AP

No. 14 Texas A&M rallies past Arkansas in OT for second year in a row

6 Comments

It wasn’t the ass kicking Kliff Kingsbury predicted, but the end result was undoubtedly more painful. For the second year in a row, Arkansas blew a fourth quarter lead and fell to Texas A&M in overtime, this time allowing the game’s final 15 points as the 14th-ranked Aggies rallied past Arkansas, 28-21.

Kyle Allen lofted the winning score to Christian Kirk on the first play of overtime to give the Aggies their first lead since the third quarter, and Davante Harris broke up a Brandon Allen pass on 4th-and-4 to seal the win. The true freshman dynamo cemented his claim as the Aggies’ offensive MVP of the season, catching eight passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns.

The most frustrating aspect of the loss for Arkansas (1-3, 0-1 SEC)? For nearly 60 minutes, Arkansas threatened to win the game in a very Arkansas way. The Razorbacks ran 42 times for 232 yards while limiting Texas A&M to 65 yards on only 20 attempts; Arkansas ran 67 plays to A&M’s 48 and held a nearly 2-to-1 time of possession edge.

After trailing 10-7 at the half and 13-7 at the midpoint of the third quarter, Arkansas took control of the game by running the ball the way it did at the end of the 2014 season. The Hogs took the lead on a four-yard Alex Collins run, capping a seven-play, 77-yard drive, and pushed their advantage to 21-13 with 14:12 remaining on a three-yard Rawleigh Williams plunge. The latter score punctuated an eight-play, 80-yard drive.

Arkansas had a chance to put the game away for good late in the fourth quarter, advancing to the Aggies’ 35-yard line. But Denver Kirkland jumped offside as Arkansas prepared to go for a 4th-and-3, forcing a punt instead. Texas A&M accepted the ball at its own 15 and scored five plays later, aided by a roughing the passer penalty and a 63-yard throw from Allen to Josh ReynoldsTra Carson scored to pull Texas A&M within 21-19, and Allen hit Reynolds for the tying two-point conversion.

On the ensuing possession, as Arkansas attempted to end the game for good, Myles Garrett stripped Allen and A.J. Hilliard recovered the ball for the Aggies at the Arkansas 41. Texas A&M in turn had a chance to win in regulation, but Taylor Bertolet‘s 38-yard field goal sailed wide right.

Allen completed 21-of-28 passes for 358 yards and two touchdowns – most of those yards and both of the touchdowns, obviously, landing in Kirk’s arms. Reynolds also hauled in three grabs for 106 yards and Tra Carson led the club with eight carries for 28 yards and a touchdown while also catching eight balls for 61 yards.

For Arkansas, Allen connected on 20-of-25 throws for 225 yards with a touchdown and a pick, while Collins rushed 26 times for 151 yards and a score. Williams added 46 yards and a touchdown on eight attempts. Drew Morgan notched eight catches for 155 yards and a touchdown.

The win lifts Texas A&M to 4-0 (1-0 SEC) heading into a home date with Mississippi State, which leads into an off week before No. 12 Alabama visits College Station on Oct. 17. Arkansas, meanwhile, finishes college football’s most disappointing September, dropping its third straight game and its 15th loss in 17 SEC games under Bret Bielema‘s tenure.

 

Arizona State confirms Boise State’s Zak Hill as new OC

Getty Images
Leave a comment

At the end of the regular season, Herm Edwards fired the bulk of Arizona State’s offensive staff. Nearly two weeks later, the reshaping of the assistants on that side of the ball has commenced in earnest.

Following up on speculation that had been growing in recent days, ASU on Saturday announced that Zak Hill has been hired as Edwards’ new offensive coordinator. Hill will replace Rob Likens, who was a part of the post-regular-season purge.

“Zak is very well versed in offensive football,” the head coach said in a statement. “He comes from winning programs and he played the quarterback position. I like that. He’s good at building an offense around the personnel that he has available to him. He will force the defense to adjust with multiple formations and personnel groups. His style fits the DNA of what we want on our coaching staff. He’s an excellent teacher.”

The past four seasons, Hill served as the coordinator at Boise State. Prior to that, and aside from a one-month stop at Hawaii, Hill spent seven seasons as the passing-game coordinator and quarterbacks coach at FCS power Eastern Washington.

