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After holding off Kansas, Texas is back in the Big 12 championship game for first time since 2009*

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For the first time in nearly a decade, the Lonestar State’s flagship football program will play for a conference championship.

Needing a win over lowly Kansas to secure one of the two spots in next weekend’s Big 12 championship game, Texas did just that as they will leave Lawrence and head coach to Austin with a 24-17 win.  The Longhorns held a scant 7-0 lead coming out of the halftime locker room, but a pair of third-quarter Sam Ehlinger touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) gave UT what seemed at the time to be an insurmountable edge over the offensively-challenged Jayhawks.

Ehlinger, who was somewhat questionable throughout the week after aggravating an injury to his right (throwing) shoulder, accounted for a total of three touchdowns, including two through the air. The sophomore also tossed his first two interceptions since throwing a pair in the season-opening loss to Maryland, a streak of more than 300 pass attempts without a pick.

The second interception came early in the fourth quarter, giving KU both hope and the ball at UT’s 22-yard line trailing 21-7.  That particular hope proved fleeting, however, as the Jayhawks returned the pick favor and handed the ball right back to the Longhorns.  Thanks in part to its first penalty of the game, UT managed to turn that turnover into what was essentially a game-icing field goal with under 11 minutes to play.

The key word there was “essentially” as, trailing 24-7, KU made it interesting as Peyton Bender connected with Daylon Chariot on a 31-yard touchdown pass that sliced the lead to 10 with just over three minutes to go; a successful onside kick moments later gave the ball right back to the Jayhawks with 3:21 left.  A field goal at the end of that drive brought the Jayhawks to within one score at 24-17 with 1:37 remaining.

That would be as close as the Jayhawks, out of timeouts, would get as the Longhorns recovered the second onside kick to, finally, end the game.

With the win, Texas moves on to the Big 12 championship game next Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.  There, they will face the winner of tonight’s Oklahoma-West Virginia game.

The appearance will mark the Longhorns’ first in the conference title game since the 2009 season.  Granted, the game was on hiatus from 2011-16 so that comes with the headlines asterisk, but still.

UT will be looking for its first conference crown since that 2009 season and 33rd in the program’s storied history. Three of the previous 32 conference championships have come as members of the Big 12 (1995, 2005, 2009), while 27 came during their time in the Southwest Conference.  The other two came when they were a part of the Texas Intercollegiate Athletic Association way back in 1913 and 1914.

For Kansas, the regular-season finale marked the end of the David Beaty era in Lawrence.  In four full seasons with the Jayhawks, Beaty posted a 6-42 overall record — exactly half of those wins came in 2018 — and a hard-to-comprehend 2-34 mark in Big 12 play.

Beaty was fired earlier this month, officially replaced by Les Miles this past weekend.

Mother’s death forces Purdue RB Evan Anderson to leave team

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Purdue running back Evan Anderson has left the team, head coach Jeff Brohm told Gold and Black.

A member of Purdue’s 2018 signing class, Anderson redshirted last season, then had a proverbial bomb go off in his life that took precedence over football and school.

“His mother passed away,” said Brohm told the site. “That set him back, that hurt him. It hurt all of us. It was a bad situation. We felt for him. He missed a lot of school, he missed a lot of practice. I don’t want to put words into his mouth, but his family situation was important to him. It was a rough, rough semester on him–and understandably so.”

A 3-star recruit, Anderson is a native of Suwanee, Ga. Should he desire to continue his college football career, he figures to be a shoe-in for an NCAA hardship waiver if he transfers closer to home.

In less important matters, Anderson’s departure leaves a hole on Purdue’s running back depth chart. The Boilermakers’ top two running backs were seniors, and their third-leading rusher was wide receiver Rondale Moore. The Boilers’ leading returning rusher is sophomore Alexander Horvath, who carried all of nine times in 2018. Six runners, including two incoming freshmen, will fight for carries in fall camp, but Anderson will not be one of them.

Brock Huard leaving ESPN for Fox

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After 12 years at ESPN, Brock Huard is leaving to become the No. 2 college football analyst for Fox.

The news was first reported by the New York Post, then confirmed by Huard himself on his radio show in Seattle.

“I’m leaving there and getting an opportunity, a huge opportunity, and as big of a bummer as it is leaving ESPN, it’s as huge of a gift and an opportunity to join Fox on their college football broadcasts and join Joe Davis, who I worked with way back when on one of his first games when he filled in for Mark Jones,” Huard said, via Awful Announcing. “And I knew then this dude is talented, really good, they’ve got an incredible crew.”

