Auburn holds off Manziel magic for 45-41 win

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For the second time in as many weeks Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel had to be taken out of the game to be treated for an injury. Manziel returned to the game once again this week, and nearly pulled out a memorable victory. Instead, it was Auburn who celebrated a win in Kyle Field, hanging on for a wild 45-41 win in SEC West play.

Entering the fourth quarter trailing Texas A&M 31-24, Auburn scored three touchdowns to take a lead and the defense held on for a stop on Texas A&M’s final drive of the game. Nick Marshall‘s wheel route pass completion to Marcus Davis down the right sideline kept a drive alive and two quick plays later the Tigers took a lead after a video review overturned a play on the field and awarded a go-ahead touchdown for Auburn.

Manziel appeared to injure his right elbow or shoulder while running up the middle of the field and being tackled by a pair of Auburn defenders earlier in the quarter. He immediately came out of the game and was attended to by the Texas A&M medical staff. Cameras hovering over the field at the game caught video of Manziel getting off the bench to try tossing a pass to Mike Evans, but as he wound his arm he abruptly stopped his throwing motion, shook his head and was taken to the locker room. While he was out of the game the Aggies, with back-up quarterback Matt Joeckel leading the offense, went three-and-out. Perhaps Manziel’s brief absence cost Texas A&M a win. The way the offenses were in control, it is not hard to envision.

Auburn took a lead while Manziel was being treated, but Manziel would return in a time of need for Texas A&M. Trailing by four, Manziel completed six straight passes and took off on a short touchdown run to put the Aggies in front late in the game. Then, after Auburn capped a 75-yard drive in 13 plays under four minutes for the lead but did so unwisely using a hurry-up offense close the goal line, Manziel worked his magic one more time for a game-winning drive with 1:19 to work with, and he nearly pulled it off. Auburn’s defense had been chasing Manziel and Evans all day long, but came up with a big stop as the Aggies were knocking on the door.

Auburn and Texas A&M combined for 1,217 yards with a pretty even split. Manziel passed for 454 yards and four touchdowns and added 48 rushing yards and a touchdown for good measure. Auburn’s Tre Mason rushed for 178 yards and a touchdown and Marshall took off for 100 yards and two touchdowns as well. Texas A&M receiver Mike Evans was nearly unstoppable as well, collecting 287 receiving yards and four touchdowns as Manziel’s top target.

The win improves Auburn to 6-1 this year, with a 3-1 record in the SEC. The only loss for Auburn came on the road at LSU. Auburn should have an easier time getting to 7-1 when they host Florida Atlantic next week in a non-conference game. then will come two road games, at Arkansas and Tennessee, before closing out the regular season at home against Georgia and Alabama. Auburn’s season has all of a sudden put them in a good position in the SEC standings. To make an unexpected trip to Atlanta, Auburn will need a little bit of help (Alabama beating LSU), but Tigers fans can at least dream wildly for a day or two.

Texas A&M now has two losses in SEC play, including an earlier loss to Alabama. Their chances to play for an SEC Championship may have already been slim, but may have been  wiped out with this loss. Sure, Texas A&M may still have the best offense in the SEC, but their shortcomings on defense continue to haunt them in big spots.

NCAA will allow two wins vs. FCS schools to count toward bowl eligibility in 2020

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If there is a 2020 college football season, the NCAA will make postseason eligibility a little easier for schedule-challenged schools.

Previously, FBS programs could only count one win against FCS opponents as part of the six needed to become bowl-eligible. Wednesday, however, the NCAA announced that two wins against FCS teams can count toward the required six needed to play in a bowl.  The NCAA also adjusted the minimum scholarship criteria for FCS schools down in order to help, if needed.

Those moves, though, are for the 2020 season only.

From The Association’s release:

The Division I Council approved a blanket waiver request to allow a Football Bowl Subdivision team to count for bowl eligibility and scheduling requirements two games against Football Championship Subdivision teams that meet adjusted minimum scholarship criteria. This adjustment applies only to the 2020-21 season.

Current FBS rules require an FCS opponent to have averaged 90 percent of the maximum number of football scholarships during a rolling two-year period for that game to count for bowl selection and scheduling requirements for the FBS team. The waiver allows the games to count if the FCS opponents average at least 80 percent.

Just how this season will play schedule-wise is an ever-moving target.

Already, the Big Ten and Pac-12 have gone to conference-only schedules.  The ACC and SEC are expected to make a decision later this month.  The Big 12 will probably make a decision in that same timeframe.

