USF's Marlon Mack under concussion protocol; questionable for Saturday

Marlon Mack is questionable for the game Saturday against Northern Illinois.
Marlon Mack is questionable for the game Saturday against Northern Illinois.
Published Sept. 6, 2016

TAMPA — USF two-time 1,000-yard rusher Marlon Mack is going through a concussion protocol after taking a potent second-quarter hit during Saturday night's 56-20 victory against Towson.

He's questionable for this weekend's home game against Northern Illinois, coach Willie Taggart said Monday. Senior Darius Tice and junior D'Ernest Johnson, who combined for 65 rushing yards against Towson, will replace Mack as needed.

"We're just going to run our offense," Taggart said. "We always feel like we have a healthy group of running backs back there and guys that we don't have to change anything up if someone goes down."

Mack appeared to get smacked on the right shoulder by 249-pound Towson linebacker Diondre Wallace on a run up the middle. He fumbled and remained on the ground for several moments before walking off on his own power.

He didn't return, but after the game, Taggart said Mack told him, 'I'm cool, Coach.' … When he told me he was good I was all right."

Tice has 737 career rushing yards, and played extensively (15 carries, 94 yards) in the Bulls' 65-27 rout of Cincinnati last season. Johnson, who also returned punts and made a tackle in kickoff coverage Saturday, has 480 career rushing yards.

Texas two, step on up

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas coach Charlie Strong says he "knew all along" what he had at quarterback. He just didn't tell anyone.

What the former Florida assistant unveiled Sunday against Notre Dame was an impressive combination of finesse and power in freshman Shane Buechele and senior Tyrone Swoopes.

Unlike other quarterback rotations that struggled, Texas' worked to near perfection in a 50-47 double overtime upset win over the No. 10 Fighting Irish. Buechele started and passed for 280 yards and two touchdowns in pushing the Longhorns to a 31-14 lead.

And Swoopes delivered the crunching blows in overtime and scored the winner on a 6-yard lunging touchdown run against an exhausted defense. Expect to see more of that 1-2 punch from Texas this season.

"I think we can make it work," Strong said Monday. "We can spread people out, but we have a physical aspect to us. We can pound people when we want to. We can go vertical."

Buechele was the first freshman to start an opener for Texas since Bobby Layne in 1944. Swoopes, at 6 feet 5, 249 pounds, ran for 53 yards on 13 carries and attempted one pass.

"If you're not 250 pounds, you're probably not going to tackle Tyrone," Texas defensive lineman Naashon Hughes said.

Newsome grad starts: Navy said first-year starting quarterback Tago Smith tore his right ACL Saturday, meaning former Newsome High three-way star Will Worth is the Midshipmen's new starter. Smith was hurt in the second quarter of Navy's 52-16 victory over Fordham. Worth, the Tampa Bay Times' 2012 Hillsborough County offensive player of the year, replaced him, throwing a 57-yard touchdown and running for an 8-yard score. "(Worth) knows what we're doing; he's a tough, hard-nosed football player, great leader," coach Ken Niumatalolo said Monday. "He's the type of guy that you look here at the academy, he's just a phenomenal leader."

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Alabama: Coach Nick Saban confirmed the hiring of another former USC coach, as Steve Sarkisian joins offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin on the Crimson Tide's staff. Sarkisian, fired last season, will be an offensive analyst.

LSU: The program suspended offensive lineman Josh Boutte for one game after his late hit Saturday in the Tigers' loss to Wisconsin. The school said Boutte called Wisconsin defensive back D'Cota Dixon on Monday to apologize for the hit, for which Boutte was ejected.

North Carolina State: Boise State graduate transfer Ryan Finley was listed as the starter after completing 81 percent of his passes Saturday against William & Mary. On the depth chart before the opener, Finley and Jalen McClendon were either/or, and coach Dave Doeren was tight-lipped about the decision throughout preseason camp.

Wisconsin: Starting inside linebacker Chris Orr will miss the rest of the season with a right ACL injury.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.