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No. 17 Baylor sets bowl rushing record in grounding and pounding of No. 10 North Carolina


“Hey Art,” the fictional interview opened, “you’re down your top two quarterbacks, your top running back, the best receiver in college football and your starting right tackle. How can you possibly hope to move the ball against North Carolina?”

The cocksure Texan took a swig of his iced tea and chuckled. “Watch me,” he said.

No. 17 Baylor (10-3) scrapped its high-flying offense for an entirely ground-based attack and set No. 10 North Carolina’s (11-3) defense on fire, beating the Tar Heels 49-38 in the Russell Athletic Bowl Tuesday night in Orlando.

Art Briles‘ Bears ran 102 plays on the night – 18 passes and 84 runs. The runs break down as follows:

  • Johnny Jefferson: 23 carries for 299 yards and three touchdowns.
  • Devin Chafin27 carries for 156 yards and one touchdown.
  • Terence Williams: 16 carries for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
  • Lynx Hawthorne: seven carries for 63 yards and one touchdown.
  • Chris Johnson: nine carries for 36 yards.

Add in two team carries for minus-6 yards and you get 84 rushes for 645 yards — 7.68 a carry — and seven touchdowns. The 645 yards are a bowl game record, and Baylor surpassed the Russell Athletic Bowl rushing record in one half. Johnson led Baylor’s passing efforts by hitting 7-of-12 throws for 82 yards and an interception; Jefferson, Chafin and Hawthorne also completed a pass apiece.

Jefferson began the night with 701 yards on the season, and his 299 yards against the Heels put him at an even 1,000 on the season. For the year, Baylor finished with two 1,000-yard passers, two 1,000-yard rushers and one 1,000-yard receiver.

As for the game at hand, Baylor led 14-10 early in the second quarter until Jefferson busted back-to-back touchdown runs, giving the Bears a 28-10 cushion. North Carolina pulled back within four after Marquise Williams punched in a four-yard touchdown run with 35 seconds left in the second quarter and a one-yard run to close a 75-yard march to open the second half.

After (however shockingly) two straight scoreless drives, Williams reached in for a three-yard score and, after a Heels fumble inside Baylor’s end zone, Jefferson opened the next possession by rushing 80 yards for a touchdown, nudging Baylor’s lead to 42-24 with 2:04 to play in the third quarter.

North Carolina would never pull closer than 11 points over the remaining 17 minutes.

North Carolina’s offense put up its share of yards, as Williams hit 22-of-36 passes for 243 yards with three touchdowns and one interception (that wasn’t his fault) with 17 carries for 81 yards and two touchdowns. Elijah Hood rushed 13 times for 118 yards, including a 67-yard burst that was a Russell Athletic Bowl record until Jefferson’s 80-yard touchdown scamper three plays later.

Hood’s rush set the Heels up with a first-and-goal at the Baylor 8, and T.J. Logan‘s first down rush pushed the ball to the two. Aiavion Edwards punched the ball loose as Logan charged toward the end zone on second down, and Baylor’s Orion Stewart hopped on the loose pigskin.

Jefferson’s 80-yard blast on the next play ended any realistic hope North Carolina had of pulling the comeback.


Cincinnati WR Javan Hawes commits to Arkansas State

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After losing a couple of players to it last month, Arkansas State has gained one from the football portal.

On Twitter last month, Javan Hawes announced that he has committed to the Arkansas State football team.  While he’s committed, he’s not officially been added to the Red Wolves roster.

At this point, it’s unclear if Hawes is leaving as a graduate transfer.  If he is, the wide receiver will have two seasons of eligibility he can start using in 2020.  If he isn’t, he would sit out the upcoming season.  That would leave the Georgia native with one season of eligibility to use in 2021.

Hawes was a three-star member of the Class of 2017 for the Bearcats.  During his three years at UC, Hawes appeared in a total of 22 games.  Just two of those appearances, though, came during the 2019 campaign.

In those appearances, Hawes totaled 102 yards and a touchdown on a dozen receptions.  As the two appearances might suggest, Hawes didn’t record a catch this past season.

In May, a pair of Arkansas State football players, tight end Eugene Minter and defensive back Nathan Page, entered the portal.  The month before that, they also lost William Bradley-King to Ye Olde Portal.  Shortly thereafter, the first-team All-Sun Belt defensive lineman moved to Baylor.

Arkansas State is coming off its sixth-straight postseason game in six years under Blake Anderson.  One of the eight wins ASU had in 2019 was a Camellia Bowl triumph over Florida International.

All told, the Red Wolves haven’t finished with fewer than seven wins since 2010.

Louisiana-Monroe RB Kayin White enters transfer portal

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For the first time in 2020, at CFT at least, we have a portal post related to the Louisiana-Monroe football program.

