McCarron played last half of season with injured ribs

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Oh sure, winning the same amount of BCS championships as games he’s lost as Alabama’s starting quarterback wasn’t enough.  AJ McCarron had to go and inject grit and toughness into the equation as well.

In an interview with Chris Low of ESPN.com, McCarron confirmed that he played the last six games of the 2012 season with injured ribs — “I had three ribs come out of place” is how the player put it — and wasn’t close to 100-percent healthy until the BCS title game against Notre Dame.

McCarron suffered the injury on a sack during the Oct. 27 win over Mississippi State.  The rib issue came two weeks after McCarron suffered a knee injury that, for a short period time, left his status for the Tennessee game in doubt.  He played with a knee brace the remainder of the season.

The rib injury, McCarron said, essentially limited what he could do in practice for the remainder of the season.

“They kept popping in and out of place, the one at the top, and it was just a nagging pain the whole time,” the senior-to-be said. “I couldn’t throw much during the week for a long time, really almost up to the bowl game. I was hurting really bad through the week, and it just took a long time for those ribs to heal.”

A look at the numbers shows that the injury and lack of quality practice reps impacted the quarterback’s play.

McCarron threw three interceptions all season long; coincidence or not, all three came after the rib injury — two against Texas A&M in the Tide’s lone loss of the season, and one in the four-point win over Georgia in the SEC championship game.  In the first game after the injury, he completed just 14-of-27 passes (51.9 percent) in a win over LSU, his lowest single-game percentage of the season.

His two lowest passing yard totals in games against FBS competition?  The conference title game (162) and the LSU game (165).

Statistics aside, McCarron did enough — more than enough, actually — to put himself and the Tide in a position to accomplish something no other starting quarterback has ever done and a team hasn’t done since Minnesota in the thirties: win three straight national championships.

Transfers from Rutgers, Coastal Carolina land at same FCS school

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The same FCS program has double-dipped in the NCAA transfer portal, FBS division, in bulking up the talent on its football roster.

Monday afternoon, Albany announced via social media that running back Alex James and fullback Max Anthony have officially signed with the program.  James, a redshirt junior, comes to Albany from Coastal Carolina, Anthony, a fifth-year senior, from Rutgers.

As both players come to the Great Danes from the FBS ranks, they will each be eligible to play immediately in 2019.

The past two seasons for the Chanticleers, James has rushed for 475 yards and seven touchdowns on 114 carries.  He also caught 16 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.

Anthony had started six of the 27 games in which he played for the Scarlet Knights.

Witness in hoops trial claims he paid football players from Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, others

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A sweeping college hoops scandal that’s engulfed the sport has now touched its gridiron counterpart.

Marty Blazer, a Pittsburgh financial advisor-turned government informant after pleading guilty to securities fraud charges, took the witness stand Tuesday in the college basketball fraud trial and levied some potentially explosive allegations.  As part of his testimony, Blazer alleged that, between 2000-14, he paid football players from, among others, Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and Pitt.  The payments, some of which were in the thousands of dollars, were aimed at convincing the player to remain in college and not enter the NFL draft in the hopes that they would retain him as their financial adviser when they did turn pro.

The names of specific players were, for the most part, not mentioned by Blazer.

The most damning of the accusations made by Blazer seems to involve Penn State during the Joe Paterno era.  Specifically, Blazer alleges that he paid the father of then-Penn State player Aaron Maybin $10,000, with the payment being made at the behest of an unnamed Paterno assistant coach.

If accurate, the NCAA would consider such an arrangement a major infraction.  It’s unclear what, if any, action The Association will take on the football side of the accusations made under oath.

Requests for comment from each of the football programs mentioned in Blazer’s testimony have not yet been met with a response.

Kentucky’s Gunnar Hoak latest QB to enter transfer database

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You can go ahead and add Kentucky to the burgeoning list of FBS schools that have lost signal-callers to the infamous portal.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday morning, Kentucky’s Gunnar Hoak wrote that, “[a]fter much thought and consideration, I have decided to put my name in the NCAA transfer portal.” As Hoak is set to graduate from UK very early next month, the quarterback would be eligible to play immediately at another FBS program immediately in 2019.

As an added bonus for whichever school he ultimately chooses, Hoak has two seasons of eligibility available.

After losing out in the quarterback competition that ended in summer camp, Hoak spent the 2018 season as starter Terry Wilson‘s primary backup.  In that role, Hoak completed 13 of his 26 passes for 167 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Coming out of high school in Dublin, Ohio, Hoak was a three-star 2016 signee.

RB Jonathan Taylor competing with Wisconsin track team

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Jonathan Taylor is on track to be one of the most prolific running backs in college football history, but, this spring, he’ll be giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “on track.”

Wisconsin confirmed Tuesday that the Badgers running back will run in at least three meets with the UW track & field team this spring.  Taylor will make his collegiate track debut this weekend at the Penn Relays.  Additionally, he’ll run in the university’s Alumni Classic May 3 and the Big Ten Championships May 10-12.

Taylor will be running a leg of the 4×100-meter relay team, and would run in the NCAA prelims as well if they qualify.

Taylor, one of a handful of preseason Heisman Trophy favorites, is no stranger to the track as he won a pair of New Jersey state high school titles in the 100-meter dash.

As a true freshman in 2017, his 1,977 yards were third nationally.  This past season, he led the country in rushing with 2,194 yards.  If Taylor were to rush for at least 2,235 yards in 2018 — five players in FBS history have surpassed that total in college football history, most recently San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny in 2017 — he would break Donnel Pumphrey‘s all-time record of 6,405 career rushing yards.