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Behind monster day from RB Kyle Hicks, TCU blacks out No. 17 Baylor

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For reasons that were definitely not related to Art Briles, Baylor players wore black against TCU on Saturday. They left with black eyes.

The hated Horned Frogs jumped all over Baylor, handing the 17th-ranked Bears their second straight loss in a 62-22 beatdown.

The loss comes after a tumultuous week where the school was a subject of a 60 Minutes Sports expose and Briles’s remaining assistant coaches jointly released a statement defending their former head coach. Now at 6-2 (2-2 Big 12), the Bears could slide into a total free fall with a trip to No. 14 Oklahoma waiting next week.

As for today’s game, it opened like so many Baylor games have in recent years — with the Bears scoring, quickly. Baylor accepted the ball to open the game and scored two plays later, when Seth Russell found Ishmael Zamora for an 81-yard catch-and-dash.

The good vibes didn’t last, though.

Kenny Hill tied the game for TCU just three plays later on a 37-yard strike to Taj Williams, and the Frogs pulled away for good not long after that. Following a 26-yard Brandon Hatfield field goal to give the Frogs a lead they would not relinquish, TCU mounted consecutive 88- and 77-yard drives, each punctuated by Kyle Hicks scoring jaunts, then moved the game to blowout territory when Ranthony Texada stepped in front of a Russell pass and raced it 28 yards for a touchdown at the 10:28 mark of the second quarter, staking the Frogs to a 31-7 lead.

Baylor stopped the bleeding with a 19-play, 97-yard marathon capped by a 2-yard Russell keeper with 2:29 remaining in the frame, but TCU (5-4, 3-3 Big 12) immediately answered with another Hicks touchdown with just seven seconds left before the break.

The second half opened the way the first half ended — another long TCU drive punctuated by another Hicks rush. This one covered 95 yards in only five plays, the last of which traveled 18 yards and gave Hicks his fourth score of the day. Hicks’s fifth score came from three yards out at the 9:53 mark of the fourth quarter, ending his day with 26 carries for 192 yards — the most by a Frog ball-carrier since the program joined the Big 12 — and five touchdowns. Sewo Olonilua gave TCU an even half-dozen touchdown runs when he bruised in from 26 yards out with 3:48 remaining.

For his part, Hill was also fantastic. He completed 17-of-30 passes for 244 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions while adding 11 carries for 85 yards.

As a team, TCU rushed 58 times for 428 yards — 7.4 per carry —  and six touchdowns.

Russell completed 20-of-36 passes for 275 yards with a score and a pick-six. Remove the 81-yard score and Russell averaged an un-Baylor-like 5.54 yards per attempted, while four Bears rushers mustered only 133 yards on 45 carries.

The win gives TCU a 2-game winning streak over their longtime rival. In a series dating back to 1899, this hotly-contested series of holy rivals now stands at 53-52-7 in favor of the Frogs.

Ex-Alabama WR T. Simmons officially a WVU Mountaineer, too

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In the post below this, we noted that Jovani Haskins is officially a member of the West Virginia football program.  T.J. Simmons can say the same as well.

After Simmons announced it via social media over this past weekend, WVU has confirmed that the wide receiver has signed a grant-in-aid for the 2017-18 academic year and will continue his collegiate playing career with the Mountaineers.  That continuation won’t happen immediately as, after sitting out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer bylaws, Simmons will have three years of eligibility remaining with the Mountaineers.

Simmons had decided last week to transfer out of the Alabama football program.

A three-star member of the Crimson Tide’s 2016 recruiting class, Simmons was rated as the No. 58 receiver in the country and the No. 9 player at any position in the state of Alabama.

As a true freshman, Simmons played in 12 games, mainly on special teams.  In this year’s annual spring game, the 6-2, 201-pound receiver caught six passes for 82 yards and a touchdown for the Crimson Tide.

WVU makes addition of ex-Miami TE Jovani Haskins official

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One down, one to go.

