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Texas leading Baylor through one half in Austin

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After a long, 2-plus-hour first half in Austin, Texas holds a 23-21 lead over No. 8 Baylor at the half.

Neither team could stop the other at the outset. Baylor won the toss and accepted the ball to open the game, then promptly moved it 75 yards in a half-dozen snaps, 50 of which came on a Seth Russell keeper to the end zone, to grab a 7-0 lead just 66 seconds into the game. Texas responded by marching 88 yards in eight plays — all of them by twin brothers D’Onta and Armanti Foreman. The former carried six times for 35 yards, and the latter caught two passes covering 53 yards, the last 40 resulted in a touchdown.

Texas defensive back P.J. Locke nabbed a tipped interception on the next play from scrimmage, and D'Onta Foreman matched his brother’s score with a 37-yard dash of his own on the ‘Horns’ next snap. Baylor answered with a 5-play, 75-yard drive, staking the game to a 14-14 tie at the 9:26 mark of the first quarter.

But then, a miracle occurred: defense. After six punts, an interception, a fourth down stop and a fumble set Baylor up with the ball at its own 2-yard line, Texas forced a safety by drawing a holding call inside the Baylor end zone, re-taking the lead at 16-14 with 8:43 to go before the halftime gun.

Texas’s next possession moved 66 yards in six plays, helped by a fortunate miss of a clear fumble by Tyrone Swoopes, to take a 23-14 lead on a 9-yard D’Onta Foreman rush with 6:35 remaining.

After the teams traded three-and-outs with negative yardage, Baylor took over at its own 19 with 4:18 remaining and moved down the field in an un-Baylor-like fashion, rushing the ball 11 times with just one throw before Russell hit K.D. Cannon for a 15-yard scoring strike with just nine seconds left before the break.

D’Onta Foreman rushed 17 times for 128 yards and two scores, while Armanti Foreman caught three passes for 104 yards with a touchdown and a lost fumble. Shane Buechele hit 7-of-13 throws for 164 yards with a score and a pick.

Russell hit 9-of-19 passes for 152 yards with two touchdowns and an interception, and the Bears rushed 29 times for 156 yards (5.4 a pop) with a score as a team.

Texas will receive to open the second half.

Dabo Swinney, Hunter Johnson address QB’s transfer

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Clemson has officially bid adieu to a highly-touted member of its 2017 recruiting class.

Earlier in the day Monday, reports surfaced that Hunter Johnson had decided to transfer from the Tigers, with a couple of Big Ten schools already listed as potential landing spots. Not long after that news made the rounds, Dabo Swinney acknowledged the reports, calling the quarterback “one of the best young men I’ve ever coached” in sending his former player his well-wishes.

“While it is always disappointing to lose a great person and a great player, I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to work with Hunter and watch him grow and develop over the last year and a half,” the full statement attributed to the head coach began. “Hunter is one of the best young men I have ever coached and has a very bright future ahead of him.

“I wish him all the best as he decides on his destination.”

Johnson himself issued his own statement through the school’s sports information department addressing the development.

“I want to thank Coach Swinney and the Clemson family for giving me the opportunity to be a part of something special,” said Johnson. “I’ve met some amazing people who I will forever call family. I am a better man and a better football player because of my time spent at Clemson. Go Tigers!”

The composite board on 247Sports.com had Johnson rated as the No. 2 pro-style quarterback in the country and the No. 30 player at any position for the Class of 2017. As a true freshman, Johnson completed 21 of his 27 passes for 234 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in seven appearances.

It’s believed that Johnson, who will have to sit out the 2018 season but would then have three years of eligibility remaining beginning in 2019, is eyeing Northwestern or Purdue as potential transfer destinations.

Former USC assistant coach Todd McNair loses defamation lawsuit vs. NCAA

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By a vote of 9-3, former USC running backs coach Todd McNair has lost his defamation lawsuit against the NCAA. Following six days of deliberation, the verdict brings to a close the Reggie Bush scandal that began more than a decade ago, a scandal that saw the Trojans lose their 2004 BCS national championship and Bush be stripped of his 2005 Heisman Trophy.

McNair sued the NCAA after it found him guilty of unethical conduct while Bush received impermissible benefits. He was given a 1-year show-cause penalty, and has not worked since his contract expired in the summer of 2010.

McNair sought $27 million in damages from the NCAA.

McNair’s attorney Bruce Broilett told ESPN his team was “very disappointed … disappointed in the result. Assessing the situation and considering our next steps.”

David Beaty releases statement on firing of KU AD Sheahon Zenger

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Kansas fired athletics director Sheahon Zenger earlier today. If the move was immediately greeted as a vote of no-confidence in Zenger’s ability to find and hire the next Jayhawks football coach — and, thus, a vote of no-confidence in the David Beaty era — that’s because it pretty much is.

“But Athletics continues to face a number of challenges, and progress in key areas has been elusive. To achieve the level of success we need and expect, I have determined a change in leadership is necessary,” KU chancellor Douglas Girod said in his statement announcing Zenger’s firing.

The playbook is well documented by now: to replace the head coach, you must first replace the AD who hired the head coach, and the replacement will then hire the new head coach. We’ve seen it play out at a number of places, most recently Nebraska, where Bill Moos was brought in to replace Shawn Eichorst, and Moos promptly fired Mike Riley and hired Scott Frost.

Beaty is a well-liked coach, but college football is a results business and a 3-33 record speaks for itself. Beaty surely knows that score better than anyone.

Hours after the news went public, Beaty released a statement of his own on Monday afternoon.

As if the 3-33 mark wasn’t obvious enough, the beginning of the end of the Beaty era likely came on Monday.

Alabama (still) a massive favorite over Louisville, other Week 1 lines

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It’s been about four months since we checked in on the Week 1 betting lines in college football, highlighted by Alabama’s installation as a massive favorite for its date with Louisville in Orlando.

And in the four months since, the public has clearly lost faith in the Nick Saban Football Machine.

After starting as a 29.5-point favorite, Alabama has been downgraded… to a 28.5-point favorite, according to lines released by Bet Online.

Other lines of note:

  • UCF (-20.5) at Connecticut
  • Northwestern (+4.5) at Purdue
  • Colorado (-6) vs. Colorado State (at Denver)
  • San Diego State (+14.5) at Stanford
  • Florida Atlantic (+23) at Oklahoma
  • Oregon State (+38) at Ohio State
  • Texas (-10.5) at Maryland
  • Boise State (-10.5) at Troy
  • Arizona (-14) vs. BYU (at Phoenix)
  • Auburn (-3.5) vs. Washington (at Atlanta)
  • Ole Miss (-1.5) vs. Texas Tech (at Houston)
  • West Virginia (-7) vs. Tennessee (at Charlotte)
  • North Carolina (+6) at California
  • Michigan (+2) at Notre Dame
  • Alabama (-28.5) vs. Louisville (at Orlando)
  • Miami (-3) vs. LSU (at Dallas)
  • Virginia Tech (+6.5) at Florida State

Check out the entire list of lines here.