Abdullah, Davis and Gordon headline Doak Walker Award watch list

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College football may be trending more to the passing game, but the Doak Walker Award reminds us all there are some top quality running backs playing key roles on their teams as well. This year’s Doak Walker Award watch list includes 53 of the nation’s top running backs. The list includes semifinalists from last year’s award, Mike Davis of South Carolina and Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin. Nebraska running back Ameer Abdullah, the nation’s leading returning rusher, is also considered a top candidate.

Boston College’s Andre Williams was the winner of the Doak Walker Award last season. The award has gone to a player from a power conference each year since 2002. BYU’s Luke Staley and Rice’s Trevor Cobb are the only players from non-power conferences to win the award (although Rice was a part of the old Southwest Conference at the time Cobb won the award). Texas leads the nation with three Doak Walker Award winners. Arkansas, Texas Tech and Wisconsin each have two.

This year’s semifinalists will be announced on November 18, and finalists will be announced on November 24. The Doak Walker Award will be presented on December 11 during the annual awards show on ESPN. The watch list will accept nominees until October, so more names could be added along the way. Here is the full watch list as it stands right now;

Ameer Abdullah (Sr.), Nebraska
Jay Ajayi (Jr.), Boise State
Javorius “Buck” Allen (Jr.), USC
Leon Allen (Jr.), Western Kentucky
Terry Baggett (Sr.), Army
Bill Belton (Sr.), Penn State
Malcolm Brown (Sr.), Texas
Tra Carson (Jr.), Texas A&M
B.J. Catalon (Jr.), TCU
David Cobb (Sr.), Minnesota
Tevin Coleman (Jr.), Indiana
Alex Collins (So.), Arkansas
James Conner (So.), Pittsburgh
Marcus Cox (So.), Appalachian State
Mike Davis (Jr.), South Carolina
Kenneth Dixon (Jr.), Louisiana Tech
Jahwan Edwards (Sr.), Ball State
Kenneth Farrow (Jr.), Houston
Josh Ferguson (Jr.), Illinois
D.J. Foster (Jr.), Arizona State
Melvin Gordon (Jr.), Wisconsin
Michael Gordon (Jr.), Arkansas State
Johnathan Gray (Jr.), Texas
Todd Gurley (Jr.), Georgia
Kenneth Harper (Sr.), Temple
Alonzo Harris (Sr.), Louisiana-Lafayette
Derrick Henry (So.), Alabama
Bronson Hill (Sr.), Eastern Michigan
Joe Hill (Sr.), Utah State
Duke Johnson (Jr.), Miami
Jeremy Langford (Sr.), Michigan State
Daniel Lasco (Jr.), California
Shock Linwood (So.), Baylor
Robert Lowe (Jr.), Texas State
Tre Madden (Jr.), USC
Terrence Magee (Sr.), LSU
Raymond Maples (Sr.), Army
Byron Marshall (Jr.), Oregon
Kevin Parks (Sr.), Virginia
Christian Powell (Jr.), Colorado
Donnel Pumphrey (So.), San Diego State
Josh Robinson (Jr.), Mississippi State
William Stanback (So.), UCF
Cameron Stingily (Sr.), Northern Illinois
Kelvin Taylor (So.), Florida
Thomas Tyner (So.), Oregon
Jamaal Williams (Jr.), BYU
Jonathan Williams (Jr.), Arkansas
Trey Williams (Jr.), Texas A&M
Aaron Wimberly (Sr.), Iowa State
T.J. Yeldon (Jr.), Alabama
Kelsey Young (Sr.), Stanford
Zach Zwinak (Sr.), Penn State


Catch up on your watch lists released so far:

Maxwell Award (best player)

Bednarik Award (best defensive player)

Hornung Award (most versatile player)

Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback)

Biletnikoff Award (best receiver)

Mackey Award (best tight end)

Rimington Trophy (best center)

Outland Trophy (best interior lineman)

Lombardi Award (best down lineman)

Butkus Award (best linebacker)

Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back)

Lou Groza Award (best kicker)

Ray Guy Award (best punter)

 

Boise State-Fresno State MWC championship game set

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Entering Week 12, just one of the nine FBS conference championship games, the ACC, had been set.  As of now, there’s a second one.

Both Boise State (6-0) and Fresno State (5-1) with a firm grip on the MWC’s Mountain and West divisions, respectively.  All BSU needed was for, among other things, 5-1 Wyoming to lose one of its last two games, while FSU needed at least one win to stave off San Diego State.

Saturday, any potential Week 13 drama for either team ended in one fell swoop as Fresno beat Wyoming 13-7 in Laramie.  That result means that the Broncos and Bulldogs will square off in the MWC championship game Dec. 2.

