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No. 22 Texas A&M outlasts No. 7 LSU in record-tying 7 OTs

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No. 7 LSU thought it had No. 22 Texas A&M beat in regulation — twice. Instead, Kellen Mond found Quartney Davis for a 19-yard touchdown pass as time expired, extending what would become the longest and highest-scoring game in FBS history, as Mond’s 2-point pass to Kendrick Rogers gave Texas A&M a 74-72 win in seven overtimes.

It was the fifth game in FBS history to reach seven overtimes, and the third such SEC game. Mond passed or threw the ball on 69 plays for Texas A&M, posting seven total touchdowns and no turnovers. But before Texas A&M could win the game in the dawn of morning, the Aggies first had to give it away.

Leading 24-17 with the ball early in the fourth quarter, the Aggies appeared primed to beat the Tigers for the first time as SEC West bunk mates. Texas A&M had a 1st-and-10 at the LSU 40 and tossed it to Trayveon Williams, who’d already scored twice in the game. But Williams was wrapped up by LSU linebacker Devin White, who forced the ball free in the process of bringing Williams to the ground. Michael Divinity, Jr. picked up the loose pigskin and raced it 58 yards untouched for a game-tying touchdown.

Energized by the touchdown, LSU forced a three-and-out and then handed over to its offense. Completely dependent on Joe Burrow to that point, the Tigers’ offense knifed 76 yards in four plays, popping off a 46-yard Lanard Fournette run and two Nick Brosette runs of seven and nine yards, setting up a 14-yard scoring strike to Foster Moreau, handing LSU its first lead with 6:41 left in regulation.

The Aggies reached the LSU 37 on the ensuing possession, but Jimbo Fisher elected to go for a 4th-and-5 rather than try a 54-yard field goal with 2:32 remaining, but Mond was stopped short on a gotta-have-it scramble, turning the ball over on downs.

LSU could not expire the remainder of the clock, and punted the ball back to Texas A&M with 1:29 to go and no timeouts. Mond seemingly threw A&M’s last-gasp drive away with an interception to LSU’s Grant Delpit, but instant replay found Mond’s knee touched the ground when he kneeled down to corral an errant snap, handing the ball back to the Aggies at their own 39 with 26 seconds remaining. Completions to Davis and Rogers pushed the ball to the LSU 19 with one second left — including a 4th-and-18 conversion that appeared short of the line to gain to the naked eye but was not reviewed, and after the clock momentarily hit triple zeroes before a final second was added back — allowing Davis to sky over LSU All-American corner Greedy Willaims to snare the game-tying touchdown grab as time expired, pushing the game, one in which Ed Orgeron had already taken a Gatorade bath and the LSU defensive coaches had already bailed on the press box to join in on the victory celebration, into overtime.

LSU took the ball to open the extra session and lost seven yards on its offensive possession, but Cole Tracy bailed the offense out by a knocking in a 50-yard field goal. Texas A&M had no such problem in the bottom of the first overtime, pushing forward to a 1st-and-goal from the LSU 1. But two straight runs lost yardage and Mond’s third down pass was incomplete, forcing a 25-yard Seth Small field goal to force double overtime.

Williams rushed for 22 yards to open the second overtime, and Mond capitalized this time with a 3-yard keeper, forcing LSU to score a touchdown to extend the game — which LSU got, barely. On a 4th-and-2 from the Texas A&M 3, Brosette secured the first down and the touchdown, pushing the game to triple overtime.

Taking the ball to start the third frame, LSU did not flirt with disaster, instead hitting Dee Anderson for a touchdown on its first play, then connecting with Justin Jefferson on the mandated 2-point play. Texas A&M answered with its own 25-yard scoring heave, hauled in by Rogers despite pass interference, then hit Rogers for the 2-point try to push the game to a fourth overtime.

After achieving a 1st-and-goal in the top of the fourth overtime, Texas A&M again stalled near the goal line, forcing Small’s second field goal of overtime. Knowing a touchdown would win the game, LSU gained a 1st-and-goal on its first play but also stalled as three straight running plays could not reach the goal line, forcing Tracy’s second field goal of overtime, this one from 26 yards.

Texas A&M again pushed forward to a 1st-and-goal but again stalled. Facing a 4th-and-the-game from the LSU 6, Mond scrambled and again hit Rogers for the game-saving touchdown, but fired incomplete on the 2-point try, pushing the game to a sixth overtime at 58-all.