Additionally, a handful of FBS teams have already seen games against FCS schools canceled.  In fact, one FCS conference, the Patriot League, has already postponed all fall sports.  The Ivy League did the same.

At this point, it seems likely that the NCAA will have to drop the six-win threshold down in order to get enough teams bowl-eligible as well.  Again, provided there is some semblance of a 2020 season.

Florida WR Dionte marks makes way into transfer portal

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The Florida Gators are the latest Power Five program to see its football roster nicked by the transfer portal.

First reported by Matt Zenitz of al.com, wide receiver Dionte Marks is headed into the NCAA transfer database.  A Florida football official subsequently confirmed that the redshirt freshman has informed the program of his intention to take the [portal for a test drive.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Barring a waiver being granted, Marks will have to sit out the 2020 season if he moves on to another FBS school.  That would then leave the Deland, Fla., product with three years of eligibility starting in 2021.

Marks was a three-star member of the Florida football Class of 2019.  The receiver’s only other Power Five offers came from Florida State, Nebraska and West Virginia.  FAU and UCF were in the mix as well.

As a true freshman, Marks took a redshirt for the 2019 season.  He did, though, appear in a pair of games, but didn’t produce any stats.

This is the first known Florida football player to leave the program since offensive lineman Isaiah Walker transferred to Miami in early May.  In between, UF has picked up transfers from Miami and Mississippi State.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Alabama-USC confirmed for 2020 opener and a book claiming Texas, boosters offered Nick Saban $100 million-plus to leave Crimson Tide

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The sports world, including college football, had essentially screeched to a halt in the spring as countries around the world battled the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there was a dearth of college football news as the sport went into a COVID-induced hibernation.  Slowly, though, the game is coming back to life.  Hopefully.

That being said, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives that stretch back to 2009 and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on July 16, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this college football down-time, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Big 12 coordinator of officials clears up when ‘horns down’ is and is not a penalty
THE SYNOPSIS: Amen.  It’s about time someone looked out for the feelings of those associated with the University of Texas’ college football team.  [/wanking motion]

2018

THE HEADLINE: Lincoln Riley suggests there is a competition for QB that nobody should believe
THE SYNOPSIS: Kyler Murray was the presumptive front-runner.  And he won the starting job.  And the Heisman Trophy a few months later.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Les Miles’ daughter is trying to convince him to be a broadcaster but Mad Hatter still wants to coach
THE SYNOPSIS: In December of 2018, Miles was named as the head coach at Kansas. But not before building up his acting résumé, though.

2016

THE HEADLINE: THE Michael Jordan to serve as honorary captain for Michigan’s opener
THE SYNOPSIS: Since becoming part of the Air Jordan apparel family in 2015, U-M has finished third, third, fourth, tied for first and third in the Big Ten East.  And has stretched its losing streak to rival Ohio State to eight straight and 15 of the last 16.  The Jumpman logo on the uniforms does look cool, though.

2015

THE HEADLINE: Clemson K charged with coke possession ‘will miss some time’
THE SYNOPSIS: Courtesy of Clemson, the first cocaine kicker in the College Football Talk collective.  What a proud moment.  Both for that and the alliteration in this synopsis.

2014

THE HEADLINE: Alabama-USC set for 2016 opener in Arlington
THE SYNOPSIS: Yeah, not so much.

2014

THE HEADLINE: New book: Texas, boosters offered Nick Saban $100 million-plus to leave Tide
THE SYNOPSIS: Saban and his wife both very vociferously stated they weren’t leaving Tuscaloosa.  Saban’s high-powered agent, Jimmy Sexton, though, reportedly played point man in at least a couple of meetings with those connected to the Longhorns football program.

2012

THE HEADLINE: Butch Davis says he wants to coach again
THE SYNOPSIS: This pronouncement came two years after his NCAA-induced departure from North Carolina. And five years prior to his return to the coaching game at Florida International.

2010

THE HEADLINE: NCAA probe into UNC football program ‘sounding very serious’
THE SYNOPSIS: Speaking of Butch Davis

2019 finalist Chuba Hubbard, 2018 finalist Travis Etienne two of the 76 Doak Walker Award watch listers

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If you’re a starting running back at the FBS level, there’s a fairly good chance you are part of the Doak Walker Award watch list.

Monday, it was the Bednarik Award kicking off watch list season.  Tuesday, the Davey O’Brien Award joined in.  A day later, the Doak Walker Award joined the burgeoning list of honors releasing their preseason watch lists.

