Colorado State scores 11 points in final minute to stun Washington State in New Mexico Bowl

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Too many bowl games? Tell that to Colorado State fans.

Colorado State (8-6, 5-3 MWC) took advantage of some late miscues by Washington State (6-7, 4-5 Pac 12) to win the first bowl game of the season. Kapri Bibbs pushed through for his third touchdown if the game to bring the Rams within two points of Washington State and an official review overturned a two-point conversion ruling to give Colorado State two more points to tie the game at 45-45 in the final minute of the fourth quarter. A fumbled kickoff return set the Rams up for a game winning field goal as time expired for a wild 48-45 victory.

Washington State coughed away a late lead in the game at a time when Colorado State had no timeouts to stop the clock with two minutes to play. One lost fumble was overturned following a lengthy review determining Halliday had been down before losing the football. But a handoff on the very next play saw Colorado State rip the football away from the running back to have one final chance to tie the game up. The Rams took advantage with Bibbs pushing in for the touchdown, his third of the game.

The first quarter of this one had a little bit of everything. In the first 40 seconds in to the game both teams had turned the football over. Halliday got in to a bit of a shouting match with Colorado State defensive line coach Greg Lupfer after tossing the game’s first touchdown of the afternoon. The Rams got off to a poor start and Washington State took advantage with great starting field position set up by a blocked punt in the end zone allowing Washington State to score an easy touchdown for a quick 14-0 lead. The Cougars took a 35-23 lead in to the half.

Colorado State’s Bibbs rushed for his 30th touchdown of the season in the third quarter to cut the Washington State lead to 38-30. With the touchdown run Bibbs joined some elite company in college football history by becoming the third running back to rush for 30 touchdowns in a single season. He joins former Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and former Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma State Barry Sanders. Bibbs ended the game with a game-high 169 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He became the first FBS player to rush for three touchdowns in a game eight different times in a season as well.

Where Washington State goes from here should be fun to follow. Mike Leach‘s team ends on a low note but has a bright future ahead of them. Washington State was a young team this season. On the depth chart for this bowl game the first team offense and defense had eight seniors, so there will be some holes to fill, most notably on the offensive line and in the secondary. Leach was always expected to be capable of turning things around for Washington State the way he did at Texas Tech. This season showed they still have a long way to go before being able to challenge the likes of Stanford and Oregon for Pac 12 North bragging rights, and with Chris Petersen taking over at rival Washington the challenges may only get tougher in the future, but the Cougars have now come close to the thrill of postseason victory, and that can do a lot to continue building on a foundation.

And let us not overlook what Jim McElwain has done with Colorado State since taking over as head coach. Just as Leach has created an identity for Washington State’s turnaround, McElwain is bringing a bit of a Nick Saban-esque toughness to the program and the signs of progress are showing. In just his second year in the job, McElwain coached the Rams to a winning regular season and is in a conference where competing for a championship is not a far-fetched idea if things continue to develop.

Washington State opens the 2014 season in Seattle’s Century Link Field against Rutgers, who will be making their debut as a member of the Big Ten. The Cougars also get homes games against Oregon, USC and Washington.

Colorado State’s 2014 will begin in Denver against rival Colorado along with a home game against Tulsa.

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.