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No. 7 Auburn destroys Mississippi State, sets up showdown with No. 9 Florida next week


You know it’s bad when the home team scores a long touchdown on their first play from scrimmage. You know it’s bad when your mascot is literally run out of the building by opposing players. You know it’s bad when you lose your starting quarterback and give up six scoring drives in the first half.

Yes, it was pretty bad for Joe Moorhead and Mississippi State and that all came well before the head coach drew an unsportsmanlike penalty to put the cherry on top of a 56-23 beatdown on the Plains Saturday night as No. 7 Auburn flexed a few muscles and showed they can’t be discounted in the College Football Playoff race either.

The Tigers looked like the offense many expected to see under Gus Malzahn this year with explosive rushing plays galore and a shockingly efficient evening throwing the ball from their freshman quarterback, Bo Nix. The youngster had his best outing of the still-young season in throwing for 335 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for another 56 yards and a score. As impressive as the signal-caller was though, his supporting cast was even better at getting into space and making MSU pay with big plays or trips to the end zone.

Tailback JaTarvious Whitlow scored on AU’s first offensive snap and made two other trips across the goal line to go along with 55 yards on the night. Wideout Anthony Schwartz found pay dirt off a keeper on the ground while hauling in two catches for 67 yards while Seth Williams had a monster night through the air with eight receptions for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Kam Martin chipped in with a rushing TD as well.

In short, everything that could go right for Auburn’s offense, probably did aside from three lost fumbles that had zero impact on the final score.

As outclassed as Mississippi State seemed to be throughout the game, the team never could catch even the slightest of breaks to get back into the action. Quarterback Tommy Stevens exited yet again (lower leg injury) and was replaced by Garrett Shrader, who provided an early spark (209 yards, two touchdowns while rushing for 82 yards and a score) but couldn’t keep up with the pace set by the Tigers against a much better defense on the other side. The result sets up a long off week for the Bulldogs before their trip to Knoxville to take on Tennessee.

As for Auburn, they also hit the road for their next game and will head to the Swamp for what will be a huge battle against Florida next Saturday. That test should prove much tougher than the one they just passed against MSU as it’s the first of (as many as four) top 10 battles the Tigers have left on the docket. Based on how they played on the Plains, they’ll have a pretty good shot at doing some damage the rest of the way in those games to cause the College Football Playoff Selection Committee to take note.

If, that is, they haven’t already given the way Malzahn’s group is playing right now.

Ohio State, Georgia in Final Four for top-rated corner in 2021 recruiting class

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Ohio State already owns the top recruiting class in the next cycle.  The Buckeyes could be set to add to its prospect riches.  Maybe.

On Twitter Sunday, Virginia high schooler Tony Grimes used a video posted on Twitter to reveal his Final Four potential destinations.  And those four potential landing spots?  Georgia, North Carolina and Texas A&M.  And, of course, Ohio State.

That quartet, though, will very likely have to wait a while for a decision.

“So far it is still Dec. 1,” Grimes told when asked about Decision Day. “I am looking for more of a connection and knowing that there is someone there, that when I get there, I can trust, and someone who is going to develop me. Who is going to develop me more and who is going to put me in a position where I can play, ball out and get developed for the next level?”

Whichever school ultimately signs Grimes, they’ll be getting one of the highest-rated 2021 prospects.

Grimes is a five-star recruit in the next cycle according to the composite.  He’s the top-rated cornerback in the country.  And in his home state of Virginia, regardless of position.  On that same composite, he’s the No. 7 prospect in the country overall.

Ohio State currently holds the top-rated class in the country.  The Buckeyes currently hold verbals from four five-star 2021 prospects.  The next 11 schools have a combined four such commitments.

As for the other three schools involved in the chase for Grimes?  North Carolina holds the No. 4 class, while Georgia is 12th and Texas A&M is 24th.

Mississippi State transfer who committed to Ole Miss flips to Florida State

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Florida State is the beneficiary of a relatively rare football portal flip.

