NCAA Football News

Chick-Fil-a Bowl 2013: Despite Bitter Loss, Duke's 2013 Season Still a Success

Johnny Manziel, with a little help from his defense, took home the win in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, beating the Duke Blue Devils 52-48. However, David Cutcliffe's Duke team certainly walks away from the 2013 season deserving of praise.

After a slow start, including Duke jumping out to a 38-17 halftime lead, Texas A&M got things on track and ultimately would keep the Blue Devils from getting the win. After a game where points and yardage were surrendered at will, two late Aggies interceptions would seal Duke's fate.

Yet, despite suffering the heartbreaking loss, when the dust settles on the 2013 campaign, Cutcliffe and his players turned in an outstanding season. A year that saw the Blue Devils not only win the Coastal for a trip to the ACC Championship Game but also cross the 10-win plateau.

Even with the loss, finishing 10-4 (6-2 in ACC play) gives Duke plenty to celebrate. More importantly, these young Duke football players got a taste of success and will enter next season with an appetite for more. This is not a team set to simply fade out of the ACC Coastal's picture; Duke is hoping to build on 2013.

Cutcliffe's team will enter spring with all of its rushing, passing and the bulk of its receiving production intact. These same players who carved up Texas A&M on New Year's Eve will be back to do it again in 2014. That includes Jamison Crowder, who jumped off the page for B/R's Alabama lead writer, Sanjay Kirpalani.

Certainly the loss hurts. Anthony Boone was out-dueling Manziel with under four minutes to go in the ballgame before the interception bug bit him in unfortunate fashion. Crowder's tremendous effort, 12 catches for 163 yards and a touchdown, was nice but not enough to get the Blue Devils over the hump.

Duke outgained A&M 661 to 541 and seemed poised to run away from the Aggies for the first 30 minutes. When the dogfight ensued in the second half, Manziel became the Johnny Football the nation was hoping to see, and Duke's defense simply had no answers, as evidenced by the latest unreal highlight added to Manziel's tape.

The Blue Devils played their collective behinds off, not just against Texas A&M but in the 2013 season. The loss in Atlanta should not change that fact. Cutcliffe's work to change the culture, create an environment that produces wins and upgrade the talent was on display for the nation in the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Cutcliffe's team will be fighting to get better in 2014, and the squad returns enough pieces to be a problem for ACC foes. Although this team fell just short of the 11th win it wanted, the season was certainly worthy of big praise on the collegiate landscape.

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Bill O'Brien Said Right Things, Did Another to Penn State

“We judge ourselves by our intentions and others by their behavior." 

Those words, spoken by author Stephen M.R. Covey, seem rather appropriate with the reports of Bill O'Brien's departure from Penn State for the Houston Texans of the NFL, per Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen of ESPN.

Penn State should say thank you to Bill O'Brien for his on-field results after leading the program to a 15-9 record in his two-year stint in Happy Valley under harsh NCAA sanctions.

Off the field, though, the Nittany Lions have every right to feel slighted by their now ex-head coach—because what Bill O'Brien said and did at Penn State were two very different things, despite what were probably the best of intentions.

No words in O'Brien's departure echo more than ones spoken in September ahead of Penn State's matchup with UCF, when he told Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel:

The players who are here now and the guys who were here last year could've gone anywhere. They didn't have to stay at Penn State, but they committed to each other, they committed to Penn State, and they committed to our coaching staff. I felt it was important that they understood that I was committed to them. What are you if you're not a man of your word?

O'Brien was adept at saying exactly the right things at exactly the right times, no matter the audience and right up to the last days in State College.

It started at the very beginning for O'Brien, who set a tone of rising above the fray and focusing the attention on the players in the program.

To say fans were initially split on his hire would be an understatement. The Penn State "family" was even more upset about O'Brien being hired over someone from within the ranks of said "family," typified by former Penn State linebacker Brandon Short's comments: "Penn State is a family and it is real and if they choose to get rid of (defensive coordinator Tom) Bradley and not hire a Penn State coach, then they've turned their backs on our entire family."

Who can forget the epic post-hire rant by another former linebacker, LaVar Arrington?

By these people making the decisions the way that they are making them, basically coinciding with everything that's being written about our university, if they get rid of Tom Bradley, that means they in essence have accepted the fact that we are all guilty. You might as well call it all the same thing. What we stood for and what we represented for so long, what we have been taught, what we have been trained to know and the values that I raise my own children with, you're basically telling me it's good, only as long as times are good.

At his introductory press conference, O'Brien said all the right things and walked the tightrope needed in becoming the man to replace the legend, Joe Paterno.

"Replacing a legend, I've heard it a lot in the past few days. I'm not here to be Joe Paterno. There's only one Joe Paterno," O'Brien said. "What I'm going to try to do is be Bill O'Brien and we're going to do the best we can to continue the success that he's had here for many, many years."

During the Penn State scandal and impending sanctions, O'Brien once again was there to be the rock for the program, publicly and privately saying all the right things.

He continuously reaffirmed his commitment to the players and the program, emphasizing how much this team needed to become a family and rally around each other during the tough years ahead.

That same pitch worked in recruiting, where O'Brien reeled in prized quarterback Christian Hackenberg as part of the Big Ten's fourth-best class in 2013 (according to 247Sports) and had the third-best Big Ten class going for 2014.

The big name for 2014 is Thomas Holley, and as recently as a week ago O'Brien was still committing his future to Penn State despite the rumors of an NFL return.

“I just off the phone with him," Holley told 247Sports' Luke Stampini. "He said he isn’t going. It’s not true."

Maybe it should've been a case of "fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me," because O'Brien's actions said he wasn't long for Penn State's future.

First it was reworking his contract for a bigger payday following an unexpected 8-4 season in 2012—one in which he also got a massive bonus as of 12:01 on January 1, 2014.

That should've been the clue players and recruits needed to show them just how "committed" O'Brien was to them and the Penn State program.

However, the biggest one emerged just before Christmas, when word got out that O'Brien asked for his NFL buyout clause to be reduced, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter.

If that didn't put up red flags that something was about to happen, not much will.

For recruits and their families, a coach's word is all they have to go on sometimes. After all, you are about to entrust your child to a coach and school for the next four years or so. If you can't trust that coach, you have nothing.

