NCAA Football

Oregon Ducks Football Players Get Custom Jordan XX9 PE

Oregon Ducks football players received yet another custom player-edition sneaker with these Jordan XX9 "Oregon Ducks" PE. 

The shoes feature what looks to be a "good" and "evil" Oregon Duck on the back of each shoe along with the Oregon "O" on the tongue and a duck feather pattern throughout.

What do you think of these?

[Black Sports Online]

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Ole Miss Coach Hugh Freeze and Wife Get Gatorade Bath After Win

No. 19 Ole Miss took down No. 4 Mississippi State 31-17 in the Egg Bowl on Saturday, and Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze and his wife were treated to a rare couples Gatorade bath after the win. 

Not surprisingly, CBS announcer Verne Lundquist used a "freeze" pun.

[CJ Zero]

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Florida vs. Florida State: Game Grades, Analysis for Gators and Seminoles

Florida State University has been a team of destiny this season.

Overcoming four turnovers, the Seminoles did just enough to extend their win streak to 28. This time around, the team survived an inspired University of Florida squad, 24-19.

Check out the final stats here, and take a look at first- and second-half game grades below.

 

Passing Offense

Quarterback Treon Harris had his fair share of open receivers but couldn’t do much in the first half, only tossing for 88 yards and a touchdown. He did make some costly mistakes though, tossing a pair of interceptions, including one that went 94 yards back for a touchdown.

Things didn’t get much better in the second half, as Harris finished with only 169 yards through the air.

 

Rushing Offense

On a day when the Gators really needed the rushing attack to step up, it fell short. The team only managed 44 yards on 16 carries in the first half.

Florida finished the game with 113 yards on the ground, but that was largely in part to Harris contributing 41 yards off scrambles. 

 

Passing Defense 

Many will remember those two, 10-play drives the Seminoles had, resulting in two passing touchdowns. However, on Saturday, the secondary was tremendous.


The unit troubled Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston all game long, forcing him into a season-low 125 passing yards and career-high four interceptions.

 

Rushing Defense

As good as the Gators were in stopping the pass, they were just as bad against the run.

Whenever the Seminoles needed a big play or first-down pickup, their running backs were up for the challenge. Florida State rushed for 181 yards on 41 carries, led by Dalvin Cook’s 144 yards.

 

Special Teams

It was a tale of two halves for Florida’s special teams units.

After Austin Hardin was perfect on field goals, going 4-of-4 to begin the game, the sophomore looked shaky in his final two attempts, going wide right on kicks of 52 and 42 yards. 

The unit did also step up with a key punt block late in the second half that set up the Gators’ lone touchdown of the game.

 

Coaching

In his final act as head coach for Florida, Will Muschamp left it all on the field.

He must be applauded for his defense’s effort on Saturday. However, the offense just couldn’t get into a rhythm and shot itself in the foot time after time with poor penalties.

 

Passing Offense

Aside from two second-quarter drives, Winston was off his game.

The reigning Heisman Trophy winner looked anything but, throwing for just 125 yards, two touchdowns and four interceptions on 12-of-24 passing. He did nothing but keep the Gators hanging around in this one.

 

Rushing Offense

On the other hand, the run game all but saved the Seminoles on Saturday.

If the team needed a play, Cook was there to answer. The freshman finished with 144 yards on 24 carries and was easily Florida State’s MVP of the game.

 

Passing Defense

After watching their quarterback put them in short fields with back-to-back-to-back interceptions, the Seminoles secondary stepped up to limit the Gators to just two field goals. 

Then following the third interception, Florida State responded by taking the next play 94 yards for an interception return touchdown. The unit was dominant all night.

 

Rushing Defense

Florida couldn’t do anything with its ground game.

The team constantly tried to get it going, but the Seminoles' front seven had the answer. The Gators couldn’t manage anything more than 113 yards on 33 carries.

 

Special Teams

This was probably the one area that Florida State struggled with the most.

The unit did poor in the return game, including nearly muffing the return. Then the Seminoles allowed Florida back in it by whiffing a punt that resulted in a Gators touchdown on the very next play.

This unit could have been better.

 

Coaching

Jimbo Fisher had a solid game.

He called a good game plan, really relying on the run game. The interceptions have to be blamed solely on Winston, who made poor decisions on those balls.

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Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss: Score and Twitter Reaction from 2014 Egg Bowl

The 2014 Egg Bowl between Mississippi State and Mississippi turned out to be one that will have huge ramifications on the College Football Playoff. The Rebels were all over their in-state rivals from the opening kickoff, winning by a final score of 31-17.

While the victory is huge for Ole Miss, which was coming off an embarrassing 30-0 loss against Arkansas last week, the loss is crushing for Mississippi State. 

The Bulldogs entered the game as the No. 4 team in the College Football Playoff rankings. A win would likely have kept them in that spot for at least one more week, while they could have earned a spot in the SEC Championship Game depending on what happens in Saturday night's Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn. 

