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No. 4 Alabama again the class of the SEC in blowout of No. 2 LSU

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There was a six minute period Saturday night when it appeared No. 2 LSU could play with No. 4 Alabama. Trailing 10-0, the Tigers mounted a six-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 40-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Harris to Travin Dural to pull within 10-7, pushed the Tide backwards six yards on three plays on their next possession, then moved 45 yards to notch a game-tying field goal with 2:22 remaining before the half.

Those six minutes belonged to LSU, and the other 54 belonged to Alabama. The Crimson Tide manhandled LSU, winning 30-16 in Tuscaloosa and claiming their fifth-straight triump in this hotly contested series.

Alabama’s defense swallowed Heisman Trophy favorite Leonard Fournette for the entire evening, limiting him to only 31 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. The inability to get Fournette going in turn stifled LSU’s entire offense, as Alabama defenders blanketed LSU pass-catchers, which limited Harris to just 128 passing yards with a touchdown and an interception on 6-of-19 passing.

Meanwhile, Tide running back Derrick Henry posted the type of night Fournette could not, rushing a career-high 38 times for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Jake Coker was a typically efficient 18-of-24 passing for 184 yards, and Kenyan Drake added 10 carries for 68 yards.

After LSU tied the game at 10-10, Alabama notched a 55-yard Adam Griffith field goal just before the half, and then extended that momentum into the third quarter, as a pair of Henry scoring jaunts pushed the lead to 27-10.

Griffith added a 30-yard field goal with 12:45 remaining to nudge the score to 30-10, and LSU scored three minutes later with a one-yard Fournette plunge.

Instead of mounting a comeback, LSU watched Henry put the game away. The Tigers, in fact, never touched the ball again as Alabama consumed the final 9:18 with a 12-play, 80-yard drive.

In the end, Alabama out-gained LSU 434-182, held a 28-12 first downs edge and snapped the ball 79 times to LSU’s 45.

The win, coupled with Ole Miss’s loss earlier Saturday, put Alabama (8-1, 5-1 SEC) firmly in control of its destiny to meet Florida in the SEC championship game, needing only wins at Mississippi State (next week) and Auburn (Nov. 28) to win the SEC West for the second straight year and third time in the last four years. LSU (7-1, 4-1 SEC) would need to win out against Arkansas, Ole Miss and Texas A&M while waiting on another Alabama loss.

And, as the Tigers saw up close and personal Saturday night, that isn’t likely to happen.

Report: North Texas adds FCS running back transfer

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North Texas is adding running back Loren Easly to the roster, according to a message posted to his Twitter account Saturday.

Easly spent the past two seasons at Stephen F. Austin, a member of the FCS Southland Conference. A Houston native, he appeared in 20 games over two seasons as a Lumberjack, carrying 213 times for 1,256 yards with 11 touchdowns while adding 17 catches for 139 yards.

Denton Record-Chronicle reporter Brett Vito confirmed the transfer on his Twitter account.

As an interdivisional transfer, Easly will be able to play immediately with two seasons of eligibility remaining.

He would join a backfield led by rising senior Jeffrey Wilson, who paced the Mean Green with 936 yards and 14 touchdowns on 169 carries in 2016.

Kansas AD Sheahon Zenger signs extension, vows to fix football

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Kansas athletics director Sheahon Zenger has signed an extension to remain on the job through the 2020-21 academic year, the school announced Sunday.

Zenger has been on the job since 2011, meaning the new deal will take him past the decade mark in Lawrence.

“Since Sheahon’s arrival in Jan. 2011, Kansas Athletics has enjoyed success on and off the field,” Kansas chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little said in a statement. “I am confident that under Sheahon’s leadership Athletics will experience even more success in the coming years.”

Zenger did not hire Bill Self, but he did hire Charlie Weis, which cost KU more than $5.6 million in buyout money after he was fired for going 6-22 leading the Jayhawks from 2012-14.

David Beaty was since hired to run the program, who has infused an outlook brighter than his 2-22 record would suggest.

Zenger said the new contract will allow him to fix football. Via the Kansas City Star:

Under Zenger’s watch, KU has most notably added numerous construction projects, including Rock Chalk Park and the DeBruce Center, which houses the original rules of basketball. He has spoken previously about completing those ventures to “clear the deck” financially so focus could be placed on football and Memorial Stadium renovations — two things he now says are “really the top priorities for me in the next four years.”

“We want it to be a place that people just love to come to,” Zenger said of Memorial Stadium. “We have such history there. I think it’s the greatest setting in the nation for college football. We just need to get it to the point where it’s a place that’s just revered.”

The extension includes a raise from a base salary of $619,000 to $700,000.

Alleged victim of Tennessee WR Josh Smith threatens $3 million civil suit

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Earlier this month, Tennessee wide receiver Josh Smith was charged with domestic assault following an incident at an off-campus house with his roommate. Now, the roommate is seeking damages of $875,000. If that sum is not paid, then the alleged victim may bring a $3 million civil suit to the court.

According to Jimmy Hyams of WNML, Kennedy Foster suffered a broken nose, broken teeth and damage to his eyes and right ear in the incident earlier this month that led to the charges filed against Smith. Foster sent a settlement demand letter to the attorney representing Smith.

“I’m not accusing him (Foster) of extortion, but that’s what it looks like,’’ Smith’s attorney, Keith Stewart said according to Hyams. “Given my understanding that Mr. Foster’s attempts to press charges against Malcolm Stokes were unsuccessful, it seems his motives are clear.’’

“I think when the truth comes out, Josh will be exonerated,” Stewart said of his client.

The deadline for paying the settlement demand is set for May 30 (tomorrow) by 5:00 p.m. and is to be delivered in the form of a cashier’s check along with a letter of apology for the incident. If the Smith family does not pay the requested sum, the legal team for Foster will move forward with a $1.5 million lawsuit seeking compensatory damages and a $1.5 million lawsuit for punitive damages. How either will hold up in court remains to be seen.

How some college football teams are recognizing Memorial Day on Twitter

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It’s not Memorial Day until the social media teams at college football programs start pumping out branded Memorial Day messages on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram. As expected, teams and conferences are busy at pumping out the social media content for their followers today. Here is a sampling of what has been seen so far.

If you have not already done so, please take a few minutes to read John’s annual Memorial Day post.