Golson stays poised against pressure of Oklahoma

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Golson stays poised against pressure of Oklahoma

NORMAN, Okla. -- Playing in just his second-ever collegiate road game, Everett Golson stood in the face of 86,031 fans and looked as poised as he's been all year.

Golson didn't blow up the box score, completing 13 of 25 passes for 177 yards and gaining 64 yards on 11 rushes. But the key number for him was zero, as in how many turnovers he committed.

"He's growing up," coach Brian Kelly said.

Beyond the stat sheet, Kelly saw his redshirt freshman quarterback do more than just play with confidence.

"He led -- he actually sensed that he was leading," Kelly said. "He was communicating, he was talking, he was doing things that you hope as you go through this process that start to see. He was confident, he was calm -- all the things that you need to see from your quarterback on the road against a very good opposition in Oklahoma."

That crowd of 86,031 was the largest on Oklahoma Memorial Stadium History. It's a stadium in which OU coach Bob Stoops had only lost four times in 83 games heading into Saturday. In other words, it's not exactly the place a guy making his sixth career start can win with ease. Golson did just that, even if his line doesn't show it.

A little more than a month ago, Golson was coming off a miserable two-interception performance against Michigan in which he was yanked in the second quarter in favor of Tommy Rees. But since then, he's grown, even with the pains of a trio of turnovers against Stanford.

"I don't think I would," Golson said of if he would have handled the atmosphere at OU well last month. "I think that's partially because of the game experience and it's also because of the guys around me. I can admit that six or seven weeks ago I didn't really feel that I was ready."

That growth has been a series-to-series process in games, as Kelly explained two weekends ago following Notre Dame's win over Stanford. Ask any of Golson's teammates, though, and they'll tell you the biggest strides are being made in preparing for those games.

"He didn't just grow up today, he's been growing each week and getting better and improving," tight end Tyler Eifert said. "It's just the way he goes to work, trying to get better and having that as his mindset."

Kelly and Notre Dame designed the Irish to rely on defense for its success as they developed a first-year starting quarterback. But on Saturday, Golson showed his promise -- maybe not statistically, but as a leader.

"Everett Golson led our team," Kelly said. "He had obviously been challenged to continue to grow and it's been a process, but I thought tonight was a big step up for our quarterback, and our offense elevated itself against a great competition on the road."

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has been named the Opening Day starter — for the White Sox.

While many are surprised he still hasn't been traded, few should be shocked by the news manager Rick Renteria delivered on Friday, when he announced Quintana would pitch the April 3 opener.

With Chris Sale gone to Boston, Quintana, a first-time All-Star in 2016, has been the odds-on favorite to take over as the team's ace. The only question seemed to be whether or not he'd still be in a White Sox uniform when the season began. But the club made it clear Friday that Quintana is their guy and he'll face the Detroit Tigers in the first game of 2017. The only one who seemed a little taken aback about the news is Quintana.

"I was surprised," Quintana said. "I knew I may get the ball for that day, but they didn't say nothing, so you didn't know. I just kept going and doing my workouts and all my stuff. I'm really, really happy with this opportunity. It's huge for me. I can't wait for that day to come.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity. It's a huge honor for me to have the ball for Opening Day the first time in my life. And I think it's a once-in-a-life opportunity."

Asked about the announcement earlier in the week, Renteria said he needed more time. Many speculated that it meant the White Sox were continuing to listen to offers for Quintana, who has drawn constant interest since the team began its rebuild in December.

[WHITE SOX TICKETS: Get your seats right here]

Quintana, who went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings last season, has looked fantastic all spring. Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts on Thursday, Quintana made his first Cactus League appearance in a month and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. The left-hander also put on a brilliant performance for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Team USA hitters he faced before allowing a hit.

"He's very happy about it," Renteria said. "He has obviously earned it.

"I don't know if he was surprised as much as he was elated and proud to be given the opportunity to be the Opening Day starter. It's a privilege."

Quintana's resume of consistency made him a clear-cut choice for the nod. He heads into 2017 having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. In that span, he's produced a 3.32 ERA and 18.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. That figure represents the seventh-highest WAR total among all big league pitchers in that span.

Even though he's viewed as the staff ace, Quintana — who potentially has four years and $36.85 million left on his current contract — said he was surprised by the news because the club hadn't yet informed him of the honor.

"It means a lot for me, especially after last year when you make the All-Star team and this year the opportunity to play in the WBC and now you have the opportunity to pitch on Opening Day," Quintana said. "That's a lot of things happening for me now and I'm happy. And really blessed. You just try to do all my things every time.

"Maybe they don't know what it means for me, but it's a big thing."

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Miami QB Brad Kaaya

2017 NFL Draft Profile: Miami QB Brad Kaaya

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2017 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 100 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami

6'4" | 214 lbs.

2016 stats:

3,532 YDS, 62.0 CMP%, 27 TD, 7 INT, 150.3 QBR

Projection:

Third/Fourth round

Scouting Report:

"Groomed to be a quarterback from an early age, Kaaya flashes the mechanics and intelligence of a player who has spent hours in quarterback camps. However, he can be too mechanical and thinks too much rather than just flowing and responding to what the field offers him. Kaaya could have used another year of college, but he has the tools and intangibles to become an NFL starter. While he can work around his average arm strength, he must improve his accuracy and anticipation if he is to make a mark in the NFL." — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com

Video analysis provided by Rotoworld and NBC Sports NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Click here for more NFL Draft Profiles