Bill O'Brien has every right to do what he thinks is in his and his family's best interest, and if that's going to the Houston Texans, he's making the right choice for that situation.

How O'Brien went about his apparent exit from Penn State also gives clues as to why Penn Staters have every right to be upset.

O'Brien's words and actions over the last two years don't add up to a man that was ever truly committed to Penn State for the long term, like he claimed from day one to the bitter end.

For the players who stuck around and the recruits who committed to the program despite its uncertain future, O'Brien's departure serves as a harsh reminder that words and actions need to be aligned for trust to really occur.


Andy Coppens is Bleacher Report's lead writer for the Big Ten. You can follow him on Twitter: @ andycoppens.

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Duke vs. Texas A&M: Score, Grades and Analysis from 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl

No. 24 Duke and No. 21 Texas A&M refused to wait until midnight to start the fireworks.

The two teams combined for 1,202 total yards of total offense and 100 points during Tuesday night's Chick-fil-A Bowl, but it was a fourth-quarter pick-six by Toney Hurd Jr. that capped a 21-point A&M comeback and propelled the Aggies to a scintillating 52-48 win in a (really, really) late contender for the best game of 2013.

Of the 22 total drives in this one, 12 went for touchdowns (13 if you count the pick-six), and 15 featured points. There was a whopping one punt all game, which came in the first quarter.

In what many believe was his collegiate swan song, Johnny Manziel put on a next-level show. He completed 30 of 38 throws for 382 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another 73 yards and a score, leading the Aggies back from a 21-point halftime deficit. 

From Manziel's unbelievable throws to his motivation of his teammates on the sideline to his game-changing plays, Hollywood honchos couldn't write a better ending for the game's MVP.

It wasn't easy, though.

Anthony Boone threw for 427 yards and tallied four total touchdowns for Duke. In the first half, he carved up an A&M defense that resembled a colander—which may be an insult to colanders—but he came up just short of giving the Blue Devils their first bowl win since the 1960 season.

The Blue Devils scored on all six of their possessions in the first half, with the first five going for touchdowns and the sixth—following a surprise onside kick—only going for a field goal because they ran out of time.

David Cutcliffe's squad entered the locker room with a 38-17 lead.

But the Aggies didn't quit. The defense began to string together some stops in the second half, and it opened up an opportunity for Manziel to work some of his magic.

After a slow start, he led the Aggies on six straight touchdown drives, including four consecutive in the second half to cut the deficit to 48-45 with 5:44 remaining.

Five plays later, Texas A&M's defense finally delivered, as Hurd picked off the previously red-hot Boone and went 55 yards down the sideline for the game-winning score:

It's a disappointing defeat for Duke, but Cutcliffe has done an unbelievable job, and his boys should hold their heads high:

As for the Aggies, this marks a third straight bowl win. All eyes now turn to (or stay on) Manziel, whose decision regarding the NFL draft will help determine whether or not they can make it four in 2014.


Player Grades

Anthony Boone, Duke: B+

It's probably important to note that Texas A&M's secondary made this seem like a walk-through for Boone and the Blue Devils, but that shouldn't take away from his performance. He simply made a bad defense look even worse with some absolutely stellar play.

While the junior QB may have been dealing with soft coverage, he was getting the ball out quickly, hitting receivers in stride and delivering some absolute dimes on long balls. Exhibit A:

Also, he was on another planet on third downs:

Two late interceptions, one of which went for a pick-six on a poor decision, are likely what most will remember, which is unfortunate. For almost every other play of the game, Boone was terrific.


Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M: A+

Johnny Football did everything that could be imagined.

Duke brought lots of pressure on later downs in an attempt to keep Manziel in the pocket (of course, he still managed to rack up 73 rushing yards on the night), but he took it in stride and looked terrific throwing the ball.

He slightly missed on a couple of deep balls early in the game, but Manziel made the right reads, worked through his progressions and connected on countless big-time throws, including this silly-good toss late in the fourth quarter:

Manziel reinforced the claim that he is much more than a running quarterback: He's a throwing quarterback who can make enthralling, transcendent, elusive plays with his legs, such as this one, which will be replayed for a long time:

College football will miss Johnny Football.


Josh Snead, Duke: A

You want versatility? Josh Snead ran for 104 yards and this electric touchdown:

He also caught three passes for 21 yards and another touchdown—and he blocked a punt late in the first quarter. It's tough to make more of a wide-ranging impact than that. 


Mike Evans, Texas A&M: C+

It was a roller-coaster game for Evans.

On the one hand, he made some terrific grabs, pulling down three throws that went for 15 yards or more. He finished with four catches and 72 yards.

On the other, though, he had two early unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, and on those two drives, the Aggies finished with a missed field goal and a punt. Those were the only two drives of the game on which Texas A&M didn't come away with points. 

Looking to improve his draft stock, this likely wasn't the kind of night Evans anticipated. 

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Penn State Football: Loss of Bill O'Brien Leaves Nittany Lions Plenty of Options

In a move that surely smacks of betrayal to the Nittany Lions faithful, Penn State head coach Bill O'Brien has elected to take his talents back to the NFL—this time as head coach of the Houston Texans.

Yet, the Nittany Lions are just fine without O'Brien.

ESPN's Adam Schefter helped to break the expected news on New Year's Eve:

But this move has been in the pipeline for weeks. While O'Brien was seemingly torn on the decision (or attempting to incite a bidding war), Penn State was ensuring its future success as hinted by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport:

That is the same Greg Schiano who lost his gig with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers around the same time:

While a crushing blow to fans and student athletes who remained faithful to O'Brien in a tough rebuilding period after the scandal that rocked the collegiate football world, the framework of O'Brien's work remains intact for the next man up to assume.

O'Brien kept the program afloat the last two seasons after taking over for Joe Paterno. Despite being hit with a postseason ban and a loss of scholarships, the Nittany Lions went 8-4 in 2012 and 7-5 in 2013.

Even more, O'Brien performed much better than anticipated in recruiting in the wake of the scandal, remaining in the top 50 in Rivals' recruiting rankings in 2013 and inside the top 25 in the 2014 cycle.

This framework will now go to a man like Schiano, who clearly has no intention of returning to the NFL anytime soon. In fact, the NFL likely will not want him after a tenure in Tampa Bay lined with chaos.

