Chad Kelly

Heisman odds: Clemson’s Deshaun Watson the early betting favorite

7 Comments

2015 Heisman Trophy finalist and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson is the early favorite to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy according to Bovada. In the first batch of early Heisman Trophy odds released by the popular sports book, Clemson’s quarterback was labeled the favorite to win the hardware next fall following a wildly successful 2015 season and run to the national championship game. The valiant effort in the championship game put everyone on notice just how good Watson is. Of course, he was already a Heisman finalist, so he has the college football world’s attention already.

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, another 2015 finalist for the Heisman Trophy, was tied for the second-best odds to win the Heisman Trophy with LSU running back Leonard Fournette. Fournette had appeared to be the easy pick for the Heisman Trophy last season but his run to the trophy was steamrolled by Alabama, which allowed Derrick Henry to take the lead in the race.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield was given a 10/1 shot to win the Heisman Trophy, the same as Ohio State quarterback JT Barrett. Florida State running back Dalvin Cook was among a handful of players receiving 12/1 odds.

Odds to win the 2016 Heisman Trophy

  • QB Deshaun Watson, Clemson (9/2)
  • RB Leonard Fournette, LSU (5/1)
  • RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford (5/1)
  • QB JT Barrett, Ohio State (10/1)
  • QB Baker Mayfield, Oklahoma (10/1)
  • RB Nick Chubb, Georgia (12/1)
  • RB Dalvin Cook, Florida State (12/1)
  • RB Royce Freeman, Oregon (12/1)
  • QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss (12/1)
  • RB Samaje Perine, Oklahoma (12/1)
  • WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama (16/1)
  • QB Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee (16/1)
  • QB Brad Kaaya, Miami (25/1)

Deshaun Watson earns Manning Award as nation’s top QB

1 Comment

Late last night, Dabo Swinney took home honors as the Bear Bryant Coach of the Year.  A day later, a player who was instrumental in the Clemson head coach’s 2015 success has been honored as well.

The Allstate Sugar Bowl announced Thursday that true sophomore Deshaun Watson has been awarded the Manning Award, given annually to the nation’s top quarterback.  The award, named in honor of the quarterbacking Mannings — Archie, Peyton and Eli — is the only one to take into account a player’s performance in the postseason.

There were 11 other finalists for this year’s trophy: Brandon Allen (Arkansas), Trevone Boykin (TCU), Connor Cook (Michigan State), Brandon Doughty (Western Kentucky), Kevin Hogan (Stanford), Chad Kelly (Ole Miss), Paxton Lynch (Memphis), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Dak Prescott (Mississippi State), Keenan Reynolds (Navy) and Greg Ward, Jr., (Houston).

“We are honored to present this year’s Manning Award to Deshaun Watson,” Archie Manning said in a statement. “Deshaun led his team to a perfect regular season and then an impressive win in the Playoff Semifinal before his 478-yard performance in the national championship. He may not have won the title but he showed the world what an outstanding talent he is and what a tremendous competitor he is.”

Watson, a consensus All-American and Heisman finalist, becomes the third player from the ACC to win the Manning, joining Boston College’s Matt Ryan (Boston College, 2007) and Florida State’s Jameis Winston (2013).

Chad Kelly eschews early NFL jump, will return to Ole Miss

Getty Images
1 Comment

As Alabama gets set to square off with Clemson in the College Football Playoff championship game, one of the players who handed the former its only loss of the season — and played for the latter before being dismissed — will get another opportunity to knock off the Tide.

In a statement sent to the Buffalo News, Chad Kelly announced that he has decided he will not make himself available for the April NFL draft and will instead return to Ole Miss for his senior season.  It has long been thought that Kelly, the nephew of former Miami Hurricane and Buffalo Bill great Jim Kelly, was leaning toward a return, although there was some doubt right up until the quarterback’s confirmation late this afternoon.

After serious discussion with my family and Coach Freeze, I wanted my friends and fans to know that I’ll be staying at Ole Miss for my senior year. I look forward to completing my degree and graduating from Ole Miss,” said Kelly. “We’ve lost a lot of starters, but we’re still deep in talent, and I’m excited to get back to work with Coach Freeze, Coach Werner and the rest of the team.

It feels great to be a part of a winning team for a school with such a rich history, but I realize that there’s still a lot of learning and growing that I can do with this team. It will take the hard work and commitment of everyone involved, but I believe that we have a committed coaching staff and some of the best players in college football. I can’t wait to see what we can do together in 2016.

“As a Kelly, I’ve been fortunate to grow up with a tight knit family. Coach Freeze and everyone here at Ole Miss have become a part of my family. We have the best students, the best staff, and just as importantly, the best fans in the country,” Kelly continued. “Our goal this year is to win the SEC west and to compete for a National Championship.

