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Clemson jumps out to early lead over Ohio State as Fiesta Bowl hits halftime


Clemson returned to University of Phoenix Stadium intent on making it back to the national title game for another shot at Alabama and wasted no time making that a reality by jumping out to an early 17-0 lead at halftime in the second College Football Playoff Semifinal on New Year’s Eve.

The Tigers first two scoring drives both came as the result of a pair of Ohio State missed field goals, putting an early damper on the Buckeyes few offensive efforts. The first points of the game came by way of a Mike Williams 37 yard reception that would have been a full six points had he not gotten tripped up after catching the ball. The Buckeyes defense bowed up after allowing the play to setup a Greg Huegel field goal from 45 yards out that split the uprights for the early lead.

The Tigers followed that up with a 10 play, 70 yard scoring drive before quarterback Deshaun Watson walked into the end zone on a keeper and then the team found the end zone again just before the end of the second quarter with a strike to C.J. Fuller on a perfectly executed wheel route.

Watson finished the half 16-of-24 for 197 yards and a score but did throw two interceptions, the latter of which came when star safety Malik Hooker came out of nowhere to snatch a deep shot out of the air in the end zone.

As happy as Clemson has to be with things, Urban Meyer is no doubt beside himself with the way the offense operated to start the game. Quarterback J.T. Barrett was one of the few bright spots for the Buckeyes with 80 yards passing but he didn’t get much time to throw behind an offensive line that was knocked back on nearly every snap.

The vaunted OSU defense wasn’t as bad as the numbers suggest at all given the scoreboard but were not helped out one bit by their offensive counterparts and were clearly tired by the time halftime rolled around.

Rematches in the national title game are fairly rare in college football history but based on the way things went in the first half at the Fiesta Bowl, we’re well on our way to seeing Clemson and Alabama go at it again unless Ohio State mounts a stunning comeback after the break.

After transferring from USC last year, E.J. Price tweets he’s leaving Kentucky too

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No stranger to transfer, E.J. Price is embarking on a search for a new college home — again.  Whether football is involved, however, seemingly remains to be seen.

On his personal Twitter account Thursday morning, Price announced that he is “stepping away” from the Kentucky football program.  In the tweet, the offensive lineman stressed, in all-caps, that “I WAS NOT KICKED OFF I AM LEAVING.”

In a subsequent tweet. he stated it was “time for me to overcome football.”

Earlier this month, head coach Mark Stoops mentioned “some inconsistencies with [Price] that he needs to iron out.” In another tweet, the lineman stated the following:

Price was a four-star member of USC’s 2016 recruiting class, rated as the No. 8 offensive tackle in the country.  He transferred from USC to Kentucky in July of last year.

Because of NCAA transfer rules, Price was forced to sit out the 2017 season.

NCAA grants South Alabama TE Andrew Reinkemeyer a sixth season

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South Alabama recently received some positive news on the personnel front.

A USA spokesperson (for the university, not the country) confirmed to that Andrew Reinkemeyer has been granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA. The tight end will use that additional season of eligibility, his last, to play for the Jaguars in 2018.

The decision to grant Reinkemeyer an extra season of eligibility was seemingly a no-brainer.

As a true sophomore at a Kansas junior college, Reinkemeyer suffered an injury in the 2015 season opener and didn’t play again that year. After transferring to USA, Reinkemeyer missed the entire 2016 season because of the torn Achilles tendon that cost him most of the previous season at the JUCO.

Finally healthy last season, Reinkemeyer caught 10 passes for 75 yards for the Sun Belt Conference program. He was the leading receiver amongst Jaguars tight ends in 2017.

North Carolina formally announces hiring of ex-Tennessee RBs coach Robert Gillespie

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The latest addition to Larry Fedora‘s North Carolina coaching staff has been confirmed.

Following up on reports that surfaced earlier this month. UNC announced Wednesday that Fedora has hired Robert Gillespie. While not confirmed by the football program in the release, it’s expected Gillespie will serve as the Tar Heels running backs coach, a position he’s held for most of his coaching career.

“We are excited to welcome Robert and his family to Chapel Hill,” Fedora said in a statement. “He has a well-earned reputation as a great offensive coach and recruiter, and he has a wealth of experience working with running backs at a very high level. We are happy to have him join our staff as we get into the bulk of spring practice.”

Gillespie fills the hole created by the departure of Gunter Brewer, who left as the Tar Heels’ wide receivers coach for a job with the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this month. It’s expected that Luke Paschall, currently the running backs coach, will assume Brewer’s role with receivers.

Gillespie, a former Florida running back, spent the past five seasons as the running backs coach at Tennessee. He was originally retained by new UT head coach Jeremy Pruitt before parting ways with the football program shortly after National Signing Day.

In addition to UT, Gillespie has spent time on coaching staffs at South Carolina (2006-08), Oklahoma State (2009-10) and West Virginia (2011-12). He was the running backs coach at each of those stops.

Report: Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa’s thumb injury ‘just a sprain’

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It appears Alabama can breathe a sigh of relief on the injury front.

Tuesday, after the reigning national champions had put the finishing touches on its first practice of the spring, Nick Saban confirmed that quarterback Tua Tagovailoa had suffered an unspecified injury to the thumb on his LEFT (throwing) hand.  It was expected that the quarterback would travel to Birmingham for further evaluation of the injury.

While there’s been nothing official yet from the football program or head coach,, citing unnamed sources, writes that the injury “is believed to just be a sprain and he should be able to return to practice in at least a limited capacity at some point soon.”

Until then, Jalen Hurts will take the majority of the reps as the Crimson Tide continues its march through their 15 spring practice sessions.

The rising true junior Hurts, who has started every game but one the past two seasons, and the rising true sophomore Tagovailoa, the national championship game hero who replaced Hurts at halftime of the overtime win, are engaged in a competition for the starting job that, barring a post-spring transfer, is expected to extend into summer camp.  That said, most observers outside of the UA football program fully expect Tagovailoa, because of his proficiency in the passing game relative to Hurts, to earn the job at some point before the Tide opens the defense of their title against Louisville in Orlando Sept. 1.