CATCHING UP

Del Olaleye: This week in college football

Ed Oliver is 80-1 to win the Heisman. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

A look at some of the happenings this week in college football:

The Status of Virginia Tech starting QB Josh Jackson

This has not been a good offseason for the Hokies. Justin Fuente’s squad lost three underclassmen to the NFL Draft including Terrell and Tremaine Edmunds. The brother combo are the first ever to be drafted in the first round in the same draft. Tim Settle, the third of the underclassmen to leave early was drafted in the fifth round by the Washington Redskins. That is a lot of talent that could have been part of a stingy Hokies defense in 2018. The attrition didn’t end there. Two cornerbacks who were expected to be on the roster will not be part of the Hokies program as well. That is five contributors off the depth chart from one side of the ball.

The latest news concerns the status of Hokies QB Josh Jackson. A report suggested that he would be suspended indefinitely. That report was disputed by Jackson’s father along with multiple outlets. The redshirt sophomore to be is coming off a season where he started all 13 games and the Hokies finished 9-4. A season opening game against Florida State exacerbates the situation. The Hokies depth chart behind Jackson is light on experience and facing a energized Seminoles roster led by new coach Willie Taggart isn’t the best way to be baptized into major college football for one of Jackson’s understudies.

Bronco Mendenhall will say what he wants

The University of Virginia head coach said something damning of this team this week. He told the Daily Progress,  “I believe we have 27 ACC-caliber football players on our roster today.” Twenty seven players capable of playing in your conference would be outstanding for the baseball team. It is atrocious for your football team. Mendenhall is entering his third year at Virginia after a successful 11-year run at BYU.  A bowl appearance in 2017 followed a two-win 2016 in Charlottesville. Mendenhall appears to have UVA going in the direction. Through recruiting and development he expects to have 85 ACC-caliber players by 2020. Shoutout to the two-thirds of the current Cavaliers roster that isn’t fit enough to play in the ACC. I see Bronco working. How do you sell recruits there is playing time available? Tell them that over 50 guys taking up spots don’t belong on the roster.

The Heisman is just a quarterback and running back Award

New odds are out for the Heisman from the Westgate Sportsbook and only quarterbacks and running backs are listed as having realistic shots. The last non-RB or QB to win the Heisman was the great Charles Woodson twenty-one years ago. He had to do it all to win the award. Play cornerback, wide receiver and return kicks to hold off Peyton Manning. The last offensive player to win the award that didn’t play quarterback or running back was Michigan's wide receiver Desmond Howard in 1991. The Wolverine wide receiver returned kicks just like Woodson did. Running backs head the list this year. Stanford’s Bryce Love is 5 to 1 win the the award and Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor is next in line at 7 to 1. Houston’s star defensive tackle Ed Oliver is the first player who doesn’t play running back or quarterback to be listed. His odds are 80 to 1. You can make a lot of money if you’re an elite corner or defensive tackle. They are premiums positions in the NFL. You just can’t win the Heisman.







 

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Houston now trails in the fall classic

Astros fall in World Series Game 1 as Braves come out swinging

Framber Valdez had a forgettable start in World Series Game 1 as the Braves tagged him with five runs. Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

After a dominant end to win the ALCS and American League pennant, the Houston Astros welcomed in the National League champion Atlanta Braves for World Series Game 1 at Minute Maid Park on Tuesday. With Houston favored to win not just this game but the entire series, the Braves shook up those expectations by finding early success at the plate to build a lead they would hold to take a 1-0 series lead.

Final Score: Braves 6, Astros 2

World Series (Best of Seven): Atlanta leads 1-0

Winning Pitcher: A.J. Minter

Losing Pitcher: Framber Valdez

Valdez unable to replicate ALCS Game 5 success as Braves mount early lead

For the optimist, not having home-field advantage in an MLB postseason series affords you a benefit: you can score first and take captive momentum first in the series. The Braves did that against Framber Valdez, as Jorge Soler became the first player in league history to hit a homer in the first plate appearance of a World Series, putting Atlanta out to an immediate 1-0 lead. They would get another in the first frame, getting a one-out infield single by Ozzie Albies, who would steal second to get in position for an RBI double by Austin Riley.

Houston had the chance to respond in their first inning against former teammate Charlie Morton, getting a single and two walks to load the bases with no outs. They'd strand all three runners, though, as Morton made it through unscathed but having used 26 pitches. Atlanta kept putting stress on Valdez, extending their lead to three runs with back-to-back singles to start the second before later getting an RBI groundout.

Valdez gave up two more in the top of the third, once again allowing a leadoff single, this one setting up a two-run homer to make it a 5-0 Braves lead and forcing Houston's starter out of the game early. Yimi Garcia entered and was able to retire the three batters he faced to end the frame.

Braves lose Morton to injury as both bullpens begin long night

After stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the first to keep the Astros off the board, Morton followed it up with a 1-2-3 second. He started the bottom of the third by retiring his fifth batter in a row, getting a strikeout of Jose Altuve. He would immediately call trainers to get him out of the game, though, as he would later be diagnosed with a fractured fibula, presumably from a ball that ricocheted off his leg in the prior inning, ending his season in a disappointing turn of events for the Braves.

That set up a long night for both bullpens, and next up for Houston was Jake Odorizzi. He started with a scoreless fourth, working around a two-out error to keep it a five-run game. The Astros began a rally in the bottom of the fourth, getting runners on the corners with one out on a Kyle Tucker double and Yuli Gurriel single. Chas McCormick brought in the first run of the board for Houston, but that's all they would get as Atlanta's lead remained four runs.

Astros drop Game 1

Odorizzi kept going on the mound, tossing a 1-2-3 fifth, then getting one out before a one-out single in the top of the sixth would prompt Dusty Baker to move on to Phil Maton, who finished the inning. Maton returned in the top of the seventh, getting a strikeout before a double and a walk would result in the call to bring in Ryne Stanek.

A double play against his first batter allowed Stanek to finish the seventh, and then he returned in the eighth. He faced three batters that frame, getting one out before a walk and a single would put runners on the corners as Houston moved on to Brooks Raley. A sac fly by Freddie Freeman off of Raley made it a five-run lead again, but a leadoff triple by Yordan Alvarez in the bottom of the inning would set up Carlos Correa for an RBI, a groundout to make it 6-2.

Atlanta's bullpen continued to do well, though, limiting the damage to that one run in the eighth, then returning to hold on to the four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth to give the Braves the upset win to start the series. The loss extends their home losing streak in the World Series to five games (having lost all four at home in the 2019 World Series against the Nationals) and puts them down 0-1 and in need of a win in Game 2 to try and reset the series into a best-of-five.

Up Next: World Series Game 2 will be another 7:09 PM Central scheduled start time on Wednesday from Minute Maid Park. The expected pitching matchup is Max Fried, who is 1-1 with a 3.78 ERA in three postseason starts, for the Braves, and Jose Urquidy, who went just 1.2 innings while allowing six runs (five earned) in his start in the ALCS.

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