“I am really excited about this opportunity and I truly believe it is a great situation for me at ASU,” Hill said. “I appreciate Coach Edwards believing in me and having the trust to bring me on and I am thankful to Ray Anderson and the Sun Devil administration for their support in making this happen. I am really excited to get down there and I know we have some exciting weapons on offense. I look forward to putting together an explosive, fun offense that our fans will love to watch.”

“I am humbled at this opportunity. I also want to thank everyone at Boise State for a great four years and I am grateful for all the support I have received from Bronco Nation,” he added. “I would especially like to thank Coach Harsin for his leadership and my years at Boise State and the opportunity he afforded me to grow as a coach.”

In addition to Hill’s, uhhh, addition, ASU also confirmed Derek Hagan and Prentice Gill as offensive assistants. Their specific titles and responsibilities were not detailed.

Hagan, who played wide receiver for the Sun Devils and was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2015, was an offensive analyst at ASU this past season. Gill served in the same role at Oregon.

Dabo Swinney lays out new responsibilities for offensive staff

Getty Images
2 Comments

Jeff Scott spent a dozen years at Clemson, including the last five seasons as co-offensive coordinator, before taking the head job at USF earlier this month. Despite his importance to Dabo Swinney‘s success, there won’t be too much change for the defending national champions moving forward.

Friday, Swinney confirmed that he will not be filling Scott’s co-coordinator position and will instead allow Tony Elliott to serve as the sole coordinator. Elliott and Scott have shared coordinating responsibilities each of the past five seasons.

Quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter will maintain his current responsibilities as well as add the title of passing-game coordinator.

Additionally, Tyler Grisham, who played for the Tigers from 2005-08, has been promoted to wide receivers coach, a responsibility previously held by Scott. Grisham had been serving as an offensive analyst for the program.

“We have a good plan for all that stuff and have a great group of people here,” the head coach said. “We’re excited about getting it all settled out.”

Swinney also reiterated that, as had previously been laid out, Scott will return to the team next Thursday and will remain through however long the Tigers’ postseason run lasts. Clemson will face Ohio State Dec. 28 in one of the two College Football Playoff semifinals.

Ohio State’s Justin Fields the way-too-early 2020 Heisman favorite

Getty Images
1 Comment

You say the tears aren’t even dry yet from Joe Burrow‘s acceptance speech and we’re already looking ahead to 2020?  You’re damn right we are.

Saturday night, Burrow claimed the 2019 Heisman Trophy in record-smashing fashion, with the quarterback becoming just the second LSU Tiger to claim the most prestigious trophy in the sport.  Quarterback Justin Fields finished third in the voting, one of three Ohio State Buckeyes to land in the top six in the voting.

Speaking of Fields, one online sportsbook has the sophomore listed as a 5/2 favorite to win the 2020 Heisman Trophy.  Fellow sophomore Trevor Lawrence of Clemson is right behind him at 3/1.

The next closest is Alabama quarterback Mac Jones at 7/1.

A handful of the players who finished in the Top 10 in the voting — Ohio State defensive end Chase Young, Ohio State running back JK Dobbins, Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa — have eligibility remaining, but are expected to leave early for the NFL draft.  If any of them opt to remain in school, that would obviously change the odds moving forward.

USC transfer QB Jack Sears appears headed to San Diego State

Getty Images
1 Comment

Jack Sears may have left USC, but it doesn’t appear he’ll end up leaving the state of California.

After finding himself fourth on the quarterbacking depth chart, Sears announced on his personal Twitter account in late August that he had decided to enter the NCAA transfer database.  A little over three months later, and after a flirtation with Oregon State, the Los Angeles Times is reporting that “Sears has committed to San Diego State as a graduate transfer who would enroll during the spring semester.”

As a graduate transfer, Sears would be eligible to play for the Aztecs in 2020.  He would also have another season of eligibility he could use in 2021 as well.

As of yet, the Mountain West Conference school hasn’t confirmed Sears’ intentions.

Sears was a four-star member of the Trojans’ 2017 recruiting class, rated as the No. 4 pro-style quarterback in the country.  After redshirting as a true freshman, Sears completed 20-of-28 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown the following season.