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Report: Houston Nutt meets with the Cowboys

Nutt AP

The coaching carousel is wrapping up in the college football world. The NFL is a different story.

Two days ago, Oregon coach Chip Kelly officially took the Philadelphia Eagles job after four years with the Ducks. A day later, it was reported that former Arkansas and Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt was getting a glance by an NFL club too, but in an assistant role.

ESPN Dallas reports that Nutt met with the Dallas Cowboys about possibly joining the coaching staff. In what capacity Nutt would come aboard — if he comes aboard — is unclear, although running backs coach Skip Peete was fired recently. Nutt has a connection to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones through Arkansas.

Nutt has been out of the coaching ranks for a year after being fired by Ole Miss following a two-win season in 2011. He does not have any NFL experience, which could prove problematic if Nutt attempts to draft 37 players in April.

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South Carolina holds off Miami in Independence Bowl

Dylan Thompson

Outside of the second half of the second quarter, Miami played pretty good defense against South Carolina and its powerful offense in Saturday’s Duck Commander Independence Bowl. Problem is, it was that 6-minute, 11-second span that did them in.

Trailing 6-0 midway through the second quarter, Dylan Thompson hit Pharoh Cooper for a 78-yard catch-and-run score to put the Gamecocks on top. On the ensuing possession, South Carolina marched 53 yards in six plays, capped by a 15-yard Mike Davis touchdown pass, to push the lead to eight, and then Elliott Fry added a 32-yard field goal to give the Gamecocks a 17-6 halftime lead.

After a Gus Edwards three-yard scoring plunge pulled Miami to within 17-14 in the third quarter, the key sequence in the game came with five and a half minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. On a second-and-8 at its own 29, Miami handed to Duke Johnson, who proceeded to hurt his ankle and fumble the ball in the process.

Johnson appeared okay, at least okay enough to walk around, but the Hurricanes never recovered. South Carolina moved 29 yards in three plays, punctuated by a two-yard Thompson run, to push the lead to 24-14.

Miami responded with a swift 72-yard touchdown drive in 1:57, capped by a Brad Kaaya pass to Phillip Dorsett, but the Hurricanes were not able to force South Carolina to relinquish the ball over the remaining 2:16.

Final score: South Carolina 24, Miami 21.

In likely his last game as a Hurricane, Miami’s all-time leading rusher Duke Johnson showed well, rushing 24 times for 132 yards while catching five passes for 51 yards. Kaaya completed 19-of-33 passes for 236 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Miami actually out-gained South Carolina (422-362) and held a 21-17 edge in first downs, but a 2-0 turnover deficit did them in.

For South Carolina, Thompson completed 22-of-34 passes for 284 yards with three total touchdowns, and Davis carried 13 times for 55 yards. Cooper led all receivers with nine grabs for 170 yards and a touchdown.

The win pushes South Carolina to 7-6, not quite the 11-2 finish the ‘Cocks enjoyed the past three seasons but still their seventh straight winning campaign.

Miami, meanwhile, closes the year at 6-7 and on a four-game losing streak. Overall, Miami is 8-11 since starting the 2013 season at 7-0.

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Dantonio pegs two current MSU assistants as Narduzzi’s replacement

Michigan State v Oregon

Michigan State knew it had big shoes to fill when Pat Narduzzi left to become the head coach at Pittsburgh.  Now we know just how big as it’s taken two people to fill them.

In a press release Saturday evening, head coach Mark Dantonio announced that Harlon Barnett and Mike Tressel (pictured, red hat), nephew of the former Ohio State coach, have been elevated to the position of co-defensive coordinators. Barnett, who also added the title of assistant head coach, spent the 2014 season as the Spartans’ secondary coach, while Tressel served as the linebackers coach/special teams coordinator.

It’s unclear from the release if the two coaches will also maintain their current duties, although Dantonio did state that he was going to add at least one more defensive assistant.

