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Clemson survives in overtime against N.C. State with late interception

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Dabo Swinney and his team have buried the term ‘Clemsoning’ over the past few seasons but did their best to revive it in a nerve-racking 24-17 overtime win as N.C. State nearly shocked the college football world.

Wolfpack quarterback Ryan Finley threw his first two interceptions of the season, the last of which came on the team’s first offensive snap of overtime to seal the loss. Running back Matthew Dayes was the real star of the show though, rushing for 106 yards and a touchdown to nearly help pull off the upset.

N.C. State had a chance to win it with a wild fourth quarter that saw them tie things up following a 14 play, 75 yard drive early in the frame. They got the ball back again and marched down the field in another 14 play drive that took over six minutes off the clock but kicker Kyle Bambard missed a 33 yarder as time expired to head to overtime.

Clemson signal-caller Deshaun Watson went into halftime on a hot streak by completing eight of nine on his way to a late scoring drive but couldn’t sustain the momentum after merging from the locker room. He threw a pick-six (the first in his career, by the way) just a few seconds into the third quarter to tie the game and breathe more life into the underdogs.

Watson eventually ended the day with a career high 39 completions for 378 yards and two scores as he became the team’s offense with virtually no running game. Tailback Wayne Gallman was injured on a helmet-to-helmet hit in the first half and had to be helped back to the locker room.

Issues in the red zone and turnovers plagued the Tigers offense all day long as a result. They were stuffed on fourth and goal from the one yard line early in the game and fumbled away another chance in the third quarter. Wide receiver Mike Williams fumbled too after crossing the 20 for the team’s fourth turnover of the day, which later led to a big return.

If there was one bright spot for Clemson in escaping with the win it was Christian Wilkins, who blocked a field goal in the third quarter and had the longest run of the day for the Tigers offense. He plays defensive tackle by the way.

The Wolfpack were the last unranked team to beat Clemson, just shy of five years ago but couldn’t quite get the job done at the end. While everybody thought the Tigers had turned the page after beating Louisville and Clemson the past two weeks, it appears last year’s ACC champion still has a few things to correct heading into their showdown with Florida State next Saturday.

A win is a win however and the late heroics kept Swinney and the team’s College Football Playoff hopes alive for seven more days.

Former Ohio State defensive MVP Mike Kudla passes away

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Former Ohio State defensive end Mike Kudla passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, according to a Facebook post from his high school alma mater, Highland High School in Medina, Ohio. Kudla was 34.

Kudla signed with Ohio State in 2002 and immediately helped the Buckeyes to their first national championship since 1968. He would go on to become one of the top 15 sack artists in Ohio State history, a First Team All-Big Ten performer and Ohio State’s defensive MVP in 2005. He recorded 41 tackles, 11.5 TFLs and 9.5 sacks.

Kudla worked in business after football and eventually returned to Ohio State in 2012 as managing director of development for the Fisher College of Business. At the time of his death, Kudla worked as the owner of Core Plex, which “built medical facilities all over the country.”

“Despite his success on and off the football field, Mike remained humble and was extremely generous with his time and resources,” Highland school district director of communications Dawn Marzano wrote in the Facebook post. “He was always willing to share his experience and mentor youth. He was loved and respected by many and will be missed terribly.”

Lincoln Riley suggests there is a competition for QB that nobody should believe

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It’s a standard procedure for a head coach to suggest there is an open competition for any number of positions on a football team, but nobody seems to be buying the idea there is a competition at Oklahoma to replace Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield. And when one of the players supposedly in the running for the job has a lucrative baseball career on the table, the idea is a little more comical.

Kyler Murray was drafted by the Oakland A’s with the No. 9 overall pick in the recent amateur MLB amateur draft. His contract with the A’s guarantees him $5 million and still allows for him to play one more year of football, which Murray has stated is his plan at Oklahoma. Still, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley addressed the quarterback situation at Big 12 media days on Monday and suggested Murray will have to win the job against redshirt sophomore Austin Kendall.

“Kyler’s not the quarterback yet,” Riley said when asked how the offense will change with Riley at the position following the departure of No. 1 overall NFL draft pick Mayfield to Cleveland. “There’s a really good competition going on and Kyler’s gonna have to fight like crazy to win this job.”

Sure. OK. Whatever you say, Riley.

It is worth noting Murray appeared in seven games for the Sooners last season with 18-of-21 for 359 yards and three touchdowns without an interception in backup duty for Mayfield. Kendall redshirted last season and was named one of the team’s Offensive Scout Team Players of the Year. Kendall did make appearances in two games in 2016 in a back-up role. While Kendall may have a bright future in Norman, few are willing to accept Oklahoma is welcoming back Murray to potentially be a back-up quarterback when he could jump right into his pro baseball career right now.

But this could just be nothing more than the latest example of a coach simply setting the tone for the offseason and holding the bar high for even the most talented of players on the roster. Riley may be blowing smoke, but it could also pay off in the long run of the 2018 season.

Tennessee DL Ryan Thaxton suspended, charged with domestic assault

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Tennessee defensive lineman Ryan Thaxton has been suspended by the football program after being arrested and charged for an alleged domestic assault of his girlfriend. The incident leading to the arrest and charge occurred over the weekend.

According to the Knoxville News Sentinel, Thaxton was arrested Sunday night and charged with domestic assault and false imprisonment. According to police records, Thaxton is accused of pushing his girlfriend to his dorm room while she refused to follow him. It is reported Thaxton than carried the unidentified woman to his dorm room and blocked the door so she could not leave as an argument continued inside the room.

“We are aware of the incident,” a statement from Tennessee read. “The student-athlete has been suspended from all team activities while law enforcement and the university investigates.”

Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt is scheduled to address the media at SEC Media Days on Wednesday.

SEC Media Days will return to Hoover, AL in 2019, could explore new options in 2020

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After years of holding its annual media day extravaganza in Hoover, Alabama, the SEC set up shop in Atlanta at the College Football Hall of Fame this week for the 2018 media day event. The SEC will head back to Alabama next year, however, and the conference may evaluate moving the media day fun around the region in the years after that.

SEC commissioner Greg Sankey announced the plan is to hold the SEC Media Day event in Hoover, Alabama next summer. After that is anybody’s guess. Tony Barnhart of SEC Network suggested there will be a “serious discussion” about where to hold the event after that.

The SEC certainly has plenty of worthy options to consider if the conference seriously considers moving the event around a bit. Atlanta figures to be a popular destination option, of course. But the SEC could also capitalize on other locations around the SEC with desirable options in Florida, Tennessee, and Texas just for starters. SEC Media Days in Nashville? Memphis? Houston?

New Orleans?

The possibilities are quite interesting and moving the event to different locations could allow for more fans to get a taste of the media day fun, which this year included a fan fest the day prior to the official start of the media day schedule.