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Rematch on! Clemson shuts out Ohio State in Fiesta Bowl to book trip to title game


Clemson kicked off 2016 at University of Phoenix Stadium by losing a heartbreaker in a thrilling national title game to Alabama.

The Tigers closed out the year with a bit of sweet revenge at the same site however, shutting out Ohio State 31-0 in the Fiesta Bowl to book their tickets to the national title game in Tampa and a rematch with the Crimson Tide.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson threw two interceptions but was otherwise his terrific self behind center with 259 yards and a touchdown pass. The Heisman finalist also rushed for two more scores on a pair of keepers and led the team in rushing with 85 yards. It certainly wasn’t a perfect performance but it was an efficient one as he picked apart the vaunted OSU secondary aside from two ill-advised throws that wound up in their hands.

As good as Watson was though, his favorite target Mike Williams might have been the best player on the field Saturday evening. The likely first-rounder caught a team high six passes for 96 yards and came close to one remarkable long touchdown in the second quarter until he got tripped up. While he was the headliner, the deep receiving corps also showed up all game long with seven others catching a pass and tailback Wayne Gallman put the cherry on top of the outing with a seven yard rushing touchdown following a turnover.

Not to be out done, the Clemson defense truly paved the way for their return trip to the national title game with 11 tackles for loss and three sacks. Freshman Clelin Ferrell had the game of his young career with near constant pressure on every snap, recording three tackles for loss and a sack. Linebacker Kendall Joseph led the team in tackles and basically shutdown the middle of the field in holding the Buckeyes to just 81 yards rushing.

Not being able to run the ball was a big reason for Ohio State’s struggles, which were chiefly the result of the team’s offensive line not having an answer for the speed of the Tigers front four. Quarterback J.T. Barrett didn’t have a terrible game as one of the few offensive threats for the team but only managed to throw for only 127 yards with two interceptions. All-purpose threat Curtis Samuel did receive plenty of touches as the offense tried to get something going but managed only 110 total yards, most of which came on a handful of plays when the game was already decided.

The end result of yet another blowout semifinal was the worst loss Urban Meyer has suffered during his time in Columbus and, given the stakes, probably the biggest ‘L’ of his career. The team began the game with several nice kick returns to setup some early series but a pair of missed field goals in the opening quarter set the tone for a disastrous outing for the scarlet and grey.

Given how everything played out, it’s safe to say it just wasn’t the Buckeyes’ night as everything that could go wrong typically did. While a lot of those issues were self-inflicted, most had to do with a dominating performance by the Tigers that they controlled from wire-to-wire.

And with that, Clemson has punched their ticket for a return trip to the national title game and a never before seen rematch for the sport’s ultimate prize. It may not have been pretty for Ohio State, but on the other sideline there was nothing like that little bit of sweet revenge out in the desert for how this year began — and no better way to cap off the season than by ringing in 2017 with what should be a thriller in Tampa next week.

Dad of Alabama’s Matt Womack confirms starting RT son to miss spring practice after foot surgery

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Alabama will kick off spring practice later on Tuesday, but the reigning national champions will do so without an integral piece of its offensive line.

The father of the lineman, David Womack, confirmed to that Matt Womack will undergo surgery Wednesday to repair a broken bone in his right foot.  As a result, the rising redshirt junior will miss all of the Crimson Tide’s 15 spring practice sessions.

Per David Womack, his son suffered the injury while jumping boxes during workouts.

Recovery time is expected to be in the range of six weeks, which means that, barring a setback, he’ll be fully healthy for the start of summer camp in early August.

Womack started all 14 games at right tackle in the Tide’s run to its 17th national championship last season.  As a redshirt freshman the year before, Womack, a three-star member of UA’s 2015 signing class, played in nine games.

Kansas loses assistant coach… to the oil industry

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This might be the most Big 12 way ever to lose an assistant football coach.

