College Football Blitz: Keller Chryst injured, Mitch Trubisky’s big decision

Dec 30, 2016; El Paso, TX, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Keller Chryst (10) is injured after running the ball against the North Carolina Tar Heels defense at Sun Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 30, 2016; El Paso, TX, USA; Stanford Cardinal quarterback Keller Chryst (10) is injured after running the ball against the North Carolina Tar Heels defense at Sun Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports /

Stanford Cardinal quarterback Keller Chryst hurts his knee in the Sun Bowl and the Georgia Bulldogs win bowl game No. 30. Here’s the College Football Blitz.

Of course the Hyundai Sun Bowl was going to be a huge part of the college football news cycle on Friday, Dec. 30. It had been so for weeks for a few reasons. Stanford star running back Christian McCaffrey decided to sit out the game in favor of getting ready for the 2017 NFL Draft. McCaffrey will leave Palo Alto a year early.

North Carolina has a potential franchise quarterback in Mitch Trubisky. All eyes were on him Friday afternoon to see how he played in maybe his final collegiate game.

Then Stanford’s starting quarterback Keller Chryst suffered a knee injury on a running play and had to exit the game. Stanford still won the Sun Bowl over North Carolina, but only barely 25-23. It was an exciting finish, but what do college athletes have to gain by playing in these glorified exhibitions we call bowl games.

With that, let’s start the College Football Blitz.

Keller Chryst hurts knee in Hyundai Sun Bowl

The Sun Bowl has long been one of the solid mid-tier bowl games on the holiday season slate. El Paso does a great job hosting the event and usually has two great Power 5 teams going head-to-head. 2016 was no different when the Stanford Cardinal played the North Carolina Tar Heels.

Stanford and North Carolina would exchange a pair of impressive touchdowns early in the first quarter. Trubisky showed why he might go No. 1 on his touchdown pass to wide receiver Ryan Switzer. Chryst showed us all why he was a five-star recruit coming out of Palo Alto High School on his dime to Cardinal running back Bryce Love.

On Stanford’s second offensive possession, Chryst would scramble to his right and wreck his left knee on a short gain. He was in obvious pain and at best dislocated his knee cap. Chryst couldn’t put weight on his knee and was in street clothes by the second quarter.

Stanford still won the game, but maybe McCaffrey had a point in sitting out in this game? Sure, Chryst is still an underclassman, but did the Stanford signal caller really need to hurt his other knee in the Sun Bowl? The kid already wears a knee brace on his right leg. Maybe he’s got a future in coaching like his dad and uncle (Geep and Paul Chryst) if he did suffer a brutal knee injury?

Final Thought: Chryst was starting to come on in his first season as a starter. He split time with Ryan Burns early in the season but was the starter once Stanford got hot in the second half. Chryst may have gotten better with his teammates in bowl practices, but this injury cannot be good for the Cardinal in spring practice. Stanford needs him to stay alive in a brutal Pac-12 North next season with teams like Washington and Washington State, to whom the Cardinal lost to in 2016.

Georgia Bulldogs win 30th bowl game in school history

The Georgia Bulldogs rarely win national championships, but this SEC blue-blood football program is sure decent at getting to bowl games…and winning them. Georgia improved to 8-5 on the season by defeating the TCU Horned Frogs in the 2016 AutoZone Liberty Bowl, 31-23.

Not only was this first-year head coach Kirby Smart’s first bowl victory, but it was the 30th in Georgia football history. It was impressive that a first-year head coach could beat a coach the level of TCU’s Gary Patterson, who has already won nine bowl games.

Georgia becomes the third FBS program to achieve 30 bowl victories, joining the Alabama Crimson Tide (36) and the USC Trojans (33). Congratulations to Georgia and coach Smart on achieving this impressive milestone.

Final Thought: Some schools handle bowl games differently. A lot of times, these second-tier bowls come down to which team of the two really wants to be there. Georgia was a solid bowl team under former head coach Mark Richt. Smart can use this win to build his 2017 recruiting class. Georgia needed a bowl win to make sure that it would reel in a top-10 recruiting class and did so.

Mitch Trubisky hits and misses in Sun Bowl, has a HUGE decision to make

Most of the people watching the Hyundai Sun Bowl were paying close attention to what Trubisky was going to do in what could be his final collegiate game. Trubisky had a strong junior season at North Carolina and could be the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft to play for his hometown Cleveland Browns.

In what might be his final college performance, we saw signs of promise of why he looks to be a future NFL franchise quarterback. The arm strength, the touch, the inclination to throw the ball downfield from the pocket. These were his best moments on Friday at the Sun Bowl.

We also saw areas he needs to improve on. Trubisky had three horrible turnovers that largely cost his team the game. Moments like these are perfect examples of why he could benefit from another year on the Chapel Hill campus.

Trubisky will be a top-10 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft should he declare. He’s probably the first quarterback off the board, but Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer and Clemson’s Deshaun Watson would dream to beg and differ.

If he wants to go pro, he can do it and he’ll be like Jared Goff or Paxton Lynch in their first seasons in the league. Both Goff and Lynch left school a year early, Goff from Cal and Lynch from Memphis. However, there is serious room for improvement that Trubisky can get better on in 2017 if he feels so inclined.

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Final Thought: Of the three blue-chip quarterback prospects possibly entering the 2017 NFL Draft (Kizer, Trubisky, Watson), Trubisky has perhaps the highest upside because we have several examples of his prototype in the NFL. Trubisky looks to be of the Andrew Luck, Blake Bortles, Carson Wentz mold. Watson might be Tony Romo. What exactly is Kizer? Trubisky can succeed in the NFL but could combust if he develops sloppy mechanics like Bortles did in Jacksonville in 2016.