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No. 6 Ohio State sends off Urban Meyer in style by topping No. 9 Washington in the Rose Bowl

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PASADENA, Calif. — Urban Meyer’s first trip to the ‘Granddaddy of them All’ resulted in an appropriate grand finale.

No. 6 Ohio State turned in a thrilling performance in the 105th Rose Bowl on New Year’s Day to send their head coach out in style, beating No. 9 Washington by a deceiving 28-23 score on a picture-perfect Southern California afternoon to ring in 2019 in style.

Leading the way was Buckeyes quarterback Dwayne Haskins, who could count the contest as a sendoff himself with a looming NFL draft decision awaiting. The redshirt sophomore certainly looked the part of a first-rounder, throwing for 251 yards and three touchdowns against one of the best pass defenses in the country coming in. In addition to making a number of ‘wow’ throws, he found nine different receivers all told from TE Rashod Berry on a short scoring toss on the goal line to Parris Campbell (71 yards, 1 TD) all over the field.

Tailback Mike Weber made the most of his final game in scarlet and gray by rushing for 96 yards as well.

“Today Mike ran the ball really efficiently and got a lot of first downs with him. Opened up the passing game for us, giving us some wide-open lanes and as far as impacting the zone coverage,” said Haskins. “We did a great job picking up some blitzes today, and we had to be efficient.”

The Huskies certainly had their chances as the sun set on the San Gabriel Mountains but never could get over the hump and truly threaten to make it a close one. Jake Browning failed to extend his record for wins by a Pac-12 signal-caller but did what he could, scrambling often to extend plays while throwing for 313 yards and giving way to fellow senior Myles Garrett in both the passing game (one TD pass off a jump throw) and the run game with 121 yards and two more scores to close out his career.

Though UW’s offense failed to find the end zone enough, their defense continued to battle from start to finish and sacked Haskins three times. It was a solid effort overall that made things closer than expected as the fourth quarter clock ticked away and was even more impressive considering safety Taylor Rapp missed the action with a reported hip injury and linebacker DJ Beavers went down with a leg injury in the first half among other issues.

Still, it wasn’t quite what the throngs of purple and gold-clad fans were hoping for this season after College Football Playoff talk gave way to a Pac-12 title but also four losses on the year. The program’s first trip to the Rose Bowl since 2001 is still not a bad consolation prize but it’s clear that Chris Petersen doesn’t quite have Washington back among the national elite just yet on Montlake.

“Tough one. Very frustrating when you start the first half like we started. I had no idea why. It’s on me. It’s not these kids,” said Petersen. “They practiced hard. They’re ready to play. But we really didn’t play with that edge and that chip that we normally play with, really, just, you know, across the whole squad.”

All eyes were on his opposite number Tuesday however, who will leave the game (for now) with a 187-32 overall record — and 83-9 at Ohio State with a national title — that will put him just behind historical greats like Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy in terms of overall winning percentage. It was the final victory though, in Meyer’s first and only appearance at the greatest of all bowl games, that will surely be cherished unlike any other.

“What an up-and-down year,” remarked a visibly relieved Meyer as he savored his final few minutes in charge. “(The players) gave us their very best. Big Ten Division champs, Big Ten champs, Rose Bowl champs, and one of the great teams in Ohio State history.

“This has always been very personal. I’m from the great state of Ohio and I’m very proud of my state. I’ve been a Buckeye fan as long as I can remember.”

It was a trying final campaign in Columbus for both coach and program but the sweet taste of victory and roses will be the final one for Meyer and the Buckeyes to savor.

2019 finalist Justin Fields highlights preseason Davey O’Brien watch list

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The Davey O’Brien Award is next up as watch list season is in fall swing.

The Bednarik Award opened the proceedings Monday.  A day later, the Davey O’Brien Award released a preseason watch list that includes 30 of the top quarterbacks in the country.  And, according to the award’s press release, “new transfers were eligible to be included for the first time in the award’s history.”

