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Last second field goal allows No. 11 Oregon to survive Washington State’s upset attempt

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Pac-12 After Dark never fails to disappoint. Unless, perhaps, you’re commissioner Larry Scott watching the league’s hopes for a College Football Playoff bid nearly hit the skids.

No. 11 Oregon got a last second 26 yard field goal from freshman kicker Camden Lewis to stay alive in the elusive postseason chase, snapping a four-game skid to Washington State 37-35 in the kind of contest you just rarely see anywhere else except deep into Saturday night out West.

Leading the way for the Ducks was not quarterback Justin Herbert but the guy he shares the backfield with in CJ Verdell. The speedy tailback notched a career-high 257 yards on the ground as he found the end zone three times. That included breaking off an 89 yarder nearly untouched that delighted the Autzen Stadium crowd and for good measure the sophomore nearly doubled as the leading receiver (50 yards, just shy of Juwan Johnson‘s 64) to boot.

The team averaged six and a half yards per carry as a result of the rushing effort and milked the clock like an option team, not needing to rely on Herbert (21-of-30, 222 yards passing) all that much as the signal-caller’s FBS-leading streak of 35 games with a touchdown pass came to an end. The likely first round pick did turn in an efficient performance against a defense that dared him to hand the ball off and came up big in marching the team right down the field for the game-winning field goal with under a minute left.

Such positive vibes on offense were offset by the play of the UO defense, which didn’t handle Mike Leach’s Air Raid attack quite as well as they had recent Pac-12 opponents. Cougars QB Anthony Gordon tossed a pick-six and another early interception but otherwise was on point in throwing for 406 yards and three scores — including a go-ahead touchdown on fourth down with an even 60 seconds left on the clock. Shifty tailback Max Borghi was all over the field as the top weapon like usual, rushing for 54 yards and a TD while also catching eight passes for 70 yards.

It was all for not however, as Oregon netted their first win against Wazzu in Eugene since 2013 and ended an overall four-game losing streak to their division rivals. The Ducks pretty much locked up the Pac-12 North in the process too, sitting atop the standings as the conference’s only undefeated team in league play while holding tiebreakers over every other team in the division sans Civil War rival Oregon State. They can potentially clinch a trip to Santa Clara next weekend when they visit USC.

Maybe more importantly for Scott and the fans out West, they also didn’t shoot themselves in the foot with another inexplicable loss for a national contender and will continue to keep the Pac-12 in the hunt for a College Football Playoff bid into November alongside league favorite Utah. It wasn’t pretty but surviving and advancing is the name of the game at this point on the calendar in this wild and crazy sport.

Oregon State adds second Power Five transfer WR, this one from Florida State

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A personnel loss for Florida State will apparently be a gain for the Oregon State football program.

Last month, Tre'Shaun Harrison placed his name into the NCAA transfer database. This past week, it was reported that Harrison has been added to the OSU student directory.

According to Oregon Live, “Harrison and his mom took a visit to Corvallis from January 3-5 and the trip left him encouraged about a future with the Beavers.”

As of yet, the Oregon State football program has not addressed any roster development involving Harrison. Barring the unexpected, the receiver will have to sit out the 2020 season. That would then leave him with two years of eligibility starting in 2021.

A four-star 2018 signee, Harrison was rated as the No. 2 player at any position in the state of Washington. Harrison was originally committed to Oregon before flipping and following Willie Taggart to FSU.

In 2019, Harrison caught 27 passes for 289 yards and two touchdowns.  He was third on the Seminoles in both catches and yards.

Harrison is the second Power Five wide receiver transfer added by the Oregon State football program this month. After opting to leave Washington, Trey Lowe ultimately moved on and transferred to OSU. Like Harrison, Lowe will have to sit out the upcoming season.

After announcing move to Baylor, Temple transfer TE Kenny Yeboah flips to Ole Miss

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A couple of weeks ahead of National Signing Day for high schoolers, the Ole Miss football program is the beneficiary of a different type of flip.