Now, with its second loss, Mississippi State is all but guaranteed to be out of the Top Four in the playoff rankings and has no chance for a conference title. 

The most surprising part of the outcome is how Mississippi did it. The Rebels are known for their defense, which came to play, but Hugh Freeze's team also gained over 500 yards of total offense. 

Even though Ole Miss quarterback Bo Wallace didn't have a fantastic day throwing the ball, completing 13 of his 30 attempts for 296 yards with no touchdowns and one interception, he did make history early in the game, per SportsCenter:

Wallace did have a legitimate excuse for the low completion percentage. He suffered a sprained ankle against Arkansas, though Freeze told Hugh Kellenberger of The Clarion-Ledger earlier in the week that there was no doubt Wallace would play:

"He's been limited some [in practice] but you would have to chain him down to keep him from going in this game," Freeze said. "He's getting better everyday, so I anticipate him being ready to go."

The difference for Mississippi in this game came on the ground. Junior running back Jaylen Walton did something no Ole Miss running back had been able to do all year, via ESPN Stats & Info:

The big play of the game came when Walton took a handoff from Mississippi's 9-yard line and went 91 yards to give the Rebels a 24-10 lead. The play initially looked like it would only be a short gain, as Bulldogs defenders swarmed Walton. But he wriggled free of the defense and took it to the house. Per ESPN Stats & Info, that was the team's longest play in 17 years:

You can see the wild run here:

This Ole Miss fan had the perfect reaction to Walton's touchdown run, via SEC Football:

In a losing effort, Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott likely lost whatever shot he still had at the Heisman Trophy. The junior didn't have a bad day throwing the ball, completing 22 of his 37 passes for 282 yards, but Ole Miss kept him in the pocket and never let him break a big run. He finished with 48 yards on 24 carries. 

Prescott did make history in defeat, becoming the second player in Mississippi State history with at least 30 career rushing touchdowns, via Mississippi State assistant athletic director Bill Martin:

Mississippi State racked up 445 yards in the loss, but the running game wasn't as potent as it needed to be, averaging only 3.5 yards per carry. The Bulldogs also failed to score on four different drives when they got inside Mississippi's 40-yard line, including one missed field goal and a turnover on downs during their final drive. 

The loss by Mississippi State likely means there won't be two SEC teams in the College Football Playoff. The door is now wide open for teams like TCU, Ohio State and Baylor when the new rankings are released on Tuesday.  

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Florida vs. FSU: Score and Twitter Reaction from 2014 Florida Cup

The Florida State Seminoles overcame an early 9-0 deficit and three first-quarter interceptions from Jameis Winston to defeat in-state rival Florida, 24-19, in the 2014 Florida Cup at home in Doak Campbell Stadium.

Winston's performance was perhaps the worst of his career, as he completed just 12 of 24 passes for 125 yards, two touchdowns and four total picks. It's not often teams overcome a disastrous performance like the one Winston had on Saturday night, per ESPN Stats and Info:

True freshman running back Dalvin Cook did most of the dirty work on offense for the 'Noles, picking up 144 rushing yards on 24 carries. He took on the lead back role after Karlos Williams left the game with a concussion, per ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach:

The Gators stayed in the game thanks to cornerback Brian Poole, who picked off Winston twice, and kicker Austin Hardin, who made four of six field goals, although both of his two misfires prevented Florida from taking a late lead. 

Here is a look at the quarter-by-quarter score from the contest:

This year's edition of the Florida Cup wasn't the titanic contest of seasons past. The Gators, playing with a lame-duck coach in Will Muschamp, have waded through a disappointing campaign that saw a competent defense get routinely undone by a fitful, error-prone offense.

The Seminoles once again played down to their competition—a nasty trend that should have some fans on edge heading into the ACC title game against Georgia Tech Dec. 6, which could very well be a must-win game for Florida State after a less-than-convincing run to the College Football Playoff. 

Winston was out of sorts right from the beginning. He threw his first interception on just the fourth play of the game from scrimmage. Florida safety Jabari Gorman jumped a slant route and made a tumbling catch to procure the turnover.

The Gators couldn't move the ball, but Hardin split the uprights for what would be his first of four made field goals on the night. 

Winston was just getting started with the charitable throws. He short-circuited the Seminoles' very next drive, with Quincy Wilson coming up with a stellar, bobbling interception, as shown by Bleacher Report:

The Gators managed just 26 yards on 10 plays and ended up with another Hardin field goal for an early 6-0 lead.

Florida State punted on its next possession, and Gators quarterback Treon Harris would finally get some offense going by hitting Brandon Powell for a 42-yard gain. However, the drive would stall out yet again and end in, say it with me now, a Hardin field goal.