But Schiano is an excellent collegiate coach and is made for a school like Penn State. He spent six years with the Nittany Lions as an assistant from 1990-95. He then turned around the Rutgers program, going 68-67 in 11 years, with the high point being his final seven in which he ran up a record of 56-33.

He also appeared in six of the school's nine total bowl games, not to mention the fact the school is now set to join the Big Ten.

Not a bad deal. O'Brien jumps ship and the Nittany Lions scoop up Schiano, a man well-versed in rebuilding programs.

Or the Nittany Lions can go after Vanderbilt head coach James Franklin, the other name that has been tossed around by folks such as CBS Sports' Bruce Feldman:

Franklin is a local man from Langhorne and has taken the Commodores of the SEC, normally only known for their academic prowess, and gone 23-15 in three seasons. He has also taken them bowling each year—Vanderbilt has only been to six bowls all-time.

So no, O'Brien's departure is not the end of the world. In fact, it is just the beginning. O'Brien was the man for the job to guide the ship through tough waters.

Could he have taken the team all the way in a few years? Sure, but there are plenty of other willing and capable candidates who can assume the mantle and make the transition a seamless one as Penn State football continues on its upward trajectory.


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Johnny Manziel Throws Incredible Touchdown to Travis Labhart in Chick-fil-A Bowl

Many view Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel as the most exciting player in college football, and he reminded fans why during the Aggies' Chick-fil-A Bowl clash with Duke on New Year's Eve.

With his team trailing the Blue Devils by 21 points early in the third quarter, Manziel did what only Johnny Football can by avoiding the Duke rush in spectacular fashion and finding Travis Labhart for a 19-yard touchdown, as seen in this GIF courtesy of CJ Zero:

A play that incredible deserves multiple angles, so here is another look provided by CJ Zero:

The Chick-fil-A Bowl will reportedly be the final game of Manziel's fantastic collegiate career, per Gil Brandt of, and he gave fans one more dynamic play to remember him by.


Follow @MikeChiari on Twitter

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Penn State Football: Top 5 Coaching Candidates to Replace Bill O'Brien

At 10:34 p.m. ET on New Year's Eve, ESPN tweeted that the Bill O'Brien is leaving Penn State for the vacant Houston Texans job. Luckily for Nittany Nation, O'Brien left Penn State in much better condition than it was when he arrived. 

One important aspect is that #PennState job once again very good one, not toxic like when OB was hired. Means candidate pool would be great.

— Cory Giger (@CoryGiger) December 28, 2013

Gone now is the uncertainty and stigma from the Sandusky situation. Penn State has survived as a university and as a football program and the head coaching job is exponentially more desirable than it was two years ago.

Much of that is due to Bill O'Brien.

But this isn't a time for reflection on O'Brien and the job he did in Happy Valley. It's time to look ahead at potential candidates to replace him inside the Lasch building and on the sideline of Beaver Stadium. 

Unlike 2011, there will be a long list of coaches interested in inheriting Christian Hackenberg and the potential Big Ten juggernaut that is the Penn State football program.


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Outback Bowl 2014: Major Storylines to Watch in Iowa vs. LSU Battle

The Iowa Hawkeyes and the No. 16 LSU Tigers are set to clash in the 2014 edition of the Outback Bowl in a contest littered with intriguing storylines sure to grab the attention of fans as they recover from holiday festivities.

Outside of the classic Big Ten vs. SEC implications, these two will provide plenty of reasons to watch. At 8-4, the Hawkeyes are left wondering what could have been with an easier schedule, while the 9-3 Tigers are wondering the same thing had they not blown it in big games.

When the two sides meet at Raymond James Stadium on Jan. 1, something will have to give. Fans should enter the contest well-versed to get the so-called full experience.


The Freshman Under Center

The final game of a season is not the best time to debut a freshman signal-caller, but Les Miles' team will have to do just that thanks to a season-ending injury to starting quarterback Zach Mettenberger.

Now LSU must turn to freshman Anthony Jennings, who has attempted all of 10 passes in his collegiate career. He completed six for 99 yards.

While fans will point out the fact he led a 99-yard drive to steal a victory against Arkansas, leading a comeback over the three-win Razorbacks should not act as a major bragging point.

Still, Miles is expecting big things from Jennings, as he told Jim Kleinpeter of The Times-Picayune:

The greatest characteristic of Anthony Jennings is poise...He's always been a guy who came in and sought extra coaching and knowledge of the game when he was second team. The confidence of the team when he went under center didn't change a lick. He knew what to expect. We expect him to play well.

Jennings does bring another dimension to the game the Hawkeyes will have to prepare for, as he is effective on the ground—as shown by his 14 carries for 49 yards and a score in 2013.

But Iowa is well-versed in shutting down anything thrown its way. The Hawkeyes rank just outside the top 10 with an average of 18.8 points allowed per game. In a battle of wills, can a freshman prevail?


Which Running Back Can Take Over?

Both LSU and Iowa have stellar running backs capable of controlling a game on their own.

For the Hawkeyes, the job falls on junior Mark Weisman, who rushed for 938 yards and seven touchdowns in 2013. While his production dipped as the season wore on, Weisman will be heavily leaned on to keep the LSU offense off the field.

Yes, the Tigers have a freshman at quarterback, but Iowa is going to want to keep the ball out of the hands of sophomore running back Jeremy Hill. He ran for 1,185 yards and 14 scores on an impressive 6.8 yards-per-carry average in 2013.

When asked to take on big-name backs, the Iowa defense has faltered this season. A 28-9 loss to Wisconsin saw James White rush for 132 yards and two touchdowns. It was a similar story in a 34-24 loss to Ohio State as Carlos Hyde ran for 149 yards and two scores.

Both Hill and Weisman will be asked to take over. Whoever answers the call will put their team at a major advantage.


Which Team Exorcises Its Demons?

This game is one final shot at redemption for both schools.

Iowa, while a quality team, was gifted with one of the nation's most brutal schedules. The Hawkeyes' four losses came against Northern Illinois, Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin—teams with a combined 45-6 record.

Two of those teams (Ohio State and Michigan State) played in the Big Ten Championship and play in BCS Bowls this year. One played in the MAC Championship (Northern Illinois) and had a Heisman contender at quarterback (Jordan Lynch).

The story for LSU is a bit different. Obviously, the schedule was tough with the team residing in the SEC. But this is a Tigers team that defeated the Auburn Tigers this year—but lost to Alabama, Georgia and Ole Miss.

