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UNC coach Mack Brown wins first college football game since Thanksgiving 2013

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It’s been a long time coming for UNC head coach Mack Brown. In his first game on the sidelines since the 2013 season, Brown coached his Tar Heels to rally past South Carolina in the Belk College Football Kickoff Game in Charlotte, 24-20. It is the first time Brown has won a game since a Thanksgiving game between Brown’s Texas Longhorns and Texas Tech in 2013. On top of that, Brown got the win against his former assistant Will Muschamp, who was once named the head coach in waiting at Texas under Brown.

South Carolina had a 13-3 lead in the second quarter and took a 20-9 lead into the fourth quarter. But UNC kept grinding away and the defense rattled Gamecocks quarterback Jake Bentley. Bentley was intercepted twice in the final minutes of the game, both times by Myles Wolfolk, and he fumbled the football on the final play of the game. That ball was returned for a touchdown, but the game was already cemented in the win column for UNC.

For UNC, it was really the defense that led the way. South Carolina had just three third-down conversions in 13 tries and every possession after going up 20-9 ended with a punt or turnover the rest of the game for South Carolina.

Freshman quarterback Sam Howell got the start for UNC and he was solid in his Tar Heel debut. Howell passed for 245 yards and two touchdowns without an interception. Running back Javonte Williams went over the century mark to out-rush his South Carolina counterpart Tavien Feaster.

And here’s a fun little nugget. Brown has now won three consecutive games at UNC. Brown left UNC for Texas after the 1997 season, after UNC had gone 10-1 in the regular season. That season ended on a three-game winning streak with victories for UNC over Clemson, Duke and Virginia Tech (in the Gator Bowl, years before Virginia Tech was an ACC member). However, Brown did not coach the Tar Heels in the Gator Bowl because he left for Texas after accepting an offer from the Longhorns.

Brown will look to score his fourth consecutive win at UNC next week when UNC hosts Miami in an ACC Coastal Division matchup. Miami was off in Week 1 after opening their season against Florida in Week 0 (and losing to the Gators).

South Carolina will hope to get in the win column next week with a home game against Charleston Southern.

College Football in Coronavirus Quarantine: On this day in CFT history

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The sports world, including college football, has essentially screeched to a halt as countries around the world battle the coronavirus pandemic. As such, there’s a dearth of college football news as spring practices have all but been canceled at every level of the sport. And there’s even some concern that the health issue could have an impact on the 2020 college football campaign.

In that vein, we thought it might be fun to go back through the CollegeFootballTalk archives and take a peek at what transpired in the sport on this date.

So, without further ado — ok, one further ado — here’s what happened in college football on March 28, by way of our team of CFT writers both past and present.

(P.S.: If any of our readers have ideas on posts they’d like to read during this hiatus, leave your suggestions in the comments section.  Mailbag, maybe?)

2019

THE HEADLINE: Suspended Wisconsin WR Quintez Cephus not on Badgers spring roster
THE SYNOPSIS: The standout receiver was charged with sexual assault in August of the year before.  After missing the 2018 season because of the legal issue, Cephus was cleared to play in August of 2019.  This past season, Cephus set career-highs in receptions (59), receiving yards (901) and receiving touchdowns (seven). All of those numbers led the run-heavy Badgers as well.  In January of this year, he announced he was entering the 2020 NFL Draft.

2018

THE HEADLINE: Penn State QB Tommy Stevens eschews transfer after exploring options
THE SYNOPSIS: Roughly 14 months after this headline appeared, Stevens transferred to Mississippi State.

2017

THE HEADLINE: USF dismisses player arrested after being shot in road-rage incident
THE SYNOPSIS: This was easily one of the most bizarre stories of any offseason.  Hassan Childs was injured in a shooting.  Childs was subsequently charged in connection to the shooting in which he was injured.  The defensive back was then dismissed after he was arrested in connection to the incident in which he was shot.  College football, y’all.

2016

THE HEADLINE: Five-star Miss. St. signee charged after violent video goes viral
THE SYNOPSIS: Jeffery Simmons was accused of pummeling a woman who the defensive end alleged spoke ill of a dead relative.  Simmons ended up navigating those legal hurdles to be named first-team All-SEC in 2017 and 2018. After leaving Mississippi State early, Simmons was the No. 19 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.

2015

THE HEADLINE: NCAA says no malice involved in Reggie Bush investigation
THE SYNOPSIS: Hey, USC fans.  Wanna get pissed off?  Again?  Click on the above link.

2013

THE HEADLINE: Sun Belt announces it will officially grow by four in 2014
THE SYNOPSIS: Appalachian State and Georgia Southern joined the following year as all-sport members, with Idaho and New Mexico State coming on as football-only members.  Seven years later, the latter two are no longer a part of the conference. Idaho, in fact, is now an FCS program.  New Mexico State, meanwhile, is an FBS independent.