Winston threw his third pick of the quarter on the ensuing possession, this one going to Poole. Gatorzone.com's Scott Carter encapsulated the quarterback's forgettable first quarter:

This time, however, the interception would lead directly to points for Florida State. Defensive back Terrance Smith picked off Harris on the very next play and returned it 94 yards for an interception. ESPN provided a look:

Winston got his act together in the second quarter. He tossed two touchdown passes to tight end Nick O'Leary in the frame, giving the Seminoles a 21-9 lead with just more than two minutes to go until the half.

Cook did well to get the running game going and provided Winston with a solid foundation from which he could run the offense and calm his own nerves. ESPN's Danny Kanell came up with an apt comparison for Cook's shifty moves:

Florida's offense found it tough to move the ball either through the air or on the ground in the second quarter. Harris' second interception of the night was sandwiched between Winston's two touchdown throws, and running back Matt Jones had little room to gallop.

The Gators would get a nice stroke of luck just before the half, as Seminoles punter Cason Beatty had to scramble on a punt play and coughed up the football. Harris would complete a 15-yard pass to Clay Burton to make the score 21-16 at the half.

Florida started off the second half with an 11-play, 44-yard drive that ended in a Hardin field goal, cutting the Seminoles' lead to just two points.

After an exchange of punts, Florida State found itself in good position to extend its lead after driving to midfield. Unfortunately, Winston fired a low, off-target pass right into Poole's path, giving a flash of hope to the Gators.

The Cauldron's Andy Glockner summed up Winston's erratic play perfectly:

Hardin, who had been so reliable up to this point in the game, would miss his field-goal chance just before the start of the fourth quarter. The Seminoles' next drive ended on a disastrous fake-punt call, which put the Gators in excellent field position on their opponent's 34-yard line.

Alas, the offense couldn't come up with a touchdown drive, and Hardin would miss once again, which drew a fist pump of relief from Seminoles head coach Jimbo Fisher.

The Seminoles would go on a 55-yard, clock-killing drive, capped off by a 37-yard Roberto Aguayo field goal for a 24-19 lead they would not relinquish.

Harris was off the mark on the Gators' last-ditch drive, missing on all six of his pass attempts. The Seminoles got the ball back with 1:42 remaining and ran out the clock on a Beatty punt at the death. CBS Sports' Damon Amendolara summed up Harris' incompetence:

The Seminoles have done little to inspire confidence in most observers this season, but their ability to stay composed late in games is one of the few things about this team that is not in question.

Of course, Coach Fisher doesn't understand the need for anyone to doubt his team's bona fides.

"We're undefeated. We finish every game. Everybody else in the country has not finished at least one game. We've finished every one of them. Isn't that the object?" he said prior to Saturday, via the Orlando Sentinel's Brendan Sonnone.

He has a point. As the only undefeated team from a Power Five conference, the Seminoles don't really have to answer to anyone, even if the shaky win over the Gators left plenty of questions surrounding this team unanswered. Like it or not, this team is playoff-bound with a win over Georgia Tech in the ACC title contest.

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Minnesota vs. Wisconsin: Game Grades, Analysis for the Badgers

The No. 14 University of Wisconsin Badgers punched their ticket to the Big Ten title game with an inspiring 34-24 comeback against No. 18 University of Minnesota at home Saturday afternoon.

After falling into a 17-3 hole, the Badgers battled back to make it a four-point deficit before halftime. Then, timely chunk-yardage runs by Melvin Gordon and over-the-top throws from Joel Stave led Wisconsin to a tight victory down the stretch.

It was far from a perfect performance from Wisconsin, especially in the first half. But there's plenty to build on as the Badgers prepare for Ohio State University. Let's take a look at their game grades.

 

Pass Offense: Neither Minnesota nor Wisconsin were known for quarterback play entering the game, but Stave made a name for himself. He went 11-of-18 with 215 yards and two touchdowns, with most of those passes coming in clutch moments when Wisconsin desperately needed to take momentum and the running game wasn't going.

Run Offense: Gordon was bottled up early by the Golden Gophers, but he ended with a serviceable 151 yards on 29 carries. The running lanes weren't there early, but they opened up in droves late. Corey Clement had a fantastic day in relief of Gordon, going for 89 yards on seven carries. Both had touchdown runs.

Pass Defense: Minnesota quarterback Mitch Leidner had a day to forget passing the football. He went 5-of-18 with 95 yards for the entire contest. To make matters worse, 53 of those yards came on a single pass—and it was a short screen that tight end Maxx Williams did most of the work on. Wisconsin's secondary had a pretty easy day.

Run Defense: The Badgers didn't have any answers early for Minnesota running back David Cobb, who was a game-time decision before bursting through for a 40-yard touchdown in the opening quarter. But with Minnesota unable to throw the ball, Wisconsin loaded the box and kept the Golden Gophers to four yards per carry. 

Special Teams: A fumbled punt return directly led to Minnesota's first touchdown, but that was early enough of a blunder for Wisconsin to be able to rebound. After losing the field-position battle for much of the first half, the Badgers constantly pinned the Gophers back.  

