HR, 84 P.

He likely could have gone longer, but Dusty Baker turned the ball over to Kent Emanuel to wrap things up with the significant lead. He did so, despite allowing a two-run home run to former-Astro Teoscor Hernandez in the top of the ninth to make the score 10-4. The win kept the Astros above .500 and two games back of the A's, who sit atop the AL West standings.

Up Next: The middle game of this series will be a 6:10 PM start Saturday night. The pitching matchup will be Steven Matz (4-2, 4.78 ERA) for Toronto and the electric Cristian Javier (3-0, 1.75 ERA) for Houston.

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