Inspiration. Twelve years ago, he was motionless on the field. A year later, he led the Nittany Lions out of the tunnel. Adam Taliaferro's story has provided countless moments of inspiration for the Penn State family over the years. Now, as Tammy Nunez of the Times-Picayune writes, we hope that he can do the same for one young man in New Orleans.
As Tulane's Devon Walker lies prone in a Tulsa hospital bed, at least one person knows exactly what he has gone through this past week and what is ahead.
Nearly 12 years ago, Penn State's Adam Taliaferro, he too a defensive back, collided with another player and fractured his cervical spine on a football field.
Taliaferro knows what it feels like to lie motionless on the field as teammates plead for him to rise to his feet.
Taliaferro knows the emotions Walker felt after the accidental collision with Tulane teammate Julius Warmsley last weekend against Tulsa that left him unable to move his limbs.
Taliaferro also knows what it is like to walk today.
After breaking his neck Sept. 23, 2000, Taliaferro was paralyzed from the neck down. After months of rehab, he was able to walk again with the aid of crutches. Now, a slight limp is the only hitch in the gait of the 30-year-old, successful corporate attorney who lives a fully functional life.
Few can relate to what Walker is going through and what Taliaferro experienced. And likely fewer can realize such a recovery.
Good luck, Devon. We're prayin' for ya, kid.
Does this surprise anyone? To replace Bobby Petrino, Arkansas turned to this guy -
To be blunt, this has been an unmitigated disaster for the Razorbacks. Last week, they were upset by the University of Louisiana-Monroe. This week, they were embarrassed by defending national champion Alabama. And now the quarterback has something to say.
With a minute to go in a humiliating 52-0 rout, injured Arkansas quarterback Tyler Wilson turned to sports information director Zack Higbee on the sideline and said, "There are some things I need to say."
Did he ever.
Only seconds after head coach John L. Smith told the assembled media "it's easy to point fingers at someone else; that's the coward's way out," Wilson stormed into the press room, sat down behind a microphone and put his teammates on blast."Obviously that wasn't pretty to watch," said Wilson, his face red and his voice raised. "Sucks I couldn't be out there to do something about it. Do I feel that we, at times, gave up out there? Yeah, absolutely."
Wilson, who didn't play because of concussion symptoms, went on: "As a leader, it sucks to see people not do their jobs and to see things go wrong. There has been a lot of things go that way." Wilson continued for a moment or two and then dropped his hands on the table, palms down, and said, "That's all I got."
Then he walked out.
This should turn out well.
It's deja vu all over again. Alabama retained the top spot in the polls this week with said trouncing of the Razorbacks. LSU climbed to number 2.
The Crimson Tide is No. 1 for the third straight week, and it was almost unanimous. Alabama received 58 of 60 first-place votes. LSU got the other two.
The Southeastern Conference rivals were ranked first and second for eight weeks during last season before eventually meeting in the BCS title game. The difference last year was LSU was first and Alabama second - until the Tide won the national championship game.
Schadenfreude. Why did the Bayou Bengals suddenly rise in the polls, you may ask? I'd be delighted to tell you about former number 2 Southern Cal and its loss to Stanford on Saturday night.
It's official now. USC stands for Undeniably Stanford's Chumps.
There is no escaping that reality. The names of the players and coaches change, but the result remains the same. It's not a fluke and it's not a blip. Luck, literally and figuratively, had nothing to do with it.
Stanford's four-year ownership of all things Troy is not just a Jim Harbaugh thing - we learned that last year. And it is not just an Andrew Luck thing - we learned that Saturday night, when the post-Andrew Cardinal wore down USC in a 21-14 field stormer at Stanford Stadium.
It is a program thing. Stanford is simply better than USC. Don't act so shocked.
OK, you can act a little shocked. Even the Cardinal players are surprised at the big picture.
"If you'd told us this four years ago (when the core of this team arrived as freshmen in Palo Alto), I don't think anybody would have believed it," said senior linebacker Shayne Skov, part of a unit that punished Matt Barkley for 60 relentless minutes.
Believe it now. The Cardinal was better than the Trojans when its star was Toby Gerhart in 2009. It was better than the Trojans when its star was Luck in 2010 and '11. And now it is better than the Trojans when its star is Stepfan Taylor, the hard-edged running back who gouged USC for 213 all-purpose yards and two touchdowns.
Taylor was easily the best back on the field Saturday night, rushing for 157 yards on 27 carries. The tailback that used to wear number 25 in State College, Pennsylvania? 17 yards on 13 carries.
So that triple option can be pretty effective, huh? Not this weekend in Beaver Stadium. Virginia wasn't so lucky. Former Navy head coach Paul Johnson led the Ramblin' Wreck of Georgia Tech to a 56-20 win over the Cavaliers in Atlanta.
Georgia Tech's spread-option offense overwhelmed the Cavaliers with three gains of 60 yards or longer on its first four plays.
After Washington's long scoring pass to Laskey, Orwin Smith had a 77-yard touchdown run on the second play of Georgia Tech's next possession. Washington started the third possession with a 60-yard rush to set up his 1-yard touchdown run.
Georgia Tech (2-1, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) kept up the high-scoring pace with 1-yard scoring runs by Washington and Lee in the second quarter for a 35-7 halftime lead.
Virginia (2-1, 0-1) was held to 98 yards rushing. One year ago, the Cavaliers ran for 274 yards and held the ball 30 minutes in a 24-21 win over the Yellow Jackets.
Georgia Tech scored 50 or more points in an ACC game for the first time since beating Wake Forest 52-20 on Oct. 14, 2000. The 56 points were the third-highest total for the Yellow Jackets in an ACC game.
Maybe we should have run that package last week?
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