Coaching: Without much of a running game early from Gordon and Co., the Wisconsin coaching staff smartly put Stave in positions to make things happen with the play-action pass. That proved to be a big game-changer. Minnesota could no longer load the box with eight to nine men, and Gordon started to take advantage late.

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Notre Dame vs. USC: 2014 Jeweled Shillelagh Winner, Score and Twitter Reaction

 In the annual showdown between Notre Dame and USC for the Jeweled Shillelagh, the Trojans were all over the Fighting Irish with a 49-14 victory. It's the most lopsided victory by either side since a 38-3 win by USC in 2008. 

As is often the case in a blowout, there's a lot of credit that belongs to USC and a lot of blame to put on Notre Dame. The first victim of this loss for Notre Dame was quarterback Everett Golson, who continued his late-season struggles and was benched after USC went up 35-0 in the second quarter, via Gil Brandt of NFL.com:

Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly had grown increasingly frustrated with Golson's erratic performance each week. Kelly's cup seemed to run over after a loss to Arizona State, as these comments to reporters indicate, via Graham Watson of Yahoo Sports:

There were absolutely no changes in what (Arizona State did defensively), which makes it even more maddening and frustrating. I guess that's what I'm most upset about because we could've moved the ball [Saturday] effectively. It's one of those deals where you take one step forward and two steps back and he comes back in the second half and does some really good things. He's got to strive for consistency. If (Golson) plays clean in the first half, who knows where we'd be right now.

It took a few weeks to make a move, but Kelly finally saw enough after Golson went 7-of-18 with 75 yards and one interception against USC. That interception extended Golson's streak of consecutive games with a pick to nine, per ESPN's College Gameday:

While blaming Golson is the easy thing to do, let's not exonerate Notre Dame's defense. The Fighting Irish have allowed in each of their last seven games. They also allowed USC quarterback Cody Kessler to set a record against them, as noted by ESPN Stats & Info:

To rub a little more salt in the wound for Notre Dame, Kessler's sixth touchdown pass came less than four minutes into the third quarter. 

Notre Dame will just be happy to have this season end, especially the Pac-12 part of the schedule. According to Pac-12 Networks on Twitter, the Fighting Irish were basically doomed before halftime in their games against Stanford, Arizona State and USC:

On the bright side, Notre Dame did come back to win that game against Stanford on October 4. 

Moving back to the winning side, how good was Kessler today? Former USC quarterback and current Fox Sports 1 analyst Matt Leinart noted on Twitter the junior had more touchdowns (five) than incompletions (four) in the first half:

This final score is more indicative of how far Notre Dame has fallen as the season has gone on. USC was coming off a loss against UCLA in which the Bruins dominated, so this wasn't like the mismatched games in the mid-2000s that USC controlled before the opening kickoff. 

All told, the Trojans racked up 577 yards of offense and controlled the ball for 37 minutes, 19 seconds. They finished the regular season 8-4 (6-3 in Pac-12). Notre Dame ends the year with four straight losses but will be in a bowl game with a 7-5 record. 

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Oregon vs. Oregon State: Live Score and Highlights

Oregon 16, Oregon State 0 ; Early 2nd Quarter

The Civil War takes place Saturday night in Corvallis, as the Oregon State Beavers (5-6) look to upset Marcus Mariota and the No. 2 Oregon Ducks (10-1). 

Stakes in this game are massive for both teams. An Oregon State win would make Mike Riley's team bowl-eligible.  As for Oregon, a loss would effectively knock it out of playoff contention. 

The game will begin at 8 p.m. ET. It can be seen on ABC. 

Odds Shark has Oregon as a 20.5-point favorite. A full box score can be found here, courtesy of NCAA.com.

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Ole Miss RB Jaylen Walton Breaks Tackles, Scores 91-Yard TD

Running back Jaylen Walton gave the No. 19 Ole Miss Rebels a 24-10 lead over No. 4 Mississippi State with one of the best runs of the college football season. 

Walton started right, cut it back to the left and somehow wriggled free from a swarm of defenders. He went up the sideline 91 yards for the touchdown. 

Was this the best run of the day?

Check out the video and let us know!

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Auburn vs. Alabama: Live Score and Highlights

Alabama 14, Auburn 9 — Early 2nd quarter

Game action is now underway between No. 15 Auburn (8-3) and No. 1 Alabama (10-1). ESPN is televising the matchup nationally from Bryant-Denny Stadium.

We are watching the game, providing live analysis as the action unfolds:

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Bryce Petty Injury: Updates on Baylor Star's Concussion and Return

Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty suffered his second injury of 2014 after going down with a head injury against Texas Tech.

ESPN's Mark Schlabach broke down the play:

Jake Trotter of ESPN.com would later provide an update in the fourth quarter: 

ESPN's Brett McMurphy had an update after the game:

Tim Griffin of MySA.com had Petty's thoughts after the game:

Mac Olson of ESPN.com added his thoughts:

Mike Pereira of Fox Sports believed there should have been a penalty on the play:

Expectations were high for the senior star. Petty wasn't considered the favorite for the Heisman Trophy, but he was on the shortlist for the trip to New York City at the end of the season.