Over the weekend, both former Miami tight end Jovani Haskins (HERE) and ex-Alabama wide receiver T.J. Simmons (HERE) indicated on social media that they would be transferring and continuing their collegiate playing careers at West Virginia.  Monday, WVU confirmed that the former has signed his grant-in-aid for the 2017-18 academic year.

Haskins will have to sit out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules.  Beginning with the 2018 season, he’ll have three years of eligibility remaining.

A three-star member of the Hurricanes’ 2016 recruiting class, the 6-4, 245-pound Haskins was rated as the No. 18 tight end in the country and the No. 10 player at any position in the state of New Jersey.  He took a redshirt as a true freshman.

Earlier this month, Haskins opted to transfer from The U in order to “get a fresh start somewhere else.”

Haskins is the third Power Five player to officially transfer to the Mountaineers this offseason, joining former Syracuse defensive back Corey Winfield (HERE) and ex-Miami quarterback Jack Allison (HERE).

Texas JUCO reported landing spot for former four-star Auburn DT

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A little over a month after leaving The Plains, Antwuan Jackson has reportedly settled on a new college football home.

Citing multiple sources familiar with the situation, 247Sports.com is reporting that Jackson has signed with Blinn Community College in Texas.  The defensive tackle will play for the JUCO this season, with his eyes set on a return to the FBS level, perhaps as early as December.

On his Twitter account earlier Monday, Jackson hinted at an unspecified development regarding his football future.

In mid-May, Jackson announced his decision to transfer from Auburn. AU blocked him from transferring to a handful of schools he had requested, including Ohio State. It’s believed the Buckeyes have emerged as the favorites to land the lineman when he jumps back to the FBS level.

Jackson was a four-star member of AU’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 7 defensive tackle in the country; the No. 5 player at any position in the state of Georgia; and the No. 49 player overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board.  Only three players in the Tigers’ class that year were rated higher.

As a true freshman last season, Jackson took a redshirt.

Nova, Auburn’s live eagle mascot, grounded for 2017 season

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Auburn will be forced to go to a backup when it comes to its famed pregame mascot flights.

The university announced Monday that’s live eagle mascot, War Eagle VII, has ben grounded for the entire 2017 season.  The university stated that its College of Veterinary Medicine faculty diagnosed the 18-year-old golden eagle with cardiomyopathy, a chronic disease of the heart.

The diagnosis was made following what was described as a routine checkup.

Below are the comments of the veterinarians in charge of the care of an eagle who has been a part of gamedays on The Plains since 2004.

Nova has been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, indicated by an enlarged left ventricle, decreased systolic function and supraventricular premature complexes (arrhythmia),” said Dr. Seth Oster, an avian veterinarian at the raptor center and the college’s Wilford and Kate Bailey Small Animal Teaching Hospital.

“These areas of constriction can increase the systolic pressure of the heart so that Nova’s heart has to pump harder to move blood around his body,” said Oster. “This type of problem could have multiple causes, the most common of which in birds is atherosclerosis.”

“Vessels that are constricted, like those that are seen in Nova’s scan, can have dangerous complications when put under increased stress from exercise,” said Dr. Seung-Woo Jung, an assistant professor of cardiology in the Department of Clinical Sciences at the College of Veterinary Medicine. “This includes aneurysm or clot formation that could lead to vascular rupture, stroke, aortic thromboembolism or heart attack.

The release added that due to “the risk of severe medical complications, veterinary medical staff decided that Nova should not be placed in situations that cause his heart to work harder than usual, including flying in the stadium before each game.”

With War Eagle VII sidelined, pregame duties will fall to Spirit.

Spirit is the only bald eagle that has ever flown in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Her first game flight was in 2002, and she is recognizable by her bright white head and tail feathers. In 1995, Spirit was discovered as an injured fledgling in Florida. She came to Auburn in 1998 and joined the educational collection at the Southeastern Raptor Center. Her damaged beak makes her non-releasable.