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New QB, same result: Jalen Hurts dazzles in debut for No. 4 Oklahoma

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It doesn’t seem to matter who plays quarterback or whether or not they’re replacing four draft-pick offensive linemen and an All-American burner at wide receiver. As long as Lincoln Riley is recruiting the players and calling the plays, the result is the same: Oklahoma receivers running free, ball carriers with massive holes to run through and a quarterback to tie it all together with mind-bending efficiency.

In his first start as OU’s starting quarterback, Jalen Hurts promptly put together a singular night as good or greater than anything Baker Mayfield or Kyler Murray ever did in their respective Heisman Trophy seasons. Aside from a second quarter fumble, Hurts was simply perfect: 20-of-23 passing for 332 yards and three touchdowns while rushing 16 times for 176 yards and three more scores in leading the No. 4 Sooners to a 49-31 win over Houston. The 176 rushing yards were a career high, and his 508 yards of total offense were the most ever by a player making his OU debut.

While much was made in the offseason of what Hurts can’t do in respect to Mayfield and Murray, we we overlooked what he can do.

For one, he’s perfectly capable of finding open receivers, like this 45-yard toss to CeeDee Lamb

Or there was this simple slant route to Charleston Rambo that turned into a 56-yard touchdown.

That Rambo score was an important one. Oklahoma had jumped out to a 21-0 lead in the second quarter but Houston pieced together a mini-rally by pulling within 21-10 at the half.

Hurts’ three rushing touchdowns showcased what he can do that Mayfield and Murray could not. Mayfield was a willing runner but limited athletically, at least in comparison to his two successors. Murray was lightning quick but has extremely slight build limited his use and range as a runner. Hurts, though, is listed at 6-foot-2 and 219 pounds, big enough for him to carry the ball both in scrambling situations and on called runs between the tackles.

The other key addition to the Oklahoma roster was defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, and for Houston’s first four possessions, it looked like he’d built a brand new Sooner defense. The Cougars’ first four possessions all ended in punts, three of them three-and-outs.

After that, though, the Houston offense settled in and the 2017-18 Oklahoma defense returned.

Houston’s final seven possessions totaled 53 plays for 420 yards and 31 points. D’Eriq King carried the Cougars with 167 yards and two touchdowns on 14-of-27 passing plus a team-high 15 carries for 103 yards and another score.

But while the defense is still a work in progress, the OU offense looked like a finished product from its very first snap. In just 61 snaps, the Sooners gained 686 yards (11.2 per attempt) with 30 first downs.

NC State LB Brock Miller announces transfer to Boise State

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The Boise State football team is the latest to see the beneficial side of the portal.

Earlier this month, Brock Miller entered his name into the NCAA transfer database.  Two weeks later, the NC State linebacker announced on Twitter that he will be transferring into the Boise State football program.

As of yet, the Broncos have not announced Miller’s official addition to the roster.

Miller, a three-star 2016 signee, played in 31 games during his time with the Wolfpack. He started 13 of those appearances, including 11 in 2019.

This past season, his seven tackles for loss were tied for third on the team. He had 40 total tackles, which were good for eighth.

Miller is leaving the Wolfpack as a graduate transfer. Next season will be the Florida native’s final year of eligibility.

Four-star 2018 signee Kukea Emmsley of Boise State is in transfer portal

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In December of 2017, Kukea Emmsley posted on Twitter that he dreamt of being a Boise State football player.  A little over two years later, the dream is over.  Or, it’s on its way to being over.

According to 247Sports.com, Emmsley has entered himself into the NCAA transfer database.  The move to the portal by the redshirt defensive end would be the first step in leaving the Boise State football team.  Emmsley could, though, pull his name and remain with the Broncos.

Conversely, the Boise State football program could pull his scholarship at the end of the semester in which he entered the portal.

A four-star 2018 signee, Emmsley was rated as the No. 4 player regardless of position in the state of Hawaii.  He was also the No. 25 outside linebacker in that class.  Of the 25 recruits signed by Boise State football that year, only one on the defensive side of the ball, Chris Mitchell, was rated higher than Emmsley.

Despite that pedigree, Emmsley failed to live up to the pre-career billing.

As a true freshman in 2019, Emmsley took a redshirt.  This past season, Emmsley made his Boise State debut in an Oct. 19 loss to BYU.  As it turns out, that was Emmsley’s lone appearance.

Emmsley will likely have to sit out the 2020 season if he follows through on a transfer and moves to another FBS school.  That would leave him with two years of eligibility beginning in 2021.

Virginia OC Robert Anae withdraws name from Hawaii coaching search

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We don’t know yet who will be the head coach of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team.  We do, though, now who it won’t be.

In days after Nick Rolovich left to replace Mike Leach at Washington State, Robert Anae‘s name has been mentioned prominently as a potential successor.  Tuesday, however, the Virginia offensive coordinator announced in a statement that he has withdrawn his name from consideration for the job as the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors head coach.

“After careful consideration, I am withdrawing my application for the University of Hawaii head football coach position,” the statement began. “I have been overwhelmed with the commitment by Coach [Bronco] Mendenhall and the leadership of [athletic director] Carla Williams. I am excited and energized to close out our recruiting class as we continue our quest for the conference championship.”

The 61-year-old Anae, who played his college football at BYU, was born in Hawaii and began his coaching career as a graduate assistant for the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors football team.  Anae just completed his fourth season as Virginia’s coordinator.  He also coaches the team’s wide receivers.

With Anae out of the picture, Hawaii could stay in-house for its new head coach. Craig Stutzmann, UH’s quarterbacks coach and passing-game coordinator and Mark Banker, UH’s assistant head coach and linebackers coach, have been mentioned as possibilities.  The offensive line coach at Syracuse, Mike Cavanaugh, has been floated as a possibility as well.

Penn State DE Daniel Joseph hurtles into the portal

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Count the Penn State football program as the next FBS school facing a potential personnel loss.

First reported by the SEC Network‘s Cole Cubelic, defensive end Daniel Joseph has taken the first step in leaving the Penn State football team by entering his name into the NCAA transfer database.  247Sports.com subsequently confirmed the initial report.

A four-star 2016 signee, Joseph was rated as the No. 12 strongside defensive end in the country and the No. 3 player regardless of position in the state of Illinois.

Joseph took a redshirt as a true freshman.  The next three seasons, Joseph appeared in 33 games.  A dozen of those appearances came during the 2019 campaign.

In those three seasons, the defensive lineman was credited with 29 tackles, 5½ tackles for loss, five sacks, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

On the last depth chart of the 2019 season, Joseph was listed No. 3 behind starter Yetur Gross-Matos and backup Shane Simmons.  Gross-Matos confirmed in early December that he will be leaving the Nittany Lions early for the 2020 NFL Draft.

Joseph is the second Nittany Lion to hit the portal this offseason.  Earlier this month, offensive lineman Hunter Kelly entered his name into the transfer database.  Both Kelly and Joseph will be leaving the Penn State football team as graduate transfers.