Special teams, defense key No. 7 Baylor to 28-7 defeat of Texas


The perfect way to encapsulate the gap between Baylor and Texas right now is to examine Bryce Petty’s stat line and then look at the final score. Baylor’s senior Heisman Trophy candidate completed only seven of his 22 passes, and for a scant 111 yards. And the Bears won by 21.

Crucial special teams play and a defense patient enough to allow Texas’ offense to self-destruct pushed No. 7 Baylor past Texas 28-7 in Austin.

Let’s start with Petty’s numbers – or lack thereof. Part of Petty’s silence was Texas’ defense, which took away the middle of the field and kept the Baylor passing attack out of rhythm for most of the day. It definitely wasn’t in the game plan for Petty to complete 4-of-11 passes for 43 yards in the first half.

Baylor took a 14-0 lead, and thus effectively put the game away, on the strength of its special teams. Beau Blackshear blocked a Nick Rose field goal, which Terrell Burt returned 62 yards to put the Bears up 7-0 at the 9:02 mark of the first quarter. That was the only score of the first half, although it should not have been.

The Texas defense mounted a goal line stand, stuffing Petty millimeters from the goal line on fourth-and-goal, and then promptly marched 98 yards in 14 plays, seemingly putting itself in position to forge a 7-7 tie with half a minute remaining until halftime. But Tyrone Swoopes lost Jake Raulerson’s snap and – who else? – Blackshear hopped on the loose pigskin to preserve a 7-0 lead and send Texas into its locker room with a steel-toed gut kick.

On Baylor’s second possession of the second half, punter Spencer Roth tucked the ball and ran 19 yards on a 4th-and-5, giving the Bears new life at the Texas 48. A clearly shocked Texas defense then allowed plays of 10, eight and 30 yards, the last on a Petty scoring strike to Antwan Goodley, to push the lead to 14-0.

Texas did have one chance after the goal line catastrophe to make Baylor sweat, on the possession before Baylor eventually notched its second touchdown. Taking over at the Baylor 36, Swoopes found John Harris between two Bears defenders for a 34-yard gain, but Harris was hit with an utterly ridiculous taunting penalty pushed the ball back to the 45. Three plays and one penalty later, and William Russ was punting from his own 44.

Shock Linwood and Johnny Jefferson dominated the rest of the game, gashing the interior of the Texas defense and shedding tackles to the tune of 39 carries for 220 yards and one touchdown.

Texas got good production behind its tandem of Malcolm Brown and Johnathan Gray with 138 yards and a two-yard garbage time touchdown on 26 carries, but inconsistent decision making and execution by Swoopes (15-of-33 for 142 yards with two interceptions, 13 carries for 38 yards) doomed every Texas drive but the last one.

The most alarming development for Texas: Swoopes played his best in his first start against UCLA, and has regressed in the two games since.

Baylor, which will surely rise to the Top 5 in tomorrow’s polls following losses by No. 2 Oregon, No. 3 Alabama, No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 6 Texas A&M (with No. 5 Auburn still in action as of this writing), has now beaten Texas is four of the past five seasons, with the last three wins coming all coming by 20 points or more. It gets more difficult from here, though, as Baylor hosts No. 25 and rising TCU on Saturday, while Texas faces off with No. 4 and dropping Oklahoma in Dallas.

Louisiana-Monroe RB Kayin White enters transfer portal

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For the first time in 2020, at CFT at least, we have a portal post related to the Louisiana-Monroe football program.

According to 247Sports.com, Kayin White is set to transfer from the Warhawks.  A Louisiana-Monroe football official subsequently confirmed that the running back is in the NCAA transfer database.

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.

White was a two-star member of the ULM Class of 2016.  The Baton Rouge native will be leaving the Sun Belt Conference school as a graduate transfer.  The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.

White has played in 24 games the past three seasons.  He’s rushed for 320 yards and five touchdowns on 70 carries.  Just six of those attempts and 11 of the yards, though, came in 2019.

The playing time issue likely triggered the portal decision.

Louisiana-Monroe is coming off a 5-7 season in the fourth year under head football coach Matt Viator.   The Warhawks have finished .500 or worse seven straight seasons.  They have played in just one postseason game (2012 Independence Bowl) during their time as an FBS program.

Arizona State punter who declared for draft, signed with agent, went undrafted… granted waiver by NCAA to return to Sun Devils

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Thanks to Arizona State football, we have something never seen before.  Ever (we think).

Back in January, Michael Turk gave up two years of eligibility with Arizona State football to enter the 2020 NFL Draft early.  The punter signed with an agent.  Then promptly went undrafted.