His Heisman campaign hit a major snag shortly after it began, though, after Petty picked up a back injury against SMU in Baylor's season-opener. According to The Dallas Morning News, he had two cracked transverse processes.

While the problem wasn't debilitating, it was enough to limit him to 13-of-23 passing for 161 yards and two touchdowns. He then missed the Bears' next game against Northwestern State, and the problem continued to hamper him as the weeks wore on.

From a numbers perspective, Petty's season bottomed out in Baylor's 61-58 win over TCU. He completed just seven of his 22 passes for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Two weeks later, he went 16-of-36 for 223 yards and two touchdowns in the Bears' 41-27 loss to West Virginia.

For almost the entirety of the 2014 season, Petty has looked less than 100 percent, and this most recent ailment only worsens the situation.

Backup Seth Russell has filled in admirably at various points, but there's no question that Baylor's chances of winning the Big 12 hinge on Petty's health.

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Tennessee Volunteers Honor Former Player Eric Berry for Game vs. Vanderbilt

Kansas City Chiefs safety Eric Berry is out for the remainder of the season with what the medical staff believes is likely lymphoma, as Terez A. Paylor of The Kansas City Star reported.  

His former college team is offering its support with a sticker on the players' helmets during its game vs. Vanderbilt.

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How Playoff Committee Should Look at Ohio State After J.T. Barrett Injury

COLUMBUS, Ohio — In football circles, the term "system quarterback" is somewhat of an insulting phrase, a backhanded way of discrediting one player in favor of the scheme in which he plays in.

But for Ohio State, its ability to produce such may be its only argument left for making the College Football Playoff.

The Buckeyes' playoff hopes took a significant hit on Saturday, when quarterback J.T. Barrett went down with a right ankle fracture in Ohio State's 42-28 win over Michigan. Head coach Urban Meyer confirmed that the Heisman Trophy candidate and star redshirt freshman quarterback will miss the remainder of the season, starting with next weekend's appearance in the Big Ten Championship Game.

That's significant in and of itself, as Ohio State will be without its best offensive player in a game against a Top 25 opponent in Wisconsin. More than that, the selection committee will take into account Barrett's absence when examining Ohio State's playoff candidacy.

That obviously doesn't bode well for the Buckeyes, as Barrett's play was a big reason why No. 6 Ohio State seemed to hold an edge over fellow one-loss playoff candidates TCU and Baylor. While the Buckeyes' Week 2 loss to 6-6 Virginia Tech was the "worst" of the bunch, that blow seemed to be lessened by the progress that Barrett had made since the second start of his college career.

That argument, however, has now gone out the window for Ohio State with the news of Barrett's season-ending injury. The fact of the matter is that the committee simply won't have a complete resume—good or bad—when it picks its final four one week from Sunday.

In this unprecedented playoff era, there's no telling exactly what that will mean for Ohio State. But ultimately, the Buckeyes will first have to win in Indianapolis next weekend—with their third-string quarterback—in order to keep the conversation a relevant one in Columbus.

"I didn't think of it until you said it," Meyer said when asked about OSU's playoff hopes following its win over the Wolverines. "I think it's all going to be how we play next week."

That might be wishful thinking on Meyer's part, but the Buckeyes would obviously benefit from a strong performance from new starting quarterback Cardale Jones in their upcoming conference championship game.

After all, while Barrett's gotten most of the credit, a plethora of playmakers have emerged for Ohio State this season, as the Buckeyes haven't been nearly as quarterback-reliant as they have been in years past.

That starts with running back Ezekiel Elliott, who has rushed for 1,182 yards through the first 12 games of his sophomore season. The Buckeyes pass-catchers have also been noticeably improved, with 10 players totaling double-digit reception numbers in an offense that entered Saturday's game ranked fifth in the nation in points per game (44.1).

"We're still headed in the right direction. I don't think one player really makes a whole team," Ohio State tight end Jeff Heuerman said. "Offensively, we have a lot of talented guys that have played a lot of football this year. They're just going to have to step up and make up for the lost ground."

Of course, the playoff committee is going to have to decide whether the production of those players was more the result of their own individual skill, or the precision passing of Barrett. And while he has been aided by his offense, there's no denying the importance of a player who in just 11 games managed to break the Buckeyes' single-season records for total yardage and touchdowns.

But although Barrett was putting up numbers that would have likely landed him in New York City as a Heisman Trophy finalist in two weeks, Ohio State could—or will at least try to—make the case that he is mostly a product of Meyer's spread system.

While Braxton Miller managed to put up record-shattering numbers in his two seasons under Meyer, former backup Kenny Guiton also posted eye-popping statistics in his opportunities, despite having admittedly less talent than the player for whom he was the understudy for.

