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Four years after its program was shuttered, UAB to play in Conference USA championship game


One of the best stories of the 2018 college football season keeps getting better.

In December of 2014, UAB announced that it would be disbanding its football program.  Six months later, the university announced that the shuttered program would return to the playing field at some point; a month after that, it was announced that some point would be in 2017.

That season, the Blazers qualified for a bowl their first year back.  This season, they did the postseason one better as, on the strength of a 26-23 win over Southern Miss in overtime Saturday night, UAB laid claim to the Conference USA West title and a spot in the league championship game Dec. 1.

Not only that, but, if UAB (7-0) beats Middle Tennessee State (6-1) in the regular-season finale, they will play host to the Conference USA title game that first day of December.

Regardless of where the game is played, the opponent will be either MTSU or Florida International (5-1).  FIU holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over MTSU and has a pair of conference games remaining — at Charlotte, vs. Marshall.  Both UAB and MTSU have one league game remaining.

The division-clinching matchup for UAB was personified by a trio of runs, with Southern Miss jumping out to a 13-0 lead… only to see UAB score 20 straight to grab a 20-13 lead… only to see the Golden Eagles score 10 in a row, including a field goal in overtime, to take a three-point lead.  The Blazers’ first, and ultimately only drive of overtime ended with Spencer Brown‘s 17-yard touchdown run to give UAB its 26-23 win.

The Blazers have nine wins overall in 2018, breaking the school’s single-season record of eight set last season.  In three seasons (2014, 2017-18) under Bill Clark, the Blazers have won 23 games; in the seven years (2007-13) prior to his arrival, the program won a combined 23 games.

LB Jaden Hunter was second Georgia player arrested in March

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A member of the Georgia football program was arrested Wednesday night. Linebacker Jaden Hunter was arrested and charged with driving with a suspended or revoked license. He was also charged with stopping, standing, or parking in a prohibited area.

Hunter spent just two hours in jail after being released on bond late Wednesday night.

The charges are misdemeanors and his status with the Bulldogs has not been confirmed with regard to any possible suspensions or other forms of discipline by head coach Kirby Smart. Given the nature of the charges, it would seem this would be far from calling for removal from the program or any significant form of discipline unless there is more to the story behind the scenes.

Hunter did become the second Georgia football player to be arrested in the month of March. Earlier in the month, redshirt freshman Latavious Brini was arrested on one count of simple battery.

William & Mary football player killed in shooting incident

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The William & Mary football family is mourning the death of Nate Evans. Evans, 19, was the victim of a shooting Thursday night, according to a report from The Virginian-Pilot on Friday.

“Nate’s is a loss we are feeling deeply within our program,” William & Mary head coach Mike London said in a released statement. “Faith and family are the foundations of our program. We value relationships first.

“Our team has gathered together to support each other as we deal with the grief that comes from this tragedy. Additionally, we will do all we can to support and comfort Nate’s family and loved ones through this difficult time.”

Police in Norfolk responded to a call about gunshots late Thursday night. The running back was declared dead at the scene of the call. What led to the shooting remains unknown. No arrests have been made at this time as an investigation continues.

Ohio State receiver to transfer from Buckeyes, per reports

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Ohio State seems to be losing a wide receiver from the program. Multiple reports from around the Ohio State football program have suggested wide receiver L'Christian Smith will leave the program as a transfer at the end of the spring semester.

Smith was a four-star recruit in Ohio State’s Class of 2018. Smith redshirted the 2018 season and still has four years of eligibility remaining. Smith played in three games, allowing him to preserve a year of eligibility under the NCAA’s modified redshirt rules last season.

Of course, barring any potential waiver request, Smith will have to sit out the 2019 season due to NCAA transfer rules (that continue to be more flexible than ever before) if he transfers to another FBS program.

Ohio State should still be in pretty good shape as far as the wide receivers are concerned after the potential loss of Smith. And with Justin Fields eligible to play right away at the quarterback position, the Buckeyes should still have good firepower in the passing game working for them next fall.

Former USC kicker Matt Boermeester sues school over controversial expulsion

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USC is dealing with many negative stories on a number of fronts and now you can add one more to the Trojans’ docket.

As detailed by ESPN, former cardinal and gold kicker Matt Boermeester has filed a lawsuit against the university in district court over his controversial expulsion in 2017:

The lawsuit includes seven causes of action, including selective Title IX enforcement, breach of contract, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and represents the latest step in Boermeester’s ongoing legal battle with the school. In 2017, Boermeester, who remains two classes shy of graduation, sued for his expulsion to be overturned in superior court, but the attempt was unsuccessful.

“What happened to Matt Boermeester at USC should terrify anyone who believes in the right to due process and innocent-until-proven-guilty,” attorney Andrew T. Miltenberg said in a statement to the site. “Based on nothing more than a third-party report by a nonwitness — essentially a rumor that was easily and repeatedly disputed — a star athlete lost his education and his future career in the NFL.

Boermeester was kicked out of the school not long after he delivered one of the highlights of the Clay Helton era at USC with a game-winning kick to secure the Rose Bowl back in January of 2017. The issue started back when a member of the school’s tennis team reported an incident allegedly involving the kicker putting his hands on his girlfriend, which prompted a school investigation into the matter. That eventually led to Boermeester’s expulsion despite the woman in question (who is still with Boermeester, according to ESPN) denying what happened and blasting the school for their handling of the matter.

USC’s Title IX coordinator was also named to the suit, which comes after legal wrangling between the parties last year in Los Angeles Superior Court.