The Outback Bowl is one last chance for both teams to turn things around after seasons littered with disappointment. Expect both teams to be at their best in the pursuit of ending the season on a high note.


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Gator Bowl: Why Ameer Abdullah Needs a Career Day for Huskers to Have a Chance

Most experts expect Georgia to beat Nebraska comfortably in the Gator Bowl on New Year’s Day, with Odds Shark having the Cornhuskers as nine-point underdogs.

In last year's Capital One Bowl, Georgia pulled away to beat Nebraska, 45-31. Both teams ended this season at 8-4, but Georgia played in a much more difficult conference. had the SEC ranked No. 1 and the Big Ten ranked No. 5 in its overall power rankings for 2013.

Georgia’s losses came to then-No. 8 Clemson, then-No. 25 Missouri and then-No. 7 Auburn, as well as to unranked Vanderbilt. Nebraska’s losses, on the other hand, were to then-No. 16 UCLA and then-No. 16 Michigan State, as well as to unranked Minnesota and Iowa.

It is understandable why Georgia is such a heavy favorite to win this year's Gator Bowl (noon ET, ESPN) in Jacksonville, Fla. While there are a number of variables which could affect the outcome, Nebraska’s best chance to win is if junior I-back Ameer Abdullah has a career day against the Bulldogs.

In 2013, Nebraska had 5,035 yards in total offense. Abdullah accounted for 1,800 of those yards, meaning that he contributed 35.7 percent of Nebraska’s total offense. Abdullah led the B1G in rushing this season, even with a number of nagging injuries that hampered his performance as the season wore on.

Nebraska’s 2013 season, at least on offense, was defined by the early injury to senior quarterback Taylor Martinez. Nebraska tried to limp along—both literally and figuratively—with a hobbled Martinez early in the season, as Abdullah took on the role of Nebraska’s primary weapon.

Once Martinez was no longer able, Nebraska alternated between redshirt freshman Tommy Armstrong and senior Ron Kellogg III at quarterback. In addition to the lack of experience of both Armstrong and Kellogg, they were asked to run an offense that was designed for Martinez’s unique skill set. As a result, the offense was a little out of joint.

The one constant in Nebraska’s attack all season has been Abdullah. As a runner and as a receiver coming out of the backfield, Abdullah allowed the rest of Nebraska’s offense to fire. Abdullah brought the experience, explosiveness and the consistency that Nebraska needed for the rest of its offense to find its collective feet after Martinez’s injury.

Nebraska faces a formidable opponent in Georgia’s offense, particularly with the return of a healthy Todd Gurley at tailback. Had Gurley remained healthy, he likely would have been a Heisman Trophy candidate, and will easily be the best tailback Nebraska will face this season.

Nebraska has struggled with big backs like Gurley all season, surrendering 144 yards to Minnesota’s David Cobb, 149 yards to Penn State’s Zach Zwinak and 72 yards to Iowa’s Mark Weisman. Gurley is better than all of those backs, so it is not unreasonable to expect him to gouge Nebraska for big yardage in the Gator Bowl.

If that’s the case, Abdullah needs to answer with a big game for Nebraska. The obvious reason is that Nebraska will need to keep up with what is likely to be a significant scoring output by Georgia, and Abdullah is NU’s best hope to keep pace.

Success for Abdullah will help Nebraska in other ways as well. The more yards that Abdullah can pick up, the more that Nebraska’s offense will stay on the field, keeping Gurley and the Georgia offense on the sidelines. That will also allow Nebraska’s defense to rest, preserving its stamina to hold up against Georgia’s attack.

If Abdullah gets going, Georgia’s defense will have to put more focus on stopping him, opening running lanes for Armstrong in the option game and giving Nebraska more opportunities down the field in its passing game. With a healthy Jamal Turner returning to join Kenny Bell, Quincy Enunwa, and the rest of Nebraska’s receiver corps, they could benefit greatly from Abdullah drawing the bulk of the attention of the Georgia defense.

Conversely, if Abdullah struggles, it is difficult to see how Nebraska can beat Georgia. Nebraska would be asking a redshirt freshman quarterback to carry the offense against an SEC defense—an awfully big ask. It would also be asking the Blackshirts to contain Gurley and Georgia's offense, giving them extra possessions and opportunities.

It is not inconceivable that Nebraska could pull off the upset and beat Georgia, giving head coach Bo Pelini his first bowl victory since 2009 and the program a much-needed boost of confidence heading into the offseason. However, it is hard to envision a scenario in which Nebraska wins without Abdullah having a big performance.


Stats courtesy of

If you'd like to contact Patrick, send an email to or you can always use the Twitter machine to follow @patrickrunge


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Cotton Bowl 2014: Keys to Victory for Missouri vs. Oklahoma State

As far as non-BCS bowl games go, none have the clout of this year's AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic, which will feature the No. 8 Missouri Tigers (11-2) and No. 13 Oklahoma State Cowboys on Friday (7:30 p.m. ET, FOX) in Dallas.

The Jerry Dome, home of the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, serves as a fitting venue for this big-time battle between familiar foes.

Mizzou holds a 28-23 lead in the all-time series that dates back to 1915, well before Oklahoma State even joined the Big Eight Conference.

Ninety-nine years later, these two programs will reprise their rivalry with a contest that figures to feature some late drama between evenly matched teams.

Here's a look at the keys for both teams entering Friday's Cotton Bowl.


Rebound from Big Disappointments

Missouri jumped ship from the Big 12 to the SEC before the 2012 season, but stumbled to a 5-7 record in its first year in the new conference.

Coach Gary Pinkel has done a masterful job of turning around the program in 2013. The team only has two losses this season, a 27-24 double-overtime defeat to South Carolina and a 59-42 loss to the Auburn Tigers in the SEC Championship Game. 

Missouri rolled into the SEC title game riding a four-game win streak, but Auburn looks like a team of destiny at this point, as Heisman finalist Tre Mason led his team into the BCS National Championship Game.

Mizzou's defense might have been exposed by a potent Auburn attack, but the team had given up just 51 points combined in its previous four victories.

OSU, meanwhile, entered the Bedlam rivalry game against Oklahoma with a chance to win and become Big 12 champion, but surrendered two late touchdowns to lose 33-24. Still, coach Mike Gundy has a well-balanced offensive attack and stout front seven to counter a powerful Missouri squad.