Enter Barrett, Meyer's third quarterback in Columbus and the third to put up nationally noticeable numbers. That can't completely be a coincidence at a storied school like Ohio State, although there's a reason why the redshirt freshman Barrett was able to pass the sophomore Jones on the Buckeyes depth chart this past offseason.

And even if Jones proves capable of running the OSU offense as efficiently as Barrett did, he won't have more than a one-game sample size to do so in front of the committee. Even with a potential conference championship and just one loss on their resume, that likely won't be enough for the committee to consider the Barrett-less Buckeyes one of the four best teams in America, which is its primary criteria.

After all, how can a team still be good when it's already on its third-string quarterback?

"The Buckeyes can be," Meyer insisted. "The Buckeyes certainly can be good. I've said this many times, the quarterback is a product of the guys around him and the guys around him are playing pretty good right now. The good thing is [Barrett and Jones] have a similar skill set, and so it's not like we're going to have to drastically change things."

Maybe not. But Barrett's injury does drastically change things. And fair or not, it will likely be the final blow in Ohio State's once-promising playoff campaign.

 

Ben Axelrod is Bleacher Report's Ohio State Lead Writer. You can follow him on Twitter @BenAxelrod. Unless noted otherwise, all quotes obtained firsthand. All statistics courtesy of cfbstats.com and recruiting information courtesy of 247Sports.

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Should Dabo Swinney Have Allowed Deshaun Watson to Play with Torn ACL?

The Clemson Tigers (9-3) picked up a huge 35-17 win over the South Carolina Gamecocks (6-6) Saturday to round out the regular season. But the big story coming out of this game was Deshaun Watson's torn ACL and head coach Dabo Swinney's decision to keep the quarterback in the game. 

Bleacher Report College Football Analysts Adam Kramer and Barrett Sallee debate Swinney's decision to keep Watson in the contest.

Was this the right decision?

Check out the video and let us know! 

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Jalen Hurd Injury: Updates on Tennessee RB's Upper Body and Return

The University of Tennessee Volunteers will be without Jalen Hurd as they close out the 2014 regular season.

Vols head coach Butch Jones confirmed to Heather Mitts on the SEC Network that the freshman running back had an upper body injury and won't return against the Vanderbilt University Commodores:

Before exiting, Hurd rushed for 21 yards on five carries. He entered Saturday as the team's leading rusher, with 169 carries for 756 yards and three touchdowns.

Wes Rucker of GoVols247.com rued how much injuries are hindering Tennessee's offense:

The Volunteers need to beat Vandy in order to become bowl eligible. In the event they do travel to a postseason bowl, they could still be short-handed if Hurd's injury proves to be more serious.

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Bayou Classic 2014: Score and Twitter Reaction to Grambling vs. Southern

 Southern (9-3) scored its third consecutive Bayou Classic victory over Grambling State (7-5) with a wild 52-45 triumph on Saturday. The game featured nearly 1,000 yards of total offense.

The rivalry is one of the most hotly contested in the country highlighted by the Battle of the Bands that takes place at halftime of the annual clash. This year's game took on an even greater meaning with the winner earning a spot in the SWAC Championship Game as winners of the West Division.

Here's a look at how the latest battle played out from the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans:

Despite the importance of the game, Southern head coach Dawson Odums tried to take some pressure off of his players by treating it as a normal week. He explained his philosophy to Chris Hagan of WAFB.

"[It's] business as usual," Odums said. "We don't get too tight. Our guys are going to be relaxed. We're going to have fun. This is what it's supposed to be."

The Jaguars seemed to heed that advice. They came out as the far more effect team on both side of the ball in the first quarter.

They proceeded to open the scoring about midway through the opening period. The drive went nine plays for 80 yards in under four minutes. It concluded with a terrific touch pass from Austin Howard to the dynamic Willie Quinn from 13 yards out for the touchdown.

HBCU Gameday provided a Vine of the score:

After a stop, Southern stretched the lead to 14 a couple minutes later. This time it was Howard finding Mike Jones for a 45-yard touchdown connection.

Grambling State finally came to life in the second quarter. It rattled off 10 points in just over a minute to get back in the game.

Cedric Skinner found the end zone from two yards out. Then the Tigers recovered a fumble deep in opposing territory on the ensuing kickoff. Although they couldn't turn it into another TD, Marc Orozco was true on a 39-yard field goal to make it 14-10.

Trenise Ferreira of the Pac-12 Networks noted the quick turnaround:

The Grambling defense failed to contain the big plays, though. On three straight drives Southern was able to push the ball downfield far too easily.

In turn, the Jaguars went on a 17-0 spurt of their own to open the lead back up. Lenard Tillery found pay dirt from a couple yards out, Greg Pittman made a short field goal and then Jones caught his second long touchdown of the half to complete the surge.

Box To Row Media pointed out the strong play of Howard for the Jags:

Grambling did respond right before halftime. Johnathan Williams led an efficient drive that seen him complete six of seven passes as the Tigers went 75 yards in 1:11 to get back within 14. Verlon Hunter made the TD grab with eight seconds left in the half.

