Running wild: Florida State leads Georgia Tech 28-21 in ACC Championship Game

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It’s just another day at the office for this year’s Florida State Seminoles squad. The nation’s fourth-ranked squad got off to another slow start.

However, the Seminoles didn’t take the entire half to adjust like it has done numerous times this season. Instead of trailing at halftime yet again, the Seminoles came on strong to post a 28-21 lead against the No. 11 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets after two quarters of play in the ACC Championship Game.

At the start of the contest, it was a different story. The Seminoles defense looked completely lost trying to defend Georgia Tech’s triple-option attack.

The Yellow Jackets easily moved the ball without even throwing it once. In fact, Paul Johnson‘s offense ran the ball 26 straight times and the first pass didn’t occur until the second quarter.

The heavy dose of the run game didn’t slow Georgia Tech in the least. They scored a touchdown during their first three drives of the game.

Georgia Tech finished the first half with 214 rushing yards. And it won’t be an easier to stop the Yellow Jackets in the second half after Florida State’s most-talented defensive lineman, Eddie Goldman, was forced to leave the game due to a leg injury.

Florida State might not have been clicking on a cylinders on defense, but it’s offense proved to be unstoppable. The Seminoles had four possessions in the first half. They scored all four times.

Like Georgia Tech, the Seminoles had their way when they decided to run the football.

Florida State’s offensive line dominated the Yellow Jackets’ defensive line at the point of attack. Freshman running back Dalvin Cook ran wild and led all rushers with 99 yards.

Unlike Georgia Tech, Florida State proved to be explosive throwing the football.

Quarterback Jameis Winston made the Yellow Jackets secondary pay during two breakdowns in coverage. Tight end Nick O’Leary and wide receiver Rashad Greene both grabbed touchdown receptions of over 40 yards with no Georgia Tech defender within 15 yards of them.

Winston sat in the pocket without fear of being touched and completed 12-of-17 passes for 222 yards and three touchdowns. The final touchdown came with 30 seconds left in the second quarter when Winston found Greene open for their second scoring connection of the evening.

The second half now becomes a beauty contest for Florida State. It isn’t simply about winning to maintain a spot among the top four teams. The No. 5 Ohio State Buckeyes are absolutely crushing the No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers in the Big Ten Championship Game. The No. 3 TCU Horned Frogs already won big earlier in the day. And the No. 6 Baylor Bears hold a two-score lead over the No. 9 Kansas State Wildcats in the third quarter.

Florida State needs to prove they are one of the best teams in the nation with a strong second-half effort to win the ACC Championship Game.

Michigan RB declares Wolverines actually beat Ohio State last year

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No. 9 Ohio State heads to No. 24 Michigan on Saturday (noon ET, FOX) looking to protect its 5-game winning streak against That Team Up North. According to Michigan running back Karan Higdon, though, it’s Michigan that’s looking to protect its claim over the scoreboard.

Higdon surely remembers last year’s game well. He was there, after all, carrying three times for five yards. However, it was actually Ohio State who won the game, 30-27 in double overtime. The game was incredibly close, as the score indicates. Michigan would have won if not for a pair of Wilton Speight disasters at the goal line, the first an interception that Malik Hooker returned for a touchdown to give Ohio State a 7-3 lead and the second a goal line fumble that ruined Michigan’s chance to take a 17-7 lead.

As we know, Ohio State fought back to win by this much. How much? Jim Harbaugh shows us below.

Higdon figures to have a much greater impact on this year’s game. He’s the Wolverines leading rusher 874 yards and 10 touchdowns, and ran for 200 yards and two touchdowns on just 16 carries in Michigan’s most recent home game, a 33-10 win over Minnesota.

Here’s hoping, for his sake, that he can have an impact on an actual Michigan victory this time around.

Finalists announced for a number of individual awards

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The final week of the regular season is upon us. Heck, some teams still have two games to play between now and bowl season. Still, it’s awards season in college football, and the petty matter of actual games won’t get in the way of the pageantry.

Let’s dive right in.

