Arkansas trips up, allows Texas A&M to rally for overtime win


It was the first play of the fourth quarter, Jonathan Williams laid two yards from the goal line, and No. 6 Texas A&M was cooked. Arkansas was on the brink of taking a 35-14 lead, an edge the Aggies’ offense did not look capable of overcoming. But Arkansas offensive lineman Dan Skipper was hit with a personal foul call for tripping, and nothing about this game was the same.

Arkansas punted, and two plays later Kenny Hill found Edward Pope for an 86-yard catch-and-run touchdown. Instead of the scoreboard reading 35-14, it was 28-21.

After a three-and-out, Arkansas intercepted Hill with 8:34 to go, putting the Hogs in prime position to allow their ground-and-pound offense to salt the game away. One rush and two passes later, Arkansas punted for the third time in the quarter. After forcing a Texas A&M punt, Arkansas again appeared in position to win the game with a 1st-and-10 at the Aggies’ 31 with two-and-a-half minutes remaining, but quarterback Brandon Allen dropped the snap, putting the Hogs a 2nd-and-12 situation it could not overcome. John Henson badly missed a 44-yard field goal try and, again, Hill found a receiver – this time Josh Reynolds – for a 59-yard touchdown.

Tie game.

After yet another three-and-out with two passes and one rush, Arkansas was suddenly in the unbelievable position of going from needing just one first down to win the game with 150 seconds to play, to giving Texas A&M the ball with a chance to tie and then notch the winning score in regulation.

The Hogs defense forced the game into overtime, but all they truly did was prolong the inevitable. Hill hit Malcome Kennedy for a touchdown pass on the first play of overtime, while Arkansas’ Alex Collins was stuffed on 4th-and-2 on the corresponding possession. On the same end of the field where it seemingly had a 35-14 lead in hand, Arkansas made its final mistake in a 35-28 loss.

The story of the game was the Texas A&M defense adjusting to the Arkansas ground game, or the Arkansas running attack stalling out in the second half for the second time this season. (Arkansas rushed for 151 yards in the first half of its 45-21 loss to Auburn on opening weekend, and two in the second half.) After having its way with the Aggies’ defense in the first half with 143 rushing yards on 21 carries (6.81 yards per carry) – and that’s not counting Sam Irwin-Hill’s 51-yard fake punt touchdown – Arkansas ran 25 times for 92 yards in the second half (3.68 yards per carry). Allen could not carry the Arkansas offense after Arkansas’ offense slowed down, hitting 11 of his final 23 for 134 yards and a 44-yard play-action touchdown to A.J. Derby that gave the Razorbacks their 14 point lead.

While Allen started fast and finished slow, his counterpart did the opposite. Hill exploited Arkansas’ cottage cheese secondary for 290 passing yards – and three touchdowns that accounted for 170 of those yards – in the second half.

Texas A&M, its 5-0 record and Top 10 ranking still intact, goes on the road next week for an undefeated showdown at No. 14 Mississippi State next week.

Arkansas, meanwhile, has an off week to ask itself how it lost this game. The Hogs had 14 sure points taken off the board, plus a turnover inside enemy territory, and a missed field goal, and a turnover on downs in overtime. This one will sting. And, coupled with Kentucky’s win over Vanderbilt today, Arkansas now has the ignominious distinction of holding the SEC’s longest conference losing streak at 14 games.

Alabama: Tua Tagovailoa to undergo hip surgery Monday in Houston


There’s some additional clarity to what was the biggest college football storyline in Week 12 — or the entire 2019 season, for that matter.

After hours and hours worth of ofttimes ominous speculation, Alabama announced Saturday night that Tua Tagovailoa had been diagnosed with a dislocated right hip, an injury suffered in the first half of its rout of Mississippi State, and would miss the remainder of the 2019 season. At the time, the school stated that Tagovailoa “is undergoing further testing to determine the best course of treatment.”

Sunday night, the football program confirmed in a statement attributed to Dr. Lyle Cain, the team’s orthopedic surgeon, that the junior quarterback will undergo surgery on his injured hip in Houston Monday.