“Harlon and Mike have been on my staff together for 11 years, including the past eight years at Michigan State,” the long-time MSU coach said in a statement. “They both have had a ton of input and shared a lot of ideas with Pat Narduzzi over the years. The co-appointment ensures continuity in terms of player relationships, defensive concepts and terminology.

“Both Harlon and Mike have done a tremendous job in the individual day-to-day development of our players. Their relationships with our players are strong and true. I have a strong personal relationship with those two, and they will do an outstanding job in their new roles while continuing the legacy Michigan State has built on defense.

“I’m excited about maintaining our tradition of playing outstanding defense while continuing our quest for another Big Ten Championship.”

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Penn State and Boston College deadlocked at midpoint of Pinstripe Bowl

Christian Hackenberg

How do you know the spirit of the Yankees lives in Yankee Stadium year-round? The New Era Pinstripe Bowl is playing out exactly like a July afternoon, as a team from Boston has conspired to create a 7-7 score midway through a slow-moving game. Instead of Red Sox and Bronx Bombers, this time it’s Penn State and Boston College deadlocked at seven apiece after a first half that took more than an hour and 40 minutes to complete.

Christian Hackenberg opened the scoring with a 72-yard touchdown pass to Chris Godwin at the 5:22 mark of the first quarter, and Jon Hillman responded for B.C. with a 49-yard scoring dash just two snaps later.

Since then, Penn State has punted three times (with one combined first down on those three drives) and fumbled once, and Boston College has punted three times (with two three-and-outs) and allowed the clock to expire at the end of the half rather than punt a fourth consecutive time.

Hackenberg has completed 13-of-20 passes for 168 yards with a score, while the Nittany Lions’ putrid running game has produced just 26 yards on 16 carries.

Boston College has rushed 19 times for 145 yards and Hillman’s score while Tyler Murphy has completed just 4-of-11 passes for 19 yards. Boston College has produced as many first downs as penalties (five) while Penn State has 10 first downs against six flags.

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Report: 49ers expect Jim Harbaugh to take Michigan job

San Diego Chargers v San Francisco 49ers Getty Images

As we inch closer and closer to what’s taken on the appearance of Decision Day for both Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan football program, a growing number of signs continue to point to what just a couple of months ago was thought of as an unlikely reunion.

Friday it was reported that a group of UM officials had traveled to the Bay Area as part of its ongoing pursuit of Harbaugh.  Less than 24 hours later, at least one report has a marriage as being imminent.

According to Jason Cole, who was an award-winning NFL writer for Yahoo Sports for more than two decades before moving on to Bleacher Report, “[t]wo members of the San Francisco 49ers staff… said Saturday they expect 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh to accept a six-year, $48 million contract to become the head coach of the University of Michigan.” A third NFL source confirmed the same to Cole.

Cole further added that earlier this year Harbaugh was leaning strongly against a return to the college game. However, he writes, “sources said he has been swayed over the past two weeks as he measured those issues against the opportunities that might be available around the pros.”

Late last week, a report surfaced that Harbaugh’s family and friends have been encouraging him to take the Michigan job, which his brother, Baltimore Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, subsequently denied.  That report came two days after one surfaced that Michigan was prepared to offer Harbaugh a contract in the neighborhood of $8 million annually over six years. Harbaugh subsequently declined to answer when asked directly if his alma mater had offered him a contract, as did his current boss.

The 49ers play their last game of the 2014 season Sunday.  At some point after that game ends, perhaps as early as that evening, the two sides are expected to part ways.  Whether that would in turn trigger a return to Ann Arbor is still uncertain, although, again, the signs are certainly pointing in that general direction.

Harbaugh’s 49ers contract, which has one year remaining on it, would not prevent him from going back to the collegiate level for the first time since ending a four-year run at Stanford in January of 2011.  Barring a trade or dismissal, however, it would preclude him from moving on to another NFL team like Oakland, which has been rumored to be UM’s stiffest competition.  As far as the trade front goes, ProFootballTalk‘s Mike Florio taps the brakes on that particular line of speculation.

