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Red River Revenge: No. 5 OU moves to CFP doorstep with Big 12 title win over No. 14 Texas

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In their 59-56 win over West Virginia last week, the Oklahoma defense gave up yards in chunks (700 of them, in fact), but made plays when they needed to be made, registering two defensive touchdowns to put the Sooners in Saturday’s Big 12 Championship.

Again on Saturday, Oklahoma got a defensive score when they needed one. This one wasn’t a touchdown but did the trick just the same, as Tre Brown sacked Sam Ehlinger in the end zone midway through the fourth quarter, turning what could have been a 34-30 Texas lead into a 32-27 OU lead and putting Kyler Murray and company back on the field.

Given a chance to salt the game, the Big 12 championship, a College Football Playoff berth and perhaps the Heisman Trophy away, Murray came through with a touchdown pass at the 2-minute mark to hand the Sooners a 39-27 win.

Murray once again dazzled, completing 25-of-34 passes for 379 yards and three touchdowns while adding another 39 rushing yards, making up for the 2-turnover performance that allowed Texas to earn a 48-45 win in October.

With the SEC and Big Ten championship games looming, Oklahoma (12-1) can now argue it has beaten every team it’s played on their march to their fourth straight Big 12 title and perhaps their third Playoff trip over that span.

But before Oklahoma could make its Playoff argument, the Sooners first had to emerge with another hard-fought win.

Texas opened the game by rolling 75 yards in nine plays — going 3-of-3 on third down for 64 yards, including Ehlinger’s 16-yard touchdown run. The Longhorns appeared to have OU stopped on its first possession when Caden Sterns snared a deflected interception in the end zone, but the play was erased by Kris Boyd‘s facemask penalty on Marquise Brown, his second such foul of the drive. Still, Texas kept Oklahoma out of the end zone when Gary Johnson stuffed Trey Sermon on a 3rd-and-goal run from the 1 for a loss of two yards.

After forcing a Longhorns punt, Oklahoma again marched — methodically, needing 13 plays over more than five minutes — into the Texas red zone but the defense again held when Boyd knocked the ball away from Brown’s grasp in the end zone on third down, forcing Austin Seibert‘s second short field goal.

Given a second chance to punish an OU field goal, this time Texas capitalized. Keyed by a 23-yard completion to Collin Johnson on 4th-and-4, the ‘Horns again moved 75 yards in nine snaps, and again scored on an Ehlinger keeper, giving Texas a 14-6 lead at the 11:22 mark of the second quarter.

On its third possession of the game, Oklahoma was again held out of the end zone. Murray appeared to hit Brown for a 45-yard gain over the middle on 2nd-and-9, but review showed Texas cornerback Davante Davis jostled the ball loose before Brown could secure the catch. On third down, Davis nailed Brown on a screen pass short of the line to gain, forcing an Oklahoma punt, but the OU defense answered by forcing its second punt.

Thanks to two penalties, Oklahoma had its worst field position of the day, beginning its next drive at its own 13, but for the first time the Sooners’ offense looked like the typical OU offense, knifing the required 87 yards in six plays, two of them to CeeDee Lamb — a 46-yard gain on the first play of the drive, then a 28-yard score to pull OU within 14-13 with 5:01 left before halftime. Another key play on the drive was a missed false start on right tackle Cody Ford on a 4th-and-1 from the Texas 32, which ended in a 4-yard Sermon rush.

After another Texas punt, Oklahoma rolled 80 yards in five plays and just 41 seconds, taking its first lead on a 6-yard toss from Murray to Grant Calcaterra with 18 seconds left in the first half.

Oklahoma received the ball to open the second half and picked up where it left off, moving 75 yards in eight plays to turn a 14-6 deficit into a 27-14 lead. Needing a score to stay in the game, Texas leaned on Collin Johnson, who caught passes for 25, 21 and, finally a 27-yard touchdown to end the OU run. Johnson set a Big 12 Championship record with 177 receiving yards on eight catches.

The Texas defense, which seemed lifeless in allowing three straight touchdown drives covering 242 yards in 19 plays, rallied by sacking Murray, stuffing Sermon behind the line and then forcing a Murray throw away to avoid another sack, giving the Longhorns’ offense the ball back with a chance to re-take the lead. Over an 11-play, 64-yard drive, Texas got the touchdown it needed, a 3rd-and-goal 5-yard strike to Lil'Jordan Humphrey, but the Longhorns did not take the lead because Cameron Dicker‘s PAT was blocked, leaving the score tied at 27-27 with 2:44 left in the third quarter.

