Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Ew, Pig Sooie! Virginia Tech scores 35-unanswered points to win Belk Bowl, 35-24

11 Comments

For one half of football, it appeared as though Arkansas (7-6) could do no wrong in the Belk Bowl against No. 22 Virginia Tech (10-4), but the Hokies roared back from a 24-0 halftime deficit with 35 unanswered points in the second half to capture a wild bowl victory. It may be a tad cliché, but this truly was a tale of two halves that showed why football games are 60 minutes long.

Bud Foster coached up his defense to tighten things up in the second half, and they responded with flying colors. The Hokies sacked Arkansas quarterback Austin Allen six times in the second half, with Mook Reynolds notching two. Reynolds and Tremaine Edmunds each recorded an interception as well to help turn the game around in Virginia Tech’s favorite. With the defense doing its part to prevent Arkansas from scoring again after taking a short-lived, yet commanding 24-0 lead, the Hokies offense had to do their part as well. And oh boy did they.

The Hokies scored five touchdowns in the second half, starting early in the second half after the defense forced an Arkansas turnover on the third play of the half. Jerod Evans completed 21-of-33 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns and he led the Hokies on the ground with 87 rushing yards and two more touchdowns. Travon McMillian had 34 key yards as well, including a six-yard scoring run one play after rumbling 21 yards for a big gain. McMillian’s touchdown run was likely the final nail in the coffin for the Razorbacks, who went from being down four points to down 11. Arkansas went three-and-out on their next drive and fumbled the football away on their next offensive series after that.

The play of the game may have been a one-handed touchdown snag by Sam Rogers to help cut the Razorbacks’ lead to 10 points.

The comeback from Virginia Tech goes down as the third-largest comeback in a bowl game over the last 10 seasons. Last year’s Alamo Bowl saw TCU dig its way out of a 31-point deficit against Oregon. Texas Tech also played its way back form a 31-point deficit in the 2006 Insight Bowl against Minnesota, going from trailing 38-7 to winning 44-41 in overtime.

The ACC’s impressive bowl season continues

With Virginia Tech’s victory over the Razorbacks, the ACC improved to 5-1 in the bowl season. No other conference has won more than four games so far in the bowl season. The ACC’s lone bowl loss so far was suffered by Pitt in the Pinstripe Bowl (the Panthers lost to Northwestern of the Big Ten). The ACC has winning records against the SEC (2-0) and Big 12 (1-0), is even with the Big Ten (1-1) and owns a victory over the AAC champion (Wake Forest beat Temple in the Military Bowl). The ACC is close to clinching a winning record this postseason with six postseason games to go (seven if Clemson advances to the College Football Playoff National Championship Game).

The SEC drops to 1-4 this bowl season after South Carolina and Arkansas each lost today. The SEC still has a very good chance to see Alabama win a national championship and there are still six additional games to be played to turn things around this bowl season, but this is a bit of a sloppy start to the bowl season for the SEC.

Looking ahead

So, where do we go from here? At Virginia Tech, the Hokies will go into the offseason very positive about the future of the program under the leadership of Justin Fuente. In Fuente’s first season on the job, Virginia Tech won 10 games to capture the ACC Coastal Division and gave Clemson a good battle in the ACC Championship Game, and it all ends with a victory over an SEC school in a bowl game. The 2017 season will commence in Landover, Maryland against former Big East rival West Virginia from the Big 12 on September 2, 2017. The Hokies will play an ACC schedule that includes a home game against Clemson in addition to North Carolina and Pittsburgh and road games against Miami and Georgia Tech. The Hokies should be one of the teams to watch in the ACC once again in 2017 as Fuente’s offense continues to come together in year two.

Arkansas will go back to the drawing board and contemplate just how this season went so up-and-down and ended the way it did. The Razorbacks will still be a team worth paying close attention to and not take for granted in 2017, and if they can find any positive consistency next fall they should be at least a mnild factor in how the SEC West plays out. They won’t be likely to de-throne Alabama, of course, but they can mess with teams like LSU, Texas A&M, and Auburn. Of course, Arkansas will only play Auburn at home, while Alabama and LSU will be played on the road and Texas A&M will be played in AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Arkansas begisn the 2017 season at home against Florida A&M on September 2, 2017 in Little Rock, and the Razorbacks host TCU of the Big 12 on September 9, 2017 in Fayetteville.

Texas LB DeMarvion Overshown announces he will no longer participate in team activities ‘until real action is taken’

Texas football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

There’s further unrest within the Texas football program.

June 4, Longhorns wide receiver Brennan Eagles kicked up quite the kerfuffle by proclaiming, amidst police brutality and racial injustice, “I’ll be [damned] if you think I’ll play another snap with the platform I have that [affects the] majority of people that contribute to the sport who don’t actually play.” A week later, Texas student-athletes, including football players, took to social media en masse to spread their message: “We aim to hold the athletic department and university to a higher standard by not only asking them to keep their promise of condemning racism on our campus, but to go beyond this by taking action to make Texas more comfortable and inclusive for the black athletes and the black community that has so fervently supported this program.” Not long after, linebacker Juwan Mitchell publicly stated, “I do not feel comfortable representing the University of Texas.

