Sports Today: What Battle of Ohio blowout means for Bengals, Browns

Published: Monday, October 02, 2017 @ 9:42 AM

Mike Hartsock and Jay Morrison replay a 31-7 Cincy win in Cleveland.

After another Battle of Ohio beatdown, the Cincinnati Bengals have hopes and the Cleveland Browns have none. 

Finally the 2017 pro football season has arrived in the Buckeye State. 

While the Bengals try to figure out how to catch the Steelers, Browns fans can start putting together their draft boards. 

Everything is how it should be. 

RELATED: Bengals crush Browns in Cleveland

I wrote Friday I was nervous about how certain it seemed the Bengals would win in Cleveland, andI think I predicted on our weekly Facebook Live (check those out on Thursdays) a two-touchdown Cincinnati win. 

The Bengals did some good things. The Browns are worse than I realized. That added up to 31-7

After a rocky beginning, Cincinnati’s offense found some holes in Cleveland’s weird defensive scheme and it was off to the races. 

Despite getting no help from the running game, Andy Dalton picked apart the Browns, posting an outrageous 146 QB rating. 

Seeing seven targets apiece for A.J. Green and Tyler Kroft tells me the quarterback did a good job of looking for his best player and taking what the defense was giving him, which is all you can ask for much of the time. 

It looked like the Browns were determined not to let the Bengals run the ball, so we’ll worry about that aspect of things later. 

Let’s accentuate the positives today. 

Despite having no running game, the Bengals were good on third down (6 for 11), contained everything the Cleveland offense wanted to do until garbage time and got great work from special teams. 

Vontaze Burfict came back and even managed to become a sympathetic figure for a minute thanks to a ridiculous roughing the passer flag thrown on him. 

Maybe next time Marvin Lewis suggests he gets a bad rap, more people will listen… 

As for the Browns, all I can say is, “Wow.” 

I still like the potential of DeShone Kizer. I’m wondering if they are too bad to give him a chance to develop, though. 

I agree with the line of thinking he doesn’t have the confidence to be an NFL quarterback if it gets destroyed by this terrible early experience, but…. what if that is wrong? 

Anyway, it’s not my concern. 

It might not be Hue Jackson’s next year either if you’re buying some of the stuff being written about the team. 

CBS Sports reported Sunday morning there is a rift between the coach, who has actually done good things in the league, and the front office, which is comprised largely of people who have not. 

As believable as this story is given the near-constant state of turmoil the Browns have been in since they were bought by Jimmy Haslam, I generally advise taking this type of report with a grain of salt because you never know who could be fueling it and what sort of agenda they might have. 

Jackson took what was seen as a veiled shot at the front office last week when asked if his team can compete, and Adam Jones voiced similar feelings about a Browns roster that since the draft had been viewed as being on the upswing. 

Jackson was an awesome presence in Cincinnati, so I winced when he went north because I knew that would either mean the Browns would become good or he would fail.

On the bright side, I strongly suspect he has enough credibility built up to find another job quickly — maybe back in the Queen City? 

There’s a long way to go before the final story is written for either Ohio franchise this season. 

It’s nice to have some familiar narratives back in place now, though, isn’t it? 

Meanwhile, about that playoff chase? 

One win doesn’t cure all the Bengals’ ills but, it’s sure better than the alternative. 

They are two games back of the Steelers, who may not be as good as people expected and reportedly have had to deal with some locker room issues after their botched attempt at avoiding controversy during the national anthem last weekend. 

(The same caveat as above applied to this story about the Steelers.)... 

Ohio State moved up to No. 10 in the Associated Press poll, which doesn’t matter but some people care about anyway. 

I thought the 56-0 shellacking of Rutgers was good for the receviers’ confidence, something that could pay off down the line... 

Miami University went to Notre Dame and endured a blowout...

The Reds finished the season with a win over the Cubs, and Joey Votto played for the 162nd time this year. 

We’ll take a closer look at the 2017 baseball season in Cincinnati and look ahead to 2018 this week... 

Finally, the NBA is starting to get cranked up, and the Indiana Pacers are doing something smart to court southwest Ohio fans.  

Internet reacts to Tennessee scoring first touchdown since Sept. 23

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 6:19 PM

Butch Jones-Tennessee Volunteers-football-Penn State-College GameDay

Tennessee went 12 quarters without a touchdown. And then, finally, the Vols broke through during the third quarter of Saturday’s game against Alabama.

Daniel Bituli’s 97-yard interception return touchdown was Tennessee’s first time in the end zone since Sept. 23 against UMass. However, the Vols’ offense still has not scored in that span.

