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Memphis weathers early storm, scores 24 straight to lead No. 13 Ole Miss

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Early on it looked like Memphis didn’t belong in the same zip code of the big stage, let alone on it.  After weathering that early flurry from No. 13 Ole Miss, the team with the third-longest winning streak in the country got up, punched back and buckled the knees of its Top-15 opponent.

Winners of 12 straight coming in, the U of M was able to shake of an early 14-0 deficit and head into the locker room down with a stunning 24-14 lead.  With just over five minutes gone in the first quarter, a trick play on the second play from scrimmage — wide receiver Laquon Treadwell was the thrower — resulted in a 68-yard touchdown pass and a Chad Kelly 23-yard touchdown pass had the Tigers on the ropes.

Add in a U of M touchdown pass off trickeration that was called back in between, and the home-standing Tigers were reeling.

A Paxton Lynch touchdown pass with 2:12 left in the first helped steady the Tigers and cut the deficit in half at 14-7.  A defensive stand for the normally offensive-minded Tigers early in the second quarter seemed to swing the momentum violently back toward the home team, with the U of M stiffening on three straight short-yardage plays at their own 10 to get the ball back on downs.

Still trailing 14-7 with under four minutes remaining, a quick 17-point burst gave the Tigers not only their first lead of the game but also complete control of it.  A field goal with 3:49 remaining was quickly followed by a Kelly interception that, three plays later, the Tigers turned into a four-yard Sam Craft touchdown run for a 17-14 lead.

On the ensuing possession, and with around two minutes remaining in the half, Rebels head coach Hugh Freeze inexplicably went for it on fourth-and-one from his own 34-yard line.  Kelly was stuffed for no gain, handing the ball back to the Tigers with plenty of time remaining.

That decision came back to bite Freeze in his backside as, after a third-and-13 conversion, the Tigers capitalized with another Lynch touchdown pass with :34 left in the half.

The Rebels have thrown for 233 yards as a team, with Kelly responsible for 165 of those.  Lynch has 191 of his own, although he did throw his first interception this season in 172 attempts.  Neither team has done much in the running game, with the Rebels averaging 1.3 yards per carry and the Tigers 3.2.

The Rebels are in even bigger danger of digging an even deeper hole early in the third quarter as the Tigers will get the ball on offense to start the second half.  That offense, incidentally, scored 17 points on its last three possessions.

Coincidentally or not, all of that damage came after star Rebel defensive lineman Robert Nkemdiche sustained a head injury as a ball carrier on the Tigers’ red-zone stand early in the second quarter. His return in the second half is questionable.

Ohio State super fan signed memorial photo of Earle Bruce, and Ohio State players were not happy

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The Ohio State football family paid their last respects to former Buckeyes head coach Earle Bruce this week, from family, friends, former players, coaches, and fans. Among those paying their respects was one of Ohio State’s most visible fans, the so-called Buck-I-Guy (the one who dresses up like a cowboy, and not the face-painting fan you see during every broadcast of an Ohio State game). A memorial photo of Bruce to be signed by Bruce’s former players accumulated plenty of signatures, but one of those signatures was not welcome by Bruce’s former players.

A sign made it clear the photo was to only be signed by former coaches and players that have played for or worked under Bruce. Whether he missed the sign or just felt he was as much a part of the Ohio State football program as the players, the self-proclaimed “Buck-I-Guy” signed the photo.

The signature clearly did not sit well with Ohio State players, and somebody ended up obscuring Buck-I-Guy’s signature by covering it up with an image of a buckeye.

Helmet sticker to Eleven Warriors.

Oregon’s Fotu Leiato arrested after removing vehicle’s parking boot

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For the second time this week, we’ll be forced to rest the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker back to double zeroes.

The latest to do the deed is Fotu Leiato, with the Eugene Register-Guard reporting that the Oregon outside linebacker was arrested Wednesday evening by university police on charges of second-degree criminal mischief and second-degree theft.  It’s alleged that Leiato removed a parking boot from the vehicle he was driving; it’s unclear what led to the parking boot being attached in the first place.

The Register-Guard also writes that “Leiato was also booked into the jail on a failure to appear warrant from Eugene Municipal Court, stemming from a second-degree criminal trespass charge.” What led to that charge is unclear as well.

All three of the charges Leiato is facing are misdemeanors, and the football program has yet to publicly address the developments.

The rising fourth-year senior has played in 37 games the past three seasons, including all 13 in 2017.  His lone start came during the 2017 season against Southern Utah.  He’s been credited with 37 tackles, one tackle for loss and two passes defensed during his collegiate career.

Michigan heads to France for Wolverines’ European Vacation, The Sequel

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Brace yourself, Paris, for the 2018 version of the Khaki Invasion.

Last year around this time, the Michigan football program took a trip to Italy as part of a spring practice schedule that included meeting the Pope as well as distributing backpacks to refugees.  Thursday, as previously announced, the U-M program is leaving Ann Arbor to head to Paris and Normandy for what this year will be strictly a true vacation as the Wolverines’ have already put the finishing touches on their 15 spring practice sessions this year.

According to mlive.com, this year’s trip will include “tours of the famous Louvre Museum, Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame Cathedral, a football clinic for locals, civic and community service events.”

“It’s an educational opportunity,” head coach Jim Harbaugh said according to the Detroit News. “(We all) connect. Not all learning is done in the classroom or on the football field.”

The Wolverines will be entering their fourth season under Harbaugh.  In the previous three years, they’ve gone a combined 28-11 and finished third (2015), third (2016) and fourth (2017) in the Big Ten East.  Last year, Harbaugh was the highest-paid coach in the Big Ten and the third-highest in the country at just a shade over $7 million.

Wyoming’s Craig Bohl issues statement on Josh Allen’s controversial tweets

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Yes, this is really a thing.

Josh Allen is expected to be one of the first. if not the very first, players selected in the 2018 NFL draft that kicks off tonight.  However, overnight, years-old tweets surfaced after they were mined from the former Wyoming quarterback’s personal Twitter account that have landed the rocket-armed signal-caller in a bit of hot water.

Specifically, some of the tweets that surfaced, which have since been deleted, had Allen dropping n-bombs and other offensive language posted in 2012 and 2013, when Allen would’ve been around 15 or 16 years old.  While it was later learned that most of the words in the offending tweets came from popular television shows or movies, Allen has since apologized by stating he was young and dumb.

With the Allen camp in full damage-control mode — Allen reportedly called Stephen A. Smith at two a.m. this morning to explain and apologize for the tweets — his former college football program has gotten involved as well, with Craig Bohl issuing a statement of support for his ex-quarterback.

“I know Josh has apologized for the Twitter comments he made while in high school,” the Cowboys head coach stated. “As a member of our football team, he had great relationships with his teammates and our fanbase. During his time at Wyoming, he embraced diversity. We wish him all the best on his big night.”

Despite the mini-controversy less than 24 hours before the draft, it’s not expected that it will impact Allen’s positioning.