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Second half comeback powers Kansas State to Cactus Bowl victory over UCLA

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If this is the end of the Bill Snyder era (Part II) at Kansas State, at least the ol’ Wizard went out in memorable fashion.

The Wildcats (8-5) used a wild two-minute stretch in the third quarter to power a second half comeback at the Cactus Bowl on Tuesday to beat UCLA 35-17 and complete a flourishing kick to the 2017 season under the team’s venerable head coach.

Snyder, who is one of the best in the business in terms of making adjustments at halftime, proved his coaching acumen is still pretty sharp against a Bruins squad (6-7) that was banged up, without starting quarterback Josh Rosen and operating under an interim coaching staff. KSU took their first drive of the second half 74 yards to the end zone and included a fourth-and-inches run right at the goal line to cap it off. Safety Denzel Goolsby forced a fumble out of the hands of Bolo Olorunfunmi on UCLA very next offensive snap, setting his offense back up just outside the red zone.

They converted that into a touchdown and were off to the races for a bit of postseason revenge against the Bruins for a somewhat controversial Alamo Bowl three years ago — twisting the knife a bit with a 15-play, 98 yard drive to ice the game in the final frame.

Skylar Thompson started at quarterback but proved to be ineffective and eventually gave way to Alex Delton, who immediately took off running 68 yards for a touchdown on his first touch. The latter finished the game with 158 yards and three scores on the ground while adding another 52 through the air as the spark that seemed to get the Wildcats going and help really open things up.

Running back Alex Barnes chipped in with 117 yards and a touchdown, doing most of his damage after Delton took over signal-caller duties. Fullback Winston Dimel, who could be playing his final game with the team with his father taking the UTEP head coaching job, didn’t go out on quite the high note he would have wanted statistically and appeared to aggravate an existing shoulder injury in the third quarter as well.

Though new coach Chip Kelly was looking on from a suite, his new UCLA team didn’t exactly prove themselves to be up to the moment after looking pretty solid in the first half. Devon Modster, starting under center in place of Rosen, flashed early in throwing a pair of 50+ yard touchdowns during the second quarter but trailed off after that. He finished the game with 257 yards and added another 19 with his legs for what was still a pretty solid audition for the new staff.

It was nearly enough to stop one of the best teams in the country during the second half of the 2017 season, as Kansas State closed strong with wins in five of their last six to finish a very trying campaign on a high note. While the emotion of the effort from Chase Field in Phoenix was nice to celebrate for Wildcats fans, their attention will likely now be wondering about their head coach.

Snyder has said no decision has been made as to his plans in 2018 with the team but if Tuesday night was it for his career in the Little Apple, it was a heck of a way to go out for the man nicknamed The Wizard. And if it isn’t the end, it will make for a fine way to run into the offseason after running right over UCLA out in the desert.

You’re getting old part 9,374: Heisman Trophy winner Ron Dayne’s son commits to Boston College

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Today in ‘You’re getting old,’ part 9,374: Ron Dayne’s kid will soon play college football.

While it seems like just yesterday that the ‘Great Dayne’ was running wild at Wisconsin and winning the 1999 Heisman Trophy, the soon-to-be 40-year-old will be back in college football in a different light: as a dad. That’s because his son, Javian Dayne, just committed to Boston College as part of the class of 2018.

The elder Dayne amassed 7,125 yards on the ground over four seasons at Wisconsin, a mark that is more than any other player in college football history but good for second on the NCAA all-time list behind San Diego State’s Donnel Pumphrey due to the lack of counting bowl stats back in the day. The younger Dayne doesn’t have quite the same size and stats as his dad but wasn’t too shabby at Waunakee (Wis.) High in running for 4,269 yards and 56 touchdowns the past three years.

“I absolutely hated the process,” Javian told the Wisconsin State Journal of his recruitment. “I was one of those people who wanted to get it over with. I didn’t like the process at all. … We did a lot of traveling around.”