Even though the streak ended, fans on Twitter did not take it easy on Tennessee, which is still having offensive struggles and has still scored only one touchdown over a span of 13 quarters.

Here’s some of the best reaction to the Vols’ streak coming to an end:

The post Internet reacts to Tennessee scoring first touchdown since Sept. 23 appeared first on SEC Country.

LSU-Ole Miss: Live updates, score, analysis for Week 8 game (October 21, 2017)

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 6:19 PM

Saturday’s LSU-Ole Miss game comes on the heels of the Tigers’ season-changing comeback win over Auburn and is LSU’s last test before a midseason bye week.

The trip to Oxford, Miss., is an interesting one for LSU, as Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron worked as the head coach at Ole Miss from 2005-07. Orgeron has not returned to Oxford as a head coach since he was relieved of his duties a decade ago.

The Tigers (5-2, 2-1 SEC) have now defeated back-to-back ranked SEC opponents and are 6½-point favorites to defeat Ole Miss (3-3, 1-2). The Rebels ended a three-game losing streak last weekend by blowing out Vanderbilt 57-35.

This should be a matchup of strength versus strength. The Tigers’ No. 14 pass defense is hot as ever right now after breaking up 11 passes against Auburn. While Auburn quarterback Jarrett Stidham presented one kind of test, Ole Miss’ Shea Patterson is unlike any other QB in the SEC. Patterson has led Ole Miss to the No. 9 passing attack in the FBS and leads the SEC in passing touchdowns, yards per game, completions, completion percentage and pass attempts.

On the other side, healthy running back play will be a huge advantage for LSU. Ole Miss has the No. 118 rush defense in college football. Last year, the Tigers rushed for 311 yards and four touchdowns versus Ole Miss. Running back Derrius Guice has been limited the past two weeks and didn’t play three weeks ago as he recovers from a knee injury.

Follow the action below with SEC Country reporters Alex Hickey, Sam Spiegelman and Nick Suss.

LSU-Ole Miss live updates

LSU-Ole Miss preview coverage

Pregame score predictions

LSU 41, Ole Miss 21

Ole Miss is not a good football team. The Rebels are ranked 116th in the nation in scoring defense and 120th in rushing offense. This isn’t to say Ole Miss doesn’t have redeemable qualities. Quarterback Shea Patterson is a beast and should be counted on for 2 or 3 touchdowns on his own, even if they come in garbage time. But a healthy Derrius Guice and an LSU defense on a roll is a bad recipe for the Rebels. Coach O’s return to Oxford should be a pleasant one. — Nick Suss

LSU 35, Ole Miss 34

Getting to Shea Patterson will be vital to a Tigers win. If Arden Key continues the progress he showed last week, LSU should be able to accomplish that task. And just for fun — Ole Miss blew out South Alabama (47-27), which beat Troy (19-8), but has also been blown out by Auburn (44-23). I think those results portend a zany game in Oxford. — Alex Hickey

Ole Miss 27, LSU 24

There is a talent disparity at quarterback, with Patterson playing the best in the SEC under center. LSU quarterback Danny Etling is coming off his best game of the season, but the problem is the letdown factor. It’s difficult to find any SEC program that has ever had an emotional three-week swing in the middle of the year quite like the Tigers. And let’s be honest, both of LSU’s wins against Florida and Auburn required close-game luck in their favor. — Carter Bryant 

LSU 31, Ole Miss 19

If Arden Key can replicate how he looked against Auburn and the secondary continues to play lights-out against Shea Patterson, LSU will be 6-2 entering a bye week before the annual Alabama game. — Sam Spiegelman

Looking ahead: The Tigers have an open date in Week 9 and travel to Alabama in Week 10. Kickoff time and TV network haven’t been finalized.

Kirk Herbstreit takes jab at Tennessee program with hilarious hashtag

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 6:19 PM

Kirk Herbstreit-Matt Campbell-Iowa State Cyclones-football

Even when Tennessee gets into the endzone, things go poorly. And Kirk Herbstreit called the program during its game against Alabama.

Defensive back Rashaan Gaulden flipped off Alabama fans after his teammate returned a pick-6 for the Volunteers first touchdown in 12 quarters.

Herbstreit pointed that even when something positive happened, it ended up going poorly. He also took a jab at the program, using #hashtag.

The Volunteers are still trailing the Crimson Tide by a wide margin, 31-7 in the third quarter. And while it hasn’t been a great season for the Volunteers, Herbstreit is right in that players have to maintain their composure. And these actions do also reflect poorly on Butch Jones and the entire program.