The Aggies wasted no time in the top of the sixth overtime, hitting Jace Sternberger for a 25-yard touchdown. Mond yet again found Rogers for the 2-point try. Burrow hit Jefferson for a 15-yard gain on 3rd-and-6 to put LSU at the 2, then carried in for his fifth touchdown of the night on his 65th rush or pass of the game, then found Anderson for the 2-point try to push the game to an FBS record-tying seventh overtime.

Burrow’s hot streak continued when his fade route drew a pass interference penalty on the first play of the seventh overtime, then rushed in untouched from seven yards out for his sixth touchdown of the game. Anderson caught a deflected 2-point pass but was hauled down short of the goal line.

Mond hit Davis for the tying touchdown, then found — who else? — Rogers for the winning 2-point conversion, concluding the longest and highest-scoring game in FBS history.

The win snapped Texas A&M’s seven-game losing streak to its would-be rivals to the east, including an 0-6 mark in SEC play, and concludes Fisher’s first season at 8-4 overall and in second place in the SEC West.

LSU, with hopes of moving to 10-2 and surpassing No. 5 Georgia to appear in the Sugar Bowl, now falls to 9-3 and will likely fall out of the New Year’s Six altogether.

The Tigers opened the fifth overtime with some creativity they did not show in the fourth, as running back Clyde Edwards-Elaire hit fullback Tory Carter for a 13-yard touchdown pass, but Burrow’s 2-point pass sailed wide of Jefferson.

After the teams combined for three three-and-outs to open the game, the Aggies opened the scoring by rumbling 95 yards in 10 plays, punctuated with a 10-yard Williams run run.

LSU immediately answered with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown drive capped by a 22-yard Burrow run, but Texas A&M immediately answered that answer with a 12-play, 75-yard touchdown march of its own, this one capped by a 10-yard scoring strike from Mond to Sternberger.

LSU ended the chain when Tracy missed a 49-yard field goal at the 5:30 mark of the second quarter.

Texas A&M closed the half with its third straight scoring drive, this one a 53-yard drive culminating in a 33-yard Small field goal. Tracy redeemed his 49-yard miss with a 47-yard make on the final play of the half.

After forcing a three-and-out to open the second half, LSU pieced together its best drive of the night, a 15-play, 90-yard marathon that consumed more than six minutes and ended in a 7-yard strike to Jefferson.

LSU forced another Texas A&M punt and was poised to take the ball in a tie game for the first time of the night, but Jonathan Giles muffed the punt and handed it right back to the Aggies at the LSU 29. Texas A&M capitalized with Williams’s second touchdown of the game, this one a 1-yard plunge.

 

Middle Tennessee State brings back ex-Blue Raiders RB Shane Tucker as grad assistant

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There will be a very familiar face in the Middle Tennessee State football building when the Conference USA school reconvenes.

Memorial Day, Middle Tennessee State announced that Shane Tucker has been added to the extended football staff.  Specifically, Tucker will serve as a graduate assistant for Rick Stockstill.  Tucker will work on the offensive side of the ball for the Blue Raiders.

From 2013-2017, Tucker was a running back at MTSU.  And a wide receiver as well.

In 39 appearances, Tucker started 17 of those games.  He started contests in 2013 (three), 2014 (two), 2015 (four) and 2017 (eight).  The Memphis native’s 2016 season ended before it started because of an offseason injury.

During his time in Murfreesboro, Tucker ran for 1,162 yards and 15 touchdowns on 271 carries.  He also caught 67 passed for 869 yards and another seven touchdowns.

In 2014, Tucker earned honorable mention All-Conference USA honors.  As a fifth-year senior in 2017, he was named a permanent captain.

Middle Tennessee State is coming off a 4-8 2019 football campaign.  That was the program’s worst record since going 2-10 in 2011.  MTSU also saw its school-record streak of bowl appearances end at four in a row.

One of the players Tucker Will Likely work with?  Martell Pettaway.  The West Virginia running back transferred to the Conference USA school in January.

Ex-Georgia State RB Gerald Howse, 28, found dead in his home

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Georgia State is mourning the loss of a member of its football family.

Sunday, Georgia State announced the passing of former Panther football player Gerald Howse.  Howse was just 28.

According to one report, Howse was found dead at his home in Cookeville, Tenn.  A cause of death has not yet been released.

From GSU’s release:

Howse, from Murfreesboro, Tenn., and Siegel High School, lettered at running back for the Panthers in 2013-14 after transferring from NE Oklahoma A&M.

