Saturday, September 22, 2018


Matt Baker, Times staff writer

Matt Baker, Times staff writer

Matt Baker joined the Times as a sports reporter in 2011. In 2014, he started covering the Bucs, Rays and Lightning. He previously covered high school and college sports for the Tulsa World and minor league baseball for the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader. His work has been honored by the Best American Sports Writing series and the Associated Press Sports Editors. He is a Hoosier native and graduated from Northwestern University in 2008.

Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton, right, looks for a receiver as he is pressured by Florida Atlantic defensive end Leighton McCarthy (13) during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Friday, Sept. 21, 2018, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) FLJR105

UCF-FAU featured the fun most Florida teams would love to have

ORLANDO — The first two times Lane Kiffin and Florida Atlantic faced fourth down Friday night at No. 16 UCF, they kept their offense on the field. The quarterback punted.On the third time, the Owls brought their punt unit...
Updated: 4 hours ago
MONICA HERNDON   |   TimesFlorida Gators running back Jordan Scarlett (25) carries for 30 yards during the first quarter of the game on September 8, 2018 at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville, Fla.

Examining Florida-Tennessee, FSU-NIU and the other state college football matchups

 Eye on the NFL draft
Published: 09/21/18
Alabama coach Nick Saban watches pregame warmups before last week's win over Mississippi. (Bruce Newman/The Oxford Eagle via AP)

Jimbo vs. Saban (again), CCC alum Jeff Smith starring and more national nuggets

Local of the weekBoston College WR Jeff Smith (Clearwater Central Catholic)After recording the first 100-yard game of his career last week, Smith could be in for another big showing against a bad Purdue pass defense. He'll try...
Published: 09/21/18
FILE - In this Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, file photo, Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins (7) and tight end Luke Farrell (89) react during the second half of an NCAA college football game against TCU in Arlington, Texas. Traditional Big Ten powers Wisconsin, Michigan and Michigan State have lost out-of-conference games. There are only five unbeaten teams remaining in the conference, and that number seriously might be down to one at the end of the month after No. 4 Ohio State plays at No. 10 Penn State. Slow starts, however, doesn’t mean the conference is out of the national title hunt. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth, File) NYDD206

Heisman watch: Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins joins the mix

5. Ohio State QB Dwayne Haskins: Putting up 352 yards of offense on TCU is enough to join the top five.4. Houston DL Ed Oliver: Leads all active players with 1.57 tackles for a loss per game and should...
Published: 09/21/18
FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2018, file photo, Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert (10) looks for a receiver against Portland State during an NCAA college football game in Eugene, Ore. A couple of Pac-12 stars have a chance to put themselves into the Heisman mix on Saturday night when No. 7 Stanford visits No. 20 Oregon. Herbert has put up nice numbers in the first three weeks of the season, with 10 touchdown passes, no interceptions and 10.4 yards per attempt. He is not quite at the Tua level, but he’s not that far off. (AP Photo/Thomas Boyd, File) NYDD208

College football Week 4 viewing guide

Lamest time window: Early. Just make sure you're around for the late afternoon/evening slate.Noon: No. 8 Notre Dame has had back-to-back shaky weeks. A third in a row could mean a loss at Wake...
Published: 09/21/18
OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times USF (White Team) wide receiver Randall ST. Felix (84) catches a pass for a touchdown in the third quarter during the Spring Football Game at the University of South Florida Corbett Stadium in Tampa, Florida on Saturday, April 14, 2018.

USF’s Randall St. Felix breaking out early, and more Bulls bits

TAMPA — After admiring Randy Moss for years, it's not a coincidence that USF receiver Randall St. Felix's wears Moss' No. 84."I feel like he's the best receiver to ever touch a football," St. Felix said.It's obviously...
Published: 09/20/18
East Carolina head coach Scottie Montgomery watches his team prior to the start of their game against the North Carolina in Greenville, N.C., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Karl B DeBlaker) NCKD103

After fleeing Hurricane Florence, East Carolina trying to keep routine in Orlando before USF game

There is nothing normal about the situation East Carolina's football team finds itself in after Hurricane Florence.The Pirates' last scheduled game (against Virginia Tech) was canceled. After evacuating campus a week ago, they remain...
Published: 09/19/18
Updated: 09/20/18
MONICA HERNDON   |   TimesTampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston (3) passes during the game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Fla. on August 9, 2018. ***FOR BUCS SPECIAL SECTION***

Bucs’ Jameis Winston sued by Arizona Uber driver in alleged groping incident

 TAMPA — Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston was sued Tuesday by the Arizona Uber driver who has accused him of sexual assault by groping her in March 2016.
Published: 09/18/18
Updated: 09/19/18
Florida State quarterback Deondre Francois (12) gets pressured by the Virginia Tech Hokies defense during the fourth quarter at Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee, Florida on Monday, September 3, 2018. (OCTAVIO JONES | Times)

Willie Taggart inherited a rough offensive line situation that has gotten even worse

Take your pick of ugly stats or stories about how bad Florida State's offensive line is. Like how only three teams in the nation have allowed more tackles for a loss than FSU (27). Or how one of the most talented running back units in the...
Published: 09/17/18
South Florida's head coach Charlie Strong calls out a play from the sidelines during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Illinois Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jim Young) ILJY16

Charlie Strong still not happy with USF’s start against Illinois

TAMPA — USF coach Charlie Strong was obviously happy with how his Bulls rebounded Saturday to turn a 16-7...
Published: 09/17/18