GSU Sports Info passed along the halftime leaders:

A scoring spree opened the second half.

Southern struck first with a 52-yard run by Tillery. Once he got through the first wave of defenders he was off to the races. It was another example of the Grambling defense being unable to contain those game-changing plays.

The Tigers struck right back. On the ensuing kickoff, Ka'Jandre Domino showed some nice acceleration as he got to the corner and then seemed to find another gear. He was on cruise control from there for the 99-yard return touchdown.

The Gramblinite noted the special teams contribution:

It would have been a perfect time for the Grambling defense to get a stop to help turn the tide. That didn't happen. Southern drove right back down again with Howard and Jones linking up again, this time on a 30-yard play to get into the red zone.

Deonte Shorts eventually powered in from four yards out. Less than five minutes were gone from the third quarter and 21 more points were already on the scoreboard. The Southern Digest recapped the score after the dust settled:

The Tigers cut the lead back to 14 before the end of the third on a pass from Williams to Brandon Byrdsong. Every scoring drive in the quarter went at least 72 yards and none of them last longer than three minutes.

Grambling finally got a string of defensive stops. It paid off as a Nicholas Peoples interception set the Tigers up deep in Jaguars territory. Three plays later the tandem of Williams and Hunter hooked up for the second time to get them back within seven.

What happened next perhaps should have been expected. Another big play for Southern as Jaleel Richardson took the kickoff 79 yards the other way to immediately erase the progress made by Grambling.

That score allowed the game to set a new mark in the rivalry, as pointed out by Chris Lewis of Bronco Sports:

The Tigers responded in kind. A mere 20 seconds later a busted coverage by Southern allowed Chester Rogers to break free for one of the easiest 76-yard touchdowns you'll ever see.

Grambling did a quick onside kick despite there being plenty of time remaining and it worked. It failed to capitalize on the ensuring possession, though.

Southern drove down with a chance to put the game on ice. Alas, the field goal try was blocked giving Grambling another opportunity.

The Tigers drove all the way down to the one-yard line and went for the quarterback sneak on the final play. Southern stood tall to secure the victory. The SWAC noted the result:

Grambling finishes the regular season at 7-5, including a 7-2 mark in conference play. Although the Tigers weren't able to secure the division crown with a win on Saturday, it still marked a major bounce-back campaign after going 1-10 in 2013.

As for Southern, it heads to the SWAC Championship Game to face off with Alcorn State. The Jaguars will be looking for their second straight conference title after edging Jackson State last year. They will need to step up on the defensive side to make that happen.

 

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Karlos Williams Injury: Updates on FSU Star's Concussion and Return

Florida State leading rusher Karlos Williams was forced from Saturday's game against the Florida Gators after suffering a concussion. 

Mark Schlabach of ESPN.com has the news:

With Devonta Freeman off to the NFL, the former safety has stepped into the featured role in the Seminoles backfield. After averaging a ridiculous 8.0 yards per carry during Florida State's national championship season, he has continued to rip off big runs while also serving as a legitimate threat in the passing game. 

"He's 6-foot-1, 232 pounds, runs a 10.5 100-meters–can catch, can run, is very natural with the ball in his hand," said head coach Jimbo Fisher, via Fox Sports' Michael Jay Welch. "He can change numbers on a scoreboard."

He's an electrifying talent, and his presence on the field will be sorely missed. The fortunate news, though, is that if he is forced to miss a significant amount of time, the Seminoles have depth at the position, even with sophomore Ryan Green still recovering from his shoulder injury. 

Sophomore Mario Pender and true freshman Dalvin Cook certainly represent the future in Tallahassee, but they've both already proved they can play at this level right now. And like Williams, they each possess world-class speed that can change a game in an instant. 

The Tallahassee Democrat's Corey Clark touched on that after Cook impressed in his collegiate debut against the Citadel:

Neither player has a ton of experience, so Fisher may choose to lean a little more on quarterback Jameis Winston and the passing game, but either way, this offense has enough weapons all over the field to remain efficient if Williams' injury is serious. 

Still, the senior brings an extra dynamic. Fisher and his staff will be hoping he won't be out long. 

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Examining Devin Gardner's Legacy After Michigan's Loss to Ohio State

Devin Gardner’s—and Michigan’s—42-28 loss to Ohio State was the finale of what can only be described as an incredibly inconsistent run for a guy who had the talent but couldn’t put it together when it mattered most.

His tenure at Michigan is difficult, yet easy in some ways, to analyze. Simply put, his impact was felt just about everywhere within the university’s community—everywhere but on the football field.

A champion volunteer and local hero, Gardner could be often found at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, brightening the day of someone far less fortunate than he.

A friend and companion, the Wolverines' fifth-year senior quarterback spent hours reading to, playing with and being someone for kids who faced situations much bigger than anything he encountered on Saturday.

But it’s all over for No. 98. At least when it comes to football in Ann Arbor. 