For both teams, it's a bit of a letdown to be held out of a BCS Bowl game, but this game stacks up with the best of this year's college football showcases.


Oklahoma State: Protect Clint Chelf

Ever since taking over full-time quarterback duties after J.W. Walsh went down with a season-ending knee injury, OSU's Clint Chelf has kept the offense humming.

In five games without Walsh, Chelf has thrown for 248.6 yards per game with 11 touchdowns and four interceptions while adding 196 rushing yards and five more scores on the ground.

Oklahoma State has a balanced offense within which five players have scored at least five touchdowns. Desmond Roland (745 rushing yards, 12 TDs) and Tracy Moore (44 catches, 638 yards, six TDs) are the team's leading rusher and receiver, respectively, but wideout Josh Stewart is a tough cover as well.

Gina Mizell of The Oklahoman recently spoke to Stewart, who sounds like he is considering declaring early for the 2014 NFL draft:

“It is what it is,” Stewart said at Monday’s Cotton Bowl media day. “Whatever happens, I’ll make the best decision for me and what my future plans are and just pray about it and see what God has planned for me.”

Stewart, a 5-10, 185-pound slot receiver, currently leads the Cowboys with 52 catches for 623 yards and two touchdowns, following a breakout sophomore campaign where he tallied 101 catches for 1,210 yards and seven scores.

No matter who's been under center for the Cowboys, the offensive line has done a great job of keeping them upright, giving up just 11 sacks in 12 contests so far this year. But OSU's big fellas will have their hands full trying to slow down Missouri's menacing pass rush.

Defensive ends Michael Sam (10.5 sacks, 18 tackles for loss) and Kony Ealy (7.5 sacks, 12.5 tackles for loss) give Mizzou one of the nation's best bookend tandems on the D-line. Don't forget about third pass-rusher Markus Golden (13 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks).


Missouri: Expose OSU Secondary

Missouri quarterback James Franklin has a solid sidekick in running back Henry Josey, who missed the entire 2012 season due to a serious knee injury only to come back with 1,074 yards and 13 touchdowns.

However, Oklahoma State's run defense (23rd, 132.9 YPG) is much tougher than its pass defense (84th, 245.6 YPG), so Franklin might be better-served trying to pick apart the Cowboys through the air.

Despite missing four games due to injury, Franklin was an efficient quarterback in 2013 (2,255 yards, 19 touchdowns, 5 INTs), while also adding 474 rushing yards and four scores on the ground.

Franklin has plenty of weapons on the perimeter if he wants to air it out.

Dorial Green-Beckham (55 catches, 830 yards, 12 TDs), L'Damian Washington (47 catches, 853 yards, 10 TDs) and Marcus Lucas (55 catches, 646 yards, two TDs) create one of the nation's most electric wide receiver trios.

The 6'6" Green-Beckham is only a sophomore, but appears to have a bright NFL future. As such, look for top OSU cornerback Justin Gilbert to shadow the big wideout in a matchup of two top NFL prospects.

Gilbert has six interceptions and two defensive touchdowns this year, but his skills alone haven't been enough to shore up a porous OSU secondary. Look for Franklin to try and take advantage of his talented receiver trio when these two teams meet in Dallas.

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Johnny Manziel Yells at Mike Evans on Sidelines, They Watch a Punt Get Blocked

Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel could be playing in his final game in an Aggies uniform as they take on the Duke Blue Devils in the Chick-fil-A Bowl, and things were not going well in the first half. 

Manziel is upset with his star wide receiver Mike Evans and slams his helmet down on the sidelines before he gives him a piece of his mind. Just when they think it can't get worse, during Manziel's speech, Duke blocks a punt, startling both of them.

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Ohio State Football Recruiting: Players to Watch in High School All-Star Games

The Under Armour All-America Game and U.S. Army All-American Bowl—widely regarded as the two premier high school all-star games—will kick off this week, giving college football fans an opportunity to see the nation's top prospects in action.

Ohio State fans will get a good look at a number of future Buckeyes. Of the 19 recruits Urban Meyer has secured for Ohio State's 2014 class, nine will be suiting up to play in the two nationally televised games. Some of the Buckeyes' top remaining targets will also hit the field, and a number of those recruits will be announcing their commitment during the broadcast.

Here's a complete guide to the action ahead.


Game: Under Armour All-America Game

Date: Thursday, Jan. 2, 2014

Time: 4 p.m. ET

Place: Tropicana Field (St. Petersburg, Florida)

Television: ESPN


Game: U.S. Army All-American Bowl 

Date: Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014

Time: 1 p.m. ET

Place: Alamodome (San Antonio, Texas)

Television: NBC


All recruit rankings and stats per

For additional updates, follow David Regimbal on Twitter.

Begin Slideshow

Dalvin Cook to FSU: 5-Star RB Flips Commitment from Florida Gators to Seminoles

In a bit of Sunshine State drama, former University of Florida recruit Dalvin Cook flipped his verbal commitment to Florida State and Jimbo Fisher on Tuesday night. 

FOX Sports' Amy Campbell has the news:

Cook, a Miami native, originally gave his word to the Clemson Tigers in June of 2012, according to 247 Sports. He switched to Florida on April 6, 2013, but just days before enrolling in classes, he changed his mind again and committed to in-state rival Florida State. 

"I felt at heart that it was the school for me and I can get everything I wanna get done there," Cook said about his FSU pledge, via Campbell

Each team's 2013 campaign likely had a little something to do with the flip as well. Florida entered the season No. 10 but struggled to its worst season (4-8, no bowl game) in recent memory, while No. 1 Florida State will face Auburn in Pasadena for the national championship in a week. 

According to 247 Sports' composite rankings, the 5-star Cook is the 12th-best recruit, No. 2 running back and No. 1 player out of the state of Florida in the 2014 class.

At 5'11" and 190 pounds, he has an impressive blend of speed, elusiveness, vision and game-changing, home-run-hitting ability. En route to being named to the All-USA team by USA TODAY Sports, he ran for 1,940 yards and 34 touchdowns, including 223 and four scores in the state 6A title game. 