2009

THE HEADLINE: RECEIVING GREAT’S SON WALKING ON AT UCLA*
THE SYNOPSIS: The receiving great would be Jerry Rice.  The son would be Jerry Rice Jr.  The younger Rice ultimately moved on to UNLV.  He finished his collegiate career with 155 yards and a touchdown on 20 receptions.

(*Yes, back in the day, we used to scream out our headlines at our readers in all-caps. The move to NBC a couple of months later mercifully ended that practice.)

Ohio State adds to top-ranked 2021 recruiting class with five-star RB commit

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In the midst of the growing coronavirus pandemic, Ohio State football announced that it would be shutting down recruiting through April.  Recruits, though, aren’t shutting out Ohio State football.

Still.

March 16, four-star 2021 running back Evan Pryor announced he had committed to playing for Ohio State football.  Less than two weeks later, fellow 2021 running back TreVeyon Henderson announced that he too has committed to the Ohio State football team.

Henderson made his commitment with a video posted to his Twitter account.  And made his commitment without taking a trip to the OSU campus, it should be noted.

In a subsequent conversation with 247Sports.com, Henderson explained his decision for his commitment to Ryan Day‘s football team.

“The people there,” Henderson told the website. “They really care about their players and their futures. They set their players up for good opportunities for life after football and things like that. …

“Everything about them has them as No. 1.  Football program is great, school is great, the coaches are great. Especially (running backs) Coach (Tony) Alford. We got a great relationship, he keeps it real about everything! He’s a really great guy.”

Henderson is a five-star 2021 prospect.  He’s the top-rated player at his position (running back) and his state (Virginia) regardless of position.  On the 247Sports.com composite, he’s the No. 11 player in the country.

Henderson is the second-highest-rated commitment to the Ohio State football Class of 2021.  The only commit rated higher is defensive end Jack Sawyer, who is the No. 3 recruit overall.

That OSU class, incidentally, further solidified its status as tops in the country.  Of the Buckeyes’ 15 commits, three are five-stars and 10 are four-stars.  The next 12 schools have three five-star commits.  Combined.

This Ohio State football class has 280.61 points on the composite.  Clemson is next at 220.98.  Clemson’s average, though, is at 95.59 (10 commits). Ohio State’s, meanwhile, is at 95.34 (15 commits).  Only Texas (94.15) is above 94.

For perspective, just five schools the past 10 years have finished with recruiting classes above 94.  Two of those belong to Ohio State football, including the Class of 2017 that, at 94.59, is the highest-rated in history.

On top of Henderson’s and Pryor’s commitments, Ohio State also got a verbal from Trey Sermon this month.  Unlike the other two, Sermon will be able to help OSU in 2020 as he’s coming in as a graduate transfer from Oklahoma.

SEC to begin allowing virtual instruction next week

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The SEC is about to allow coaches to use remote tools to instruct their players, according to a report from Auburn Undercover on Friday.

Citing a memo sent to SEC athletic departments, Auburn Undercover says the new policy will go into effect beginning on Monday, March 30. According to the memo, coaching staff members will be allowed to provide “technical or tactical instruction” to players. Strength and conditioning coaches may still provide players with specific workouts to do on heir own, but no coaches may observe the players while working out.

In these times, having any kind of chance to interact with players is important, even if it must be done through a computer. It’s better than nothing, after all. And while it may not be a perfect substitute for spring football practices, it at least keeps the lines of communication within the program more open.

As previously reported, Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley was quoted in a radio interview as having a concern about the Big 12 not allowing coaches to make use of their virtual options the way coaches in the ACC have. Riley noted players in the ACC are able to receive video instruction and training gear through the mail. The Big 12 may change their policies in the next week to be more accommodating for coaches and players in a similar fashion to what the SEC is doing.

Texas QB Sam Ehlinger starts online fundraiser for COVID-19 relief

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If there is one good thing to come out of the ongoing health scare in this country, it is the good show of humanity form some of college football’s brightest stars. Inspired by the effort of Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence, Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger has decided to launch his own online fundraiser to help those in need.

Lawrence re-launched a GoFundMe campaign with his girlfriend, Marissa Mowry, four days ago after the NCAA decided it would not be cracking down on such efforts during the pandemic. A previous campaign had been shut down quickly out of caution from the Clemson compliance office. Once the NCAA made the decision not to crack down on such efforts, the campaign was reorganized and now serves as inspiration for others like Ehlinger to join the cause. Lawrence thanked the NCAA for not interfering with a frivolous investigation process over the campaign.

“I am dedicated to helping families who have been impacted by the current global crisis, and have created a GoFundMe to raise money to assist organizations that are doing incredible work in my community and nationally including the Boys & Girls Club of America, the Central Texas Food Bank, Austin Pets Alive and more,” Ehlinger said on his GoFundMe campaign’s page.

Ehlinger has a lofty goal for the campaign with a target of $1 million. As of the time of this posting, the campaign has raised over $16,000 since being launched two days ago.

Ehlinger says the campaign has been approved by the Texas Athletics Compliance staff.