In late December, Kenny Yeboah announced on Twitter that he would be transferring from Temple to Baylor. Three weeks after that, however, Matt Rhule took the head job with the Carolina Panthers, and was quickly replaced by LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda late last week.

Coincidentally or not, Yeboah utilized the same social media website a day after Aranda was confirmed as Rhule’s replacement to announce that he has decommitted from Baylor and instead plans to sign with the Ole Miss football team. The tight end would be coming to the Rebels as a graduate transfer.

“With ALOT… of thought and prayer.  And talking it over with my parents, thinking deeply about my decision,” Yeboah wrote in his post. “We have concluded that I should decommit from Baylor [U]niversity. …

“After much thought and prayer. I have decided to earn my [master’s] in Health Promotions at Ole Miss University to play for Coach Lane Kiffin and his great staff.  I know this is a great opportunity for me. …

“I can’t wait to begin my new journey and grind with my teammates.”

For what it’s worth, Ole Miss hasn’t yet officially announced Yeboah’s addition to the roster.

A two-star 2016 signee, the 6-5, 240-pound Yeboah took a redshirt as a true freshman with the Owls. His head coach that season? Matt Rhule.

The past three years, Yeboah caught 47 passes for 538 yards and six touchdowns. In 2019, he set career-highs in receptions (19), receiving yards (233) and receiving touchdowns (five).

With two in a mid-November win over Tulane, the Allentown, Penn., product became the first tight end in school history with a multi-touchdown game.

Alabama transfer Scott Lashley headed to Mississippi State

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If you had the Alabama Crimson Tide football team in the “Next FBS School Featured in a Portal Post” lottery, collect your winnings. And if you had him staying in the SEC West as well?  Play the lottery.

An Alabama Crimson Tide football official confirmed this weekend that Scott Lashley was officially listed in the NCAA transfer database. Subsequent to that, it was reported that Lashley had already decided to transfer to Mississippi State.

According to 247Sports.com, Lashley is expected to begin classes at MSU this coming week.

Lashley graduated from Alabama last month. That will give the 6-7, 307-pound offensive tackle immediate eligibility at Mississippi State.  The upcoming season will be his final year of eligibility.

A four-star 2016 signee, Lashley was rated as the No. 20 offensive tackle in the country and the No. 8 player regardless of position in the state of Mississippi. The past three seasons, Lashley appeared in a total of 19 games.

Eight of those appearances for Lashley came at right tackle in 2019. Earlier this month, the Tide’s starting right tackle, Jedrick Wills Jr., announced he was leaving early for the NFL.  It had been expected that Lashley would compete for the starting job vacated by Wills.

Lashley is the second Tide player this month to enter the portal and then quickly move on to another school. Two weeks ago, Jerome Ford signaled his intention to leave Tuscaloosa by entering the database. Last week, the running back moved on to the Cincinnati Bearcats.

Virginia Tech joins Ball State in losing WR Damon Hazelton to transfer

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When it comes to Damon Hazelton, the Virginia Tech football team has some transfer company.

Back in May of 2017, the Virginia Tech football team announced that Ball State transfer wide receiver Damon Hazelton had been officially added to the roster. Three years and two on-field seasons later, however, Hazelton took to Twitter to announce that he will be transferring from the Hokies as well.

“Want to say thank you to Virginia Tech, coaches and community for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this University athletically and earn my degree,” the receiver wrote. “It has been an unbelievable time here. To all my brothers and teammates, I love each and every one of you and know this year will be nothing short of amazing.”

As he indicated in his post, Hazelton will be leaving as a graduate transfer.

After sitting out the 2017 season to satisfy NCAA transfer rules, Hazelton led the Hokies in catches (51), yards (802) and touchdowns (eight) in 2018. This past season, he again led the Hokies in receiving touchdowns (eight), while he was second in yards (527) and tied for second in receptions (31).

Including his time at Ball State, Hazelton has totaled 1,834 yards and 20 touchdowns on 133 catches. The 2020 season will be his final year of eligibility.