Associated Press

No. 4 Alabama again the class of the SEC in blowout of No. 2 LSU

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There was a six minute period Saturday night when it appeared No. 2 LSU could play with No. 4 Alabama. Trailing 10-0, the Tigers mounted a six-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 40-yard touchdown pass from Brandon Harris to Travin Dural to pull within 10-7, pushed the Tide backwards six yards on three plays on their next possession, then moved 45 yards to notch a game-tying field goal with 2:22 remaining before the half.

Those six minutes belonged to LSU, and the other 54 belonged to Alabama. The Crimson Tide manhandled LSU, winning 30-16 in Tuscaloosa and claiming their fifth-straight triump in this hotly contested series.

Alabama’s defense swallowed Heisman Trophy favorite Leonard Fournette for the entire evening, limiting him to only 31 yards and one touchdown on 19 carries. The inability to get Fournette going in turn stifled LSU’s entire offense, as Alabama defenders blanketed LSU pass-catchers, which limited Harris to just 128 passing yards with a touchdown and an interception on 6-of-19 passing.

Meanwhile, Tide running back Derrick Henry posted the type of night Fournette could not, rushing a career-high 38 times for 210 yards and three touchdowns. Jake Coker was a typically efficient 18-of-24 passing for 184 yards, and Kenyan Drake added 10 carries for 68 yards.

After LSU tied the game at 10-10, Alabama notched a 55-yard Adam Griffith field goal just before the half, and then extended that momentum into the third quarter, as a pair of Henry scoring jaunts pushed the lead to 27-10.

Griffith added a 30-yard field goal with 12:45 remaining to nudge the score to 30-10, and LSU scored three minutes later with a one-yard Fournette plunge.

Instead of mounting a comeback, LSU watched Henry put the game away. The Tigers, in fact, never touched the ball again as Alabama consumed the final 9:18 with a 12-play, 80-yard drive.

In the end, Alabama out-gained LSU 434-182, held a 28-12 first downs edge and snapped the ball 79 times to LSU’s 45.

The win, coupled with Ole Miss’s loss earlier Saturday, put Alabama (8-1, 5-1 SEC) firmly in control of its destiny to meet Florida in the SEC championship game, needing only wins at Mississippi State (next week) and Auburn (Nov. 28) to win the SEC West for the second straight year and third time in the last four years. LSU (7-1, 4-1 SEC) would need to win out against Arkansas, Ole Miss and Texas A&M while waiting on another Alabama loss.

And, as the Tigers saw up close and personal Saturday night, that isn’t likely to happen.

After dustup with Uga, Texas president says Bevo is not leaving the sidelines

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Finally, a story NOT about the transfer portal.

Prior to the Sugar Bowl between Texas and Georgia, somebody decided it would be fun to do a photo with the live animal mascots of the Longhorns and Bulldogs. As Uga made his way over to see Texas mascot Bevo, the longhorn burst out of his caged area and made it known he was not about being a part of a fun photo opp. Fortunately, there were no injuries to report for any people or animals in the incident, but concerns about the handling of Bevo were certainly raised.

And despite pressure from PETA to stop including live animal mascots as part of the gameday experience and any others who may have voiced concerns about the worst-case scenarios involving a live steer, Texas president Gregory Fenves says Bevo will not be retired and forced to watch Longhorns football games from the ranch.

“We take the safety very seriously, but we’re going to continue to have Bevo as our mascot,” Fenves said in a recent interview with the American-Statesman. “He’s an incredible animal and a great symbol for the university. Seriously, we’re always looking at the protocols for Bevo at public events. I don’t think they need to be revised.”

So there you have it. Bevo stays. Sorry, not sorry, PETA. Unless Bevo does decide to enter the transfer portal…

Wisconsin TE Kyle Penniston enters transfer portal

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I have never seen it myself, but the transfer portal must be the place to be. Wisconsin tight end Kyle Penniston is just one of the many players putting his name in the transfer portal, as reported Wednesday, as he begins to look for a new place to finish up his college football career.

First reported by 247 Sports, Penniston will have one year of eligibility left to use for the 2019 season. He will be eligible to play right away this fall as a graduate transfer. Penniston enrolled at Wisconsin in 2015 after accepting an offer from Wisconsin over offers from Oklahoma and a handful of other top programs in the Class of 2015.

Penniston appeared in 13 games for the Badgers in 2018 with three receptions for 18 yards and a touchdown. The instant rise of Jake Ferguson at the tight end position on his way to becoming the second-leading receiver for Wisconsin meant Penniston likely wasn’t going to play a pivotal role in the offensive gameplan in 2019. Wisconsin should still be in decent shape at the tight end position this fall, not that losing an upper classmen at the position is ever a good situation for a program. It’s worth noting Penniston was recruited under former head coach Gary Andersen, who adopted a different type of offensive scheme that would have potentially been a better fit for Penniston.

Where Penniston goes next remains to be seen.

Reports: ‘Medical condition’ prompts Royal Silver to leave Minnesota

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It appears Minnesota won’t have a sizable piece of its defensive line rotation moving forward.

Both the Minneapolis Star Tribune and St. Paul Pioneer Press are reporting that Royal Silver has left P.J.Fleck‘s football program because of what were described as “medical reasons.” The specific health issue or issues with which the defensive lineman is dealing hasn’t been divulged.

Thus far, the university has declined to discuss Silver’s status with the team moving forward.

Silver spent his first two seasons at an Iowa junior college, then took a redshirt for the 2017 season after transferring to Minnesota.  This past season, the 6-3, 300-pound lineman started five of the 11 games in which he played.

Amid reports of transfers, including QB Josh Jackson, Virginia Tech issues statement

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This is certainly an odd development that, given the plethora of transfers that only continues to rise, could actually become the norm.

Tuesday night, a pair of Virginia Tech football players, including second-leading receiver Eric Kumah, took to Twitter to announce that they had decided to transfer/enter their name into the NCAA transfer database.  A day later, it’s being reported that Josh Jackson, who, after going through a tumultuous offseason, began 2018 as the Hokies’ starting quarterback only to suffer a season-ending injury, has placed his name in the transfer database as well.

Given all of the abrupt roster upheaval, Tech head coach Justin Fuente issued a statement Wednesday afternoon somewhat addressing the developments over the last 24 hours or so.