Simply put, it's not surprising to hear Fisher call him "one of the special guys," via The Osceola's Tim Linafelt:

ESPN's Derek Tyson echoed that sentiment, noting the big loss for the Gators:

Of course, having All-Freshman SEC running back Kelvin Taylor helps cushion the blow, but this is a development that highlights the current state of these two rival programs. And as Cook noted, via Tomahawk Nation's Twitter feed, he hopes to continue to pilfer from Florida:

As if the rivalry needed any more fuel. In case you're wondering, these two teams meet on Nov. 29, 2014.

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2013 Liberty Bowl: Performance vs. Rice Shows How High Dak Prescott's Ceiling Is

Head coach Dan Mullen might finally take Mississippi State to the next level in 2014. He certainly has the quarterback to compete for the Bulldogs' first SEC West title since 1998. 

Sophomore Dak Prescott showed why he'll go into next season as one of the more intriguing quarterbacks in the SEC. In a 44-7 win over Rice in the Liberty Bowl, the sophomore passed for 283 yards, ran for another 78 and had five total touchdowns. 

Beyond the numbers, Prescott looked confident and in control of the offense. He had help from the running game, which picked up significantly in the second half after averaging less than four yards a carry in the first, and from his offensive line as well. 

But even when Prescott was pressured, he was able to evade while keeping his eyes downfield. He looks like a real playmaker. 

It's easy to knock Rice, and the Owls probably aren't a 10-win team outside Conference USA, but they're no slouch of an opponent, either. This is a Rice team that gave Texas A&M fits to start the season and hammered Marshall in the C-USA championship game. 

Rice's defense isn't anything to write home about, but ranking 33rd in scoring defense (NCAA) and 50th overall in defense in F/+ rankings isn't terrible either. For Mississippi State's offense to blow through the Owls after the long layoff is worthy of at least some praise. Not to mention motivation can sometimes be a factor in bowl games. 

The Bulldogs, led by Prescott, look motivated to make some noise in '14 as well. Prescott was thrown into the fire early and often while Tyler Russell, who started the season at quarterback, missed what amounted to roughly six or seven games with various injuries. 

The potential was always there for Prescott—he led the team with 751 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns in addition to his 1,657 yards passing—but he had some growing pains, too. He struggled mightily in losses to LSU and South Carolina, throwing four interceptions and zero touchdowns. He also played while grieving when he tragically lost his mother to cancer in November. 

But with a full offseason to develop, Prescott can enter next year with a leg up on other SEC West teams. The SEC was a noted quarterback conference in 2013, something that hasn't always been said about it in recent years. But Alabama's AJ McCarron, LSU's Zach Mettenberger and likely Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel will be gone—and that's just in the West Division. 

ESPN's Edward Aschoff is already fond of Prescott for next year: 

Auburn's Nick Marshall and Ole Miss' Bo Wallace return, but Prescott is physically gifted with a ton of upside. If he cuts down on the mistakes and plays more like he did against Rice, Prescott's ceiling will be unbelievably high. 

Keep in mind that Mississippi State also has a receiving group that, if it stays intact, can be special next year. The passing game wasn't great in '13—Jameon Lewis led the way with 703 yards and five receiving touchdowns—but the Bulldogs have the potential to put up a ton of points with some more time to come together. 

Bowl season can be a goodbye party for some teams. For Mississippi State, it was an exciting reminder of what's coming back. 

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Gator Bowl 2014: Players to Watch in Georgia vs. Nebraska

Two proud programs with great traditions will clash in Jacksonville, Fla. on Wednesday when the No. 22 Georgia Bulldogs (8-4) face the Nebraska Cornhuskers (8-4) in the Gator Bowl.

Both teams are without their starting quarterbacks. Nebraska's Taylor Martinez (foot) and Georgia's Aaron Murray (knee) are each out with injuries. Both teams also have great success in bowl games historically, as Georgia has 27 wins all-time and Nebraska has 24.

This time around, Georgia enters the New Year's Day battle as a 10-point favorite, according to The Bulldogs have the edge after going 5-3 in the competitive SEC with some close losses, while Nebraska limps into the game after a 38-17 defeat to Iowa in the regular-season finale.

Here's a look at key players for both teams on offense and defense heading into the Gator Bowl, in a rematch of last year's Capital One Bowl.


RB Todd Gurley, Georgia

Listed at 6'1" and 232 pounds, Todd Gurley is one of the nation's most physically gifted backs.

Slowed by an early quadriceps injury and then an ankle issue that caused him to miss three-plus games, Gurley has still piled up 903 rushing yards and 15 total touchdowns. He proved his worth in the regular-season finale, carrying the ball 20 times for 122 yards and three scores while adding another touchdown in the passing game, leading Georgia to a 41-34 win over Georgia Tech in overtime.

Not to mention this ridiculous stretch he made for the pylon.

As a true sophomore, Gurley is still a year away from being eligible for the NFL draft. But that hasn't stopped opposing coaches like North Texas' Dan McCarney from claiming Gurley is a "first-rounder," per John Carson of the Daily Southerner.

Nebraska ranks a respectable 28th in the nation against the run this year, allowing an average of 138.3 yards per game, and will have its hands full with Gurley's physical style. The Huskers already know that firsthand; Gurley carried the ball 23 times for 125 yards and a touchdown in Georgia's 45-31 win against Nebraska in the Capitol One Bowl.


RB Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska

What Todd Gurley is to the Georgia offense, Ameer Abdullah is to Nebraska's.

The junior led all Big Ten tailbacks with 1,568 rushing yards to go with his 10 total touchdowns. Abduallah is sneaky strong, but what makes him so tough to tackle is his breakaway speed and shifty moves.

Listed at 5'9" and 190 pounds, the running back packs a different type of punch than his counterpart, Gurley. But that's just fine with Nebraska coach Bo Pelini, according to Mark Long of the Associated Press.

There's no doubt they're both great backs. They're different. They have different styles, obviously built differently. ... But great players come in a lot of different shapes and sizes and a lot of different skill sets.

It's not like he needs much space to make something happen, but Abdullah should be able to find room to run against the Bulldogs, who give up an average of 148.5 rushing yards per game.


LB Ramik Wilson, Georgia

The main man trying to track down Abdullah on Wednesday will be Georgia linebacker Ramik Wilson.

Wilson made some news earlier this week. The junior inside 'backer announced he would be returning to Athens in 2014, via Seth Emerson of the Macon Telegraph.

