Navy drops anchor on Army for 12th straight time

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Another year, another Navy victory over Army.

This year’s game was played in a mixture of snow and freezing rain as the game went on, but no matter what sort of wintry mix was falling from the sky, nothing Army was able to do was enough to slow down Navy’s red-hot quarterback Keenan Reynolds. Reynolds set an NCAA record while rushing for three touchdowns to power Navy to a 34-7 victory over their service academy rivals from West Point.

Reynolds tied the NCAA record for most rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single season with his 27th touchdown run of the year in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter he broke the three-way tie with former Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein and another former Midshipman quarterback, Ricky Dobbs. On his first fourth quarter touchdown run, an 11-yard scamper, Reynolds rushed for his 28th rushing touchdown of the season to become the new record holder for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback in a single season. For good measure, he added one more from the one-yard line for his 29th of the season. Reynolds ended his day with 136 rushing yards, the fourth most rushing yards by a Navy player during Navy’s current 12-game winning streak against Army. Only running back Adam Ballard has had more rushing yards for Navy during this stretch, with 192 yards in the 2003 Army Navy Game, and Kyle Eckel‘s 179 yards in the 2004 game and 152 yards in the 2005 game.

Army seemed to struggle to adjust to the weather at times once the snow started to pick up, but this game was more about Navy’s overall advantage on the field when it comes to execution. Navy was just four of 15 on third down conversions, but Army was unable to create any momentum off of that. Army picked up just two first downs out of 11 third down conversions in the game and the Black Knights also went 0-for-2 on fourth downs. Navy was two for three on fourth down, and four for four inside the red zone.

As expected, neither team found much success throwing the football the few times they attempted to do so. Reynolds took just seven pass attempts and completed two for 10 yards.Army quarterback Angel Santiago completed half of his ten attempts for 50 yards, but he was also intercepted at midfield as Navy seemed to be putting the clamps on Army late in the first half. Amy managed just 157 yards of total offense. Navy more than doubled that production with 347 yards of offense.

Army showed signs of life midway through the third quarter when they finally got on the scoreboard with a Santiago touchdown run, but Navy answered with an 11-play drive and a field goal. In the fourth quarter, Reynolds put the game away with his two touchdown runs to earn game MVP honors.

Army’s season is now officially in the books. The Black Knights won just three games this season, and the future of the program could be in some doubt. there has been some talk floating around that Rich Ellerson may have needed this game to potentially save his job. Coaching at Army has to be one of the toughest in the country though, and by most accounts Ellerson has done all he can.With this loss, Ellerson’s record is 20-41 overall and 0-5 against Navy (1-9 against Navy and Air Force, combined).

Navy will go on to play one more game. The Midshipmen will face Middle Tennessee in the Armed Forces Bowl on December 30 in Fort Worth, Texas. Navy missed out on the postseason last year and are just 1-4 in bowl games under head coach Ken Niumatalolo.

Navy gets another year of bragging rights. Next year the Army Navy Game will travel down I-95 from Philadelphia to Baltimore, much closer to Navy’s campus.

SEC leads NFL Draft for 11th straight year as Alabama and Michigan set school records

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The 2017 NFL Draft has come and gone, and once again it is the SEC claiming another NFL Draft national championship. A grand total of 53 players from the SEC were drafted by NFL teams. It is the 11th straight year the SEC has had the most players drafted by NFL teams.

The ACC ended the draft with 42 players drafted, followed by the Pac-12 (36) and Big Ten (35). The Big 12 ended the draft with just 14 players drafted.

Helping to contribute to the SEC’s NFL Draft total was Alabama setting a school record with 10 players drafted.

Alabama’s nine players drafted in the first 80 picks was also a new Alabama record.

Michigan ended up having more players drafted than any other Big Ten team, slipping past Ohio State by the time the draft closed up shop this year. For the Wolverines, 11 players ended up being drafted. The previous school record for draft picks was 10, set in 1972 and tied in 1974. Head coach Jim Harbaugh will get plenty of the praise for developing that many players getting a chance to be drafted, but Brady Hoke should be recognized for recruiting those players as well (and blamed for not developing the talent he brought in).

