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Cheez-It Bowl sees nine glorious interceptions thrown, one TCU victory over Cal in the process


The Pac-12 and Big 12 are filled with numerous high-flying offenses but Cal, under Justin Wilcox, and TCU, under Gary Patterson, have hitched their wagons to playing stout defense. The two programs met in the Cheez-It Bowl on Wednesday night in Phoenix and to nobody’s surprise, the pair combined for plenty of the latter and very little of the former as the Horned Frogs snuck out of the desert with a 10-7 win in overtime.

Let’s get this out of the way: this was far from the sharpest of games this postseason and might have been one of the ugliest college football games in all of 2018. There were nine — nine! — interceptions thrown and a combined seven sacks. It took heroic efforts for either side to rise above three yards a play and the two teams had a total of 15 punts between themselves.

So yeah, it was one of those games. That said, there was plenty of entertainment for the college football masochists out there.

TCU quarterback Grayson Muehlstein, whose play ironically had helped his team into this bowl game down the stretch, had a regrettable game throwing the football: completing seven passes to his own team and throwing four to the other side, including one on an absolutely dreadful double-pass trick play in the first half. He finished the evening with just 27 yards passing and just a few more in total if we’re being generous and including the eight yards he had on scrambles.

The Horned Frogs converted just three third down attempts all game long and really would have been dead in the water if not for tailback Sewo Olonilua, who had 194 yards on the ground and powered his way to the team’s lone touchdown. Things actually went from bad to worse in the fourth quarter when Muehlstein was briefly hurt, forcing Patterson to put in Justin Rogers — an emergency move if there ever was one because the freshman has been dealing with drop-foot from an injury he suffered in high school and is not fully mobile (Rogers completed one pass for one yard and took a sack while in the game).

Things were not terribly better on the Cal side of the field offensively either. Chase Garbers started the game and went 12-of-19 for 93 yards… but threw three picks himself and was replaced by Chase Forrest (71 yards, two INTs of course). Senior running back Patrick Laird was the team’s leading rusher for most of the game but left at halftime with a shoulder injury. Chris Brown did put up a team-high 57 yards in relief but yards and points were clearly hard to come by in this one.

Listen, this was no Pitt-Oregon State Sun Bowl from eons ago that ended 3-0 or that Virginia Tech-Wake Forest game that went to overtime sans points but boy did it come close to reach that elusive plane in college football lore. TCU got the victory in the end, however ugly, and we can all tell our kids years from now that yes, we too watched the lackluster Cheez-It Bowl unfold in all it’s glory late on a Wednesday night the day after Christmas.

Matthew Baldwin’s decision leaves Ohio State with two scholarship QBs

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And then there were two.

Seeing the Justin Fields writing on the wall, Tate Martell transferred from Ohio State in mid-January and ultimately landed at Miami.  Three months later, another OSU signal-caller, Matthew Baldwin, confirmed on Twitter Thursday night that he too has decided to take his leave of the Buckeyes and place his name into the NCAA transfer database.

“[S]pring was a tough time for me personally. My family and I have prayed and talked a lot about where I belong and what is best for me,” Baldwin wrote as part of a very classy Twitter post revealing his decision. “In the end, we feel like it’d be better for me to step away from Ohio State.”

A four-star member of OSU’s 2018 recruiting class, Baldwin was rated as the No. 12 pro-style quarterback in the country coming out of high school in Austin, Texas.  Baldwin didn’t play a down for the Buckeyes as he continued his rehab from an ACL injury he suffered late in his high school career at Lake Travis.

With the twin departures of Baldwin and Martell, OSU is now down to two scholarship quarterbacks — the Georgia transfer Fields (HERE) and West Virginia transfer Chris Chugunov (HERE).  Fields was widely expected to be the Buckeyes’ starter under center in the 2019 opener; Baldwin’s decision ensures that, barring injury, that will indeed be the case.

Arkansas to add former Notre Dame OL Luke Jones

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A week and a half after word broke Luke Jones was intending to leave Notre Dame comes the announcement Jones is going to be playing closer to home. The Arkansas native announced with a message on Twitter he is coming home to play for the Arkansas Razorbacks.

“I would like to thank the University of Note Dame for giving me the opportunity to pursue my dream of playing college football,” Jones said in a brief message on his Twitter account. “However, I have decided to transfer and play football for the University of Arkansas. I will be enrolling in the summer and am excited for this new chapter in my life!”

Jones spent a brief moment with the Notre Dame program as he was a member of the Class of 2018 in South Bend. Prior to committing to the Fighting Irish, Jones had been committed to the Arkansas football program in his recruiting process, but Notre Dame emerged victorious in the recruiting game during a coaching change with the Razorbacks.

Jones will be required to sit out the 2019 season under standard NCAA transfer rules, although those seem to be more like guidelines these days, so we’ll wait to see if there is a chance Jones gets to jump into the mix in the offensive line for the Razorbacks this fall.

Ex-Pitt TE Tyler Sear announces transfer to Temple

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Tight end Tyler Sear is hopping on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and heading from one metropolitan corner of the state to the next. Sear announced on his Twitter account on Thursday he is transferring from Pitt to Temple.

The Class of 2017 recruit of the Panthers left the program last October for what was simply described as personal reasons. It was unknown if the leave of absence was a short-term or long-term plan as the decisions about the status were being kept close to the vest within the Pitt program.

Sear did battle some injury concerns during his time at Pitt that prevented him from potentially reaching his full potential for the Panthers. He caught two passes for nine yards last season prior to his stepping away from the team.

Perhaps a clean slate with a new program will do Sear good as he steps in to try contributing with the Owls in the AAC. Sear will have to sit out the 2019 season due to standard NCAA transfer rules, unless an exception is granted by the NCAA. It is unknown if a waiver will be filed by Sear and Temple for immediate eligibility.

Sear has not used a redshirt year yet so he could burn that in 2019 while waiting to get back on the field if he is forced to sit out the 2019 season. That ould leave Sear with two years of eligibility remaining beginning with the 2020 season.

Michigan CB Myles Sims enters transfer portal

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Add another name to the growing list of players entering the transfer portal. This time it is Michigan cornerback Myles Sims. According to a report from 247 Sports, the former four-star prospect in Michigan’s Class of 2018 is evaluating his options.

Any player who adds his name to the transfer portal is allowed to make contact with potential programs of interest, but it does not automatically mean that player is gone for god. Sims will have the option of pulling his name out of the portal in the event he decides to stay in Ann Arbor. How quickly Sims will make any decision one way or the other remains to be seen.

Sims did not see the field last season for Michigan so he can use the 2018 season as his redshirt year. That gives the former four-star recruit four years of eligibility remaining, although he will likely have to burn one year of eligibility by sitting out the upcoming 2019 season.

Standard NCAA transfer rules require a player to sit out a full season before being ruled eligible to play again, although exceptions have been made a bit more frequently over the past year. Whether or not Sims will have the chance to play right away this fall will have to wait to be determined when he decides what his plans will be moving forward.