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No. 8 UCF again charges past Memphis to secure 25th straight win, 2nd straight AAC crown


While Playoff chaos breaks out elsewhere, No. 8 UCF proved yet again it belongs in the conversation, with or without quarterback McKenzie Milton. The Knights rallied from a 17-point halftime deficit, scoring five touchdowns in five second half possessions to blow past Memphis for a 56-41 win, securing their second straight American championship and extending their FBS-best winning streak to 25 games.

The game was eerily reminiscent of the teams’ Oct. 13 meeting in Memphis, where UCF (12-0) overcame a 30-14 second half deficit to win 31-30.

Memphis charged to a 38-21 halftime lead this time, racking up 336 first half rushing yards (the most by any team in a half this season), including 208 by Darrell Henderson, but the Knights played a perfect second half to keep their second straight perfect season alive, scoring touchdowns on all five second half possessions.

Making his first start, Darriel Mack, Jr. overcame three first half fumbles (two lost), to account for 407 yards and six touchdowns, including four on the ground.

A 54-yard strike from Mack to Anderson — who fumbled a punt away just before halftime, turning a possible 31-28 UCF deficit into a 38-21 Memphis lead just before halftime — pulled the deficit to 38-28 then, after a Memphis three-and-out, Mack pulled the Knights within three on a 4-yard keeper.

Memphis (8-5) answered by charging to a 1st-and-goal from the 10 but, after two runs pushed the ball to the UCF 2, Mike Norvell elected to throw on 3rd-and-goal, and Brady White‘s pass was incomplete. Norvell elected to kick a 19-yard field goal, extending the Memphis lead to 41-35 with 2:13 to play in the third quarter.

The lead wouldn’t last, as McCrae busted free for a 50-yard run, setting up Mack’s 2-yard keeper, handing UCF a 42-41 lead with 14:28 left in the game.

Facing their first deficit, Memphis again pushed into UCF territory but could not find the end zone, and Riley Patterson‘s 46-yard field goal was no good.

With a chance to take complete control of the game, UCF showed the championship mettle it has in its last 25 games — including all four wins over Memphis — and rolled 71 yards in eight plays, mostly on the ground, and Mack’s third rushing touchdown gave UCF a 49-41 edge with 6:37 to go.

Needing a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to stop the bleeding, Memphis instead went three-and-out. The Tigers called two passes in the series: White’s first down pass was incomplete, and his third down heave never happened because he was enveloped for a 7-yard sack.

UCF put the finishing blow into Memphis by rolling 82 yards in eight plays and scoring on a 5-yard Mack rush. After the 54-yard strike to Anderson to open the half, Mack closed out all of UCF’s drives with runs of four, two, two and five yards.

In five second half possessions, UCF scored five touchdowns, in the process gaining 353 yards on 39 plays.

Memphis’ last-gasp drive ended in a White interception in the UCF end zone with 33 seconds to play. After running for 336 first half yards, Memphis rushed for just 65 yards in the second half. Henderson rushed 16 times for 210 yards and three touchdowns, though just six of those yards came after halftime. White finished the game 17-of-29 for 178 yards with an interception.

While UCF likely will not have enough juice to jump forward four spots, the win will be enough to send the Knights to their second straight New Year’s Six bowl, most likely the Fiesta Bowl against LSU or Florida.

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.