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No. 2 Ohio State clinches Big Ten East with 28-17 win against No. 8 Penn State

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For the first time all season, No. 2 Ohio State (11-0, 8-0 Big Ten) was challenged into the fourth quarter. And once it did, the Buckeyes sealed the deal with a 28-17 victory over No. 8 Penn State (9-2, 6-2 Big Ten). The win clinched the Big Ten East Division championship for Ohio State and continues to put Ohio State on the inside track to a spot in the College Football Playoff.

Penn State’s defense created a spark in the third quarter with two straight fumbles that led to Penn State points. After Penn State running back Journey Brown capped Penn State’s best drive of the game with a touchdown run, the defense knocked the ball loose from JK Dobbins on the first play on the ensuing possession. After a mad scramble for the ball, Penn State recovered at 12-yard line. Backup quarterback Will Levis completed a pass to Pat Freiermuth to bring the ball just short of the goal line, and Levis took the ball in himself on the following play to quickly bring Penn State within a touchdown. Fumble issues continued for Ohio State on the next possession when Justin Fields lost the football just before his knee touched the ground on the third play of the drive. Another Penn State fumble recovery led to a field goal to trim the Ohio State lead to 21-17.

Penn State’s starting quarterback, Sean Clifford, left the game in the third quarter with an apparent leg injury. Levis finished off the game at quarterback for the Nittany Lions. Fields was bange dup late in the fourth quarter but jogged off the field on his own.

Chase Young returned from a two-game suspension and became the school leader for the most sacks in a season. After tying the school mark with half a sack in the first half, Young moved into sole possession of first place in the school’s record books with half a sack in the third quarter on a key third down, moving him to 14.5 sacks this season. Young continued to have a significant impact on the game with non-stop pressure in the backfield. He was, decisively, the best player in the game.

Ohio State will have a date in Indianapolis reserved for the Big Ten championship game in two weeks. The Buckeyes will face either Minnesota or Wisconsin. The Big Ten West division may have to be decided next week in a head-to-head matchup between the Gophers and Badgers. Minnesota will host Wisconsin. Ohio State has already faced Wisconsin and defeated them handily. Ohio State has not played Minnesota this season.

The regular season will come to an end next week. For Ohio State, a chance to put together a 12-0 season heading to the Big Ten championship game will be on the line against That Team Up North when the Buckeyes head to Ann Arbor to face Michigan. Penn State will have a favorable draw to end their regular season with a win with a home game against Rutgers to close out the schedule.

Jerry Jeudy, AJ Dillon, Eno Benjamin and more set for State Farm All-Star Football Challenge

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It may fly under the radar for most, but the 22nd annual State Farm All-Star Football Challenge is set to take place on Jan. 31 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The skills competition will pit 24 college football stars in a team event. Among those participating in this year’s challenge will be Boston College running back AJ Dillon, Penn State defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, Oklahoma linebacker Kenneth Murray, and Alabama wide receiver Jerry Jeudy.

Five teams representing each of the power five conferences will consist of players from those respective conferences: ACC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC. A sixth team of “wild card” players will be comprised of players from the Group of Five or below. This year’s wild card players will come from the Mountain West Conference (Utah State QB Jordan Love, Boise State DE Curtis Weaver), Conference USA (FAU TE Harrison Bryant) and the South Atlantic Conference of Division 2 (Lenoir-Rhyne S Kyle Dugger).

The individual events included in the competition are a quarterback accuracy contest, obstacle course, strength challenge, and a hands competition. A team event will complete the overall event.

