Fournette’s 2015 Heisman campaign deflated by Irish last-second FG for Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl win

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Notre Dame (8-5) celebrated a 31-28 victory over LSU (8-5) after kicker Kyle Brindza sent a game-winning, 32-yard field goal through the uprights as time expired Tuesday in the Franklin American Mortage Music City Bowl. Notre Dame had to battle to score the victory.

The second half got off to a fast start for the LSU Tigers. John Diarse caught a pass over the middle of the field after Notre Dame’s secondary got sucked in for what they thought would be a run by quarterback Anthony Jennings. Diarse ran down field for a 75-yard touchdown on the first play of the second half, which also tied the game at 21-21 after the Tigers were the victim of a controversial ending to the first half prevented LSU from scoring a touchdown.

Later in the third quarter, LSU’s star running back Leonard Fournette once again broke off a big play. This time the big play came courtesy of an 89-yard run, on the first play from scrimmage after Notre Dame punted away to the Tigers and downed the football at the 11-yard line. It took just 12 seconds for the long touchdown run. every time Fournette touched the football, something explosive was probable to happen. the freshman running back carried the football 11 times for 143 yards and two touchdowns, and he added a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the first half.

This time, LSU took its first lead of the game with the score, but Notre Dame responded four plays later. C.J. Prosise broke off a 50-yard touchdown run and reached for the end zone down the right sideline to put the Irish on the board, tying the game at 28-28 with a little more than four minutes to play in the third quarter.

Heading into the 2015 season, LSU’s Fournette will very likely be one of the preseason Heisman Trophy hopefuls. He struck the Heisman pose early in the 2014 season, but next season he will be a legitimate Heisman contender, and he will carry the load for the Tigers after setting the freshman rushing record at the school.

Notre Dame’s offense should also be ready to grow with Malik Zaire under center. The sophomore will be a junior and will be the likely starting quarterback for the Irish. As long as he protects the football and avoids making poor decisions, as he showed in the Music City Bowl, then the Irish should have a decent offense ready to go. But will Brian Kelly be around?

The coaching carousel may have come to a stop at the college level, but with the NFL carousel just getting started there will likely be a rumor or two connecting Kelly to a possible NFL gig. As long as Kelly sticks in South Bend, a very realistic scenario, then the Irish will prepare for a challenging schedule that includes home games against Texas, USC, Georgia Tech and road games at Stanford and a neutral site game against Boston College.

This was the second straight bowl victory for Notre Dame, and the first loss suffered by the SEC in bowl play this year. LSU has now lost three of its last four bowl games. Notre Dame head coach Kelly is now 5-3 in bowl games, and 3-2 in bowl games at Notre Dame.

Trevor Lawrence heads Preseason AP All-American team

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Everyone and their blog now has an All-American team; so many are out there, in fact, that if we wrote about all of them we’d never write about anything else.

But there’s something different about being a Preseason AP All-American, and as such we’d be remiss if we didn’t add to our historical record here at CFT.

Most notably, Trevor Lawrence nudged out Tua Tagovailoa for the First Team quarterback job, where he’s joined by running back Travis Etienne and linebacker Isaiah Simmons on the First Team. Alabama also had three First Teamers — wide receiver Jerry Jeudy, defensive tackle Raekwon Davis and linebacker Dylan Moses.

The SEC led all conferences with eight First Team selections, followed by the Big Ten’s seven.

Without further ado, behold the 2019 Preseason AP All-America First Team:

OFFENSE
QB: Trevor Lawrence, Clemson
RB: Travis Etienne, Clemson; Jonathan Taylor, Wisconsin
WR: Jerry Jeudy, Alabama; Tylan Wallace, Oklahoma State
TE: Albert Okwuegbunam, Missouri
C: Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
OG: Ben Bredeson, Michigan; Shane Lemieux, Oregon
OT: Walker Little, Stanford; Andrew Thomas, Georgia
AP: Rondale Moore, Purdue
K: Andre Szmyt, Syracuse

DEFENSE
LB: Joe Bachie, Michigan State; Dylan Moses, Alabama; Isaiah Simmons, Clemson
S: Andre Cisco, Syracuse; Grant Delpit, LSU
CB: Paulson Abedo, Stanford; Bryce Hall, Virginia
DE: AJ Epenesa, Iowa; Chase Young, Ohio State
DT: Derrick Brown, Auburn; Raekwon Davis, Alabama
P: Braden Mann, Texas A&M

It’s grrrrreat! Tony the Tiger claims title sponsorship of Sun Bowl

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The Sun Bowl has a new title sponsor and it’s, well, it’s great. The El Paso-based postseason college football game will now be sponsored by Tony the Tiger. Don’t be mistaken, it’s not sponsored by Kellogg’s brand or even Frosted Flakes cereal, but Tony the Tiger himself.

