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Iowa extinguishes No. 6 Ohio State’s playoff hopes in blowout win

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Last week, Ohio State played with fire but escaped unscathed.  This week, they got burned — and essentially torched their playoff hopes in one fell swoop.

In the thrilling 39-38 win over No. 2 Penn State last weekend, OSU rallied back from deficits of 28-17 at halftime and 35-20 at the end of the third quarter.  There would be no magic this weekend, however, as Iowa took a 31-17 halftime lead, then stepped on the Buckeyes’ throats in the third quarter and never let up en route to a dominating 55-24 win over what was the sixth-ranked team in the country in the first College Football Playoff poll.

The visiting Buckeyes actually tied the game at 17-all early in the second quarter before the Hawkeyes ripped off 31 straight points in a run that extended through early in the fourth to essentially seal the stunning upset.

The usual stout OSU defense simply had no answer for Nathan Stanley, who tied a career-high with five touchdown passes in the game.  Nearly as important was the running of Akrum Wadley, who churned out a tough 115 yards on the ground, and an Iowa defense that limited the high-flying Buckeyes — they were second in the country at 571.3 per game — to 371 yards of offense.  Add in the interception trifecta from Josh Jackson, and it was an all-around dominating performance for the 6-3 Hawkeyes.

The visitors didn’t exactly do themselves any favors as, in addition to turnovers, the Buckeyes were once again hurt by penalties — nine on the night for 95 yards.  OSU came into the game an undisciplined team, ranking 107th in the country in penalties committed and 117th in penalty yards.

The first four possessions of the second half perfectly encapsulated the Hawkeyes’ defensive dominance as the Buckeyes went three and out on the first three, then coughed it up on a J.T. Barrett interception on the fourth.  It served as Barrett’s third pick of the game, which led to 17 of IU’s points; the fifth-year senior added a career-high fourth in the fourth quarter.  Barrett had come into this game with just one interception in 246 pass attempts this season and seemingly put himself squarely in the Heisman Trophy conversation.

And, just as quickly as he’s out of that conversation, so the same can be said for OSU and the playoffs.

At sixth in the initial CFP rankings, the Buckeyes held their postseason destiny in their own hands.  Win out the remainder of the regular season, claim the Big Ten championship, and earn a third trip to a playoff semifinal in four years.  Instead, the best OSU can hope for, barring an epic collapse from myriad teams, is an at-large berth in a New Year’s Six bowl game as no two-loss team has ever qualified for the playoffs.

Oregon State adds second Power Five transfer WR, this one from Florida State

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A personnel loss for Florida State will apparently be a gain for the Oregon State football program.

Last month, Tre'Shaun Harrison placed his name into the NCAA transfer database. This past week, it was reported that Harrison has been added to the OSU student directory.

According to Oregon Live, “Harrison and his mom took a visit to Corvallis from January 3-5 and the trip left him encouraged about a future with the Beavers.”

As of yet, the Oregon State football program has not addressed any roster development involving Harrison. Barring the unexpected, the receiver will have to sit out the 2020 season. That would then leave him with two years of eligibility starting in 2021.

A four-star 2018 signee, Harrison was rated as the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Washington. Harrison was originally committed to Oregon before flipping and following Willie Taggart to FSU.

In 2019, Harrison caught 27 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns.  He was third on the Seminoles in both catches and yards.

Harrison is the second Power Five wide receiver transfer added by the Oregon State football program this month. After opting to leave Washington, Trey Lowe ultimately moved on and transferred to OSU. Like Harrison, Lowe will have to sit out the upcoming season.

After announcing move to Baylor, Temple transfer TE Kenny Yeboah flips to Ole Miss

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A couple of weeks ahead of National Signing Day for high schoolers, the Ole Miss football program is the beneficiary of a different type of flip.

In late December, Kenny Yeboah announced on Twitter that he would be transferring from Temple to Baylor. Three weeks after that, however, Matt Rhule took the head job with the Carolina Panthers, and was quickly replaced by LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda late last week.

Coincidentally or not, Yeboah utilized the same social media website a day after Aranda was confirmed as Rhule’s replacement to announce that he has decommitted from Baylor and instead plans to sign with the Ole Miss football team. The tight end would be coming to the Rebels as a graduate transfer.

“With ALOT… of thought and prayer.  And talking it over with my parents, thinking deeply about my decision,” Yeboah wrote in his post. “We have concluded that I should decommit from Baylor [U]niversity. …

“After much thought and prayer. I have decided to earn my [master’s] in Health Promotions at Ole Miss University to play for Coach Lane Kiffin and his great staff.  I know this is a great opportunity for me. …

“I can’t wait to begin my new journey and grind with my teammates.”

For what it’s worth, Ole Miss hasn’t yet officially announced Yeboah’s addition to the roster.

A two-star 2016 signee, the 6-5, 240-pound Yeboah took a redshirt as a true freshman with the Owls. His head coach that season? Matt Rhule.

The past three years, Yeboah caught 47 passes for 538 yards and six touchdowns. In 2019, he set career-highs in receptions (19), receiving yards (233) and receiving touchdowns (five).

With two in a mid-November win over Tulane, the Allentown, Penn., product became the first tight end in school history with a multi-touchdown game.

Alabama transfer Scott Lashley headed to Mississippi State

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If you had the Alabama Crimson Tide football team in the “Next FBS School Featured in a Portal Post” lottery, collect your winnings. And if you had him staying in the SEC West as well?  Play the lottery.

An Alabama Crimson Tide football official confirmed this weekend that Scott Lashley was officially listed in the NCAA transfer database. Subsequent to that, it was reported that Lashley had already decided to transfer to Mississippi State.

According to 247Sports.com, Lashley is expected to begin classes at MSU this coming week.

Lashley graduated from Alabama last month. That will give the 6-7, 307-pound offensive tackle immediate eligibility at Mississippi State.  The upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.

A four-star 2016 signee, Lashley was rated as the No. 20 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 8 player regardless of position in the state of Mississippi. The past three seasons, Lashley appeared in a total of 19 games.

Eight of those appearances for Lashley came at right tackle in 2019. Earlier this month, the Tide’s starting right tackle, Jedrick Wills Jr., announced he was leaving early for the NFL.  It had been expected that Lashley would compete for the starting job vacated by Wills.

Lashley is the second Tide player this month to enter the portal and then quickly move on to another school. Two weeks ago, Jerome Ford signaled his intention to leave Tuscaloosa by entering the database. Last week, the running back moved on to the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Virginia Tech joins Ball State in losing WR Damon Hazelton to transfer

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When it comes to Damon Hazelton, the Virginia Tech football team has some transfer company.

Back in May of 2017, the Virginia Tech football team announced that Ball State transfer wide receiver Damon Hazelton had been officially added to the roster. Three years and two on-field seasons later, however, Hazelton took to Twitter to announce that he will be transferring from the Hokies as well.

“Want to say thank you to Virginia Tech, coaches and community for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this University athletically and earn my degree,” the receiver wrote. “It has been an unbelievable time here. To all my brothers and teammates, I love each and every one of you and know this year will be nothing short of amazing.”

As he indicated in his post, Hazelton will be leaving as a graduate transfer.

After sitting out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Hazelton led the Hokies in catches (51), yards (802) and touchdowns (eight) in 2018. This past season, he again led the Hokies in receiving touchdowns (eight), while he was second in yards (527) and tied for second in receptions (31).

Including his time at Ball State, Hazelton has totaled 1,834 yards and 20 touchdowns on 133 catches. The 2020 season will be his final year of eligibility.