The last time Auburn took the pristine field at Jordan-Hare Stadium, Chris Davis carried the ball 109 yards, past the Alabama field goal unit and into the pages of history. Nine months later, Gus Malzahn and the No. 6 Auburn Tigers picked up right where they left off, cruising past Arkansas 45-21.
Jeremy Johnson earned the start for a double-secret suspended Nick Marshall and could not have started hotter, guiding Auburn on touchdown drives of 75, 75 and 98 to open the game. The sophomore hit his first eight throws for 204 yards and two touchdowns, the first of which came on the same extended play-action that tied the Alabama game, carrying Melvin Ray 49 yards into the same end zone where Ricardo Louis stunned Georgia and where the Tigers scored the tying and winning touchdowns against Alabama. Johnson played the entire first half and did all of his damage through the air, hitting 13-of-17 passes for 243 yards and those two scores.
Marshall played the second half and got the familiar Malzahn-patented running game going. In addition to his own 19-yard scoring dash to open the second half, Marshall’s presence gave Auburn’s running backs space to do their best Tre Mason impressions. Cameron Artis-Payne rushed 26 for 178 yards and one touchdown, and Corey Grant added 10 carries for 87 yards and another score.
Arkansas matched Auburn score for score early. With an offensive line that the SEC Network broadcast noted as the fourth-largest in all of football, the Razorbacks pummeled the Auburn front for 151 yards on seven yards a pop in forging a 21-21 halftime deadlock, but defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson’s unit dominated the second half. Every second half Arkansas possession traveled 20 yards or less and ended in a punt, except for the one Jermaine Whitehead ended with a 33-yard pick six that effectively shut down any chance of an upset.
After rushing for those 151 first-half yards, Arkansas was nearly doubled up on the ground, 302-153. That means Arkansas rushed for two yards in the second half.
The second half was fractured by a one hour, 28 minute weather delay. And, in the ultimate act of vengeance by the football gods, after years debate over the hurry-up no-huddle and debates about “what we want football to be” that saw Bret Bielema and Malzahn taking polar opposite sides, the Jordan-Hare Stadium clocks were inoperable for the entire first half.
After some dotting of some i’s and crossing some t’s, and some closed-door legalese, Art Briles is officially a former head football coach.
In a press release Friday, Baylor announced that it and Briles “have mutually agreed to terminate their employment relationship.” In the release, the university mentions “[b]oth parties acknowledge that there were serious shortcomings in the response to reports of sexual violence by some student-athletes.” The public acknowledgement of “serious shortcomings” in responding to claims of sexual assault will likely be of import to the lawyers involved in at least three lawsuits filed against the university and/or Briles that allege “deliberate indifference” in their collective response to claims of sexual assault.
Briles’ termination is effective immediately, but was essentially effective nearly a month ago when Briles was suspended “with intent to terminate” in the wake of the sexual assault scandal that’s rocked the university in Waco.
As Baylor is a private institution, the financial terms of the separation haven’t been divulged. Briles had eight years and nearly $40 million remaining on his contract at the time of his initial “suspension.”
The official separation also comes a week after Briles reportedly reached a contract settlement with the university.
Below is the full and complete release from Baylor on this development.
WACO, Texas (June 24, 2016) – Baylor University and Art Briles have mutually agreed to terminate their employment relationship, effective immediately. Both parties acknowledge that there were serious shortcomings in the response to reports of sexual violence by some student-athletes, including deficiencies in University processes and the delegation of disciplinary responsibilities with the football program. Baylor is addressing these shortcomings and making ongoing improvements.
Baylor wishes Coach Briles well in his future endeavors. Coach Briles expresses his thanks to the City of Waco and wishes the Baylor Bears success in the future.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.
Tennessee has become the latest FBS program to see players leave in search of greener playing-time grass, with a pair of offensive linemen reportedly set to make their exits from Knoxville.
According to a pair of tweets from UT radio network sideline reporter John Brice, Vols linemen Dontavius Blair (pictured) and Ray Raulerson have decided to leave Butch Jones‘ football program. According to 247Sports.com‘s Wes Rucker, “multiple program sources have indicated in the past week to GoVols247 that Blair and Raulerson were indeed looking to leave the program in hopes of having better chances to play.”
Both are expected to transfer to FCS programs to either continue their playing careers or, in the case of Blair, finish it.
Blair played in nine games last season, Blair in five. Neither player started a contest as a Vol.
When it came to the 2016 season, neither player was expected to be a significant part of any line rotation.
It appears Will Muschamp‘s Columbia reunion with one of his former Florida players won’t come to fruition as first thought.
Last months, reports surfaced that J.C. Jackson could be headed to South Carolina to join Muschamp’s first-year Gamecocks football program. However, 247Sports.com is now reporting that Jackson will not enroll at USC.
“Sources indicate Jackson is not eligible to transfer to the Gamecocks in a ruling that’s beyond South Carolina’s control,” the site wrote.
Instead, sources indicated to the recruiting website that Jackson will likely end up at Maryland. The Terps’ first-year coach, D.J. Durkin, was Muschamp’s defensive coordinator with the Gators when Jackson was a defensive back with the team.
Facing three felony charges in connection to an armed home invasion robbery, Jackson “transferred” from UF in May of last year. He was ultimately acquitted on all of those charges, and is currently enrolled at a California junior college.
A four-star member of the Gators’ 2014 recruiting class, Jackson was rated as the No. 21 corner in the country; the No. 37 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 243 recruit overall by Rivals.com. He played in the 2014 opener, but missed the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. Exiting the spring, Jackson was expected to take a starting job into summer camp in 2015 prior to the legal issues arising.
If Jackson lands at Maryland, or any other FBS program for that matter, he would be eligible to play immediately in 2016. The redshirt sophomore would then have three seasons of eligibility at his disposal.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: a college football player has decided to leave his original home and look elsewhere.
The latest to be hit with attrition via a transfer is Virginia Tech, with the Hokies confirming speculation that Carson Lydon is no longer with the team and intends to transfer to an undetermined location. No reason was given for the linebacker parting ways with the program.
Should Lydon decide to move on to another FBS program, he’d likely have to sit out the 2016 season, leaving him with three seasons of eligibility remaining beginning with the following season.
Lydon was a three-star member of the Hokies’ 2015 recruiting class coming out of high school in Florida. In addition to Tech, Lydon held offers from, among others, Boston College, Cincinnati, Duke, North Carolina State, Rutgers and Syracuse.
As a true freshman last season, Lydon played in 11 games.