Wilson earned a starter's role this season and capitalized, playing himself onto the All-SEC team with a stellar season-long effort. With the moves that Abdullah has and Nebraska's quarterback situation in flux, Wilson's sideline-to-sideline speed should be on full display Wednesday


DE Randy Gregory, Nebraska

The junior college transfer has made a huge impact in his first year with the Huskers, leading the Big Ten with 9.5 sacks in 2013.

According to Jeff Elliott of the Florida Times-Union, Randy Gregory has added 25 pounds to his frame since setting foot on Nebraska's campus in July, bringing him to his current listed size of 6'6" and 255 pounds.

Gregory made a splash and earned the respect of the Big Ten in the process, as he was voted first team all-conference by the league's coaches. According to Pelini, the athletic defensive end is just getting started, via Elliott.

He’s only scratched the surface of what he’s going to be. He’s gotten better as the season has gone on. He’s playing at a really high level as some of his accomplishments are evident. I think being able to go through an offseason program, the ceiling is high for that young man. He’s a good football player, and he’s only going to get better with more time and really getting a chance to get into the weight room and develop during the offseason.

Gregory is eligible to declare for the NFL draft, but he told Elliott that he is looking forward to coming back to Nebraska next year to add even more muscle to his frame. He's just a sophomore now and there's plenty of room to grow heading into 2014.

But first, look for him to be a disruptive force against Georgia's offense in the Gator Bowl.

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Dalvin Cook Commits to FSU: Where Does Florida Turn Now After Missing on 5-Star?

The Florida Gators lost their No. 1 recruit, 247 Sports composite 5-star running back Dalvin Cook, to in-state rival Florida State.

Amy Campbell of Fox Sports announced that the No. 2 running back in the 2014 class had flipped his commitment to FSU Tuesday.

After being robbed of a blue-chip recruit during a down season, what will the Gators do now?

They'll look to pay it forward by setting their sights on pulling in a running back committed to another program.

Cook has been wavering on his choice for some time, which has actually given the UF coaching staff time to identify its contingency plan: Minnesota commit and 247 Sports composite 4-star Jeff Jones.

Just hours before Cook flipped his commitment to FSU, Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN tweeted that Florida sent a scholarship offer to Jones.

Cook committed to UF in early April but had taken several visits since that time, most notably to Miami (Fla.) and Florida State. As Florida struggled through the 2013 season, the chatter only grew louder about his potential departure.

The Gators held out hope as long as they could for their prized recruit, but as his impending decommitment neared, they had to look elsewhere.

Luke Stampini of 247 Sports reported Monday that Jones would make an official visit to Gainesville. Jones is rated the No. 9 running back for 2014.

Jones and Cook are similar-sized backs and both are Under Armour All-Americans. Cook is listed at 5'11" and 190 pounds, while Jones comes in at 5'11", 196. Cook is the faster of the two and is a much more dangerous home run threat. Regardless, Jones would fit in well in the Florida backfield.

The Gators will bring back several experienced backs, including redshirt junior Mack Brown, sophomore Matt Jones, redshirt sophomore Valdez Showers and true freshman Kelvin Taylor. The foursome combined for nearly 1,500 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in 2013.

Taylor was a composite 5-star from the 2013 class and saw his role expand greatly at the end of the season after Matt Jones suffered a season-ending injury.

Another running back to keep an eye on for Florida is composite 3-star Cortavious Givens. He could prove to be Plan C if Plan B, Jeff Jones, doesn't pan out.

But for now, the Minneapolis native and Gophers commit appears to be the top target for the Gators after the loss of Cook.

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Virginia Tech vs. UCLA: Breaking Down Bruins' Dominant 2013 Sun Bowl Win

UCLA beat Virginia Tech at the 2013 Sun Bowl, 42-12, but the final score doesn't indicate how close the game was for much of the afternoon in El Paso, Texas. 

After Michael Branthover drilled a 22-yard field goal late in the third quarter to pull the Hokies to within four points (14-10), it appeared the game was either team's to win. 

The mystery didn't last long, however.

Brett Hundley threw two touchdowns late to cap off a lopsided fourth quarter that saw the Bruins outscore the Hokies 28-2, leading to the final score, as highlighted by ESPN's College GameDay:

Here's a closer look at what Hundley accomplished in the game, followed by an examination of how UCLA's defense was able to shut down the offense of Virginia Tech. 


Breaking Down Hundley's Huge Game

Hundley's performance was truly remarkable, and it highlighted the reasons why many NFL draft analysts are drooling about his pro potential. 

The redshirt sophomore struggled to connect with his receivers in the first half, as pointed out by Bruin Report Online:

However, he rushed for 168 yards and two touchdowns, which was a Sun Bowl record, as Jill Painter Lopez of the L.A. Daily News relayed:

In particular, Hundley's 86-yard touchdown scamper in the second quarter illustrated his freakish athletic abilities. 

The second half featured a different quarterback altogether, as Hundley actually lost seven yards rushing.

He made up for that lost yardage with a brilliant display of passing in the game's final 30 minutes, including a 59-yard dagger to Shaquelle Evans late in the fourth quarter to put the Bruins up by 30 points. 

Andy Bitter of the Roanoke Times was convinced after that throw that Hundley is ready for the NFL, and he may be right:

Hundley played one of his best games, helping UCLA reach the 10-win mark for the first time since 2005 while making some history of his own, as ESPN Stats & Info noted:

If it was Hundley's last game for UCLA, then he surely made the most of his chance to leave on top. If he returns in 2014, then the Bruins will have a great chance of challenging Stanford and Oregon for the Pac-12 title. 


Bruins Defense Bares Its Claws

From Jordan Zumwalt's game-altering hit on Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas in the first half to Myles Jack's 24-yard pick-six in the fourth quarter, UCLA's defense took it to Virginia Tech's offense all game long. 

Zumwalt's vicious hit knocked Thomas out of the game.

He was flagged for the play, and many, including Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register, thought it was a dirty hit:

However, a closer look revealed what appeared to be a clean, legal hit.

 Zumwalt stayed in the game, eventually earning co-MVP honors along with Hundley for his efforts.

The entire front seven played tough all game long, and the culmination of the team's efforts on the defensive side of the ball was Jack's interception for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter—the team's second touchdown in 62 seconds. 

Backup Hokies quarterback Mark Leal simply made a terrible decision, and Jack made him pay. 


Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78 

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Sun Bowl 2013: Myles Jack's Performance Great Start to His 2014 Heisman Campaign

UCLA linebacker Myles Jack has placed himself firmly in the running for the 2014 Heisman Trophy.

If there was any doubt about it before, the freshman standout cast it all aside with his performance during the Bruins’ lopsided victory over Virginia Tech, 42-12, during Saturday’s Sun Bowl.

Jack played an all-around solid game on defense, making his presence felt all over the field. But the highlight of his day was easily the fourth-quarter interception off Hokies quarterback Mark Leal that he returned 24 yards for a touchdown.

Not only did that play give UCLA a pretty insurmountable 28-10 lead at the time, but as’s Zach Barnett noted, it also effectively started Jack’s 2014 Heisman campaign:

The hype is certainly deserved, as the Bellevue, Wash., native had quite the 2013 season—one in which he starred on both defense and offense.

Defensively, Jack recorded 71 tackles (5.0 for loss), 10 passes broken up, one forced fumble and two interceptions. Offensively, he stepped in for injured running back Jordon James, rushing for 267 yards and seven touchdowns on 37 carries.

For his performance, Jack brought home both the Pac-12 Offensive and Defensive Freshman of the Year awards, via

Sure, he’s one heck of a special college football player. However, in the Heisman Trophy’s 78-year history, only one defensive player—Michigan’s Charles Woodson—has ever brought home the award.

For the rest, it’s been close but no cigar.

But what Jack has going for him is his potential to be a genuine contributor on offense for the Bruins.

Ever since head coach Jim Mora first decided to use Jack in the running game back in Week 11, it’s been nothing but positive results.

In that first game, he rushed for 120 yards and a touchdown on just six carries to help lead UCLA past Arizona, 31-26. Jack followed that up by finding the end zone four times in a 41-31 victory over Washington, rushing for 59 yards on 13 carries.

It all bares an eerie similarity to when Woodson won the award in 1997.

That year, he contributed to Michigan's offense by rushing for 41 yards and a touchdown on five carries while catching 12 passes for 238 yards and another two scores. Woodson also was a difference maker on special teams, returning 36 punts for 301 yards and a score.

Although it's still a long way until next December, that hasn’t stopped Jack from making an early case for college football's most coveted award.

And with another year under his belt, there's no doubt he's got what it takes. 

All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of

For complete coverage and everything college football, you can reach Sebastian on Facebook, on Twitter and via email at

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Chick-fil-A Bowl 2013 Duke vs. Texas A&M: Live Score and Highlights

Duke 41, Texas A&M 31—Early 4th Quarter

The No. 24 and ACC Coastal Division champion Duke Blue Devils will square off against the No. 21 Texas A&M Aggies in the 2013 Chick-fil-A Bowl this evening in Atlanta.

The Aggies are on a two-game losing streak, finishing out the regular season with losses to LSU and Missouri.  The Blue Devils, on the other hand, have the program's first-ever 10-win season under their belt, and are now hoping to add a bowl victory after getting run over by No. 1 Florida State in the ACC Championship game.

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2015 5-Star DT Jacob Daniel Decommits from Washington Via Twitter

As Steve Sarkisian carries on in his transition from Washington to USC, the Huskies continue to feel the brunt of his departure on the recruiting front.

Sark already brought composite 4-star defenders Claudeson Pelon and Jonathan Lockett to Southern Cal, both of whom had ties to UW. Now, the Huskies have lost another prized recruit, Jacob Daniel, a 247Sports 5-star defensive tackle for the 2015 class.

The Clovis, Calif., native announced his decommitment on Twitter Tuesday afternoon (h/t Matt Prehm, 247Sports):

247Sports rates Daniel as the No. 5 defensive tackle for 2015.

While the 6'4", 298-pound defender hasn't switched his commitment to USC, some predict that it might only be a matter of time before he does. His two latest forecasts on the 247Sports crystal ball have him headed to Troy, along with Sarkisian.

However, Daniel did leave the door open as he begins the next chapter of his recruitment. Immediately after announcing his decommitment, he said that he still loves UW.

It might now be up to new Washington head coach Chris Petersen to build a relationship with Daniel and bring him to Seattle. Since Daniel is just a junior, he'll have plenty of time to do so before the 2015 signing period.

Daniel was one of just two commitments for 2015 for UW and leaves the Huskies with just one verbal for the class: composite 3-star offensive tackle Trey Adams.

The 2014 class is also looking relatively bare for Washington. As of Daniel's decommitment, the Huskies boasted just eight verbal commitments.

None of those commits are defensive linemen, though they are targeting former Boise State commit Greg Gaines on the middle of the defensive front.

The push and pull between Sarkisian and Petersen will certainly be something to keep an eye on in the coming months.

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Chick-Fil-A Bowl 2013 Duke vs. Texas A&M: Live Game Grades, Analysis for Aggies

Texas A&M and Duke are locked in a battle at the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, GA. 

4th Quarter: Duke 41, Texas A&M 38

For the full box score, check out

First-half analysis for the Texas A&M Aggies

Pass Offense: Aggies quarterback Johnny Manziel needs to get more protection from his offensive line to make more quality throws. Give credit to Duke's secondary for sticking on the Texas A&M receivers. Manziel completed 18 of 25 passes for 199 yards and two touchdowns. 

Run Offense: There were not any big runs in the first half. Manziel is doing a solid job of scrambling outside of the pocket and finding open space for rushing yards. The Aggies have rushed for 79 yards on 17 carries. Texas A&M needs better run protection in the second half. 

Pass Defense: Duke's pass offense is getting exactly what they want through the first half. The Aggies need to do a better job of containing Blue Devils WR Jamison Crowder. Quarterback Anthony Boone finished the half 13-of-17 passing for 230 yards and two touchdowns. 

Run Defense: There aren't many positive things to say about the Texas A&M run defense either. The Aggies haven't been able to stop Duke on 4th-and-short yardage. The coaching staff needs to make some adjustments on the run defense at halftime. 

Special Teams: A big blocked punt by the Blue Devils' special teams put themselves in great field position. Texas A&M needs a big kick return in the second half. 

Coaching: The A&M coaching staff needs to figure out a way to stop Duke's offense. Duke has scored five touchdowns and one field goal on six drives. 

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