For the past 24 hours our medical team has consulted with multiple orthopedic experts across the country, who specialize in hip injuries and surgeries. Based on that research, Tua is being flown to Houston tonight to be evaluated and is scheduled to have hip surgery Monday. As previously stated, we anticipate a full recovery. The main focus has been, and will remain, on Tua, his family, and making sure we are providing them the best medical care possible.

It’s long been expected that Tagovailoa would forego his remaining year of collegiate eligibility and make himself available for the 2020 NFL Draft. At this point, it’s unclear how the injury will impact Tagovailoa’s decision.

Ed Orgeron did not stick to sports in Louisiana governor race

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There were two major events on Saturday in the state of Louisiana: LSU’s closer than expected win at Ole Miss and the hotly contested gubernatorial race that saw incumbent Gov. John Bel Edwards win reelection.

And yes, those events are in order of importance to most.

It seems there’s quite the sports angle to the latter too and it not surprisingly involves the former. You can start on Wednesday where Edwards, calling himself ‘John B.’ from Amite, called into Tigers head coach Ed Orgeron’s weekly radio show ahead of the polls opening over the weekend.

“It is an easier state to govern when the Saints and LSU are winning,” Edwards also told the New York Times. “People are just in a better mood.”

While we will leave the political analysis of Edwards’ victory to others, it’s worth noting that the result was also a personal win for Orgeron, who endorsed the Democrat back in the spring and has enjoyed a good relationship with those in and around the statehouse ever since taking over the program as head coach.  It is pretty rare for a head coach to ever wander into political waters nowadays (especially in a non-presidential election cycle) it seems that’s not the case for the Louisiana-loving Cajun in charge of No. 1 LSU.

Also a quick kudos to the governor himself, who said earlier in the week on Orgeron’s radio show that the Tigers shouldn’t overlook the Rebels in Oxford. Given the fight that Matt Luke’s team put up, that was certainly spot on in big sandwich game after beating Alabama and taking on Texas A&M.

45,161 fans see Ithaca beat SUNY Cortland to set D3 attendance record at MetLife Stadium

Keenan Slusher

MetLife Stadium has been home to some awful NFL football this season but this past Saturday fans in the Tri-State region were at least treated to a far more interesting product on the field..

As we noted back in early October, this year’s Battle for the Cortaga Jug was going to be extra special because it was going to take place in the Meadowlands as Ithaca College and SUNY Cortland attempted to set a new Division III record for attendance. According to the Ithaca Journal, the pair did just that with 45,161 fans showed up to the game as the Bombers (that’s Ithaca) won their third straight Jug, 32-20.

“The electricity was unreal,” Cortland senior running back Zach Tripodi told the paper, “… When I scored, I don’t think I’ve ever felt something like that. You really felt the crowd.”

The final tally broke the previous D3 mark of 37,355 (from a 2017 matchup between St. Thomas and St. John’s at Minneapolis’ Target Field) by a considerable margin.

For what it’s worth, the D3 game at MetLife also had a bigger crowd than the ones that watched some of the FBS programs in New York, including the 16,286 down in Durham, N.C. that saw Syracuse thump Duke, the 8,450 that saw Buffalo lose at Kent State or the 25,747 in West Point that saw Army beat Virginia Military Institute.

Good football, it seems, is hard to come by in the Empire State but fans will come out for quality play no matter what level.

Louisville AD dons a bird mask, breaks out Pappy van Winkle to celebrate bowl berth

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For some teams, reaching a bowl game — even those obscure dot com-sponsored ones — is quite meaningful. Such is the case at Louisville as they have embarked on one of the better turnarounds in the country this season under new head coach Scott Satterfield. 

Following up a 2-10 disaster at the hands of Bobby Petrino last year, the new staff has revitalized the program and secured bowl eligibility on Saturday by beating N.C. State 34-20. That’s a cause worth celebrating around the city and Cardinals AD Vince Tyra certainly did not short himself on that front after the sixth victory of 2019 by donning a rather comical mask in the locker room and breaking out some very expensive whiskey to share with the head coach.

Tyra and Satterfield may indeed be the only ones to drink Pappy out of a Gatorade cup but it probably tasted even sweeter than it normally does given the accomplishment it’s celebrating. While some fans may scoff at reaching six wins in a season, the jubilation in Louisville is a good reminder that benchmarks like that have plenty of meaning for programs who sat at home in disarray last year.