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Iowa State QB Zeb Noland to transfer

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Iowa State entered this season expecting Kyle Kempt to be its starting quarterback. A former walk-on, Kempt burst on the scene with a 343-yard, 3-touchdown performance in a shocking win over No. 3 Oklahoma, then piloted the Cyclones the rest of the way. Granted a sixth year of eligibility over the off-season, this was supposed to be Kempt’s team.

And then he got hurt.

Kempt went down with a knee injury during Iowa State’s season-opening loss to Iowa and, though it hasn’t been diagnosed as a long-term injury, he hasn’t played since.

The Cyclones turned to redshirt sophomore Zeb Noland at quarterback, and he turned in a Kempt-like first start, throwing for 360 yards and two touchdowns in a 37-27 loss to No. 7 Oklahoma. Noland started Iowa State’s next three games, two of them wins, but head coach Matt Campbell pulled Noland after one drive of the Oct. 6 Oklahoma State game, inserting freshman Brock Purdy.

The Gilbert, Ariz., native Purdy has played well enough that Kempt and Noland have not played again. He threw for 314 yards and four touchdowns on Oct. 6, leading the Cyclones to a 48-42 win. From there, Purdy threw for 250 yards and three touchdowns in a 30-14 thumping of No. 12 West Virginia and 250 yards and two scores in Saturday’s 40-31 win over Texas Tech.

With Iowa State now in the Big 12 title game hunt, the job is Purdy’s and Noland is out.

Campbell said Saturday that Noland will take a personal leave of absence from the team.

“I don’t know where that is right now,” he said at the time. “But he did nothing wrong. It was nothing in terms of anything else other than we’ll have maybe some definitive (answer) to that here maybe sometime next week.”

But now Campbell has announced Noland has elected to transfer.

“I want to thank Zeb for his time at Iowa State,” Campbell said. “He notified me of his decision to transfer in order to find more playing time. I respect Zeb’s decision and we will assist him in his process of finding another school.”

Noland has already been removed from Iowa State’s online roster.

A native of Watkinsville, Ga., Noland redshirted in 2016 while rehabbing a torn ACL, so he would have to sit 2019 and play in 2020 as a senior unless the former 3-star recruit earns his communications studies degree before transferring.

North Dakota State takes No. 1 seed in FCS Playoffs

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The playoff field is set for the FCS Playoffs. Defending national champion and No. 1 North Dakota State took the top seed overall but will face a challenging bracket if the Bison are to claim another national title this year.

As the top seed, North Dakota State will own home-field advantage in the Fargo Dome for as long as they are in the playoffs, with the exception of a possible national title game appearance, which will be played in Frisco, Texas on January 5. North Dakota State’s portion of the bracket includes No. 4 seed Kennesaw State (who was the No. 2 team in the FCS top 25) and last year’s national title runners-up from James Madison. The Dukes were not seeded in this year’s tournament with a record of 8-3, but they are always to be considered a dangerous opponent this time of year.

A handful of teams ended playoff droughts with this year’s bracket. East Tennessee State is making its first playoff appearance since 1996, ending the longest drought among this year’s playoff teams. Delaware and Southeast Missouri State are each back in the playoff for the first time since 2010. The field also includes three first-time playoff teams; Incarnate Word, Lamar, and UC Davis.

The FCS Playoffs begin next weekend.

Michigan’s Berkley Edwards tweets he has been released from hospital after nasty hit

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Michigan running back and special teams player Berkley Edwards was carted off the field on a stretcher in the fourth quarter at Michigan Stadium on Saturday in a scary scene that paused the game for roughly 10 minutes. The morning after the Wolverines beat Indiana, however, there is good news to report on Edwards. Edwards shared an update on his Twitter account to tell his followers and Michigan fans he has been released from the hospital and he is OK.

“Just got out the hospital,” Edwards said. “[E]verything is good!”

Edwards followed that up to say he did not see the Indiana player who hit him (Cam Jones, who was ejected for the hit) and his head is still hurting a bit.

It is unknown at this time what the status of Edwards will be for Michigan’s regular-season finale at Ohio State this week. The winner of the Michigan-Ohio State game will play in the Big Ten Championship Game as the East Division champion.

Reports say Texas State will not bring Everett Withers back in 2019

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Send another coach through the coaching carousel. Multiple reports on Sunday say Texas State will move on from Everett Withers after this season. Football Scoop and The Athletic each reported news of the coaching change for the program.

According to Football Scoop, as reported by College Football Talk contributor Zach Barnett, Withers will not coach for Texas State this week in the regular season finale against Arkansas State.

Withers was hired by Texas State prior to the 2016 season to replace Dennis Franchione. Texas State had back-to-back 2-10 seasons in his first two years on the job and the Bobcats are just 3-8 this season with one game remaining. This will be the fourth straight season Texas State has had no more than four wins (and it could be a fourth straight year with no more than three wins).

The former James Madison head coach will likely manage to find a job somewhere on a coaching staff, even if not as a head coach. Texas State is now looking for its third head coach since jumping up from the FCS to the FBS in 2012.

UCF moves up to No. 8 in AP Top 25, Army makes first appearance since 1996

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After arguably the biggest weekend in UCF football history, the Knights are now enjoying their highest ranking in the AP Top 25 of the season and second-highest ranking in program history. UCF moved up to No. 8 in this week’s AP Top 25 poll as they finally managed to jump ahead fo a couple of power conference programs that have been standing in the way the past few weeks.

Alabama claimed all 61 first-place votes from the AP voters this week. The top-ranked Crimson Tide are followed by Clemson, Notre Dame, Michigan, Georgia, and Oklahoma as there were no changes in the top six. No. 7 Washington State, UCF, and LSU all took advantage of No. 12 West Virginia falling five spots after a loss at Oklahoma State.

UCF moved into a tie with LSU for the No. 8 spot in the ranking this week, but the Knights have officially moved ahead of Ohio State. The Buckeyes slipped to No. 10, dropping one spot.

Army is also making some headlines in the AP Top 25 by appearing in the ranking for the first time since 1996. Army cracked the Ap Top 25 at No. 23 to be in the AP Top 25 for just the third time since 1985.

Here is this week’s AP Top 25:

1. Alabama (61)
2. Clemson
3. Notre Dame
4. Michigan
5. Georgia
6. Oklahoma
7. Washington State
8. (tie) UCF
8. (tie) LSU
10. Ohio State
11. Texas
12. West Virginia
13. Florida
14. Utah State
15. Penn State
16. Washington
17. Kentucky
18. Utah
19. Syracuse
20. Northwestern
21. Boise State
22. Mississippi State
23. Army
24. Pittsburgh
25. Iowa State