After Turk went undrafted, though, ASU went to the NCAA to seek a waiver that would allow Turk to return to the Sun Devils.  The school’s reasoning?  The coronavirus pandemic cost Turk the opportunity to work out for NFL teams, thus causing his draft stock to plummet.  Not only couldn’t Turk work out privately for NFL teams, but ASU’s Pro Day was canceled because of the pandemic as well.

That tack worked for Turk as it’s now being reported that a special waiver has been granted by the NCAA.  One that should be granted to every player who leaves early and goes undrafted, incidentally.  But that’s another story for another day.

Turk came to Arizona State as a transfer from the junior college ranks as part of its 2018 recruiting class. Turk’s uncle is Matt Turk, the former NFL punter who spent one year of his professional career with a New York Jets team coached by current ASU head coach Herm Edwards.

As a redshirt sophomore this season, Turk was tied for 11th nationally and led the Pac-12 in averaging 46 yards per punt.  For that, he earned first-team all-conference honors.  He was also named as a handful of semifinalists for the 2019 Ray Guy Award.

Turk, though, won’t be handed his old job back without some competition. Last month, Florida State punter Logan Tyler transferred into the Arizona State football program.

As had been the case the previous three years, Tyler served as FSU’s starting punter in the 2019 opener against Boise State.  However, Tyler was involved in an automobile accident back in August and was under investigation by the Tallahassee Police Department for driving under the influence.  Tyler served a two-game suspension in Weeks 2 and 3 in connection to that off-field situation.

While Tyler dressed out for the two games after his suspension ended, walk-on Tommy Martin continued serving as the Seminoles’ primary punter.

Including the one game this season, Tyler has averaged 42.5 yards on his 209 punts during his career, with the average currently fourth in school history. His 82 punts and 3,545 yards in 2018 set a school record.  The Tallahassee Democrat noted that “Tyler currently holds FSU records for the most punt yards in a single game (499 vs. Clemson, 2018)… and punt yards in a single season (3,545).” His 8,879 career punt yards are also second all-time in school history.

Louisiana QB Brayden Hawkins in transfer portal, will be looking for FIFTH college football home in less than three years

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Louisiana is the latest football program to learn that the transfer portal giveth.  But, it taketh as well.

As we noted Tuesday, Arizona State offensive tackle Zach Robertson transferred into the Louisiana football program.  Now, it’s time to note that 247Sports.com is reporting that Brayden Hawkins has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.

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.

Hawkins signed with UTEP in February of 2018.  In late July of that same year, the North Carolina native joined the Maryland football program as a walk-on.  Hawkins then moved on to Northwest Mississippi Community College following the 2018 season.  In May of last year, he joined the Louisiana football program.

Add it all up, and Hawkins’ next stop will be his fifth collegiate home.  In less than three years.  Suffice to say, he’s never thrown a pass at this level of football.

Louisiana football is coming off a school-record 11 wins.  In fact, it’s the first time as an FBS program the Ragin’ Cajuns hit double-digit wins.  Part of that school-record victory total was a win in the Lendingtree Bowl.  Head coach Billy Napier was a candidate for the Baylor opening, but opted to remain with the Sun Belt Conference school.

Hawaii OL Solo Vaipulu arrested after violating state’s mandatory quarantine for travelers

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By way of Hawaii football, and thanks to the current times we’re living in, we have a new one to note in the CFT arrest ledger.

According to HawaiiNewsNow.com, offensive lineman Solo Vaipulu was arrested Monday for violating the state of Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day traveler quarantine.  The Hawaii football player was also charged with lying to authorities.

A witness had turned Vaipulu in, stating that the true junior lineman had left his designated quarantine location on a near-daily basis.

From the report:

Investigators said they went to the address Vaipulu had given them upon his arrival on May 18 to discover that he had also moved residences without informing authorities.

The Hawaii football program has not addressed the incident involving one of its football players.

“While everyone is anticipating the reopening of interisland travel on June 16, the quarantine rules for all visitors and returning residents from the mainland will remain in effect until further notice,” Clare Connors, the state Attorney General, said according to the website. “We encourage all travelers to respect the mandatory quarantine, as it has been an important component in helping Hawai‘i have the best metrics in the country, in terms of infection and coronavirus death rates.”

As a true freshman in 2018, Vaipulu started all 13 games at right guard for the Rainbow Warriors.  That season, he earned honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference honors.  Last season, Vaipulu started nine of the 10 games in which he played at the same position.

Hawaii football is coming off its best season since 2010. Included in a 10-win season was the program’s first appearance in the Mountain West Conference championship game.  Of course, that appearance ended in a loss to Boise State.

(Tip O’ the Cap: The Fulmer Cup)