Associated Press

Texas faces early deficit but fights back to lead Kansas State at the break

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Sam Ehlinger made his third start for Texas, and through one half has played like a guy who should make a lot more. After throwing an interception on his first pass and facing two 10-point deficits, Ehlinger led Texas on a 14-0 run to close the half and put the Longhorns in the locker room with a 21-17 lead.

The key play of the half came on a score that wasn’t. Kyle Porter rushed in from the 2-yard line on the 14th play of Texas’s third possession in a play that was originally ruled a touchdown, but was overturned upon review. Ehlinger lost yardage on his 3rd-and-goal rush, then threw incomplete on fourth down.

Kansas State drew a pass interference call on Texas cornerback Holton Hill to gain some breathing room away from its own goal line on 3rd-and-11 from its own 2, then took advantage on an 82-yard play-action strike to Dalton Schoen, completing a 14-point swing from 7-3 Texas to 10-0 Kansas State.

Texas mounted another long drive in response and completed it this time, moving 71 yards in 12 plays, as Porter scored on a 1-yard plunge.

The Wildcats had no trouble dicing the Texas defense again on the next possession, putting together a 75-yard march in seven plays, culminating in another scoring strike to Schoen to stake K-State to a 17-7 lead with 6:29 before the break.

Texas, in turn, had no trouble moving through Kansas State’s defense for the third straight possession. Ehlinger led Texas 78 yards in six snaps, the last 33 on a wheel route completion to running back Chris Warren for a touchdown at the 3:25 mark.

After forcing a punt by Kansas State, Texas used all but the final 16 seconds remaining of the half to take its first lead on another 1-yard Porter run.

Though Porter was the one finishing drives, the freshman Ehlinger did the lion’s share of the work. He closed the half hitting 15-of-21 passes for 189 yards while leading the club with nine carries for 59 yards. Fellow freshman Toneil Carter leads the running backs with 32 yards on six attempts.

Jesse Ertz has gotten what he wanted in the passing game, connecting on 7-of-11 passes for 169 yards and two scores; Schoen has three grabs for 100 yards and both of the scores. Kansas State managed just 16 yards on 14 credited rushes.

Kansas State will receive to open the second half.

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa injures thumb on throwing hand in spring practice opener

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This is not exactly the most optimal way to open the spring for Nick Saban and Alabama.

Shortly before seven p.m. ET this evening, grad transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew, who originally committed to play his last season of college football at Alabama, announced on Twitter that he will instead move on to Washington State.  Not long after that, after the Crimson Tide had completed their first practice of the spring, Saban confirmed that Tua Tagovailoa sustained an injury to the thumb on his right (throwing) hand.  Specifically how he sustained the injury wasn’t clear.

The rising sophomore will be taken to Birmingham for further evaluation; just how long he’ll be sidelined remains to be seen.

Jalen Hurts started every game but one at quarterback the past two seasons, guiding the Crimson Tide to a 26-2 record in that span.  He was under center for the national championship game loss to Clemson, and was in the same spot for this year’s title game against Georgia until a 13-0 halftime deficit compelled Saban to pull the trigger on a change.

And the rest, as they say, is history, as Tagovailoa played a significant role in a second-half comeback that was capped by the true freshman’s game-winning touchdown pass in the first overtime.  Even as it seems obvious to those on the outside that this is Tagovailoa’s team moving forward, given how much more advanced the backup is in the passing game than the erstwhile starter, Saban is not quite ready to pull the trigger on a full-time change at the position.  In fact, the head coach even stated that he’s open to playing both quarterbacks.

Minshew, who started five games at East Carolina last season, was viewed as experienced insurance in case Hurts decided to transfer.  Or, if Tagovailoa suffered an injury.

After committing to Alabama, grad transfer QB Gardner Minshew tweets flip to Washington State

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So much for the implementation of the Jalen Hurts Transfer Protection Plan™.

In late February, Gardner Minshew, a graduate transfer quarterback from East Carolina, confirmed that he had committed to play for Alabama and would enroll at the university in May.  Nearly three weeks later, Minshew shifted his course significantly, announcing on Twitter that he is “[p]roud to say that I’ll be playing my last year of college ball at Washington State.”

At least when it comes to the opportunity for playing time, the Cougars, looking to replace Luke Falk, make much more sense than the Crimson Tide, who has, in addition to a two-year starter in Hurts, national championship game hero Tua Tagovailoa.

As a graduate transfer, Minshew will be eligible to play immediately for Wazzu in 2018 and could be in line to win a starting job at the Power Five school.

Minshew started five games for the Pirates last season, throwing for 2,140 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions in completing just over 57 percent of his 304 pass attempts. Prior to his departure from ECU, he was penciled in as the Pirates’ 2018 starting quarterback.

The news of Minshew’s initial commitment to UA came a little over a week after Minshew visited the Tuscaloosa campus.  Earlier in February, it was reported that Alabama had an interest in Minshew, the quarterback who announced late last month that he had withdrawn from East Carolina to tend to a personal matter in his home state of Mississippi.

WATCH: Amazon releases trailer for ‘All or Nothing’ season following Michigan

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“All or Nothing” has been Amazon’s answer to HBO’s “Hard Knocks” with one clear distinction — “All or Nothing” actually follows its subject throughout the season. The first two seasons followed the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams, and has now expanded into the college game. Amazon on Tuesday unveiled the trailer for its upcoming season with Michigan, in which its cameras followed Jim Harbaugh‘s Wolverines through an 8-5 campaign where the maize and blue won no games of consequence.

This is not the first such documentary series to follow a college team. Showtime’s “A Season With” has chronicled seasons of Florida State, Notre Dame and Navy.

The upcoming season will hit all Amazon Prime streaming devices on April 6.

Report: Auburn WR Eli Stove undergoes surgery for torn ACL

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A significant development has gone under the radar at Auburn, until now. Junior wide receiver Eli Stove tore his ACL during Auburn’s first spring practice and underwent surgery last Tuesday, according to Brandon Marcello of Auburn Undercover.

As a sophomore in 2017, Stove caught 29 passes for 265 yards and rushed 30 times for 315 yards and two touchdowns, which made him the Tigers’ third-leading rusher.

Stove was expected to increase his portfolio heading into 2018, but now he’ll spend the foreseeable future working simply to get back on the field. No timetable has been set for Stove’s return.

Though Stove is one of Auburn’s most talented pass-catchers, the Tigers aren’t hurting for depth even in his absence. Nine wideouts caught a pass for Auburn last season, and not one of them was a senior.