No one quite knows exactly what will happen. While many in the media have reported/predicted that Harbaugh will be traded, we’ve mentioned once or twice (or more often) that the logistics require a level of patience and planning in which the two sides may not be willing to engage. The details make a trade highly unlikely, which in turn makes that pair of third-round picks that the 49ers would have gotten from Cleveland in February as a practical matter unavailable.

Should Harbaugh return to the place where he was a college quarterback, and should the reports of on the contract be accurate, he would surpass Alabama’s Nick Saban ($7 million-ish) as the highest-paid head coach in the history of college football.

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No. 15 Arizona State overcomes furious Duke rally for Sun Bowl victory

Taylor Kelly, Deondre Singleton

It was not pretty, but No. 15 Arizona State (10-3) found a way out of El Paso with a victory in the Hyundai Sun Bowl Saturday afternoon. To do so, the Sun Devils needed to respond to a nearly storybook ending by Duke (9-4), with the Blue Devils taking its first lead late in the fourth quarter, only to see Arizona State steal it right back and intercept a last-ditch effort in the end zone to seal the 36-31 victory for Arizona State.

Arizona State started to let the game slip out of their hands late in the first half, but the Sun Devils came out strong in the second half. Taylor Kelly completed a touchdown pass to Demario Richard inside the red zone early in the third quarter to regain a double-digit lead and Zane Gonzalez later padded that lead with a 47-yard field goal, his third field goal of the afternoon. Going to the fourth quarter, Arizona State led 30-17, but just as they did at the end of the first half, the Sun Devils were unable to close.

Duke scored twice in the fourth quarter to gain its first lead of the game with just over five minutes to play. Anthony Boone completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Johnell Barnes early in the fourth quarter. Duke pulled a trick put of the bag later in the fourth quarter when receiver Jamison Crowder tossed a touchdown pass to Isaac Blakeney to give the Blue Devils their first lead of the game, 31-30 following the point-after. The thrill of owning the lead was short-lived, because getting the first bowl victory since the 1960 season certainly not could come so easy for Duke.

Kalen Ballage returned the ensuing kickoff 96 yards to the Duke four-yard line, and it took Arizona State just one play to move across the goal line. Kelly flipped a pass to Richard for the four-yard score, and the lead. Arizona State was stuffed on a two-point conversion, which gave Duke a chance to take one more lead.

Boone hit a deep pass down the middle fo the field to Crowder, who earlier in the game returned a punt for a touchdown, as the Blue Devils pushed inside the red zone with time dwindling. With 45 seconds to play, Boone threw a fade pass to Crowder on the right side of the field, but it was picked off by Kweishi Brown of Arizona State.

For Duke, it was another tough pill to swallow in a season that has seen a handful of them. But this should not take away from the tremendous amount of growth the program has seen in the past few seasons under head coach David Cutcliffe. It has to sting coming so close to a bowl victory not once, but twice in the final five minutes.

Arizona State missed out on a chance to play for a Pac-12 championship this season, but the season ends on a high note for Todd Graham‘s program. Arizona State should be expected to be another strong contender in the Pac-12 in 2014 as well after back-to-back 10-win seasons.

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Manziel’s Bama advice for OSU? ‘Respect them, don’t fear them’

Johnny Manziel

Because he now plays his football in the same state, Johnny Manziel has become the go-to guy for an NFL perspective on the Ohio State Buckeyes.

In late August, the former Texas A&M and current Cleveland Browns quarterback was asked about OSU’s situation at his position after Braxton Miller went down with a season-ending shoulder injury. The Buckeyes bounced back from that injury, as well as an injury to the replacement, to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff against top-ranked Alabama.

Manziel, of course, played in the SEC West and faced the Tide twice as a starter in 2012 and 2013.  In going 1-1 in those games, Johnny Football was outstanding, completing more than 74 percent of his passes for 717 yards, seven touchdowns and two interceptions.  For good measure, he added 190 yards rushing.

