Tagovailoa closing in on Heisman

Alabama sophomore quarterback Tua Tagovailoa threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns and added a 44-yard touchdown run in the No. 1-ranked Crimson Tide’s 29-0 shutout of No. 3 LSU on Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.

Tagovailoa threw his first interception of the year for the only blemish on his day but overall strengthened his status as the clear Heisman Trophy frontrunner.

Through nine games, Tagovailoa has a passer rating of 215.2. The NCAA record for single-season passer rating is 198.9, set by Baker Mayfield last season. Tagovailoa is neck and neck with Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray, whose rating is 216.6.

Mayfield also holds the record for yards per attempt (11.5). Tagovailoa averages 12.2 yards per attempt and Murray 12.3.

Tagovailoa played in the fourth quarter for the first time all season against LSU and is averaging only 21.5 passes per game and 24.8 touches per game.

Ohio State’s Troy Smith, who won the Heisman in 2006, averaged the fewest touches per game of any Heisman winner over the past 18 years at 29.5 per game.

Saint Louis School alum Marcus Mariota, who won the Heisman Trophy at Oregon in 2014, averaged 38.7 touches and 29.7 passes per game and had a QB rating of 181.7. He averaged 10 yards per attempt.

UCF’s Milton returns with another win

After sitting out a game with an undisclosed injury, Central Florida quarterback McKenzie Milton returned to the field Thursday night and led the Knights to their NCAA-best 21st consecutive win.

Milton, a 2016 Mililani alumnus, finished 17-for-33 for 312 yards and three touchdowns and added a 1-yard TD run in a 52-40 win over Temple in a game broadcast by ESPN.

He was considered day-to-day with an injury leading up to kickoff.

“We’re a battle-tested team,” Milton said in an interview with ESPN after the game. “Whenever we face adversity, we respond. We just rally together and that’s a sign of a great team.”

The Knights dropped from No. 9 to No. 11 in the Associated Press Top 25 this week despite the win and held at No. 12 in the College Football Playoff rankings released Tuesday. The Owls are the first team with a winning record UCF has defeated this season.

UCF trailed Temple 34-28 at halftime before outscoring the Owls 24-6 the rest of the way. The Knights have scored at least 40 points in 14 of their 21 consecutive wins.

“We believe in our head ball coach in whatever he tells us and we made some adjustments at halftime,” Milton said. “We fought for 60 minutes and that’s what we preach every day. We were a little sloppy up front to begin the game and then our O-line just started taking over in the run game in the second half.”

Up next for UCF is Navy at home on Saturday.

Oregon’s Apelu, Slade-Matautia out

Oregon senior linebacker Kaulana Apelu made four tackles in Saturday’s 42-21 win over UCLA before leaving the game with an injury.

Ducks coach Mario Cristobal said Monday that Apelu suffered a small fracture to his lower leg, which will keep him out of Oregon’s final three games against Utah, Arizona State and Oregon State.

It’s not as severe as the fractured ankle that caused him to miss the final eight games of his junior season, but the injury is in the same area. Cristobal said he could be back for the Ducks’ bowl game they clinched with the win over the Bruins.

“He will be right there with me at practice coaching,” Cristobal said during Monday’s press conference. “He’s the heart and soul, one of the many guys that are together the heart and soul of the football team. His presence is necessary … he will be very active among our football team in any way that we can involve him.”

Apelu, a 2015 Kamehameha alumnus, is second on the team with 58 tackles and has five tackles for loss and two sacks.

He has had a long history of injuries. He suffered a torn ACL in the first game of both his junior and senior seasons at Kamehameha.

He walked on at Oregon in 2015 and earned a scholarship prior to the start of the 2017 season. He played in five games last year before the lower-leg injury.

Redshirt freshman Isaac Slade-Matautia, a 2017 Saint Louis alumnus, is Apelu’s backup at middle linebacker but has missed the past two games with a shoulder injury.

Slade-Matautia also dealt with a shoulder injury his senior season at Saint Louis. In seven games with the Ducks this year, he has made 20 tackles with two tackles for loss.

Toner, Herbig miss Stanford game vs. UW

Both players from Hawaii on Stanford’s roster were held out of Saturday’s 27-23 loss to Washington in Seattle.

Offensive lineman Nate Herbig (Saint Louis ’16) missed his third straight game with an undisclosed injury.

Place-kicker Jet Toner, a 2016 Punahou alumnus, also didn’t play because of an undisclosed injury.