The six-foot, 200 pound recruit is listed as a two-star by 247Sports and was recruited heavily by the Eagles since November. He’ll have a tough time becoming the starter with A.J. Dillon coming off a 1,500 yard season as a freshman but could be in the mix with several others to see some carries early on with primary backup Jon Hilliman transferring to Rutgers.

Either way, the first time the cameras find Ron Dayne on the sidelines at a Boston College game watching his son will be yet another reminder that we’re all getting very, very old.

Oregon reportedly poaches Wazzu assistant Jim Mastro as Ducks’ new running backs coach

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Alex Grinch isn’t the only member of Mike Leach’s staff who is ticketed out of Pullman this offseason.

According to Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman, Oregon had poached Washington State assistant Jim Mastro to be the Ducks’ new running backs coach and run game coordinator.

Mastro has been with the Cougars since joining Leach’s initial staff at Wazzu back in 2012 and has quite a bit of experience out west, including 11 seasons at Nevada and a year at UCLA. He replaces Donte Pimpleton, who followed former Oregon coach Willie Taggart to Florida State several weeks ago.

Interestingly, this is the third straight offseason that the Ducks have poached an assistant from their Pac-12 North rivals. Quarterbacks coach David Yost left for Eugene back in 2015 while Taggart hired defensive line coach Joe Salave’a last year. Mastro should have plenty to work with upon arrival with senior Tony Brooks-James and youngster Darrian Felix likely leading the way on the ground.

Kevin Sumlin brings familiar Texas A&M face with him to Arizona’s coaching staff

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Kevin Sumlin is still sorting out his new staff at Arizona but reportedly has his special teams coordinator locked up and it’s a familiar face from his previous stop in College Station.

While Texas A&M’s former special teams coordinator Jeff Banks was hired for the same position at Alabama, Sumlin has hired his No. 2 in Jeremy Springer to be the Wildcats’ new special teams coordinator, a source told Sports Illustrated this week. The trio worked together for three years with the Aggies as Springer assisted Banks in the crucial third phase of the game.

Springer was originally ticketed to join another former Sumlin assistant in David Beaty as a staffer at Kansas but instead will head west to the desert. His most recent formal title was quality control special teams/tight ends assistant at Texas A&M but he’ll be an on-field coach in Tucson.

Springer played linebacker for UTEP and is still pretty fresh-faced in the coaching profession having graduated from the school in 2011.

Tennessee still trying to remove Butch Jones billboard at Neyland Stadium… months after he was fired by the Vols

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It’s been nearly two weeks since the national championship game which means that Jeremy Pruitt has been in Knoxville as the new Tennessee head coach for some time now leading the program. Despite that fact, there’s still a visible reminder every day when he drives into work of the previous regime that was in charge of the Vols.

That’s because there’s a giant 35-by-30-foot picture of former head coach Butch Jones still up on the outside of Neyland Stadium… over two months after he was fired by Tennessee. According to the Times Free Press, the picture could even be up past signing day in February as the rather slow change is made for an item that isn’t as easy for the school to alter as the media guide is.

“That’s not an easy process,” athletic director Phillip Fulmer told Knoxville NBC affiliate WBIR. “There’s mechanical things involved to get that done. It’s not just, ‘Let’s take down a picture off the wall or a graphic.’ We’re working through that.

“It is important to us, because it is important to reflect what we’re doing. It’ll be done in due time. I’ve heard the same thing from the chancellor. She wants me to speed it up, too. We will. We’ll get there.”

Funny enough, the giant picture of Jones (flanked by UT legends Reggie White and Robert Neyland) replaced an image of Fulmer from when the team won the BCS title 20 years ago. Something says they might revert back to that look with their now-AD until Pruitt can establish himself with the program over the next few years to prevent a repeat of this fiasco.

As the Times Free Press notes, it took Florida State just a week to scrub Jimbo Fisher‘s likeness from Doak Campbell Stadium but it might be three months before the Vols can do the same with their coaching change. It may not delight the fan base to see Jones some more but this is clearly one area on Rocky Top that is decidedly not moving at SEC-speed at the moment.