So, yes, he knows a little bit of what it takes to be successful against the Tide’s normally stout defense.  Earlier this week, Manziel was asked by the Cleveland Plain Dealer for any advice he’d impart on dealing with his old college nemesis.

“You absolutely give respect where it’s due,” Manziel told the Plain Dealer, “and they’re a program that has won numerous national championships and been at the top of the SEC.

You respect them, but you don’t fear them.”

Cardale Jones will be making just his second career start — his first was mildly successful — in one of two semifinal matchups. Even as it’s not even remotely how he approached the games, Manziel had further sage advice that both the player and, perhaps most importantly, Urban Meyer‘s OSU coaching staff should take to heart.

“[W]hat’s important is to be extremely efficient and take care of the little things,” the 2012 Heisman winner said. “Don’t make things any worse than it already is being out there against a defense that’s extremely good and fast. Take what’s given to you and live to fight another day.  Don’t force things. Sometimes it’s OK to punt the ball and get a stop on defense. …

“My advice to (Jones) is not to try and do too much. Put the pressure on Coach Meyer and [offensive coordinator Tom] Herman to put you in good position to succeed and go from there.

There you have it, Buckeyes. JFF has given you a ‘Bama cheat sheet; do with it what you will.

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South Carolina pulls away from Miami for halftime Independence Bowl lead

Pharoh Cooper

A game billed as a battle of good running backs and bad defenses lived up to its billing – sort of – through one half as South Carolina has grabbed a 17-6 halftime lead over Miami in the Duck Commander Independence Bowl.

The Hurricanes controlled the first 20 minutes of the game, jumping out to a 6-0 lead on a pair of short Michael Bagdley field goals. Miami moved the ball well each time, traveling 69 and 65 yards respectively, but stalled inside the 10-yard line on both occasions.

It was only a matter of time until South Carolina’s offense – and Miami’s struggling defense – showed up, and that moment came midway through the second quarter as Dylan Thompson hit Pharoh Cooper for a 78-yard touchdown pass to put the Gamecocks on top 7-6. South Carolina added to the lead with a 15-yard strike from Thompson to Mike Davis (after an earlier rushing touchdown was called back due to a holding penalty) and then a 32-yard Elliott Fry field goal with 1:39 remaining before the break. Fry missed a 58-yard try on the final play of the half.

In what could be his final game as a Hurricane, Duke Johnson has rushed 12 times for 82 yards and served as Miami’s leading receiver with five grabs for 51 yards. Brad Kaaya has struggled, completing 13-of-25 passes for 121 yards with an interception while dealing with a constant stream of pressure in his face.

Thompson has hit on 12-of-21 throws for 207 yards and two scores, with five completions for 126 yards and a score going to Cooper. Davis has rushed six times for 38 yards in addition to his 15-yard scoring grab.

South Carolina has a 270-204 overall yardage advantage.

Miami will receive the ball to open the second half.

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Duke Johnson’s mom says RB leaving Miami early for NFL

Pittsburgh v Miami Getty Images

For all intents and purposes, the Duck Commandeer Independence Bowl could be renamed the RB Early Entry Bowl.

Christmas Day, South Carolina’s Mike Davis confirmed that this will be his last season with the Gamecocks. A short time before Miami and USC kicked off its bowl appearance in Shreveport, a Hurricane back’s relative confirmed he wouldn’t be back either.

In a move widely expected, the mother of UM’s Duke Johnson revealed to the Palm Beach Post that her son is playing the last game of his collegiate career. Johnson had been expected to announce his decision at a press conference Sunday, which is also his mother’s birthday.

Earlier this season, Johnson became the ‘Canes’ all-times leader in rushing and all-purpose yards. Should he rush for at least 234 yards in his final game, he’d break the single-season record of 1,753 yards set by Willis McGahee in 2002.