In mid-May, Jarrian Jones became the fifth Mississippi State football player to enter the NCAA transfer database in seven weeks.  May 23, he became the latest MSU player to find a new home as the defensive back moved to the Ole Miss side of the Egg Bowl rivalry.

Friday morning, however, Jones flipped.  On his personal Twitter account, Jones revealed that he has committed to the Florida State football team.

Jones was a four-star member of the Mississippi State football Class of 2019.  The Mississippi native was the No. 18 safety in the country on the composite.  He was also the No. 13 prospect regardless of position in his home state.  Only three signees in the class that year for MSU were rated higher than Jones.

As a true freshman, Jones started one of the dozen games in which he played.  In those appearances, he was credited with 12 tackles, two passes defensed and one fumble recovery.

After sitting out the 2020 season, the defensive back will have three years of eligibility to use starting in 2021.  Barring a waiver for immediate eligibility, of course.

Jones would actually be the second Mississippi State player to transfer into the Florida State football program in less than two months.  In mid-April, Fabien Lovett announced he was transferring to the Seminoles.  While it was reported that the defensive lineman would likely flip to Ole Miss, he confirmed he signed with FSU.

Vanderbilt mourns death of beloved staffer Osia Lewis, 57, after lengthy battle with liver cancer

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Vanderbilt football is mourning the loss of one of its own.

In February of 2017, Vanderbilt announced that football assistant Osia Lewis was battling a form of liver cancer called cholangiocarcinoma.  This weekend, the Commodores have been forced to make the sad announcement that Lewis has lost his three-year-plus battle with the insidious disease.

Lewis was 57 at the time of his death.  He leaves behind a wife and two children.

“We are deeply saddened for the loss of our heart and soul, Osia Lewis,” the Vanderbilt football program wrote on Twitter. “Our thoughts and love are with Osia’s family and friends.

“Rest in paradise.”

In 2016, Lewis joined the Vanderbilt football staff as senior defensive assistant and outside linebackers coach.  Following his diagnosis, Lewis stepped away from his on-field coaching role but continued his duties as a senior defensive assistant.  He also carried the title special consultant to head coach Derek Mason.

Prior to his time at Vandy, Lewis was the defensive line coach at San Diego State.  He also served a pair of stints as a defensive coordinator, first at New Mexico (2003-07) and then at UTEP _2008-09)

The Tucson native began his coaching career as the special teams coach and linebackers coach at Oregon State.  Lewis then moved on to Illinois as linebackers and defensive line coach from 1997-02.

Our thoughts, prayers and condolences go out to all of those impacted by Lewis’ death.

Ex-Indiana defensive lineman Chris Beaty, 38, shot multiple times, killed amid violence in Indianapolis

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The violence that has sprung up in the wake of George Floyd‘s murder has directly impacted the Indiana football program.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Chris Beaty “was one of two men shot and killed in separate incidents over the weekend as violence erupted in Downtown Indianapolis.” The 38-year-old Beaty was shot multiple times shortly before midnight local time Saturday and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police have made an arrest, but it’s unclear if it’s in connection to the shooting of Beaty or another man, 18-year-old Dorian Murrell, early Sunday morning.

Beaty was a defensive lineman for the Indiana Hoosiers football team from 2000-04.

Very sad and horrible news,” Beaty’s head coach for three seasons, current Big Ten Network analyst Gerry DiNardo, wrote on Twitter. “We all take responsibility if we don’t make a difference. We’re part of the problem or part of the solution there are no other choices. So sad.” wrote that “Beaty was still actively involved with IU football. He tweeted on April 26th a screenshot of head coach Tom Allen, Mark Deal and several other Indiana football alumni. He thanked Allen for checking in with the former players and said that IU football was in good hands.”

Included was a tweet from Beaty’s personal Twitter account.

The Star noted that Beaty was a nightclub manager in Indianapolis. “Beaty founded events promotion company Fresh Marketing in 2011,” the newspaper wrote. “He was the past operating partner of Revel nightclub, general manager of Dunaway’s Palazzo Ossigeno and assistant general manager of 6 Lounge.”