Oklahoma moved into the Texas red zone to open the fourth quarter, but again the Longhorns stiffened, forcing a 31-yard Seibert field goal that bounced off the left up right and in.

On the ensuing drive, Texas converted a 3rd-and-10 when Parnell Motley interfered with Johnson but, on a 3rd-and-9, the Sooners got a stop when Tre Norwood got away with a clear pass interference on Humphrey.

Looking for a touchdown to put the game away, Oklahoma appeared in position to have it when Lamb broke free of Davis down the sideline, but Gary Johnson raced down the field to force the ball free from behind, and Jones hopped on the loose ball at the Texas 13.

Now needing to make a play of its own, the Oklahoma defense got one when Norwood screamed in touched to nail Ehlinger for a safety, stretching the OU lead to 32-27 and putting the Sooner offense back on the field with 8:27 remaining.

Given a chance to clinch the game, the best offense in college football came through with a perfect drive. On two separate third downs, Murray found high school teammate Lee Morris — playing on the same field the pair won three high school state championships — then hit Calcaterra on a 3rd-and-10 for an 18-yard touchdown drive, capping a 11-play, 65-yard drive that put the Sooners up 39-27 with exactly two minutes remaining.

Humphrey returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, but the play was called back for a penalty; it was the ‘Horns 13th flag, totaling 128 yards. Ehlinger moved Texas to the red zone, but the last-gasp drive ended when Norwood picked him off at the OU 5. Battling a bum shoulder, the sophomore completed 23-of-36 passes for 349 yards with two touchdowns and an interception while rushing a team-high 15 times for 42 yards and two scores.

Former Bowling Green head coach among two new USC hires

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The remaking of Clay Helton‘s USC staff continues.

The Trojans on Tuesday announced the hiring of two new assistants coaches, one each side of the ball.

Chad Kauha’aha’a has been hired away from Boise State as defensive line coach, and Mike Jinks has been announced as running backs coach.

Kauha’aha’a has coached in college football since 2005, almost exclusively as a defensive line coach. His previous stops include Weber State, Utah State, Utah, Wisconsin and Oregon State. He worked just one season at Boise, where his Broncos front ranked 10th nationally with 3.0 sacks per game and 23rd nationally in rushing at 122.9 yards per game allowed.

Jinks was most recently the head coach at Bowling Green, but prior to that served on Kliff Kingsbury‘s Texas Tech staff as running backs coach, which he did from 2013-14.

Prior to that, Jinks spent a decade and a half as a high school football coach in Texas, the last seven as the head coach at Cibolo Steele High School in the San Antonio area.

Ohio cop on Courtney Smith allegations against ex-Ohio State WR coach: ‘She’s petrified and I really believe her’

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Zach Smith no longer works for Ohio State and Urban Meyer is on his way out, but the controversy that consumed the two men — and, thus, the university that employed them — isn’t over.

The Columbus Dispatch on Monday got its hands on thousands of pages of documents relating to Courtney Smith‘s allegations against her ex-husband. At the core of the Dispatch‘s Tuesday report was video of an interview Smith conducted on Oct. 26, 2015, with Powell (Ohio) police officer Ben Boruchowitz, in which Smith describes how Zach Smith had shoved her the night before, and how the previous night’s incident was but another episode of domestic violence she had experienced.

In the video, recorded on body-cam footage and released to the paper after a months-long public-records complaint, Smith described how Zach had previously cut her hand on a tobacco can during an argument, how he had picked her up by her throat during an argument on a Dominican Republic vacation and how he had thrown her across the room while she was pregnant during the time they lived in Florida — all allegations that have since become public knowledge but were not so at the time.

Smith also described to the police officer how she had confronted Zach about an alleged affair and how he responded, “I’ll (expletive) kill you, I’ll destroy you.”

The video shows Boruchowitz going back and forth from the interview room to a phone, where he spoke with prosecutors. From the Dispatch:

In one of those phone conversations, Boruchowitz expressed his concern to a prosecutor for Courtney Smith’s safety due to Zach Smith’s alleged threats to kill her.