At the time of this posting, he’s on his way to threatening that record as the junior has 82 yards rushing on 12 carries as his ‘Canes trail the ‘Cocks 7-6 with 6:53 remaining in the second quarter.

Johnson has 3,387 career rushing yards, and his 5,331 all-purpose yards includes 1,288 on kickoff returns, 668 receiving and eight passing.

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Bielema goes ‘Horns Down’ in photo-op with Strong

Charlie Strong

At least on one end — or, more specifically, on one hand — an old SWC rivalry is alive and well.

Arkansas and Texas will square off in the AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl Monday night in Houston. Ahead of the first game between the two football programs since 2008, the two head coaches, UA’s Bret Bielema and UT’s Charlie Strong, met with the media that’s gathered in the city to cover the second-ever bowl meeting (2000 Cotton Bowl) between the former SWC schools.

As is ofttimes the case, the two coaches took part in a photo-op handshake. As is ofttimes not the case, one of the head coaches got a little dig in at the expense of his counterpart’s program.

Behold, and bear witness to, full-blown Bert mode:

Yep, Bielema went and done that dang “Horns Down” thing that Mack Brown once derided as “disrespectful.” Love him or loathe him, there’s one thing that the Hog head coach is not — boring.

(Photo credit: Texas athletics)

UPDATED 4:48 p.m. ET: Sadly, it appears Bielema did not go “Horns Down” as it looked in the photo.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted.

UPDATED 5:06 p.m. ET: OK, apparently the fun is back on.

The person who took the picture is Arkansas sports anchor Aaron Peters.  According to Peters, there was no photoshop involved as he doesn’t know how to photoshop.

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Hokies pull away for Military Bowl victory and Beamer’s 10th bowl win

Bucky Hodges, Zach Edwards

Virginia Tech may have given up more offensive yards, but a familiar formula built on the strength of big defensive plays helped the Hokies pull away from Cincinnati for a 33-17 victory in the Military Bowl Presented by Northrop Grumman in Annapolis, Maryland on Saturday afternoon. The victory marked the 10th postseason bowl victory for Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer, who coached the game from the coaches box.

Beamer is the 10th coach in college football history to win 10 bowl games. The only other active coach with 10+ bowl wins is Steve Spurrier of South Carolina. Beamer is now two wins out of fifth place for most all-time bowl victories, an honor shared by Lou Holtz and Tom Osborne (12 wins each).

Virginia Tech forced three turnovers, including a pair of interceptions and one fumble that was returned for a pivotal touchdown. The defense was chewed up at times, but the Hokies buckled down when needed with big plays to keep control of the game. On offense, J.C. Coleman carried the bulk of the offense with 157 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Cincinnati may have lost a chance to win against Virginia Tech when quarterback Gunner Kiel was knocked out of the game. As Kiel was taken down by Virginia Tech’s Deon Clarke. Kiel hit his head on the play, which left him on the sideline for the remainder of the game. Without Munchie Legaux in uniform, Cincinnati turned to Michael Colosimo, who took a little time to settle in as the quarterback. Cincinnati scored just one touchdown since Colosimo’s entrance to the game in the third quarter. With Virginia Tech continuing to add points, that ruled out much shot of a comeback for a bowl victory.

The 2014 season was not a terrific one for the Hokies. Virginia Tech was a .500 team with a number of offensive issues from start to finish, although the Hokies scored a huge win on the road against Ohio State early in the year. The season looked promising after that win in Columbus, but things turned south quickly with a home loss to East Carolina and an up-and-down run through ACC play. The future of Virginia Tech should be interesting, with Beamer coming off throat surgery and Bud Foster locked into a coaching extension. The Hokies are still in need of offense in 2015, because the defense will continue to be as reliable as any.

