No. 19 Ole Miss has momentum vs. Auburn, but tied 10-10 at half

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Auburn’s offense has a long way to go to put the Tigers in position to score an upset of No. 19 Ole Miss this afternoon, but the defense has more than done enough to make it a possibility. Auburn held a 10-3 lead on the visiting Rebels in the second quarter, but the Rebels may be swinging the momentum back in their favor at the half after a 25-yard touchdown run by Akeem Judd up the middle of the Auburn defense has tied the game at 10-10 heading to halftime.

the half ended on a crazy note when it appeared Jeremy Johnson fumbled the football and Ole Miss recovered to return for a possible touchdown, but SEC officials ruled Johnson was down with possession as the clock expired. Ole Miss head coach Hugh Freeze challenge the call on the field before the teams left the field. After a video review, SEC officials ruled the play on the field was actually confirmed, although the video replays shown on TV would suggest otherwise. Remember that if Ole Miss loses by a single score, because at the very least Ole Miss may have had a chance at a field goal before the first half ended.

Ole Miss was forced to try a field goal at the end of a 12-play, 72-yard drive on their first possession of the afternoon. The drive, which stalled at the Auburn nine-yard line when Akeem Judd was stuffed for no gain on third down. Gary Wunderlich‘s 27-yard field goal was the first score of the game. The Rebels defense then came up with a big play on Auburn’s next possession when Tony Bridges picked off a pass from Sean White at the Ole Miss 20-yard line. Auburn’s defense would respond though, forcing a three-and-out after Chad Kelly‘s first two pass attempts fell incomplete and then the Tigers defense sacked the quarterback for a loss of eight yards.

Auburn would tie things up with a field goal four plays later with a 52-yard field goal by Daniel Carlson. Auburn took its first lead of the afternoon the next time the offense got its hands on the football. A 23-yard pass from White to Roc Thomas put the Tigers at midfield and on 3rd and five from the Ole Miss 47-yard line, White completed a pass down field over the middle to Ricardo Louis, who had nobody in front of him on his path to the endzone.

Both teams have played well defensively, although Ole Miss seems to be getting more on offense at the break. Auburn may need the win more than Ole Miss if you are wondering about bowl scenarios. Despite a winning record of 4-3, Auburn needs to win two more games to become bowl eligible and still has this game against Ole Miss, a road game at Texas A&M, home game against Georgia and a home game agains t Alabama (and a home game vs. Idaho). Picking up two more wins could be difficult. Can they get one today?

Butch Jones says the most Butch Jones quote of all time

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It’s become a theory among some in the media that Butch Jones is conducting a social experiment or participating some sort of performance art. While that’s the more charitable and fun interpretation, I tend to think the Tennessee head coach is just frighteningly insecure and, thus, fighting for every inch of public approval he can in a likely doomed attempt to keep his job.

That approach has backed him into some verbal corners that, in the long run, make his job more difficult on himself.

I’m talking about the “Champions of Life” quote of last season or, in February, actually stating that he didn’t want 5-star players, he wanted 5-star hearts.

This season has seen Jones go on an odd rant blaming the media for negative recruiting and saying Tennessee had one of the best bye weeks ever last week.

It wasn’t one of the best bye weeks ever, because Tennessee lost at home to South Carolina, 15-9. And you’re not going to believe Jones’s explanation for why Tennessee loss. Scratch that. You will believe his explanation, and that’s the problem here, isn’t it?

Here’s the full quote.

Jones is 33-24 in his four-plus seasons in Knoxville, and 14-21 in the SEC. Those numbers will likely fall to 33-25 and 14-22 after Saturday, when the Vols face No. 1 Alabama. The end is likely near.

And here’s the grand irony of Jones’s everything’s-sunny-here p.r. strategy: his attempt to keep his job by stating blatantly cliche quotes in the state of the obvious will live on much longer than Jones’s actual tenure. Two and three years from now, when Jones is working on someone else’s staff or sitting on his buyout money, the next time an on-the-hot-seat coach says his team won the game everywhere except the scoreboard, we’ll see he Pulled a Butch.

Houston Nutt settles lawsuit with Ole Miss

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Houston Nutt wanted money and an apology from Ole Miss. He’ll have to settle for the second of the two — and a largely different future for the program he used to lead.

It was Nutt’s lawsuit, remember, which exposed the documents that led to a Mississippi State fan finding Hugh Freeze‘s call to a Tampa escort service, which led to Freeze’s resignation, which led to… we have no idea what it will lead to, but, whatever that future is, it will be wildly different than if Freeze was still the Rebels’ coach.

Nutt amended his lawsuit in August to seek simply an apology from Ole Miss, and that apology finally came on Monday.

Each side released their own bitter, short statements.

Nutt will go on, with his apology but without any monetary compensation, while Ole Miss will play out the string of this season, hire a new coach, and move into a future that will be immeasurably different that the one it would have lived had it apologized to Nutt in the first place.

Washington loses LT Adams, CB Miller for the season

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No. 12 Washington’s loss to Arizona State was a disaster on the field — for more reasons than one.

The Huskies not only put their College Football Playoff hopes in danger — they’ll need to sweep their next six games, including a finishing kick that calls for games against No. 22 Stanford, No. 15 Washington State and, presumably, No. 11 USC, two of them away from Seattle. But the road to get there became noticeably more difficult after losing two starters.

Left tackle Trey Adams suffered a torn ACL in his right knee, and cornerback Jordan Miller sustained a broken ankle. Head coach Chris Petersen confirmed Monday that both will be lost for the season. Miller is the third Husky this season to suffer a broken ankle.

The Seattle Times noted that Washington is also without another starting corner in Byron Murphy, who is expected to return later this year from a broken foot. The Huskies are expected to replace Miller with either a pair of true freshmen or a converted running back.

But Adams may be the bigger loss for the Huskies. A junior, Adams was widely expected to be a first round pick in this spring’s NFL Draft. It’s the second straight season Washington has lost a key player in the trenches to a season-ending injury; a year ago, it was linebackers Joe Mathis, who finished one sack away from the team lead despite playing in only seven games, and third-leading tackler Azeem Victor.

Maryland AD Kevin Anderson to take 6-month sabbatical

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Maryland AD Kevin Anderson will not be the Maryland AD for the next six months.

Anderson announced Monday he will take a 6-month sabbatical to focus on “professional development.” That leave of absence will see him remain on his national committees with the NCAA and NACDA, the professional organization of ADs.

It was reported over the weekend that Anderson would be out completely as Maryland’s AD, but those reports were knocked down by the university.

Additionally, Maryland announced that former Georgia AD and current Terps associate AD/CFO Damon Evans will run the department in Anderson’s stead.