Texas ends up-and-down season with Alamo Bowl win

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Texas entered the 2012 season as a dark horse of sorts to bring home a Big 12 championship. Suffice to say that didn’t exactly pan out. It’s been three years since a Texas team won the Big 12 and played in a BCS bowl, and with the Longhorns sitting at 8-4 heading into tonight’s Alamo Bowl against Oregon State, there was a question of when — if? —  Mack Brown was going to get his team back on top of the Big 12.

It could very well happen in 2013.

The Longhorns needed a fourth quarter rally, but were able to top No. 15 Oregon State 31-27. Quarterback David Ash went from fumbling a pump fake in the first half (hilarious GIF here, y’all) to tossing two touchdown scores in the fourth quarter. It was quite the turnaround. Then again, Ash’s story this year has been that he’s a Jekyll and Hyde. When Ash is good, he’s damn good. When he’s bad, well, he fumbles a pump fake. The growth for Ash going forward is finding more consistency to go along with the promise he continues to display in spurts.

But it was Texas’ defense that made the game-changing plays when it mattered most. The Longhorns’ D under Manny Diaz has been a punchline for missed tackles and points allowed, but they had an Alamo Bowl record 10 sacks against the Beavers. Alex Okafor had nine tackles, 4.5 sacks and a forced fumble by himself. The irony is that Texas’ defense played the single best half of football it had all season while officially becoming the worst defense statistically in the history of the program.

While Texas’ defensive line deserves credit, Oregon State also all but completely abandoned the run game in the fourth quarter despite the fact that running back Storm Woods had 120 yards on the ground. Taking away the 10 sacks (for -81 yards) on a visibly injured Cody Vaz, the Beavers had 184 yards rushing. It made little sense.

Still, what a good year for Mike Riley‘s team after back-to-back disappointing seasons. There will be questions in the offseason, namely the quarterback competition between Vaz and Sean Mannion. Both saw playing time this year.

As for Texas, the win makes the offseason more manageable. But 2013 is going to be an important year from Brown and Texas no matter how you dissect it.

Report: Florida loses incoming frosh LB Nick Smith for six weeks

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Earlier this month, Florida lost one of the most experienced members of its defense to a season-ending injury.  This week, they have reportedly lost one of their youngsters on that side of the ball as well, albeit to one not as serious.

Citing a source close to the program, the Gainesville Sun has reported that Nick Smith underwent surgery on his left knee Monday to repair a torn meniscus.  It’s unclear how or when the linebacker suffered the injury.

As a result of the medical procedure, Smith will be sidelined for a period of at least six weeks.  Such a timeline would not only keep Smith out for the whole of summer camp, but for, at minimum, the 2017 opener Sept. 2 against Michigan in Arlington as well.

It should be noted that UF has yet to publicly address what if any health issues Smith may need to overcome.

A three-star member of the Gators’ 2017 recruiting class, Smith was rated as the No. 79 outside linebacker in the country.  While Smith has been expected to contribute immediately on special teams, his expected absence early on exacerbates the dearth of available talent in UF’s linebacking corps.

From the Sun:

The loss of Smith is a blow to Florida’s depth at linebacker, a position that returns just four players who have started a game for the Gators.

Versatile playmaker Janarion Grant back to 100 percent for Rutgers

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The opening of the Big Ten’s Media Days Monday brought some welcome news for Rutgers fans.

One of the most explosive and productive players in the conference, Janarion Grant went down with a serious-looking ankle injury — at the end of a 76-yard touchdown — late in the first half of a Week 4 game against Iowa that ultimately ended the wide receiver’s 2016 season.  Grant was in non-contact mode this past spring, leading some to wonder whether he’d be available for summer camp or even the start of the upcoming season.

Yesterday, Chris Ash put any such fears to rest by declaring Grant completely recovered less than two weeks ahead of the start of camp.

“He’s 100 percent… He’s had a great summer,” the head coach said according to nj.com. “He was limited through the spring semester, but this summer he’s been pretty much full go for the majority of the summer. He looks great, he’s in great shape, he’s put weight back on. We’re obviously excited to have him back.”

At the time of the injury, Grant led the Scarlet Knights with 15 receptions and was second on the team with 143 yards rushing. His 562 all-purpose yards were tops in the Big Ten entering Week 4 play last year.

He had six touchdowns in those three-plus games and did it in a quartet of ways — rushing (three), punt return (one), kick return (one) and passing (one).

Suffice to say, Grant was named as part of the Hornung Award watch list earlier this month.  He’s on the watch list for the prestigious Maxwell Award as well.

Ohio State DL Darius Slade to transfer

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In a day packed full of Big Ten moves becoming official, Ohio State has added a roster move of its own.

Urban Meyer revealed at the conference’s media gathering in Chicago on Monday that defensive lineman Darius Slade will not return to the team.

A 3-star recruit out of Montclair, N.J., Slade (42) redshirted in 2014 and missed the ’16 campaign with a lower leg injury. He racked up seven appearances in 2015.

Slade was expected to back up Sam Hubbard at defensive end.

Meyer said that he “thinks” Slade is off to Arizona State. If that’s true, Slade would have two years of eligibility to play as a Sun Devil unless the NCAA approved a waive for him.

Indiana RB Camion Patrick, LB T.J. Simmons medical hardships

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Indiana running back Camion Patrick and linebacker T.J. Simmons will not return to the team this fall after being granted medical hardships, the program announced Monday. Both players would be fifth-year seniors in 2017.

Simmons appeared in 37 games with 35 starts before suffering a season-ending injury that knocked him out of the 2016 campaign entirely. He collected 213 tackles, six sacks, 16.5 TFLs, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery as a Hoosier. Simmons will remain with the program as a student assistant.

“T.J. was a three-year starter and a tough kid that I was looking forward to coaching,” head coach Tom Allen said in a statement. “He did everything that he could to get himself back from his knee injury, but he was unable to reach a place where he could consistently play. T.J. is excited about his new role as a student assistant coach in the weight room and on the field. He will be helping his teammates get better. T.J. has such a passion for the game and this program, and I am thrilled to have him help us breakthrough.”

Patrick arrived from East Mississippi Community College — of Last Chance U. fame — and proceeded to sustain injuries to his ACL and a shoulder. He caught six passes for 154 yards with one receiving touchdown and one rushing score for Indiana.

“Unfortunately, Camion dealt with multiple injuries during his time at IU and was never able to fully recover,” Allen said. “He has worked hard in the classroom. Camion has battled to get back following each injury, but his body has let him down. He recognizes that. We recognize that, and we want to help him finish strong in the classroom and help him create a bright future for himself.”