No. 1 Mississippi State loses Heisman chances, control of SEC West in one fell swoop

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Admit it, you were seeing visions of Cam Newton in your head. In 2010, an undefeated and second-ranked Auburn team led by a large, mobile quarterback came into Bryant-Denny Stadium and fell behind 24-0 before coming back for a 28-27 win.

And on Saturday, an undefeated and top-ranked Mississippi State team led by a large, mobile quarterback came into Bryant-Denny Stadium and fell behind 19-0 and pulled within 19-13 with plenty of time to make the deja vu complete.

But this time was the other quarterback, Alabama’s Blake Sims, that made the plays necessary when it mattered the most. After seeing his lead cut into thirds, Sims converted three third downs – including pick ups of 3rd-and-8 and 3rd-and-10 with his legs – to guide the Tide on a 15-play, 76-yard drive that pushed Alabama’s lead to 25-13.

Mississippi State drove 54 yards to reach the Alabama 20 on the ensuing possession, but Dak Prescott was intercepted and that was basically that. Prescott tossed a four-yard touchdown pass with 15 seconds to go, but it was a purely cosmetic score. Final score: Alabama 25, Mississippi State 20.

Prescott was intercepted a career-high three times on the day; all were in Alabama territory, and two were inside the red zone.

It was that kind of day for Mississippi State, where the Bulldogs made enough plays to prove they belonged on the field with Alabama in a 1 vs. 5 game (428-335 yardage advantage, 26-17 first downs) but not enough to ever be in position to win the game. For as much as the Bulldogs accomplished in outscoring Alabama 20-6 over the game’s final 35 minutes, they never possessed the ball with a chance to take the lead. There were too many turnovers, too many dropped passes and too many missed tackles to beat Alabama in Bryant-Denny Stadium.

The key sequence occurred with 5:32 to go in the first half, as Alabama running back Derrick Henry lost the ball at his goal line and a Mississippi State defender recovered it, but the play was turned into a touchdown upon review, giving Alabama a 19-0 lead.

Prescott completed 27-of-48 passes for 290 yards and two touchdowns while rushing 22 times for 82 yards, but those three interceptions will cost him a shot at leaving New York with the Heisman Trophy (especially considering what Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon did to Nebraska today). Bowling ball running back Josh Robinson never really got rumbling, limited to 12 carries for 37 yards and a safety that opened the scoring for the Crimson Tide, though he did catch six passes for 69 yards.

Sims was the MVP for Alabama, continuing his string of excellent play in Tuscaloosa with 211 passing yards and a touchdown and four key rushes for 18 yards. T.J. Yeldon rushed 16 times for 72 yards and a touchdown, and Amari Cooper nabbed eight passes for 88 yards and a score.

In the big picture, Alabama’s situation is simple. The Tide will leap into the College Football Playoff’s top four on Tuesday night, and can win the SEC West with a defeat of Auburn two weeks from today.

Mississippi State’s situation is much murkier. With a non-conference schedule consisting of UAB, Southern Miss, South Alabama and Tennessee-Martin and SEC East cross-over opponents of Vanderbilt and Kentucky, the Bulldogs’ entire resume lies on the strength of the SEC West. Their best win is a 38-20 defeat of 8-2 Auburn, which admittedly looks great as of this writing, but the Bulldogs are essentially yoked to the Tigers. If Auburn finishes 10-2, Mississippi State will be fine – especially considering that 10th win would be over Alabama, presumably giving Mississippi State the SEC West title – but what if Auburn finishes 8-4? And what of LSU and Texas A&M? Both stand at 7-3 as of this writing with toss-up games ahead of them tonight and a date in College Station waiting on Thanksgiving night.

One thing is certain for Dan Mullen and his Bulldogs: Mississippi State fell from an undisputed No. 1 to the unenviable position of the most-contested one-loss team in rough-and-tumble race to the top four.

Tennessee RB Tim Jordan arrested on multiple charges in Florida, including a felony firearm count

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A Tennessee football player would be the latest to trigger a reset of the “Days Without An Arrest” ticker.  If it were still a thing, of course.

Multiple media outlets reported overnight that Tim Jordan was arrested Saturday on multiple charges.  The Vols running back is facing one count each of carrying a concealed firearm, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.  The firearm charge is a third-degree felony.  The other two are misdemeanors.

According to the Knoxville News, the Tennessee football player was seen speeding and swerving into the bicycle lane.  From the News:

The officers stopped the vehicle and reported smelling “a strong odor of cannabis emanating from inside.” Jordan, 20, was behind the wheel, and a 17-year-old male was in the passenger seat. Both seemed “extremely nervous,” the warrant reads.