“For the last few months we’ve worked closely and collectively with the Sun Bowl association and it’s become clear how well the association understands the strength and resilience of this community and we are honored to be part of it,” Kellogg’s marketing director Bryant Wheaton told the El Paso Times.

The change has already been reflected on the Sun Bowl’s Twitter account — sort of. The name and avatar have been changed, but the handle, as of press time, still reflected the bowl’s previous sponsor, Hyundai.

The Sun Bowl, first played on Jan. 1, 1935 between the El Paso All-Stars and Ranger (Texas) High School, has now welcomed nine title sponsors. The game takes credit for bringing title sponsorship to the college football postseason.

“We were the very first bowl ever to have a title sponsor, back in 1986 when John Hancock saved the Sun Bowl from going extinct,” executive director Bernie Olivas told the El Paso Times. “We have had some great sponsors since then. Our past sponsor, who had been with us nine years, is the longest sponsor we’ve ever had.

“When we got the title sponsor in 1986, there were only 16 bowls. We were the first ones to have a title sponsor. The rest of the bowls shunned us, they said, ‘You sold out.’ Well how do you like us now?”

The 85th annual Sun Bowl will once again pit the ACC against the Pac-12 on Tuesday, Dec. 31 (2 p.m. ET, CBS). Stanford won the 2018 edition, topping Pitt, 14-13.

Bo Nix to become Auburn’s first true freshman starting QB since 1946

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Another quarterback battle has been called, and another one has gone to a true freshman.

Auburn has selected Bo Nix as its starter, 11 days ahead of the No. 16 Tigers’ season opener against No. 11 Oregon at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC).

He will be Auburn’s first true freshman starting quarterback since Travis Tidwell in 1946. More recently, he will be the seventh true freshman signal caller for the Tigers since 1969.

Much like at North Carolina, where a true freshman beat out redshirt freshmen for the job, this selection must be viewed in context. Auburn was going with a freshman either way, be it true freshman Nix or redshirt freshman Joey Gatewood. The offense was set to go in different directions depending on who got the job, as Gatewood (listed at 6-foot-5, 233 pounds) is built with the Cam Newton starter kit, while Nix is three inches shorter and 26 pounds lighter.

Still, Nix will be able to run the ball, and Auburn’s coaches have long been in love with his arm.

“We started recruiting Bo in 8th or 9th grade,” Gus Malzahn said back on signing day. “You knew early on that this guy had a chance to really be special. Of course when he went to Pinson, they won back-to-back state championships. He was the MVP of both of those.

“He really has something special to him. He did a super job leading. He was one of the leaders of our class, really holding everything together. I really appreciate his leadership with that.”

Playing for his father at Alabama’s Pinson Valley High School, Nix accounted for 12,000 yards of total offense, threw for 127 touchdowns, rushed for 34 more and won back-to-back Class 6A state championships.

Now, he’ll try to lead Auburn to its second SEC West championship in three years during a crucial season for Malzahn and the entire Auburn program.

Ex-Oklahoma WR John Humphrey tweets transfer from Arizona State

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The all-powerful transfer portal could give two spits about a new season that’s fast approaching.

The latest example of the burgeoning phenomenon that is the database is Arizona State and John Humphrey, with the latter confirming on Twitter that he has decided to transfer from the former.  As Humphrey will be leaving the Sun Devils as a graduate transfer, he’s eligible to play immediately in 2019 if he opts to move on to another FBS school.

The upcoming season would the receiver’s fifth season of eligibility, although there’s a possibility he could petition for a sixth year that he could use in 2020 as well.

Humphrey was a three-star member of Oklahoma’s 2015 recruiting class, rated as the No. 61 wide receiver in the country and the No. 67 player at any position in the state of Texas. In April of 2016, he announced his decision to transfer from OU; a month later, he announced his decision to transfer to ASU.

After sitting out the 2016 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Humphrey put up huge numbers in his Sun Devils debut, catching seven passes for 123 yards and a touchdown in ASU’s season-opening win over New Mexico State. In large part because of a knee injury sustained in the opener, however, he finished that season with just 13 catches, 177 yards and the one touchdown.

A torn Achilles tendon sustained in March of last year cost Humphrey the entire 2018 season as well.