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Orange Bowl: Late touchdown lifts Oklahoma to halftime lead on Clemson

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The Orange Bowl may not be shaping up to be the offensive showcase many expected it to be, but Clemson and Oklahoma are delivering a close contest in the first of two College Football Playoff semifinal games. Oklahoma took a 17-16 lead late in the half with Mark Andrews scoring on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 1:34 to play The scoring drive took just 43 seconds after Clemson extended its lead to 16-10 on a field goal. Clemson looked to retake the lead in the final 20 seconds, but Oklahoma’s Zack Sanchez intercepted a pass in the endzone from Deshaun Watson to secure the lead at halftime.

Clemson defensive end Shaq Lawson left the game in the first quarter with an apparent knee injury, but his return has not been ruled out. Lawson may be out of action, but the Clemson defensive line has had an impact on the first half with three sacks of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield.

Oklahoma struck first on the opening drive of the game. After Mayfield was sacked on the first play of the game by Carlos Watkins, the Sooners let the running game get going with a nice nine-yard run by Samaje Perine. Perine carried the next two plays for a gain of 18 yards and continued to lead the ground attack the rest of the drive. Perine picked up a short touchdown run from the one-yard line on the 10th play of the drive to give Oklahoma an early 7-0 lead. Oklahoma was forced to punt on their next two possessions though.

Early in the second quarter, Clemson needed a bit of a spark after seeing a third down pass fall incomplete. That spark was generated by punter Andy Teasdall, who you might remember was ripped to shreds on the sideline after a blown fake in the ACC Championship Game. This time Teasdall came through with a 31-yard pass to Christian Wilkins down to the Oklahoma 13-yard line. Deshaun Watson picked up a five-yard touchdown two plays later to give the Tigers their first lead of the game, 10-7.

 

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 247Sports.com 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.

Hawaii OL Solo Vaipulu arrested after violating state’s mandatory quarantine for travelers

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By way of Hawaii football, and thanks to the current times we’re living in, we have a new one to note in the CFT arrest ledger.

According to HawaiiNewsNow.com, offensive lineman Solo Vaipulu was arrested Monday for violating the state of Hawaii’s mandatory 14-day traveler quarantine.  The Hawaii football player was also charged with lying to authorities.

A witness had turned Vaipulu in, stating that the true junior lineman had left his designated quarantine location on a near-daily basis.

From the report:

Investigators said they went to the address Vaipulu had given them upon his arrival on May 18 to discover that he had also moved residences without informing authorities.

The Hawaii football program has not addressed the incident involving one of its football players.

“While everyone is anticipating the reopening of interisland travel on June 16, the quarantine rules for all visitors and returning residents from the mainland will remain in effect until further notice,” Clare Connors, the state Attorney General, said according to the website. “We encourage all travelers to respect the mandatory quarantine, as it has been an important component in helping Hawai‘i have the best metrics in the country, in terms of infection and coronavirus death rates.”

As a true freshman in 2018, Vaipulu started all 13 games at right guard for the Rainbow Warriors.  That season, he earned honorable mention All-Mountain West Conference honors.  Last season, Vaipulu started nine of the 10 games in which he played at the same position.

Hawaii football is coming off its best season since 2010. Included in a 10-win season was the program’s first appearance in the Mountain West Conference championship game.  Of course, that appearance ended in a loss to Boise State.

(Tip O’ the Cap: The Fulmer Cup)

Florida State officially adds three Power Five transfers, including two from Mississippi State

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Florida State football has officially hit the football portal.  Hard.

At various points over the past two months, defensive back Meiko Dotson (FAU), defensive lineman Fabien Lovett (Mississippi State) and defensive back Jarrian Jones (Mississippi State) have committed to the Seminoles.  With the latter two seemingly headed to Ole Miss as well. Wednesday, Florida State confirmed all three additions to its football roster.

Dotson, as a graduate transfer, is eligible immediately at FSU.  It’s believed that Jones and Lovett, who each have three years of eligibility, will seek a waiver that will allow them to play immediately in 2020.

Lovett was a three-star 2018 signee. He was rated as the No. 7 player regardless of position in the state of Mississippi.

The past two seasons, Lovett played in 15 games. 13 of those appearances came in 2019. A year ago, the defensive end was credited with 19 tackles, 2½ tackles for loss and a sack.

Because he appeared in four or fewer games in 2018, Lovett was able to take a redshirt for that season.

Jones was a four-star member of the Mississippi State football Class of 2019.  The Mississippi native was the No. 18 safety in the country on the 247Sports.com composite.  He was also the No. 13 prospect regardless of position in his home state.  Only three signees in the class that year for MSU were rated higher than Jones.

As a true freshman, Jones started one of the dozen games in which he played.  In those appearances, he was credited with 12 tackles, two passes defensed and one fumble recovery.

This past season, Dotson (pictured), who originally signed with Georgia Tech coming out of high school, tied for the FBS lead in interceptions with nine.