According to both and the Lawrence Journal-World, Todd Bradford is leaving his post as Kansas’ linebackers coach.  The reason?  He’s returning to the oil business.

Bradford was fired as the defensive coordinator at Maryland in January of 2012, with that dismissal, and the health of his mother, leading to him leaving the coaching profession for a job in the oil field for the next four years.

“A guy that I was involved with and had business dealings when I was in the oil world before I was helping with my mom reached out to me,” Bradford told when it came to his decision-making process this time around. “He told me he had some companies that were doing really well and he needed someone to come in and help me run them. He asked if I was interested and I told him I was happy coaching.

“Then he called two more times after that and offered me the job after signing day. I turned it down twice. But each time the offer was getting a little bit better and by the third time financially it was oil world money.”

Bradford spent his first two seasons with the Jayhawks as linebackers coach.  The football program had previously confirmed that he would coach safeties in 2018.

NFL assistant Jake Peetz returning to Alabama as offensive analyst

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On the heels of an extended stint in the NFL, Jake Peetz is headed back to Tuscaloosa.

According to Ian Rapoport of, Peetz has taken a job as an offensive analyst at Alabama.  Peetz had been slated to serve as Josh McDaniels‘ offensive coordinator with the Indianapolis Colts before McDaniels abruptly opted to remain with the New England Patriots.

The 34-year-old Peetz is returning to a role he held with the Crimson Tide during the 2013 season.  His only other job at the FBS level came in 2007 as a defensive quality control coach at UCLA.

After his first stint with ‘Bama, Peetz spent the 2014 season as offensive quality control coach and wide receivers assistant with the Washington Redskins.  The past three years for Peetz have been spent with the Oakland Raiders, the last season as quarterbacks coach.

Army ‘will probably’ give RB Kell Walker a shot at playing QB

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With uncertainty surrounding Ahmad Bradshaw, Army will apparently leave no stone unturned when it comes to the triggerman for its offense.

While Bradshaw, the Black Knights’ starting quarterback the past three seasons, will be a cadet at the service academy this fall, it’s unclear — or even unlikely — that he’ll be permitted to play football in 2018.  In December of last year, the Army defended an internal investigation that concluded Bradshaw and a female cadet had a consensual sexual relationship.

“We are,” head coach Jeff Monken said according to the Times Herald-Record when asked if the football team is moving forward under the assumption that Bradshaw will not be available this season. “We kind of have to move in that direction because we don’t know what the status is going to be. Right now, we are just preparing for us to have a new quarterback.”

With that in mind, Monken also confirmed this week “that sophomore slotback Kell Walker ‘will probably’ get a look at quarterback when the Black Knights open spring practice Tuesday,” Sal Interdonato of wrote.  Walker, who was third on the Black Knights in rushing last season (629 yards) and led them in yards per carry at 7.3, has never played quarterback before at any level.

Army, of course, is unique in that its offense allows them to even attempt such an experiment as their run-heavy system resulted in just 65 passes in 13 games last season.  Conversely, they led the nation in rushing at 362.3 yards per game.

“We will probably play him there some just to see what he is capable of doing,” Monken said of Walker by way of the Herald-Record. “We obviously want to get the ball in his hands as often as we can. He’s a good player for us. I think that would be a way to do that. I just don’t know if he’s going to be the guy that can lead our offense.

“The leadership piece for the quarterback is maybe as important as anything. I think he’s a good leader whether he will be able to lead from that position I do not know.”

The potential loss of Bradshaw, though, can’t be understated.  As a junior last season, Bradshaw ran for a school-record 1,746 yards and accounted for 14 of the Black Knights’ 50 rushing touchdowns.

The Walker experiment notwithstanding, Kelvin Hopkins will likely head into the spring as the favorite to replace Bradshaw under center.  The sophomore was the only player other than Bradshaw to attempt a pass last season, throwing 18 times (six completions) for 76 yards, one touchdown and one interception.  He also carried the ball seven times for 40 yards.