After a couple of weeks of quiet on that front, DeMarvion Overshown has shattered it.  In a statement posted to Twitter, the linebacker announced that, “until real action is taken and changes are made I will be sitting out of all team activities.”

“We have been told that things are being done behind close(d) doors but have yet to see any changes,” Overshown added.

The university has not responded to Overshown’s stance.

In their social-media message last month, the student-athletes laid out several areas of change they want to see enacted.  Among them: renaming several buildings on campus, including James Hogg Auditorium; “replacement of statues with more diverse statues on campus designed by artists/sculptors who are people of color”; the UT Athletic Department donating .5% of its annual earnings to black organizations and the Black Lives Matter movement; and replacing “The Eyes of Texas with a new song without racist undertones.”

The athletes suggested lifting the requirement of athletes to sing a song that was established in 1903 during a period of lynchings and Jim Crow society, the Daily Texan wrote two years ago.

Overshown, a junior, has appeared in 17 games during his two seasons with the Longhorns.

Texas State QB Cedric Case makes his move to the transfer portal

Texas State football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Texas State has had a lovehate relationship with the football transfer portal this offseason. This week, the hate reared its head. Again.

Cedric Case Tuesday announced that he has entered his name into the NCAA transfer database, the first step in leaving Texas State football.  The quarterback made the announcement on his personal Twitter account.

“After many discussions with my family and a lot of reflection about my future, I’ve decided at this time it’s in my best interest to transfer from Texas State University,” Case wrote. “I want to thank Coach Spavital and the rest of the coaching staff for giving me the great opportunity to be [a part] of their program, and helping me become a better football player and a better man.

“I also want to thank my teammates for treating me like family and making San Marcos feel like home from the moment I got there. I’ve made countless memories over the past year, and can’t wait to watch the success each of you will have on and off the field.”

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.

Case was a two-star member of the Texas State football Class of 2019.  The Lincoln, Nebraska, native was the No. 7 player regardless of position in his home state. He will have to sit out the 2020 season.  That will leave him with three years of eligibility to use starting in 2021.

As a true freshman, Case didn’t see the field for the Bobcats.

Texas State is coming off its second consecutive 3-9 football season, its first under head coach Jake Spavital. In fact, the Bobcats haven’t finished above-.500 since going 7-5 in 2014. The 2012 season was the program’s first at the FBS level.

Liberty the new home for Georgia Tech transfer kicker Brenton King

Liberty football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

The ever-evolving kicking position for Liberty football has taken another turn.

Back in March, Georgia Tech head coach Geoff Collins revealed that Brenton King had decided to go pro in something other than sports.  Earlier this month, though, it was confirmed that the placekicker had since placed his name into the NCAA transfer database.

On Twitter this week, King announced that he has committed to Liberty football.

“Excited for this new chapter in my life,” the kicker wrote. “Can’t wait to be back on the field. Thank you [special teams coordinator Tanner Burns] for believing in me and giving me a chance to play the sport I love still.

“Go Flames!”

Coming out of high school in Georgia, King was a two-star member of the Georgia Tech football Class of 2017. As a true freshman, he split time as the primary placekicker for the Yellow Jackets.  King was Tech’s primary kicker this past season.  In between, he kicked in four games but was able to take a redshirt for 2018.

During his three seasons, King connected on 42-of-46 point-afters.  However, he was successful on just nine of his 17 field-goal attempts.

King left Georgia Tech as a graduate transfer with two years of eligibility.  That, of course, means he can immediately play this season as well as next.

The football independent will be looking to replace its full-time kicker from a year ago, Alex Probert.  In February of this year, Probert transferred to Iowa State.

Liberty became a provisional Football Bowl Subdivision member in 2018.  In its initial season as a full FBS member last year, the Flames qualified for their first-ever bowl game.  And won it.

Syracuse makes addition of starting FCS defensive lineman official

Syracuse football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Syracuse football has officially bolstered its defensive line with a lower-level addition.

Earlier this month, Cody Roscoe announced on Twitter that he will be transferring into Dino Babers‘ Syracuse football program.  This week, the Orange confirmed the defensive lineman has signed with the program.  The defensive lineman is coming to the ACC school from McNeese State.

Because he comes in from an FCS program, Roscoe will be eligible to play immediately in 2020.  According to a release, Roscoe is already enrolled in Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences.

Roscoe was a two-year starter for the Cowboys.  He totaled 19 tackles for loss and 13½ sacks in that action.  The lineman had 11 tackles for loss and nine sacks this postseason, with both totals good for second on the team.

The FCS player is one of the few additions for a Syracuse football program that has lost its share to the portal this offseason.  Since mid-March, the Orange has seen four of their players leave for the NCAA transfer database.

Wallace, incidentally, has since moved on to Kent State.

Syracuse is set to open the 2020 college football season at Boston College Sept. 4.