That game will serve as a rematch as both teams close out the regular season against each other next weekend.  The winner of that matchup will likely play host to the title game.  Officially, however, this is how the host site will be determined:

Boise State is currently ranked No. 25 in the most recent College Football Playoff Rankings. If the Broncos are ranked in the CFP poll on Tuesday, November 21 and defeat Fresno State on Saturday, November 25, the 2017 MW Football Championship Game will be held in Boise. If Boise State were to fall out of the CFP poll on Tuesday, November 21 or lose on November 25 to Fresno State, the site would be determined by composite computer rankings and announced on Sunday, November 26.

The Broncos and Bulldogs met in the 2014 MWC championship game, a 28-14 win for Boise.

Scott Frost calls report that he’s close to deal with Nebraska ‘completely false’

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The Scott Frost-to-Nebraska train has shown no signs of slowing down.  In fact, it’s gaining speed.

Frost, the former NU quarterback, has been mentioned prominently as a potential replacement for Mike Riley if/when he’s fired as the Cornhuskers’ head coach.  Given his connection to Lincoln and his success at his current job — he has UCF at 10-0 heading into the regular-season finale — the speculation makes perfect sense.

Overnight, that speculation heated up significantly as Lars Anderson of Bleacher Report tweeted that Frost and his alma mater are nearing an agreement on a seven-year, $35 million contract, with Anderson labeling the two sides as “close” on the deal.

Following UCF’s 45-19 win over Temple that kept the Knights perfect on the season, Frost, at least publicly, dismissed the report.

“That is completely false,” Frost said according to the Lincoln Journal-Star. “I can promise you no deal has been made.”

Of course, those into semantics, being what they are, would suggest that Anderson never reported that a deal has been made.  He merely stated that he’s hearing a deal is close, so Frost’s response was essentially an answer to a question that wasn’t posed.

Regardless, Frost’s name will continue to pop-up in connection to the potential Nebraska opening, and the opening at Florida for that matter until those jobs are filled by someone other than Frost — if one’s not filled by Frost, at least.

After slow start, No. 7 Georgia holds halftime lead over Kentucky between the hedges

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After getting throttled on the Plains of Auburn last week for their first loss, everybody wondered how No. 7 Georgia would respond as they went back home for an emotional-filled Senior Day.

Despite a slow start, it turns out the Bulldogs are doing okay on that front and look to be well on their way to bouncing back against an overmatched Kentucky squad in taking a 21-6 lead into halftime on Saturday afternoon.

UGA quarterback Jake Fromm threw an interception on the team’s opening series but rebounded to finish the half with 108 yards and a score through the air. As is typical, he was mostly handing off to his two big tailbacks in Nick Chubb (31 yards and a TD) and Sony Michel (68 yards, one touchdown), but did toss his 17th touchdown pass of the season on a beautiful pass to set a new school record for freshman quarterbacks.

A key point for the offense came late in the first quarter when punter Cameron Nizialek, a Ray Guy Award semifinalist, drew a roughing the kicker penalty to extend the team’s second offensive possession.  One of Kentucky’s best defenders, safety Mike Edwards, went out a few plays later with a hip injury (he later returned) and the Bulldogs took advantage of all the stars aligning by having Chubb punch in a touchdown to cap off a 75-yard drive.

Defensively, the team was pretty solid even when factoring in having to guard against an extra possession. They limited the Wildcats to just 140 yards on offense and contained dangerous runner Benny Snell to just 33 yards on the ground as well. UK wasn’t too shabby themselves on defense outside of the scoring drive late in the first quarter but seemed to start loosening up as the clock kept ticking.

While the college football slate isn’t the best in this window of games, credit to both sides in this one for at least keeping things somewhat close and interesting. Kentucky still has some hope to pull off the upset despite the home team holding the two-score lead going into the break at halftime.

Justin Motlow becomes first Seminole Tribe member to score a TD for Florida State

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It may have come in a blowout against a vastly-overmatched opponent, but this is pretty damn cool nonetheless.

Per Florida State’s official website, the grandmother of Justin Motlow is 100-percent Seminole Indian, while Motlow himself is 25-percent.  In 2014, Motlow accepted a preferred walk-on spot at FSU, becoming the first Seminole Tribe of Florida member to play football for the Seminoles.

In the fourth quarter of FSU’s 77-6 blowout of FCS Delaware State, Motlow caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from J.J. Cosentino.  Obviously, Motlow became the first Seminole Tribe member to score a touchdown for the ‘Noles, with the football program ensuring that the football Motlow caught finds a very special home.