Justin Fields of Ohio State, a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award in 2019, is among the players on the watch list. Fields is joined by seven semifinalists from last year: Baylor’s Charlie Brewer, Shane Buechele of SMU, Texas’ Sam Ehlinger, Trevor Lawrence of Clemson, Minnesota’s Tanner Morgan, Brock Purdy of Iowa State and Memphis’ Brady White.

The Big 12 and SEC both landed five watch listers, the most of any single conference.  Both the ACC and Big Ten placed four apiece in the group, while the Pac-12 has two.  With three, the AAC leads all Group of Five leagues.

Fourteen seniors, eight juniors and eight sophomores combine to make up the list.

Below are all 30 members of this year’s watch list.

Hank Bachmeier, Boise State, So., 6-1, 200, Murrieta, Calif.
Ian Book, Notre Dame, Sr., 6-0, 206, El Dorado Hills, Calif.
Alan Bowman, Texas Tech, So., 6-3, 210, Grapevine, Texas
Charlie Brewer, Baylor, Sr., 6-1, 206, Austin, Texas
Shane Buechele, SMU, Sr., 6-1, 207, Arlington, Texas
Jack Coan, Wisconsin, Sr., 6-3, 221, Sayville, N.Y.
Sean Clifford, Penn State, Jr., 6-2, 219, Cincinnati, Ohio
Dustin Crum, Kent State, Sr., 6-3, 201, Grafton, Ohio
Micale Cunningham, Louisville, Jr., 6-1, 200, Montgomery, Ala.
Jayden Daniels, Arizona State, So., 6-3, 175, San Bernardino, Calif.
Sam Ehlinger, Texas, Sr., 6-3, 230, Austin, Texas
Justin Fields, Ohio State, Jr., 6-3, 228, Kennesaw, Ga.
Dillon Gabriel, UCF, So., 6-0, 186, Mililani, Hawai
Donald Hammond III, Air Force, Sr., 6-2, 220, Hampton, Ga.
Sam Howell, North Carolina, So., 6-1 1/4, 225, Indian Trail, N.C.
Mac Jones, Alabama, Jr., 6-2, 205, Jacksonville, Fla.
D’Eriq King, Miami, Sr., 5-11, 195, Manvel, Texas
Trevor Lawrence, Clemson, Jr., 6-6, 220, Cartersville, Ga.
Levi Lewis, Louisiana, Sr., 5-10, 190, Baton Rouge, La.
Kellen Mond, Texas A&M, Sr., 6-3, 217, San Antonio, Texas
Tanner Morgan, Minnesota, Jr., 6-2, 215, Union, Ky.
Jamie Newman, Georgia, Sr., 6-4, 230, Graham, N.C.
Bo Nix, Auburn, So., 6-2, 207, Pinson, Ala.
Brock Purdy, Iowa State, Jr., 6-1, 212, Gilbert, Ariz.
Chris Robison, Florida Atlantic, Jr., 6-1, 200, Mesquite, Texas
Spencer Sanders, Oklahoma State, So., 6-1, 199, Denton, Texas
Kedon Slovis, USC, So., 6-2, 200, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Zac Thomas, Appalachian State, Sr., 6-1, 210, Trussville, Ala.
Kyle Trask, Florida, Sr., 6-5, 239, Manvel, Texas
Brady White, Memphis, Sr., 6-3, 215, Santa Clarita, Calif.

Tommy Tuberville defeats Jeff Sessions, is the Republican nominee from Alabama for a seat in the United States Senate

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For the first time in a while, Tommy Tuberville is front and center in the headlines in the great state of Alabama.  This time, though, it’s for a different sport.

In April of 2019, Tommy Tuberville announced that he would be running for one of the Alabama seats in the United States Senate.  The seat Tuberville was running for is currently held by Democrat Doug Jones, who won an extremely close (and contentious) special election back in 2017.

Before facing Jones, however, Tuberville would need to win the Republican runoff.  Against Jeff Sessions, the former U.S. Senator from the state of Alabama with deep ties to the Yellowhammer State.  Sessions, though, had his issues, you could say, with President Donald Trump, who, even amidst some football gaffes, wholeheartedly endorsed Tuberville.