For Cincinnati, the Bearcats are still likely to be in a favorable position to remain among the top programs in the Group of Five conversation. Co-champions of the American Athletic Conference this season, Tommy Tuberville has some good things happening with the program. This is certainly not the way Tuberville wanted this season to end, but it helps to demonstrate just how far the program has to go. Cincinnati lost three straight games to Ohio State, Memphis and the Miami Hurricanes early in the season, but went on to win seven straight games heading into the Military Bowl match-up with Virginia Tech. Cincinnati did some good things against Virginia Tech but was unable to finish the job too often with empty possessions.

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Momentum swings in Duke’s favor with late first half surge in Sun Bowl

Arizona State v Arizona Getty Images

No. 15 Arizona State was unable to deliver an early knockout blow, and Duke’s Jamison Crowder gave the Blue Devils a late spark to capture the momentum before halftime. Arizona State leads Duke 20-17 at the half, but a punt return for a touchdown by Crowder may have swung the momentum in Duke’s direction. Arizona State led 20-3 before Duke made things a little more interesting late in the half.

The 68-yard punt return by Jamison Crowder pulled Duke within three points in a first half that has seen the Blue Devils defense play in a bend-but-don’t-break mode. It seems to have worked enough to give Duke’s offense a chance to feel capable of winning this game in the second half. Duke’s offense has been sluggish at times though, piling up just 144 yards of offense and converted four of eight third-down attempts. Anthony Boone completed a 14-yard touchdown pass to Shaquille Powell minutes before Crowder’s punt return.

Demario Richard has rushed for a pair of Arizona State touchdowns, one in each quarter. The Sun Devils also added a pair of field goals off the leg of Zane Ballage to get to 20 points in the half. Eight different Arizona State players have caught a pass as Taylor Kelly continues to look to spread out the offense. Kelly has been pretty accurate with his passes, completing 14 of 18 attempts for 150 yards, but he also took a costly sack and fumbled the football as the Sun Devils were moving downfield for a potential touchdown.

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‘Horns WR Jaxon Shipley to play in Texas Bowl

Terrell Burt, Jaxon Shipley

Texas got a shot in the arm – specifically, quarterback Tyrone Swoopes‘ right arm – Saturday. At a Texas Bowl press event, head coach Charlie Strong revealed that senior wide receiver Jaxon Shipley has been cleared to play.

Shipley missed the Longhorns’ regular-season finale against TCU with a hamstring injury. A four-year starter, Shipley has battled hamstring issue throughout his career in Austin.

Shipley is Texas’ second-leading receiver this season with 58 grabs for 578 yards and a touchdown. His 58 receptions are the 12th most in Texas single-season history, and he will move into the top 10 with two grabs against Arkansas. The 122 combined receptions between Shipley and John Harris are the fifth-most by a pass-catching tandem in UT’s single-season history.

Most importantly, Swoopes struggled – mightily – in his only start without Shipley. The sophomore turned in by far the worst performance of his career to date, completing 20-of-34 passes for 200 yards with a touchdown and four interceptions (one returned for a touchdown) and a fumble returned for a touchdown in a 48-10 drubbing at the hands of the Horned Frogs.

Shipley’s presence means Texas has a leg up in the war of attrition with Arkansas. Razorbacks cornerback Carroll Washington and safety Rohan Gaines have been ruled out due to violations of team rules.

Texas and Arkansas will meet in the AdvoCare Texas Bowl at the Houston Texans’ NRG Stadium Monday night at 9 p.m. ET (ESPN).

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Report: Florida QB Jeff Driskel could be on the move

Jeff Driskel

Florida quarterback Jeff Driskel could be looking for a new home.

The Raleigh News & Observer reported Saturday that Driskel, a redshirt junior in 2014, is looking into using his senior status to spend 2015 in a new destination thanks to the NCAA’s graduate transfer exemption, and that Duke is on his potential list of destinations. :He has sent a release to the Blue Devils, allowing them to contact him,” the paper reports.

