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No. 4 Georgia holds halftime lead over No. 12 Auburn as both defenses leave their mark

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The Deep South’s Oldest Rivalry is typically a close, hard-fought affair where one big play or two separates the two sides.

Rather predictably, that was the case again in the first half of No. 4 Georgia’s visit to Jordan-Hare on Saturday afternoon as the Bulldogs held a 14-0 lead over No. 12 Auburn at the midway mark of a game that carries significant SEC and College Football Playoff implications.

It was also rather predictable that in a game featuring two questionable offenses and a load of NFL talent on the other side of the ball, the defenses really dictated the pace in this one. There were 16 drives and half of them were three-and-outs while the rivals combined for 10 punts, a missed field goal and a fumble.

So yeah, crisp and exciting this one was not.

Bulldogs QB Jake Fromm (91 yards, two TDs) did produce the lone highlight of the half however, hitting Dominick Blaylock in stride for a 51-yard touchdown strike for the first points of the game. Other than that though, things were rough until UGA mounted a scoring drive with just seconds left in the second quarter to extend their lead in action that was mostly focused on the sidelines after a photographer was injured after being hit by a stumbling Brian Herrien going out-of-bounds. De’Andre Swift did manage 80 yards on 10 carries but the speedy tailback was still mostly bottled up aside from some plays on the team’s final drive.

The Tigers would have killed for such production though. Freshman signal-caller Bo Nix was running for his life most of the game and was lucky to wind up with 115 yards passing to go with a team-high 21 on the ground, both almost entirely off scrambles and broken plays. Gus Malzahn’s usage of the Wildcat formation seemed to stall the offense more than it juiced it too as things were not great at all in a game they have to win in order to stay in the conference and national picture.

Given the injury news with No. 5 Alabama from earlier in the day, this matchup is one to solidify either side’s hold as the second-best SEC team behind No. 1 LSU. Unfortunately, neither team is really racing out to secure that nebulous title so far on the Plains.


Auburn’s Derrick Brown named Lott IMPACT Trophy winner

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Finally, one of the top defensive players in the nation has been recognized with a significant hardware win.

Sunday night, it was announced that Auburn’s Derrick Brown has been named as the winner of the 2019 Lott IMPACT Trophy.  This award, named for one of the game’s all-time greats, highlights a player’s performance on the field as well as off of it.

Not only does this award honor defensive excellence on the field but the player who most represents the qualities of the honor’s namesake, former USC All-American Ronnie Lott, off of it — Integrity, Maturity, Performance, Academics, Community and Tenacity.

Brown is the first-ever player from Auburn to win the award.  The defensive tackle is also the second-straight player from the SEC to claim it, with Kentucky’s Josh Allen serving as the 2018 winner.

In addition to Brown, the other finalists for this year’s Lott IMPACT Trophy were Ohio State safety Jordan Fuller, Clemson linebacker Isaiah Simmons and Cal linebacker Evan Weaver.

Mizzou confirms Eli Drinkwitz will retain Brick Haley

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After a run on bringing in assistants from Boone, Eli Drinkwitz has gotten about the business of retention in Columbia.

In a press release, Missouri confirmed that Drinkwitz has decided to retain Brick Haley as part of his first coaching staff with the football program.  Haley wil continue on as the Tigers’ defensive line coach, and will carry the title of assistant head coach as well.

“In my short time of being around Brick I know him to be a man of high character who gets the most out of his players,” said Drinkwitz in a statement. “His wealth of knowledge with the defensive line is exactly what we’re looking for to motivate young men.”

Haley has spent the past three seasons with the Tigers.  Prior to that, he was the line coach at Texas (2015-16), LSU (2009-14) and Mississippi State (2004-06) at the collegiate level.

From 2007-08, Haley was the line coach for the NFL’s Chicago Bears.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue at Mizzou and I’m excited to work with Coach Drink and his staff,” said Haley. “Our family loves Mizzou and being part of the Columbia community, so we’re thrilled to keep stakes in the ground here and I’m looking forward to getting to work on doing great things.”

Alex Hornibrook no longer with Florida State

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It seems Alex Hornibrook‘s college career is complete.

Florida State interim head coach Odell Haggins said on Saturday that Hornibrook is no longer with the Seminoles as the club prepares for the Sun Bowl

He will join (former) teammate Cam Akers in that regard.

A graduate transfer from Wisconsin, Hornibrook appeared in five games this season. His peak as a Seminole came on Sept. 28, when he completed 29-of-40 passes for 316 yards with three touchdowns and no picks. For the year, Hornibrook hit 84-of-122 throws for 986 yards with seven scores versus two picks.

In three years at Wisconsin, Hornibrook threw for 5,438 yards and 47 touchdowns.

SMU WR Reggie Roberson, Jr., to return for senior season

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SMU wide receiver Reggie Roberson, Jr., will return for his senior season in 2020, he announced earlier this week.

Roberson did so through a statement that at first read as if he would leave the Hilltop. “In the past couple of weeks, it has come to my attention that I am able to forgo my senior year and enter the NFL draft. I want to thank Coach Dykes for giving me the opportunity to come to SMU, and play the game I love in my hometown in front of my family and friends,” it began.

However, like a a classic Roberson open field move, he quickly changed directions and sprinted toward opportunity. “I have decided to come back and play my senior year at SMU. There is a lot of unfinished business that I left on the field that I need to take care of next season.”

A native of DeSoto, Texas, just south of Dallas, Roberson was one of SMU’s top players before he was lost to a foot injury in October. He caught 11 passes for 180 yards in the Ponies’ opening week win over Arkansas State and hauled in eight passes for 250 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-21 drubbing of Temple on Oct. 19.

For the year, Roberson caught 43 passes for 803 yards and six touchdowns over seven-plus games. Spread over a 13-game season, he was on pace to end the year in the neighborhood of 80 receptions for 1,500 yards and 11 touchdowns.

Roberson originally signed with West Virginia out of high school.