“He couldn’t get stretched out before the game,” Stanford coach David Shaw told reporters about Toner after the game.

Herbig, who is 6 feet 4 and 334 pounds, was named a preseason first-team All-American by the Associated Press and Sports Illustrated and on the watch list for the Outland Trophy. He had started 25 games in a row before missing the Arizona State game on Oct. 18.

Toner is 9-for-10 on field goals this season and has made all three of his tries between 40 and 49 yards.

His backup missed an extra point with 3:24 remaining against the Huskies to keep it a four-point game. Stanford got the ball back and might have had the opportunity for a 51-yard field-goal attempt to tie the game had he made the extra point, but instead had to try a Hail Mary that was intercepted.

Whitworth clinches D-III playoff berth

Fueled by 18 players on its roster who graduated from Hawaii high schools, the Whitworth (Wash.) football team clinched a share of the Northwest Conference championship and a berth in the NCAA Division III playoffs with a 38-28 win over Lewis & Clark on Saturday in Spokane, Wash.

The Pirates (8-0, 6-0) can claim the outright NWC title and the fifth undefeated regular season in school history with a win over Willamette (Ore.) on Saturday in Salem, Ore.

Freshman linebacker Jaylen Gonzales (Waianae ’17) finished with 10 tackles and one tackle for loss and defensive tackle P-Jay Solomon (Pearl City ’15) also had a tackle for loss.

On offense, sophomore receiver Isain Wong-Lonzanida (Nanakuli ’16) had five receptions for 42 yards. Freshmen J.J. To’oto’o (Waianae ’17) and Noah Alejado (Saint Louis ’17) also caught passes.

Eight of the 18 Hawaii players on the Whitworth roster played in the game.

Lewis & Clark sophomore linebacker Melvin Ho‘omanawanui (‘Iolani ’16) had five tackles and broke up a pass, sophomore defensive back Makana Laboy (‘Iolani ’17) made four tackles with a pass breakup, defensive lineman Cameron Chang (‘Iolani ’17) had four tackles and defensive back Tanner Ono (Punahou ’18) added three stops.

The Pioneers have 13 players from Hawaii on their roster.

Pacific Lutheran’s Shiramizu is top libero

Pacific Lutheran senior Caylie Shiramizu was named the Northwest Conference libero of the year on Monday.

The 2015 University High alumna won the award for the second time in her career after earning two defensive player of the week honors this season.

Shiramizu finished fourth in the league averaging 4.85 digs per set and tallied 383 digs, 43 assists and 30 aces for the season to help the Lutes win the conference title.

Pacific Lutheran will open the NCAA Division III tournament on Friday against College of Saint Benedict in Saint Peter, Minn.

Whitman (Wash.) senior outside hitter Codie Conching (Kamehameha ’15) also was honored on Monday. Conching, a first-team All-NWC selection a year ago, was named to the second team. She finished the season with 11 double-doubles and had a season-high 20 kills in league play twice. She ranked third in the conference in total kills (174), fourth in kills per set (2.85) and eighth in total digs (237), which includes a season-best 27 digs at Puget Sound.

Linfield (Ore.) junior libero Taylor Souza, a 2016 Le Jardin alumna, earned honorable-mention honors.

AROUND THE NATION

FOOTBALL

>> Vavae Malepeai, Mililani ’16: The USC running back notched his first 100-yard rushing performance, finishing with 101 on 15 carries, and caught a 6-yard pass in a 38-21 win over Oregon State on Saturday.

>> Jordan Iosefa, Saint Louis ’16: The USC junior linebacker made four tackles and broke up a pass against the Beavers.

>> Isaiah Tufaga, Saint Louis ’18: The Oregon State freshman safety made four tackles against USC.

>> Kalani Vakameilalo, Kapolei ’14: The Oregon State senior defensive lineman made four tackles against the Trojans.

>> Kekaula Kaniho, Kahuku ’17: The Boise State sophomore safety made five tackles and recorded a sack in a 21-16 win over Brigham Young on Saturday.

>> Alex Vainikolo, Maui ’16: The New Mexico junior linebacker notched his first sack with the Lobos and forced a fumble in a 31-23 loss to San Diego State on Saturday.

>> Salanoa Alo-Wily, Kahuku ’15: The UNLV senior defensive

tackle made four tackles in a 48-3 loss to Fresno State on Saturday.

Compiled by Billy Hull, Star-Advertiser. To submit an athlete for publication, email bhull@staradvertiser.com.

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