Maybe Arkansas State should just hire interim coach John Thompson as its permanent coach.
For the second-straight year, Thompson picked up the pieces of a coaching staff in turmoil — the result of Brian Harsin being hired away by Boise State — and led the Red Wolves to a postseason victory, this time defeating favored Ball State, 23-20, in the GoDaddy Bowl in Mobile on Sunday night.
This one featured a wild finish, as Ball State rallied from a 16-10 third-quarter deficit to take a 20-16 lead with 1:33 to play.
But ASU came back and went 59 yards in five plays, with Fredi Knighten finding Allen Muse for a 13-yard touchdown pass to put the Red Wolves up, 23-20, with 32 seconds left.
The Cardinals weren’t finished. Keith Wenning passed Ball State into Red Hawk territory, then completed a first-down throw to Willie Snead with two seconds left at the ASU 36 yard line. A late hit penalty advanced it to the 21 and BSU had a chance to pull out the victory with a field goal.
But Scott Secor’s 38-yard attempt was blocked and ASU secured the wild win.
The Red Wolves finished up the year 8-5, while Ball State fell to 10-3.
With the loss, the Cardinals dropped to 0-7 in bowl games. Arkansas State moved to 2-2 in bowls and can now embark upon its coaching search with a little bit of momentum behind it.
When word first broke of NCAA violations against Ole Miss, word from the Rebels’ football program was one of caution, for it was uncertain how many were targeted against football versus women’s basketball and track and field.
It appears we now know.
On Tuesday evening, the Associated Press reported the NCAA levied 13 allegations out of a possible 28 against the Ole Miss football team, nine of which occurred under the watch of head coach Hugh Freeze. However, it appears the most serious violations were either already know or took place during the Houston Nutt regime.
Included in the allegations are Laremy Tunsil‘s improper benefits, for which the left tackle already sat seven games. Also included are accusations former Nutt assistant David Saunders participated in a scheme to produce fraudulent test scores for recruits — the same allegations currently levied against Louisiana-Lafayette.
The remaining allegations, as detailed by the AP, include run-of-the-mill violations such as having the wrong people provide transportation on recruiting visits or assistant coaches making improper contact with recruits, many of which Ole Miss has already self-reported.
ESPN recruiting analyst Gerry Hamilton provided a massive public service through his Twitter account on Tuesday, releasing a data dump of fascinating information about the signing class of 2016.
In short, Texas was the most popular breeding ground for FBS prospects, but half of all signees came from a clean sweep from Texas, across the Gulf of Mexico to Florida and up to North Carolina.
The Lone Star State produced 359 players, with nearly half of those heading to Power 5 institutions. In fact, Hamilton reports, 72 of 128 FBS programs and 38 of 64 Power 5’s signed at least one player from Texas.
Florida trailed with 327 players, followed by California with 248 players and Georgia with 225. For what it’s worth, Ohio was not included in the study.
Data dump, begin!
The American Athletic Conference released its 2016 conference schedule highlighted by, oddly enough, non-conference games that pit league gem Houston against Oklahoma (on opening day at Houston’s NRG Stadium) and Louisville (in Houston on Nov. 19).
Those two games, more than any others, will sink or swim the conference’s chances of not only grabbing the Group of Five spot in the New Year’s Six, but a spot in the College Football Playoff itself.
The 2016 conference slate kicks off with Navy meeting Connecticut on Sept. 10 and concludes with the second annual AAC title game on Dec. 3 at a to-be-determined campus site.
The AAC led the way in scheduling Power 5 opponents — highlighted by a Week 3 schedule that will see the entire East Division punching up a weight class — and includes the likes of Florida State, Maryland, N.C. State, Virginia, Syracuse, Kansas, TCU and Oklahoma (for all intents and purposes) visiting AAC campuses.
View the full AAC slate here:
Just like we all thought when watching him play at Notre Dame, Tommy Rees will be in the NFL in 2016. Just not as a quarterback.
The San Diego Chargers announced his hiring as an obnoxiously vague offensive assistant, assisting with the club’s offense in some form that they aren’t inclined to elaborate on.
After completing a career in which he threw for 7,670 yards with 61 touchdowns against 37 interceptions from 2010-13, Rees was cut by the Washington Redskins in 2014, then spent the 2014-15 seasons as a graduate assistant at Northwestern.