 

Air Force changes rules for football players with NFL aspirations

AP Photo/The Colorado Springs Gazette, Michael Ciaglo
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One of the top players from Air Force was ineligible to be drafted by the NFL this weekend, and it had nothing to do with NFL rules. It also had nothing to do with NFL teams backing away from a particular player due to off-field concerns. Instead, a policy at Air Force is what is to blame for wide receiver Jalen Robinette not moving on to the NFL at this time.

The U.S. Air Force will not approve requests from academy graduates to defer their two years of active duty in order to be allowed to play professional football. Just a year ago, the Department of Defense changed the policy to allow for the possibility, which made it possible for Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds to be allowed to play. Reynolds later joined the Baltimore Ravens. Reynolds had received a recommendation to be allowed to play by the U.S. Naval Academy.

“The Air Force notified academy leaders [Thursday] that the service would not approve requests to waiver active duty military commitments for cadet athletes,” a statement from Air Force read. “Cadets will be required to serve two years active duty prior to entering Ready Reserve, which would allow their participation in professional sports. The Air Force places tremendous value on our cadet athletes and their contributions to the nation as we continue to build leaders of character, engage in combat operations overseas and continue to ensure our highest military readiness at home.”

Because of the policy change and confirmation, Robinette was not able to be drafted. He may still have been a long shot to be drafted by an NFL Team, but the policy also means he is unable to be signed as an undrafted free agent as well.

Rawleigh Williams carted off at Arkansas scrimmage

AP Photo/Chris Brashers
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Any time a player that has previously undergone neck surgery goes down on the field and needs to be carted off is quite the scary moment. On Saturday, the Arkansas football program had that exact scare when Rawleigh Williams went down on the field in pain and ended up having to be carted off the practice field during the Arkansas scrimmage.

Williams was placed on a stretcher and taken out of the facility on a cart to receive medical attention. His legs and arms were moving on the ground, a slight sigh of relief given the hit and his injury history. In 2015, Williams was carted off and had to undergo surgery on his neck. Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema said the injury concern on Saturday was apparently not related to the previous neck injury, which was expected to have a full recovery.

It is an unfortunate ending to the spring for Williams, because all indications seemed to be he was certainly improving running the football. Bielema said earlier in the week Williams was running with more patience, which is always a key for a running back.

Arkansas moved its final scrimmage of the spring indoors due to bad weather rolling through the area.

Justin Herbert shines in first Oregon spring game under Willie Taggart

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A glimpse of a brand new era of Oregon football took center stage in Eugene, Oregon on Saturday as the spring football season drew to a close. Willie Taggart showed fans a little bit of what to expect from Oregon in the fall as the program looks to bounce back from a down season under the coach who has shown a knack for improving programs. As is usually the case in a spring game, Oregon’s quarterback situation was under a microscope, and sophomore Justin Herbert took advantage of the opportunity.

Herbert completed 16 of 26 passes for 327 yards and established a connection with wide receiver Darren Carrington. The two connected for three touchdowns in the game. Sophomore Travis Jonson and early enrollee Braxton Burmeister also saw playing time in the game, but Carrington was confident in saying this is Herbert’s job to lose.

”Our chemistry has definitely improved this spring, and it’ll improve more by the time fall comes, but Herbert, I mean, that’s the guy right now to beat,” Carrington said after the spring game.

As for the team as a whole, Taggert knows there is much still to address as a new system and style are implemented and the roster adjusts physically to the demands of the new coach.

‘We’re still building. We’re nowhere where we need to be as a football team yet. We have some good players. We don’t have a lot of depth that we need to have, that’s going to be a work in progress,” Taggart said. ”The thing for us as coaches is just to make our guys better than they were before. If I guy wasn’t good enough we want to make him look better than he was before. If I guy was good we want to make him great.”

Og course, it wouldn’t be an Oregon spring game without having that typical Oregon uniform flair. Even with a new head coach and with the talk suggesting the Ducks will go for a more traditional approach to uniforms in the fall, the spring game was used for some sizzle on the unis.

Oregon’s spring game crowd of 36,821 assured the Ducks of having the highest spring game attendance among Pac-12 school for a third consecutive year.