After graduating with his degree in sociology, he entered the coaching profession, beginning with stints at Oklahoma Baptist (2015) and NE Oklahoma A&M (2016-19). He was honored as the NJCAA Top Assistant Coach in 2017.

In January of 2020, Howse was named as the running backs coach at Tennessee Tech of the FCS.  The football program’s head coach, Dewayne Alexander, released a statement addressing his assistant’s passing as well.

Gerald was a first-class young man. He was highly thought of by so many people. His coaches at Siegel High School – Greg Wyatt and David Watson – always brought him up whenever we had positions come open. He displayed a very positive attitude. He was a man of character who lived out faith, family and football. He was so close to his family – his mom, dad and sister – that it was one of the biggest reasons he came here to Tennessee Tech: coach in the area, be back in Middle Tennessee and be close to his family. He was an outstanding coach and a man every coach would want on his staff. Gerald made a huge impact on our players in the short time he was here. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends, as well as the Tennessee Tech football family. Anytime you lose a staff member, it affects a lot of people.

Pac-12 targets June 15 for return of players for voluntary in-person workouts

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The Pac-12 is the latest to contribute to the measured return of college football.

Last week, the NCAA announced that it would allow schools to bring its student-athletes back to campus for voluntary workouts starting June 1. Friday, the SEC announced that it will allow players to return starting June 8.  That same day, the Big 12 announced its target date is June 15.

Monday, the Pac-12 followed the Big 12’s lead, with that Power Five confirming a return date of June 15 for voluntary in-person athletic workouts. The league came to its decision to allow student-athletes to return to campus following a meeting of the Pac-12 CEO Group earlier in the day.

The conference also made sure to note in its release that the universities will “determine whether and how to open its sporting facilities in accordance with relevant county and state guidelines.”

“As educational institutions, our highest obligation is to the health and welfare of our students, faculty, and staff,” said Pac-12 CEO Group Chair and University of Colorado Boulder Chancellor Philip DiStefano in a statement. “As we considered the pros and cons of taking steps that can pave a path to returning to play, those considerations were foremost, guided by the advice of our own medical experts along with public health officials.”

“The Pac-12 is committed to the well-being of our student-athletes, and the decision to allow for voluntary workouts, subject to a determination by each school, is guided by the advice of our medical experts and will be supported by the detailed protocols established by our medical advisory committee in concert with our campus’ own safety guidelines,” said Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott. “As states have either already opened or begin to open up access to parks, gyms and other training facilities, student-athletes should have the option at this time to be in, what for many, will be a much safer environment on campus, where they can have access to the best available health, well-being and training support.”

The ACC and Big Ten are the only Power Fives to not announce a uniform plan for a return.  Both Ohio State and Illinois, though, will allow players to return June 8, for example.  Ditto for Clemson and Louisville as well.

Arizona’s leader in receiving yards underwent surgery on a fractured foot earlier this month

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A key piece of the passing game for Arizona football is recovering from a health issue.  Fortunately, it doesn’t appear it will impact his availability for the upcoming season.

Prior to Arizona shuttering spring football practice because of the coronavirus pandemic, Jamarye Joiner suffered a fractured left foot.  It was reported at the time that the wide receiver was “believed to have suffered a Jones fracture, which is a break between the base of the foot and the fifth metatarsal.”

According to The Athletic, Joiner underwent surgery to repair the damage May 12.  The procedure was delayed as elective surgeries were scuttled because of the pandemic.

The same website reported that the receiver will be sidelined for a period of 6-12 weeks.  Such a timeline would extend, at the long end, to early August.  Arizona is scheduled to open the 2020 football season Aug. 29 against Hawaii.

Joiner was a three-star member of the Arizona football Class of 2018.  The Tucson native was rated as the No. 6 prospect regardless of position in the state of Arizona.

Originally signing as a quarterback, Joiner completed three of his four pass attempts for 17 yards in two games a true freshman.  Playing in less than four games allowed Joiner to preserve a year of eligibility.

Prior to the start of summer camp, Joiner made the move from quarterback to wide receiver.  In his first season at the position, the redshirt freshman led the Wildcats in receiving yards with 552 and receiving touchdowns with five.  His 34 receptions were third on the team, while his 16.2 yards per catch was second among the nine players with at least 10 receptions.

Arizona head football coach Kevin Sumlin this month became one of a handful of coaches to take a pay cut.