Jordan told the officers he was carrying a gun in his back pocket without a concealed carry permit, according to the warrant. The handgun, a Ruger LCP pistol, was found in his back pocket, loaded and unholstered.

Inside the vehicle the detectives reported finding a small bag containing about 9.25 grams of marijuana, as well as a scale and several small plastic bags.

Thus far, the Tennessee football program has not commented on the development.

Jordan was a four-star member of the Class of 2017 for the Volunteers.

The past three seasons, Jordan has appeared in 36 of UT’s 37 games.  This past season, Jordan’s 428 yards were third on the Vols.  The year before, he was second on the team with 522 yards on the ground.

All told, Jordan has rushed for 1002 yards and four touchdowns during his time in Knoxville.  The Florida native has also added 26 receptions for another 227 yards coming out of the backfield.

Miami transfer RB Lorenzo Lingard granted immediate eligibility at Florida

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Florida has officially added immediate help to its football roster.  From an in-state rival, no less.

In December, it was confirmed that Lorenzo Lingard had entered the NCAA transfer database. In early January, Lingard announced on Twitter that he is transferring to Florida and will continue his collegiate playing career with the Gators.  A couple of days later, Florida confirmed the running back’s addition to the football roster.

It was thought that Lingard will have to sit out the 2020 season.  However, Lingard confirmed late this past week that he has been granted a waiver from the NCAA.  That will allow the back to play immediately for the Gators in 2020.  He’ll also have two additional years of eligibility that he can use starting in 2021 as well.

Lingard made the announcement on his personal Twitter account.

“Approved to play this year,” the back wrote. “Best birthday gift ever.”

A five-star member of The U’s 2018 recruiting class, Lorenzo Lingard was rated as the No. 2 running back in the country. He was also the No. 6 player at any position in the state of Florida and the No. 25 recruit overall on 247Sports.com‘s composite board. The back was the highest-rated signee in the class that year for the Hurricanes.

A knee injury essentially cost Lingard the last half of his true freshman season. This past year, he appeared in just two games.

During his brief time at Miami, Lingard ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. All of that production came in 2018.

Florida and Miami are not scheduled to play at any point the next three seasons.  They will, though, renew the in-state rivalry in 2024.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history, including Texas A&M’s president stating that Texas is ‘not relevant to us anymore’

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, 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 May 31, 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 hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Poppin’ bottles: SEC opens the taps by approving revised alcohol policy for conference stadiums
THE SYNOPSIS: More than half of the 14 conference schools have embraced the concept of alcohol and football on fall afternoons.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Jimbo Fisher still hasn’t signed his 10-year, $75 million contract with Texas A&M
THE SYNOPSIS: This was one of the more odd storylines of the 2018 offseason.  Or any offseason, really.  Three months later pen was put to the contract.  The 10-year, $75 million contract.

2017

THE HEADLINE: Lee Corso inks extension to remain part of ESPN’s College GameDay show
THE SYNOPSIS: A college football institution.  Still.

2014

THE HEADLINE: 2014 Oklahoma State signee now facing five felonies
THE SYNOPSIS: Devon Thomas was, not surprisingly, removed from the roster.

2013

THE HEADLINE: A&M president: Texas is ‘not relevant to us anymore’
THE SYNOPSIS: What I hear when both sides talk about renewing the rivalry? “Blah. Blah. Blah-freaking-blah.

Georgia Southern announces one-year extension for head coach Chad Lunsford

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As Chad Lunsford continues to build the Georgia Southern football team, he’s been afforded some additional security.

Friday, Georgia Southern announced a one-year contract extension for its head football coach.  Lunsford is now signed through 2024.

“My family and I would like to thank Dr. Marrero, Jared Benko and the Athletic Foundation for this contract extension,” Lunsford said in a statement. “Georgia Southern is a special place and we are very proud to be a small part of such an awesome program. We will continue to work hard to help our student-athletes to grow as GS Men. Our program is on the rise and we are excited about the commitment shown to us as well as our commitment to give back to the University and the Athletic Department.”

In October of 2017, Tyson Summers was fired as the Georgia Southern football coach.  Lunsford replaced him on an interim basis.  A month later, Lunsford was named the permanent replacement.

GSU went 2-10 that 2017 season.  In the two years since, the Eagles have gone 17-9.  Included in that was a 10-win 2018 season.  During that campaign, the program claimed its first-ever bowl win as an FBS program.

“Chad Lunsford’s management of our football program, from developing young men of character to coaching them on the field, has been exceptional,” said athletic director Jared Benko. “He is a leader that is committed to doing things the right way. Chad represents our institution and state with great pride – both on and off the field. We look forward to his continued leadership of our football program.”