While we don’t know what other schools Driskel could be considering, it’d be hard for him to find a better option than Duke. Few coaches are more accomplished in coaching quarterbacks than the Devils’ David Cutcliffe, and Driskel spent the past year playing under longtime Cutcliffe pupil Kurt Roper. Furthermore, Duke will have a job opening as current signal caller Anthony Boone is playing his collegiate finale today in the Sun Bowl.

Additionally, it’s easy to see why Driskel could see the appeal in a new destination. Simply put, the kid has been through the ringer. The former blue-chip recruit led the Gators to an 11-2 mark in 2012, but struggled with injuries and inconsistent play as Florida slogged to a 10-13 mark over the 2013-14 seasons. For his career, Driskel has connected on 320-of-535 passes (59.8%) for 3,363 yards (6.29 per attempt) with 23 touchdowns and 20 interceptions while rushing 217 times for 637 yards and nine touchdowns.

The Devils don’t bring back much experience behind Boone. Sophomore Thomas Sirk and freshman Parker Boehme have attempted just 16 combined passes.

Of course, Driskel could just forget about football altogether and give the Boston Red Sox a call.

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With Beamer coaching Military Bowl from above, Hokies lead Cincy at half

Military Bowl- Cincinnati v Virginia Tech Getty Images

Virginia Tech head coach Frank Beamer is coaching the Hokies from the coaches box above the sidelines in the Military Bowl. After one half of play, he has seen some things he should like, and others he should not. Virginia Tech took a 13-10 lead into halftime following a 49-yard field goal by Joey Slye as the clock in the first half expired.

Cincinnati has more than double the offensive yards (308 to Virginia Tech’s 148), but a pair of interceptions by the Hokies defense kept things even on the scoreboard. Cincinnati and Virginia Tech were tied at 7-7 after the first quarter. Penalties hurt Cincinnati at times as well.

Gunner Kiel tossed a 31-yard touchdown pass to Chris Moore in the first quarter to give Cincinnati a 7-0 lead, capping a seven-play, 89-yard drive. The lead short-lived though, because the Hokies responded with a quick six-play, 64-yard touchdown drive. J.C. Colemann pushed the ball across the goal line to tie things up just about two minutes later.

Kiel has thrown for 234 yards and a touchdown, but he has been picked off twice. Chuck Clark and Kendall Fuller each have one interception for the Hokies. His Virginia Tech counterpart, Michael Brewer, has thrown for 75 yards and has been intercepted once. Brewer also caught a pass from Hokies receiver Isaiah Ford for a gain of 30 yards. For a while, Brewer was the team’s leading receiver and Ford was the leading passer for Virginia Tech.

Cincinnati battled to tie the game at 10-10 in the final minute of the half, but the ensuing kickoff was returned by Der’Woun Greene to around midfield, which allowed Virginian Tech a few plays to set up a last-second field goal. It was the second field goal from beyond 40 yards for Slye in the first half. He hit a 45-yard field goal early in the second quarter.

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Arizona’s Scooby Wright could have been a Boise State Bronco

Scooby Wright III

Arizona’s Scooby Wright is without a doubt one of the best defensive players in the country. He and his Wildcats are preparing to take on Boise State in the Fiesta Bowl. It turns out Wright may have been preparing for this game even if he never did attend Arizona. Wright had attended a pair of Boise State football camps but never received an offer from Chris Petersen‘s program.

“(The Broncos) said they were going to keep evaluating me,” Wright said, according toThe Idaho Statesman. “We always kept in contact, but nothing too serious.”

Boise State’s loss turned out to be Arizona’s gain. Arizona stepped in with an offer with much more certainty on Wright as a fixture in their defense than Boise State seemed to have, and that ultimately won Wright over.

“If someone tells me I’m not good enough or I can’t do something, it motivates me that much more,” Wright added.

That seems to have worked out very well for Arizona’s defensive star. Wright was awarded the Bronko Nagurski Award, Chuck Bednarik Award and  Lombardi Award.

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