This award, given annually to the nation’s top running back, features a whopping 76 preseason candidates.  Included in that are 2019 finalist Chuba Hubbard of Oklahoma State and 2018 finalist Travis Etienne of Clemson.  Last year’s winner was Wisconsin’s Jonathan Taylor.

Every FBS conference is represented on the list.  The Big Ten and Pac-12 lead the way with 10 apiece, followed by the ACC and SEC with nine each.  The other Power Five, the Big 12, landed five. Wih seven apiece, the Mountain West and Sun Belt led all Group of Five conferences.

Of the more than six dozen watch listers, 30 of them are seniors.  Another 28 are juniors while the other 18 are sophomores.

Below are all 76 running backs who make up this year’s Doak Walker Award preseason watch list.

Drake Anderson (So.), Northwestern
David Bailey (Jr.), Boston College
Max Borghi (Jr.), Washington State
Rakeem Boyd (Sr.), Arkansas
Gary Brightwell (Sr.), Arizona
Kennedy Brooks (Jr.), Oklahoma
Shamari Brooks (Sr.), Tulsa
Christopher Brown, Jr. (Jr.), Cal
Journey Brown (Jr.), Penn State
Spencer Brown (Sr.), UAB
Noah Cain (So.), Penn State
Jamale Carothers (Jr.), Navy
Stephen Carr (Sr.), USC
Michael Carter (Sr.), North Carolina
Andrew Clair (Jr.), Bowling Green
Elijah Collins (So.), Michigan State
James Cook (Jr.), Georgia
Jashaun Corbin (So.), Florida State
ReMahn Davis (So.), Temple
Travis Etienne (Sr.), Clemson
Demetric Felton (Sr.), UCLA
Alex Fontenot (Jr.), Colorado
Kenneth Gainwell (So.), Memphis
Tyler Goodson (So.), Iowa
Eric Gray (So.), Tennessee
Breece Hall (So.), Iowa State
Najee Harris (Sr.), Alabama
Javian Hawkins (So.), Louisville
Justin Henderson (Sr.), Louisiana Tech
Kylin Hill (Sr.), Mississippi State
George Holani (So.), Boise State
Chuba Hubbard (Jr.), Oklahoma State
Caleb Huntley (Sr.), Ball State
Mohamed Ibrahim (Jr.), Minnesota
Keaontay Ingram (Jr.), Texas
Deon Jackson (Sr.), Duke
Jermar Jefferson (Jr.), Oregon State
Josh Johnson (Sr.), ULM
Amare Jones (Jr.), Tulane
Lopini Katoa (Jr.), BYU
Wesley Kennedy III (Sr.), Georgia Southern
JD King (Sr.), Georgia Southern
Brenden Knox (Jr.), Marshall
Bryant Koback (Jr.), Toledo
Kobe Lewis (Jr.), Central Michigan
Vavae Malepeai (Sr.), USC
Kevin Marks (Jr.), Buffalo
Jordan Mason (Jr.), Georgia Tech
Kevin Mensah (Sr.), Connecticut
Dedrick Mills (Sr.), Nebraska
Elijah Mitchell (Sr.), Louisiana-Lafayette
Marcel Murray (Jr.), Arkansas State
Richard Newton (So.), Washington
Jaret Patterson (Jr.), Buffalo
Trey Ragas (Sr.), Louisiana-Lafayette
Miles Reed (Jr.), Hawaii
Ronnie Rivers (Sr.), Fresno State
Larry Rountree III (Sr.), Missouri
Mekhi Sargent (Sr.), Iowa
Stevie Scott III (Jr.), Indiana
B.J. Smith (Sr.), Troy
Isaiah Spiller (So.), Texas A&M
SaRodorick Thompson (So.), Texas Tech
Toa Taua (Jr.), Nevada
Corey Taylor II (Sr.), Tulsa
Xazavian Valladay (Jr.), Wyoming
CJ Verdell (Jr.), Oregon
Quardraiz Wadley (Sr.), UTEP
Gaej Walker (Sr.), Western Kentucky
Kenneth Walker III (So.), Wake Forest
Jaylen Warren (Sr.), Utah State
Nakia Watson (So.), Wisconsin
Zamir White (So.), Georgia
Charles Williams (Sr.), UNLV
Javonte Williams (Jr.), North Carolina
D.J. Williams (So.), Auburn