Bednarik Award (best defensive player)
Bradley Chubb, NC State
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Roquan Smith, Georgia

Biletnikoff Award (best wide receiver)
Michael Gallup, Colorado State
David Sills V, West Virginia
James Washington, Oklahoma State

Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player)
Bradley Chubb, NC State
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Josey Jewell, Iowa
Ed Oliver, Houston
Roquan Smith, Georgia

Butkus Award (best linebacker)
Devin Bush, Michigan
Tremaine Edmunds, Virginia Tech
T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin
Dorian O’Daniel, Clemson
Roquan Smith, Georgia

Davey O’Brien Award (best quarterback)
J.T. Barrett, Ohio State
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma
Mason Rudolph, Oklahoma State

Doak Walker Award (best running back)
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Bryce Love, Stanford
Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin

Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back)
DeShon Elliott, Texas
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama
Josh Jackson, Iowa

John Mackey Award (best tight end)
Mark Andrews, Oklahoma
Troy Fumagalli, Wisconsin
Mike Geisicki, Penn State

Lou Groza Award (best kicker)
Daniel Carlson, Auburn
Dominik Eberle, Utah State
Matt Gay, Utah

Maxwell Award (best overall player)
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Bryce Love, Stanford
Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma

Outland Trophy (best interior player)
Orlando Brown, Oklahoma
Quenton Nelson, Notre Dame
Ed Oliver, Houston

Ray Guy Award (best punter)
Michael Dickson, Texas
J.K. Scott, Alabama
Mitch Wishnowsky, Utah

Wuerffel Trophy (best community servant)
Blaise Taylor, Arkansas State
Courtney Love, Kentucky
Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame

Winners will be announced at the Home Depot College Football Awards show in Atlanta, Thursday, Dec. 7 on ESPN.

Kentucky loses TE C.J. Conrad to foot injury

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Kentucky tight end C.J. Conrad has been lost for the season to a lisfranc injury in his left foot, head coach Mark Stoops announced Monday. He will undergo surgery to correct the issue on Tuesday.

Though he caught just 16 passes for 286 yards and four touchdowns on the season, Conrad was Kentucky’s leading receiver this season. The junior caught one 17-yard pass in Big Blue’s 41-38 defeat of Louisville last season.

With Conrad, a junior, out, Kentucky will turn to senior Greg Hart and/or sophomore Justin Rigg at tight end, though the Louisville Courier-Journal notes that both have battled injuries of late.

Kentucky will close the season against Louisville in Lexington on Saturday (noon ET, SEC Network) and in a to-be-determined bowl game.

Joey Jones steps down as South Alabama head coach

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There’s never a good time to lose a football game 52-0, but even by that scale it’s an especially bad thing to lose 52-0 in a game you had to win to keep your bowl hopes alive to a team so disgusted by its own season that it fired its head coach a month ago.

That’s what South Alabama did on Saturday in dropping a 52-0 decision to Georgia Southern, giving the Eagles their first win of the season.

And on Monday, South Alabama announced head coach Joey Jones will resign following the Jaguars’ Dec. 2 finale at New Mexico State.

“There comes a time in every program where there is a need for change.  For this program that I love so much, that time is now,” Jones said in a statement.  “One of the proudest days of my professional life was being the named the first head coach at South Alabama.  Today is difficult, but it is the right step for me, my family and for this football program.”

Jones is the only head coach South Alabama has ever known, hired Feb. 15, 2008. He led the Jags for three seasons as an FCS Independent before joining the Sun Belt in 2012, taking the club to bowl games in 2014 and 2016.

The loss Saturday dropped the program to 4-7 this season, ending hopes of returning to a bowl game for the first time in the program’s short history.

“Joey Jones is the father of our football program.  He, his wife Elise and his entire family put their arms around the program and committed to its establishment and growth,” said AD Dr. Joel Erdmann.  “He has placed South Alabama Football on strong footing, which is something he and his family can be very proud of and we sincerely appreciate.  His good, hard work and commitment will forever be recognized.”