Gardner will be remembered for losing games, throwing interceptions, getting sacked and buckling under pressure, but he’ll also be remembered for his sportsmanship, leadership and demeanor.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

There is no right or wrong way to view Gardner, who, for better or worse, played through several injuries and against mountains of adversity for nearly two straight seasons.

His legacy is full of gray area.

 

On the Field

Gardner didn’t beat Michigan State or Ohio State. He went 1-1 versus Notre Dame. This season, he threw for 106 yards and lost, 23-16, to Maryland on senior day. He also threw for 109 yards during a 10-9 road win over Northwestern.

But in 2013, Gardner set a program record with 503 passing yards during a 63-47 victory over Indiana. And despite a 42-41 loss to the Buckeyes, he strung together a memorable 451-yard performance that was oh-so close to something really special during the 2013 finale.

And he did it on a broken foot. 

He’s looked great, and he’s looked painfully mediocre.

If that’s not enough to drive someone crazy, then what is? Inconsistent doesn’t begin to describe Gardner, a 6’4”, 220-pounder with crazy amounts of athleticism but minimal amounts of execution.

However, he’s had some of his best moments in defeat, making it all the more difficult to knock what Gardner’s done between the lines for coach Brady Hoke.

Case in point: During “The Game,” Buckeyes star quarterback J.T. Barrett went down with an ankle injury.

In hindsight, that was a moment that Michigan knew it had to seize—doing so would turn the tides, and it did for a few minutes. However, before planning on how to pounce on a wounded team, Gardner took the time to speak with Barrett, who was on his back, writhing in pain.

“I’ve talked to him a little bit through the season, and you hate to see a player, especially a guy like him—a great guy, a high character guy, a hard worker [get injured],” Gardner said. “He’s been called upon and he didn’t know he was going to get a shot, and he’s executed and done it humbly. It’s like having a little brother out there get hurt.”

He referred to the other team’s star quarterback as a “brother.” Not a “foe.” Not an “adversary.” A “brother”—again displaying a level of class and sportsmanship that makes it difficult to knock him, even if he’s throwing interceptions at a nationally relevant rate. His 14 picks entering play on Saturday ranked No. 8 among FBS quarterbacks.

 

Off the Field

It took Gardner just three years to obtain a degree in Afro-American studies from one of the most prestigious institutions in the country. He could have stopped there, as a four-year piece of paper from Michigan is quite valuable—but he chose to get a Master’s in social work.

And considering his selfless nature, that’d be a perfect fit. It's not hard to imagine him devising a game plan for someone in need of a helping hand. 

College football is in the rear-view mirror, and at the end of the day, it’s just football—it’s 11 guys lining up for one common goal, and that’s to win. For some guys, that’s all they have. For others, those like Gardner, it’s a mere stepping stone for something bigger.

He may or may not play beyond Michigan. But he doesn't have to—he's already on his way to success in life. Looking back at his senior year, Gardner leaves knowing that he did what he could on the field. But he also leaves knowing that he did what he had to—what his heart told him to do—away from it.

“Everybody faces this point in their lives,” he said. “You do everything you’re supposed to do, you work hard, and what do you do once it doesn’t work out the way you thought it would?

You just continue to do the things you do: work hard and be a good guy, and these guys, I’m pretty sure they share the same sentiment. They’re going to continue to work hard and do the things they need to do.”

 

Follow Bleacher Report’s Michigan Wolverines football writer Adam Biggers on Twitter @AdamBiggers81

Quotes were obtained via Ohio State press release sent to the writer.

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Top NFL Draft Prospect Shawn Oakman Knees Opponent in Face After Big Hit

Boys and girls, don't do this.

Baylor defensive end Shawn Oakman leveled Texas Tech freshman quarterback Patrick Mahomes with a monster sack on Saturday, but it was what came afterward that got people talking.

Instead of walking away and celebrating with his teammates, the former Penn State Nittany Lion pushed his knee into the quarterback's face. This was especially nasty because Mahomes' helmet had come up and his face was partially exposed.

Here's another look at the hit:

He was not flagged for the knee.

Listed at 6'9" and 276 pounds, Oakman is seen as a potential first- or second-round selection in the upcoming NFL draft. Considering this is one of the final games of his collegiate career, he picked a bad time to give scouts something negative to talk about.

[Vine]

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Devin Chafin Injury: Updates on Baylor Star's Elbow and Return

Baylor University's potent offense took a hit against Texas Tech University, as star running back Devin Chafin was taken out in the first quarter with an elbow injury. 

According to John Werner of the Waco Tribune-Herald, Chafin dislocated his elbow and won't return to the field: 

David Ubben of Fox Sports Southwest provided an update after the game:

Chafin entered Saturday's game third on the team with 76 carries and 368 rushing yards. His eight rushing touchdowns are second behind Shock Linwood's 13. The Bears have good depth at running back, but Chafin was a powerful runner who gave defenses a different look.

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