Kelly recently completed his first season with the Rebels after a winding and controversial start to a collegiate career that began at Clemson and continued on to the junior college ranks before settling in Oxford. In that first season, Kelly led the SEC and was second nationally with 4,042 passing yards, while his passing efficiency rating of 155.9 was second in the conference and 13th in the country.

Ole Miss put the finishing touches on a 10-win season with the football program’s first Sugar Bowl win since 1970.  En route to that win, Kelly passed for 341 yards and scored four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing) in Ole Miss’ road upset of Alabama.

No. 12 Ole Miss completes New Years Six blowout trend with Sugar Bowl win

AP Photo/Bill Feig
9 Comments

It was a rough couple of days for the state of Oklahoma in the New Years Six. 2015 ended with a dud from the Oklahoma Sooners in the first College Football Playoff semifinal against Clemson and 2016 started with another dud from No. 16 Oklahoma State (10-3). The Cowboys were ambushed by No. 12 Ole Miss (10-3) in the Sugar Bowl on the first of the new year, 48-20, and it hardly felt even that close. Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly tossed four touchdowns to earn Sugar Bowl MVP honors and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell caught three of them as Ole Miss helped cap a big couple of days for the SEC in bowl action.

Kelly ended his night having thrown for 302 yards and four touchdowns. Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh split playing time in the defeat and totaled 302 passing yards between them with zero touchdowns, although Walsh did rush for two scores. Oklahoma State’s running game was taken out of the game early and ended the night with just 63 rushing yards. Keep in mind, Walsh rushed for 74 yards in the game.

Ole Miss actually started off a tad slowly in the game, but they managed to shake off any early rust the way they were unable to the last time they played a Big 12 team in the New Years Six (last year vs. TCU in the Peach Bowl; the Horned Frogs demolished Ole Miss). Hugh Freeze and his Rebels fell behind 3-0 off an early Oklahoma State field goal, but scored 34 points before halftime. They even had a little fun doing so by tossing a screen pass to offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil on the final play of the first half for a short touchdown nobody on Oklahoma State’s defense was prepared for in the closing seconds. Simply put, Freeze had more talent on his Ole Miss squad and he out-foxed Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy.

Freeze improved to 3-1 in bowl games since his arrival in Oxford. This was also the first Sugar Bowl victory, and first of the four traditional major bowl games, for the Ole Miss program since the 1969 season. This is also the first time Ole Miss has won 10 game sin a single season since going 10-3 in 2003 with Eli Manning at quarterback.

With the win, the SEC improved to 6-2 this bowl season, and the wins have come in dominant fashion. Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Auburn have all put up over 30 points in their bowl victories, and each won their games by at least 20 points. The SEC’s only losses have come from Texas A&M and Florida (who lost in a blowout against Michigan). The SEC still has favorable matchups to come as well with Arkansas getting Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl. Georgia is a favorite against Penn State as well in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Alabama will get a chance to end the season with another postseason win too when they face Clemson in the national championship game one week from Monday night. Last year Ole Miss played a role in a disappointing bowl showing from the sEC, but this year the tale has been reversed.

The Big 12 is now a lowly 1-3 so far, with three more games to be played. Odds are not with the Big 12 though with Kansas State getting Arkansas, as mentioned above, and TCU without Trevone Boykin drawing a red hot and explosive Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. West Virginia also plays Arizona State in the Cactus Bowl, in Phoenix. The Big 12 is now also 1-3 in New Years Six bowl game sin two years under the new College Football Playoff structure, which is not a particularly great look.

No. 12 Ole Miss making it look easy in the Big Easy vs. No. 16 Oklahoma State

AP Photo/Jonathan Bachman
16 Comments

In the sixth and final game in the New Years Six line-up this season, the Sugar Bowl is seeming to follow the trend of lopsided contests. Ole Miss of the SEC has been abusing Oklahoma State all throughout the first half of the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans and leads the Big 12 member 34-6 at halftime.

With first and goal inside the five-yard line and just five seconds to play following an Oklahoma State penalty in the endzone, rather than kick a short field goal Hugh Freeze opted to run one last play. It paid off. Chad Kelly faked a handoff and tossed a screen back to a wide open Laremy Tunsil — yes, offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil — on the left side of the field for an exclamation point score before heading to the locker room.

Ole Miss wide receiver Laquon Treadwell has two touchdown catches and 57 yards on four catches, and he’s even completed a 45-yard pass to Jordan Wilkins. Ole Miss’ regular passer, Chad Kelly, has had a good evening so far as well with 219 passing yards and three touchdowns to move into fourth in SEC history for most passing yards in a season. In total, Ole Miss has racked up 337 yards of offense while the Rebels have allowed just 156 yards to Oklahoma State’s defense.

Oklahoma State converted just two of nine third-down attempts in the first half, but the Cowboys seemed to get its offense going on its last possession of the half, although the Cowboys had to settle for three points inside the red zone. Ole Miss did not have much time left but made every second count and ended the half with the screen pass to Tunsil.

This is already ugly, and there is still one more half to play.