Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Bring on Georgia! Joe Burrow sets SEC passing record as No. 2 LSU rolls over Texas A&M

8 Comments

The last thing Ed Orgeron wanted to see was for his No. 2 LSU (12-0, 8-0 SEC) have to play in anything remotely close against Texas A&M (7-5, 4-4 SEC) after last year’s multiple overtime affair in College Station. Orgeron got what he wanted with LSU blowing out the Aggies 50-7 in a game where the head coach of the Tigers could give an early rest to some key players.

Joe Burrow was one of those players getting a chance to take the rest of the night off in the fourth quarter. He turned in quite a performance as his case for the Heisman Trophy continued to build. Burrow completed 23 of 32 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns. Burrow also took over the SEC’s passing record for most passing yards in a single season. Burrow passed Kentucky’s Tim Couch, who set the conference single-season passing record of 4,275 yards in 1998. Burrow is now up to 4,366 yards this season. Burrow also passed Chad Kelly of Ole Miss (4,042 yards in 2015) and Texas A&M’s own Johnny Manziel (4,114 yards in 2013) in the process of moving up to the top spot in the SEC record book in the game.

LSU’s defense has not been one of its strengths this season, especially compared to previous seasons, but it was a major factor on Saturday night against the Aggies. Kellen Mond was in for a frustrating evening as he went just 10-of-30 for 92 yards with three interceptions thrown. The Aggies had just 164 yards as a team midway through the fourth quarter, while LSU had racked up 554 yards of offense. Ja'Marr Chase had seven receptions for 197 yards and two touchdowns as Burrow’s top target on the night.

LSU will now begin preparing for their first appearance in the SEC Championship Game since 2011. Their opponent that season? Georgia. The Tigers took that contest by a lopsided score of 42-10, with Tyrann Mathieu taking MVP honors for the game. That win sent LSU to the BCS National Championship Game for a rematch of a regular-season contest against Alabama. A win next week against Georgia would once again send LSU to secure LSU’s chance to play for a national title, although as one of the four teams in the College Football Playoff. LSU has yet to make an appearance in the College Football Playoff. Given their current standing, an argument could also be entertained for LSU as a playoff team even with a loss next week, but a win would book LSU with no questions asked. Georgia will be playing in its third consecutive SEC Championship Game. They won in 2017 against Auburn to grab a spot in the playoff but lost last year to Alabama to end their playoff hopes. This will be the fourth meeting between LSU and Georgia in the SEC Championship Game.

Texas A&M will move on to the bowl season, but their bowl outlook is not nearly as grand with five losses under their belt. Jimbo Fisher ends his second regular season as head coach of the Aggies with the same record his predecessor, Kevin Sumlin, had at the time of his dismissal.

Wisconsin receiver Aron Cruickshank transfers to Rutgers

Wisconsin receiver Aron Cruickshank is transferring to Rutgers.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Former Wisconsin wide receiver Aron Cruickshank may be leaving the Badgers, but he will remain in the Big Ten. Cruickshank announced he is transferring to Rutgers.

Cruickshank confirmed his transfer to Rutgers with a post on his Instagram account on Saturday afternoon. According to NJ.com, Cruickshank was making an official visit to Rutgers this weekend. The visit must have gone well because he announced his transfer decision on the same day. Cruickshank announced his entry to the transfer portal earlier this month.

This is a nice addition for new (again) Rutgers head coach Greg Schiano. If the hiring of Schiano was supposed to entice more talent in and around The Garden State to want to stay close to home to play Big Ten football, then the transfer decision of Cruickshank is an encouraging start for the Scarlet Knights. Cruickshank is a Brooklyn, New York native, and Rutgers does love to attach itself to the New York metropolitan region.

Cruickshank appeared in all 14 games played by Wisconsin in the 2019 season, including all 12 regular-season games, the Big Ten championship game, and the Rose Bowl. Cruickshank was used mostly on special teams with 23 kickoff returns for 674 yards and two touchdowns. Cruickshank had one of his kickoff touchdowns in the Rose Bowl loss to Oregon. He returned four kickoffs for 194 yards in the game. He also returned one kickoff to the house earlier in the season at Nebraska.

Cruickshank will have to sit out the 2020 season due to NCAA transfer rules. That will leave the former Badgers receiver with two years of eligibility beginning in 2021.

Texas brings Jay Boulware home from Oklahoma

Photo by Jackson Laizure/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jay Boulware is crossing sides in the Red River Rivalry… again. Boulware officially joined the Texas coaching staff on Saturday, the school announced. Boulware will be the special teams and tight ends coach for the Longhorns.