Huard (right) will replace Brady Quinn, who join’s Fox’s revamped pre-game show, which now features Reggie Bush and Urban Meyer alongside Rob Stone and Matt Leinart, in addition to Quinn.

The former Washington quarterback worked alongside play-by-play man Bob Wischusen and sideline reporter Allison Williams on ESPN’s No. 5 crew. Florida’s win over Michigan in the Peach Bowl will now mark Huard’s final game at ESPN.

Fox revealed at its upfront presentation to advertisers that it will put its top games in the noon ET window, a clear attempt to build off its beefed-up pre-game show and to avoid fierce competition with CBS’s SEC package at 3:30 ET and ABC’s Saturday Night Football at 6:30 ET. This means Fox’s No. 1 crew of Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt will spend most, if not all, of their time in Big Ten and Big 12 country, so it stands to reason Huard will spend much of his fall on his native West Coast doing Pac-12 games later in the day.

Auburn adds graduate transfer WR from FCS ranks

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Auburn has bolstered its 2019 class with an intriguing prospect. The nature of college sports doesn’t typically allow players to earn the title of journeyman, but if one did it would be the newest Tiger, Zach Farrar.

A product of powerhouse Southlake Carroll High School in Texas, Farrar signed with Oklahoma as part of the Sooners’ class of 2016. He lasted one season in Norman, a redshirt year, then spent the 2017 campaign at Gulf Coast Community College in Mississippi, where he snagged 11 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns on the season. That led him to Youngstown State, where as a redshirt sophomore he caught 20 balls for 303 yards and one touchdown. Farrar showed out against the best competition he faced, hauling in six balls for 135 yards in a 52-17 loss to West Virginia last season.

Now he’s on the move again, to his fourth college in as many years. This time, Farrar thinks he’ll stick around.

“I really like how the coaches drew everything up for me,” Farrar told Auburn Sports. “They showed me where I would fit in and how they have an immediate need at that position.”

Listed at 6-foot-4 and 205 pounds, Farrar figures to work in the mix immediately at outside receiver. He’ll work to replace the 35 catches Darius Slayton left behind when he declared for the NFL draft.

Farrar will have two seasons to play immediately for the Tigers.

Attorney: Dozens of former Buckeye football players among ex-Ohio State team physician’s victims

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An attorney preparing a lawsuit against Ohio State says that most of his 50 clients victimized by former Buckeye team Dr. Richard Strauss were former Buckeye football players.

Dayton-based attorney Michael Wright told the Associated Press some of his clients, all of whom remain anonymous at this time, went on to play in the NFL. “Clearly they had good relationships with the university, and they believe the university will either retaliate or significantly distance themselves from these athletes,” Wright said.

Strauss’ abuse of Ohio State athletes has been in the news lately, but his actions have been primarily focused on the Buckeyes’ wrestling program. Former wrestler Mike DiSabato met with Ohio State in March 2018 to discuss the abuse he says he and other athletes suffered at Strauss’ hands, prompting the school to hire the Seattle-based Perkins Coie law firm. That firm released a 232-page report on Friday that found Strauss abused at least 177 male students; the report made one specific reference to football, and said three former football players were interviewed.

“We find that University personnel had knowledge of Strauss’ sexually abusive treatment of male student-patients as early as 1979, but the complaints about Strauss’ conduct were not elevated beyond the Athletics Department of Student Health until 1996,” the report stated.

Strauss worked for Ohio State from 1979 through 1998. He committed suicide in 2005.

“Although a weight has been lifted off my back, I am deeply saddened to hear and relive the stories of so many others who suffered similar abuse by Dr. Strauss while Ohio State turned a blind eye,” DiSabato’s said in a statement.

Part of the reason the public discourse has centered on Ohio State’s wrestling program is because Jim Jordan, a U.S. Representative from Ohio’s fourth district, served as an assistant coach for the Buckeyes’ wrestling team from 1987 through ’95. Jordan maintains he knew nothing of Strauss’ actions.

But Wright’s lawsuit could broaden the scope and discussion of Strauss’ abuse and Ohio State’s knowledge therein, particularly if any of the victims come forward. Wright told the AP he plans to file his lawsuit late next week.