TEAM ACC
Cam Akers, RB, Florida State
AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College
Bryce Perkins, QB, Virginia
Jason Strowbridge, DL, North Carolina

TEAM BIG TEN
Zack Baun, LB, Wisconsin
Yetur Gross-Matos, DE, Penn State
KJ Hamler, WR, Penn State
Nate Stanley, QB, Iowa

TEAM BIG 12
Ross Blacklock, DT, TCU
Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU
Carter Stanley, QB, Kansas

TEAM PAC-12
Salvon Ahmed, RB, Washington
Bradlee Anae, DE, Utah
Eno Benjamin, RB, Arizona State
Anthony Gordon, QB, Washington State

TEAM SEC
Nick Coe, DE, Auburn
Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama
Terrell Lewis, LB, Alabama
Riley Neal, QB, Vanderbilt

TEAM WILD CARD
Harrison Bryant, TE, Florida Atlantic
Kyle Dugger, S, Lenoir-Rhyne
Jordan Love, QB, Utah State
Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise State

TE Jordan Wilson to transfer from UCLA

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UCLA redshirt junior Jordan Wilson has announced he is leaving the Bruins. In a post on his Twitter account on Friday afternoon, Wilson announced he is entering the transfer portal with the intent of finishing up his collegiate career with some other program.

“[I’d] like to announce that I will be entering the transfer portal, graduating at the end of the Spring quarter, and playing my final year of eligibility somewhere else,” Wilson announced in a statement on his Twitter account.

The decision of Wilson to leave UCLA comes at an unfortunate time for the Bruins. Wilson was likely to be a starter at tight end for UCLA in the fall. Wilson is the third tight end to leave UCLA this offseason. Devin Asiasi previously made the decision to declare for the NFL draft a year early. Matt Lynch also stepped into the transfer portal. Now, UCLA has a wide-open competition for playing time at the tight end spot beginning this spring.

Wilson caught seven passes for 72 yards for UCLA in 2019. He will leave UCLA having caught 25 passes for 244 yards and two touchdowns in the past three seasons. As a graduate transfer, Wilson will be eligible to play his final year of eligibility anywhere he ends up this fall.

USC nabs Todd Orlando from Texas Tech

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USC has a new defensive coordinator. The Trojans announced on Friday the school has officially hired Todd Orlando to fill the role of defensive coordinator. Orlando joins USC after coaching the past three seasons at Texas.

Orlando actually joined the Texas Tech program after being let go by Texas following staff changes with the Longhorns. Despite landing a job with the Red Raiders, Orlando remained a top target for USC head coach Clay Helton.

“We are excited to have Todd join our Trojan football program,” Helton said in a released statement. “He is an experienced and successful defensive coordinator who has made an impact everywhere he has coached. He brings a passion, energy, toughness and discipline to his coaching and those characteristics were evident in our discussions. His defensive system poses an extreme challenge to offenses.”

Orlando replaces Clancy Pendergast, who was let go by Helton amid USC’s own staff changes after a down 2019 season. As previously mentioned (HERE), Orlando actually had worse defensive numbers compared to what Pendergast coached with USC last season. However, a contrast of playing styles and offensive outputs between the schedule Texas faced in 2019 (including games against LSU and Oklahoma) and what USC faced could lead to some skewed figures.

Orlando’s first test as a defensive coordinator will be a monster. USC opens the 2020 season in Arlington, Texas against Alabama.

Cal loses assistant Gerald Alexander to NFL job

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Cal assistant coach Gerald Alexander is leaving to coach with the Miami Dolphins. Alexander confirmed in a message posted on his Twitter account he is heading to the NFL for a coaching opportunity. Multiple reports have confirmed it will be with the Miami Dolphins.

Alexander thanked Cal head coach Justin Wilcox for the opportunity to be a part of Wilcox’s first coaching staff at Cal.

Alexander joined the Cal program in 2017 and spent the past three seasons as a defensive backs coach for the program. He has played a role in helping to coach one of the better defensive teams in the Pac-12. He previously coached at Montana State, Indiana State and with Chris Peterssen at Washington. Alexander played for Petersen at Boise State.

This will mark a return to the NFL for Alexander. He previously played in the league for five seasons with the Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars, Carolina Panthers, and, appropriately enough, the Miami Dolphins. Alexander was a second-round draft pick of Detroit in 2007.