“She’s petrified, and I really believe her,” he said. ”… Based on the degree of violence that he’s done against her, you and I both know when there’s strangling and choking and those kinds of violence, (they) are pretty good indicators that there’s a high chance he may actually follow through with it.”

The interview ended with Boruchowitz stating he could charge Zach Smith with disorderly conduct, which she declined. Still, the Powell Police Department recommended charging Zach Smith with felonious assault and domestic violence, but the Delaware County (Ohio) prosecutor’s office declined to present the findings to a grand jury.

“We didn’t present it because after going through everything we went through, we didn’t find any felony charges that we thought we could prove,” Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien told the paper.

Smith remained employed at Ohio State through the 2015 season and the next two before he was fired days before training camp for the 2018 season began.

Ole Miss OC among Mack Brown’s new offensive hires

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Yet again, Mack Brown continues to outperform expectations among his staff hires.

After swiping Army’s Jay Bateman to run his defense, the new North Carolina head coach has hired Ole Miss offensive coordinator Phil Longo to run his offense. Assisting Longo on the offensive staff will be new wide receivers coach Lonnie Galloway and offensive line coach Brandon Jones.

“Phil Longo, Lonnie Galloway and Brandon Jones are three outstanding coaches, recruiters, teachers and mentors of young men,” Brown said in a statement. “Phil has been one of the most successful play callers in college football for many years and at every level. Lonnie and Brandon have tremendous ties to the state of North Carolina and will continue to build on their strong relationships with the great high school coaches in this state. I am so excited at how our coaching staff is taking shape and look forward to announcing the final pieces very soon.”

Longo has spent the past two seasons running the Rebels’ offense, where his 2018 unit ranked among the top 10 nationally at 510.5 yards per game. Longo’s hiring indicates Brown intends to bring the Air Raid to Chapel Hill.

Longo’s departure means Ole Miss head coach Matt Luke will have to replace both coordinators after his first season as the Rebels’ full-time head coach. Defensive coordinator Wes McGriff has already been replaced by former Colorado head coach Mike MacIntyre.

Galloway has spent the past four seasons coaching wide receivers at Louisville but has plenty of experience in the Land of Flight. He played quarterback at Western Carolina and deposited coaching stints at Elon, East Carolina, Appalachian State and Wake Forest.

Jones spent the past two seasons as the offensive line coach at Texas Tech, his alma mater, and previously coached offensive lines at Cal and East Carolina.

Boston College extends Steve Addazio through 2022

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Throughout the past month, it seemed up in the air whether Boston College would fire head coach Steve Addazio or extend him. Now, two and a half weeks after Boston College concluded its regular season, we have our answer.

BC AD Martin Jarmond on Tuesday announced the school has extended Addazio by two seasons, keeping him under contract through 2022. In a letter written to BC supporters and released to the media, Jarmond wrote:

After every season we evaluate all aspects of our programs to make sure they are aligned with the core mission and principles of the Boston College athletics department.

While all of us wish our regular season in football had ended with more victories, we took important steps in the right direction this year: returning to the national rankings for the first time since 2008, capturing the nation’s attention with ESPN’s College GameDay on-campus, being in the running for the conference championship in November and playing in another post-season bowl.

In addition, our football student-athletes remain great ambassadors for our University and also continue to achieve tremendous success in the classroom, graduate at one of the highest rates in the country, and become successful leaders.

To continue building on our football program’s progress and promise, we are extending Coach Steve Addazio’s contract for two additional years through the 2022 season. Steve and I are committed to taking the next steps to enhance competitive excellence in Boston College football.

With Addazio under contract only through 2020, Boston College was in a rare position where the school really did have to either fire him or extend him. With another two years on his contract, Addazio can now credibly tell BC’s 2019 recruits that he is under contract through the length of their 4-year eligibility…. but not one season longer.

As far as endorsements from your AD go, this one is about as lukewarm as they get.

Boston College heads into the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl (Dec. 26 in Dallas) at 7-5 on the season. The Eagles started 7-2 and rose as high as No. 17 in the AP poll but lost their final three games: 27-7 to No. 2 Clemson, 22-21 at Florida State and 42-21 to No. 19 Syracuse in Chestnut Hill.

Addazio is an even 38-38 in six seasons at Boston College; his teams have never won more than seven games, and never gone better than 4-4 in ACC play (they’re 18-30 overall in conference).

So, while 2018 was not exactly a make-or-break year for Addazio at Boston College, 2019 definitely will be.