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A.J. Ouellette, Nathan Rourke help Ohio thump San Diego State in Frisco Bowl

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On the bright side for San Diego State on Wednesday, the program signed a group of 13 players during college football’s early signing period. Sadly though, that might have been the only positive bit of news for the Aztecs as they got thumped 27-0 later that night by Ohio in the DXL Frisco Bowl.

The Bobcats, who inked 17 players as part of the class of 2019, used a familiar formula of being balanced on offense and playing sound defense in beating the Mountain West stalwarts. Quarterback Nathan Rourke capped off a strong finish to the 2018 season in throwing for 206 yards (one INT) and a long touchdown off a flea-flicker while also adding another 31 yards and two scores on the ground. While his passing percentage wasn’t quite what he wanted it to be in the game, the triggerman was still excellent when called upon and helped the team pick up numerous third and fourth down conversions.

As good as Rourke was though, his teammate in the backfield might have been an even bigger key to Ohio’s success. A.J. Ouellette made easy work of the No. 4 rush defense in FBS, slogging his way through on a rainy evening in North Texas to the tune of 164 yards all told. He looked to be a step quicker than his opponent on just about every carry too and about the only negative on the night came in the form of a late fumble well after the game was decided.

While everything seemed to go the Bobcats’ way, San Diego State failed to get much of anything going on either side of the ball. On top of getting sliced up on the ground defensively, the Aztecs failed to mount much of an effort at all in terms of finding the end zone. The team had three long drives but wound up punting, fumbling and turning the ball over to come up empty on each one.

QB Christian Chapman did start the game but the veteran signal-caller closed out his career just 1-of-2 for eight yards before being replaced in the second quarter by backup Ryan Agnew (126 yards passing, one pick). If there was any bright spot it was in the form of Juwan Washington’s 129 yards rushing on 19 carries but otherwise there was not much to write home about for SDSU as they appeared to liberally rotate in young players for game experience in the second half.

The shutout loss for Rocky Long’s side (and rather boring game overall) hampered the two schools’ first ever meeting and took some of the shine off a meeting between two of the three oldest head coaches in FBS between him and Frank Solich. The pair have combined for an even 300 wins in college football but it was the latter who wound up with the last laugh at the Frisco Bowl.

Florida State apologizes for MLK Day tweet

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As the old adage goes, the best-laid plans of mice and men’s Twitter accounts often go awry.

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday, Florida State’s official recruiting account on Twitter posted an inspirational quote from the slain Civil Rights leader. It would’ve been fine for all involved if the account would’ve stopped there; unfortunately for all involved, they didn’t stop there.

Instead, a photoshopped image of Dr. King wearing a football glove and apparently performing the Tomahawk Chop was included as part of the tweet.

Not surprisingly, the Twitter account caught significant heat and flack for the image on social media. Just as unsurprisingly, the tweet was deleted less than an hour after it was posted and an apology subsequently issued.

Rutgers hires Andy Buh to coordinate defense

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Rutgers has hired Andy Buh as its defensive coordinator, the program has announced.

“We are excited to add Andy to the Rutgers football family,” head coach Chris Ash said in a statement. “He is an outstanding linebackers coach and has extensive experience in the Big Ten. Andy and I share a defensive philosophy and he is very familiar with the scheme we run, which will benefit the continued development of our defense.”

Ash and Buh worked together previously at Wisconsin, where Ash was the defensive coordinator and Buh the linebackers coach. He spent the past three seasons as the defensive coordinator at Maryland and has previous coordinator experience at Stanford, Nevada and Cal.

Buh replaces Jay Niemann, who served as the Scarlet Knights’ defensive coordinator for the first three seasons of the Ash era. Rutgers was 69th in total and yards per play defense and 89th in scoring in 2018, surrendering 31.4 points per game. Buh’s Maryland defense placed 78th, allowing 28.7 points per outing.

Rutgers is 7-29 under Ash and 3-24 in Big Ten play.

North Texas inks home and homes with Baylor, Tulane

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North Texas celebrated MLK Day by announcing a slew of future football opponents.

The Mean Green announced Monday it will play home-and-homes with Baylor and Tulane in the 2028 and ’29 campaigns. North Texas will visit the Bears and Green Wave in 2028, then host both in 2029. UNT will visit Baylor on Sept. 2 and Tulane on Sept. 23 in 2028, while the Mean Green will host Baylor and Tulane in back-to-back weeks to open 2029, with the Bears coming on Sept. 1 and the Green Wave on Sept. 8.

A previously scheduled home game with Army was bumped from 2027 to 2028 in conjunction with Monday’s announcements. North Texas also announced a home game with Texas Southern for Sept. 24, 2022.

Baylor will be the fourth Power 5 program and the second Big 12 opponent to visit Apogee Stadium, which opened in 2011. Indiana visited in Apogee’s opening season, Cal will make a visit in 2022 and Texas Tech will come to Denton in 2027.

“I am thrilled to announce two quality home-and-home series have been added to our schedules,” Mean Green AD Wren Baker said in a statement. “Baylor joins Cal and Texas Tech as Power 5 conference teams coming to Denton over the next few years. Tulane is a quality American Athletic Conference team that will be a fun trip for our fans when we return to New Orleans. I appreciate (COO) Jared Mosley‘s diligent efforts to find compelling games for our fans.”

North Texas and Baylor have met 13 times previously. The Bears have won 12 of those meetings but North Texas took the most recent meeting in Denton, a 52-14 thumping in 2003. That remains UNT’s most recent win over a Big 12 opponent.

The Mean Green and Green Wave have played just once previously, a 21-14 Tulane victory in New Orleans in 2013.

Baylor has a previously scheduled trip to Oregon slated for 2028, a return trip for the Ducks’ flight to Waco in 2027. Tulane also has a home-and-home with Iowa State in 2028-29, with the home dates flipped from the UNT series.

Boise State to replace iconic blue turf (with more, newer blue turf)

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Boise State became a household name through playing on its trendsetting blue turf (and winning a lot), such that the school now owns a trademark for any non-green collegiate field.

The current blue playing surface is set to go away this spring, only to be replaced by a newer, bigger, bluer (probably) version.

“It’s needed,” Boise State AD Curt Apsey told the Idaho Statesman. “We’re not just doing it to do it. It’s near the end of the usual lifespan.”

The current playing surface was installed ahead of the 2010 season; FieldTurf surfaces usually have a lifespan of eight to 10 years.

“The field is shredding,” Broncos head coach Bryan Harsin told the paper last summer. “It’s just old. It needs to be replaced. It’s just time.”

Boise State has played on a blue surface since 1986, when then-AD Gene Blaymaier put in blue AstroTurf at a cost of $750,000. The school did not even join FBS until a decade later.

The new surface will extend beyond the playing field to cover the area that previously held the Broncos’ track. It is expected to cost between $600,000 and $1 million, but the school is approved to spend $600,000 as of now.