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Ohio turns lights out on UAB’s dream return season with blowout Bahamas Bowl win

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The clock has officially struck midnight on UAB’s Cinderella season.

Ohio (9-4) jumped out to a 27-6 halftime lead and UAB (8-5) couldn’t get much closer than that the last two quarters, with the Bobcats heading back to the States with a dominating and impressive 41-6 win in the fourth annual Bahamas Bowl.  With the win, Ohio snapped a three-game bowl losing streak, winning its first postseason games since the 2012 Independence Bowl.  The win also improves Frank Solich‘s bowl record to 3-6 at Ohio and 5-9 for his career (he was 2-3 at Nebraska).

As they have throughout the season, Ohio did a significant amount of its damage on the ground.  The Bobcats, who came into the game 17th nationally averaging just over 244 yards per game, ran for 250 as a team on the afternoon.  Dorian Brown had himself a game individually, accounting for 152 of those yards — on just 12 carries — and four rushing touchdowns.  The latter number tied the single-game Bahamas Bowl record previously set by Western Michigan’s Jamauri Bogan in the 2015 game.

Brown, not surprisingly, was named the Player of the Game.

Quarterback Nathan Rourke also acquitted himself quite well, completing 12-of-18 passes for 185 yards and a pair of first-half touchdowns in just three quarters worth of work.  This marked the first time since October that the sophomore had thrown for multiple touchdowns in a game.

In a losing effort, A.J. Erdely passed for 248 yards.  That effort was the third time in 13 games this season that he’s thrown for 200-plus, and served as the second-highest total behind the 321 yards the junior put up in a Sept. 23 loss to North Texas.

Despite the lopsided loss that was its worst of the year, what UAB has done this season should be applauded.  With a resounding standing ovation.

After the administration unnecessarily disbanded the football program in December of 2014 and then, under intense public pressure and alongside a massive fundraising effort, resurrected it less than a year later, the Blazers resumed football on the field in 2017 following a two-season sabbatical.  And what a remarkable return it was as Bill Clark‘s squad won eight games in the regular season, the most in the program’s history — topping the old standard of seven set in 2004 — and finished second in the Conference USA’s West division.

Today was just the program’s second-ever bowl game as the Blazers were looking for their first-ever postseason win.  While they didn’t find it, everyone involved should be proud of what they’ve accomplished this season.

Arizona State, Mississippi State ink home-and-home

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Arizona State and Mississippi State on Tuesday announced a home-and-home series to be played in 2024-25. Arizona State will host the first game in Tempe on Sept. 7, 2024, and the clubs will meet in Starkville on Sept. 6, 2025.

The Sun Devils and Bulldogs have never met previously.

The Arizona State trip is not Mississippi State’s only upcoming trek from the Deep South to the Southwest. The Bulldogs also lined up a visit to Arizona in 2020 and Texas Tech in 2029. Mississippi State will open the 2024 season against Eastern Kentucky and visit Southern Miss the week after its Arizona State visit, on Sept. 14. The Bulldogs have no other games lined up in 2025 as of yet, according to FBSchedules.

Likewise, Mississippi State is not the Sun Devils’ lone upcoming SEC opponent. Arizona State has a home-and-home with LSU on the docket for 2026-28, per FBSchedules. The Mississippi State games complete both of the Sun Devils’ non-conference schedules for these respective seasons. Arizona State opens with Wyoming and visits Texas State in 2024, and hosts Northern Arizona and Texas State in 2025.

UCLA lands Texas Tech graduate transfer OL Justin Murphy

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Help is on the way for Chip Kelly‘s offensive line. One graduate transfer offensive lineman has the Bruins on his list, but another has already pulled the trigger for UCLA.

Texas Tech graduate transfer Justin Murphy on Tuesday committed to UCLA in a post on his Twitter account.

A native of Belton, Texas, Murphy signed with Texas Tech in 2014 and made four starts at right guard as a redshirt freshman. He again started four games at right guard in ’15 before moving out to tackle, where he started another four games. But after battling a series of knee injuries, Murphy announced in the middle of the 2016 season he had medically retired from the game.

After sitting out 2017, Murphy announced in March he planned to make a comeback.

UCLA remarkably started the same offensive linemen in all 13 games last season, but tackle Kolton Miller entered the NFL draft, guard Najoee Toran and center Scott Quessenberry graduated.

Toledo posts, then deletes, tweet offering to change mascot to Shrek

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There are plenty of annoying trends on Twitter, but perhaps the worst is the “I’ll do X if this gets retweeted X-thousand amount of times.” I blame Wendy’s.

But blanket policies are never a good way to go through life, and an exception was made on Tuesday when Toledo offered to change its mascot from a rocket to Shrek with 500,000 retweets.

Sadly, some dreams are simply too beautiful to live in this fallen world, and the tweet was outed to be a hoax. “We are definitely not changing the school mascot to Shrek,” Toledo media relations specialist Christine Billau told USA Today. “The tweet was meant to be fun, but it caused too much of a distraction.”

Meanwhile, Bowling Green gleefully hopped on the dog pile with both elbows pointed out.

UMass grad transfer lineman narrows choices to Auburn, UCLA, USC

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It’s not yet known to where Jack Driscoll will transfer, but the field has been significantly narrowed.

Earlier this offseason, Driscoll decided to transfer from UMass.  Tuesday, the offensive tackle confirmed to Rivals.com that he’s down to three schools as a potential landing spot — Auburn, UCLA and USC.

Neither football program will have to wait long for a decision as Driscoll expects to make an announcement Wednesday.  Driscoll had taken an official visit to all three of the campuses prior to whittling down his transfer to-do list.

“It will come down to one of those three schools,” the lineman told AuburnSports.com. “I feel like all three of the schools would be a good fit.”

Driscoll will graduate from UMass early next month, and will be eligible to play immediately in 2018 at whichever program he selects.  The upcoming season will be the first of two years of eligibility the 6-5, 294-pound lineman has remaining.

After starting eight games as a redshirt freshman in 2016, with most of those starts coming at left guard, he started all 12 games in 2017.  All of those starts this past season came at right tackle for the football-independent Minutemen. He was named to Phil Steele’s All-Independent first team while he earned second-team All-Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) honors for good measure.