One Sooner suspended, another cleared for Cotton Bowl

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Thanks to a pair of arrests over the past month, the statuses of two Oklahoma players for the Sooners’ bowl game has been up in the air.

Friday evening, the Sooners clarified the availability of both in one fell swoop.

In a release, OU announced that defensive tackle Stacy McGee “will not travel to the game nor participate in any activities related to the game.”  In other words, he has been suspended for the Cotton Bowl matchup with Texas A&M.

On the brighter side, wide receiver Jalen Saunders has been cleared to participate in the postseason game.

In early December, Saunders was one of two Sooner players arrested on a marijuana possession charge.  Three weeks later, McGee was arrested and charged with driving under the influence.  In the release on “postseason participation,” OU stated that “[t]he information and history in each of the individual matters are unique thus resulting in different participation decisions for this game.”

McGee was suspended for the first six games of the season for undisclosed violations of university policies.  In February of this year, McGee was arrested on a pot possession charge.  Saunders, on the other hand, transferred into the Sooners program this year from Fresno State and has no known off-field issues.

The fact that Saunders will play is likely bigger — and better — news for the Sooners.

After having his waiver for immediate eligibility approved by the NCAA Oct. 10, Saunders played in OU’s final eight games.  Despite missing a third of the season, Saunders is third on the team in receptions (53) and receiving yards (766), totals which are tops on the Sooners during that eight-game stretch.

While McGee started 17 games in the three seasons prior to this year, he was merely a part of OU’s defensive line rotation after returning from the suspension and was listed as a backup at both tackle positions on the depth chart headed into the bowl game.  He was credited with 14 tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and one sack in the six games in which he played.

Miami pays Arkansas State $400,000 settlement over canceled game

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A legal issue that arose between a Power Five school and one from the Group of Five has finally been resolved.

The Miami-Arkansas State game in Jonesboro last season was scuttled by Hurricane Irma, mainly because of The U’s concerns over traveling back to South Florida in the wake of the superstorm.  ASU sued Miami in February of this year, seeking financial damages as a result of a breach of contract; Miami had sued ASU two days earlier in an effort to void the contract because the effects of the hurricane were out of its control.

In mid-September, a judge set a Dec. 20 deadline for the two sides to resolve the dispute via third-party mediation.  Wednesday, ASU announced that a settlement has been reached, with each entity dismissing their lawsuits against the other as well as Miami paying the Sun Belt school $400,000.

ASU had been seeking $650,000 in damages.

“I am pleased that both lawsuits have been resolved and that this matter is now behind us,” Brad Phelps, general counsel for the Arkansas State University System, said in the statement. “I believe this is a fair resolution of these issues.”

As part of the settlement, the 2017 game, which was the back-end of a home-and-home series, will not be rescheduled.

Last year’s winner Ed Oliver one of eight semifinalists for Outland Trophy

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Another day (hour?), another award paring down its field of players eligible to win this year’s honor.

The latest to do as much is the Outland Trophy, with the award that is handed out annually to the nation’s top interior lineman on either side of the ball announcing the eight semifinalists for this year’s honor.  Headlining the most recent group is Houston’s Ed Oliver, who was the 2017 Outland winner.

Top-ranked Alabama (offensive tackle Jonah Williams, nose guard Quinnen Williams) and second-ranked Clemson (offensive tackle Mitch Hyatt, defensive tackle Christian Wilkins) accounted for half of the eight semifinalists.  The other three semifinalists not already mentioned are North Carolina State center Garrett Bradbury, Wisconsin guard Michael Deiter and Oklahoma guard Ben Powers.

Next week, this group of eight semifinalists will be pared down to three finalists.  The winner of the 2018 Outland Trophy will be announced during the Home Depot College Football Awards show on ESPN in early December.

Ohio State LB Baron Browning ruled out for Maryland game

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For the second straight week, Ohio State will be down a man in its linebacking corps.

Earlier this week, Urban Meyer listed Baron Browning as probable for Saturday’s game against Maryland.  Wednesday night after practice, however, the head coach confirmed that the linebacker will not play against the Terrapins.

Browning is dealing with an unspecified injury that sidelined the sophomore linebacker for the win over Michigan State this past Saturday.

Through eight games in 2018, Browning has been credited with 22 tackles, 3½ tackles for loss and a sack.  As noted by ElevenWarriors.com, Browning has been rotating in with Tuf Borland at the middle linebacker spot throughout the season.

A five-star 2017 signee, Browning played in a dozen games as a true freshman last year.

Western Michigan announces firing of DC Tim Daoust

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Tuesday night, Western Michigan was officially removed from MAC West contention.  Less than 24 hours later, WMU removed one of its top assistants.

Wednesday night, the Broncos announced that they have “parted ways” with defensive coordinator Tim Daoust.  The move comes after WMU gave up 42 points in a loss to a three-win Ball State team that came into the game 99th in the country in scoring (24.5 points per game).

All told, the Broncos gave up 51, 59 and 42 points in three straight losses that knocked them out of the West race and handed the division title to Northern Illinois.

“I appreciate Tim and his family’s dedication to the Bronco football family these past two seasons,” head coach Tim Lester said in a statement. “At this time I felt we needed to go in a different direction.”

This was Daoust’s second stint in Kalamazoo as he was an assistant with the Broncos from 2006-09.  Prior to this two-year stint at WMU, Daoust was the coordinator at Ball State.

Daoust will be replaced for the remainder of the year by defensive line coach and co-defensive coordinator Lou Esposito.  WMU, which is bowl-eligible for a school-record fifth-straight year, will close out the 2018 regular season against West champion NIU next Tuesday.