“Jay is a proven, accomplished coach and special teams coordinator who as a former Longhorn and Texas native, has deep roots in our state,” Texas head coach Tom Herman said in a released statement. “He also has extensive experience coaching in the Big 12, having spent a decade in our league, and has worked with teams that have competed at the highest level, including a National Championship team at Auburn in 2010.”

“I’ve been watching this program from afar since the day I left there in the spring of 1997, and I’ve always had it in my mind that I would like to come back someday and help Texas win a National Championship,” Boulware said in his released statement.

Boulware comes to Texas from rival Oklahoma. Boulware coached with the Sooners from 2013 through last season and was a part of multiple Big 12 championship teams and a program that participated in the College Football Playoff each of the past two seasons. Boulware was Oklahoma’s special teams and running backs during the last seven seasons. HE previously coached tight ends at Texas, NIU, Arizona, Utah, and Auburn.

Boulware started his coaching career as a graduate assistant with the Longhorns in 2014. He eventually was named tight ends coach and spent three seasons with his alma mater (Boulware played offensive tackle for Texas in 1991 and 1992). His coaching stops have included Northern Illinois, Arizona, Stanford, Utah and Iowa State, where he joined Gene Chizik and followed him to Auburn. In 2013, Boulware was hired by Wisconsin to be a part of a new staff being compiled by Gary Andersen, but he left the Badgers for Oklahoma just months later.

Clemson DT Xavier Kelly announces entry to transfer portal

Clemson redshirt junior Xavier Kelly will leave Clemson as a graduate transfer.
Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Defensive tackle Xavier Kelly will no longer be a part of the Clemson football program. The redshirt junior announced he has entered the NCAA transfer portal and will look for another school to wrap up his collegiate career.

“I have never shied away from hard work or a challenge. My time at Clemson was a challenge that I happily accepted, [and I] worked hard to be the best defensive lineman, teammate and student I could be,” Kelly said in a statement shared on his Twitter account on Saturday afternoon.

“With this being said, I have decided to enter the transfer portal and continue my football career elsewhere. It is an honor to be able to say that I graduated from Clemson. Clemson will always have a special place in my heart.”

Kelly was listed third on the Clemson depth chart for one of the team’s two defensive tackle positions. Kelly appeared as a backup option behind freshman Tyler Davis and redshirt sophomore Jordan Williams. Kelly appeared in 10 games in the 2019 season and recorded a total of six tackles with credit for half of a sack. Kelly did not play in either of Clemson’s game sin the College Football Playoff.

In 2016, Kelly was involved in a moped accident that resulted in stitches. Clemson defensive coordinator Brent Venables said at the time Kelly was not wearing a helmet when somebody crashed into his moped.

By entering the transfer portal, Kelly is free to have contact with any other college football program interested in recruiting him. As a graduate transfer, Kelly will be able to use his final year of eligibility in 2020 and will not have to sit out the 2019 season.

Bob Shoop and Brian Jean-Mary join Michigan coaching staff, Jay Harbaugh promoted to special teams coordinator

Brian Jean-Mary and Bob Shoop are the newest members of Michigan's coaching staff.
Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
2 Comments

Michigan has officially introduced two new defensive assistants to the staff. Brian Jean-Mary and Bob Shoop were added to the defensive side of the coaching staff on Saturday as Michigan continues to retool its coaching staff this offseason.

According to the release from Michigan on Saturday, Shoop will take on the role of safeties coach for the Wolverines. Jean-Mary will serve as linebackers coach. In addition, Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh promoted his son, Jay Harbaugh, to special teams coordinator. Harbaugh will continue to coach the running backs as well.

“I am excited about the addition of Brian and Bob to our defensive coaching staff,” said Harbaugh. “Brian and Bob are well-respected, experienced coaches who represent great fits for the University of Michigan. Both coaches have experience coordinating some of the best defenses in the country, and their development of all-conference and future NFL players throughout their careers will benefit our program and student-athletes. Michigan Football looks forward to having Brian, Bob and their families join the University family.”

Jean-Mary joins the Michigan program after three seasons with former USF head coach Charlie Strong at USF. Jean-Mary has been a longtime assistant under Strong, coaching with Strong at Louisville and Texas prior to USF.

Shoop previously was the defensive coordinator at Mississippi State. This will mark a return to the Big Ten for Shoop. Shoop previously coached at Penn State under James Franklin. Shoop went to Penn State with Franklin after three seasons at Vanderbilt. Shoop left Penn State for Tennessee after the 2015 season and coached the Vols defense for two seasons for former Tennessee head coach Butch Jones. Shoop and Penn State also carried on a bit of a legal squabble over Shoop’s contract and his exit from the Nittany Lions. Shoop took a job at Mississippi State when Joe Moorhead was hired (in the same coaching carousel that saw a coaching change at Tennessee and the hiring of Jeremy Pruitt, a former defensive coordinator himself).