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No. 12 Ole Miss completes New Years Six blowout trend with Sugar Bowl win

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It was a rough couple of days for the state of Oklahoma in the New Years Six. 2015 ended with a dud from the Oklahoma Sooners in the first College Football Playoff semifinal against Clemson and 2016 started with another dud from No. 16 Oklahoma State (10-3). The Cowboys were ambushed by No. 12 Ole Miss (10-3) in the Sugar Bowl on the first of the new year, 48-20, and it hardly felt even that close. Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly tossed four touchdowns to earn Sugar Bowl MVP honors and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell caught three of them as Ole Miss helped cap a big couple of days for the SEC in bowl action.

Kelly ended his night having thrown for 302 yards and four touchdowns. Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh split playing time in the defeat and totaled 302 passing yards between them with zero touchdowns, although Walsh did rush for two scores. Oklahoma State’s running game was taken out of the game early and ended the night with just 63 rushing yards. Keep in mind, Walsh rushed for 74 yards in the game.

Ole Miss actually started off a tad slowly in the game, but they managed to shake off any early rust the way they were unable to the last time they played a Big 12 team in the New Years Six (last year vs. TCU in the Peach Bowl; the Horned Frogs demolished Ole Miss). Hugh Freeze and his Rebels fell behind 3-0 off an early Oklahoma State field goal, but scored 34 points before halftime. They even had a little fun doing so by tossing a screen pass to offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil on the final play of the first half for a short touchdown nobody on Oklahoma State’s defense was prepared for in the closing seconds. Simply put, Freeze had more talent on his Ole Miss squad and he out-foxed Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy.

Freeze improved to 3-1 in bowl games since his arrival in Oxford. This was also the first Sugar Bowl victory, and first of the four traditional major bowl games, for the Ole Miss program since the 1969 season. This is also the first time Ole Miss has won 10 game sin a single season since going 10-3 in 2003 with Eli Manning at quarterback.

With the win, the SEC improved to 6-2 this bowl season, and the wins have come in dominant fashion. Ole Miss, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Mississippi State and Auburn have all put up over 30 points in their bowl victories, and each won their games by at least 20 points. The SEC’s only losses have come from Texas A&M and Florida (who lost in a blowout against Michigan). The SEC still has favorable matchups to come as well with Arkansas getting Kansas State in the Liberty Bowl. Georgia is a favorite against Penn State as well in the TaxSlayer Bowl. Alabama will get a chance to end the season with another postseason win too when they face Clemson in the national championship game one week from Monday night. Last year Ole Miss played a role in a disappointing bowl showing from the sEC, but this year the tale has been reversed.

The Big 12 is now a lowly 1-3 so far, with three more games to be played. Odds are not with the Big 12 though with Kansas State getting Arkansas, as mentioned above, and TCU without Trevone Boykin drawing a red hot and explosive Oregon in the Alamo Bowl. West Virginia also plays Arizona State in the Cactus Bowl, in Phoenix. The Big 12 is now also 1-3 in New Years Six bowl game sin two years under the new College Football Playoff structure, which is not a particularly great look.

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 247Sports.com, 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 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)