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Boise State crushes Northern Illinois in Poinsettia Bowl laugher

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These weren’t the vintage versions of these teams, what with their seven conference championships and three BCS appearances over the past seven years traded for no conference titles and nine regular season losses. Despite that, though, Boise State brought its A-plus game to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday night. Northern Illinois’ effort can be classified somewhere between letters D and Q.

Boise State jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead and cruised to a 55-7 victory over the overmatched and uninterested Huskies. The 48-point margin was Boise State’s largest bowl victory and Northern Illinois’ greatest bowl defeat.

The Broncos found pay dirt on each of their first three possessions, marching 75, 67 and 53 yards, to grab a 21-point lead less than 12 minutes in. Jeremy McNichols notched all three of Boise’s touchdowns, coming on a 29-yard dash, a four-yard reception from Brett Rypien and then a one-yard plunge.

The lead swelled to 31-7 by halftime, despite Boise State losing the ball on an interception a fumble and a turnover on downs. Boise State then pushed the lead to 41-7 after three and 55-7 by the 9:52 mark of the fourth quarter before letting the air out of the time remaining.

For the game, McNichols rushed 19 times for 93 yards and two scores while also notching five receptions for a game-high 96 yards and a touchdown. Brett Rypien completed 29-of-40 throws for 377 yards with three scores and an interception; Shane Williams-Rhoades nabbed eight balls for 94 yards, Thomas Sperbeck caught six for 78, Chaz Anderson hauled in four for 46 and a score and Alec Dhaenens snared an 18-yard touchdown catch. On the ground, Ryan Wolpin rushed 15 times for 90 yards, Kelsey Young toted 10 times for 54 yards and a touchdown and Thomas Stuart compiled five rushes for 20 yards and a touchdown.

As for Northern Illinois? Woof. (And not the good kind.) The Huskies’ first drive moved 42 yards in 13 snaps; their remaining 12 traveled no further than six yards, and four of them lost yardage. Jacob Ambrose punted nine times if not for Aregeros Turner‘s 96-yard kickoff return touchdown NIU would have finished the night with as many points as it started.

Overall, Boise State compiled 654 yards (377 passing, 277 rushing) on 97 plays, while Northern Illinois achieved 33 yards in 51 tries. The Broncos held a 35-7 edge in first downs and converted 10-of-16 third downs to NIU’s 1-of-12.

Just how thorough was this beating? Boise State’s fifth-leading rusher would’ve lead Northern Illinois’ entire roster, and six separate Broncos posted more receiving yards than the most productive Huskie.

In the end, Boise State finishes 2015 at 9-4 and pondering what’s to come, while Northern Illinois closes at 8-6, wondering just what in the world happened.

Royce Freeman will not play in Las Vegas Bowl

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Oregon senior running back Royce Freeman will not play in this weekend’s Las Vegas Bowl, thus bringing his collegiate career to a close before he moves on to the NFL next year. Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal announced Freeman’s lack of availability to reporters today ahead of the bowl game against Boise State.

Freeman played in all 12 games for the Ducks this season, rushing for 1,475 yards and 16 touchdowns. Freeman’s career at Oregon has been a highly productive one under two different coaches. As a freshman in 2014, Freeman rushed for 1,365 yards and 18 touchdowns to quickly begin gaining some national attention as the Ducks advanced to the national championship game in the inaugural season of the College Football Playoff (but some guy named Marcus Mariota was doing some good things too at the time to grab the majority of the national attention).

Freeman rushed for 5,621 yards and 60 touchdowns for Oregon, and he was also responsible for four touchdown receptions.

Freeman will join a growing list following a growing trend of sitting out of a bowl game before moving to the NFL.

West Virginia QB Will Grier announces return in 2018

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West Virginia quarterback Will Grier will be back for another season of football in Morgantown. Grier announced today he will be back in the blue and gold in 2018, his senior season.

Citing a desire to see his team accomplish more next season, Grier said he is “completely focused and looking forward to building off the success” experienced in 2017.

“West Virginia is my home, and I couldn’t be more excited about the future here,” Grier said in his released statement.

Grier’s return to West Virginia will be a boost for the offense next season. In his first year back playing college football after parting ways with Florida amid a drug-related suspension, Grier played in 11 games and passed for 3,490 yards and 34 touchdowns for the Mountaineers. He was one of three quarterbacks in the Big 12 to average more than 300 passing yards in a game, with the other two being Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield and Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph. With Mayfield and Rudolph moving on to the NFL next year, Grier will be one of the top offensive players returning to play football in the Big 12 in 2018.

UCF RB Adrian Killins: SEC football doesn’t have a lot of speed

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UCF has won all 12 games they have played this season because they have a distinct advantage with the talent on the roster. At 12-0 with an American Athletic Conference championship, the Knights are heading to the Peach Bowl to take on SEC West Division champion Auburn. When the two collide, UCF running back Adrian Killins will hope to back up his words with his performance on the field.

Speaking to the media this week, Killins said Auburn has not seen speed like the kind UCF will bring to the game in Atlanta on January 1. Defying the popular narrative over the years about how much speed the SEC has, Killins does not seem to be too impressed.

“SEC football, they don’t have a lot of speed, honestly,” Killins told The Orlando Sentinel. “So, Auburn hasn’t seen any speed like we have here.”

It’s worth noting that Auburn has faced Clemson this season. Just to throw that out there. But that said, is the SEC speed narrative a thing of the past? Killins suggests the SEC is more about being physical and not so much looking to strike quickly. But the SEC has had some fast-moving offenses, including this season with Missouri and, of course, Auburn. But in terms of raw speed from the players, maybe that is where UCF will look to create an advantage against the Tigers.

“I will say they’re in for a rude awakening, because UCF football, we’re UCF fast and UCF fierce,” Killins said.

And with that, Killins has just given Auburn’s defense some good bulletin board material ahead of the Peach Bowl.

DA: No charges will be pursued against Oklahoma RB Rodney Anderson

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The attorney for Oklahoma running back Rodney Anderson labeled the allegations against his client “patently false.” A few days later, the Sooners football player has been vindicated.

At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Cleveland County (Okla.) District Attorney Greg Mashburn announced that his office would not pursue charges against Anderson.  The decision came after the prosecutor met with a Norman Police Department detective Tuesday afternoon and again Thursday morning.

Earlier this month, a woman filed for an emergency order of protection against Anderson; additional details subsequently emerged, with the woman describing the player in a written statement to the court as the “alleged rapist” and herself as the “victim of rape.” A hearing on the protective order had been scheduled for Dec. 18.

The alleged assault occurred Nov. 16, with the alleged victim claiming that she began recalling details of the alleged attack the weekend of Dec. 2 as she was speaking to a friend.

Late last week, it was reported that Anderson passed a three-hour lie detector test administered to him this past week by a retired FBI polygraph examiner. Bill Brown, the retired FBI investigator who has reportedly performed in excess of 3,500 such polygraph exams, was hired by Derek Chance, Anderson’s attorney, to administer the test.  That attorney claimed that the accuser only went to the authorities with her claims after Anderson had rejected several of her advances.

Anderson currently leads the Sooners with 960 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns on the ground.  He’s also caught 16 passes for 283 yards and another five touchdowns coming out of the backfield.

No. 2 Oklahoma is set to face No. 3 Georgia in the Rose Bowl New Year’s Day, with the winner facing the Clemson-Alabama winner for the right to play for the 2017 College Football Playoff championship.