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Postma Delivers: Backup QB rallies No. 24 Houston from 20 down to stun No. 21 Memphis

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It’s almost like this exact scenario has played out before. Tom Herman inserted a backup quarterback and found instant success, as Kyle Postma led No. 24 Houston from 20 down to beat No. 21 Memphis 35-34 Saturday night in Houston.

Memphis grabbed a 3-0 lead after one – it was just the third time Houston had been blanked in a quarter this season, and first time outside of a fourth quarter blowout – and pushed the lead to 20-0 with a pair of Paxton Lynch touchdown passes when Herman replaced a gimpy, ineffective Greg Ward, Jr., with the little-used Postma on the Cougars’ final drive before the half. Postma immediately delivered, hitting four of his first five throws, including a 30-yard scoring strike to Linell Bonner to put Houston on the board.

Houston continued its momentum by opening the second half with a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, capped by a seven-yard Kenneth Farrow scoring jaunt.

But Memphis responded, pushing the lead back to 20 by moving 68 and then 66 yards on its next two touches for a pair of rushing touchdowns.

Trailing 34-14 entering the fourth quarter, Houston raced 75 yards in six plays, punctuated by another Farrow touchdown run, then seemingly was in business after recovering a Doroland Dorceus fumble at the Memphis 20. The Cougars, though, had a touchdown taken off the board at the 10:06 mark of the fourth when tight end Tyler McCloskey was ruled an ineligible receiver downfield after hauling in an apparent Postma touchdown pass. They would later turn the ball over on downs.

Houston’s defense again responded as Elandon Roberts intercepted Lynch and returned the ball to the Memphis 39. Houston scored seven snaps later – consuming a precious 2:19 – when Javin Webb pushed in from one yard out.

With the score 34-28, Houston’s defense forced an immediate three-and-out, and the Cougars prowled 77 yards in nine plays – all but two coming on Postma’s arm or leg, including a seven-yard dash that gave the Cougars their first lead of the game at the 1:27 mark of the fourth quarter.

Memphis mounted one final drive for the win, but Jake Elliott‘s 48-yard field goal sailed wide right.

Postma, a sophomore that entered the night with six attempts on the entire season, completed 21-of-33 passes for 236 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions while rushing six times for a team-leading 49 yards and a touchdown. He essentially replaced the production Houston expected out of Ward, who notched only 60 passing yards on 5-of-11 passing and was sacked five times before exiting with a banged up ankle. Farrow and Webb combined to rush 14 times for 69 yards and three scores.

Lynch hit 20-of-31 passes for 278 yards with two touchdowns and one interception, plus 43 rushing yards. Dorceus carried 26 times for 116 yards with a score and a fumble.

The win pushes Houston (10-0, 6-0 AAC) one game closer to a winner-take-all date with No. 20 Navy for the American West. All that separates the Cougars from that Black Friday affair in Houston is a trip to Connecticut next week.

Memphis (8-2, 4-2 AAC) saw its CFP party-crasher hopes evaporate with its loss to Navy last week, and now sees any realistic hope of a conference title and Group of Five bowl berth go out the window as well.

South Carolina’s third-leading rusher enters NCAA transfer database

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Another day, another trip into the infamous portal.

The latest to put his name onto the free-agent market is Ty’Son Williams, who a South Carolina official has confirmed is now listed in the NCAA transfer database.  If Williams follows through with the move — he can always remove his name from the database and return — it would be the running back’s second transfer as he came to USC in August of 2016 after beginning his collegiate playing career at North Carolina.

As Williams would be leaving as a graduate transfer, he’d be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school if he ultimately decides to leave.

Williams was third on the Gamecocks with 328 yards rushing in 2018, while his four rushing touchdowns tied for the team lead.  The year before, his first on the field at USC after sitting out the 2016 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, he was second on the team in yards (471) and yards per carry (5.0).

A four-star member of UNC’s 2016 recruiting class, Williams was rated as the No. 21 running back in the country and the No. 5 player at any position in the state of South Carolina.

Four-star 2018 WR Marquez Ezzard leaves Miami

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As Miami continues to collect players with steep FBS experience, they’ve also lost a touted member of last year’s recruiting class.

In a press release sent out late Wednesday morning, Miami announced that Marquez Ezzard has decided to leave Manny Diaz‘s football program.  No specific reason for the unexpected departure was given.

That said, the speculation is that a pair of wideout developments — Jeff Thomas did an about-face and returned to Miami after signing with Illinois, Buffalo grad transfer K.J. Osborn was added earlier this month — played a significant role in the decision.

“Marquez and I talked, and we decided that it was in his best interests to pursue opportunities at another school,” the first-year head coach said in a statement. “We wish him all the best in his future plans.”

Ezzard was a four-star 2018 signee who played in three games as a true freshman, catching two passes for 24 yards.

Medically retired in August, Torrence Brown to transfer from Penn State to Southern Miss

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So much for that.

In August of last year, Torrence Brown announced that, “[d]ue to multiple injuries and surgeries, my career at Penn State has come to an end.” The defensive end spent the 2018 season as a student assistant coach for the Nittany Lions, seemingly kickstarting a career in coaching.

While that may ultimately be his employment lot in life, it’s been put on hold as Brown confirmed Tuesday via Twitter that he has decided to transfer to Southern Miss to continue his collegiate playing career.  The lineman was actually committed to the Golden Eagles before flipping to the Nittany Lions in February of 2014.

Brown started four of 14 games as a redshirt sophomore in 2016 and then started the first three games the following year before going down with a season-ending knee injury.

Because of NCAA bylaws, a player who medically retires while at one school is not permitted to play at that same school if he opts to restart his playing career.  He can, though, transfer and continue it elsewhere.

In January of 2016, Adam Breneman ended his playing career at Penn State and medically retired because of chronic knee issues; seven months later, the tight end resurfaced and continued his playing career at UMass.

Second-leading receiver one of two transferring from Virginia Tech

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Virginia Tech’s roster took a one-two personnel punch on Tuesday.

Last evening, wide receiver Eric Kumah announced on Twitter that he has “decided that [it’s] best for me to enter my name into the transfer portal.” A half-hour later, teammate and Hokies tight end Chris Cunningham announced via the same social media site that “I feel as though it is in my best interest to transfer from Virginia Tech.”

The fact that the players’ names are in the NCAA transfer database doesn’t guarantee a departure, although it is normally a sign that the player will ultimately move on to another program.  With the names in the database, other schools can contact them without receiving permission from Tech.  Conversely, Tech has the right to strip both players of their scholarships at the end of the current semester.

Both Kumah and Cunningham have already graduated from Tech and could use their final season of eligibility at another FBS program immediately in 2019.  The former also has a redshirt year available to him.

This past season, Kumah’s 42 receptions, 559 receiving yards and seven receiving touchdowns were all second on the Hokies.  He started 12 games in 2018 and 20 total during his time in Blacksburg.

Primarily a blocking tight end, Cunningham started a pair of games in 2018 and finished the season with 74 yards and two touchdowns on seven catches.