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No. 23 TCU makes a statement in stomping of Arkansas

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A vintage Southwest Conference game ended in a vintage Southwest Conference score as No. 23 TCU pounded out a 28-7 victory over Arkansas in Fayetteville. The game was the 70th meeting between the former conference bunk mates but just the second since the Razorbacks left the SWC for the SEC after the 1991 season, and the Frogs’ first trip to Fayetteville since 1988.

TCU (2-0) used a short field to get on the board first, needing only 45 yards and eight snaps to reach the end zone on a 1-yard Sewo Olonilua plunge. Arkansas (1-1) immediately answered, running the ball to midfield to set up a 49-yard snatch-and-dash from Austin Allen to Jonathan Nance for the Razorbacks’ only points of the day. 

The Frogs reclaimed the lead for good with a 15-play, 80-yard march, punctuated by a 4-yard Kyle Hicks run, at the 7:39 mark of the second quarter.

The score remained 14-7 until only 2:18 remained in the second quarter, when Darius Anderson put a cap on the game with a 14-yard scoring jaunt. After Arkansas fumbled the ensuing kickoff, Olonilua added an exclamation point, running in from 13 yards out and carrying multiple cardinal jerseys with him. As a team, TCU muscled to 195 yards and four touchdowns on 42 carries, while Hill hit 21-of-31 passes for 166 yards. 

Reminiscent of a vintage Gary Patterson defense, TCU’s defense controlled the game. The Frogs limited Arkansas to 136 yards on 30 carries while Allen was harassed throughout, completing only 9-of-22 passes for 138 yards. Outside the 49-yard score, Allen averaged 4.24 yards per pass attempt.

This isn’t to say Arkansas did not have its chances, however. Kenny Hill served up an interception in TCU territory with the game knotted at 7-7, but Arkansas’s ensuing drive stalled at the goal line and Cole Hedlund could not convert a 23-yard field goal on the first play of the second quarter.

Arkansas put together one last good possession at the close of the third quarter and beginning of the fourth, moving 78 yards in 12 plays, but again Hedlund missed a short field goal, this one from just 20 yards out.

FAU QB dismissed by Oklahoma ‘actually thanked’ Lane Kiffin for suspension that lasted two days

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That certainly didn’t last long.

Tuesday, after the first day of spring practice, Lane Kiffin revealed that Chris Robison had been indefinitely suspended from the Florida Atlantic football program for unspecified violations of team rules; one report had the suspension connected to skipping a mandatory tutoring session. At the time, the second-year head coach indicated that the suspension was day-to-day and could be lifted at any time.

As it turns out, Thursday was that time as the quarterback returned to the practice field with the rest of his FAU teammates.

“He came in [Wednesday] and actually thanked me for it,” Kiffin said according to the Sun-Sentinel. “He said it really kind of embarrassed him nationally and humbled him that things could kind of be taken away. It was good to see.”

A four-star member of Oklahoma’s 2017 recruiting class, Robison was arrested in April of that year for public intoxication; four months later, OU announced that Robison had been dismissed from the football program.  In August of last year, Robison announced his decision to transfer to FAU and ended up taking a redshirt for the 2017 season.

Robison and De’Andre Johnson are expected to compete for the starting job vacated by Jason Driskel, who announced earlier this offseason that he was retiring from the sport.  Johnson missed most of the 2017 season after blood clots were discovered in one of his arms.

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa (thumb) returns to practice

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In the end, it appears to be much ado about (mostly) nothing.

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.

Wednesday, it was reported that the injury was believed to be just a sprain and that Tagovailoa could return to practice soon. That report proved prophetic as Tagovailoa was indeed back at practice Thursday, albeit on a limited basis.


The quarterback was not doing the normal drills with his teammates but was off to the side working with head athletic trainer Jeff Allen. It looked like they were testing Tagovailoa’s ability to grip the football since the injury was suffered on his throwing hand. He replicated a few play-action roll outs with the ball in his left hand. At one point, he rolled over toward where Jalen Hurts was standing and they high fived.

Until Tagovailoa is fully recovered, 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 entrenched 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.

USC graduate transfer Jalen Greene heads east to play at Illinois in 2018

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Greene is turning orange. Well, Jalen Greene is at least.

The former USC wide receiver who announced he would pursue a graduate transfer earlier this month announced on Twitter that he would be heading East to play at Illinois in 2018. He will be immediately eligible to play for the Illini.

Greene was originally recruited by the Trojans as a dual-threat quarterback but eventually made the move to receiver. He caught eight passes for 98 yards at USC last season as a partial starter and added another eight receptions for 116 yards the year prior.

Illinois has already begun spring practice and has been trying several new players at wide receiver in the process to find a good complement to Mike Dudek on the outside. It seems Greene could find himself in the mix to be one of those guys when he arrives in Champaign.

Josh Heupel keeping most of Scott Frost’s playbook at UCF as spring practice begins

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There are a ton of interesting storylines as spring practice begins across the country but one of the most intriguing programs to watch might be in Orlando as UCF looks to simultaneously follow up an undefeated season while also transitioning to a new coaching staff.

ESPN’s Andrea Adelson wrote a good story on the Knights changing some things up under head coach Josh Heupel the past few months like eating with players during meals, new strength and conditioning regiments and the usual offseason stuff you typically wind up season. However there was one interesting nugget about the team’s playbook that the coach relayed:

In other areas, player input has kept a few things unchanged. Take the offensive playbook, for example. Heupel and (Scott) Frost share enough offensive concepts that the new staff has adopted the terminology that players already know on the plays they have in common. So in theory, that should allow the offense to hit spring practice, which started Tuesday, with much more familiarity than another program that has completely changed over its staff.

As they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. In Heupel’s first head coaching gig, it seems he’s taking that to heart.