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No. 1 Alabama tops Western Kentucky

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The bad news: Alabama’s offense slept through most of the first half. The Tide scored 10 offensive points in their first two frames and rushed for all of 13 yards on 16 carries.

The good news: When you’re Alabama, your offense can take a whole half off and your defense will still spot you a 14-point lead.

Top-ranked Alabama turned a lackluster 17-3 halftime edge into a 38-10 romp over Western Kentucky Saturday in Tuscaloosa, a clear step down from last week’s 52-6 opening blowout of USC but more than enough to continue the Tide’s status as the top team in the country.

True freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts earned his first official career win, hitting 23-of-36 passes for 287 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions while adding 19 yards on the ground. His first scoring strike came to Calvin Ridley on a four-yard toss with no time left in the first quarter, staking the Tide to a 10-3 edge on a drive started when Alabama intercepted a wide receiver reverse pass. Another interception gave Alabama its second touchdown as safety Eddie Jackson did the deed himself from 55 yards out.

Hurts’s second scoring throw, an 8-yarder to ArDarius Stewart, ended any reasonable hope of an upset for the Hilltoppers with 3:48 remaining in the third quarter.

Alabama tacked on a pair of fourth quarter scores in the forms of short runs by Bo Scarbrough and B.J. Emmons. On the whole, though, Alabama struggled to rush the ball against the WKU front. The Tide notched just 116 yards and 3.1 yards per carry as a team; Damien Harris led the bunch with 45 yards on 11 carries. None of Alabama’s 37 credited rushes went longer than 13 yards.

Western Kentucky, for its part, failed to accomplish anything on offense. Starter Mike White was pulled after hitting 10-of-24 passes for 135 yards with a pick-six, and the entire team registered 23 yards on 22 carries. Backups Tyler Ferguson and Drew Eckels did some nice things in relief; Ferguson hit seven of his 10 passes for 55 yards, and Eckels connected on 2-of-3 passes for 26 yards and a garbage time touchdown toss to Lucky Jackson with 46 ticks remaining.

Western Kentucky (1-1) continues non-conference play at Miami (Ohio) next week, while Alabama (2-0) opens SEC play at Ole Miss.

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.