Beasley increases impact; local college standouts make marks


Vic Beasley Jr. hasn't enjoyed the best start to his Tennessee Titans tenure, but perhaps, Sunday signified a turnaround of sorts.

Following offseason drama that saw the former Adairsville star arrive late to training camp, Beasley missed Tennessee's opening two games due to injury. He made his debut for the team Week 3. However, he only managed one assisted tackle through his first three appearances.

Sunday's narrow loss — the team's first of the season — saw Beasley finally make a sizable contribution. It wasn't a monster stat line. Even still, a pair of tackles, including one behind the line of scrimmage, and a forced fumble represented a significant uptick in impact plays.

With the Titans (5-1) looking to return to the playoffs after reaching the AFC Championship Game last season, Tennessee will be hoping to see Beasley continue to make noise along the defensive front.

At the collegiate level, five of the six football players who participated in Saturday action helped their respective teams come out on top.

Miller Forristall contributed in an SEC win for Alabama. Jonathan Cruz and Jordan Ferguson did their part to see their sides pick up victories in Conference USA. JaCorey Johns and Trevor Lawrence helped their ACC teams pick up conference wins.

Speaking of Lawrence, the Heisman race opened back up a bit more Saturday, when he looked human and Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields (a graduate of Harrison High in Kennesaw) did not in his highly anticipated season debut.

Fields completed 20 of 21 passes in his team's opener. It will be fascinating to see how the shortened season from the Buckeyes impacts Fields’ Hesiman push, but it seems likely that Northwest Georgia will produce a couple of finalists for the prestigious award.



PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALL

Vic Beasley Jr. (Tennessee Titans, Adairsville) — Beasley enjoyed his best game as a member of the Titans Sunday, although Tennessee did drop its first game of the season — 27-24 to Pittsburgh. The former Atlanta Falcons edge rusher recorded two tackles, one tackle for loss and one forced fumble in the game. Next up for Tennessee (5-1) is a trip this week to Cincinnati.


COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Jonathan Cruz (Charlotte Jr., Cartersville) — After having last week’s game postponed, Charlotte picked up its second win of the season with a 38-28 victory over Texas-El Paso. Cruz converted a 32-yard field goal and made all five of his point-after tries in the home win. Charlotte (2-2, 2-1 Conference USA) will face in-state foe Duke on Halloween.

Jordan Ferguson (Middle Tennessee State R-Jr., Cartersville) — Ferguson set a career high with nine tackles, albeit just two solo, in a wild, 40-34 victory over Rice in double overtime. Following a bye week, MTSU (2-5, 2-3 Conference USA) is scheduled to host Charlotte Nov. 7 in Murfreesboro.

Miller Forristall (Alabama R-Sr., Cartersville) — Forristall continues to make his opportunities in the passing game count, hauling in a 25-yard reception for his only catch in a 48-17 romp past Tennessee. Overall, Forristall has nine catches for 127 yards — an average of 14.1 yards per reception — this season. This week, second-ranked Alabama will welcome Mississippi State to Tuscaloosa.

JaCorey Johns (Wake Forest R-So., Cartersville)  — Johns did his part in helping Wake Forest upset then-No. 19 Virginia Tech Saturday, when he totaled four tackles (three solo), one tackle for loss and one sack. Fresh off their 23-16 home victory, the Demon Deacons (3-2, 2-2 ACC) will look to extend their winning streak to four games this Saturday at Syracuse.

Trevor Lawrence (Clemson Jr., Cartersville) — It wasn’t his cleanest performance, but Lawrence still managed to account for 300-plus yards and two touchdowns. A vast majority of that production came via his right arm, as the former Canes signal-caller went 27-for-43 passing for 289 yards and a pair of scores. Lawrence threw an interception for the second straight game — this one his first career pick-6 — after not having a turnover through the air in nearly a year. Even still, the presumptive top pick in the 2021 NFL draft wound up leading the Tigers to a four-score win. No. 1 Clemson (5-0, 4-0 ACC) hosts Boston College this week in its final tune-up before a potential top-five matchup Nov. 7 at Notre Dame.

Avery Showell (Georgia Tech R-Jr., Cartersville) — Showell assisted on a tackle in a 48-27 road defeat against Boston College Saturday in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The Yellow Jackets (2-4, 2-3) are set to face No. 4 Notre Dame Saturday in Atlanta.


CROSS COUNTRY

Parker Breedlove (Reinhardt So., Cartersville) — Breedlove placed 14th in 27 minutes, 44.63 seconds during the NAIA Southern States Challenge Saturday in Bluffton, South Carolina. Reinhardt finished runner-up — just a single point behind Southeastern (Florida) — in the six-team event. The Eagles will host the Reinhardt Invitational Friday at Boling Park in Canton. -- Contribution by Nicholas Sullivan, The Daily Tribune News

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