SUBSCRIBE NOW
$5 for 3 months. Save 83%.
SUBSCRIBE NOW
$5 for 3 months. Save 83%.

Friday's college football: Alabama's Saban tests negative for COVID in follow-up

The Detroit News

Tuscaloosa, Ala. – Alabama coach Nick Saban has tested negative in a follow-up test for COVID-19, leaving open the possibility of a return to the sideline for the Georgia game.

Alabama head athletic trainer Jeff Allen said Saban’s test came back negative on Thursday. If he tests negative again Friday and Saturday, Saban would be allowed on the sidelines for the second-ranked Crimson Tide’s Southeastern Conference showdown with No. 3 Georgia Saturday night.

Alabama coach Nick Saban

Allen said the PCR test Thursday was conducted by the SEC-appointed lab. He said Wednesday’s initial positive result came from an outside lab Alabama has “used to supplement the SEC-mandated testing.”

The PCR test is considered the preferred method of testing for COVID-19 as identified by the NCAA’s Resocialization of College Sports Guidelines.

“He will continue to remain in isolation and receive daily PCR tests,” Allen said. “Should he have three negative PCR tests through the SEC appointed lab, each 24 hours apart, the initial test would be considered a false-positive pursuant to SEC protocols and he would be allowed to return.”

Allen said Saban has remained asymptomatic and hasn’t had a fever. But unless Saban tests negative again Friday and Saturday, he will remain sidelined for the game against the Bulldogs.

Saban and athletic director Greg Byrne tested positive on Wednesday. The 68-year-old coach has continued to work from home and even been able to relay messages during practice via team managers.

Northwestern players opt out

Defensive end Samdup Miller, safety Travis Whillock, quarterback Aidan Smith and tight end Jason Whittaker have opted out of Northwestern’s pandemic-shortened season, the school announced Friday.

With Miller and Whillock deciding not to play, the defense is down two returning starters.

Miller made eight starts as a junior last season before missing the final four games because of an injury. He had 29 tackles in 2019. Whillock was honorable mention All-Big Ten as a junior last year, with 78 tackles and two fumble recoveries.

Smith played in eight games and made six starts a year ago, passing for 760 yards and three touchdowns. Whittaker played in two games as a redshirt freshman.

Coach Pat Fitzgerald said Northwestern “completely” supports “the decision each young man made during the spring and summer as they evaluated their personal circumstances.”

Northwestern is trying to bounce back after going 3-9 overall and finishing last in the Big Ten West with a 1-8 mark in conference play. The Wildcats open at home against Maryland on Oct. 24.

ULCA wearing it

UCLA will still be outfitted by Under Armour this season even though the university is suing the apparel company for breach of contract.

Athletic director Martin Jarmond has said there isn’t enough time to get a deal in place with a new outfitter.

Under Armour announced in June that it is ending its contract with the school. The two sides were four years into a 15-year deal worth $280 million, which remains the highest in college athletics.

UCLA filed a lawsuit against Under Amour in August in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles for breach of contract, seeking damages in excess of $200 million.

Coach Chip Kelly said that he believes his team will be able to get through the upcoming football season with its current allotment of equipment.

Kelly has ties to Nike from his days as the head coach at Oregon but said any discussions about where the Bruins will go is beyond his influence.

“I don’t have any say in the matter. My job is to stop people from getting first downs and get first downs so I’m going to stay in that room,” he said.

Under Armour paid $11 million per year in rights and marketing fees as well as contributing $2 million per year to aid in facility improvements. Under terms of the contract, the company is supposed to supply $6.85 million in athletic apparel, footwear and uniforms.

The company cited unforeseeable circumstances due to the coronavirus pandemic as one of the reasons it was terminating the deal.

Thursday's games

No. 14 BYU 42, (at) Houston 26: Zach Wilson threw four touchdowns and finished 25-of-35 for 400 yards as BYU rallied for a win over Houston.

Dax Milne caught nine passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns to help BYU improve to 5-0 for the first time since 2008.

Down 12, Wilson found Milne for a 2-yard touchdown pass with 53 seconds remaining in the third. Wilson gave BYU the lead back with an 8-yard touchdown pass to Masen Wake with 10:35 left to make it 29-26 following a 2-point conversion pass from Wilson to Tyler Allgeier.

Wilson threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to Milne with three minutes remaining before Allgeier iced it with a 14-yard touchdown run with 1:40 left.

No. 17 SMU 37, (at) Tulane 34, OT: Brandon Crossley ended the first overtime possession with an interception and Chris Naggar made a 34-yard field goal to lift SMU past Tulane.

Crossley intercepted Tulane freshman Michael Pratt’s pass to put the Mustangs (5-0, 3-0 American Athletic) into position to win with the field goal.

The Green Wave (2-3, 0-3) rallied to force overtime on Merek Glover’s 27-yard field goal with 1:30 left.

After Tulane took a 31-27 lead early in the fourth quarter on Pratt’s 7-yard touchdown, the Mustangs pulled ahead 34-31 lead on Shane Buechele’s 10-yard pass to Danny Gray.

Buechele completed 23 of 37 passes for 384 yards and two touchdowns. He entered the game second nationally in passing yards.

Rashee Rice had seven receptions for 139 yards and a touchdown, and Gray added five catches for 133 yards and a touchdown and had a 32-yard scoring run. Ulysses Bentley ran for 94 yards and a touchdown on 25 carries.