Tuesday night, that endorsement likely paid off as the 65-year-old Tuberville claimed the Republican nomination in a resounding win.  Tuberville will now face Jones in the November general election.  Given the fact that the state of Alabama skews heavily toward the right, a Tuberville win is expected.

Not surprisingly, the current POTUS basked in the glow of Tuberville’s win.

Tuberville spent 10 seasons as the head coach at Auburn, famously guiding the Tigers to a six-game winning streak over the rival Alabama Crimson Tide during his tenure. “If it wasn’t for me, you wouldn’t have Nick Saban,” Tuberville said in a radio interview when asked why Alabama football fans should vote for him.

A head coach most of the past two decades, Tuberville had a 159-99 record in stops that included Ole Miss (1995-98), Texas Tech (2010-12) and Cincinnati (2013-16) in addition to his time on The Plains.

UTSA confirms signing of highest-rated signee in Houston’s 2018 recruiting class

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UTSA has officially bolstered its football roster via the transfer portal.  Again.

In late June, Julon Williams committed to the UTSA football program.  The Houston wide receiver had entered the NCAA transfer database earlier that same month. Monday, the Roadrunners confirmed Williams’ addition to the football team.

Williams won’t be coming to UT-San Antonio football as a graduate transfer.  As a result, he’ll have to sit out the 2020 season for the Roadrunners.  Barring an unlikely waiver, of course.  That will leave the receiver two years of eligibility starting in 2021.

Williams was a three-star member of the Houston football Class of 2018.  He was also the highest-rated signee for the Cougars that cycle.

The production on the field, however, failed to match that recruiting pedigree.  In two seasons, the Converse, Texas, native played in just two games.  Both of those appearances came as a true freshman.

In that limited action, Williams caught three passes for 61 yards.

As noted in its release, Williams is the younger brother of Jarveon Williams, UTSA’s career rushing leader who played in 2013-16.  The elder Williams brother is also currently a graduate assistant at UTSA.

UTSA is coming off a 4-8 2019 football campaign.  That led to Frank Wilson being fired in December and Jeff Traylor being hired a week later.

Texas football will officially play at Campbell-Williams Field at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium

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It’s a Lone Star State-sized mouthful, but Texas football will officially step onto a newly-named field if/when the 2020 season kicks off.

Myriad Texas student-athletes, including football players, requested last month that several issues be addressed.  Monday, UT confirmed that it had initiated several changes on the athletic and academic side of the university, many of which addressed the concerns of the student-athletes.  One that didn’t?  The “Eyes of Texas” will remain the school song.

The school did note, though, that, “[a]t the suggestion of the Jamail family, [the university would] rename Joe Jamail Field at the stadium in honor of Texas’ two great Heisman Trophy winners, Earl Campbell and Ricky Williams, two Longhorn legends with a record of commitment to the university.”

Tuesday, the university confirmed that, moving forward, the home for Texas football will officially be known as Campbell-Williams Field at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

In 1977, Campbell became the first-ever Texas football player to win the Heisman Trophy.  Two decades later, Williams became the second in 1998.  Those two running backs remain the only Longhorns to ever claim the most prestigious individual trophy in the sport.

“This is such a great tribute and so well deserved,” former Texas and current North Carolina head coach Mack Brown told the Austin American-Statesman via email. “And what an awesome tribute it is to Joe Jamail, and an amazing gesture by his family that they wanted to do this for Ricky and Earl. But that’s who the Jamail family is. Joe loved Ricky, Earl and all of the players.

“This is such a fitting way for the family to honor Joe and to say thank you to all of the players and the university they care for so deeply.”

Joe Jamail, a renowned attorney, passed away in 2015.  His name has been on the field since 1997, shortly after he gave yet another multi-million gift to the football program.  The first game played on Joe Jamail Field, Texas lost to UCLA 66-3.  Jamail’s response?

“How much f***ing money does it take to get my name off the field?”