Louisville’s Cunningham undergoing concussion protocol

Louisville v Boston College
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Louisville coach Scott Satterfield says quarterback Malik Cunningham’s status is being evaluated daily for concussion-like symptoms after he was injured Saturday’s loss at Boston College.

The fifth-year senior ran for three touchdowns and threw for another before finishing the game, a 34-33 defeat, on the sideline. He was removed for one play in the third quarter after taking a hit to the head from BC defensive back Jaylen Blackwell, who was penalized for targeting. Cunningham played two more series before being replaced by Brock Domann.

Satterfield said Tuesday that Cunningham told team doctors that he “felt a little different” after taking another hit later and was pulled from the game.

“His status now is day to day and it’ll be determined by our doctors what they allow him to do,” Satterfield said during his weekly news conference, which came ahead of Saturday’s ACC game at Virginia. “If he’s able to go, then obviously he’ll go. But if they say he’s not ready, then he won’t go.”

Cunningham was injured two days after Miami Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa suffered a concussion, laying on the turf with his hands and fingers frozen upward after being slammed backward to the turf in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals. Tagovailoa had experienced concussion-like symptoms after a hit four days earlier against the Buffalo Bills but was cleared to return, raising questions about the NFL’s handling of such injuries.

Satterfield said Cunningham told him he felt fine after sitting out following the first hit. Team doctors told him that a second hard tackle left his quarterback dizzy and that he probably sustained concussion-like symptoms.

The coach indicated that he would heed medical advice on Cunningham’s availability.

“Our doctors do a fabulous job,” Satterfield said. “Anytime there’s any kind of injury, the doctors are going to give the go-ahead to play or not play. It’s not any coach’s or any training staff (decision) when it comes to that, those type of injuries.”

Cunningham recently became the sixth quarterback in NCAA history to exceed 9,000 yards passing and 3,000 rushing in a career.

Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. returning for 2023 season

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE – Washington quarterback Michael Penix Jr. said Sunday he will return to the school for his sixth and final season of eligibility in 2023.

Penix announced his decision on social media and it was a surprising one at that. Penix was the national leader in passing this season, throwing for 4,354 yards and led Washington’s turnaround. The No. 12-ranked Huskies went 10-2 in the regular season, finished tied for second in the Pac-12 and will face No. 21 Texas in the Alamo Bowl.

Penix will have a chance at setting Washington’s single-season record for yards passing in the bowl game. He also threw 29 touchdowns this season. Because of his performance this season, Penix saw his NFL draft stock rise to where he was being expected to be a second-day pick at the latest.

In his announcement, Penix wrote, “As I look back on this special season we had, I realized there were so many great moments and things to celebrate, but I KNOW there is so much for out there for this team and the job is still not finished. I can’t wait to be playing in Husky Stadium for the 2023 season!”

Penix started his career at Indiana and showed flashes of stardom while also battling injuries. He transferred to Washington after the 2021 season, a move that reunited him with new Huskies’ coach Kalen DeBoer, who was Penix’s offensive coordinator for one season at Indiana.

North Texas fires Littrell after .500 record over 7 years

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DENTON, Texas – Bowl-bound North Texas has fired coach Seth Littrell, who went 44-44 over seven seasons.

University president Neal Smatresk said Sunday night that the decision to make the move came after a thorough assessment of the program.

The Mean Green are 7-6 this season after losing 48-27 to UTSA in the Conference USA championship game Friday night.

Phil Bennett, their defensive coordinator the past two seasons, was named interim head coach. North Texas plays Boise State in the Frisco Bowl on Dec. 17.

The 44-year-old Littrell had one year left on his contract in what was his first head coaching job. He was the youngest coach in Conference USA and one of the youngest at the FBS level when he arrived after two seasons as offensive coordinator at North Carolina with UNT coming off a 1-11 season at the time.

While the Mean Green are going to their sixth bowl since Littrell first got there, they haven’t won any of those yet. The bowl in his debut season came after only five wins since there weren’t enough bowl-eligible teams to fill all of the slots. Consecutive nine-win seasons followed in 2017 and 2018, but they then had three consecutive losing records before this year.

North Texas also has an interim athletic director after Wren Baker was named as West Virginia’s AD last week.

Smatresk said Jared Mosley, the chief operating officer of UNT athletics, will serve as interim AD. The university is working with a search firm to find Baker’s successor.