The post Kirk Herbstreit takes jab at Tennessee program with hilarious hashtag appeared first on SEC Country.

Tennessee-Alabama: Recap, score, analysis for Week 8 game (October 21, 2017)

Published: Saturday, October 21, 2017 @ 2:49 PM

It was going to take a perfect game for Tennessee to compete Saturday in Tuscaloosa against No. 1 Alabama and the Vols’ performance was anything but perfect as the Crimson Tide dominated from start to finish in a 45-7 victory at Bryant-Denny Stadium.

In making his second career start, Tennessee QB Jarrett Guarantano was harassed all day by the Alabama defense. The freshman completed 9-of-16 passes for 44 yards and an interception and had negative-12 rushing yards. The Vols managed just 74 yards of offense while Alabama rolled up 601.

Fourth quarter

• Alabama scores on a 60-yard pass from Tagovailoa to Henrey Ruggs. Alabama 45, Tennessee 7 4:49

• Tagovailoa scores on a 23-yard run. Alabama 38, Tennessee 7 12:59

Third quarter

• Alabama kicker Andy Pappanastos makes a 25-yard field goal. Alabama 31, Tennessee 7 3:11

• Tennessee linebacker Daniel Bituli scores on a 97-yard interception return. Alabama 28, Tennessee 7 6:03

• Alabama inserts backup quarterback Tua Tagovailoa for Jalen Hurts at the 9:30 mark.

• Alabama goes up 28-0 on Irv Smith Jr.’s 14-yard TD reception, the first of his career. Tide went 76 yards on eight plays in 2:21.

• Two hands to face personal foul penalties on Vols defensive end Jonathan Kongbo have negated a turnover and third-and-11 situation, leading to two of the Tide’s three touchdowns.

Second Quarter

• Alabama running back Damien Harris scores on an 11-yard run. Alabama 21, Tennessee 0 1:18

• Scarbrough scores his second touchdown from 1-yard out. Alabama’s second touchdown coming on fourth down, too. Alabama 14, Tennessee 0 4:48

• The Tennessee defense has allowed 97 total yards at the 9:23 mark.

• Key number for Tennessee is rushing yards – Vols must generate some run yardage to be any threat today.

First Quarter

• Tennessee defense forces first punt of the day, takes over at own 20.

• Trevor Daniel flips the field with a punt to Tide 2-yard line.

• Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough scored on a 1-yard run for the first score of the game. Alabama 7, Tennessee 0 8:21

• Tennessee opened the game with a 3-and-out on offense.

It’s the third Saturday in October and that means Tennessee against Alabama.

The Vols (3-3, 0-3 SEC) enters the game as a 36½-point underdog, thought to be biggest number the Vols have ever been on the wrong side of in program history.

Tennessee quarterback Jarrett Guarantano will make his second start. His first start came last week in the 15-9 loss to South Carolina.

Guarantano completed 11 of 18 passes for 133 yards.

One reason Tennessee’s coaching staff made the switch from Quinten Dormady to Guarantano was to spark the offense. The Vols have now gone 10 consecutive quarters without a touchdown.

John Kelly leads Tennessee with 552 rushing yards and 6 touchdowns while averaging 4.9 yards per carry.

This opportunity to turn the trend around won’t be easy. Alabama (7-0, 4-0) has outscored SEC opponents 193-39 in 4 games this season.

Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts has thrown for 1,025 yards and 8 touchdowns, with only 1 interception, while completing 63.1 percent of his passes this season. Damien Harris leads the Tide in rushing with 625 yards and 9 touchdowns and is averaging a gaudy 9.2 yards per carry.

Tennessee-Alabama recap

Tennessee-Alabama preview coverage

Pregame score predictions

Alabama 37, Tennessee 14

Tennessee’s offense has a bit more to it with a mobile quarterback, but this is a tough place for Jarrett Guarantano to make his first road start. — Mike Griffith

Alabama 42, Tennessee 7

Tennessee has yet to put together a full four-quarter performance. Facing the No. 1 team in the country probably isn’t the time the trend reverses itself. — Blake Morgan

Alabama 45, Tennessee 13

This one isn’t going to be fair. Alabama hasn’t had any trouble with anyone yet, and the Vols simply don’t have the offensive firepower to keep up. — Dustin Dopirak

Looking ahead to Week 9: The Vols play at Kentucky on Saturday, Oct. 28. Kickoff time is 7:30 p.m. ET, and SEC Network has the television broadcast.