According to, Kayin White is set to transfer from the Warhawks.  A Louisiana-Monroe football official subsequently confirmed that the running back is in the NCAA transfer database.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

White was a two-star member of the ULM Class of 2016.  The Baton Rouge native will be leaving the Sun Belt Conference school as a graduate transfer.  The upcoming season will serve as his final year of eligibility.

White has played in 24 games the past three seasons.  He’s rushed for 320 yards and five touchdowns on 70 carries.  Just six of those attempts and 11 of the yards, though, came in 2019.

The playing time issue likely triggered the portal decision.

Louisiana-Monroe is coming off a 5-7 season in the fourth year under head football coach Matt Viator.   The Warhawks have finished .500 or worse seven straight seasons.  They have played in just one postseason game (2012 Independence Bowl) during their time as an FBS program.

Arizona State punter who declared for draft, signed with agent, went undrafted… granted waiver by NCAA to return to Sun Devils

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Thanks to Arizona State football, we have something never seen before.  Ever (we think).

Back in January, Michael Turk gave up two years of eligibility with Arizona State football to enter the 2020 NFL Draft early.  The punter signed with an agent.  Then promptly went undrafted.

After Turk went undrafted, though, ASU went to the NCAA to seek a waiver that would allow Turk to return to the Sun Devils.  The school’s reasoning?  The coronavirus pandemic cost Turk the opportunity to work out for NFL teams, thus causing his draft stock to plummet.  Not only couldn’t Turk work out privately for NFL teams, but ASU’s Pro Day was canceled because of the pandemic as well.

That tack worked for Turk as it’s now being reported that a special waiver has been granted by the NCAA.  One that should be granted to every player who leaves early and goes undrafted, incidentally.  But that’s another story for another day.

Turk came to Arizona State as a transfer from the junior college ranks as part of its 2018 recruiting class. Turk’s uncle is Matt Turk, the former NFL punter who spent one year of his professional career with a New York Jets team coached by current ASU head coach Herm Edwards.

As a redshirt sophomore this season, Turk was tied for 11th nationally and led the Pac-12 in averaging 46 yards per punt.  For that, he earned first-team all-conference honors.  He was also named as a handful of semifinalists for the 2019 Ray Guy Award.

Turk, though, won’t be handed his old job back without some competition. Last month, Florida State punter Logan Tyler transferred into the Arizona State football program.

As had been the case the previous three years, Tyler served as FSU’s starting punter in the 2019 opener against Boise State.  However, Tyler was involved in an automobile accident back in August and was under investigation by the Tallahassee Police Department for driving under the influence.  Tyler served a two-game suspension in Weeks 2 and 3 in connection to that off-field situation.

While Tyler dressed out for the two games after his suspension ended, walk-on Tommy Martin continued serving as the Seminoles’ primary punter.

Including the one game this season, Tyler has averaged 42.5 yards on his 209 punts during his career, with the average currently fourth in school history. His 82 punts and 3,545 yards in 2018 set a school record.  The Tallahassee Democrat noted that “Tyler currently holds FSU records for the most punt yards in a single game (499 vs. Clemson, 2018)… and punt yards in a single season (3,545).” His 8,879 career punt yards are also second all-time in school history.

Louisiana QB Brayden Hawkins in transfer portal, will be looking for FIFTH college football home in less than three years

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Louisiana is the latest football program to learn that the transfer portal giveth.  But, it taketh as well.

As we noted Tuesday, Arizona State offensive tackle Zach Robertson transferred into the Louisiana football program.  Now, it’s time to note that is reporting that Brayden Hawkins has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.

Now, for what’s seemingly becoming a daily disclaimer when it comes to transfers.

As we’ve stated myriad times in the past, a player can remove his name from the portal and remain at the same school. At this point, though, other programs are permitted to contact a player without receiving permission from his current football program.

NCAA bylaws also permit schools to pull a portal entrant’s scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered it.

Hawkins signed with UTEP in February of 2018.  In late July of that same year, the North Carolina native joined the Maryland football program as a walk-on.  Hawkins then moved on to Northwest Mississippi Community College following the 2018 season.  In May of last year, he joined the Louisiana football program.

Add it all up, and Hawkins’ next stop will be his fifth collegiate home.  In less than three years.  Suffice to say, he’s never thrown a pass at this level of football.

Louisiana football is coming off a school-record 11 wins.  In fact, it’s the first time as an FBS program the Ragin’ Cajuns hit double-digit wins.  Part of that school-record victory total was a win in the Lendingtree Bowl.  Head coach Billy Napier was a candidate for the Baylor opening, but opted to remain with the Sun Belt Conference school.