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Nick Chubb chugs No. 18 Georgia past No. 22 North Carolina

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In his first game back from injury, the new-and-improved Nick Chubb looked just like the old Nick Chubb. The sophomore rushed 32 times for 222 yards and two touchdowns, including a 55-yarder with 3:24 left in the game to put No. 18 Georgia’s 33-24 Chick-fil-A win over No. 22 North Carolina away.

Chubb also opened the scoring with a two-yard plunge, and Georgia used another rushing score, this time a 19-yard burst from Brian Herrien, to take a 14-10 lead into the break.

But that halftime lead did not last long. Fourteen seconds, in fact. T.J. Logan raced the second half kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown, and Logan later pushed the Tar Heels’ lead to 24-14 with a 21-yard dash with 6:34 to play in the third quarter.

True freshman Jacob Eason immediately answered. The five-star phenom piloted the Bulldogs on an 11-yard, 75-yard jaunt, which he capitalized with a 17-yard touchdown pass to Isaiah McKenzie with 1:19 to play in the third quarter. Georgia (1-0) then received some help from North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora, who drew an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty after a 13-yard completion was negated by an ineligible receiver downfield penalty. Instead of enjoying a 1st-and-10 at their own 25, North Carolina faced a 2nd-and-18 from their own four-yard line where, oddly, they called a screen pass in their own end zone. It was swallowed up for a safety.

After the teams traded punts, the Eason-to-McKenzie connection again came up big for Georgia, this time a 51-yard rainbow on 3rd-and-5, setting up a William Ham go-ahead 29-yard field goal, the first of his career, with 5:27 to play.

North Carolina (0-1) went three-and-out on its next possession, cruelly losing a first down spot to a 3rd down incompletion overturn by the replay booth. Then it was Chubb time.

With 3:34 to play, Chubb raced from his own 45 to pay dirt, securing him a bit of catharsis and Kirby Smart his first win as Georgia’s coach.

Smart answered an off-season of quarterback uncertainty by alternating between Eason and Greyson Lambert. Lambert earned the start and completed 5-of-8 throws for 54 yards. Eason connected on 8-of-12 throws for 131 yards and a touchdown.

For North Carolina, Trubisky hit 24-of-40 throws, but for just 156 yards. The Heels were also out-rushed 289-159. The loss will continue questions of whether Fedora’s program, while established enough to beat the teams they’re supposed to beat, has progressed enough to compete with the upper-echelon programs in the sport. After starting 11-1 last season, the Heels have now lost three straight to Clemson, Baylor and Georgia.

Georgia’s win pushes the SEC to 7-1 all-time against the SEC in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff, and 15-4 in neutral site kickoff games since 2008.

Florida’s Cece Jefferson reportedly out four months after surgery

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One of the most heralded members of Florida’s 2015 recruiting class has hit a medical speedbump.

According to Robbie Andreu of the Gainesville Sun, Cece Jefferson underwent surgery on his right shoulder earlier this week after injuring it during the Gators’ spring game.  As a result of that surgical procedure and the ensuing rehab, the defensive lineman is expected to be sidelined for the next four months.

Such a timeline would see Jefferson returning to on-field football action in mid-August, which would be right in the middle of summer camp.  Whether the lineman would be ready for the start of the 2018 regular season remains to be seen.

Jefferson was a consensus five-star prospect, rated as the No. 2 strongside defensive end in the Class of 2015; the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Florida; and the No. 7 player overall on 247Sports.com’s composite board.

This past season, Jefferson led the Gators with 13.5 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks.  After considering early entry into the 2018 NFL draft, the 6-1, 242-pound lineman opted to return to Gainesville for one more season.

Ohio State OL Matthew Burrell transferring from Buckeyes

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For the third time this offseason, Ohio State has lost an offensive lineman to transfer.

The latest to leave the trenches in Columbus is Matthew Burrell (pictured, right), with the rising redshirt junior taking to Instagram to announce that, “after prayer and thought, I will be transferring from OSU.” While no specific reason for the decision to transfer was given, the lineman’s placement on the depth chart likely played a significant role.

A four-star member of the Buckeyes’ 2015 recruiting class, Burrell was rated as the No. 7 guard in the country and the No. 4 player at any position in the state of Virginia.  The past two seasons, the lineman had seen action in a total of 25 games, including 12 this past season.

In addition to Burrell, OSU offensive linemen Jack Wohlabaugh (HERE) and Kevin Feder (HERE) have all left the program since the end of the 2017 regular season.

UCF police go all in on national championship campaign

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Look, I get it. I know exactly how this game is played. They do it so that people like me will write about it and people like you will read it. It’s all a ploy to make everyone on campus puff their chests out just a little bit further and to keep their name on our lips just a little bit longer.

But doggone if it isn’t working.

More than three months after claiming its 2017 national championship, UCF has found a way to keep itself relevant, this time by having the campus police department get in on the act.

AD Danny White already committed to pay national championship bonuses for coaches who are no longer in the school’s employ, but that’s not even the end of this. There’s still a ring ceremony that is (or at least should) be forthcoming, and the banner reveal at Spectrum Stadium that’s surely coming at the 2018 season opener.

If you’re going to go all in on a publicity campaign, it’s best to go all the way in. As UCF has done here.

NCAA tables proposal that would allow players to play in up to four games and retain redshirt

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The NCAA’s Division I Council on Wednesday tabled a proposal that would allow players to compete in up to four games and retain their redshirts. Championed by AFCA executive director Todd Berry, the rule was touted as a necessary change in an era where teams play 14- and 15-game seasons.

The rule would allow redshirting players to replace injured players without personal cost to their careers. Presently, a coach with dwindling numbers at a given position is put in between the rock and the hard place of burning an innocent player’s redshirt or putting players at risk of injury through overuse.

Here’s how the NCAA presented the news:

The Council tabled a proposal that would allow football student-athletes to participate in up to four games per year without using a season of competition. Proponents argue that late-season injuries and other factors often require student-athletes who hadn’t played all season to burn a year of eligibility for a small number of games. Others wonder whether the proposal could be applied to other sports, as well, whether the number of games in the proposal is appropriate, and whether the timing of the four games matters.

It is not clear what opposition exists to the rule, though Big 12 commissioner, Council member and noted fear-mongerer Bob Bowlsby posited in January that teams could, for some unexplained reason, hold their best players back until the final four games of the season.

“I think it’s got a lot of merit,” he said, “but there are some hooks in it. I don’t know how comfortable people are with, suddenly in the last three games and a bowl game, you go from being a guy who’s on the scout team to [a prominent role].”

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The proposal is not all dead, as Miracle Max would say. The Council will now turn the tabled proposal over to the Football Oversight and Student-Athlete Experience Committees for discussion and feedback solicitation.