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Army makes it three in a row over Navy in annual Army-Navy Game

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For the third-straight year, Army (10-2) got to sing second after the Army-Navy Game. Army notched its third consecutive victory over Navy (3-10) with a 17-10 victory in Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Saturday afternoon.

Army scored a touchdown on the opening possession with Kelvin Hopkins completed a big pass on an early third down and ending the drive with a 10-yard touchdown run with a 51-yard run by Kell Walker between those two plays. The defense took care of things from there as neither team managed to get much going on offense for the majority of the game, but Army’s defense had the stronger outing in holding Navy to just 77 yards of offense through the first three quarters of play. Navy also had four turnovers, including a costly fumble by senior Garrett Lewis deep in the Army end in the fourth quarter.

Lewis would make up for his fumble on Navy;’s next possession. After forcing Army to go three-and-out following the Navy turnover, Lewis capped a quick drive with a one-yard push for a touchdown. Malcolm Perry ignited the drive right from the start with a 43-yard run from the Army 48-yard line. Now with a spark of life, Navy’s defense forced Army to punt the ball away again on the ensuing possession after a three-and-out, giving Navy the ball at their own 34-yard line to start the drive. But a false start penalty on a 3rd & 7 backed Navy up five more yards and a third down pass was broken up on the sideline. Knowing that a punt may not give Navy a chance to get the ball back, Ken Niumatalolo wisely chose to go for it on 4th & 12, but Zach Abey had the ball knocked out of his hand by Kenneth Brinson, who recovered the loose ball on the ground at the Navy 22-yard line.

The running trio of Walker, Hopkins and Darnell Woolfolk powered Army for much of the game, doing enough damage to give Army a two-score lead and running clock, although Navy eventually started to lock in a bit better.

The win for Army gives the Black Knights the first back-to-back 10-win seasons in school history, and now Army has a chance to record the first 11-win season in school history with an upcoming bowl game. The job continuing to be done by Army head coach Jeff Monken remains one of the best in the nation. Monken took over an Army team that had won more than three games just twice since 2006 and was in the midst of an extended 14-game losing streak to Navy. It took a few years, but Monken now has Army situated in the better spot with a top 25 team and back-to-back 10-win seasons, but the three-game winning streak over Navy is what Army fans will get to brag about for the next 365 days.

Army now has its longest winning streak against Navy since winning five straight meetings between 1992 and 1996.

Army’s season will see one more game played with the Black Knights heading to the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas. Army will play one of Navy’s AAC West Division foes, the Houston Cougars, in the Armed Forces Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 22. Houston leads the all-time series with Army, 5-2, with the most recent game being played when both teams were members of Conference USA in 2004.

Navy’s season is now officially over. The Midshipmen are staying home for the bowl season for the first time since 2011 and just the second time since Paul Johnson coaches his first season in Annapolis in 2002. Navy’s 2019 season opener will be played on Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019 against Holy Cross.

Next season’s Army-Navy Game is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 14, 2019. It will once again be played in Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.

LSU opens as double-digit favorites on Oklahoma; Ohio State slight underdog to Clemson

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While definitely subject to change, the initial wagering odds for the degenerates in the reading audience are out.

Earlier Sunday, and in a surprise to absolutely no one, the four semifinalists for the 2019 College Football Playoff were released.  LSU was given the No. 1 seed by the selection committee and will face No. 4 Oklahoma in the Peach Bowl.  No. 2 Ohio State, which came into Championship Saturday ranked first in the country, will square off with No. 3 Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl.

According to the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, LSU is a 7/5 favorite to win the 2019 national championship.  Clemson is next at 2/1, while Ohio State sits at 3/1.  Oklahoma, which won its way into the playoffs at the expense of Georgia, is a decided underdog at 16/1.

Speaking of underdogs, the SEC Tigers are currently listed as a 12½-point favorite in their matchup with the Sooners.  Despite being the higher seed, the Buckeyes have opened as a two-point underdog to the ACC Tigers.

The over/under for Ohio State-Clemson opened at 63; for LSU-Oklahoma, it’s at 75.

LSU and Oklahoma have squared off just twice previously, with the most recent matchup coming in 2004.  Clemson and Ohio State have met three times in their collective histories, the most recent meeting coming in the 2016 College Football Playoff — a 31-0 win for the Tigers.

Arkansas confirms hiring of Georgia OL coach Sam Pittman as head coach

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When it came to replacing the fired Chad Morris, Arkansas, as it turned out, didn’t have to look outside of the SEC.

Sunday, with one of its top targets, Lane Kiffin, already having been locked up by SEC West rival Ole Miss, Arkansas reportedly pivoted its attention to Georgia’s Sam Pittman.  A few hours later, the Razorbacks confirmed that Pittman has been hired as the school’s next head football coach.

“Sam Pittman has been an integral part of successful teams that have competed at the highest levels, including for SEC and NCAA Championships,” UA athletic director Hunter Yurachek said in a statement. “As one of the nation’s premier offensive line coaches, he has built a remarkable body of work thanks to his tremendous passion for his student-athletes, including teaching the fundamentals and developing his players on and off the field. Sam instills in his players the motivation, grit and determination required to compete and win. Throughout this process, I heard from many of his former players about the tremendous influence he had on them as a player and as a man.

“Sam knows the Southeastern Conference inside and out and is one of the nation’s best recruiters. His connections throughout football will enable him to build a quality coaching staff. In his previous tenure, Sam and his wife Jamie fell in love with the state of Arkansas and with Razorback fans. They know what a special place this is and are excited for the opportunity to come back to the Home of the Razorbacks.”

The hiring marks a return to Fayetteville for Pittman as he was a member of Bret Bielema‘s first coaching staff in 2013. In 2016, he left for Georgia, where he spent the past four seasons as the Bulldogs’ offensive line coach.  He also served as Kirby Smart‘s associate head coach.

The 58-year-old Pittman will be officially introduced as the Razorbacks’ 34th head coach Monday afternoon.

Mizzou zeroing in on Eli Drinkwitz as next head coach

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Once again, it appears a Power Five program will pilfer a Group of Five school for its next head football coach.

Sunday afternoon, Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported that Applachian State’s Eli Drinkwitz “has emerged as a strong candidate” for the vacancy at Missouri.  Subsequent to that, ESPN.com reported that “Drinkwitz has reached an agreement to become Missouri’s next head football coach and a deal is being finalized.”

An official announcement of Drinkwitz becoming the permanent replacement for Barry Odom, who was fired late last month after four seasons at his alma mater, is expected no later than Monday.

The 36-year-old Drinkwitz is in his first season as the head coach of the Mountaineers, his first head-coaching job at any level of football.  App State stands at 12-1 on the season after claiming its second-straight Sun Belt Conference championship Saturday with a win over Louisiana.

Dec. 21, App State will face UAB in the New Orleans Bowl.

Georgia WR Dominick Blaylock reportedly suffered ACL tear in SEC title game loss

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A rough weekend for Georgia was underscored on Sunday as reports surfaced saying one of their key young players is done for the rest of this year and likely part of the next one.

As per Rivals’ Radi Nabulsi and a host of other beat writers in Athens, Bulldogs receiver Dominick Blaylock suffered a torn ACL in the loss against LSU in the SEC Championship Game on Saturday.

The freshman from Marietta, Ga. had to be carted off the field in the first quarter after making a short catch and planting his knee awkwardly. The team’s top receiver, Lawrence Cager, was already out after undergoing knee surgery on Nov. 29.

Blaylock had made 18 catches for 310 yards and five touchdowns at UGA this season.