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Tulane wins first bowl game since 2002 with victory over Louisiana in AutoNation Cure Bowl

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Tulane (7-6) opened the 2018-2019 bowl season in college football by recording the first bowl victory for the school since 2002. Tulane defeated Louisiana (7-7) in the AutoNation Cure Bowl in Orlando on Saturday afternoon, 41-24.

Tulane had a 24-10 lead at halftime but started to feel pressure from Louisiana as the Ragin Cajuns battled back in the second half, cutting the Tulane lead to 27-24 early in the fourth quarter. But just when it seemed as though Tulane may let one slip through their fingers, a pair of fourth-down gambles paid off in a big way. On 4th-and-7 from the Louisiana 30-yard line, Willie Fritz decided to go for a first down and was rewarded with Justin McMillan completing a 15-yard pass to keep the drive going. A few plays later, Darius Bradwell scored a four-yard touchdown to give Tulane a two-score lead. After the defense came through with a quick series, Tulane once again faced a 4th-and-7 that worked out for the best. McMillan put the game away with just over three minutes to play on a keeper for a 16-yard touchdown run to extend Tulane’s lead to a 17-point margin on a fourth and seven.

One last offensive gasp by Louisiana came to an end with an interception in the endzone by Chris Joyce.

Despite a pair of turnovers, Tulane was called for just one five-yard penalty in the game and the Green Wave out-gained Louisiana 483-258. Bradwell rushed for a game-high 150 yards with two scores and McMillan combined for a pair of touchdowns in the win. The defense was a big factor in the first half, allowing just over 100 yards of offense before halftime despite giving up 75 yards on the first drive of the game. Louisiana scored a touchdown on the game’s opening possession but then struggled to move the ball against the Tulane defense until the second half.

Prior to Saturday’s win in the Cure Bowl, Tulane’s last bowl victory came in the 2002 Hawaii Bowl. This was the second bowl victory for Fritz, who previously won his only bowl game coached at Georgia Southern before coming to Tulane. Fritz is 2-0 in bowl games.

Tulane will head into 2019 season looking to take another step forward as a program as Fritz enters his fourth year on the job. The Green Wave have improved their win total each year with Fritz as the head coach as Tulane continues to try building itself into a contender in the AAC. The 2019 season will begin on Aug. 31, 2019 at home against FIU, followed by a road trip to Auburn the following week. Tulane will get home games in conference play against Houston and UCF and will make road trips to Memphis, Navy, and Temple as part of the conference schedule.

Louisiana will get to open their 2019 season in New Orleans with a matchup against Mississippi State on Aug. 31, 2019. The Ragin’ Cajuns also get home games against Liberty and Texas Southern in non-conference play and will get some big Sun Belt games at home against Appalachian State, Troy and rival ULM. Louisiana will travel to Arkansas State and Georgia Southern in the Sun Belt schedule next fall as well, with conference dates to be announced.

Transfers from Rutgers, Coastal Carolina land at same FCS school

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The same FCS program has double-dipped in the NCAA transfer portal, FBS division, in bulking up the talent on its football roster.

Monday afternoon, Albany announced via social media that running back Alex James and fullback Max Anthony have officially signed with the program.  James, a redshirt junior, comes to Albany from Coastal Carolina, Anthony, a fifth-year senior, from Rutgers.

As both players come to the Great Danes from the FBS ranks, they will each be eligible to play immediately in 2019.

The past two seasons for the Chanticleers, James has rushed for 475 yards and seven touchdowns on 114 carries.  He also caught 16 passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.

Anthony had started six of the 27 games in which he played for the Scarlet Knights.

Witness in hoops trial claims he paid football players from Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State, others

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A sweeping college hoops scandal that’s engulfed the sport has now touched its gridiron counterpart.

Marty Blazer, a Pittsburgh financial advisor-turned government informant after pleading guilty to securities fraud charges, took the witness stand Tuesday in the college basketball fraud trial and levied some potentially explosive allegations.  As part of his testimony, Blazer alleged that, between 2000-14, he paid football players from, among others, Alabama, Michigan, Notre Dame, Penn State and Pitt.  The payments, some of which were in the thousands of dollars, were aimed at convincing the player to remain in college and not enter the NFL draft in the hopes that they would retain him as their financial adviser when they did turn pro.

The names of specific players were, for the most part, not mentioned by Blazer.

The most damning of the accusations made by Blazer seems to involve Penn State during the Joe Paterno era.  Specifically, Blazer alleges that he paid the father of then-Penn State player Aaron Maybin $10,000, with the payment being made at the behest of an unnamed Paterno assistant coach.

If accurate, the NCAA would consider such an arrangement a major infraction.  It’s unclear what, if any, action The Association will take on the football side of the accusations made under oath.

Requests for comment from each of the football programs mentioned in Blazer’s testimony have not yet been met with a response.

Kentucky’s Gunnar Hoak latest QB to enter transfer database

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You can go ahead and add Kentucky to the burgeoning list of FBS schools that have lost signal-callers to the infamous portal.

On his personal Twitter account Tuesday morning, Kentucky’s Gunnar Hoak wrote that, “[a]fter much thought and consideration, I have decided to put my name in the NCAA transfer portal.” As Hoak is set to graduate from UK very early next month, the quarterback would be eligible to play immediately at another FBS program immediately in 2019.

As an added bonus for whichever school he ultimately chooses, Hoak has two seasons of eligibility available.

After losing out in the quarterback competition that ended in summer camp, Hoak spent the 2018 season as starter Terry Wilson‘s primary backup.  In that role, Hoak completed 13 of his 26 passes for 167 yards, two touchdowns and an interception.

Coming out of high school in Dublin, Ohio, Hoak was a three-star 2016 signee.

RB Jonathan Taylor competing with Wisconsin track team

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Jonathan Taylor is on track to be one of the most prolific running backs in college football history, but, this spring, he’ll be giving a whole new meaning to the phrase “on track.”

Wisconsin confirmed Tuesday that the Badgers running back will run in at least three meets with the UW track & field team this spring.  Taylor will make his collegiate track debut this weekend at the Penn Relays.  Additionally, he’ll run in the university’s Alumni Classic May 3 and the Big Ten Championships May 10-12.

Taylor will be running a leg of the 4×100-meter relay team, and would run in the NCAA prelims as well if they qualify.

Taylor, one of a handful of preseason Heisman Trophy favorites, is no stranger to the track as he won a pair of New Jersey state high school titles in the 100-meter dash.

As a true freshman in 2017, his 1,977 yards were third nationally.  This past season, he led the country in rushing with 2,194 yards.  If Taylor were to rush for at least 2,235 yards in 2018 — five players in FBS history have surpassed that total in college football history, most recently San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny in 2017 — he would break Donnel Pumphrey‘s all-time record of 6,405 career rushing yards.